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John Paul Avallone

Servicenumber : 7627563
Rank : Private
Regiment : The Parachute Regiment
Unit : 21st Independent Company
Date of Death : 23-09-1944
Age : 26
Grave : Plot 5. Row A. Grave 4.
John Avallone served with No. 1 Platoon. On 17 september 1944 he landed on the dropzone along the Telefoonweg in Renkum. No. 1 Platoon had the responsibility of marking and then defending Dropzone X. After the landing of the 1st Parachute Brigade on DZ-X the platoon joined the rest of the company at Reijerscamp, a farm near Wolfheze.
On 18 september the platoon was to mark LZ-L, where a resupplydrop was planned at 1000 hrs. Bad weather had delayed the take-off in England and it was around 1530hrs that some 30 Stirlings dropped supplies. The platoon then returned to Reijerscamp. At around 1900 hrs the company began to move to a new position in Oosterbeek. After almost 4 hours the company reached its new position on the northern side of Graaf van Rechterenweg, in and around a large house called Dreijerheide.
On 19 september No. 1 Platoon would again mark LZ-L., this time the anti-tank guns of the Polish Brigade would land there. The platoon moved to the LZ via the culvert near Wolfheze. At 1600 hrs the gliders with the guns arrived. At that moment the Germans made an attack from the north. The platoon's Bren gunners, probably John Avallone too, caused casualties when German infantry crossed some open ground. The Germans continued to attack from the north and the 4th Parachute Brigade began to retreat towards Wolfheze. The platooncommander of No. 1 Platoon, Lieutenant Eastwood, decided to return to the rest of the company and they crossed the railway on a high embankment. They moved towards Oosterbeek and when darkness was falling they marched into the company area, which by now was situated around the Ommershof estate.
On 21 september Avallone was involved in putting a self-propelled gun out of action. The sp-gun was first brought to a halt with a PIAT and then the Bren guns opened fire when the crew ran for cover. A little later the German brought up a truck in an attempt to tow the gun away. Fire from three Bren guns dealt with this effort.
At 0100 hrs on the friday morning, 22 september, the company moved to a new position near the crossing of Utrechtseweg and Stationsweg, later known as 'MDS crossroads'. No. 1 Platoon held the first four houses running north from the crossroads. Lieutenant Eastwood had his HQ in the first house from the crossroads, called Quatre Bras.    
According to the book 'Leading the way to Arnhem' (Peter Gijbels and David Truesdale) on 23 september Avallone was manning a Bren gun along with private Hillier in the garden on the corner of the Quatre Bras house, at the crossing of Stationsweg and Utrechtseweg. He was firing at a sniper when the Bren gun jammed. While Avallone tried to clear it he was hit in the head and throat. Avallone was evacuated to the Schoonoord Hotel on the far side of the crossroads, but died of his wounds a short time later. Lieutenant David Eastwood: "John Avallone was killed by a sniper outside Quatre Bras. Here he had developed a very effective field of fire with his Bren, covering any approach from Utrechtseweg. I recommended him for a Military Medal, but it was unsuccesful."
According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 1999 and 2011) Avallone was given a field burial near the Schoonoord Hotel.
Picture: 23-09-2012
Picture: 17-09-2015
Picture: 18-10-2015
Picture: 19-09-2016
Sources: Website CWGC, Leading the way to Arnhem (Peter Gijbels and David Truesdale) and Roll of Honour.


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