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Peter Lacey Bucknall  

Servicenumber : 237712
Rank : Lieutenant
Regiment : Reconnaissance Corps
Unit : 1st Airlanding Squadron
Date of Death : 17-09-1944
Age : 23
Grave : Plot 16. Row B. Grave 5.
Peter Lacey Bucknall was a son of Jack H. and Grace M. Bucknall of Birmingham.
Bucknall served with No 8 Section, C Troop. On 17 september 1944 he landed near Wolfheze. In the plans for Market Garden the Reconnaissance Squadron was given the task to get to the bridge at Arnhem as fast as they could. C Troop, consisting of 8 jeeps with 5 men in each jeep, would be leading the Squadron. They left from Renkum Heath around 15.45 hrs. Lieutenant Bucknall proceeded in one jeep with the first three men available from his section. Sergeant McGregor followed in a second jeep with five more men. When C Troop left the heath Sections 9 and 7 were leading, with No. 8 behind them. HQ Troop brought up the rear.
After departing the heath they made good progress and stopped to rendezvou on the approaches to Wolfheze. There No. 8 section would take over from No 9 and move into the lead. No 7 was behind them. After crossing the railway at Wolfheze the jeeps advanced down a sand track called Johannahoeveweg, which ran eastwards from the station, next to the railway. About a third of a mile from the Wolfheze crossing the road dips down and up again. As Bucknall's jeep proceeded down into the dip and up the other side it was ambushed by a defensive blocking line of men from the SS-Panzergrenadier Ausbildungs und Ersatz Bataillon 16, commanded by SS Sturmbahnfuhrer Sepp Krafft. At this spot it were men of the battalion reserve platoon under command of SS Hauptscharfuhrer Wiegand. All four men in the first jeep were killed. Among them was Peter Lacey Bucknall. The other three were Troopers Ronald Brumwell, Leslie Percy Goulding and Edward James Gorringe.
On 18 september 1944 the remainder of C Troop was given the task to help guard the landingzone at Reijerscamp. One of the secondary tasks was to attempt to recover the dead of the previous day. They found Peter Bucknall's group in the wood on the other side of the dip. The author of the book Remember Arnhem, John Fairley, wrote about this on page 69 and 70. He quotes Sergeant David Christie, who was serving with C Troop: "They were laid in single file, about one yard between each ma. None of them was wearing any equipment, nor had they any weapons. All had about ten bullet holes in the back or on the neck. We later found their equipment on the jeep. From this, it was obvious that the Germans had taken them prisoner and then shot every one in cold blood. Lieutenant Bucknall had his face burned right off. I could recognize him by the blue polo-necked sweater he had been wearing and by his identity discs."
Most probably the men were not taken prisoner and then shot. It is more likely they were shot from behind because they were moving at speed and probably their jeep overshoot the German positions. The Germans apparently used a flame thrower on the jeep. Krafft's battle report does mention that they were included as part of his armament.   
According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 1999 and 2011) Bucknall was given a field burial in the garden of Duitsekampweg No 9 at Wolfheze. After the bodies of the dead had been recovered from the ambush point they were wrapped in grey army blankets and then buried. A short service was conducted by one of the Roman Catholic padres. 
Picture: 23-09-2012
He leaves an unbroken glory
A gathered radiance
Under the night
 
 
Picture: 10-09-2016
 
Picture: 12-09-2017
 
Sources: Website CWGC,  Website www.paradata.org.uk, Arnhem 1944, Remember Arnhem, Arnhem a few vital hours and Roll of Honour

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