- Peter Lacey Bucknall was a son of Jack H. and Grace M. Bucknall of
- 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
- 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.