Meet the family: A catch up with sporting hero Bill

We love to hear about our resident’s lives and chatting to them over a cup of tea or during group reminiscing sessions can reveal some fascinating stories and record-breaking achievements. Activity Coordinator, Tony has been chatting with Bill about his life.

Bill is ninety-four and has lived at Walberton Place Care Home near Arundel since August 2020.

Born in Tuffley Gloucester in 1926, he was called up in 1944 and completed his basic training in the mountains of Maughan in Ireland. Bill served as a Private in the Gloucestershire Regiment, know as the Glorious Glosters from 1945 until 1951.

Bill was in one of the first boats that landed on Gold Beach in Normandy as part of the D-Day landings. His regiment was involved in the capture of Caen, then once the Canadian Tank division arrived, they pushed on to rescue British paratroopers who were stuck in Arnhem. After a successful campaign, he continued to fight in Northern Europe including at Nijmegan Bridge, which was captured whilst under attack from German snipers.

After this campaign, Bill moved with his regiment to Berlin and Spandau with the primary goal of rescuing Prisoners of War at Auschwitz as the war was now nearly coming to an end.  However, the enemy was still blowing up dikes and flooding the coast where Bill and his comrades were positioned. They found themselves surrounded by German troops and trapped in water from the North Sea for four days before being rescued by Canadian Tank Division.

After the war Bill created a sporting record by running 1 mile in under 4 minutes at the World Military Track and Field Championships. His time was 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds! Incredibly only two days later Roger Banister also ran the mile in under 4 minutes. Bill’s world record would have stood if only a sporting official had been present to record his feat. The record was held by Banister as it was officially recorded when he ran it in England.

After these remarkable achievements, Bill worked as the depot manager for the retail group Londis had two daughters, he would have been married 74 years this year.

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