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Guy Lechmere Blacklidge

Servicenumber : 203068
Rank : Major
Regiment : The Parachute Regiment
Unit : 11th Battalion
Date of Death : 23-09-1944
Age : 29
Grave :
Guy Lechmere Blacklidge was a son of Frederick Charles Blacklidge and Stella (or Sheila) Blacklidge (nee Mosse-Robinson). He was married to Patricia D. Blacklidge (nee Macken), of Petersham, Surrey. They had a daughter, Gay.
Blacklidge was given a emergency commission into the South Staffordshire Regiment on 23 august 1941. On 4 may 1943 he transferred to the Parachute Regiment. 
Blacklidge served as the Commanding Officer of B Company. According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 2011) Blacklidge was killed inside the Old Church in Oosterbeek.
In the middle of June 1943 Blacklidge was commanding Support Company. He was still a captain at that time.  In july 1944 he took over B Company as a Major.
The authors of 'Arnhem Their Final Battle' wrote about Blacklidge on page 88: "At approximately 1200hrs a message was received that the attack on the bridge had been repulsed and that German armour was sweeping round to the north to cut the Battalion off. B Company withdrew to a juntion west of the Hospital and occupied all building covering the junction. On orders of the Company Commander, Major Blacklidge, the men were to grenade all enemy tanks and shoot up all infantry. There was to be no withdrawal." (This happened on 19 september).
After the withdrawal to Oosterbeek Major Blacklidge and his Company Headquarters took up position in a house at the crossroads of the Acacialaan and the Hogeweg. They didn't stay there for a long time. On page 97 of 'Arnhem Their Final Battle' Captain King is quoted: "The tanks were attacking from the east and north. Some time after lunch the Germans managed to set the house alight. We put out the fire, but three men were killed, Second Lieutenant Richard de Courcy Peele, and two men next door. Soon after this however we were forced to retire in the face of a fierce and uncontrollable burning. This place had been evacuated by Major Guy Blacklidge and his B Company."
Blacklidge is mentioned in the War Diary of the 11th Battalion: "About 1100hrs we were relieved, after a morning mortaring, by some Poles who had crossed the river during the night. We withdrew to the Church for food and cleaning of weapons. The Church was shelled by 88's and Major G.L. Blacklidge was killed." In the book 'Arnhem Their Final Battle' Private Joseph Gray is quoted on page 109: "I had lost track of time by now but I know it was the second from the last day of the battle that our commanding officer, Major Lonsdale, called us all into the church. He told us that there was just no hope of the main forces getting through to us, but we had to make sure that every round we fired counted. Then hell opened up. Jerry had used the spire as an aiming point and shrapnel came down like rain. At a time like that, you want to be near someone you know, at least I did. I saw my old pal Private John Harkin so I got up and went back to him. That is how I missed death by seconds. As soon as I had moved, a lump of shrapnel went right through the back of my seat and hit another pal on the seat in front, shattering his left knee. The spire collapsed on the church in the bombardment. I made for the trench, but someone grabbed hold of me to carry a wounded officer on a stretcher. He had an awful hole in his chest. We carried him to the house of Mrs. Kate ter Horst, but entering the house the officer had died."
On page 138 Second Lieutenant Blackwood is quoted: "The Gunners were using the church as an Observation Post and the atute Hun brought his 88mm guns to bear on us. It was not too gratifying to hear him getting closer and closer, though the walls were stout. Nor was the wisdom to evacuate, for his mortars were lashing it down outside. Eventually a direct hit on the roof of the church brought down much plaster and caused one leg casualty. We rendered first aid and sent for stretcher-bearers. Jerry scored again, taking the cook's leeg off and upsetting the rabbit stew. A shall splinter through the chest mortally wounded Guy Blacklidge. This made me officer commanding B Company and second-in-command 11th Battalion.
Blacklidge has no known grave. His name is on panel 8 of the Groesbeek Memorial, which commemorates by name more than 1000 soldiers who died during te campaign in north-west Europe between the time of crossing the Seine at the end of August 1944 and the end of the war in Europe, and whose graves are not known. 
 
Sources: Website CWGC, 'Arnhem Their Final Battle', website https://petershamremember.wordpress.com, website www.unithistories.com and Roll of Honour

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