- Francis Alexander Derbyshire was a son of
Francis Ignatious and Frances Elizabeth Derbyshire, of
Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire. He was married to Mabel Derbyshire, of
- Derbyshire served with No. 9 Flight, G
- According to the Roll of Honour published by
the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 2011) it was
reported Derbyshire was alive and kicking on 20 september 1944. He was
given a field burial in the garden of the Ter Horst family,
- The authors of the book 'Glider Pilots at
Arnhem', Mike Peters and Luuk Buist, wrote about Derbyshire on page 189.
They quote Lieutenant Mike Dauncey talking about events on 19 september
1944: "In the afternoon a trail of men started coming along the
road from Arnhem into our area, not well organised. Major Croot
organised them into a proper line stretching from the river to the road
and any fresh straggler was pushed into their 'Croots Cut'. After a bit
they got their form back.
- We, Frank Derbyshire and I, with Staff
Sergeant Mack and Sergeant Wild and a few paratroopers, had the job of
seizing the telephone exchange in Oosterbeek, as the Germans were still
using the phone lines.
- We travelled to the telephone exchange in a
jeep, probably one belonging to the Light Regiment. Very friendly and
helpful Dutch people directed us to the telephone exchange. We
eventually found it, unfortunately locked, so we had to shoot out the
- The exchange was completely empty, which
stopped the exchange from working. We then took up positions in the
building, not very good from our point of view, because we were about a
mile from any of our own troops and the field of fire in the building
was poor. We also had no Anti-Tank weapons of any kind.
- Later in the afternoon the caretaker of the
exchange appeared. He was very good about the damaged lock, but said he
would have gladly opened the door, had we asked him! Later more Airborne
troops arrived with a carrier and jeep.
- We were told that we were to destroy the
telephone exchange, so that it could not be used. When done we were to
report to a Brigadier, with a view to helping the western flank of the
perimeter, which was forming.
- An automatic telephone exchange is not easy
to destroy. We cut wires and undid connections in different rooms, but
it was only a temporary way of putting the exchange out of action. In
one room, we let off a grenade, but it had little real effect.
- About this time the Royal Air Force
re-supply came in, despite the heavy Anti-Aircraft fire, which greeted
them. The Brigadier then had a change of plan and we were told to return
to the Light Regiment once more, to act as local protection."
- On page 210 they wrote about 20 september
1944: "Lieutenant Mike Dauncey and other men of 'G' Squadron
moved into a new position on Weverstraat, roughly a thousand metres from
the scene of John Baskeyfield's action: That afternoon the Para chaps
were withdrawn to our houses for a rest. We took over the area to the
north of our area with a mixed bag of glider pilots, parachutists and
airborne infantry under Lieutenant Max Downing on the left, Captain Mike
Corrie with Lieutenant Frank Derbyshire in the centre and myself on the
right. It took a bit of sorting out, but once that had been done the
situation looked far better."
- On page 251 Peters and Buist quote Dauncey
again, talking about 23 september 1944: "We dug some chaps who were
resting at the church and the music hall and went over the road to
Captain mike Corrie, as Lieutenant Max Downing we killed and Lieutenant
Frank Derbyshire was missing from patrol. We still had no PIAT.German
infantry was however still rather wary of rushing about wildly. We had
our positions in upper floors of houses so as to get a more commanding
view which was ok except for the mortars, and self-propelled gun which
had things much its own way except that it wa too cautious to come
really near. If the anti tank chap had only been there or even a PIAT
would have done."
- Philip Reinders, author of the book 'Angel of
Arnhem', about the casualties of the 1st British Airborne Division
buried in the garden of the Ter Horst family, wrote about Frank
Derbyshire as well. On page 26 he wrote Derbyshire was badly wounded in
the left arm and died of his wounds on 23 september 1944.