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Maurice Kalikoff

Servicenumber : 6021874
Rank : Sergeant
Regiment : The Parachute Regiment
Unit : 2nd Battalion
Date of Death : 27-10-1944
Age : 28
Grave : Plot 12. Row K. Grave 3. 
Maurice Kalikoff was a son of Philip and Dora Kalikoff, of Islington, London. He was born in Kiev, Ukraine and was Jewish. As a child, in the 1920's, he fled the Ukraine with his parents and sister and came to Britain. 
Kalikoff enlisted into The Sussex Regiment. He volunteered for the Parachute Regiment at the formation of 1st Parachute Brigade in late 1941. He was later posted to the 2nd Parachute Battalion, where he served with the Mortar Platoon, Support Company. He served with the Battalion in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Arnhem.
On 20 september 1944 Kalikoff was commanding the mortars at the 'Island' at the bridge area. When they ran out of ammunition Kalikoff and two of his men ran for the safety of a house, but Kalikoff was hit and wounded. He was taken prisoner.
James William Sims, who also served with the Mortar Platoon and who wrote a book about his experiences in Arnhem and as a prisoner, wrote about Kalikoff, who was his section commander, on page 22: "Our section commander, Maurice Kalikoff, was an exacting instructor whose aim was speed and accuracy, and we practised over and over again until he was reasonably satisfied with our performance. Maurice was a Russian Jew. He had been born in Kiev and his family had fled from Russia during a pogrom. He still retained the Slav's sad, almost fatalistic, outlook on life and was quietly spoken - for a sergeant. He was a first-class soldier and one of the finest human beings I have ever met."
On page 36 Sims wrote about meeting Kalikoff at the Landingzone near Wolfheze on 17 september 1944: "Looking like a Christmas tree, I set off in search of the 2nd Battalion. I met Sergeant Kalikoff, who appeared upset over something. When I asked what the trouble was he replied that he had lost his kitbag. At the thought of all those tedious and sweaty afternoons I burst out laughing. Maurice couldn't see the joke and told me to get moving."
On page 49: "There was an island of grass with shrubs and trees in the centre of the road west of the bridge. Lieutenant Woods selected this for our mortar position. He ordered us to dig two pits for the mortars and to surround these with slit-trenches. Sergeant Kalikoff was left to organise this while the lieutenant went off to inspect the houe which was to be held by the rest of the platoon."
On 19 september Kalikoff was one of the last defenders of the house held by the Mortar Platoon. Sims wrote about this on page 75: "The remainder of the Mortar Platoon was clustered at the bottom of the stairs. From above Sergeants Jackman and Kalikoff serveyed what was left of the original 'shower'. Sergeant Jackman was now in command of the platoon, Lieutenant Woods being presumed killed in the White House. 
Having inspected us Sergeant Jackman said, 'I want six volunteers to stay here with Maurice and defend this house to the last.' We all shuffled forward. "OK, Maurice, take your pick.' Sergeant Kalikoff looked us over in his sad way and selected six of the toughest veterans in the room. Waving his hand in the direction of the garden Sergeant Jackman shouted, 'Right, the rest outside and dig in.'"  
According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 2011) Kalikoff died of wounds and was first buried in the New Cemetery at Lingen/Ems, Germany. He was later reburied in the Rheinberg War Cemetery.  
Picture: 27-08-2016
 
Sources: Website CWGC, website www.marketgarden.com, website www.paradata.org.uk, website www.pegasusarchive.org, 'Spearhead Arnhem' and Roll of Honour.

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