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Geoffrey Ernest Morgan

Servicenumber : 1444660
Rank : Private
Regiment : The Parachute Regiment
Unit : 2nd Battalion
Date of Death : August 2001
Age : 79
Geoffrey Ernest Morgan was born in Folkstone, Kent. He was the eldest of three brothers. His parents were school teachers. When war broke out his father secured him a job as a farm worker, which was a reserved occupation. 
Morgan eventually joined the Army and served with 56 Training Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. He later transferred to the Parachute Regiment and served with No. 8 Platoon, C Company, 2nd Battalion. He saw action in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
Morgan was married to the sister of his best friend, sergeant Ted Jackman, who also served with 2nd Battalion. 
On 17 september 1944 he landed near Wolfheze. On the way to the bridge he and seven other men ended up in the cellar of a house on Utrechtsestraat, near the gestapo headquarters. Two of them were wounded after they were ambushed. Two of their comrades were killed in the ambush.
There is some information about C Company in the book Without Tradition (Robert Peatling). David Russell, platoon commander of No. 7 Platoon is quoted on page 153: "We were now to move to our secondary objective, the German HQ, a building just south of the railway station, order of march 8 pl. Coy HQ, 7 pl, 9 pl.
Shortly after out move off, a large party of Germans, who we at first thought to be POW's were seen debussing on the North side of the road; 8 pl opened up on them with PIAT and bren, with great effect; some surrendered and came over to us, I knew some German and found out from them that things were nog going well for us, and that they were but the advance party of a strong armoured force in the town. 
As we entered the town proper along a completely built-up road, 8 pl were fired on by machine guns from ahead, sustaining some killed and wounded. We were ordered into a large house on the left, 7 pl on the first floor 8 and 9 pls ground floor, Coy HQ and casualties in the cellar. Pte Anthony formerly 7 pl, now a rear link signaller, was one of the wounded, LCpl Loney and Pte Shipley, 8 pl. had been killed. We moved in, barricaded the windows with whatever was to hand, posted a sentry at each window, remainder to get their heads down."
The following morning the men were out of ammunition and decided to surrended. They had been cut of from the main force and there was no way they could reach them. They made a white flag but it was shot to pieces by a German machine gun. Then a hand grenade was thrown into the cellar. One of the wounded men, Frederick Barnett, picked it up and threw it out into the garden where it exploded harmlessly. After that the Germans entered the cellar and the men were taken prisoner. 
Geoffrey Morgan was transported to Stalag XIb in Fallingborstel and later to Stalag 357. Together with Frank Eccles from the 3rd Parachute Battalion he escaped. In the camp there was a cart where latrine buckets were emptied into. Eccles and Morgan climbed into this cart and when it was full the cart was taken outside the gates. Because of an air raid this time the cart was left between two fences and then the men climbed out of the cart, they still had to climb a fence. This proved to be an easy obstacle. Some eight weeks later they were captured again, near Dortmund and they were send back to Stalag 357. There they were placed in solitary confinement.
After the war Morgan struggled with civlian life but eventually straightened out and got a job in insurance. He liked to walk long distance walks. Once, when he was flying to Scotland he got visibly nervous as they approached landing. The stewardess asked him if he had ever flown before. Morgan said 'Yes, hundreds of times'. The stewardess then asked why he was so nervous. 'Because I've never landed in an airplane before!'.  
Sources: P.T. Morgan (Nephew of Geoffrey Morgan), 'Without Tradition' and website http://www.pegasusarchive.org 


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