Service History & Extract from Pegasus Journal
by Leslie Allsopp
212 Battery, 53rd Airlanding Light Regiment R.A. (Worcestershire Yeomanry)
Undertook normal training during 1942 then stationed in Yorkshire as a member of the 53rd Anti-Tank regiment, Royal Artillery.
Early in 1943 a change of role was announced for the Unit together with a change of name to the 53rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery. It was during this period that I trained as a gunnery driver wireless operator. After this training I returned to the regiment only to find that its role had changed once again. My unit had become the 53rd Air-Landing regiment, Royal Artillery which was part of the 6th Airborne Division.
There followed a period of intense training on gliders after which I applied for further training to become a para-trooper gaining my parachute wings at the end of the course. It was during this period that I first met my wife to be, Phyliss, who was a parachute packer at Ringway where the training took place. We used to meet in the NAAFI during the evening breaks and we kept in touch by letter after I returned to the regiment. June 1944: When I returned to my regiment I became a member of a section called Forward Observation Observers of 'FOOs' for short. FOO's were attached to the Parachute Regiments for the purpose of giving Artillery support when requested by the paratroops. On the 6th of June 1944, (D Day) I was involved in the action at a place called Ranville just outside Caen in France as a FOO. There were two German gun emplpacements called Merville & Breville batteries which were a problem and the FOO's task was to direct fire from the Allied artillery towards the enemy batteries. Unfortunately although clear instructions were sent because of a mistake at the British artillery emplacement fire was directed at the Allied positions. It was only by my quick actions to stop this fire that prevented many more casualties occurring and for this prompt action I was mentioned in dispatches. Following action by the paratroops with the assistance of the 51st Highland Division the main objective Caen was successfully reached.
Returned to the UK.
Embarked at Tilbury for Ostend on Christmas Eve. Once again linking up with the 51st Highland Division we moved up to the front line to assist the Americans in the Ardennes (not an Airborne operation).
The Regiment was part of the Forces for the Rhine crossing completing the operation at Wismar on the Baltic coast.
Returned to the UK.
Left by sea for Palestine. Was promoted to Bombardier and was in charge of motor transport for 212 Battery.
Returned to UK and after leaving the army in early 1947 got together with Phyliss again and we were married in May of that year. I then became self employed until finally retiring in 1996.
Pegasus Journal July 2004
Bombardier Leslie Allsopp
53rd Landing Light Regt RA
On May 28th 1944 Leslie Allsopp was attached to 8th Battalion and flew to Normandy on the evening of the 5th/6th June. He was dropped a few miles from the designated DZ area. After a few hours he reported to Regimental Headquarters and went forward to the 8th Battalion position. From then on he assisted 8th, 9th and 12th Battalions with artillery support. He returned to the UK in September 1944. He was mentioned in Despatches on 8th November 1945. Signaller Allsopps' action later formed part of his unit's official history. The following is an extract:
"Captain Ward's signaller, Allsopp, who accompanied him in the attack kept an open wireless communication with HQRA, 51st Division under conditions of utmost strain and stress. Immediately after Breville had been taken Colonel Douglas Parker of the 12th Battalion, acting as Commanding Officer, since Lieut. Col. Johnson had been killed, sent and order through Allsopp calling for defensive fire to forestall any counter attack against the depleted and disorganised Battalion. Although the message was clearly sent misunderstanding somewhere at the gun end caused this fire to fall on the village causing further casualties amoung the parachutists. Allsopp acting on his own initiative unhesitatingly ordered the guns to cease fire; his coolness and enterprise undoubtedly saved the lives of many gallent men. Throughout these critical first days Allsopp always proved himself a first class signaller of cool courage and ready resources."