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|Birth name||James Harley Wallwork|
|Born||21 October 1919
|Died||24 January 2013
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
|Years of service||1939 – 1945|
|Unit||Glider Pilot Regiment|
|Awards||Distinguished Flying Medal|
Staff Sergeant James Horley Wallwork DFM (21 October 1919 – 24 January 2013) was a member of the Glider Pilot Regiment who achieved notability as the pilot of the first Horsa glider to land at Pegasus Bridge in the early hours of 6 June 1944. This achievement was described as "the greatest feat of flying of the second world war" by Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory. Although most noted for his part in the Battle of Normandy, Wallwork flew gliders in every major British airborne operation of the Second World War. These also included the Sicily Landings, Arnhem and the Rhine Crossings. In later life he lived in Vancouver.
He was born in Manchester, son of an artilleryman who had served during the First World War. When Wallwork volunteered for the British Army in March 1939 his father advised him against joining the infantry. He ignored his father's advice but subsequently regretted it and, despite being promoted to Sergeant, he tried to join the Royal Air Force.
Attested on 1st May 1939 at 19 years 6 months Royal of Artillery T.A. 53rd.Regiment. Posted to: 212 Field Battery. Posted to: HQ 53 Regt. Posted to: 311 Infantry Training Centre - 111 Field Regt. Transferred to 9th Pioneer Battalion - The York & Lancaster Regiment on 27th May 1940. Posted to: HQ Glider Regiment at Tilshead Wiltshire. (14th May 1942).
This was blocked by his Commanding Officer although in 1942 he was accepted for training in the newly formed Glider Pilot Regiment. By May 1942 he was at flight training school.
After training at Tarrant Rushton airfield, Wallwork set off on the evening of 5 June 1944 for what was to be the beginning of the invasion of Normandy. He landed his Horsa glider (nicknamed Lady Irene by Wally Parr[who?]) in occupied France shortly after midnight. The force of the impact catapulted both Wallwork and his co-pilot John Ainsworth through the front of the cockpit. Although stunned, this made them the first Allied troops to touch French soil on D-Day.
- After landing Wallwork was severely wounded in the head but managed to carry munition boxes up to the troops defending the canal bridge at Benouville (called 'Pegasus Bridge' some days after D-day by Royal Engineer-troops). Ambrose, Stephen (2003). Pegasus Bridge - D-Day: The Daring British Airborne Raid. London: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5068-X.