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Kev in Deva

Noticed on the net with regards:Nijmegen Bridge.

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Hallo Gentlemen :beer:

just found this online:

"THIS IS NOTTINGHAM" the website of the "NOTTINGHAM EVENING POST" 12:00 - 30 March 2006.

While researching various branches of his family tree, Notts businessman Richard Bignall discovered a relative who helped make history. ANDY SMART reports

The battle to capture the crucial Rhine bridge at Nijmegen had been bloody and costly. British and American soldiers, who formed XXX Corps, came up against crack German panzer divisions fighting to keep the Allies from crossing the border into the Fatherland.

The bridge at Nijmegen finally fell after several days of bitter fighting but, amid the confusion of war, there was some doubt as to who could actually claim the honour of capturing the crossing.

In some accounts, the credit is taken by American troops of the 82nd Airborne Division, but Richard Bignall, from Keyworth, discovered the truth was somewhat closer to home.

The man who captured the bridge at Nijmegen was his great uncle Sergeant William 'Bill' Chambers of the Grenadier Guards Armoured Division - and that is official.

Delving through documents and newspaper cuttings that belonged to his grandmother, Mr Bignall came across a notice of presentation dating from June 6, 2001, and referring to a ceremony held in Anzac House, in Perth, Western Australia.

The guest of honour and recipient was to be William Chambers's widow Grace. Sgt Chambers died in 1982, still suffering from the wounds he received during the Second World War.

The occasion was to present her with a Diploma of Honour from the French government for the part he played in the liberation of Normandy.

But the notice also included a paragraph which read: "Sgt Chambers was officially announced by the British War Office as capturing the Nijmegen Bridge on September 19, 1944.

"Sgt W Chambers (commander) with Guardsmen H Watson, driver, and R Jarvis, wireless operator, was on patrol in the Nijmegen area with two tanks under his command. When it became necessary for them to cross the Nijmegen Bridge, encountering heavy German resistance, they were officially announced as capturing the Nijmegen Bridge."

A plaque at the scene now records the fact.

A report confirming the deed also appeared in the Evening Post soon after, to say that Sgt Chambers, of Fenton Drive, Bulwell Hall; Guardsman H Watson, of Furlong Terrace, Arnold; and Gdsmn R Jarvis, of Claypole Road, Hyson Green, were fit and well.

However, in March 1945 Sgt Chambers was wounded and evacuated to Britain. He later emigrated to Australia where he died.

Mr Bignall was amazed to find the information as he carried out his research and hopes there may be family members still in the area who can tell him more.

His principal subject has been the Bignall name and he has traced every Bignall in the Notts area back to one man, Robert Bignall.

Robert was born in Ireland in 1750 and later enlisted in the British Army.

He fought with the 57th (Middlesex) Regiment at the Battle of Brandywine during the American War of Independence, and was wounded in the foot by a musket ball.

He later returned to England, married in Newcastle and then settled in Nottingham.

When he died, at his home in Stoney Street, he was 97 years old.

Mr Bignall said: "The line stops with him. Irish records were lost in a great fire, but from my research I do know that all local Bignalls descend from Robert.

"At times, the research can be frustrating, but then one piece of information sparks everything off and it all makes sense.

"The whole thing can become something of an obsession, but I wanted to know where my family came from."

Anyone who would like to contact Mr Bignall about his own family name or Sgt Chambers can contact him by e-mail at richard.bignall@gap-personnel.com

Kevin in Deva :beer:

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My old man was knoking around there in 1 WG, Guards Armoured Div - slept in the pillars of the bridge, apparently.

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And typical of our colonial cousins hijacking the honour of taking it, as portrayed in the Bridge too far film. After all they got the enigma, liberated the whole of Europe single handed and cleared Rommel out of N Africa, TFIC lol.

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