Reported in the obituary section of The Times yesterday (27 March 2009), Colonel David Wood, the last surviving officer of the Pegasus Bridge operation died on 12 March. He was 86.
He was planning to be present at this year's 65th anniversary of the bridge's capture and the unveiling, on 6th June, of a new memorial to the men of the capturing party, the glider pilots and RAF aircrew who took part by Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt.
David Wood was a 19 year old, fresh-faced subaltern straight from officer training when he joined the 2nd Battalion, Ox & Bucks to train for the bridge operation under the comand of Major John Howard.
Shortly after landing, he led his section up the slight slope towards the bridge, checking that every trench was clear of the enemy. When he reached the road, he was caught by a burst of enemy machine gun fire that hit him with three bullets in the leg and a compound fracture of the femur. This injury resulted in him missing the rest of the war and his left leg being 1 and a half inches shorter than his right.
He resumed his military career after the war, attending Staff College and having a variety of posts including second in command of 1st Battalion, Royal Green Jackets. His final posting was at the Infantry Records Office in Exeter.
In 1994, he was appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by the French Government for his work on behalf of the Normandy Veterans' Association, of which he was president of the Exeter branch until his death.
Colonel David Wood, MBE
23 February 1923 - 12 March 2009