Ronald Stanley Wheelwright (1922-2013)
 

Ronald Stanley Wheelwright died in July 2013 aged 92.

After education at Frederick Road School, Aston, he joined Rensons as a delivery boy. With the outbreak of war, he signed up for the RAF Regiment, which was new at the time. After training at Padgate and Skegness, he was deployed to Baginton Airfield near Coventry and then to Honerly Airfield, where he helped dig gun emplacements. He served as a gunner and was promoted to Flight Sergeant, before being selected for commando training with the Blackwatch. During the training in Scotland real ammunition was used.

With the war approaching its crucial closing stages, Ronald's Commando Unit was deployed to the frontline and had a number of notable engagements. During the Battle of the Bulge, on the Belgian/German border, he blew up fuel dumps to stop them being used by Nazi tanks attempting to break through Allied lines. He took out the German's Tiger tanks and sabotaged their aerodromes. As his Unit pushed on into Germany, Ronald arrived at Celle, a village adjacent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp: the sights he saw there haunted him for the rest of his life and fostered a questioning distrust of authority.

After the war, Ronald was invited to train as an officer but he declined and was demobbed in July 1946. Instead, he took up a post as transport manager at Bill Switchgear, Perry Barr, where he served until retirement. He lived briefly at 176 Putney Road, Handsworth, then at Kingshurst, Castle Bromwich, before taking over his parents house at 3 Grosvenor Road, Handsworth. He married Isobel Wilson in 1945 and had three children: Brian, Elaine and Sandra.

 

Database entry| In Memoriam