Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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14410593   Private Gordon Reid
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 10/10/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 7th Battalion, Parachute Regiment (British Army)
Died: 07/07/1944 (Killed in Action)
Age: 20
Summary      
Private Gordon Reid was the son of John & Elizabeth Reid, Cookstown. Gordon was a member of 7th Battalion Parachute Regiment, 5th Parachute Brigade, 6th Airborne. Gordon parachuted into France again on the 6th June 1944. Their objective was to secure the Eastern flanks of the British landings and to secure the village of Benoville and subsequently the area around Ranville. The 6th Airborne spent the next 2 months consolidating their position in this area. Gordon Reid was killed on 7th July 1944.
Further Information
Gordon Reid was the son of John and Elizabeth Reid of Cookstown. He was born about 1924.
Private Gordon Reid served with the 7th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, 5th Parachute Brigade, 6th Airborne. The reason the 6th Airborne were given the number 6, was to mislead the Germans into thinking the British Airborne had six divisions, when in fact they had only two.
The Parachute Regiment was part of the Army Air Corps, The AAC was formed to administer the Glider Regiments and Parachute Regiments in 1942. The Special Air Service (S.A.S.) was included in 1944.
1944
Private Gordon Reid parachuted into France as part of a joint operation with the S.A.S, led by Lieutenant Colonel Blair Mayne, Captain Pat Garstain and four other Ulster born soldiers including Cookstown man, Tot Barker. Their objective was to destroy the train was successful. While being airlifted out the group came under heavy enemy fire and Tot Barker was hauled on to the plane by Blair Mayne.
Private Reid parachuted into France again with the 7th Battalion Parachute Regiment on the 6th June 1944. Their objective was to secure the Eastern flank of the British landings and to secure the village of Benoville and subsequently the area around Ranville. The 6th Airborne spent the next two months consolidating their position in this area.
Private Gordon Reid was killed in action near Ranville on 7th July 1944. He was 20 years old.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 22nd July 1944: Roll of Honour – Killed in Action
REID – Killed in action in North West Europe in July 1944, Private Gordon Reid, son of Mrs E Reid, Coagh Street, Cookstown.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 29th July 1944: The Late Private Gordon Reid
Mrs Reid, of Coagh Street, Cookstown, whose youngest son, Private Gordon Reid, of a parachute regiment, who has been killed in action, has received the following letter from the officer commanding the regiment. He writes:-
I would like to add the most sincere sympathy, both of my battalion and of myself, to the many expressions of sympathy you must have received on your recent tragic loss. Your son died while serving his King and country such as few men have ever been able to serve it before. His was a real man’s death, and I feel sure he would have wished none other. The battalion has put up a splendid performance and the contribution of your son will most certainly never be forgotten. He has been buried in the 6th Airborne Division Cemetery at Ranville and a cross, made by his brother soldiers, has been erected over the grave. This will be replaced in due course with a more permanent cross by the War Graves Commission. If there is any further information you would like, or which you think I could give, please do not hesitate to write to me and ask for it.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 12th August 1944:
Mrs E Reid, of Coagh Street, Cookstown, whose youngest son, Private Gordon Reid, aged 19, was killed on active service in July, has received the following letter from Buckingham Palace:-
‘The Queen and I offer you our heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow. We pray that your country’s gratitude for a life so nobly given in its service may bring you some measure of consolation. George, R.I.’
1945
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 7th July 1945:
REID – Fond memory of my youngest son and our dear brother, Paratrooper Gordon Reid, killed in North West Europe on 7th July 1944.
‘His grave is with the British dead
Far over the rolling sea
Where none of all who loved thee here
Can go to weep for thee
Thou who went to so many hearts
Dear as the light of day
Whose sweet voice from our memories
Can never pass away.’
Fondly remembered by mother, brothers, and sister. Coagh Street, Cookstown and Birmingham.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 7th July 1945:
REID – Loving memories of Gordon, killed in North West Europe on 7th July 1944.
He died at his post like a soldier brave
He answered his Captain’s call
He sleeps far away in a hero’s grave
For his country’s cause, he did fall.
Ever remembered by his sister Florrie, brother-in law and little niece Betty. Coagh Street, Cookstown.
1947
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated approximately July 1947:
'Sleep on, dear son, in a far off grave,
A grave we may never see;
But as long as life and memory last,
We will remember thee'
Submitted by his family.
Memorials
Private G Reid is buried at Ranville War Cemetery in Calvados, France. His inscription reads: GONE TO HIS HEAVENLY HOME OF REST, WE MISS HIM MOST WHO LOVED HIM BEST
Gordon Reid is commemorated locally on Cookstown Cenotaph and Molesworth Presbyterian Roll of Honour.
The CWGC record Private Gordon Reid as the son of John and Elizabeth Reid of Cookstown, County Tyrone.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Coagh Street Cookstown Central Newspaper lists family at Coagh Street 54.648514 -6.743186
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 FindAGrave.com Photo of Private Gordon Reid's grave
2 Private Thomas Barker Also involved in the Ranville operation
3 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Private Gordon Reid's grave can be purchased here
4 Wartime NI Details of Grodon Reid and Tot Barker
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2021