CSM Edward Dent
Unit : 2nd Parachute Battalion
Service No. : 2616099
Ted Dent was born in Norwich on the 26th August 1919, and was one of eight brothers and sisters. By the age of 17 he was keen to join the Army, so he enlisted in the Grenadier Guards on the 19th July 1937. He saw action in France in 1940 and was evacuated from Dunkirk. Not long after this he was promoted to Sergeant.
A representative of the newly formed Airborne Forces visited his barracks in Windsor and asked for volunteers to go to R.A.F. Ringway in Cheshire. They were offering more money and Ted decided to go, the extra money being an attraction! None of the volunteers knew what was going to be asked of them and so it was that Ted and the others found themselves being instructed in the art of parachuting by the R.A.F. Ted became an Instructor himself, also doing experimental jumps and trying out various types of parachutes. Ted celebrated his 21st birthday at Ringway. The billeting procedure they used for the first recruits, who were drawn from No 2 Commando, was the same as usual - for them - as they used normal civilian homes and paid from an allowance. One of Ted's squad of recruits injured himself and was confined to his billet, so Ted had to go round and deliver his pay. It was in this way that he met Mary, who was to become his wife when they married at St Luke's Church, Benchill, Wythenshaw, on the 14th June 1941.
In November 1941 when they were forming the other two Parachute Battalion's Ted volunteered for the 2nd Battalion. He served with the Parachute Regiment for over twenty years, seeing action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Burma, Palestine, Egypt, Singapore and Cyprus. At one time, between 1942 - 1943, he was the Provost Sergeant, possibly serving in that capacity in North Africa.
On return to the United Kingdom in December 1943 the Battalion was billeted in the Lincolnshire area north of Grantham and Ted took over as C.S.M. of "A" Company based at Easton Hall, just off the A1. Mary relates how Ted would very often send the Company Clerk, Lance-Corporal Peter Badger round to their little cottage with a message with the barked out command, "at the double". Thus Peter Badger would arrive at the front door and deliver the message whilst still doubling on the spot, if Mary told him to stop he would reply, "I can't Mrs Dent, the CSM said double, so I have to double!" [NOTE: Peter Badger was taken prisoner at the end of the fighting at Arnhem Bridge on the 20th September 1944. He survived captivity, but upon his release from the POW camp he died in a tragic accident and is buried at the C.W.G.C. Cemetery at Overloon in Holland.]
In mid-September 1944, Ted was taken ill and admitted to hospital and therefore missed Operation Market-Garden. His place as acting C.S.M. being taken by the Senior Sergeant in the Company, Dennis Meads, who was killed at Arnhem Bridge.
After Arnhem the Battalion moved to Ashwell Camp, Oakham in Leicestershire and Ted had to help with the reformation of the Battalion. This was an arduous and a demanding task. Ted saw none of the men from his company come back and only 16 men of the Battalion of 520 that had left only two weeks before. He had to integrate what was left of the old battalion with the men from the 10th Parachute Battalion (they were being merged with the 2nd Battalion) and the new recruits. He eventually took over as the C.S.M. of "B" Company.
Ted served in the Far East as part of the 5th Parachute Brigade's Defence Company from August to December 1945. The O.C. of the Company was Captain Dennis Rendell, an officer from the original 2nd Parachute Battalion, who had been captured in North Africa and then escaped from his POW camp in Italy.
Company Serjeant Major E.C. Dent. The Parachute Regiment.
The above named Warrant Officer joined The Parachute Regiment when it was first formed and served in the campaigns of North Africa, Sicily and Italy. He has been my C.S.M. for four months, during which time I have found him to be all that could be desired as a personal assistant in the administration of my Company and the application of discipline. He is unswerving in his loyalty and devotion to duty and I feel a personal loss at his leaving my command.
S.E.A.C. (South East Asian Command)
28 December 1945.
Comd. 5 Parachute Bde HQ, Defence Coy.
On return to the U.K. he was posted to the Parachute Regiment Reserve Battalion on the Isle Of Wight. In November 1946, he was part of a draft sent to Palestine. Ted was the CSM of the draft with two Officers, 1 SNCO, 7 L/Cpl's and 80 Other Ranks. He became the CSM of "A" Company, 2nd Battalion upon arrival in Palestine. In November 1947, the Battalion amalgamated with the 3rd Battalion to form the 2nd/3rd Battalion and he returned with them to the U.K. in 1948. He was a member of the 10th (T.A.) Battalion, The Parachute Regiment from 1948 until 17th April 1952. In 1953 he was serving with the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment and as such took part in the Queen's Coronation Parade on the 2nd June 1953. He went on to serve with the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment and retired on the 19th November 1962. He then joined the Ministry Of Defence Police based at Farnborough serving with them for over 20 years. He was a founder member of the Aldershot Parachute Regiment Association Branch and was at one time the Branch Chairman. Ted died, aged 88, in the Phyliss Tuckwell Hospice with his family by his side in June 2008 and his funeral service was held in the Royal Garrison Church, Aldershot on the 16th June 2008.
My thanks to Bob Hilton for this account.
Back to Biographies Menu