A SOLDIER who survived being shot seven times during the Second World War has died at the age 90. Neville Wildgust, of Lambley, died of heart failure on April 22 at Queen’s Medical Centre. In a single day in 1943, as the Sherwood Foresters fought to retake the town of Sedjenane in northern Tunisia, Mr Wildgust, who was eventually promoted to a captain in his regiment, was shot and wounded seven times.
He suffered his first wound, in the arm, at 8am that day, but fighting was so intense he could not escape the battlefield until 3pm. By then, he had been shot in the face twice, again in the arm, in the abdomen and in both legs. A stretcher-bearer who went to his aid was killed and his sergeant was hit while dressing one of his wounds. Medics at the time thought he was so badly injured that he could never recover and the British Army sent a telegram to his mother informing her that he had been killed in action.
Mr Wildgust, who trained at Sandhurst, was operated on by a leading surgeon at the time, Sir Harold Delf Gillies – who is widely regarded as the founder of plastic surgery. He made an incredible recovery from his wounds and his story was considered so remarkable that the Imperial War Museum asked him to record his memoirs on to tape. Mr Wildgust, who passed his 11-plus exam and went to High Pavement Grammar School, was also a member of the Royal British Legion.
He married Dulcie Watson on March 30, 1945, in Barford, Warwickshire and they had three children – Richard, 66, Patrick, 59, and Tim, 54. After the war, Mr Wildgust worked as a rep for several companies including McDonalds Biscuits. His ashes will be scattered at the Sherwood Foresters war memorial at Crich, Derbyshire. A funeral service will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Lambley, on Tuesday, May 15, at 11am.
Donations should be made to the Royal British Legion…