The only man shot by a DEAD German dies

Raymond Rayner, a World War Two veteran, who was shot by a German who had already died, has himself died at the age of 95.

Raymond joined the Territorial Army in 1935 at the age of just 16 years old. When the war broke out in 1939, Raymond was called up along with thousands of other soldiers.

Raymond was made a Lance Sergeant as part of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, commanded by Major John Howard.

Along with his 181-strong company, Raymond took part in the Coup-de-Main operation. Their aim was to take and hold the Pegasus Bridge, over the Caen Canal in northern France. The canal is just down from the town of Ouistreham.

They secured the bridge and the area along with other British troops and managed to hold the bridge against enemy attack.

Every year, Raymond would return to Pegasus Bridge to lay a single rose at a nearby cemetery, where his friend and fellow soldier died during the operation – Sargent Pete Barwick.

During his tour of duty, Raymond was shot by a German soldier who had been shot dead, but his finger caught the trigger and sent a bullet straight into Raymond’s arm.

Raymond carried on fighting for another six hours before seeking medical attention for his wound.

Eric Kester from Raymond’s local Royal British Legion said that he had known Raymond for almost 50 years and that he was a well-known character around his home town of Aylesbury.

Even when Raymond was in the hospital being treated just before he died, he told his daughter that he’d had a dream that he was marching over Pegasus Bridge. Raymond died at Stoke Mandeville Hospital at the beginning of April, The Bucks Herald reports.

Hundreds of people attended Raymond’s funeral to honour and commemorate the World War Two hero. His funeral took place at St Mary’s Church in Aylesbury.

Raymond was born in Aylesbury, and lived and worked in the area all of his life.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE