Captain John Neil Campbell Denholm, (63451) 1st Battalion, the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), seconded to The Glider Pilot Regiment, Army Air Corps, was the only son of John and Gertrude Denholm of Boatland, Isla Road, Perth and Bo’ness, Linlithgowshire. It was officially reported to his parents that he had been killed in action in North Africa.
John Denholm was educated at Charterhouse from 1928 to 1932 and then went on to Cambridge University. He was married in March of 1943 to Sheila Spiers Alexander from Kensington, London. Denholm was a keen sportsman and as an accomplished skier had frequently visited Switzerland. He joined the army in 1937 and was seconded to the Glider Pilot Regiment to train as a glider pilot. He was in India when war broke out.
Denholm was killed in action on 10 July 1943 when his glider crash-landed near the Porte Grande, Siracusa, Sicily. He was taking part in Operation Ladbroke, a glider landing by British airborne troops that began on 9 July as part of Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily. The objective was to secure the Ponte Grande Bridge and then move on to take control of Syracuse.
On route, 65 gliders were released too early and crashed into the sea and approximately 252 men drowned. Only 87 men, from 12 of the 147 gliders landed in the target area. They made it to the Ponte Grande Bridge, which they successfully captured. They held on beyond the time they were to be relieved, but with their ammunition expended and only 15 men remaining unwounded, they surrendered to the Italian Forces.
Denholm, who was 28 years of age at the time of his death is buried in the Syracuse War Cemetery.
On the North Inch in Perth, by the River Tay stands the obelisk shaped memorial, the Lynedoch Monument which honours the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). They were disbanded in 1968. The memorial is across the river from the houses on Isla Road and Denholm house at Boatlands.
R.A.F. TRAIN ARMY GLIDER PILOTS (CH 7892) Original wartime caption: For story see CH.7880 Two trainees about to take off. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205447867
A.E.A.F. AIR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SEES GLIDER EXERCISE (CH 13026) Original wartime caption: Picture (issued 1944) shows – Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory addressing crews of the Glider Pilot Regiment at midnight – immediately after the close of the exercise. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205452530
THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR: OPERATION HUSKY, SICILY, JULY 1943 (A 17918) Glimpse of the invasion coast as an armoured vehicle was being towed ashore from landing craft during the landings in Sicily at dawn of the opening day of the invasion. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186517
ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, 1939-1943. (CNA 4066) Operation HUSKY: an Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mark I of No. 296 Squadron RAF takes of in the evening light from Goubrine II, Tunisia, during the airborne landings on Sicily; possibly carrying a team from No. 2 Special Air Service on Operation CHESTNUT, (12 July 1943). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209499
ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, 1939-1943. (CNA 4063) Operation HUSKY: Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mark Is of No. 296 Squadron RAF, lined up at Goubrine II, Tunisia, while taking part in the airborne landings on Sicily. Photograph taken from under the wing of a Waco CG-4A glider. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209498
ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, 1939-1943. (CM 6934) Handley Page Halifax A Mark V Series 1 (Special), EB139 ?NN?, of No. 295 Squadron RAF based at Holmesley South, getting airborne from Portreath, Cornwall, towing Airspeed Horsa glider LG723 to Tunisia, during Operation BEGGAR: the transit of Halifax/Horsa glider combinations from the United Kingdom to North Africa by units of No. 38 Wing RAF, in preparation for the invasion of Sicily (Operation HU… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209160
THE CAMPAIGN IN SICILY 1943 (NA 5543) Operation Husky: The Sicily Landings 9 – 10 July 1943: An Airborne Division Horsa glider, after landing off course nose down in a field near Syracuse. Although unsuccessful in achieving their primary objectives, the Airborne forces did cause considerable disruption behind the lines. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205195584
THE CAMPAIGN IN SICILY 1943 (CNA 1002) Planning and Preparations January – July 1943: British airborne troops wait to board an American WACO CG4A glider. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205196142
THE CAMPAIGN IN SICILY 1943 (CNA 1658) Planning and Preparations January – July 1943: Royal Air Force glider pilots and pilots of towing aircraft are briefed before the airborne invasion. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205196139
THE CAMPAIGN IN SICILY 1943 (NAM 38) Planning and Preparations January – July 1943: General Montgomery’s personal message to the troops, issued on the eve of the invasion. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205132715