TIMMINS, Roy Edward John Willetts

Lieutenant 256841 (9 Airborne) Field Coy. Royal Engineers.

Died Sunday 17th September 1944 (Age) 23

At Rest: Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Gelderland, Netherlands
Grave Ref.: 26. A. 7.


TimminsR Left Jack Giles Centre Unknown Right

Left – Roy Timmins. Centre – Jack Giles. Roy’s boyhood friend Jack Giles also served during WWII as a Lancaster Pilot. (Photograph Courtesy of Jim Giles, son of Jack Giles.)


Roy Timmins (b. 1st Q 1921) was the only son of Mr and Mrs John William Timmins who kept the Portland Arms Hotel, Jacksdale. Roy also had a sister named Yvonne.

Roy first attended the Henry Mellish School in Nottingham, later taking a degree in Mining Surveying at Nottingham University. He served in the survey department of Messrs James Oakes and Co

(Riddings Collieries) Ltd. Even though he was exempt, he volunteered for the Sherwood Foresters at the age of 19 and was to see 4 years military service. He was transferred to Royal Army Ordnance Corps and commissioned in the Royal Engineers, later volunteering as a Paratrooper. He served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy

On 29th October 1943, a local newspaper ran an interesting story about Roy and his fellow school friend, one Lieutenant H Barry Hardwick, also a Sherwood Forester and ex-resident of Jacksdale. (Barry Hardwick was the only son of George Hardwick of Jacksdale and had gained a B.A. at Kings College, London). The two officers were great friends, having both attended the Henry Mellish School. The two officers met up whilst in Italy and the report tells that Lieutenant Timmins, on hearing of his friend’s whereabouts in Italy, travelled 400 miles on a motor cycle in search of him, enquiring at various camps on the way, until he found him. The young officers were only able to spend two hours together but were filled with joy at seeing each other after a year’s separation.

Their connection went beyond friendship, as Lieutenant Hardwick was engaged to Lieutenant Timmins’s sister, Yvonne, who at the time was away from home in Yorkshire.

Later, whilst serving in Italy Roy was injured and was subsequently transferred to the Airborne Division.

Roy was killed at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden, on Sunday 17th September 1944, aged 23. We have been informed that Roy perished in a glider crash.

A local newspaper carried the following report:
“ROLL OF HONOUR” (From Eastwood and Kimberly Advertiser)

We regret to report the death on active service of Lieut. Roy Timmins, only son of Mr. and Mrs. John William Timmins, of the Portland Arms Hotel, Jacksdale. Lieut. Timmins, who was 23 years of age, was one of the Airborne troops engaged at Arnhem, and a telegram received from his Major on Sunday morning intimated that he was killed on 17th September.
At the moment this is the only information received, and the parents are waiting further news from the War Office.
Lieut. Timmins was a former pupil of the Henry Mellish School, Nottingham, and later studied at Nottingham University to become a mining surveyor and, although exempt from military service, volunteered at the age of 19 for the Sherwood Foresters. He had served four years with the Forces.
He was transferred to the Royal Ordnance Corps, commissioned in the Engineers, and later volunteered as a Paratrooper. He had served in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy.
While in Italy he met with an accident which prevented him from carrying out any further Para trooping duties. He later transferred to the Airborne Division, and was over at home about a month ago on a few hours’ leave.

Mr. J. W. Timmins, father of Lieut. Timmins, was in the last war, serving from 1914 to 1920.
In the Sherwood Foresters when he first joined, he later transferred to the Cheshire Regiment, finishing with the rank of Captain. He served three years in France, and was in Egypt and Palestine.”

On the 9th November 1944 at 6.30pm a Memorial Service was held at St Mary’s Church, Westwood and a table within the church is dedicated to his memory.

Roll of Honour in Ironville Christchurch

Barry Hardwick, Roy’s good friend, went on to marry Roy’s sister Yvonne at St, Margaret’s Church, Aspley, Nottingham on September 10th 1945.

Lose your eyes for a moment and think way back
Of the Sunday that Arnhem’s bond should crack
Remember the soldiers, those loyal men all,
Fighting for Arnhem, where many would fall.

Now open your eyes and scan the sky,
Where they came down like birds from on high,
Those red berets, so courageous, without fear,
Who strived for Arnhem and paid so dear.

Lose your eyes once more and remember your gains,
For our bright world they went to great pains,
Let us all realise we’re still free today,
Because they brought us freedom, they pointed the way

Just fold your hands now, for Britons and Poles,
Beneath their white crosses and pray for their souls,
When your prayer is over, keep the memory alight,
Our city still lives because they did us right.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Sam Rubens, Arnhem.

TimminsGrave             TIMMINS R E J W (Resized)
Lieutenant Timmins CWGC grave at
Oosterbeek (Photograph 2008 – Courtesy Alan Rawson)