|Lionel Ernest Queripel [1920-1944]|
formerly of the Royal Sussex Regiment, was Second-in-Command of the 10th
Battalion's A Company. The aircraft in which A Company's commander,
Major Ashworth, had been travelling was shot down south of the Rhine,
and so Queripel assumed command in his absence.
On Tuesday 19th September, 1944, the 10th Battalion's progress along the Amsterdamseweg was halted by a strong German blocking line on the crossroads with the Driejenseweg, and there then followed several hours of an exchanging of gun and mortar fire. A Company were positioned north of the road at this time and were scarcely challenged, but eventually they received an order, sanctified by Brigade HQ, to mount a wide flanking attack at 14:00. This attempt proved fruitless however, and the men encountered a number of tanks supported by German infantry. Captain Queripel urged his men forward into the fray, but they gained little ground and suffered many casualties, in what was to be the last attacking action of the 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem. A Company were split either side of the road, and while under fire, Queripel bravely dashed back and forth across this road to reorganise them. It was on one such dash that he received a painful wound to his face, whilst carrying a wounded sergeant across. However his ability to command did not waver in the slightest, and he personally led an attack on an enemy position, consisting of two machineguns and a captured British anti-tank gun. This position had been responsible for many of their casualties, and all the enemy gunners were killed and the gun was recaptured.
During the evening, as the 4th Para Brigade was trying to transfer its vehicles through a tunnel beneath the railway line, Queripel was given command a composite company consisting of A Company and men from two other battalions, and he was ordered to hold a small finger of woodland, north-east of Wolfheze and less than a quarter of a mile from the tunnel. This was an area that was vital to the defence and it was pressed very hard by the Germans throughout Tuesday night, but the company held it with great valour until early the next morning. By this time the area was being heavily mortared and the defenders came under intense machinegun fire, and Queripel, now wounded in both arms and again in the face, ordered that his men fight with anything they had at their disposal. German troops slowly began to evict the airborne troops. Stick grenades were lobbed into the ditch that Queripel and several others defended, but these were thrown back upon the enemy. Eventually the position could be held no further and Queripel, despite the protestations of his men, ordered them to retreat while he remained behind and covered their exit.
Captain Queripel was last seen defending his ditch with a pistol and a handful of grenades. Mortally wounded, he was captured and died several days later. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
Lionel Ernest Queripel, was born at Winterbourne Monkton in Dorset on July 13, 1920 son of Leslie Herbert and Sybil Queripel. A member of the last term to pass out at Sandhurst at the start of the Second World War, Quiripel joined the 2nd Battalion The Royal Sussex Regiment. He served in the Western Desert and, after the Battle of El Alamein, volunteered for the 10th Battalion The Parachute Regiment. A fellow Officer described him thus: "Determined - rather dour, but with a quiet wit which soon endeared him to all of us, there was no stopping him once he decided to do something." Serving with the 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem, Queripel died in captivity of wounds received. His memorial is in the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery in Holland.