Little did he know, that he would later go down in history books as being one of the first Allied soldiers to set foot in occupied France.
Soon after finishing his training, Jim realised he wanted to change paths. So he applied for a transfer to the Royal Air Force. His transfer was aggressively denied by his commanding officer and he’d seemingly waved goodbye to a career in this skies. A while later and he volunteered for the newly formed Glider Pilot’s Regiment.
Many gliders missed their landing zones and some even ended up in the sea. Wallwork however, managed to make his landing zone, where he came under heavy enemy fire.
Wallwork remained in Italy with the 1st Airborne Division until later in the year, when he was recalled to England to begin an intensive training course. He had been chosen as one of only a handful of men to take part in a special mission in the Normandy Landings.
After intense training, Wallwork was released by a Halifax bomber and he became the lead glider in the biggest invasion that the world had ever seen.
After landing almost perfectly, two other gliders landed behind Wallwork, around a minute apart. Despite his near perfect positioning, Wallwork had landed at a higher speed than he had anticipated and was consequently thrown from the front of his aircraft.
Staff Sergeant Wallwork converted to flying the Hamilcar glider shortly after returning from the ill-fated Operation Market Garden. He flew the Hamilcar in Operation Varsity, the Allied operation to land over 15,000 paratroopers and equipment in Germany, towards the end of the war.
As a result, upon leaving the army, Staff Sergeant Jim Wallwork had flown the glider of all four allied airborne operations, in Sicily, Normandy, Arnhem and the Rhine, a claim which is unmatched by any other pilot.
Wallwork emigrated to Canada where he passed away in 2013.
Staff Sergeant James Wallwork, Distinguished Flying Medal, 21st October 1919 – 24th January 2013