O.C., S.A.S. Phantom

What I was trying to tell you that Jakie [Astor], not being contented with the Commandos has now joined the paratroops, and so got a week’s holiday.

Lady Astor, March 1944

Officer Commanding, S.A.S. Phantom. Born 1918. Youngest of the four sons of Waldorf Astor, Second Viscount Astor and Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor. Educated at Eton College & New College, Oxford. Commissioned into the Life Guards, Supplementary Reserve. Joined G.H.Q. Liaison Regiment July 1940. The Squadron that he commanded, trained on commando lines. Personally took part in the Dieppe raid on one of warships. Parachute course 108 at No.1 PTS Ringway March 1944. Report. “Very nervous of heights but jumped extremely well”. Responsible for the communications support for the S.A.S. Brigade. Went to Northern Italy in late 1944 to support GALIA. Later supported jeep operations when the S.A.S. Brigade crossed the Rhine.

Dieppe Raid 19 August 1942

HMS FERNIE (FL 10250) Underway at Spithead, Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205120869

At the end of July I was informed that this Squadron would take part in a forthcoming raid. When the plan had been seen, it was decided to send Capt. Segdwick’s Patrol with No.4 Commando on the right Flank. Lieut. Fane’s Patrol in the centre with the 2 Canadian Brigades: Lieut. Hillerns on the left flank with No.3 Commando. All patrols would work to Lieut. Hutton-Williams in the operations room at Fort Southwick, with myself intercepting all traffic on Force HQ Ship.

          We trained accordingly. Capt. Sedgwick and Lieut. Hillerns joining their respective Commandos on the South Coast for the final week’s training. Lieut. Fane and myself joining our destroyers – “Calpe” and “Fernie” a few hours before sailing. The Colonel joined “Fernie” also. We left out respective ports at 2000 hrs on Tuesday, August 18th, and the convoy formed up of Newhaven. The fleet Sweepers had gone on to sweep and flag the way through the minefields.

          At 0430 hrs we were about a mile off Dieppe with the Assault Craft heading for the land. I noticed considerable tracer fire from the shore on the left flank, which later proved to be No.3 Commando who had run into surface craft and got dispersed at sea, only some 20 men managed to land. At about 0445 hrs it began to get light and we heard our bombers flying into Dieppe and bombing the beaches. At 0450 hrs the assault went in and hell was let loose.

          Five destroyers started bombarding the town with their 4 inch guns. Spitfires could be seen overhead. Smoke was laid around the ships which stood off about 1 mile from Dieppe. I waited for patrols with the Commandos to come on the air. Capt. Sedgwick’s patrol came up first and reported his arrival and the imminent assault on their objective, he was also in touch with Portsmouth. He reported the objective demolished with all Germans killed, and their withdrawal. The Commando went straight home their task accomplished.

          Meanwhile we had heard nothing from Lieut. Hillerns with No.3 Commando. I enquired from the GI on board if any news had reached him: he informed me that they had not landed and I was not to expect them to. I then sent a message to “Fernie” and was informed Lieut. Fane was waiting for 4 Bde to land before he could get in. I was then informed Lieut. Fane had left for RED BEACH in the centre of the front. RED BEACH was believed to be in our hands. I then discovered that the Canadian Bdes, Marines and HMS Locoust whose intention it was to enter and destroy the harbour, had been unable to do this. The main beaches were still under enemy artillery fire and the withdrawal order had just been given. I listened for Lieut. Fane but heard nothing. It transpired his craft was hit on approaching the beach and he was unable to land.

          By now the situation was acute as on the two main beaches, the craft going in to take our troops off met such heavy fire that they were unable to beach. One then heard that the enemy had advanced onto the beaches and captured the Canadians who were waiting to re-embark. However the right hand beach was clear and was successfully evacuated. I now had no Patrols on land or likely to land. I had been continuously evacuated. I now had no Patrols on land or likely to land. I had been continuously in touch with Portsmouth. I informed them that all patrols were off the air and the GI’s instructions were to pass no situation report as the position was too obscure. Meanwhile there was continuous bombing and shelling from the dive bombers and enemy gun positions which had not been destroyed. We had been straffed once by a FW 190 and suffered casualties and a near miss from a bomb had shattered some of the mast. We had been taking casualties aboard who now amounted to 306.

          All possible personnel had now been re-embarked and we approached Dieppe and bombarded. We then set off for home in the rear of the convoy. I was about to inform Portsmouth of this when we were bombed and my set wrecked. We had been holed and reduced speed to 7 knots. However the damage proved less serious than we thought and we caught up the convoy.

          The convoy proceeded towards Newhaven whence some of it went along to Portsmouth. A few enemy bombers attacked us but to no avail. It was now about 1400 hrs.

          We reached Portsmouth at Midnight [TNA WO 215/20].

Commander-in-Chief Inspection

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOME FORCES INSPECTS LIASON REGIMENT (H 24942) Original wartime caption: Men of the Liaison Regiment parade before the C-in-C A question is being asked by the C-in-C regarding the Tommy gun. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205497322
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOME FORCES INSPECTS LIASON REGIMENT (H 24943) Original wartime caption: The C-in-C inspects one of the men of the Liasion Regiment who is carrying full equipment. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205497323
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOME FORCES INSPECTS LIASON REGIMENT (H 24944) Original wartime caption: With keen interest the C-in-C watches men demonstrate in the field. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205497324
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF HOME FORCES INSPECTS LIASON REGIMENT (H 24945) Original wartime caption: With keen interest the C-in-C watches men demonstrate in the field. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205497325

‘F’ Squadron, G.H.Q. Liaison Regiment

This is the transcript of War Diary of Maj. Hon. J.J. Astor Squadron between June 1943 and April 1945.

June 1943.

SPELDHURST

1-31           The sqn was stationed during the whole months in 12 Corps at SPELHURST. There were, during this period no 12 Corps exercises in which the sqn could profitable be employed so the period was devoted to revision of basic wireless, MT and physical trg. Numerous sqn WT schemes enabled the operators to keep in practice and gain experience in wireless technique. Coding classes were held for the benefit of the cipher per. The sqn’s mobility was preserved by constant maint in spite of the age of most of its vehs. Particular attention was paid to physical fitness by means of plenty of outdoor exercise.

                   It was noticeable that trg was hindered by a scarcity of offrs and eqpt as a result of the recent splt to form the Assault Det.

28               J Sqn was renamed F Sqn.

July 1943.

SPELDHURST

1                 Sqn str: Sqn HQ, 6 patrols; 60 ORs.

1-31           Routine trg in WT, MT, coding, and the maintenance of physical fitness were continued on the same lines as in June. F Sqn offrs attended a 12 Corps RA shoot on SALISBURY PLAIN during the month.

August 1943.

SPELDHURST

1-31           The basic trg which had been carried out during June and July was continued during August. The whole sqn, in relays was granted, and doubtless enjoyed, its privilege leave. These three months of settled life have been valuable to all ranks as a time when any problems arising in their respective jobs could be threshed out at leisure; all have gained in the knowledge of detail which cannot be acquired in times when a sqn is constantly engaged in operational trg.

September 1943.

LARGS, Scotland

1/3    Move to LARGS, Scotland.

                   Sqn HQ established HILL HOTEL, LARGS

4/22    Sqn Training (Field firing – route marches  – cross country marches – maintenance)

                   REMARKS: To be att to 1 Corps (the assault  corps) consisting of 3 Div, 49 Div and 33 A Tk Bde.

                   It was envisaged that F Sqn would work with 1 Corps in a semi-dismounted role. Trg was organised with object in view.

23/27         Exercise WASHINGTON

28/29         Exercise CONTACT           

                   Sqn exercises. These exercises involved   short marches and long range WT.                                

October 1943.

LARGS

1-3             Sqn Trg (Battle range with live amn-maintenance)

REMARKS: Fire and movement was practiced by patrols.

3-5             Exercise BRIDGEHEAD

REMARKS: 1 Patrol with div HQ worked a range of 80 miles satisfactorily.

6-10  Sqn trg (battle range)

11               Adv party to L Sqn billets at DOLLAR, PERTH.

12-16         Sqn trg (incl exercise OVERCOAT with objects

                   1.WT short and long range;

                   2.coding;

                   3.maintenance in the field.

17               Sqn move to DOLLAR.

DOLLAR

18-26         First leave party of half F Sqn proceeded on leave.

                   Remaining personnel individual trg incl weapons – gas route marches.

26 Oct-3 Nov

                   Second leave party of remainder of F Sqn proceeded on leave.

                   Remainder and returning personnel as above.          

November 1943.

DOLLAR

1-5             Individual trg under RSM.

LARGS     

6                 Sqn moved to HILLS HOTEL, LARGS.

8-22           Sqn trg (incl I trg – WT courses – maintenance -veh trade testingfor selected personnel and dvr ops tests.

                   REMARKS: Visit by Capt. WRIGHTSON.

LARGS-

DONCASTER-

CARLISLE-

RICHMOND

23-25         Sqn move to regt HQ.

Under comd 1 Corps convoy took 3 days to reach RICHMOND.

RICHMOND

26-30         Sqn trg and refit

December 1943.

RICHMOND

1-10           OTC trg at INVERARY for personnel selected on basis of 1 offr and 2 OR from each patrol and sqn HQ.

1-5             Remainder of sqn maintenance and refit in RICHMOND.

FRIMLEY

6                 Sqn move from regt HQ to TONLINSCOT, FRIMLEY.

                   REMARKS: In now 1 Corps area.

7-12           Sqn trg (maintenance -PT -WT and weapon trg).

13-18         Sqn J tp proceeded on J course at regt HQ.

13               Sqn med and dental inspection.

14-21         Maintenance – trade tests for selected personnel -refit.

                   REMARKS: During this period mob stores were drawn from regt HQ.

24               Sqn practice turnout.

25-31         Sqn trg (incl patrol cooks course under cpl cook and veh mech course for selected personnel.

January 1944.

Frimley

1-2    Squadron training (maintenance PT weapon                     training

3-5              Sqn Exercise Primus object short range WT           and coding

7/12 Sqn Exercise Secundus object long                                    range WT coding and maintenance in the                            field

16-22         Officer intelligence course at Regiment HQ

16-19         J Troop Exercise Tertitus object movement by day and night long range WT and maintenance in the field

20-22         mines course for Sqn by Major Light HQ Sqn

23               Billet cleaning in preparation for leave

24 Jan to 3 Feb  

                   Sqn on leave

February 1944.

Frimley

1-10          

The Squadron was at FRIMLEY, Surrey, carrying on Routine W/T training, while 21 Army Group decided whether it was to stay under Command 1 Corps for Assault work.             

10-29         Squadron went to Yorkshire and took part in Ex. EAGLE. Squadron HQ was at 2 Corps HQ with Patrols deployed at Bde HQs. During Exercise the “J” Section worked on the nets of 9th Armd Div. The Exercise was not realistic as 2 Corps’ part in the Exercise had been planned previously down to the smallest detail and on a rigid timed programme. However, the squadron did useful W/T and Coding training. During the Exercise the Squadron was asked to volunteer in toto for parachuting; it transpired that our role with 1 Corps had ceased and our new role was to improvise as a Bde. Sigs Section to Special Air Service Bde. 83 % of the Squadron volunteered. The Squadron returned to Frimley at the end of the month and took 48 hours leave

March 1944.

AUCHENLEK

1-10           The Sqn is depleted by 3 officer and 29 Ors who went to A Sqn. The Squadron moved to Auchenleck, Dumfriesshire, where it came under command SAS Brigade.

12-19         All ranks that were passed fit for jumping numbering 37 did a strenuous weeks PT and Marching under a Para PT Instructor. The remainder maintained vehicles and clean the billet.

19-29         All jumpers did the full para course at RINGWAY of 8 jumps 11 Other ranks dropped out during the course 2 through fractures 1 through sprains 8 through fear. Thus we emerged from RINGWAY with 26 jumpers This was a high percentage of failures due to comparatively soft physical condition the Squadron was in compared to normal Infantry paratroops.

29-31         All Squadron on leave

I cannot over emphasize the chaotic condition under which the Squadron is at present working. Apparently this Bde was informed that we could do the work of a Bde Sig Section.  Thus at the moment I am trying to (a) run a Bde Sig office (b) train 4 parachute patrols of my own (c) instruct 5 regts in wireless and cipher (d) man a W/T link between an aerodrome and training dropping zones (e) Man 3 Base Bde sets on daily W/T Exercises to Regts

I am on no establishment or G 1098 and the Bde is short of some 200 W/T sets, crystals, and operators. If this had been organised on a sound basis 6 months earlier the work would be both feasible, interesting and very exciting.

April 1944.

AUCHINLECK 

The Squadron completed it privilege leave on April 9th., this leave being jumping leave. For the rest of the Month, We worked daily W/T schedules to all SAS Regts, 12 hours each day, except SUNDAYS; This was hard work for all Operators and Coders, as the methods of sending morse and coding varied with the Regts.

During this month we did one confidence drop with a JEDBURGH set and worked a

schedule from the DZ. This was successful.

All French and Belgian operators were entertained by SHQ; conversation was limited but it proved very successful as our Allied operators were less temperamental after meeting my operators.

Two Patrols lived and trained with 1 SAS; two Patrols with 2 SAS. Their training consisted of long marches, living out and W/T.

May 1944.

1-15           Squadron moved to York for a long range W/T exercise to SAS Regts in Scotland. The exercise was a failure as the frequencies allotted were unsuitable for the distance.

Captain Hislop’s patrol carried out a successful W/T Exercise with 2 SAS over a distance of 200 miles This was the first try of W/T and resupply. The resupply aircraft dropped containers at night on the exact location ordered and at the exact time.

15-25         Squadron HQ maintained and checked over all sets Patrols were deployed as follows: Capt. Hislop and Lt Johnsen to 2 SAS Lt Moore to 1 SAS Capt. Sadoine in reserve at Sqn HQ.

I made out a Bde Signal Order to cover some 330 out stations on completion of same 21 Army Group changed changed our code signs and the whole thing had to be done again. Capt. [George] Rowland RC Sigs aided me with this task

Moor Park

Sqn HQ moved to Airborne HQ at Moor Park and set up. A Squadron dump for re-supply was set up at Fairford. A small detachment was left in Scotland under Capt Rowland to continue training SAS personnel there. Capt. Sadoine and Lt Moore were sent to SAS Transit camp in Fairford to be under command of 1 SAS. Capt. Hislop and Lt Johnsen remained in Scotland under 2 SAS.

SHQ’s time was spent in drawing and instructing on S phones which were issued to SAS Bde on May 29th

Capt. Fraser in conjunction with the BBC ran an announcers Course in London with English and French personnel; he organised a BBC 100 Kilowatt Transmitter at Sqn HQ.

June 1944.

1-6             By June 6th Sqn HQ was established at Airborne Forces HQ Moor Park Middlesex. Six W/T Channels were opened – one to each SAS Regt and one Emergency. In addition we had six hours a day of the BBC Foreign Transmitter this time was divided equally among the SAS Regts with three periods where general news was transmitted in English and French.

DRLS services between Airborne Tps HQ SFHQ COHQ and SAS Dump were established

A Sqn re-supply dump for w/t equipment was established at the SAS Dump Fairford Gloucestershire

Two patrols were standing by for operations in SAS Transit Camp.

Two patrols were with 2 SAS in Scotland

7-30           Sqn HQ worked aprox 10 out stations passing approx 50 messages a day including most of the traffic for the FFI in Brittany.

Two patrols remained with 2 SAS in Scotland

8-30           Lt Moore’s patrol was dropped with 1 SAS Regt 25 miles NW of Autun in the Morvain Mts. He established and maintained excellent W/T contact; he helped form a Main Base there; he was re-supplied successfully and passed back valuable bomber targets.

11-30         Capt. Sadoine’s patrol was dropped with 1 SAS Regt 70 SE of POITERS in HAUTE VIENNE; he established and maintained excellent W/T contact and formed a subsidiary Base; he has successfully re-supplied during June; he passed back many Bomber targets, which were bombed including 11 petrol trains.

July 1944.

England

1-31           Sqn HQ working at Airborne Forces HQ passed on average 65 messages per day to approx 15 stations behind the enemy lines in France

France

1-31           Capt. Sadoine patrol remained in HAUTE VIENNE his base was used when the main 1 SAS Base in that area was dispersed by Germans. He was successfully resupplied; his W/T Contact was constant

1-31           Lt Moore patrol remained in the Morvain Mountains where it was the main 1 SAS Base in that area. His W/T contact was constant; he was successfully re-supplied.

8-31           Lt Randall with 1 SAS was dropped North of Le Mans where he passed back much valuable information on enemy troop movements, behind the then static bridgehead. He was successfully re-supplied.

August 1944.

England

1-31           Squadron HQ working at Airborne Forces HQ was in contact continually with 24 SAS parties behind enemy lines; an average of 75 messages a day was passed.

France

1-7             Capt. Sadoine’s patrol continued as before. On August 7, they were exfiltrated with 1 SAS by Hudsons which landed at night on an improvised landing strip.

France

1-31           Lt Moore patrol continued the same work in Morvan Mountains with constant success.

France

1-15           Lt Randall continued sending valuable information until he was over-run by the US Army. He then returned to England

France

3-18           Lt Johnsen patrol was dropped SE of RENNES with 2 SAS After passing back some information he was over-run by the US Army after 48 hours and returned to England. This Operation was badly planned and incompletely carried out by SAS Bde and 2 SAS respectively. Lt. Johnsen’s W/T worked well

France

13-31         Capt. Hislop’s patrol was dropped in VOSGES with 2 SAS he established W/T contact but had to destroy his sets after three days as enemy activity in that area was intensive the only news from him came through an SF Set somewhere in that area.

France

27-31         Lt. McDevitt’s patrol was dropped alone NE of Paris he passed back valuable information on enemy movement W/T contact was constant

France

31               Lt Johnsen’s patrol was dropped with 2 SAS in VOSGES to find the 2 SAS party that Capt. Hislop accompanied and to reinforce the area. In my opinion this was a foolish operation, as already 2 W/T teams and SAS parties had been un-successfully dropped in that area. 2 SAS seemed determined to re-inforce their previous failure in this area, instead of exploiting their successes in the area South of the LOIRE.

September 1944.

Moor Park

1-30           Sqn HQ continued at Moor Park. We worked 25 out stations located from Vannes in Brittany to Dijon area in central France and the Belgian Ardennes.

Sqn HQ Offs visited France and Belgium in the capacity of Liaison officers

France

1-9             Lt Moore’s patrol continued working NE of PARIS until over-run by US Army when he came in reserve at 21 Army Group at Amiens

Lt Johnsen established good W/T contact from VOSGES he located Capt. Hislop whose patrol was re-supplied with W/T equipment Intense enemy activity in that area limited W/T traffic.

7                 Lt Randall went to MONTARGIS by Jeep where he established a W/T link for 1 SAS

7-13           The two patrols under Capt Hislop and Lt Johnsen continued operations in the VOSGES Mountains (Operation Loyton)

Conditions in the VOSGES were extremely severe. The American Third and Seventh Armies had been unable to advance as far and as fast as had been previously hoped. The Germans reinforced in strength a line WEST of the VOSGES. German reprisals on pro-allied civilians in the VOSGES increased in ferocity. The weather was cold and wet.

Re-supply to Loyton was unsatisfactory and hazardous the main reasons for this were the mountains and the thickly wooded terrain which did not allow for large Dropping Zones and prevented low and accurate dropping by the RAF.

The so called MAQUIS in the area were low in morale small in numbers and inadequately armed they were not considered [by] the SAS to be in any way reliable

The SAS party in LOYTON was reinforced from 10 to approx 85 all ranks their work was curtailed by the proximity and strength of the enemy; a large proportion of their time was spent in evading detection and capture.

The Phantom patrols managed to keep regular W/T contact and in addition to passing all re-supply traffic they passed valuable bombing target on which successful action was taken by the RAF.

The Phantom patrols under the command of Capt Moore and Lt McDevitt recuperated in England having completed their operations.

14-30         It was decided to evacuate the LOYTON area the two Phantom patrols were exfiltrated through the German lines and flown back to England with some 50 SAS personnel who managed to get out.

While crossing the German lines the Phantom patrols lost two Other Ranks [Bannerman & Johnson] while Lt [Peter] Johnsen was wounded in two places but managed to make the American lines The two ORs were seen to fall having been fired on at close range they have since been reported Missing and Wounded presumed dead.

In addition a Phantom Sjt [Gerald Davis] had previously disappeared after a partially successful German ambush had scattered an SAS party

October 1944.

England    

1-31  SAS activity this month was slight.

Sqn HQ continued to work Belgian parties behind the lines in Holland. Phantom patrols were re-grouped and re-equipped.

SAS Bde HQ and “F” Sqn moved to Essex to be close to 38 Group RAF.

Sqn HQ was re-organised and re-quipped to perform the following duties:

(a) Man 8 WT Channels with operators and coders

(b) Provide 2 Phantom Patrols to operate with British SAS Regts

(c) Provide a Phantom Detachment at French SAS HQ in France.

(d)Run the SAS Broadcast

(e)Provide W/T attachments at 21 Army Group and SHAEF

It was thought that British SAS Regts would operate in Northern Europe, Holland and Italy; the Belgian Bn in Holland; French SAS Regts in Eastern France and Germany.

This involved longer WT ranges; SAS parties scattered all over Europe; an increase in the number of SAS Liaison Officers who would need their own communications; and an increase of “Emergency Channels”; hence the increase to 8 SAS W/T Channels with a total of some 32 out-stations.

November 1944.

England

1-30 Sqn HQ continued to work the operational parties in Holland, a Sqn of 1st SAS operating in Belgium, French SAS HQ at EPERNAY, SHAEF and 21 Army Group, in addition to the various SAS Liaison Officers who moved, as in the hymn, in a mysterious way around Europe.

Two Operational Patrols, under Capt. Moore and Lt McDevitt trained in fitness, marching and wireless.

Capt. Hislop was passed unfit for operations for six weeks and took Lt McDevitt’s place in Sqn HQ.

Lieut. Johnsen remained in Hospital.

France       

1-30  Capt. Sadoine and a small detachment established himself at French SAS HQ in EPERNAY. He assisted in training new French WT Operators, advised the French planners on communications, and kept Sqn HQ informed about probable French operations.

December 1944.

England

                   Squadron HQ continued to man W/T Base Stations working to FRANCE, BELGIUM and HOLLAND. Patrols stood by to go on an operation in France with 1 SAS: this operation was cancelled.

France       

                   A small PHANTOM detachment under Capt. J Sadoine continued to work with French SAS HQ at EPERNAY. French SAS were mostly training: however a Squadron of them were operational in Jeeps in the LUXEMBOURG area.

ITALY      

                   A detachment from 2 SAS flew to ITALY for an Operation [GALIA] in NW ITALY. I accompanied them to BARI and laid on their communications for the operation, under the Special Forces Signals organisation at MOLA.

January 1945.

England    

Squadron HQ continued as in December, with small detachments at SHAEF, 21 ARMY GROUP and EPERNEY. The patrols trained on JEEPS and marching – at present it is not certain what their next tasks will be. They also worked some base sets at Squadron HQ.

                   Capt. Moore was awarded the Military Cross for work in FRANCE with 1 SAS. Capt. Moore and Lieut. Johnsen went by Jeep to Vosges area to try and discover news of the patrol OR’s who were lost there in the summer of 1944.

                   Towards the end of the month SAS plans increased: plans for JEEPING, Parachuting, work as Regts and work as small parties were prepared. This involved considerable Signal planning, none of the plans matured into an operation.

February 1945

UK             Sqn HQ continued in Essex.

Capt. Moore and Lt. Johnsen went to the Vosges in search of missing personnel; the grave of one of our men was found.

Capt. Sadoine continued with HQ French SAS       at EPERNAY.

Major Astor visited 21 Army Group for various planning conferences.

On the whole SAS Activities were very little, other than planning.

Had First British Airborne Corps ever genuinely intended to give SAS Bde a Signal Section, this would have been the time to replace this Squadron with a Section.

Five of Sqn HQ completed a Parachute          Course at Ringway.

March 1945.

Essex UK

1-30           Sqn HQ remained at SAS Tps HQ and continued to work Phantom and SAS Outstations in BLA. Sqn dets of 3 ORs were at Army Gp 2 Brit Army and Cdn Army, in addition to Sqn patrols, which are dealt with below.

GERMANY

River Rhine

Area

20-30         Capt. Moore’s patrol, reinforced by some SAS Bde Sig Section personnel went on operation Archway, to provide a Rear Link to UK and organise the internal comms of the SAS force on this operation.

                   Lt. Col Franks DSO, MC, 2 SAS, command one 1 SAS Sqn and 1 2 SAS Sqn on this operation. SAS Force under comd 2 Brit Army, crossed the River Rhine in Jeeps and in the early stages of the bridge-head, worked with 6 Brit Airborne Div. Their internal comms on 76 and 22 sets and their rear link to UK worked satisfactorily.

Essex UK

20-30         Lt MacDevitt remained as Signal Officer to Col Prendergast DSO, who comd the French SAS Regts.       

Capt. Johnsen’s patrol reinforced by Big Sigs Section personnel, prepared for a jeeping operation under Lt Col Mayne DSO on the same lines as Archway.

April 1945.

Essex UK

1-30           Sqn HQ remained at SAS Tps HQ, working Phantom and SAS outstations in BLA as in March.

Holland    

5                 SAS TAC Bde HQ was formed at Cdn Army HQ. Major Radmore SAS Bde Sigs Officer organised comns there, with 3 Bde Sigs personnel and 6 Phantom personnel from SHQ. These numbers were later increased to a total of approx 15.

Germany

1-30           Capt. Moore remained with Archway SAS Force doing the same work. This Force advanced from the Rhine to the Elbe working with 6 Brit Airborne Div, 11 Hussars and Inns of Court Regt.

Holland

7-15           Two French SAS Regts were dropped in North Holland. Eight WT terminals were dropped; all of these were manned by French Ops; these terminals worked to SHQ in UK while Cdn Army intercepted. After initial difficulties at SAS TAC Bde HQ with Cdn Army HQ this worked well. Seven out of eight French terminals came up. Lt MacDevitt accompanied SAS Jeeps that over-ran French SAS Regts.

North Holland and North Germany

6-30           Capt. Johnsen’s patrol, reinforced by SAS Sigs Section personnel went on operation Howard to provide a Rear Link to UK and Cdn Army and to organise the internal comns within the SAS Force. Lt Col Mayne DSO commanded two Sqns of 1 SAS mounted in Jeeps. They came under comd Cdn Army and after crossing the Rhine, worked with the 4 Cdn Armd Div in N Holland and NW Germany. Comns were satisfactory.

NW Holland & Germany

6-30           The Belgian SAS Regts in Jeeps under comd Cdn Army worked in North Holland and NW Germany with the Polish Armd Div and later with the 4 Cdn Armd Div Capt. Donnelly accompanied them and organised their rear links to UK and Cdn Army in addition to their internal comns.

Holland

10-15         A small 2 SAS force was dropped south of Zuyder Zee, in conjunction with 12 2 SAS Jeeps that broke out of the Cdn Army bridgehead across the Wesel and joined up with the paratroops. This operation known as KEYSTONE, worked two rear links to UK. No Phantom personnel went on this operation.

GENERAL

Brig MacLeod has been succeeded by Brig Calvert DSO as Commander SAS Troops. After initial misunderstanding of SAS communications set up, Brig Calvert has appreciated, correctly, that a Phantom Squadron, reinforced by a weak under strength Brigade Signals Section, cannot compete satisfactorily with 5 SAS Regts: these Regiments are working all over Europe, based on UK, and using many different sets over distances varying from 5 to 400 miles. However as enemy resistance in Europe appears to be finishing, it has been decided to continue with the existing set up until the war in Europe is over.

Dictated to me by Major J.J. Astor

30 Apr 45 John Bingham Capt