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Special Operations Executive in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Special Operations Executive




    3rd September 1940 Operations

    1st Nov 1941 Aircraft Lost


    If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.



    Those known to have served with

    Special Operations Executive

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

    • Bradley William. Sgt. (d.31st August 1944)
    • Brown William Wallace. F/O (d.31st August 1944)
    • Button Harold Victor. Sgt. (d.12th Oct 1944)
    • Bégué Georges.
    • Careless Alfred. Capt. (d.20th Oct 1943)
    • Careless Alfred. Captain (d.20th October 1943)
    • Cloutier Joseph Darie Louis. F/O (d.15th September 1943)
    • Dove A. S.. Sgt.
    • Fuke Harry. Cpl.
    • Gay Leonard Charles. Sgt. (d.15th September 1943)
    • Goss James. W/S/Sgt.
    • Green Frederick George. Flt.Sgt. (d.27th Sep 1942)
    • Hart Edward Chichester. F/O. (d.15th Sep 1943)
    • Johannessen Poul Herman Johannes. 2nd Lt. (d.5th September 1942)
    • Layzell Gordon Edward. Maj. (d.2nd Feb 1944)
    • MacDuff Robert Denver. F/O (d.31st August 1944)
    • Martin-Leake Stephen Philip. Major (d.7th June 1944)
    • Mudge William Henry. Sgt. (d.15th September 1943)
    • Nearne Nancy.
    • Nicholls Arthur Frederick Crane. Brig. (d.11th Feb 1944)
    • Norie Kenneth Ross. Sgt. (d.15th September 1943)
    • Parramore Eric George. Capt.
    • Pearson Frederick. F/Sgt. (d.31st August 1944)
    • Roberts Sydney George. Cpl. (d.22nd Dec 1943)
    • Rockingham David William. Sig. (d.20th Oct 1943)
    • Sayles Francis. F/O (d.31st August 1944)
    • Smith John Bonsall. F/Sgt. (d.31st August 1944)
    • Smith Sidney John. Sgt. (d.15th September 1943)
    • Taylor Charles Richard.
    • Tuyl Daphne Joan.
    • Vieuxbled Jacques Robert. Cmdr.
    • Wake Nancy.
    • Windsor Kenneth Charles. Sgt. (d.15th September 1943)
    • Zygmuntowicz Ryszard. F/O (d.21st April 1942)

    The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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    Daphne Joan Tuyl British Underground

    My Mother, Daphne Joan Tuyl, organised the first British underground in Algiers and used to visit the prisoners at Laghouat to obtain information which she passed on to the secret service. She was ideally suited as her father was chaplain to the Fleet before the war and his widow, my grandmother, lived in Algiers. My mother's husband at this time was a Dutch national who before the war farmed a small oasis with my mother called Cora near Biskra in the desert. When war started, although a pacifist, he went back to fight for his country. My mother moved into her mother's apartment with my two brothers where she was approached by the British Consul to collect information. I also have a set of colour prints of drawings done by one of the inmates. She was awarded the King George the Fifth Medal for Courage and the Médaille de la France libérée.

    Alexandra Curley



    Charles Richard Taylor Special Operations Executive

    My father was posted to a unit in 1942 at Beaulieu. On his records are just the units intials STS. I'm trying to find out what this means and what this unit did, and his part in it. On his records there is just a box with a big C for the years 42 to 45. I was hoping someone might have a clue what this unit was.

    Editor's Note: The highly secretive Special Operations Executive was based at Beaulieu STS. The country estate was used for training spies before they were deployed behind enemy lines. Their work was top secret hence the C (classified) on your father's records.

    Keith Taylor



    Cmdr. Jacques Robert "James Stephens" Vieuxbled HMS Fidelity

    My Father served on board HMS Fidelity in around 1941 based in and around Barry Docks in South Wales but was not on the ship when it was sunk.

    He had to change his name on board as most of the French had to. The name he took was James Stephens which was the name on his Marriage Certificate to my Mother Lyne or Lena. We don`t know his real name but most people called him Jacques. They divorced sometime later still not knowing his real name. Some years back I traced a friend, Rene, who served with him but he did not know his French name either.

    My father was a sick berth Petty Officer. I have tried the Naval authorities Merchant Navy & French Navy to no avail they all said without his real name it's virtually impossible. Someone told me about this site and here I am writing this in the hope someone may just know something. I do have some of his wedding photographs but that's about it. I recently tried the Museum in Caens but as of yet nothing. So will keep my fingers crossed.

    Update:

    I sent details to this website relating to my father about 10 years ago asking if anyone recognized him from the wedding photo as I did not know his real name at that time, nothing happened so after 50 years of looking for him I gave up!

    Last year, 2012, unbeknown to me a brother was researching his father who was aboard HMS Fidelity came upon my email from ten years ago and suddenly thought who is this man looking for my father, he took the name from my email and googled it and lo and behold he found me in Sydney Australia and I now have a brother 2 sisters and a family of 80 all over France and of course found all the details of my father who after he disembarked Fidelty went into s.o.e then into underwater chariots then into commanding midget submarines till the end of the war, he then went back to France and married again and became harbour master in Madagascar where he was unfortunately killed saving a comrade in a shipping collision in 1959 he was awarded the congressional medal of honour for bravery.

    His name was changed as were all aboard Fidelity to James Stephens and at the end of the war he reverted back to his real name which was Jacques Robert Vieuxbled. His son ( my new brother) joined the French navy as a 16year old and has just retired after 45 years rising to commander of destroyers and attack vessels also being awarded the congressional medal of honour for bravery in the gulf war.

    So I would like to say a massive thank you to The Wartime Memories Project as without your site this would not have happened. Once again my congratulation for everything that you do.

    Jaques Renay



    Nancy Wake

    S. Flynn



    Nancy Nearne

    S. Flynn



    Capt. Eric George Parramore Special Operations Executive

    My grandfather, Eric George Parramore, (born: 24 June 1918) passed away a year before I was born on 24 June 1981. My grandfather flew as a captain on the AVRO Lancaster bomber and he was an operative with the SOE from 1939 until 1946.

    After the war my grandfather moved to the Netherlands and he worked as an adviser for the Royal Netherlands Airforce, Hawker Hunter and Plessey/ Fokker. My grandfather spoke very little about the war to my father or his siblings and, therefore, almost nothing is known about my grandfather during his time in World War 2. I cannot find much about him on the internet, except for some records which have been opened last year in the National Archives in Kew: Collection: Records of Special Operations Executive, Date range: 01 January 1939 - 31 December 1946, Reference: HS 9/1148/9 Subjects: Intelligence

    The reason I posted the information above, is that there might be still some people who knew my grandfather, or perhaps even have been a crew member during his RAF period. As I am still searching for some more information, I would also be very happy if someone could point me in a direction (such as archives) where I might find out some more. It would mean a lot to me. Thank you very much in advance.

    James Parramore



    Capt. Alfred Careless Special Operations Executive (d.20th Oct 1943)

    Alfred Careless was born in Jarrow in 1913. He was the son of Thomas and Jane Careless (nee Lesner) of Jarrow, and husband of Nora Patricia Careless (nee Hunter) of Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield.

    Alfred is buried in Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery, Albania.

    Vin Mullen



    Cpl. Harry Fuke 7th Battalion Leicstershire Regiment

    My Dad, Harry Fuke served with the 7th. Battalion Leicestershire Regiment during WW2. I have recently received his army records from MOD Glasgow. There is very little detail of his service from arriving in India.

    He disembarked in India (Bombay) 24th Oct 1942 from the Capetown Castle troop ship. Posted to (Special Forces Reg.) crossed out and HQ 14th. Infantry Brigade added. His fitness was downgraded to B1/T from A1 on 5th Nov 1943 - I don’t know if this would preclude him from frontline duty?

    Now the strange bit in just one line as written on his record: "Proe. On posting to Force 136 S.O.S. to X (i)." (Record shows he was promoted to Corporal). I have since found out that Force 136 was part of SOE. So I’m now very confused as to where to go from here. My father use to tell me stories of driving trucks behind enemy lines and burying the contents at given map co-ordinates. But he did not pass a truck test until 1945.

    I moved to Australia in 1968 and we never met or spoke again I only have a few memories of things my father spoke of and unfortunately after he died my mother threw all his “war year’s” photo’s and papers away.

    Geoff Fuke



    Flt.Sgt. Frederick George Green 138 Squadron (d.27th Sep 1942)

    Fred Green joined the R.A.F in August 1938. After training as a Wireless Operator he joined 38 Squadron at RAF Marham, he completed two operational tours before being posted to No 11 O.T.U at RAF Bassingbourne. On the 21st April 1942 he started his third tour with No 138 (Special Duty) Squadron based at RAF Tempsford.

    On the 27th September 1942 while carrying out an S.O.E mission (code named Incomparable 1) to Belgium his aircraft which had been damaged by FLAK, crashed in a field in Northern France, sadly Fred and two other crew members, David Harrison Freeland the pilot, and Edmond George Hayhoe C/O pilot were killed in the crash.

    Peter Green



    F/O Francis Sayles DFM 298 Sqdn. (d.31st August 1944)

    Francis Sayles DFM was killed in August 1944 flying a special operation out of Tarrant Rushton. His Halifax V bomber LL343 T-L left Tarrant Rushton at 23.59 hours heading for Belgium on SOE mission "Osric". It is believed that the aircraft was shot down over the English Channel. All the crew were killed and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were: F/O F. Sayles, DFM, Airbomber F/O W.W. Brown, Pilot Sgt W. Bradley, Flt. Engineer F/O R.D. MacDuff, Navigator F/Sgt F. Pearson, Wop/Airgunner F/Sgt J.B. Smith Wop/Airgunner

    Dave Jones



    F/O William Wallace Brown 298 Sqdn. (d.31st August 1944)

    F/O William Brown was killed in August 1944 flying a special operation out of Tarrant Rushton. His Halifax V bomber LL343 T-L left Tarrant Rushton at 23.59 hours heading for Belgium on SOE mission "Osric". It is believed that the aircraft was shot down over the English Channel. All the crew were killed and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were: F/O F. Sayles, DFM, Airbomber F/O W.W. Brown, Pilot Sgt W. Bradley, Flt. Engineer F/O R.D. MacDuff, Navigator F/Sgt F. Pearson, Wop/Airgunner F/Sgt J.B. Smith Wop/Airgunner




    Sgt. William Bradley 298 Sqdn. (d.31st August 1944)

    Sgt. William Bradley was killed in August 1944 flying a special operation out of Tarrant Rushton. His Halifax V bomber LL343 T-L left Tarrant Rushton at 23.59 hours heading for Belgium on SOE mission "Osric". It is believed that the aircraft was shot down over the English Channel. All the crew were killed and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were: F/O F. Sayles, DFM, Airbomber F/O W.W. Brown, Pilot Sgt W. Bradley, Flt. Engineer F/O R.D. MacDuff, Navigator F/Sgt F. Pearson, Wop/Airgunner F/Sgt J.B. Smith Wop/Airgunner




    F/O Robert Denver MacDuff 298 Sqdn. (d.31st August 1944)

    F/O Robert MacDuff was killed in August 1944 flying a special operation out of Tarrant Rushton. His Halifax V bomber LL343 T-L left Tarrant Rushton at 23.59 hours heading for Belgium on SOE mission "Osric". It is believed that the aircraft was shot down over the English Channel. All the crew were killed and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were: F/O F. Sayles, DFM, Airbomber F/O W.W. Brown, Pilot Sgt W. Bradley, Flt. Engineer F/O R.D. MacDuff, Navigator F/Sgt F. Pearson, Wop/Airgunner F/Sgt J.B. Smith Wop/Airgunner




    F/Sgt. Frederick Pearson 298 Sqdn. (d.31st August 1944)

    F/Sgt Frederick Pearson was killed in August 1944 flying a special operation out of Tarrant Rushton. His Halifax V bomber LL343 T-L left Tarrant Rushton at 23.59 hours heading for Belgium on SOE mission "Osric". It is believed that the aircraft was shot down over the English Channel. All the crew were killed and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were: F/O F. Sayles, DFM, Airbomber F/O W.W. Brown, Pilot Sgt W. Bradley, Flt. Engineer F/O R.D. MacDuff, Navigator F/Sgt F. Pearson, Wop/Airgunner F/Sgt J.B. Smith Wop/Airgunner




    F/Sgt. John Bonsall Smith 298 Sqdn. (d.31st August 1944)

    F/Sgt John Bonsall Smith was killed in August 1944 flying a special operation out of Tarrant Rushton. His Halifax V bomber LL343 T-L left Tarrant Rushton at 23.59 hours heading for Belgium on SOE mission "Osric". It is believed that the aircraft was shot down over the English Channel. All the crew were killed and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were: F/O F. Sayles, DFM, Airbomber F/O W.W. Brown, Pilot Sgt W. Bradley, Flt. Engineer F/O R.D. MacDuff, Navigator F/Sgt F. Pearson, Wop/Airgunner F/Sgt J.B. Smith Wop/Airgunner




    F/O. Edward Chichester Hart 138 Squadron (d.15th Sep 1943)

    I'm looking for any information about Halifax JN910 NF-K, 138 Squadron, which crashed in the Baltic Sea near Rugenwalde, during operation Flat 12, Poland, 14th/15th September 1943. Only Sgt A.S.Dove survived. I need to know where the plane crashed: open sea, near the shore? Halifax JN910 NF-K was returning from an SOE mission and was hit by flak. The seven crew members who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    The members of the crew were:

    • F/O E.C. Hart
    • Sgt A.S. Dove
    • Sgt K.C. Windsor
    • F/O J.D.L. Cloutier
    • Sgt K.R. Norie
    • Sgt L.C. Gay
    • Sgt S.J. Smith
    • Sgt W.H. Mudge

    Michael



    Sgt. A. S. Dove 138 Sqdn.

    Halifax JN910 NF-K, 138 Squadron, crashed in the Baltic Sea near Rugenwalde, during operation Flat 12, Poland, 14th/15th September 1943. Only the pilot Sgt A.S.Dove survived. The aircraft was returning from an SOE mission and was hit by flak. The seven crew members who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    The members of the crew were:

  • F/O E.C. Hart
  • Sgt A.S. Dove
  • Sgt K.C. Windsor
  • F/O J.D.L. Cloutier
  • Sgt K.R. Norie
  • Sgt L.C. Gay
  • Sgt S.J. Smith
  • Sgt W.H. Mudge




  • Sgt. Kenneth Charles Windsor 138 Sqdn. (d.15th September 1943)

    Halifax JN910 NF-K, 138 Squadron, crashed in the Baltic Sea near Rugenwalde, during operation Flat 12, Poland, 14th/15th September 1943. Only the pilot Sgt A.S.Dove survived. The aircraft was returning from an SOE mission and was hit by flak. The seven crew members who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    The members of the crew were:

  • F/O E.C. Hart
  • Sgt A.S. Dove
  • Sgt K.C. Windsor
  • F/O J.D.L. Cloutier
  • Sgt K.R. Norie
  • Sgt L.C. Gay
  • Sgt S.J. Smith
  • Sgt W.H. Mudge




  • F/O Joseph Darie Louis Cloutier 138 Sqdn. (d.15th September 1943)

    Halifax JN910 NF-K, 138 Squadron, crashed in the Baltic Sea near Rugenwalde, during operation Flat 12, Poland, 14th/15th September 1943. Only the pilot Sgt A.S.Dove survived. The aircraft was returning from an SOE mission and was hit by flak. The seven crew members who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    The members of the crew were:

  • F/O E.C. Hart
  • Sgt A.S. Dove
  • Sgt K.C. Windsor
  • F/O J.D.L. Cloutier
  • Sgt K.R. Norie
  • Sgt L.C. Gay
  • Sgt S.J. Smith
  • Sgt W.H. Mudge




  • Sgt. Kenneth Ross Norie 138 Sqdn. (d.15th September 1943)

    Halifax JN910 NF-K, 138 Squadron, crashed in the Baltic Sea near Rugenwalde, during operation Flat 12, Poland, 14th/15th September 1943. Only the pilot Sgt A.S.Dove survived. The aircraft was returning from an SOE mission and was hit by flak. The seven crew members who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    The members of the crew were:

  • F/O E.C. Hart
  • Sgt A.S. Dove
  • Sgt K.C. Windsor
  • F/O J.D.L. Cloutier
  • Sgt K.R. Norie
  • Sgt L.C. Gay
  • Sgt S.J. Smith
  • Sgt W.H. Mudge




  • Sgt. Leonard Charles Gay 138 Sqdn. (d.15th September 1943)

    Halifax JN910 NF-K, 138 Squadron, crashed in the Baltic Sea near Rugenwalde, during operation Flat 12, Poland, 14th/15th September 1943. Only the pilot Sgt A.S.Dove survived. The aircraft was returning from an SOE mission and was hit by flak. The seven crew members who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    The members of the crew were:

  • F/O E.C. Hart
  • Sgt A.S. Dove
  • Sgt K.C. Windsor
  • F/O J.D.L. Cloutier
  • Sgt K.R. Norie
  • Sgt L.C. Gay
  • Sgt S.J. Smith
  • Sgt W.H. Mudge




  • Sgt. Sidney John Smith 138 Sqdn. (d.15th September 1943)

    Halifax JN910 NF-K, 138 Squadron, crashed in the Baltic Sea near Rugenwalde, during operation Flat 12, Poland, 14th/15th September 1943. Only the pilot Sgt A.S.Dove survived. The aircraft was returning from an SOE mission and was hit by flak. The seven crew members who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    The members of the crew were:

  • F/O E.C. Hart
  • Sgt A.S. Dove
  • Sgt K.C. Windsor
  • F/O J.D.L. Cloutier
  • Sgt K.R. Norie
  • Sgt L.C. Gay
  • Sgt S.J. Smith
  • Sgt W.H. Mudge




  • Sgt. William Henry Mudge 138 Sqdn. (d.15th September 1943)

    Halifax JN910 NF-K, 138 Squadron, crashed in the Baltic Sea near Rugenwalde, during operation Flat 12, Poland, 14th/15th September 1943. Only the pilot Sgt A.S.Dove survived. The aircraft was returning from an SOE mission and was hit by flak. The seven crew members who died are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    The members of the crew were:

  • F/O E.C. Hart
  • Sgt A.S. Dove
  • Sgt K.C. Windsor
  • F/O J.D.L. Cloutier
  • Sgt K.R. Norie
  • Sgt L.C. Gay
  • Sgt S.J. Smith
  • Sgt W.H. Mudge




  • F/O Ryszard Zygmuntowicz 138 Sqdn. (d.21st April 1942)

    I'm looking for any information about my grandfather's brother, Ryszard Zygmuntowicz. He was a pilot and he died on 21st April 1942 in Kreuth (Austria).

    It is interesting that in official documents and information he died during his flight to Czechoslovakia. There are questions about why the plane crashed in Austria, why two members of a plane crew were buried in as "unknown people", why people from Kreuth found a lot of money and communist leaflets in the place of the accident and - last question - why, on a night of bad weather, when all flights were cancelled, the plane took off with Wing Commander Farley (English commander of a Squadron) which was an unexpected event? It's impossible to get any information from any authority and as far as I know, until 2020 year this evidence is secret. I'd like to find someone who knows something about this Squadron. Maybe pilots or their children who have memories from World War II.

    Update: The crew were:

  • Wing Co W.R. Farley DFC, RAF (2nd pilot)
  • F/O J.A. Pulton, RAFVR (airgunner)
  • F/O R. Zygmuntowicz, PAF (pilot)
  • Sgt C. Madracki, PAF (navigator)
  • F/Sgt B Karbowski, PAF (rear gunner)
  • Capt. A.H. Voellnagel, RAF
  • Sgt L. Wilmanski, PAF (airbomber)
  • Sgt M. Wojciechowski, PAF (wop/airgunner)

    All the crew were buried in Durnbach War Cemetery, Collective Grave 9.H.20-24 (information from CWGC). It is suggested that there may have been four passengers aboard as well as the crew. 138 Squadron flew Special Operations duties, so the passengers may have been agents.

  • Andrzej Mickiewicz



    Major Stephen Philip Martin-Leake attd. Special Operations Executive Intelligence Corps (d.7th June 1944)

    Major Stephen Philip Martin-Leake was 38 when he was killed in action in an air raid in Albania.

    (Served as LEAKE). Son of the Revd. William Ralph Martin-Leake, M.A., and of F. Martin-Leake, of Godalming, Surrey. B.A., Scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Alternative Commemoration - buried in Sheper.

    s flynn



    Maj. Gordon Edward Layzell attd. Special Operations Executive South Lancashire Regiment (d.2nd Feb 1944)

    Major Gordon Edward Layzell was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Edward Layzell; husband of Eiluned Layzell, of Borstal, Rochester, Kent.

    He was 31 when he died and is buried in the TIRANA PARK MEMORIAL CEMETERY in Albania.

    s flynn



    Sgt. Harold Victor Button att. Force 399 Special Operations Executive 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (d.12th Oct 1944)

    Victor Button was the son of Charles P. F. Button and Mary F. Button, of Needham Market, Suffolk. He was aged 21 when he died and is buried in the Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery in Albania.

    s flynn



    Captain Alfred Careless attd. Special Operations Executive Royal Armoured Corps (d.20th October 1943)

    Captain Alfred Careless was the son of Thomas and Jane Careless; husband of Nora Patricia Careless, of Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield.

    He was 31 when he was killed when his plane crashed into a mountain in Albania. He is buried in the Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery in Albania.

    s flynn



    Brig. Arthur Frederick Crane Nicholls GC, ERD. att. Special Operations Executive Coldstream Guards (d.11th Feb 1944)

    Arthur Nicholls was the son of Joseph Crane Nicholls, and of Josephine Crane Nicholls (nee Campbell); husband of Dorothy Ann Violet Nicholls (nee Schuster), of Swinbrook, Oxfordshire. He was 33 years oldwhen he lost his life and was buried in the Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery in Albania. His grave is now lost and he is mentioned on the Special Memorial E.

    The following details are given in the London Gazette of 1st March 1946: "Awarded the George Cross for most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner." Brigadier Nicholls parachuted into Albania in October 1943 as General Staff Officer to the Allied Military Mission which organised resistance activities. The Mission was attacked and broken up by the Germans in December and from then on Brigadier Nicholls lived as a fugitive in the open mountains in freezing weather. He continued leading the remnants of the Mission but was suffering from frostbite so severely that he ordered an inexperienced man to amputate both his legs without anaesthetic. He was pulled over the mountains lying upon his greatcoat by two members of his party. He was determined to reach a British Mission to make his report upon which the course of the war in Albania would depend. He succeeded in this but had gone beyond the limits of endurance and died from gangrene and heart failure.

    s flynn



    Cpl. Sydney George Roberts MM. att. Force 133, Special Operations Executive Durham Light Infantry (d.22nd Dec 1943)

    Sydney Roberts was the son of John Richard and Fanny Amelia Roberts; husband of Edna Roberts, of Stoke, Devon. He was aged 29 when he died and is buried in the Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery, Albania. He is remembered on Special Memorial E, his grave having been lost.

    s flynn



    Sig. David William Rockingham att. Special Operations Executive Royal Corps of Signals (d.20th Oct 1943)

    David Rockingham was the son of William Henry Walter and Maud Olive Rockingham, of West Norwood, London. He is remembered on the Special Memorial E in the Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery in Albania, his grave having been lost.

    s flynn



    W/S/Sgt. James Goss Royal Signals

    After my grandad, James Goss left the service, my grandmother insisted on writing down everything he could remember. This meant many years down the line we would be able to learn about his service without him having to recall. I have recently started investigating my grandfather and what he did for our country. In his own words...

    Enlisted at Aldershot on 12/4/1938 at the age of 18 years old. Joined under father's advice so that he could choose which department he would serve in. Was sent to Catterick signals depot and then to France with BEF. Stationed on French/Belgium frontier, eventually retreated from German advance to coast at Lapanne (Fr) and Dupanne (belg). Walked to Dunkirk every night for 3/4 nights and spent the days on the beaches. Early hours of morning, coming back along the beach, saw a small launch and waded out to it. Petty officer of a rating (with a gun) on board. Six Brits dragged on board. Water filled boat with hopeful French and Belgian soldiers. Fended off.

    Launch had Stuart-Turner engine, got stuck on a sandbank - burnt out clutch. Got a tow by a bigger naval launch. Got into Ramsgate about 10pm with the port shut down, having taken all day to cross the channel. WVS (not expecting any more boats) opened the gates and made a cup of tea.

    Boarded a train and was told to sit two men per carriage. Local people turned up with sandwiches. Travelled with the plan to get off at Arborfield. Fell asleep and woke up in Cardiff.

    Next to Norfolk into 1st Division. Junior NCOs course for two months. Halfway through, an officer came round and asked if anyone could read and send Morse at 25 words a minute. Those who could went for another interview. Saw a major from the War Office and had a peculiar interview where only personal questions were asked about family, not about service. Was asked if I would do a job which involved foreign bodies. Answer - yes and was posted back to 1st division.

    Out on manoeuvres when I was called back to base and told to go to London District Signals. Next day I was sent to Thame Park in Oxfordshire. My job there was to teach radio communication (Morse code) to all "foreign bodies" and British. Then transferred to the operations section and communicated with them in this country. The agents were then dropped abroad behind enemy lines by parachute. Eventually some returned, picked up by a Lysander when dropping other agents. Their training was updated and the agents would be re-assigned. This continued to the end of the war.

    War ended in Europe and I was posted to India in May 1948, landed in Bombay. War with Japan ended in August and I was in the jungle with a French padre and other Frenchmen, living off the land. Sent back to Columbia, Delhi and was put in charge of communications for Delhi Victory Week.

    Finally, homeward bound.

    Hannah Ward-Best



    2nd Lt. Poul Herman Johannes Johannessen SD Section Special Operations Executive (d.5th September 1942)

    Second Lieutenant Johannessen was the husband of Edith Johannessen of Copenhagen, Denmark.

    He is buried in grave VIII. 13. 5 in the Copenhagen (Bronshaj Cemetery) in Denmark. Editor's note: In 1941 Poul H J Johannesen joined the British military service and was recruited by the SD Section of SOE.

    During operation Tabletop in 1942 Poul, together with Christian Rottbøll and Max Mikkelsen, were dropped into Denmark by parachute. The intention was to build a resistance movement in that country and also to send intelligence to England.

    From August 1942 they used an apartment in Valøse. On 4th September the apartment was stormed by police. Poul's radio transmissions to England had been intercepted by the Germans, who had alerted the local police. During the subsequent shoot-out, a policeman died. Arrested, Poul H J Johannessen chose to take poison on his way to the police station.

    S Flynn









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