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50 (Middle East) Commando
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Those known to have served with
50 (Middle East) Commando
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Stewart William Sangster. Lt.
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Lt. William Sangster Stewart MID. 2nd Btn. Black WatchOn Tuesday 25th of February 1941, 200 Commandos from the 50 Middle East Commandos landed at Nifti Point, Kastellorizo. Their mission was to capture the island for the Allies and hold it until a garrison of British Army troops arrived in 24 hours time to fortify the island. My father, William Stewart, was one of the 200 Commandos landed that morning. Despite the initial success in capturing the island and freeing the local population, the Italians counter-attacked and landed more than 300 troops from torpedo boats and destroyers.
On Thursday, 27th February, Cpl Bill Stewart was trapped leading his section near the Paleocastro Fort. After attacking the enemy, they were pinned down by heavy machine gun fire from the fort. He was subsequently captured with his remaining men and he was imprisoned as a Prisoner of War in Sulmona, Italy, until 1943.
He attempted to escape three times but was recaptured each time. In October 1943 he was finally successful and escaped to the UK. He was awarded a Mention in Dispatches for gallantry and he was later commissioned as a Lieutenant and he continued fighting until the end of the war.
He returned home in 1945, and in 1961 my twin sister, Frances and I were born. Sadly, my father died in 1983. We salute him and his brave Commando comrades and the courage of the people of Kastellorizo who fought bravely for their home during World War 2. It is a sad footnote that the Submarine, HMS Parthian, which cleared the way ahead for the Commandos to land on Kastellorizo, was sunk in August 1943 off Brindisi. My mothers first husband, ERA, Albert Nunn was killed on board. To William Sangster Stewart, to Albert Nunn, to all the British Commandos killed in action, and to all the Kastellorizans who defended their homes so bravely. Lest We Forget, We Will Remember Them.Charles Stewart
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