As information becomes available it will be posted on this page. Any errors or discrepancies are mine and not intentional. Please notify me at lrdg@Prodigy.net if I have made any errors so they can be corrected. If you would like your father, grandfather, brother or uncle that served with the LRDG on this page please supply me with information and photo's that would indicate their LRDG service.
LRDG Preservation Society
Private - L/Cpl - Royal Army Medical Corps #7354503
Sept 29th, 1911 - May 10th, 1951
Unfortunately I do not know much of Mick’s early life or military career. I was contacted by his daughter some years back. She had his photo album from his service with the LRDG. She lives in the UK and was a little reluctant to send it off to the U.S. for me to copy. So I arraigned to have it sent to another LRDG researcher in the UK. When he was done coping it; he sent me a disk with all of his photos included. It was a gold mine of information.
This photo in the album is marked “On leave from France; Jan. 1940, before shipping out to the East”. Which would lead me to believe that he missed out on the invasion of France, (May 10th 1940) and the Dunkirk disaster.
Here is where his LRDG story starts. He joined the unit on Sept.30th 1940 as a Private; initially assigned to the HQ, then resigned to R-Patrol. He was with R-Patrol when it captured the Italian supply convoy on Oct.27th 1940. He was also with the patrol when Trooper L.A. Willcox won his Military Medal for action against the enemy on Dec. 12th 1940. (Willcox is on the left).
In his time with the LRDG he saw service with the “early Chevrolets”, then the 4x4 CMP Fords and then finally with the famous 1942 Chevrolets.
I believe this may be one of the last photo taken in the desert; along with Dr. Richard Lawson and all of the Medical Orderlies that served with the LRDG. (He is in the back ground 3rd from the left.).
Then before he went with the unit to the Cedars of Lebanon for Mountain Training and Ski School. He gave a lengthy interview on May 4th 1943 to WOII R.L. Kay N.Z. Official Archivist
Not sure; since I do not have his Military Service Records, but he at one point was promoted in rank to Lance Corporal and for some reason he then left the service of the LRDG on/or about June 30th 1943. Luckily missing out on the Dodecanese fiasco.
There are no other photos in his album to indicate just where he served during the rest of the war but this last photo is labeled; Belgium 1945. All of the above photos are from his person album.
He passed away on May 10th 1951; having succumbed to cancer.
New Zealand #4444
1908 - 1970
Lawrence Hamilton "Tony" Browne was born in England in July 1908, he emigrated to New Zealand while an under-graduate at Cambridge. He originally joined the Civil Service and then spent 12 years with the N.Z. Broadcasting Organization before enlisting in the New Zealand Military Forces at Wellington in September 1939. Attached to the N.Z.A.S.C. he embarked for Egypt early in the following year, where, at Cairo, in July 1940, he volunteered for the Long Range Patrol (L.R.P.) in formation with the rank of Corporal.
His amateur interest in astronomy and a flair for mathematics made him an ideal candidate for the studies in desert navigation, an art in which he swiftly excelled, under the instructions of Wm. B. Kennedy Shaw.
In September of 1940 while under the command of Capt. Clayton and setting up a series of supply dumps he made precise maps of all the areas traveled. He was with the unit in December of that year when it’s name was change to the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). In Jan. 1941 he was used as a translator when T Patrol was at Ft. Lamy negotiating with the Free French, who were going to join them on the raid on the Murzuk fort.
At Murzuk, the Italian held fort and nearby airfield, with three resident aircraft, was pretty much laid to waste. The LRDG suffering two fatalities (French Col. d’Ornano & Sergeant Hewson) and three wounded, including Browne, who was hit in the foot - the Italians suffered ten killed and 15 wounded.
Ten days after the above action on Jan 31st 1941 the unit, still under the command of Capt. Clayton, was attacked by the Italian Auto-Saharan at Gebel Sherif. Capt. Clayton and two others were captured, two were killed and four others were missing (Moore, Easton, Tighe & Winchester). Browne was again wounded a second time but escaped with the balance of the patrol. His coolness was instrumental in saving his vehicle and crew when subjected to a determined low-flying bombing and M.G. attack by an enemy aircraft.
Browne’s winning exploits in the actions at Murzuk and Gebel Sherif in Libya in January 1941 were part of the LRDG’s first serious attempt at penetrating behind enemy lines in force, and were the highlights of an extraordinary non-stop five week long journey totaling 4500 miles.
The award for his actions at Murzuk reads: D.C.M. London Gazette 8 July 1941.
The original recommendation states: "This N.C.O. displayed exceptional gallantry and resource during the raid on Murzuk on 11 January 1941. He commanded his vehicle most efficiently and maintained his Lewis gun in action with coolness and telling effect on the enemy. His example did much to keep the patrol steady at a critical time when enemy fire was causing casualties. Although wounded in the foot he remained at his post."
Following further patrols, including a 600 mile excursion to Jalo Oasis in March 1941 and his first outing as patrol leader during a 1600 mile excursion to navigate the first supply convoy from Wadi Halfa by the Sudanese Defense Force to Kufra that May, Browne was commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant. It was also at this time, in another patrol, he received a snake bite, in which he was bitten twice and after suffering hours of agony, he completely recovered. He also aided Wm. Kennedy Shaw in conducting training courses in desert navigation for officers and men of the 8th Army.
Browne was back on patrol - making a census of enemy traffic movements on the Nafilia to Ageila route - that September and October, while in the following month he led a LRDG unit charged with planting a faked-map near Jalo (a.k.a. "Operation Bishop"), ‘making sure it got into enemy hands’. More importantly, he was closely involved in the November 1941 offensive.
Lloyd Owen takes up the story: 'Tony Browne and one of the New Zealand Patrols joined up with John Olivey and his Rhodesians. They were unmolested on the road between Barce and Benghazi , and took up position about thirty yards apart, with their bonnets facing away from the road, and at about fifty yards from it. This was the most efficient way to bring all guns to bear on enemy transport, and at the same time it enabled them to make a really quick getaway if this should be necessary. Several vehicles were dealt with in one place before they moved six or seven miles nearer Benghazi . This time they destroyed a further two lorries, together with their trailers, and also an oil-tanker. Killing the occupants. Next this enterprising party moved a bit farther away, and were all ready to try to derail a train when they were called back to Siwa to refuel and to get fresh orders. John Olivey was very upset that he had been unable to achieve a lifelong ambition of blowing up a train!’
It is safe to assume that Browne’s leadership and navigational skills were also used by other fellow desert raiders, the S.A.S. David Stirling, founder of the S.A.S., wrote after the War that ‘The LRDG had a much larger part in the forming and growth of the early S.A.S. I always state, when asked, that the LRDG and not the S.A.S. were the true "Masters of the Desert". Although we had a different role, it was the LRDG and men like Tony Brown who taught us about the Desert. Prior to El Alamein in October 1942, Browne was employed for several months on the Operational Staff at GHQ, Middle East, ‘to attend to LRDG matters’, and charged with training the Indian Long Range Squadron. It was at this time he navigated a Hudson Bomber to Kufra which was needed to transport Alastair Timpson & Thomas Wann of G1 patrol, injured in a jeep accident, in route to the Barce raid. Soon after the commencement of Montgomery’s offensive he was back in action in the field, transporting I.S.L.D. personal to Bir Tala. Attacked by Italian aircraft the operation resulted in several casualties, himself among them, they returned to Kufra on Nov. 30th after completing their mission in spite of losing both the Captain’s command vehicle and the Wireless truck.
He had sufficiently recovered from these wounds to assist in navigating the 2nd N.Z. Division in its December push.
Lloyd-Owen continues: "On the coast the knowledge that the LRDG had gained about the lie of the land ahead of the Eighth Army was‘ in tremendous demand, and the first of these very successful patrols was when Tony Browne led the 2nd New Zealand Division and the 4th Light Armored Brigade to outflank the El Agheila position which Rommel was still holding at the end of December 1942."
Soon after this Tony was ordered to report on the "going" in three wadis to the west of Sirte, and it was here that he was injured when his truck was blown up on a mine, and a South African officer with him was killed. Paddy MacLauchlan, who was out with Tony learning the ropes, took over command when the latter had to be evacuated. He was very quick to learn, but found himself in action and very nearly captured by enemy armored cars within a few days. He had mistaken them for friendly troops. This New Zealand Patrol had left Kufra in early December, and before they returned to base had covered over 2500 miles.
For his action he received an M.C. The original recommendation states: ‘For most distinguished services during the operation that resulted in the turning of the Agheila position. Captain Browne carried out the initial reconnaissance of country several hundred miles behind the enemy lines, the information he obtained being invaluable in making plans for the approach marches. During the operation he personally navigated and led the New Zealand Division column from Haseiat to Merduma and then on to Nofila. While carrying out a further reconnaissance before the next advance he was wounded when blown up on an unmarked minefield near Wadi Tamet. Captain Browne displayed excellent judgment and the greatest enterprise at all times.’
Upon being discharged from the hospital in early 1943 he was appointed the LRDG Intelligence Officer (replacing Wm. Kennedy Shaw). As it transpired he saw no further action in North Africa due to the imminent Allied victory in that theater on war. He was however involved in the unit’s subsequent operations in Albania, Yugoslavia and the Dalmatian Islands. He received a promotion to Major in 1945. He remained employed as an Intelligence Office with the L.R.D.G. until the end of hostilities and joined the British Administration in Libya in 1946, in which capacity he remained employed until the independent Kingdom of Libya was established in 1951. He next joining Mobil Oil of Canada , which had obtained one of the original oil concessions in Libya, and he was serving as Manager of the company’s northern operations in Cyrenaica until his retirement in 1965, the year in which he was gazetted for his O.B.E.
He died in September 1970 from cancer.
His medals and diary were recently sold at auction for £18000 (Pounds Sterling).
1918 - 1967
Walter known as "Wally" to the other LRDG Troopers, was born in New Zealand on October 19th 1918. Until I can prove otherwise I believed he lived in Putaruru, N.Z. with his mother Ruth. He was five foot six inches tall had a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His weight is not listed.
From his military records it looks like he served a period of time in some sort of New Zealand military service in country for 2 years. He was employed by Ward Taxis service in Rotorua, N.Z. as a taxi driver. On May 21st 1940 he enlisted in the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry and enter Burnham Camp for training on October 3rd 1940.
With his training completed he was shipped off to Egypt with the 2 NZEF on Jan 30th 1941. Arriving in Egypt on Feb 5th 1941.
Soon after on Feb 26th he started at the base cooking school and passed as a 2nd class cook by March 17th and by May 7th passed the 1st class cook requirements.
He was admitted to the camp hospital on two different occasions, once on May 14th for 5 days and again on June 16th for another 5 days. The records do not indicate the reason for his hospital stays. But it is possible that he was injured while cooking.
On December 6th 1941 he was one of the few chosen to join the LRDG. There much is not heard about him during his time with the LRDG but he did what every other LRDG trooper did. The "Road Watch" was one of their least favorite activities. And since he trained as a cook I am sure that he did his fair share of that when on patrol.
We have been able to find two photos of T-2 Patrol in the desert that he is in.
Walter was promoted to Lance Corporal on May 1st 1943 and again to Corporal on June 2nd 1943. And since the Germans and Italians were defeated in the North Africa, the LRDG unit was sent to "Cedars of Lebanon" for Mountain Warfare Training on July 7th 1943 and Walter went with them.
After eight week rigorous training they left via Haifa on Sept 21st 1943 for the Dodecanese Islands. It was here that the LRDG patrols were used to ill effect as ground and invasion forces, without proper reconnaissance before they were committed.
I believe (but do not have absolute proof) that he was still attached to A Squadron ( T-2 patrol) when they attacked the island of Levita. The unit was commanded by Capt. John Olivey. To see the story of "The Assault on Levita" click here.
It was confirmed that he was a POW to military authorities on Dec. 15th 1943, at that time he was in Stalag 344. He was moved to Stalag 355 on Sept 14th 1944. And not much was hear from him until the "capture" postcard showed up in "Rotorua" addressed to Mr. T. M. Mercer where he was at Stalag 357.
He remained in Stalag 357 until his release at the end of hostilities. He was then transported to England on May 12th 1945, where he remained until his departure back to New Zealand on July 3rd 1945. Finally arriving back to his home country on Aug. 4th 1945. He was finally discharged on Nov. 7th 1945.
For World War II service he was awarded the following:
"Walter worked as a logging truck driver until his overseas back pay arrived from the government. He then used that money to buy his own Taxi service. During his marriage to Eileen Adams he had three sons, Brian born Sept 25th 1946, Paul born Oct. 25th 1949 and Bill born on Oct.14th 1951. His sons are still alive in New Zealand. But Walter died at the young age of 49 in April 8th 1967."
Service No. 37112 NZ Divisional Cavalry
1915 - 2003
The War Years as recounted by Brendan O’Carroll, the author of “Kiwi Scorpions” and “Bearded Brigands”.
I have only known Merlyn for the last six years, yet I feel I have known him all his life.
Merlyn was a wonderful man and as history tells us, a great warrior. He lived independently in a very remote beach house at Te Kaha on the eastern coast of New Zealand. After spending most of his life farming, including being one of the pioneers of deer farming in NZ, he left the farm to his son, and took up commercial fishing for 20 years before retiring.
He died of a massive heart attack after landing his boat following a days fishing, his favorite pastime. Merlyn died in the sand, something that he could have very easily done over 60 years ago. He was very active for his years and was still capable of driving long distances at 87 years. Merlyn would have hated being ill or bed ridden and couldn't have died a better way.
My introduction to him came about when I was undertaking research for my book about New Zealanders in the Long Range Desert Group. This unit was one of the first special forces of WW2 and operated behind enemy lines in Libya. The men who served had to be self reliant, tough and hardy, as they had to fight and survive in one of the most arid places on earth. Merlyn’s outdoor background and temperament seemed well suited to this type of work.
I wrote to him asking about his time in the LRDG and he kindly responded with a wealth of information. This led on to a volume of correspondence and a number of wonderful visits to his seaside home in Te Kaha. My family would accompany me and they would walk along the beach with Merlyn’s faithful dog Jack, while I interviewed Merlyn about the war years. This was always followed by a lovely meal of fresh fish or crayfish. It was a great treat for us, and we really enjoyed those visits and I will miss those special chats we had.
He said he had told me things he had never even told his family before. As with most veterans after the war he was reluctant to speak of such things to those who weren’t there, especially of the bad times; thinking that the people at home would never understand, as they hadn’t been through it. He said he would never forget it, and there were men that may have saved his life, or he may have saved theirs. The bond between them remains until they are gone. Merlyn regularly attended LRDG reunions.
Merlyn’s wartime adventures are well covered in my books, where his activities are explained in full, but I will outline a brief history of his war service.
He went overseas with the NZ Divisional Cavalry in November 1940 and volunteered for the LRDG in early 1941. He served with distinction with T Patrol, first under the command of Captain L.B. Ballantyne then later under Captain N.P. Wilder. He remained with the unit until his capture after the Barce Raid in September 1942. He was particularly skilful at bomb making and demolitions, an art he said he learnt on his father’s farm before the war. On the Barce raid he destroyed 10 planes with his homemade bombs and was given orders to blow the Barce town safe, but his capture prevented that from happening.
He spent a year suffering the privations of an Italian POW camp before he escaped, and with the help of Italian peasants he made his way to allied lines. After which he was sent home on furlough for six months. Then he returned to Italy in 1944 with the NZ Divisional Cavalry to serve with armoured cars.
Some time after, due to a dispute with his superiors he went AWOL for six weeks, and sought out the Italians who had helped him to escape the year before. Later, while wandering the streets of Rome, by pure chance he met members of the British section of the LRDG who invited him to rejoin the unit. He did so without notifying 2nd NZEF and remained as a Sergeant with the LRDG in Italy till the end of the war. He learnt mountain climbing, snow skiing, and undertook seven parachute jumps. Amazingly he was never brought to account for is disappearance from the Div. Cavalry. But that was typical Merlyn, a real survivor.
Merlyn’s total overseas service was 4 years 189 days.
He won the Military Medal for gallantry during the Barce raid and other actions. His official citation that sums up the sort of soldier he was.
“On the night of 13/14th September 1942, Corporal Craw’s patrol entered Barce aerodrome to attack aircraft. Corporal Craw, in the last truck, was detailed to place short-delay bombs on the aircraft which had not been burnt by small arms fire. He carried out this task at great personal risk, as aircraft were on fire and blowing up all round him, and destroyed 10 single handed.
In two previous occasions when on patrol, Corporal Craw displayed great gallantry. Once near Benghazi, his truck successfully attacked a vehicle carrying twenty troops, destroying the vehicle and killing the majority of the occupants. In a later engagement near Matruh he saved the life of his officer, Capt. Wilder, by his prompt action in picking up this officer who was on foot, while Corporal Craw’s truck was under heavy and concentrated fire from three 47 mm guns.
As a non commissioned officer he always did extremely good work on patrol, and in action was cool and confident.”
Though he was a tough soldier in a harsh environment, he was also a compassionate man. On one occasion after a small action, Merlyn, because he was also trained as a medical orderly, made great endeavours to save the life of a badly wounded Italian He looked after him for five days as he lay in the back of his truck. Though he didn’t need to do this, because while behind the lines it was not the LRDG’s job to look after the enemy wounded or take prisoners. But Merlyn for some reason took it upon himself to take care of this man, who without his help would have certainly died.
Another time he was ordered to dispose of two prisoners who got caught up in a special secret mission the patrol was on. Contrary to his orders, instead of killing the men, he drove them out into the desert, gave them some water and a compass bearing; far enough away so that mission could not be compromised.
Merlyn was a real gentleman from a generation the like of which we will never see again. I am so grateful I was able to gather his incredible LRDG stories and find him a rightful place in the history books before all was lost to time.
Merlyn I salute you, a wonderful man and great warrior, it has been a very special for me to have known you.
Died in New Zealand, 17 January 2003, aged 87 years.
A Kiwi Scorpion now at rest.
14th October, 1926 - 1st July, 1985
Les was born on 14th October 1926 in Te Kuiti, North Island, New Zealand, and was living at Tokomaru Bay, East Coast, North Island, and working as a vehicle mechanic and driver for the G.S.F.M. firm there, when with the Second World War the attested into the New Zealand Military Forces at Gisborne on 16th May 1941, joining as a Private (No.47528) the New Zealand Ordnance Corps. He underwent training with the New Zealand Engineer and Ordnance Depot from 4th July 1941, and then married on 16th August 1941 one Dorothy June Dalziel, known as June, of Ruatoria, East Coast, with whom he would go on to have a daughter, Lorraine.
Dalziel then embarked for the Middle East on 13th September 1941, and disembarked in Egypt on 19th October 1941. In Egypt he found himself posted to the Divisional Ordnance Workshops on 6th February 1942, and then went on to serve with the 2nd New Zealand Division Ordnance Workshop, being attached for active service with the 23rd New Zealand Infantry Battalion from 19th July 1942. Dalziel was then serving on attachment to the 21st New Zealand Infantry Battalion when he was wounded in action during the fighting in the period from 13th to 18th December 1942. After treatment with the 2nd New Zealand General Hospital, he was discharged on 3rd February 1943, and then posted on the 15th February to join the New Zealand Engineer Training Depot, before being posted to the 1st New Zealand Armored Inspection / Recovery Unit, and from 23rd April 1943 was attached to the Base Workshops Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Middle East.
With the campaign in North Africa over, Dalziel was posted on attachment to “A” New Zealand Squadron, Long Range Desert Group from 11th June 1943. His Africa Star was issued to him on 9th December 1943 and his 8th Army Clasp was issued to him on 27th January 1944. Dalziel was posted out of the L.R.D.G in February 1944, and returned to work with the 2nd New Zealand Division Workshops, being employed as a fitter. Dalziel then went on to serve during the campaign in Italy, the Adriatic and Greece. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 24th July 1944. He was then posted to the 1st New Zealand Heavy Recovery Section from 21st November 1944, and was employed as a driver / mechanic. Transferred to the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corps on 28th February 1945, he was in trouble for neglecting to obey an order and being out of bounds, being reprimanded on 10th April 1945. At this time he was stationed back in Egypt.
On 28th May 1945 he wrote home: ‘I suppose you will be wondering why I have not written for the past fortnight but I have got that way now that I find writing really hard work. I was hoping also that by this time I would be on my way back to you but no such luck and it looks as though it will be a month or two yet before things begin to happen. The weather here now is very hot, over a hundred every day of the week and one day it went up to 109 (degrees) so I have just about had it. The flies are pretty bad too in fact nearly getting as bad as the old desert days but thank goodness it is nearly finished for me. I go to Cairo about twice a week for a bit of a change but there is very little to do even there other than drink beer, and that never was a hobby of mine, was it darling!!! But it won’t be long now darling until that day of ours dawns and then how gloriously happy we will be with just ourselves and ours. I guess we will take a lot of parting from then on darling. Four years is such a long time to be apart isn’t it and I know it has been just as hard for you as it has been for me, but we will certainly make up for all we have lost and then some. I sent you a wire today for your birthday so I hope it arrived in time. By the way remember the cake you sent last Sept. for Christmas darling, well it arrived about three days ago after being on the way nearly eight months, and it was still in perfect condition. What do you know about that! Thanks darling. How is Lorraine doing, growing like a mushroom I suppose, and still wondering what her “Daddy” looks like. Tell her it won’t be long now. Give my love to all. Cheerio for now all my love Les.’
Dalziel was posted back to New Zealand on 6th September 1945, and was discharged on 13th December 1945. As of 1970 he was shown in the New Zealand Long Range Desert Group Roll of Honor, and died on 1st July 1989.
1915 - 1996
Lloyd was born on March 10, 1915, he was one of three children born to Josuha & Lottie Doel at Whangarei, New Zealand. He had one younger brother, Josh, and a sister Bonnie. His parents had a small dairy farm about two miles from Kawakawa, where they also grew and sold vegetables.
Lloyd was 25 years old when he enlisted in the army, on Nov. 27th 1940. He had been working as a freezer worker for AFFCO when he entered Papakura Military Camp, Auckland, on 16 April 1941, for training in the New Zealand Territorial Army. He was transferred from the Territorial Army to the 2nd Infantry Training Battalion on May 7th 1941. After four months training, his unit departed New Zealand on Sept 13th 1941 for Egypt. His ship arrived in Egypt on October 19th , 1941.
He attended Cooking school at Geneifa on Dec. 17th,1941 and qualified as Cook Class I in Jan. 18, 1942. He was posted to the New Zealand Northern Infantry Corps as a cook and was entitled to "extra duty pay". He served there until July 2nd ,1942 when he was posted to "Special Patrol Duties" (not the LRDG). While serving with this unnamed unit he was wounded on July 22nd and admitted to a hospital on July 25th. He remained in the hospital or recuperation center until he was finally again fit for duty on Sept. 15th 1942. There is not much detail on his service from Sept until his next posting which was in June of 1943, when he was posted to the LRDG on the 17th.
Since the war in North Africa ended in May of that year he went with the other LRDG troopers for training at the "Cedars of Lebanon" for skiing instructions and underwent vigorous mountain training. In September the LRDG along with other Special Forces were attached to Force 292, soon after renamed "Raiding Forces". These miscellaneous units were moved to various islands in the Dodecanese chain which had been controlled by the Italians and after their surrender British units moved to prevent the Germans from taking them over. Unfortunately the Germans had other ideas and retook the islands one by one.
Lloyd was on Levitha (Levita) with LRDG A Squadron , commanded by Captain Olivey and 47 other LRDG troopers, attacking the island. The attack was difficult to form as there was little accurate information available on the enemies strength or disposition. Their objective was the high central ground of the island (Mount Vardia)which overlooked the port of Levitha and from there it was proposed to deny the rest of the island to the enemy.
On the night of October 23rd 1943, Lloyd and the other troopers were put ashore by two motor launches, their landing was unopposed. But the motor launches engaged shore targets and alerted the enemy. "At the first streaks of daylight, three or four seaplanes began to take off from the Levita harbor. The New Zealanders, who overlooked the harbor from the ridge, opened fire, and for a moment it seemed that Trooper Lloyd Doel had put one seaplane out of action with his Bren gun, but it moved out of range and took off after some delay." When the seaplanes came overhead to strafe them they returned fire but to little effect. The LRDG came under continued air attack and heavy ground fire suffering may casualties. And at the end of the day only seven of the LRDG patrol were able to escape. Lloyd was one of the many captured.
He was posted as "missing in action" on Oct 25th 1943 but then was reclassified as a "prisoner of war" when notified by the German government. He along with the other POW’s was transported by boat to either Yugoslavia or Greece and then by train to Stalag 344 (located in Lamsdorf, Poland) then later he was transferred to Stalag VIIA (located in Moosburg, Germany) and finally to Stalag VIIIC (located in Sagan, Poland). He was held there until late January 1945 when the whole camp was to be marched west as the Russian’s were closing in. (See http://www.pegasus-one.org/pow/robert_warren.htm - for a history by Lance-Corporal Robert Bennett Warren who tells of the Camp and the "death march"). Lloyd was on the march with the others in the camp.
They arrived near Hanover, Germany, after marching an average 15 miles a day (about 600 miles) in early April, they were finally released to the advancing allied armies. Lloyd along with many of the other POW’s had to be admitted for hospitalization as they were all in terrible condition and they were transported to England as soon as possible.
Now the good part of the story. While Lloyd was held as a POW, a family who farmed next to his parent’s in Kawakawa, New Zealand, wrote to their first-cousins in Wales, UK. They advised the William’s family that a "local lad" was held as a POW and asked if they could try to contact him through the Red Cross. Consequently, this Welsh family had one of their daughters write to Lloyd. Their correspondence continued throughout the war. Lloyd arrived in the UK in April 1945 and married Nursing Sister Isobel Williams on August 28th, 1945.
He returned home to live and work on the family dairy farm with his war-bride they had three children, John, born Jan. 10, 1948, David, born Aug. 1, 1949 and a daughter Helen, born Feb. 10, 1951.
Unlike today, there was no such things counseling for trauma and suffering. Like many old soldiers, Lloyd very rarely spoke of the war to his family, of being a POW or the death-march. He would occasionally recall a humorous incident but was a closed-book on the atrocities and suffering. Often he would walk away saying "forget, forget...forget!"
After the war he became very involved in the New Zealand RSA and was the very proud recipient of the RSA Gold Star in 1973. He was elected President of the NZ LRDG Association in 1989.
In 1987 he received compensation from the New Zealand Government for having been held in a sub-camp of Auschwitz during WWII, "for this illegal incarceration and in recognition of the special suffering you endured as a prisoner of war.
For his service during the war he was awarded the following.
Trooper Lloyd G. Doel passed away on May 20th 1996.
Unfortunately I do not have any background history on Signalman Thomas M. Evans.
And not sure just when he joined the LRDG R-1 Patrol as a Signalman. He does shows up in several photos with R-1 Patrol. The first one is dated November 1942 with R-1 Patrol under command of Captain Alistair Guild who took over R-1 Patrol on March 23rd 1942.
He then shows up in the photo with Generals Montgomery: Freyberg and Major Browne and the rest of R-1 Patrol on December 11th 1942.
Then again (I believe, wearing the beret) in this photo taken in happier days on Christmas day; again in 1942.
Then it gets interesting.
On December 27th 1942, after their lunch, at 3:45 PM, they were patrolling west of the road in desert formation. When 2nd Lt. F.K. McLauchlan was informed that an Armored Car was coming up on them from the rear. They wrongly assumed that they were from the Kings Dragoon Guards (Armored Car Unit). As they came along side, the commander (without a hat and smiling); picked up a rifle and in perfect English told them to put up their hands. They speed away (and got away) but saw that a similar A/Car was alongside the R-2 wireless truck and they has surrendered with all on board.
Captured at that time was Capt. Alexander and his jeep driver L/Cpl. H. Norton with the South African Forces and:
Then official records get a little confusing...
Former Attorney-General of Fiji and Gibraltar
1912 - 2003
Ashley Martin Greenwood was born in 1912. Educated at Haileybury, a leading boarding school for over 100 years, he then went on to Clare College, Cambridge, and having taken a double first in classics, he decided to become a lawyer and qualified as a solicitor.
He climbed his first mountain as a teenager. His passion for the sport later took him to the Alps, Dolomites and Tyrol, as well as Norway, Scotland and Wales. In 1936 at the age 24 he was elected to the Alpine Club after being proposed by N. E. Odell, the last man to see Mallory and Irvine alive on Everest in 1924. His climbing skills would stand him in good stead during the war.
Commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1940, he volunteered for commando training in the hope of seeing action. He inveigled his way into the Long-Range Desert Group at a time when the force was turning its attention from North Africa to the Aegean, Italy and the Balkans.
Sent from the Commando Training Centre at Lochailort, Scotland, to attend a mountain warfare conference at Tripoli, in April 1943, he heard that the group’s New Zealand squadron needed a climbing instructor for its mountain warfare training at the Cedars of Lebanon ski resort. Then a Captain, he volunteered for the job and, on finding himself warmly welcomed, he persuaded Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Prendergast, commanding the group, to say that his retention with the LRDG was operationally vital. He spent the rest of the war with the group on a wide variety of operations. See - http://www.mrzsp.demon.co.uk/mwtc/index.htm
He accompanied the New Zealand squadron on the ill-fated operation, triggered by Italy’s armistice in September 1943, to occupy the Dodecanese Islands before the Germans got there. Successful landings were achieved on the islands of Leros and Kalimnos but, when the Italian garrison on Rhodes refused to co-operate, the Luftwaffe squadrons on Rhodes and Crete made the situation of the British force untenable.
Bombed and strafed on their return from Kalimnos, Greenwood’s detachment reached Leros just as a German parachute force landed. Together with men from the Special Boat Section under Major the Earl Jellicoe, they made for the hills and then went by caïque to Turkey.
Greenwood, accompanied only by a Greek agent who knew the island, returned to Leros by RAF sea-rescue launch and rubber dinghy. He planned to collect together other British troops left behind and guide them to a pick-up point from where a similar vessel could take them to Egypt. When the vessel did not appear after several nights wait, he sent the men he had collected in small parties by rowing boat to a nearby island and from there by a caïque to Turkey. Although neutral, Turkey was sympathetic to the Allied cause and the rescued men traveled with Greenwood on the Taurus Express to Syria, he was awarded the MC and mentioned in dispatches for his service in the Mediterranean theater escape.
(Churchill’s Folly by Tony Roger http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/MP-23568/Churchill)
Having been trained as a parachutist, he led one of four small patrols dropped to the north of the German defensive positions in Italy in June 1944. Their task was to reconnoiter the state of roads and bridges in the expectation of an Allied advance, identify German units and report on their dispositions. As was often the case using contemporary navigational aids, all but one of the patrols was dropped in the wrong place and too near the enemy. He and one other man of his patrol evaded capture, but were separated. Greenwood walked south to Lake Trasimene, on the shores of which the two armies faced each other, and made his way through the reeds to the British positions.
During the early months of 1945 he was the Long-Range Desert Group’s liaison officer on the staff of the British brigade operating in Montenegro, which had a number of patrols working in that area, trying to persuade the Yugoslav partisans to attack or at least harass the retreating Germans. But he did not find the partisans co-operative. From June 1945 until March 1946, he served with the Allied Military Government Organization in Austria. After the cessation of hostilities he joined the Colonial Office.
Greenwood was appointed deputy registrar of the Ugandan High Court in 1946 and was promoted to registrar the next year. He became resident magistrate in 1950 and Crown counsel four years later. He was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1952. Four years later, he was appointed Solicitor-General and then Attorney-General of Fiji. He served as Attorney-General of Gibraltar for three years from 1963.
After his retirement from the Colonial Office, he was appointed OBE (Order of the British Empire) and took on various assignments, including a year in Washington on the Telstar conference and a short spell as temporary Attorney-General of Montserrat. He also spent some months in Hong Kong, dealing with implications relating to the colony’s return to China.
Greenwood married Rosemary Howard in April 1956. The couple, who had climbed together in the Alps for two seasons before the war, returned to mountaineering afterwards and was also members of the Eagle Ski Club. In the 20-year period up to 1978, they climbed, skied and trekked together in New Zealand, Austria, Italy, Greece, Nepal, India and Peru. He celebrated his 80th birthday by scaling a 6,000m peak in the Himalayas. He calculated that his climbing, military and Colonial careers he had been to 103 countries.
He is survived by his wife.
Ashley Greenwood, OBE, MC, QC, former Attorney-General of Fiji and Gibraltar, was born on June 17, 1912. He died on September 30, 2003, aged 91.
Please note, the above is the only photo that I have of Ashley Greenwood. If anyone has other photos of this hero I would appreciate a copy to add to this section.
1903 - 1942
John was Born at Ramleh, near Alexandria, Egypt on August 10th, 1903 of a British father and an Italian mother. John’s father had been born in Egypt and his grandfather, who had left Liverpool at the time of the Lancashire cotton famine, occasioned by the disruption of cotton supplies from America due to the civil war, married, in 1863, Emma Saunders, a daughter of the British Consul General at Alexandria, Sir Sidney Smith Saunders.
John was educated at King’s School, Canterbury, England, married his Polish/Italian wife, Nadia Ida Marie Szymonski-Lubicz, in Alexandria, Egypt and had one son Gerald born in Egypt on April 15th, 1932. On March 2nd 1936 Nadia died in a car accident at Beni Ahmed near Minya, Upper Egypt and in April his son Gerald was sent to live with John’s sister in England.
Before the war John worked for Anderson, Clayton & Company, the Houston-based US cotton-house, founded in 1904, and was a managing partner of their Upper-Egypt Agency at El-Minya. He spoke fluent Arabic, French and Italian. Shortly after the outbreak of war John, with the blessing of Anderson, Clayton & Company (a decision they were to regret see below) John joined the British Forces.
When hostilities with Italy started, he was originally posted the Libyan Arab Force and worked for G(R), July 13th 1940, the branch of the General Staff Middle East which dealt with raiding forces, the organization for rescuing prisoners of war known as 'Advanced HQ', 'A' Force and similar services. He then became Western Desert Liaison Officer at HQ Eighth Army. The WDLO's duty was to control the Arab population of the occupied territory until Civil Affairs could get going and to obtain intelligence from friendly Arabs.
His usual means of delivery behind enemy lines was by the 'Libyan Taxi Service' - the Long Range Desert Group - who held him in high esteem. 'Haselden… was the outstanding personality of the dozen odd men who worked with the tribes in Cyrenaica behind the Axis lines,' wrote Bill Kennedy-Shaw, the LRDG's intelligence officer, 'Untiring, strong, courageous, never without some new scheme for outwitting the enemy, yet with a slow and easy-going way of setting about a job which was far more successful with the Arabs than the usual European insistence on precision and punctuality which they neither like nor understand.'
He spent much of his time behind enemy lines, completely without fear, as either an Arab or an Italian. Although he was actually never a member of the LRDG he spent many hours with a number of the Patrols either going to or coming from one of his missions.
He received a MC for his actions in Oct. of 1941 the Citations reads:
"Capt. Haselden was landed from a submarine behind the enemy's lines on Oct. 10th 1941 to reconnoiter for a possible operation in conjunction with local Arabs. In order to decrease the risk to the boat crew, this officer swam ashore in the dark and, after reconnoitering, signaled that it was safe for the boat to come ashore. He remained in enemy territory until picked up by one of our patrols at a given rendezvous on 19 October (R-Patrol under Capt. Jake Easonsmith). During this period, in which he was in constant danger of being arrested and shot, he collected valuable information both regarding the local Arabs and the movement of enemy troops. The success of the reconnaissance was largely due to the high degree of courage, determination and clear-thinking possessed by this officer".
The very following month he again shows up with T.2 Patrol under Capt. A. D. Hunter, on Nov. 7th, who was to take him along with three other officers and two Arabs to the Slonta area were he did reconnaissance's prior to "Operation Flipper". In which he played a key role in the attempt to kill or capture Rommel. He was dropped off in the desert with the two Arabs and made his way to the coast where he signaled the 'all clear' to two waiting submarines. Men of 11 Scottish Commando led by Lt. Col. Keyes, who was killed in the action [and awarded a posthumous VC], came ashore but bad weather and other problems conspired to turn the operation into a fiasco. Most of the raiding party were killed or captured.
Capt. Haselden again made his way through miles of enemy territory to his appointed rendezvous with the Long Range Desert Group. On his journey back he succeeded in disrupting vital enemy communications. He escaped despite a fierce encounter between the LRDG patrol, which was due to collect him, and Italian forces.
"I consider that Capt. Haselden's fearless action is worthy of the highest praise. Such success as was achieved in the operation was largely due to information which Capt. Haselden had gained during his reconnaissance. I cannot recommend too highly Capt. Haselden's outstanding endurance, his cool and calculated bravery, and his unswerving devotion to duty". Recommended by 'Controller SOE' with G(R) [SOE] GHQ MEF and signed/endorsed by General Auchinleck, CinC, Nov 26 1941 MC, London Gazette, Feb 12 1942. (ICMA)
For his actions in Operation Flipper he received a Bar to his MC.
He again shows up in Jan 3rd 1942 with an Eighth Army letter to the OC LRDG ordering the attachment of a LRDG patrol to XIII Corps. On Feb 9th 1942 G.2 Patrol LRDG under command of Capt. Alastair Timpson left Siwa to take an Axis traffic census. They were accompanied by Capt. Haselden who had with him two Arabs, one the former Mudir of Slonta, who was to assist in assessing the reliability of Arabs in Cyrenaica, and the other a guide. On Feb. 13th 1942 he took four men to observe Axis vehicles using the northern route and reported that one in five were captured British vehicles which seemed to be in much better condition than enemy vehicles. He thought the local Arabs were friendly and helpful. And by following up reports from Arabs they were able to round up 44 British stragglers in the course of the patrol.
The final chapter in Lt. Col. Haselden’s life started in Aug. 21st 1942 when the orders for the attack on Tobruk (Operation Agreement) were issued. Although not well know this plan originated back in October 1940 when only action against the Italians were involved and was subsequently shelved when the British captured Tobruk. It was resurrected after Rommel retook the city in May of 1942.
"The aim of the raid on Tobruk was to destroy oil storage tanks, ammunition dumps, repair facilities and harbor defenses and installations. The ground force (Force B) was led by Lt. Col. Haselden, which was to consist of one squadron of 1st SS [Special Service] Regiment, under Maj. Campbell, disguised as British POW’s, with their weapons hidden. Y.1 patrol LRDG under Capt. David Lloyd Owen, which was to lead the unit across the desert. Special Detachment of G(R) under Capt. Buck [consisting of German speaking Palestinians, sometimes known as 'SIG', [Special Interrogation Group] in German uniforms, some Gunners and Signalers and a Medical Officer. Having entered the port, the force was to attack anti-aircraft and coastal defense batteries at the SE end of Tobruk harbor from the land ward side and to create a bridgehead for Force 'C' [mainly Argyll’s]."
The approach march of 700 miles from Kufra was undetected, they gained entry to the port area as planned and the immediate objectives were achieved but the 18 motor torpedo boats carrying Force 'C' lost touch with each other in the dark and few troops came ashore. Force 'A', mainly Royal Marines embarked in two destroyers, also encountered major difficulties thanks mainly to the adverse weather and navigational problems; all who landed were either killed or captured and both destroyers were lost. About an hour before dawn, Lt. Col. Haselden had a number of wounded loaded onto a truck and he and some other men jumped into a W/T lorry and the two vehicles headed off "down the hill through the enemy". His object was to get the wounded away and then to complete the second part of his task which included the capture of guns along the Southern shore and to then turn his attention to the oil storage tanks but he was killed shortly thereafter" at the age of 39.
For more complete details about the Tobruk raid read "Tobruk Commando" by Gordon Landsborough and "Massacre at Tobruk" by Peter C. Smith. For details of "Operation Flipper" read "Get Rommel" by Michael Asher or http://lost-oasis.org/rommel.html
Photos and most of the information obtained from Gerald Haselden
Born 1920 - Died 3/7/2011
Born in1920 and raised in Bristol, England, Roderick “Matt” Matthews was working as an insurance clerk when he heard that he could learn to ride for free with the Territorial Army; so on 18th November 1938 he volunteered for the North Somerset Yeomanry (NSY), “B” Squadron. This plan worked well for a while with Matt enjoying indoor riding lessons and a summer camp. Then, unfortunately, war was declared in September 1939 and he was called up to H.M. Forces. Initially the NSY were billeted in nearby Weston-Super-Mare before being relocated to East Markham in Nottinghamshire to prepare for their departure to Palestine.
In early 1940 Matt travelled to France and then sailed with his Regiment from Marseilles to Haifa aboard the MV Devonshire. The NSY were based near Nablus and tasked with patrol duties around neighbouring Palestinian villages which he found very boring. Still at this point a mounted unit with equipment from the First World War, Matt saw at first-hand how unprepared the British Army was in 1939 when war broke out.
Boredom with menial tasks meant that when a notice appeared in 1941 asking for single men to volunteer for a special unit engaged in activities of an unusual nature, Matt put his name forward. Sometime later in Haifa, Matt met his old friend Derek “Hutch” Hutchins who had left the NSY a few months before and was in Haifa recruiting new men for the Long Range Desert Group. A night out ensued with Hutch and some of his LRDG colleagues.
The next day Matt was told to report to orderly room, for his interview to move to another unit, he was marched in to the interview “with bags of bull” by the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM). The RSM was shocked when the chair of the panel, David Lloyd Owen, greeted him with “Hello Matt that was an enjoyable evening we had”. Lloyd Owen explained that Hutch had vouched for his character and reliability – and so in February 1942 Matt left the NSY to become a Trooper in the LRDG.
Matt was placed in Y Patrol and in February 1942 undertook training at Abbasia Barracks in Cairo followed relocation to Siwa Oasis. For the rest of 1942 he was under command of Lloyd-Owen in Y Patrol, carrying out surveys of routes, conducting road watches at Marble Arch, tracking an Italian double-agent, delivering Popski into the desert, and in September 1942 the ill-fated raid on Tobruk (Operation Agreement) when Y Patrol acted as taxi for Haselden and his group of commandos. Just after Tobruk, Matt was stood close to Lloyd-Owen when he was injured during an air attack at Kufra. All of these episodes are well documented elsewhere.
The LRDG was now restructured into two Squadrons of six patrols. One was a NZ squadron under command of Alastair Guild, the other ‘B’ Squadron formed of UK and Rhodesian men under the command of the now recovered DLO.
Matt, along with his colleagues now undertook a period of training, reskilling the men for combat in mountainous terrain, carrying everything on foot, a very different challenge compared with desert survival. In early May 1943 DLO took B squadron to the Cedars of Lebanon for mountain training. This entailed skiing, mountaineering, hiking, and working with pack mules. At the end of training Matt had an injured knee and so was unable to travel with B squadron when they sailed from Haifa to Castellrosso in Greece on 11th September 1943. He was left with the MO to recuperate fully and would follow on to join them later.
When he eventually did travel to re-join B Squadron in October 1943 they had moved to Leros, as had the A squadron. Matt reported to Lloyd-Owen, who told him that some men of B squadron had previously gone off on 23rd October 1943 on a raid to recapture Levita, a nearby island. As it was only a small garrison this was not expected to take long, and when they got back Matt would re-join them. Sadly intelligence was poor, the Nazis better equipped than was believed and the squadron lost many men (39?), captured or killed.
Shortly after the disaster at Levita Matt, in a small team led by Capt. Stormonth-Darling and including “Titch” Cave, was taken by the Levant Schooner Squadron (LVS) aboard LS8 on November 3rd 1943 to the occupied island of Mykonos to set up a shipping watch overlooking the Piraeus. On 5th November 1943 they landed on the opposite side of the island to where the German garrison was installed. A sailor was dispatched in a dinghy to row ashore, where he would fasten a line enabling the LRDG patrol to pull themselves ashore in two dinghies with all their kit. The sailor was clearly struggling to get through the surf but the Captain of the cacique nonetheless called to him through a loud hailer to “Hurry up”. The sailor was unimpressed and yelled back that if the Captain thought he could do better he should “come and have a bloody go” himself! The LRDG patrol all lay low expecting a fusillade of bullets at any moment, but thankfully this never came.
They got ashore, climbed a steep hill and established themselves in a chapel overlooking the island, at the opposite end from the town where the Nazis were established. However, the German occupiers only ever patrolled around the island by boat hence did not see the LRDG patrol hiding out in the hills. One day (12th November?) a fleet of Nazi JU52 transport planes flew overhead. It was in fact a wave of parachutists on their way to drop on to Leros, where after several days of fighting the island fell and 123 LRDG men were lost or captured, though about 70 did escape. By 18th November Leros had been captured by the Germans.
Stranded on Mykonos, and with a fading wireless, they managed to get through to Cairo, which at this time was still the LRDG headquarters and received a faint message saying they would be rescued, and the recognition signal would be “U” (...-). The people of Mykonos were tremendous, keeping their presence a secret and feeding them well, the local priest urging his congregation not to talk about their new “friends”. Matt in particular recalled receiving a delicious meal of baby octopus cooked in lemon juice, delivered to them in a sack of hay to keep it warm.
Eventually, (on 25th November 1943?) after about 10 days of hanging around the beach at night, and having almost given up hope of rescue, they heard a motor boat approaching, and saw the appropriate signal being flashed. It was an RAF crash launch that took them all at full speed to Smyrna in Turkey. There the British consul managed to get them an Emergency Certificate, dated 29th November 1943, granting them an “officially approved” VISA to in Syria. This was (retrospectively) issued by the British Embassy, Ankara on 5th December 1943. The party ended up in Ankara where they found themselves in the unusual position of dining in a hotel with the British embassy officials, surrounded by German and Japanese Embassy staff.
They then spent 2 or 3 days returning to Cairo on the Taurus Express, eventually getting back to camp in Palestine and finding a much changed unit, with so many of their friends missing. More training ensued in Syria near barracks at Abla, before the LRDG received orders to move to Italy in February 1944.
On 13th June 1944 Matt was in one of two patrols tasked to jump in to Italy behind enemy lines to observe traffic north of Rome. One, M1 was led by Capt. Ashley Greenwood, the other W1 by Capt. G. “Paddlebum” Rowbottom. Greenwood’s men were dropped off target and all were captured except Greenwood who managed to evade capture and return to the allied lines two weeks later.
Rowbottom’s patrol initially had better luck. They landed safely but obviously nowhere near their planned destination 25 km north-west of Arezzo. Matt recalled that, floating down under his parachute canvas, he looked down and could see trucks with headlights on going along a road. They landed and hid up in woods and at first light studied their maps and surroundings only to decide that they were not even on the map at all! The following night they decided to move off but had not got far when they were challenged by German soldiers. W1 patrol split-up and dispersed, and Matt ended up with Corporal “Buster “Buss. Having avoided capture the pair decided to lay up for the night in some woods, but could hear a lot shouting and dogs barking, so remembering schoolboy escape stories they crossed a river to shake the dogs off their scent climbed the bank on the other side, found some cover and tried to get some sleep.
Next morning they found they were on a high bank over a farm which was occupied by a lot of German vehicles. They decided to lie up for the day and move off at dusk. Walking all night they found themselves in open country. Sitting down at dawn to have some food they were approached by a young Italian. Establishing that this youth was to be trusted they walked with him all day to a farmhouse, rested the night and walked again the following day to a village where they were met by heavily-armed partisan guards. They were escorted to a house where they were re-united with Capt. Rowbottom who had made his own miraculous escape.
Over the next few weeks Rowbottom, Buss and Matt worked with a band of partisans in sabotage raids, wrecking bridges and mining trucks. Unfortunately, one such raid on 10th July 1944, when a lorry carrying ammunition and petrol was destroyed and burnt, led to the Nazis carrying the out reprisal killings of 14 men from the nearby village of Castiglion Fibocchi.
Ten days later they decided to part company with the partisans and return to the Allied lines. Borrowing civilian clothes, and with the Germans retreating north, they joined the tide of refugees returning south to their homes and drove cows with them. There was one tricky moment when they were stopped by some young German soldiers but all went well and the next challenge they received was from a Guards Regiment. This was sometime shortly after 22nd July, as Capt. Bob Maxwell had written to Matt’s parents on this date regretting to inform them that he was missing on operations. Thankfully before his parents had received said letter, a telegram had arrived to say Matt was safe and well.
They re-joined the LRDG in Rodi, a small town in Italy. Matt next went to the isle of Vis with a party to liaise with Marshall Tito’s partisans. On returning to Rodi, Matt was told his turn for leave had come up. He returned home to UK for Christmas 1944 seeing his parents for the first time in almost 4 years.
At the end of his leave he was told to report to Catterick barracks in Yorkshire. There he was reunited with Brian “Springy” Springford, “Joe” Cryer and Don “Bombski” Cashin. After years in the LRDG, a return to regular army (uniforms, marching, parading, saluting) was irksome to them all. Seizing the initiative Springford rang Paddy Mayne, now Commander of the SAS following Stirling’s capture, whom he had met in the desert. Mayne accepted them straight away so they just left camp and made their way to Chelmsford to join up with 1st SAS on Feb.16th 1945.
Matt saw action in Germany with the SAS on Operation Archway, seizing a crossing over the Dortmund-Ems Canal. Unpleasant duties followed arriving first at a concentration camp (believed to be Bergen-Belsen) and securing it before main servicing troops arrived. Matt spent V.E. Day in Brussels, but celebrations were rudely interrupted when the Regiment were ordered to travel to Ostend and get back to Chelmsford. They quickly departed for Norway on Operation Apostle, arriving on 12th May 1945, to accept the surrender and disarm some of the 170,000 German troops there.
After a couple of months they returned to Chelmsford and on 8th October 1945 the SAS were disbanded. Matt awaited demobilisation in Bury St Edmunds, where he found a new role as camp entertainment manager, eventually being demobbed on 19th March 1946.
Information provided by his son Chris Matthews.
1914 - 1945 (Aged 30 at death)
Unit: New Zealand Armoured Corps, Divisional Cavalry Regiment
Les was born Feb 22nd 1914, in the area of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. He worked on his family farm then as a taxi driver until the war broke out. Enlisting in June 1940, trained and was then shipped off to Egypt, arriving in Jan. 1941.
He volunteered for the LRDG on Feb. 18th 1941; posted to T-2 Patrol, he was with the unit when they stood for inspection for General Auckinleck on Oct. 5th 1941.
T-2 Patrol under the leadership of Captain Anthony Hunter, the unit set out from Siwa on Nov. 7th 1941 in the support of Operation Crusader (which was to commence on Nov. 18th).
On Nov. 10th the patrol dropped of Captain John Haselden and his two Arab colleague’s to gather intelligence. The patrol broke up into three units, Les staying with Hunter and they were going to do “Road Watch”. When L/Cpl. Ray Porter failed to come back from their observation post; Hunter took Les & Cpl. Fred Kendall to look for him. While looking for him they were attached by Italians, and while Hunter managed to escape; Les and Fred were last seen firing at the Italians who heavily outnumbered them. There was little chance that they could escape, it was later reported that Porter was also captured.
On Dec. 8th 1941 Les along with many other prisoners boarded the SS Sebastiano Venire for their trip to Italy.
Unfortunately; unbeknown to the British Submarine HMS Porpoise, they did not know it was full of POW’s, and therefore torpedoed it the following day. In the ensuing mayhem the Italians abandon the ship but a German bosun beached the ship on the Greek coast. Five hundred Commonwealth troops died but Les was not one of them. Les along with the others spent a miserable winter in makeshift camps. Finally making the trip to Italy in March of 1942. By August he was being held in Campo PG.85 (POW#3450); again moved in Jan. 1943 to Campo PG.57, where he was taken ill. His was final move was in November 1943 to Stalag VIIIa in Poland, where he was able to work in the kitchen.
Well the “War Gods” weren’t done with Les at this time. Sometime in 1944 he was moved to a work camp at Ruckenwaldau (attached to Stalag VIIIa) where with other POW’s worked on keeping the German railway system in operation. In early 1945 as the Russians were moving west; they were not moved out like many of the other camps.
But early on a cold Feb morning they were instructed to leave the camp immediately. In the ensuing battle between the Russians and Germans, Les was wounded in the leg; laying in the snow for 7 hours until finally treated by the Russians. He had splinter wounds to the right hip & the lower third of the right thigh, complicated by anaerobic septicemia (blood poisoning) and obstruction on the Ileus.
He was treated and operated on by Russian Doctors on Feb. 13th 1945, but died on Feb. 16th 1945. Age 30.
Great Britain #5121738
1921 - ?
Harry was one of those LRDG members that kept the trucks running. He was born March 17th 1921 in Grimsby, England. His father's name was also Harry. At the time of his enlistment on July 24th,1940 his trade was listed as a laborer. He was five foot nine inches tall had a fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. His weight was listed at 132 pounds.
From what few military records that I have seen he was trained as a "Fitter, Motor .Vehicle." and was classified as a Class III on Dec 1st,1942. I can not quite figure out when he joined the LRDG but he received a Yellow Fever vaccination on Feb 7th 1943. And on Feb. 11th , 1943 he was reclassified a Class II Fitter, Motor Vehicle. I assume he was shipped to or was in Egypt shortly thereafter.
At some point in time he joined the LRDG and was posted to the Light Repair Service Unit. Since the battle for North Africa was drawing to a close by April the LRDG was ordered back to Alexandria for refit and find out was to become of the unit.
As the unit was to be retrained and moved to the Cedars of Lebanon for Mountain Warfare School. The desert trucks were not taken with them but there were both British Military trucks and jeeps still used by the unit that had to be kept in running order. In June of 1943 his rank was listed as a "Craftsman".
After the disaster in the Dodecanese Islands where the LRDG lost more men than the previous three years, it was eventually moved to the Italian Adriatic Coast for continued operations in Albania and Yugoslavia.
Harry was there with LSR 16 which was based in Rodi, Italy. On July 28th,1944 he was ordered to go to Bari and "collect stores", by Captain Braithwait, Officer in Charge of L.R.S. attached to the LRDG.
Harry continued with the LRDG - LRS until the end of the war and the unit was disbanded.
Upon his discharge on July 2nd 1946 his officer remarked that "Harry is a very good man who has a good knowledge of his job as a M.T. Fitter. Kind, willing and intelligent. Can be relied upon to work on his own initiative without supervision."
For his World War II service he was awarded the following The African Star The 1939-1945 British Star The Italy Star
I have no information about Harry's postwar activities. I did however meet his son a few years ago who provided the photos and war information. Harry has passed away but I do not have the date.
1917 - 2001
David was born in Hampton, Middlesex, England October 10th , 1917. His father was a Captain in the Royal Navy. After Winchester College and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the Queen’s Royal Regiment in 1938. His unit was shipped to Palestine were he saw service during the Arab revolt.
With the outbreak of hostilities and the movement of the Italian Army toward Mersa Matruh, the Queen’s was sent to Egypt in December 1940, where Lloyd Owen saw action as a company commander at Sidi Barani and Tobruk.
But by late spring of 1941, Lloyd Owen, much to his chagrin, found himself posted back in Cairo as an instructor at the Middle East officer cadet training unit. Lloyd Owen had heard about the Long Range Desert Group from a officer friend in the Guards.
He applied and was interviewed by Major Bagnold. He impressed Bagnold sufficiently to be taken on and given command of a Yeomanry Patrol.
A man of normally immaculate appearance, he began to blend in with his informal and decidedly scruffy comrades. Lloyd Owen’s relaxed and friendly style of leadership relied on persuasion, personal example and the recognition of shared hardships. He won the loyalty and respect of his men by his daring, sheer stamina and first rate tactical skills.
He was awarded an MC for his part in a joint raid on Tobruk, code named "Agreement" in September 1942. Shortly after the raid, when his unit had returned to Kufra, he was severely wounded in an air raid with a cannon shell to his back and left arm. He recovered enough to rejoin the unit for the final stages of the North African campaign.
When the unit was involved in the Dodecanes Islands and the new commander Jake Easonsmith was killed, David Lloyd Owen was appointed to command. He led the unit successfully in raids on Corfu, the Dalmatian Islands and in Yugoslavia from the LRDG command post in Bari Italy. He was injured when in Albania (after a successful parachute jump) he fell into a 30 foot ravine, and badly damaged his spine. A medical officer parachuted in an treated him in the field and although, continually in pain, he managed to direct a number of successful operations in the mountains. For his leadership in the Balkans he was awarded the DSO and mentioned in dispatches.
Following the war he married in 1947 and following a period of service with the War Office’s military operations staff, in 1948-49 he was appointed military assistant to the high commissioner in Malaya, at the height of the emergency. For his work there he was awarded an OBE and again mentioned in dispatches. From 1957 to 1959 he commanded his own regiment, the 1st Battalion the Queen’s Royal Regiment, in Germany, before joining the staff at Sandhurst. During the Radfan campaign of the early 1960s, he commanded the 24 Infantry Group in Kenya and Aden. In 1968-69 he was general officer commanding, Near East Land Forces, and from 1969 until his retirement with the rank of major-general in 1972, president of the Regular Commissions Board.
In his retirement, he made his home in Norfolk, he was chairman of the Wildflowers Association of Great Britain, and a charitable trust for the disabled and those with learning difficulties. He was also chairman of the LRDG Association for more than 50 years. He published two memoirs, "The Desert My Dwelling Place" (1957) and "Providence Their Guide" (1980).
In his later years the effects of his earlier wounds and injuries caused him to be confined much of the time in a wheel chair. He died on April 5, 2001 and was survived by his wife of 54 years and three sons.
1920 - 1982
Mark was born on June 18th 1920 in West Calder, Scotland, the youngest of eleven children. By 1924, the family immigrated to New York, settling in Brooklyn. In 1929 he returned with his parents and one brother to Scotland, the rest of the siblings remained in the United States.
He grew to be a handsome 6 foot 2 inch young man, blessed with a fine tenor singing voice. On Jan. 18th 1937, lying about his age (he was 16 ½), he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards. Trained as an Infantryman, Military Policeman and a Driver, he served in England from January 1937 until November 1938.
In November 1938, he was posted to Egypt and was attached to 8th Army Headquarters serving as a Driver/Batman and a Corporal at the Officers Mess.
He was sometimes later recruited to the LRDG and it was for his actions with them that he was awarded the Military Medal.
On Nov. 20th 1942, assigned to G-1 Patrol under Captain Alastair Timpson, who had by this time recovered from injuries received on the journey outbound to Barce in Sept, his Patrol left Kufra to relieve G-2 on Road Watch in the Nofilia area. They had five trucks and two jeeps and consisted of Timpson (OC) and Hon. Bernard Bruce (SIC) with 20 other ranks. On the way to their station, they were attacked by a larger force and three of the trucks and a jeep along with ten of his troop were captured. They still had their W/T truck so continued on to relieve G-2.
On the night of Dec. 12th 1942, Welsh and the patrol commander (Capt. Timpson) were dropped off several miles from the coast road to carry out the road watch. Arriving near the road, the only space unoccupied by the enemy was a steep-sided wadi, which flattened out near the road where there were a few small mounds sparsely covered with thorn bushes. This is where they positioned themselves for the night and the long day ahead. At daybreak, German vehicles pulled off the road within 100 yards of their position, making camp. They parked their cooker lorry next to the hideout and they could hear the menu for lunch – macaroni, goulash and gherkins – and could smell it cooking, but were unable to move to eat their own tins of bully beef. Their position seemed hopeless, but they continued recording the dense traffic traveling along the coast road (3500 westbound vehicles were recorded).
The daylight hours passed slowly but they were not discovered. As darkness arrived, Capt. Timpson decided to leave the position before midnight to prevent the next watch from coming to the area. As the moon was rising, they gathered their equipment, rose quickly and walked off slowly in a nonchalant way. Unfortunately, they were challenged, and unable to give the correct password they were fired upon repeatedly and chased. In the ensuing action, they became separated. Timpson went back to where he had last saw Welsh, looking for him and quietly calling his name. Unable to find him, he headed back to the rendezvous; and was picked up by the next team waiting in the jeep who had heard all the shooting.
Meanwhile, managing to evade his pursuers, Welsh had waited for Timpson for about an hour. He then decided to head back, worried that the Germans had got Timpson and concerned to remember details of the previous day’s traffic, as Timpson had the notebook. Unfortunately, passing through several more enemy camps, he was again fired upon and hunted, successfully eluding the enemy. His patrol eventually picked up his footsteps and following them, he was found almost back at the old camp site having walked twenty miles from the rendezvous. (read "G Patrol" by Michael Crichton-Stuart and "In Rommel's Backyard" by Alastair Timpson).
He continued to serve with the unit throughout the North African Campaign; when that theater of war ended, he went with the unit to train at the Cedars of Lebanon, for mountain climbing, ski school and then on to jump school.
In Sept. 3rd 1943, Italy decided they had enough fighting and surrendered, this was announced to the world on Sept. 8th and on Sept. 11th Germany moved troops into Italy and all areas under Italian control. One of these areas was the Dodecanese Islands, a group of 14 islands, located in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey. The British wanted these islands and moved troops (LRDG, SBS, and other units) into them before the Germans could get there. However that did not deter the Germans, as they wanted them also and sent an invading force to take them back.
On the evening of Sept 18th, B Squadron of the LRDG was landed on Astipalaea (Stampalia). On Sept. 24th three patrols were removed to Leros, leaving M-2 Patrol, under Capt. Ken Lazarus, with 16 O.R. (other ranks; Mark was one of the O.R.) remained on the island to report on enemy aircraft and shipping. On Oct. 12th Capt. Lazarus was ask if he (and his patrol) would liked to be relieved. His reply was “I would rather be bored on this island than bored on yours”. Lazarus had divided his patrol into three locations; he had five troopers with him manning a wireless post at Assitia. On Oct. 22nd at 6:15 AM German Paratrooper dropped into the center of the island and by 2:00 PM had complete control. Capt. Lazarus and four men managed to escape to Turkey, unfortunately, the rest along with Mark were captured. (Thanks to Anthony Rogers–Author of Churchill’s Folly for most of the information in the above two paragraphs – click here).
The LRDG lost more men; killed, wounded or captured in this short campaign than the preceding three years in the desert. Mark along with all the other captured from the surrounding islands was transported via boat to Yugoslavia or Greece and then by train to Stalag 344 (located in Lamsdorf, Poland ). From information taken from his army service record, he was successful in making his escape on April 12th 1945, and eventually was able to rejoin his unit on April 23rd 1945, after spending 18 months as a POW.
Mark was medically discharged from military service on Jan. 29th 1946, his conduct being described as “exemplary”, and as a “smart, clean, honest and sober man who is hardworking and reliable…” He married Alice Harkins in 1945 but they were divorced in the early 70’s. They had three children, Alison (1946), Catriona (1953), and Mark Jr. (1963).
He was a member of the Scots Guards Association Club, Edinburgh and remained proud of his military background. Mark died in Dufftown, Scotland, of a heart attack on December 14th 1982 at the age of 62.
For his service during WW II he was awarded:
1910 - 2001
Frank's parents, William White and Janey (nee Waddy) lived in the Quantock Hills of Somerset, England and there raised a son, Reginald Francis White, born March 21st 1910. His boyhood home was called Timbercombe. It was there that Frank began his life-long communion with nature. Franks schooling was at Connaught House in Weymouth and Clifton College in Bristol. As he was not keen for the family traditions of law and military, he traveled to New Zealand to attend Canterbury Agricultural College for three years. He attained a diploma of agriculture in 1930.
"R.F. White 1927 from 'AN ORDINARY MAN - FRANK'S STORY'. Used with kind permission of Kate Foster. Copies of Frank White's memoirs are available for $30.00 NZ from Dryden Press, P.O. Box 42, Hororata, Canterbury 8172, NZ"
The 1930's found Frank flourishing in his chosen pursuits. His two-year farm cadetship on Glen Wye was followed with two years sheperding and mustering. In 1935, he settled family affairs with a trip to England, then returned to New Zealand, where Frank bought a farm in 1938. He would do most of his life's work at his Hororata property. He owned it for only 18 months before the Second World War began.
Frank enlisted in 1939, training first at Ngaruawahia and then in Bren-gun carriers under the plodding rain at Wiaouru. In January 1940 a train conveyed him and his fellows from B Squadron, Divisional Cavalry Regiment, 2nd NZ Division to Wellington wharf for the voyage to Suez on the troop ship Rangitata. He finished out 1940 becoming accustomed to North Africa's climate at Maadi Camp, performing light-tank maneuvers at El Saff; and engaging in displays of force against the Italians.
Frank arrived for the campaign in Greece on March 21, 1941. After patrols along the Aliakmon River, Frank commanded a Bren-gun carrier in delaying actions towards Mt. Olympus. During the battle at Pinios Gorge on April 18th, his carrier was hit twice by tank shells and caught fire while Frank lay inside, shooting at the German tanks within his Squadron's positions. The fire was put out, but the tired carrier began to break down, finally forcing Frank to abandon it 2 days later and then to find other transport to the evacuation beach at Rafti.
Back in Egypt, Frank was selected for Officer's Training. Instead, however, he volunteered and was accepted for the LRDG. After training outside Cairo at Abbassia, Frank was dispatched to Siwa Oasis with patrol T1. Following a bout with Malaria in the winter of 1941, he moved to join his LRDG patrol at Kufra Oasis. Frank navigated his patrol to pick up agent and guide Colonel Haseldon, following the November 1941 attempt to raid Rommel's Headquarters.
Frank endured in a dicey road watch in December 1942, while a member of T2 patrol under Ron Tinker. The area around the Sedda was thick with Germans, and the road watch hideout was quickly surrounded. Ordered to split up and evade capture, Frank spent a night alone before finding the patrol forward camp. T2 then withdrew, pursued by the enemy.
Venturing into Tunisia in January 1943, T2 surveyed routes around Rommel's much vaunted "Mareth Line". Frank navigated Ron Tinkers recce party of two jeeps while operating in tandem with two jeeps under the famous "Popski" of PPA. They left base camp at Qaret Ali on the 25th and scouted for a few days towards Matmata. Upon return, they found the base camp location had been betrayed by Arabs and decimated by air attack. Tinker departed with most remaining vehicles to evacuate the wounded, and Frank joined a walking group of 37 evaders under "Popski". One afternoon a week later, the group watched a massive formation of RAF bombers passing overhead, and then found Tinker racing over the hillocks towards them with rescue jeeps. Frank and the others of this party had walked 240 km, passing several strong Italian garrisons and being shadowed by hostile Arab horsemen much of the way.
Frank and Ron Tinker were given a priority flight to Eighth Army Headquarters and debriefed. A two-month Officer Cadet Training Unit course followed. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, Frank returned to the LRDG which was in Alexandria preparing for a change in mission venue. During the summer of 1943 he underwent mountain training at the Cedars of Lebanon in readiness for deployment to the Balkans.
Following the September 1943 Italian surrender, British forces moved to bolster Italian garrisons in the Aegean. Frank was dispatched with the LRDG to the Dodecanese Island of Leros, where he led R2 patrol, commanding the Italian gun battery on Mount. Scumbardo. After the German invasion and Leros' capitulation in November, Frank navigated his men's escape in a small rowboat to Turkey. They were repatriated to Palestine, and Frank and the other New Zealanders were recalled from the LRDG on December 29, 1943.
"Frank White's LRDG party following their escape from Leros, November 18, 1943. From AN ORDINARY MAN - FRANK'S STORY. Used with permission."
Frank joined B Squadron, 20th Armored Regiment and made a quick tank sortie towards Monte Cassino. He was then given a brief leave in New Zealand. Returning to the war, Frank assumed command of 8 Troop of B Squadron at Forli, Italy. He spent the remainder of the winter of 1944-45 at San Felico, trading tank fire with the Germans, before advancing up Italy's eastern side. In March, Frank was promoted Captain of B Squadron, and in April advanced across the Po River. The Second World War ended while Frank was in Trieste. Granted leave, Frank toured Italy, Germany, and Crete before boarding the boat for home at Egypt.
After the war, Frank returned to his farm and bred sheep and cattle. The trees he planted as shelter belts eventually amounted to about 170 varieties or species. He made outings with the Windwhistle Winter Sports Club, was a foundation member and President of the Central Canterbury Farm Forestry Association, and won the national award as "Farm Forester of the Year". Frank began 24 years service on the Selwyn Plantation Board in 1961 and made a trip to England in 1964.
Frank served as Patron of the LRDG New Zealand Association, County Councilman for 11 years, 40 years on the Coalgate Saleyards Committee, and on the Hororata River Committee for 35 years. He celebrated his 90th birthday with a hot air balloon ride. Frank gifted his property "Silverwood" to Lincoln University for research and the education of others. He died at Darfield, NZ on October 1, 2001 at age 91.