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Military (& related) obituaries

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Also posted in the SA thread, but Russel deserves a larger audience.


Russell Phillips; Brave Soldier With A Big Heart.

On Wednesday, a handful of old soldiers and friends gathered to pay our respects to Russell Phillips who died suddenly last week.

Russell was the recipient of the Silver Cross of Rhodesia for gallantry and I had the privilege of saying a few words about this extraordinary which caused me to reflect.

In September 1977 he was the Lance-Corporal in charge of a section of four men sweeping a rocky outcrop in search of the enemy when an officer pursued a ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) guerrilla into a cave.

On hearing firing Russell ran to investigate only to discover that the officer had not re-emerged.
Suspecting he was wounded within he crawled inside to find the man had indeed been hit and was unable to move.

Russell and a fellow soldier, encumbered by their rifles, failed to dislodge the injured man from a cleft in the rocks and decided to withdraw under fire from additional guerrillas hidden inside.

Undaunted, Russell discarded his rifle and re-entered armed only with a 9 mm pistol with which he then engaged the enemy machine-gunners at a range of less than five metres killing one before running out of ammunition and having to withdraw to re-load.

He immediately re-entered and re-engaged the enemy, killing another, while moving to a position closer to the incoming fire so a medic could come behind him and retrieve the incapacitated officer.

With the wounded man removed, Russell then advanced further into the cave and engaged the enemy with grenades killing one and wounding another.
Sadly, the officer died of his wounds.

Russell fought on through countless contacts over three long years with Support Commando of the RLI (Rhodesian Light Infantry), until the cease-fire was called.

With the world presently engaged in an anti-white frenzy, I cast my mind back to our time of war and reminded myself, for my generation, this sentiment is nothing new.
In fact, when Russell was performing his heroics, he was the very epitome of the sort of person the world loved to loathe.
As a frontline, airborne soldier, in the eyes of the world, he was considered a ‘racist rebel’ defending an ‘illegal settler regime’ against gallant ‘Freedom Fighters’ struggling to ‘liberate’ their people from the shackles of ‘brutal colonial rule’.

This view was embraced by virtually every government, religious order and international organisation in the world, galvanizing the international community into concerted and cohesive actions that eventually succeeded in bringing Robert Mugabe to power.
Russell’s guns, along with all his fellow soldiers, were silenced and liberals around the globe were jubilant.

What none of them ever cared to consider, was Russell and most of those he fought with, was never a racist, nor was he fighting for racial dominance; he had seen the enemy for what he was, not the way a deluded world wanted to see him, and when called to meet the challenge, he responded with ferocity and fearlessness.

He believed, because he had seen the enemy at work in the field, unlike his myriad detractors, that defeat would the death-knell of the country he loved, and the black people he sought to defend would be the biggest casualties.

Of course, he was right, and the world was wrong.
With his country in the grip of a tyrant he left with sadness, but his anger was directed at the political and associated leaders of the new ruling dispensation and not against any racial group.

He well knew the whites and the majority of blacks were essentially victims of a left wing -dominated media and political hierarchy that refused to so much as countenance the presence of Europeans in any positions of power in any country in Africa; it was racism in its purest form but allowable, even encouraged, in the context.

Putting this disappointment behind him, for the rest of his life, as he grew his business through hard work, knowing he had been rendered virtually powerless to prevent the damage wrought by serial misrule throughout the continent, Russell chose to do all he could, as quietly and discreetly as possible to help the poor black people he felt so strong an affection for.

Being a devoted tiger-fisherman, he made a second home for himself at Shackleton’s Camp on the lower Zambezi where he set about helping the impoverished villagers.

Seeing the local school was in financial distress he donated books, stationery, computers and money to improve the lot of the children.

An elderly local who had lost a leg to a crocodile became Russell’s personal responsibility.
The sick in the area could rely on him to send the medicines they could not afford or obtain.

He was famous for heavy tipping to the point he attracted criticism; ‘I can afford it,’ he would say, ‘think what a difference it will make to him’.
On hearing of a mission station in Burundi in need, a country he had never been to, he donated the funds needed for a vehicle.
The same for another mission station in Swaziland. Theresa, his widow insists he helped so many so quietly nobody will ever know all he did.

Saying goodbye to him was a moment of great sadness, tinged with pride coming from the knowledge I could call him a friend.
But also a time to remember, that although Russell set a high bar, he was in so many ways typical of most Rhodesians I knew, of his and earlier generations, who so desperately wanted to help build a successful multi-racial country that would have been the pride of Africa, but were denied the chance, simply because we were white.

While the world mourns the passing of George Floyd who will be universally remembered as a martyr for a noble cause, only a tiny few, mostly kindred spirits will remember my friend and I can’t help but think Russell cared and did more for black people than George did.
Hannes.
 

anglo

LE
Also posted in the SA thread, but Russel deserves a larger audience.


Russell Phillips; Brave Soldier With A Big Heart.

On Wednesday, a handful of old soldiers and friends gathered to pay our respects to Russell Phillips who died suddenly last week.

Russell was the recipient of the Silver Cross of Rhodesia for gallantry and I had the privilege of saying a few words about this extraordinary which caused me to reflect.

In September 1977 he was the Lance-Corporal in charge of a section of four men sweeping a rocky outcrop in search of the enemy when an officer pursued a ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) guerrilla into a cave.

On hearing firing Russell ran to investigate only to discover that the officer had not re-emerged.
Suspecting he was wounded within he crawled inside to find the man had indeed been hit and was unable to move.

Russell and a fellow soldier, encumbered by their rifles, failed to dislodge the injured man from a cleft in the rocks and decided to withdraw under fire from additional guerrillas hidden inside.

Undaunted, Russell discarded his rifle and re-entered armed only with a 9 mm pistol with which he then engaged the enemy machine-gunners at a range of less than five metres killing one before running out of ammunition and having to withdraw to re-load.

He immediately re-entered and re-engaged the enemy, killing another, while moving to a position closer to the incoming fire so a medic could come behind him and retrieve the incapacitated officer.

With the wounded man removed, Russell then advanced further into the cave and engaged the enemy with grenades killing one and wounding another.
Sadly, the officer died of his wounds.

Russell fought on through countless contacts over three long years with Support Commando of the RLI (Rhodesian Light Infantry), until the cease-fire was called.

With the world presently engaged in an anti-white frenzy, I cast my mind back to our time of war and reminded myself, for my generation, this sentiment is nothing new.
In fact, when Russell was performing his heroics, he was the very epitome of the sort of person the world loved to loathe.
As a frontline, airborne soldier, in the eyes of the world, he was considered a ‘racist rebel’ defending an ‘illegal settler regime’ against gallant ‘Freedom Fighters’ struggling to ‘liberate’ their people from the shackles of ‘brutal colonial rule’.

This view was embraced by virtually every government, religious order and international organisation in the world, galvanizing the international community into concerted and cohesive actions that eventually succeeded in bringing Robert Mugabe to power.
Russell’s guns, along with all his fellow soldiers, were silenced and liberals around the globe were jubilant.

What none of them ever cared to consider, was Russell and most of those he fought with, was never a racist, nor was he fighting for racial dominance; he had seen the enemy for what he was, not the way a deluded world wanted to see him, and when called to meet the challenge, he responded with ferocity and fearlessness.

He believed, because he had seen the enemy at work in the field, unlike his myriad detractors, that defeat would the death-knell of the country he loved, and the black people he sought to defend would be the biggest casualties.

Of course, he was right, and the world was wrong.
With his country in the grip of a tyrant he left with sadness, but his anger was directed at the political and associated leaders of the new ruling dispensation and not against any racial group.

He well knew the whites and the majority of blacks were essentially victims of a left wing -dominated media and political hierarchy that refused to so much as countenance the presence of Europeans in any positions of power in any country in Africa; it was racism in its purest form but allowable, even encouraged, in the context.

Putting this disappointment behind him, for the rest of his life, as he grew his business through hard work, knowing he had been rendered virtually powerless to prevent the damage wrought by serial misrule throughout the continent, Russell chose to do all he could, as quietly and discreetly as possible to help the poor black people he felt so strong an affection for.

Being a devoted tiger-fisherman, he made a second home for himself at Shackleton’s Camp on the lower Zambezi where he set about helping the impoverished villagers.

Seeing the local school was in financial distress he donated books, stationery, computers and money to improve the lot of the children.

An elderly local who had lost a leg to a crocodile became Russell’s personal responsibility.
The sick in the area could rely on him to send the medicines they could not afford or obtain.

He was famous for heavy tipping to the point he attracted criticism; ‘I can afford it,’ he would say, ‘think what a difference it will make to him’.
On hearing of a mission station in Burundi in need, a country he had never been to, he donated the funds needed for a vehicle.
The same for another mission station in Swaziland. Theresa, his widow insists he helped so many so quietly nobody will ever know all he did.

Saying goodbye to him was a moment of great sadness, tinged with pride coming from the knowledge I could call him a friend.
But also a time to remember, that although Russell set a high bar, he was in so many ways typical of most Rhodesians I knew, of his and earlier generations, who so desperately wanted to help build a successful multi-racial country that would have been the pride of Africa, but were denied the chance, simply because we were white.

While the world mourns the passing of George Floyd who will be universally remembered as a martyr for a noble cause, only a tiny few, mostly kindred spirits will remember my friend and I can’t help but think Russell cared and did more for black people than George did.
Hannes.
A great man, will be missed by many, RIP
Your post has done him proud,
 
Major General Lennox Napier, who was awarded an MC for his services in Malaya, and followed in a family tradition going back five generations by completing his military career as Colonel of the Regiment - No pressure there then!

Napier, then a captain serving in Malaya with 1st Bn The South Wales Borderers (1 SWB), was in charge of training for jungle operations against the Communist terrorists. He was also an expert in night ambushes and was responsible for killing several terrorists at considerable risk to himself.

He led his young trainees in many enterprises where the presence of terrorists was suspected. On one occasion, he led a charge which flushed out two terrorists. One was killed and Napier led the pursuit for the other.

He achieved the unusual feat of overtaking a terrorist in his own country. The man turned at bay and fired continuously at Napier who, disregarding the bullets, ran the fugitive into the ground and killed him.

The citation for the award to Napier of an MC paid tribute to his inspiring leadership, high courage and aggressiveness over a period of 18 months which “accounted in no small measure for the successes which the battalion has achieved”.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
And another.

After cheating the reaper for ninety-six full years, Jock Hutton DMM has finally left us.

Joining the British Army as an under aged boy soldier in the Black Watch, (1939 ?) he transferred to Para Reg in 1943.
Jock dropped into France on D-Day with 13 Bn, and picked up some German mortar fragments a couple of weeks later.
He rejoined his unit and continued through the war, leaving in 1954 (if I remember correctly,) and then moving to Northern Rhodesia.
He joined C Sqn on it's re-formation and later took over as SSM from Stan Standish.

After the benevolent Western socialists had their hero Oom Bob installed as dictator, Jock remained for a while, and some very good reasons, then moved to South Africa to join the SADF, first in 6 Recce and then at 5 in Palaborwa.

When he returned to the UK he continued parachuting under rounds until about nine ten years ago, after which the quacks were a bit asti about issuing him a fitness to lob cert.
He came into Normandy as a tandem pax last year, and was also a regular at Arnhem.

A huge little oke, a real man amongst men and definitely lived life to the full.

Condolences to Doreen and his daughters, Lorraine and Karen.
He will be sorely missed by many.
 

Lieutenant-Colonel Bill Mundell, who has died aged 88, was awarded a British Empire Medal for his service with 22 Special Air Service Regiment in Borneo.

In 1963, during the Confrontation with Indonesia, Mundell, then a sergeant, commanded an SAS fighting patrol in Sarawak on the long, porous border with Kalimantan. He took part in a number of clandestine cross-border operations and, having a flair for intelligence work, recruited agents from the local people and gathered information about the activities of Indonesian Army detachments.

Patrols could last a fortnight. The terrain was among the most inhospitable in the world and rations, arms and equipment had to be man-packed.

William Lawrie Mundell was born at Maybole, Ayrshire, on July 1 1931. His father had been badly wounded in the First World War and young Bill was one of three brothers who all served in the Army.

While on active service in the Korean War as a National Serviceman, he was in a slit trench when a Chinese mortar round landed. It failed to explode but killed his comrade standing beside him.

In 1952 he was demobilised, but he re-enlisted and volunteered for service in Malaya with the SAS. A first-rate jungle fighter and instructor, cool under fire and fluent in the language, he was at home in the wet, disease-ridden rainforests infested with mosquitoes and leeches. He was also an expert tracker, his skills learned from jungle trackers recruited from among the Iban and Dayak peoples. “Make the jungle your friend,” was his advice to recruits.

He was one of the first to volunteer for the hazardous practice of parachuting into the jungle canopy and abseiling, often from considerable heights, to the ground. On many occasions men were killed or badly injured when they hit the trees or crashed down to the jungle floor.

For much of the 1960s the SAS was badly under strength and its workload so heavy that men frequently found themselves on multiple back-to-back tours in operational areas thousands of miles apart. Many servicemen were deployed on four-month tours in Borneo followed by two weeks’ home leave, four months in Aden and then back to Borneo.

Between 1970 and 1973, Mundell served as regimental sergeant-major of 23 SAS Regiment (TA) and saw action in Oman against Communist-backed insurgents infiltrating from nearby Yemen and attempting to overthrow the Sultanate. He also served in Northern Ireland.

He subsequently held a number of appointments in charge of training or as a senior quartermaster. In 1987, he retired in the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

He was admired and respected by all who served with him. One colleague described him as “meek and mild and made of steel”, another as “the consummate professional – everyone wanted to be in his patrol”.

A proud Scot, he was a proficient performer on the bagpipes and in retirement was a keen golfer and an active Freemason.

Bill Mundell’s wife Monica, to whom he was devoted, predeceased him, and he is survived by their son.

Bill Mundell, born July 1 1931, died February 22 2020
 
Major General Sir Desmond Rice, who has died aged 95, played a leading part in raising the Royal Yeomanry (RY) during a major reorganisation of the Army and in the face of great difficulties.

In 1967, following the Defence White Paper of the previous year, the regimental and divisional structure of the TA was abolished and the title Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) was adopted. Rice, on assuming command of the RY, had the problem of merging five squadrons.

These were drawn from five different Yeomanry regiments, each with their own ideas, traditions and forms of dress and all with different standards of training. They were also widely dispersed, being based at Westminster, Croydon, Wiltshire, Nottingham and Northern Ireland.

To foster the best characteristics of each while retaining the local links and weld these diverse elements together called for first-rate leadership, an adroit blend of tact and firmness and involved long hours of work and constant travel.

Rice created an efficient and united armoured car regiment and proved that a volunteer unit could be trained and equipped to undertake an immediate mobilisation role. In 1970, he was appointed OBE in recognition of the successful completion of a most challenging assignment.

Desmond Hind Garrett Rice was born on December 1 1924 and educated at Marlborough. In November 1944 he was commissioned into The Queen’s Bays and, arriving in Naples in the last blacked-out ship, he joined his regiment just before the end of hostilities in Italy.

In 1947, he accompanied his regiment to the Canal Zone. After a spell at the War Office, he rejoined the regiment in Fallingbostel, Germany. Command of a squadron was followed by Joint Services Staff College and then a return to the regiment as second-in-command.

Command of the RY was followed by a series of exacting high-profile staff jobs ideally suited to his analytical mind, quick grasp of key problems and command of detail. He was, progressively, GSO 2 in the Military Operations Directorate at the War Office, DAA and QMG in 11 Brigade at Minden, Germany, and Military Assistant to the GOC Berlin, Major General Sir John Nelson.

After three years as Colonel GS of the 4th Division in BAOR, in 1973 he moved to the MoD as Brigadier General Staff in the Military Operations Directorate, responsible for the operational employment of the Army.

The following year, when Turkish forces invaded Cyprus, Rice’s general was on holiday in France. Rice deployed two brigades and reported to the general that everything was under control and there was no need to cut short his holiday. He was appointed CBE at the end of his tour.

After a year at the Royal College of Defence Studies, he returned to the MoD as Director of Manning for the Army and, then, as Vice Adjutant General. This was a difficult period for the armed services as a whole; successive pay freezes had led to under-manning, poor retention rates and low morale.

Rice retired from the Army in 1979 and joined the Royal Household as Secretary of the Central Chancery of Orders of Knighthood (1980–89. He was responsible for all the investitures and the chivalry services in St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

In 1989 he was appointed KCVO and also became an Extra Gentleman Usher to the Queen. From 1980 to 1986 he was Colonel 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards.

Major General Sir Desmond Rice married, in 1954, Denise Ravenscroft. She predeceased him and he is survived by their daughter.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
And another.

After cheating the reaper for ninety-six full years, Jock Hutton DMM has finally left us.

Joining the British Army as an under aged boy soldier in the Black Watch, (1939 ?) he transferred to Para Reg in 1943.
Jock dropped into France on D-Day with 13 Bn, and picked up some German mortar fragments a couple of weeks later.
He rejoined his unit and continued through the war, leaving in 1954 (if I remember correctly,) and then moving to Northern Rhodesia.
He joined C Sqn on it's re-formation and later took over as SSM from Stan Standish.

After the benevolent Western socialists had their hero Oom Bob installed as dictator, Jock remained for a while, and some very good reasons, then moved to South Africa to join the SADF, first in 6 Recce and then at 5 in Palaborwa.

When he returned to the UK he continued parachuting under rounds until about nine ten years ago, after which the quacks were a bit asti about issuing him a fitness to lob cert.
He came into Normandy as a tandem pax last year, and was also a regular at Arnhem.

A huge little oke, a real man amongst men and definitely lived life to the full.

Condolences to Doreen and his daughters, Lorraine and Karen.
He will be sorely missed by many.

Apologies for quoting myself, but for info:

The funeral service of WO1 John (Jock) James MacDonald Hutton will take place on Wednesday 2nd September 2020. Details as follows:

Time: 14:45hrs
Venue: Vinters Park Crematorium, Bearsted Road, Maidstone, Kent ME14 5LG

Medals and berets to be worn.

Regrettably, due to COVID-19 regulations and restrictions on numbers, only 30 people are permitted to Attend the service.
This will be strictly by personal invitation only.

Anyone who would like to attend and form the 'Honour Guard' on the road into the crematorium would be most welcome.

After the entrance of the funeral procession, there will be standing room available outside the chapel, where the service will be relayed on loudspeakers from the chapel.

Alternatively, there will be an opportunity to view the service via webcast, details to follow.

There will be an informal 'Wake' at The Newham Court Inn after the service, this is directly opposite and about 300 metres from the entrance to the Crematorium.
It is found within the Newham Court Shopping Centre :

Newham Court Inn
Bearstead Road
Maidstone
ME14 5LH

Tel: 01622 734211

2 bar lounges (15 in each) have been booked at this inn to cater for the family and guests.
There is also an outside area for other members of the Honour Guard should they wish to attend and share their personal memories of Jock.
COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time will be observed.

Anyone who would like to attend and form part of the Honour Guard is requested to be there by 14:25hrs.
PRA Branch Standards would be most welcome.
 

QRK2

LE


Augustus Fletcher, who has died aged 91, was awarded the George Medal in 1957 after a combined police and military operation code-named “Googly” during the Malayan Emergency; he later served in both MI5 and MI6.
In 1948, the Malayan Communist Party launched a countrywide insurrection. The militant arm of the Party, the Communist Terrorists or CTs, built large, well-camouflaged jungle camps only approachable by tracks which were booby-trapped and guarded by sentries.

The CTs were experts in field-craft, well-armed, highly trained in the use of hit-and-run tactics and ruthless in their policy of eliminating anyone suspected of passing on intelligence to the British. Fletcher, always known as Gus, was Assistant Superintendent of Police, and Area Special Branch Officer in the Kuala Pilau and Bahau Police Districts of Negeri Sembilan, Malaya.

In September 1956, Fletcher received a letter from Wang Hsi, a cunning, highly effective operator and master in the art of laying ambushes, who for many years had made every effort to kill Fletcher. In the letter Wang – motivated by recent reverses and the prospect of revenging himself on his superiors, as well as the chance of a substantial reward – asked for a meeting.

Subject to terms being agreed, he offered to defect and work under cover with the police to eliminate high-ranking Malayan CTs. Fletcher realised that it might be a trap; but the prospect of recruiting an insurgents’ cell to work under his direction and bring down CTs who were high on his wanted list was too attractive to pass up.
Fletcher agreed to a meeting. He and his colleagues accepted that there was no certainty which way the “ball would bounce”: the mission was accordingly code-named “Operation Googly”.

In the journey through the jungle by track and on foot, Fletcher, with a pistol taped to his body, was accompanied by Inspector Goh, Detective Corporal Idris, and a lugubrious Chinese surrendered CT. They were shadowed by Major Graham Vivian, an officer in the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Goorkhas (The Sirmoor Rifles), and five of his hand-picked men. Wang and a comrade appeared at the rendezvous, clad only in undergarments made from captured British Army parachute silk.

In a short conversation in Cantonese, Wang told them that within a few days, Hsiao Feng, an important female CT, would arrive with policy directions for insurgent groups in the area. The woman had the reputation for being quick on the draw, merciless, and with a penchant for throwing hand grenades.

The plan was for Wang to invite Hsiao to his camp where he would greet her and her companions (including her bodyguard) with a cup of Ovaltine spiked with a strong but not lethal narcotic.
In the event, the drink was so foul that they gagged on it and a report came back that they were still half-conscious. Fletcher, Inspector Goh and the rest of their small group, who had been concealed nearby, charged into the camp. Hsiao tried to roll a hand grenade down the slope on to the attackers, but was too weakened to draw the pin and she and her group were captured.

The next target was Chen Ho, the State Committee Secretary: he had a key role in the CT organisation and if he could be taken and “turned” it would deal a body blow to the whole region. The scientists came up with an alternative drug and the assurance that it was just as strong as the one it replaced, but rather more palatable.
When Chen Ho visited Wang’s camp, the plan was put into action as before – but this time the drug had no effect. More unsettling was the news that Chen Ho’s bodyguard, a man of huge strength and armed with a Bren gun, had refused the drink.

Fletcher’s party decided to wait until they could be reasonably certain that most of the CTs in the camp were asleep. At two o’clock in the morning, Fletcher, Goh, Idris, Major Vivian and the Gurkhas crawled down the side of a steep ravine in almost complete blackness.
The only light came from the phosphorescent glow of decomposing vegetation; the line of men must have looked, Fletcher reflected afterwards, like a monstrous green centipede. They crawled up the other side of the gorge, guided by the glimmer of a dying fire.

At the camp, Inspector Goh and a Gurkha sergeant pounced on the Bren gun and hurled it aside. Major Vivian and his men came under close-range fire from CTs using Sten guns. Guided by flashes of gunfire and a shout of “Come on!” from Wang, Fletcher reached the raised sleeping platform in their camp.
Wang was holding Chen Ho in a bear hug to stop him from reaching for his gun. From behind the two men there came a tremendous bang and a charge of buckshot from a shotgun went past Fletcher’s ear. He dropped to a low crouch and fired his pistol at the flash.

Unfortunately, the shots shattered Wang’s shoulder and nicked the top of his head, causing him to let go of Chen Ho. Wang fell down half-conscious, and as Chen Ho tried to slip away in the darkness Inspector Goh caught him in the beam of his torch: “You move, I shoot,” he warned. Chen Ho did not move.
At that moment, Fletcher saw the CT who had shot at him. He took aim but, to his dismay, his pistol was empty. Goh moved the beam of his torch from Chen Ho’s face, the better to illuminate the CT with the shotgun, and a Gurkha loosed off a burst at the man from his Sten.

Chen Ho, profiting from the diversion, slid eel-like from the platform and wriggled through Goh’s legs before disappearing into the darkness on the far side of the camp. Pursuing the escaping CT in the jungle would have been futile.

Fletcher’s team suffered no casualties apart from the unfortunate Wang, and he bore no grudges for his injuries. Three of the enemy had been killed. The wounded were patched up and the dead collected, together with weapons and documents.

The operation had failed in its main objective, but it had caused major dislocation of the CT organisation. Fletcher’s award of a GM, gazetted in February 1957, paid tribute to his coolness, daring and determination in the face of great personal danger.

Augustus James Voisey Fletcher was born on December 23 1928 at Gurney Slade in Somerset. His father had been wounded while serving with the Machine Gun Corps in the First World War. Brought up in a farmworker’s cottage, young Gus was educated at Weston Grammar School.
He joined the CID Branch of the Railway Police at Temple Meads Railway Station, Bristol, before serving with the Palestine Police from 1946 until 1948 when it was disbanded.

He then joined the Malayan Police and was posted to the rubber estates at Mentakab, in the state of Pahang. Later postings took him to Raub, Fraser’s Hill, the Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur. Sightings of the terrorists, let alone arrests, were hard to come by, but improved tactical intelligence – particularly the identification of their contacts, couriers and supply routes – produced dramatically better results.
It was here that Fletcher’s gift for languages became apparent, when he spent two years learning to speak Cantonese and read and write Chinese characters at the Government Officers’ Language School. Its principal, Robert Bruce, thought him the most naturally gifted of all the students he saw in the years he was running the school.

Throughout his life thereafter, Fletcher was regularly taken for a Chinese person when speaking Cantonese on the telephone. He could also speak Malay, Arabic, Hindi and Turkish.
In 1958, as the Emergency was ending, he joined the joined MI5 on the recommendation of its chief in Kuala Lumpur. Finding that there was little scope for his Chinese expertise in MI5, in 1964 he transferred to MI6, for whom China and the threat of Chinese espionage world-wide was a high priority.
Fletcher made an immediate impact in MI6’s Chinese cadre. His experience in Malaysia, and his mastery of Cantonese, made him an effective operator, and carried weight both in the office and with many foreign liaison Services, especially those of the United States and the Commonwealth.

He served in Hong Kong from 1966 to 1970, and again from 1973 to 1976. He was head of the MI6 station in New Delhi and Intelligence Adviser to the British High Commissioner with the rank of Counsellor from 1979 to 1982.

Continuing his fascination with languages, in 1973 he read Mandarin at the Faculty of Oriental Languages, Cambridge. He was appointed OBE in 1977.

He retired to London in 1993 but continued to lead an active life, and among his many enthusiasms were opera, travel, fly-fishing, gardening and malt whisky. He had a brilliant sense of humour and was excellent company. He loved puns, poems, crosswords and anagrams: he was delighted that “funeral” is an anagram of “real fun” and insisted that that was remembered when the day came.

Gus Fletcher married, in 1956, Enyd Gwynne Harries, who survives him with their son and daughter.
 
Able Seaman Moss Berryman, last surviving member of a daring mission off Singapore – obituary
With the Australian and his comrades posing as Malay fishermen, Operation Jaywick destroyed or damaged 37,000 tons of Japanese shipping


Able Seaman Moss Berryman, who had died aged 96, was the last survivor of Operation Jaywick, perhaps the most long-ranged and daring special forces raid of the Second World War.

On April 7 1942, as soon as he could, Berryman volunteered for the Royal Australian Navy. He and his friend, Able Seaman Fred Marsh, were still under training in Melbourne when they heard that a British officer was looking for volunteers to do something special.

Sent to Refuge Bay on the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, they discovered that they were members of Z Special Unit, or “Z Force”, commanded by Major Ivan Lyon and part of Special Operations Australia, formed to operate behind Japanese lines in South East Asia.

“My mate and I looked sideways at each other,” he recalled. “We were basically Sunday school boys. We had no idea how we were going to learn to kill people.”

However, on September 2 1943 Berryman, now a fully trained commando, sailed north from Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, in the 70ft Krait, a former Japanese fishing vessel, with seven other British and Australian commandos from the army and the navy, and six boat’s crew.

Only once at sea did Lyon tell them that they were off to Singapore, some 3,500 miles away, “to blow up a few ships”.

Berryman knew that the Japanese did not have a reputation for treating prisoners well, but, he said, “we were young ones, we thought we were indestructible, just like they do today,” and Lyon maintained moral by insisting: “this isn’t dangerous, it’s exciting”.

“Still,” recalled Berryman, “I think if we had known earlier some of us may not have volunteered. There were definitely times we thought, ‘What the hell are we doing here? We’re getting five bob a day for this?’ ”

The two-week voyage though Japanese-occupied waters was uncomfortable. They flew the Japanese flag and posed as Malay fishermen, wearing sarongs and constantly applying foul-smelling brown dye to their skin. Berryman spent much time at the top of the mast with binoculars looking out for other craft, which would be given a wide berth. When, occasionally, a Japanese float plane flew over, members of Z Force would wave and stand in a circle pretending to unpick fishing lines.

On 18 September Krait arrived off Singapore – which was ablaze with lights and where the Japanese thought themselves safe – and offloaded six commandos in three two-man canoes. Much to their disappointment, Berryman and Marsh were told to stay behind. “Of course, we put on a bit of a turn – ‘We’ve done all the training, sir, why can’t we be in it?’ – and he said, ‘Nope, you two are going to be babysitters and look after Krait’ ”.

The canoeists established a base in a cave on a small island, and on the night of September 26 they paddled into the harbour to attached limpet mines to seven vessels, sinking or damaging 37,000 tons of shipping.

However, when Krait reached its rendezvous, the island of Pompong, 50 miles off Singapore, on the night of October 1-2, only one canoe was found. Lyon had told Krait to leave that night no matter what – but “being good old Australians, we decided we’d break the law and go back in two nights later,” when the other two canoes were recovered.

On the return voyage, a few minutes to midnight on October 11, a Japanese patrol boat intercepted Krait in the Lombok Strait. As Berryman crouched low with his Bren gun trained on the warship, Lyon, who had packed Krait’s bows with high explosive, prepared a suicide ramming which would have destroyed both vessels, but after the longest 15 minutes of Berryman’s life the warship drew away without switching on a searchlight or hailing Krait. “It was pure luck,” said Berryman.

Krait entered Exmouth Bay after a 48-day mission. Berryman was Mentioned in Despatches for gallantry, skill and devotion to duty in a hazardous enterprise.

When later in 1943 Lyon asked Berryman whether he would care to return to Singapore as part of a larger, repeat mission, he carefully considered the proposal for two seconds before declining. All members of Operation Rimau were killed in action or executed by the Japanese.

Instead, Berryman completed his war service in the destroyer HMAS Vendetta, and was demobbed in February 1946.

Mostyn Berryman was born at Kent Town, South Australia, on November 9 1923, and was brought up a Methodist: his father had fought as a teenaged signaller in the Australia Imperial Force on the Western Front in the First World War.

Postwar Berryman returned to the stockbrokers S C Ward & Co, where he had been a clerk, and remained there until his retirement 46 years later.

Berryman was aboard Krait when she entered Sydney in 1964 to become a museum ship, and in 1993, on the 50th anniversary of Operation Jaywick, he met Lyon’s son – “the spitting image of his father” – at Kranji War Cemetery. Lyon’s French wife, Gabrielle Bouvier, and their baby son, had spent the war in Japanese internment camps, and together Berryman and the son cried that the son had never met his heroic father.

For many years Berryman was owed the five-bob-a-day danger money which he had been promised, and which the government topped up to A$5,000.

Operation Jaywick, one of the most successful clandestine raids in Australian history, left a bitter aftermath. Lyon had intended that Jaywick be publicised to rattle the Japanese and boost Allied morale, but senior commanders decided against this as they wished to conduct similar raids in the future.

Not having the slightest idea of how the attack had been mounted, the Japanese inflicted savage reprisals on Singaporeans, who they suspected of aiding the attack. “Sometimes,” a troubled Berryman mused in later life, “I feel that we shouldn’t have done it because they murdered untold numbers of people trying to find out who did.”

He married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Cant, who predeceased him in 2018, and he is survived by their four daughters.
 
Also posted in the SA thread, but Russel deserves a larger audience.


Russell Phillips; Brave Soldier With A Big Heart.

On Wednesday, a handful of old soldiers and friends gathered to pay our respects to Russell Phillips who died suddenly last week.

Russell was the recipient of the Silver Cross of Rhodesia for gallantry and I had the privilege of saying a few words about this extraordinary which caused me to reflect.

In September 1977 he was the Lance-Corporal in charge of a section of four men sweeping a rocky outcrop in search of the enemy when an officer pursued a ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) guerrilla into a cave.

On hearing firing Russell ran to investigate only to discover that the officer had not re-emerged.
Suspecting he was wounded within he crawled inside to find the man had indeed been hit and was unable to move.

Russell and a fellow soldier, encumbered by their rifles, failed to dislodge the injured man from a cleft in the rocks and decided to withdraw under fire from additional guerrillas hidden inside.

Undaunted, Russell discarded his rifle and re-entered armed only with a 9 mm pistol with which he then engaged the enemy machine-gunners at a range of less than five metres killing one before running out of ammunition and having to withdraw to re-load.

He immediately re-entered and re-engaged the enemy, killing another, while moving to a position closer to the incoming fire so a medic could come behind him and retrieve the incapacitated officer.

With the wounded man removed, Russell then advanced further into the cave and engaged the enemy with grenades killing one and wounding another.
Sadly, the officer died of his wounds.

Russell fought on through countless contacts over three long years with Support Commando of the RLI (Rhodesian Light Infantry), until the cease-fire was called.

With the world presently engaged in an anti-white frenzy, I cast my mind back to our time of war and reminded myself, for my generation, this sentiment is nothing new.
In fact, when Russell was performing his heroics, he was the very epitome of the sort of person the world loved to loathe.
As a frontline, airborne soldier, in the eyes of the world, he was considered a ‘racist rebel’ defending an ‘illegal settler regime’ against gallant ‘Freedom Fighters’ struggling to ‘liberate’ their people from the shackles of ‘brutal colonial rule’.

This view was embraced by virtually every government, religious order and international organisation in the world, galvanizing the international community into concerted and cohesive actions that eventually succeeded in bringing Robert Mugabe to power.
Russell’s guns, along with all his fellow soldiers, were silenced and liberals around the globe were jubilant.

What none of them ever cared to consider, was Russell and most of those he fought with, was never a racist, nor was he fighting for racial dominance; he had seen the enemy for what he was, not the way a deluded world wanted to see him, and when called to meet the challenge, he responded with ferocity and fearlessness.

He believed, because he had seen the enemy at work in the field, unlike his myriad detractors, that defeat would the death-knell of the country he loved, and the black people he sought to defend would be the biggest casualties.

Of course, he was right, and the world was wrong.
With his country in the grip of a tyrant he left with sadness, but his anger was directed at the political and associated leaders of the new ruling dispensation and not against any racial group.

He well knew the whites and the majority of blacks were essentially victims of a left wing -dominated media and political hierarchy that refused to so much as countenance the presence of Europeans in any positions of power in any country in Africa; it was racism in its purest form but allowable, even encouraged, in the context.

Putting this disappointment behind him, for the rest of his life, as he grew his business through hard work, knowing he had been rendered virtually powerless to prevent the damage wrought by serial misrule throughout the continent, Russell chose to do all he could, as quietly and discreetly as possible to help the poor black people he felt so strong an affection for.

Being a devoted tiger-fisherman, he made a second home for himself at Shackleton’s Camp on the lower Zambezi where he set about helping the impoverished villagers.

Seeing the local school was in financial distress he donated books, stationery, computers and money to improve the lot of the children.

An elderly local who had lost a leg to a crocodile became Russell’s personal responsibility.
The sick in the area could rely on him to send the medicines they could not afford or obtain.

He was famous for heavy tipping to the point he attracted criticism; ‘I can afford it,’ he would say, ‘think what a difference it will make to him’.
On hearing of a mission station in Burundi in need, a country he had never been to, he donated the funds needed for a vehicle.
The same for another mission station in Swaziland. Theresa, his widow insists he helped so many so quietly nobody will ever know all he did.

Saying goodbye to him was a moment of great sadness, tinged with pride coming from the knowledge I could call him a friend.
But also a time to remember, that although Russell set a high bar, he was in so many ways typical of most Rhodesians I knew, of his and earlier generations, who so desperately wanted to help build a successful multi-racial country that would have been the pride of Africa, but were denied the chance, simply because we were white.

While the world mourns the passing of George Floyd who will be universally remembered as a martyr for a noble cause, only a tiny few, mostly kindred spirits will remember my friend and I can’t help but think Russell cared and did more for black people than George did.
Hannes.

Thank you Hannes, a wonderful post.
I will forward to SOG jnr, presently resident in Bulawayo.
 
Also posted in the SA thread, but Russel deserves a larger audience.


Russell Phillips; Brave Soldier With A Big Heart.

On Wednesday, a handful of old soldiers and friends gathered to pay our respects to Russell Phillips who died suddenly last week.

Russell was the recipient of the Silver Cross of Rhodesia for gallantry and I had the privilege of saying a few words about this extraordinary which caused me to reflect.

In September 1977 he was the Lance-Corporal in charge of a section of four men sweeping a rocky outcrop in search of the enemy when an officer pursued a ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) guerrilla into a cave.

On hearing firing Russell ran to investigate only to discover that the officer had not re-emerged.
Suspecting he was wounded within he crawled inside to find the man had indeed been hit and was unable to move.

Russell and a fellow soldier, encumbered by their rifles, failed to dislodge the injured man from a cleft in the rocks and decided to withdraw under fire from additional guerrillas hidden inside.

Undaunted, Russell discarded his rifle and re-entered armed only with a 9 mm pistol with which he then engaged the enemy machine-gunners at a range of less than five metres killing one before running out of ammunition and having to withdraw to re-load.

He immediately re-entered and re-engaged the enemy, killing another, while moving to a position closer to the incoming fire so a medic could come behind him and retrieve the incapacitated officer.

With the wounded man removed, Russell then advanced further into the cave and engaged the enemy with grenades killing one and wounding another.
Sadly, the officer died of his wounds.

Russell fought on through countless contacts over three long years with Support Commando of the RLI (Rhodesian Light Infantry), until the cease-fire was called.

With the world presently engaged in an anti-white frenzy, I cast my mind back to our time of war and reminded myself, for my generation, this sentiment is nothing new.
In fact, when Russell was performing his heroics, he was the very epitome of the sort of person the world loved to loathe.
As a frontline, airborne soldier, in the eyes of the world, he was considered a ‘racist rebel’ defending an ‘illegal settler regime’ against gallant ‘Freedom Fighters’ struggling to ‘liberate’ their people from the shackles of ‘brutal colonial rule’.

This view was embraced by virtually every government, religious order and international organisation in the world, galvanizing the international community into concerted and cohesive actions that eventually succeeded in bringing Robert Mugabe to power.
Russell’s guns, along with all his fellow soldiers, were silenced and liberals around the globe were jubilant.

What none of them ever cared to consider, was Russell and most of those he fought with, was never a racist, nor was he fighting for racial dominance; he had seen the enemy for what he was, not the way a deluded world wanted to see him, and when called to meet the challenge, he responded with ferocity and fearlessness.

He believed, because he had seen the enemy at work in the field, unlike his myriad detractors, that defeat would the death-knell of the country he loved, and the black people he sought to defend would be the biggest casualties.

Of course, he was right, and the world was wrong.
With his country in the grip of a tyrant he left with sadness, but his anger was directed at the political and associated leaders of the new ruling dispensation and not against any racial group.

He well knew the whites and the majority of blacks were essentially victims of a left wing -dominated media and political hierarchy that refused to so much as countenance the presence of Europeans in any positions of power in any country in Africa; it was racism in its purest form but allowable, even encouraged, in the context.

Putting this disappointment behind him, for the rest of his life, as he grew his business through hard work, knowing he had been rendered virtually powerless to prevent the damage wrought by serial misrule throughout the continent, Russell chose to do all he could, as quietly and discreetly as possible to help the poor black people he felt so strong an affection for.

Being a devoted tiger-fisherman, he made a second home for himself at Shackleton’s Camp on the lower Zambezi where he set about helping the impoverished villagers.

Seeing the local school was in financial distress he donated books, stationery, computers and money to improve the lot of the children.

An elderly local who had lost a leg to a crocodile became Russell’s personal responsibility.
The sick in the area could rely on him to send the medicines they could not afford or obtain.

He was famous for heavy tipping to the point he attracted criticism; ‘I can afford it,’ he would say, ‘think what a difference it will make to him’.
On hearing of a mission station in Burundi in need, a country he had never been to, he donated the funds needed for a vehicle.
The same for another mission station in Swaziland. Theresa, his widow insists he helped so many so quietly nobody will ever know all he did.

Saying goodbye to him was a moment of great sadness, tinged with pride coming from the knowledge I could call him a friend.
But also a time to remember, that although Russell set a high bar, he was in so many ways typical of most Rhodesians I knew, of his and earlier generations, who so desperately wanted to help build a successful multi-racial country that would have been the pride of Africa, but were denied the chance, simply because we were white.

While the world mourns the passing of George Floyd who will be universally remembered as a martyr for a noble cause, only a tiny few, mostly kindred spirits will remember my friend and I can’t help but think Russell cared and did more for black people than George did.
Hannes.
I've no idea who put the paragraph in at the end about George Floyd but either way, it was unnecessary IMO and detracted from everything previously said.

Which is sad, because from what I read here, Russell was a fine man.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
I've no idea who put the paragraph in at the end about George Floyd but either way, it was unnecessary IMO and detracted from everything previously said.

Which is sad, because from what I read here, Russell was a fine man.
As far as I'm aware it was Hannes, though I can see nothing that detracts from Russ' legacy as it offers neither criticism of Floyd nor the Marxist organisation seeking to profit from his death.

Although we've been conditioned by the media to see an underlying message, it often pays to read exactly and only what is written rather than seek a hidden meaning.
 
Awang anak Raweng, GC, tracker who risked his life in Malaya to protect a wounded soldier – obituary
As an Iban tracker his skill picking up traces of the enemy in jungle terrain was invaluable to the British fighting insurgents in Malaya


Sergeant Awang anak Raweng, who has died in Sarawak aged 91, was awarded the George Cross in 1951 while serving as a tracker in Malaya in operations against the Communist insurgents.

In 1948 an insurrection of the Malayan People’s Liberation Army and the Min Yuen, the civilian armed work force, marked the beginning of the Malayan Emergency in the former British Crown Colony.

In 1950, the 1st Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment, was posted to Malaya to help the government to hunt down these two Communist organisations.

The terrorists moved around in small units, carrying out hit-and-run attacks in the towns before withdrawing to the safety of the jungle.

Iban trackers like Awang had learnt their skills from hunting animals in the jungles of Sarawak, in what was then British Borneo, and their ability to travel light, live off the land and track the enemy in jungle terrain was invaluable to the British in this type of operation.

Awang anak Raweng: brandished a grenade at the enemy – having pulled the pin with his teeth – daring them to come closer
In May 1951 Awang was attached to “D” Company of the 1st Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment, which was operating in the Kluang district of Johore state. The local population were mainly Straits Chinese employed in rubber-tapping.

In the period before they were moved from their shanties on the jungle edge and rehoused under the Briggs Plan, they were often sympathetic to the Communists and did not cooperate with the security forces.

On the afternoon of May 26, a platoon of the Worcesters was in base camp on the Ulu Paloh rubber estate, north west of Kluang, when it came under fire from eight terrorists who then withdrew.

The platoon commander led two of his three sections in a wide encircling movement with the intention of cutting off the attackers, but failed to find them.

At first light the next day, two patrols set out with Awang, following the track that the attackers had used to make their escape, and searching the terrain for clues indicating where they had broken off to head back to their base.

A quarter of a mile into the jungle, the first patrol came under heavy automatic fire from the flank from an enemy force of about 50. The leading scout was killed instantly. Awang, one of several casualties, was shot through the thigh bone.

Believing that the Communists were pinned down, the platoon commander led the second patrol in a flanking attack, but he was killed in another burst of fire. The enemy now renewed their attack on the leading patrol. Most of the men had taken cover but one, Private Hughes, had been wounded and was lying across the track.

Although badly injured himself and under intense fire, Awang dragged the soldier under cover of a fallen tree and briskly returned fire until a bullet shattered his right arm.

Seeing the enemy crawling through the undergrowth towards him, he took a grenade from the pouch of another wounded comrade, pulled the pin with his teeth and, brandishing it in his left hand, dared the enemy to come closer.

For 40 minutes Awang held the enemy at bay, defending his wounded companion until the company commander arrived with two platoons to reinforce the survivors of the two patrols. Awang and the other wounded were evacuated and all survived their injuries.

As a civilian volunteer Awang was not recommended for the VC, but was awarded the George Cross. In the words of the citation, he “showed coolness, fortitude and offensive spirit of the highest order.”

He received his medal from Sir Anthony Abell, the Governor of Sarawak, at an investiture in Kuching on January 22 1952.

Awang anak Rawang was born on April 20 1929 in Simanggang (now more commonly known as Sri Aman) on the Lupar River south-east of Kuching in East Malaysia. The son of a Sarawak police officer, he became a farmer before he went to Malaya and was posted to the Worcestershire Regiment at Kluang.

In 1953 the Sarawak Rangers, formed by Sir James Brooke in 1862 as a peace-keeping force, were reorganised and Awang joined them as a tracker. In the opinion of General Sir Gerald Templer, the British High Commissioner and Director of Operations in Malaya, the Ibans were the best jungle trackers in the world.

The Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, in 1963, called for the Ibans’ skills on their home territory of Sarawak, and the Rangers were increased in strength. Awang was among the first to volunteer for this new assignment and rose to the rank of sergeant.

Awang, a devout member of Malaysia’s Christian minority, kept in touch with Britain after retiring to Simanggang, and attended many reunions of the VC and GC Association. Among other accolades, in 2018 he was honoured by the Sarawak Government with the title “Dato”.
Awang anak Raweng was married three times and had eight children.
Awang anak Raweng GC, born April 20 1929, died September 18 2020
 
....
Awang, a devout member of Malaysia’s Christian minority, kept in touch with Britain after retiring to Simanggang, and attended many reunions of the VC and GC Association. Among other accolades, in 2018 he was honoured by the Sarawak Government with the title “Dato”.

Wiki, him say :-

Some official sources suggest that Datuk or Dato can be considered the equivalent of the title "Sir", which is used by male citizens of the Commonwealth who have received a British knighthood.[3]
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Already posted in the Med stuff forum, but Maj Peter Godden-Kent passed away a couple of weeks ago.
If anyone could illuminate his military history, the gentleman* giving his eulogy would appreciate it.

* letting me easily off the hook.

03 APR 37 - 05 SEP 20
That already looks wrong.

I'm a long way off, but have been asked to find out some service history and gongs for Peter Godden-Kent who passed away a couple of weeks ago.

If there are any of you who have stories or any info on this very giving gent, please either post it here or send it via pm as the eulogy needs his mil svc.

In anticipation, thanks.
 

yank_eyetie

Old-Salt
Colonel John Waddy


A FORMER SAS colonel and WWII hero has died at the age of 100.

John Waddy, who served in the military for 35 years, saw action at the Battle of Arnhem and was also wounded and taken prisoner by Nazi troops.

In later life, he was an adviser for the film A Bridge Too Far which told the story of the bloody battles he lived through.

John was born in Taunton, Somerset, in June 1920 and served with the Somerset Light Infantry in India, when he joined up just before the start of Wordl War Two.

He then volunteered to join the Parachute Regiment and saw action in Italy in 1943.

He was then part of the 1st Airborne Division with 4 Para when he fought at Arnhem during the latter stages of the war.

John was one of the few survivors in his battalion who fought and survived in the iconic battle.

The hero was seriously wounded while leading an attack against German SS troops - and he had to have an operation on a billiard table.

He spent the rest of the Second World War as a prisoner in a Nazi camp.

After the war, he saw action in Palestine and the Malayan emergency and was mentioned in dispatches.

He went on to be a member of the SAS and was a military adviser.

His final military role was serving alongside the Americans as an observer in Vietnam, where he saw the value of using helicopters for the swift movement of troops.

After returning to the UK, he recommended the technique to be used in the special forces.

The hero, who turned 100 this June, died on Sunday.

The Parachute Regiment shared their condolences: "Colonel John Waddy OBE, who celebrated his 100th Birthday in June, has sadly passed away this weekend.

"The Parachute Regiment would like to extend our sincere condolences to Colonel Waddy's family and friends."

Tributes have also been paid on social media for the war hero: "Sad news ...Col John Waddy OBE....a life well lived indeed."

A second person said: "Another one gone but one who will definitely not be forgotten. At least he made his 100, well played sir!"

Military historian Mike Peters wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear about the death of John Waddy, one of the most active Arnhem veterans.

"He was so helpful when GPs at Arnhem was being written. Happy to correspond and advise on even the smallest detail.

"I always recommend his guidebook to aspiring Guides. He will genuinely be missed."
 
I know the Sun had his obit back in September but here it is again from todays DT, what an amazing and traumatic life he lived!
He used to say of his men that they were “like my spaniels, brilliant in the field but a bloody nuisance out of it!”

Colonel John Waddy, who has died aged 100, was one of the last surviving British officers from the Battle of Arnhem; he later commanded the SAS.

On September 18 1944, in the second lift of Operation Market Garden, 156 Parachute Battalion, part of Brigadier “Shan” Hackett’s 4th Parachute Brigade, embarked for Arnhem. The Brigade was tasked with capturing and holding the high ground to the north-west of the Dutch town, the aim of the operation being to establish a bridgehead over the Rhine.

Low mist delayed their departure by several hours; surprise had been lost and the enemy alerted. The battalion commanders were warned to expect hard fighting but the violence of the German resistance came as a shock.

Waddy, in command of “B” Company, recalled flying into anti-aircraft fire and seeing families perched on the roofs of their houses in areas flooded by the Germans. Hackett had suggested that he monitor the route, and he was looking out of the open door when the aircraft to his right was hit on the port wing.

It caught fire and began a steep dive before exploding in a fireball when it hit the ground. Waddy looked at his men who were seated on each side of the aircraft but, with flak increasing, in the din they had not noticed what had happened. He said nothing.

As they approached the Drop Zone on Ginkel Heath, flying at 700 ft, he could see the upturned faces of the German gun crews. Snipers were shooting at the doors of the Dakota aircraft as he jumped. On landing, he found that the battalion was missing about 60 men. It was an hour before 156 Para was on the move. They were eight miles from Arnhem and encountering growing opposition in the failing light.

The following day, at 0700 hours, “B” Company’s first objective was to advance along the railway line to a point close to Oosterbeek railway station and to lay down covering fire to support “C” Company’s advance.

After completing this mission, Waddy was ordered to attack the German blocking line – the Dreijensweg – along a track through the Johanna Hoeve woods. He was leading his company when they were held up by heavy Spandau fire.

A self-propelled, double-barrelled flak gun was slamming high explosive shells into scrub where one of his platoons was trying to edge forward. It was taking heavy casualties from splinters.

Waddy spotted the gun 150 yards ahead of him at the end of a ride. Taking a small group of men, he pushed through the undergrowth until he was within 15 yards of it.

At that moment, the soldier on his right was hit in the forehead by a bullet and killed as he was about to throw a phosphorus grenade. Waddy saw a sniper in the tree above the gun. He fired five rounds with the only weapon he had, his .45 Colt, but missed. He was then hit in the groin.

When he came to, he started to crawl away but the sniper fired again and the bullet hit the ground near his hand. He collapsed and pretended to be dead until a large Rhodesian private burst out of the bushes, picked him up and carried him 200 yards to the Company HQ.

At the regimental aid post the doctor, Waddy said, must have thought that his patient was beyond help and “just chucked me his silver whisky flask”. In the field ambulance casualty post he was given a plasma transfusion and then wrapped in a parachute and taken by jeep to the Hotel Tafelberg at Oosterbeek which was being used as a dressing station.

He was operated upon on the hotel’s billiard table and then moved to a house nearby. There he was wounded again when a mortar bomb scored a direct hit and killed six of the patients. After five days of attacks and counter-attacks, with a stream of casualties being brought in, the position was overrun.

With the building on fire, Waddy, who had been wounded for a third time, was dragged out to a pile of 30 bodies in the back garden. When a sergeant carried him to a jeep, he thought reinforcements had arrived at last, but they were captured and he was taken to a German hospital at Apeldoorn. His battalion had suffered the highest casualty rate of any involved in the operation, with three-quarters of its men killed or captured.

At Apeldoorn, he was fortunate not to have his foot amputated, an over-common remedy at a time when German battlefield surgery had lagged well behind best practice. An orderly, with heavy German humour, told him, “Never report sick with a headache.”

When a Spitfire put a burst of cannon fire through the operating theatre, killing a British soldier and a German nurse, Waddy was upbraided by the matron for the RAF’s disregard for the Red Cross displayed on the roof.

After having had a two-inch sliver of shell extracted, he was taken by hospital train to Stalag VIIA at Moosburg in Bavaria. He spent three months in the PoW camp hospital before being passed fit. The camp was liberated by the Americans at the end of April 1945.

John Llewellyn Waddy was born near Taunton in Somerset on June 17 1920. The son of Colonel Richard Waddy DSO of the Somerset Light Infantry, and born into an Anglo-Irish military family, he was educated at Wellington before attending Sandhurst.
He was commissioned into the Somerset Light Infantry in July 1939 and posted to India and the North West Frontier with the 1st Bn. In October 1941, he volunteered for 151 Parachute Bn and was appointed Intelligence Officer.

Parachuting was in its infancy; there were no helmets in use, and while jumping through a hole in the floor of a Vickers Valentia biplane, he fractured his skull. It was three months before he recovered.

His battalion was redesignated 156 Parachute Bn. He used to say of his men that they were “like my spaniels, brilliant in the field but a bloody nuisance out of it!” The battalion took part in the capture of the Italian port of Taranto in September 1943. The landing was unopposed but the advance northwards to Foggia was hampered by ambushes and roadblocks set up by retreating German forces.

Between September 1945 and March 1948, Waddy served in Palestine on internal security duties, first at HQ 3 Para Brigade and then with 9 Para Bn. In 1947, while drinking in the bar, he was shot in the back and severely wounded. His assailant was thought to be a member of the Irgun paramilitary organisation. A brother officer was killed.

After a spell in Athens, where he broke his jaw, he attended Staff College, followed by a posting to HQ 1st Infantry Division in Egypt and Libya. He then commanded a company of 1st Bn Somerset Light Infantry during the Emergency. Patrols in the Selangor jungle earned him a Mention in Despatches.

Having volunteered to rejoin the Parachute Regiment, he was posted on exchange to the Airborne School at the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre, Manitoba. There he enjoyed undertaking Arctic exercises.

A posting to Jordan and then Cyprus as second-in-command of 2 Para was followed by command of the Parachute Regiment’s Depot. He set up the Parachute Regiment Battle School at Brecon, which is now part of the School of Infantry. He was appointed OBE in 1962.

In 1964, Waddy took up a newly created post as Colonel SAS, which has since evolved into that of Director Special Forces. He did much to develop new roles for the SAS in the post-colonial war period, and streamlined 22 SAS’s command structure.

After brief stints on the Army liaison staff in Washington DC and Fort Benning Infantry School in Georgia, in 1970 he was posted as defence adviser to the British Embassy in Saigon, during the Vietnam War; helicopter patrols during the day were followed by cocktail parties in the evening. His experience led him to suggest more use of helicopter co-ordinated operations to the MoD, but this advice was only implemented 20 years later.

He worked at the Joint Warfare Establishment in Wiltshire before retiring from the Army in 1974. For the next 15 years he was chief military adviser to Westland Helicopters, but in 1976 he took six months leave to advise on the film A Bridge Too Far directed by Richard Attenborough.

He was responsible for training the extras who portrayed Lt Col (later Major General) John Frost’s men at Arnhem Bridge and, with his fellow consultants, he did his best to ensure that some parts of the American-produced film were historically accurate.

Over the years, a bond of friendship developed between Waddy and the Dutch. Together with other veterans, he returned to Arnhem many times, and in 1982 he started leading staff college tours around the town, pointing out the errors made in the planning of Market Garden.

Later he did the same for parties of Dutch and British children, and he wrote A Tour of the Arnhem Battlefields (1999).

The last of seven generations of his family to hold a commission in the Army, to the end of his life he would have his gin and onions at lunchtime, a passion developed in India where the gin was undrinkable.

John Waddy married, in 1945, Ann Davies, whom he had met the previous year at Melton Mowbray; his battalion had been billeted in the town and she had been working in the remount depot. She died in 2012. There were no children.

John Waddy, born June 17 1920, died September 27 2020
 

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