Following on Gerry's excellent summary of the Dieppe raid I must mention a series of coincidences that have led me to make this posting.
On Sept 6th I shall be attending my old boy's club reunion and, as always, the table talk will get around to former members who are no longer here to join in our talk of WW2. At my particular table, because we have several vets there, Jack Nissenthal's name is invariably brought to mind.
I was recently interviewed, about the club, on spitalfieldslife.com and the interviewer known only by his pseudonym of "The Gentle Author" was intrigued by the story of Jack Nissenthal, a former club boy, who was taken to Dieppe to find out about German radar accompanied by a special troop who had instructions to kill him rather than allow him to be taken prisoner. He also placed a link on his Blog so that others might read the story.
A well known authority on Jack's history is Martin Sugarman and his newly published book "Fighting Back" contains a full chapter on Jack's exploits.
I've also just been to Wikipedia and on the pages relating to Dieppe found this item:Dieppe Raid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I was amused to find that footnote No.13 took the reader to the BBC WW2 Archives to an article that I had previously posted myself on behalf of Martin Sugarman ! (Note the actual footnote number may alter but watch for the "Goldstein" text)
The Wikipedia excerpt now follows:
Pourville radar station
Destroyed Landing craft on fire with Canadian dead on the beach. A concrete gun emplacement on the right covers the whole beach. The steep gradient can clearly be judged
One of the objectives of the Dieppe Raid was to discover the importance and accuracy of a German radar station on the cliff-top to the east of the town of Pourville. To achieve this, RAF Flight Sergeant
Jack Nissenthall, a radar specialist, was attached to the South Saskatchewan Regiment. He was to attempt to enter the radar station and learn its secrets, accompanied by a small unit of 11 men of the Saskatchewans as bodyguards. Nissenthall volunteered for the mission fully aware that, due to the highly sensitive nature of his knowledge of Allied radar technology, his Saskatchewan bodyguard unit were under orders to kill him if necessary to prevent him being captured. He also carried a cyanide pill as a last resort. Nissenthall and his bodyguards failed to enter the radar station due to strong defences, but Nissenthall was able to crawl up to the rear of the station under enemy fire and cut all telephone wires leading to it. This forced the crew inside to resort to radio transmissions to talk to their commanders, transmissions which were intercepted by listening posts on the south coast of England. The Allies were able to learn a great deal about the arrays of German radar stations along the channel coast thanks to this one simple act, which helped to convince Allied commanders of the importance of developing radar jamming technology. Of this small unit only Nissenthall and one other returned safely to England.
Edited by Ron Goldstein, 23 August 2011 - 04:34 AM.
If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE
I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.
I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn. I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947