124546 George Patrick John Rushworth JELLICOE, Coldstream Guards, 8 Cdo, SAS, SBS

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by Peter Clare, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

  2. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    RIP, Earl Jellicoe...he carried on the family tradition of combat valour. :ukflag[1]:
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    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name Jellicoe, The Earl G P J R
    Rank: Captain
    Service No: 124546
    Regiment: Coldstream Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Foreign to British: France
    Award: Croix de Guerre
    Date 1940-1947
    Catalogue reference WO 373/185
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    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name The Earl of Jellicoe
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Service No: 124546
    Regiment: Coldstream Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Middle East Special Operations and Escapes
    Award: Distinguished Service Order
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 5 November 1942
    Date 1942-1945
    Catalogue reference WO 373/46
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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    Jellicoe, George Patrick John Rushworth (IWM interview)

    N.B.I haven't transcribed all of this interview, just up to when he left 3CG for SAS, reel 2/reel 3.

    Lord Jellicoe
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    REEL 1

    Now you were at Trinity College, Cambridge I think the three years before the war started?

    Correct, yes.

    Can you tell me what the atmosphere was like then, was there any kind of feeling that ... of a European crisis, that a war was coming?
    I was extremely apolitical in those days and certainly I didn’t - one was interested - I mean I remember when I was at Winchester I’d been interested in what was the Abyssinian War. But quite frankly as far as at least I was concerned I was more interested in my friends and having a good time and playing golf, occasionally doing a little bit of work - very occasionally - and I was not sort of - I didn’t feel tremendously involved in what was going on. One had a more than passing interest perhaps in the Spanish Civil War and I’d been in Germany for my sort of gap six months, therefore I had some interest in what was going on: Nazism and the rise of it and all the rest of it. But quite frankly I was not deeply involved and I don’t think a great many of my friends were but the great exception was, and what I am saying is subject to this, was Munich. I think I became politically and internationally much more aware at that time, than I had been beforehand. I felt very strongly about it. I remember going to stay with a great friend of mine Archie John Wavell, the son of the Field Marshal, to stay with General Wavell as he then was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Wavell. I think he was Southern Command in Salisbury, and I remember feeling very strongly, right or wrong about Munich: deploring it, feeling very ashamed of it and I think a lot of my friends felt this.

    I had three very close friends at Cambridge. Mark Howard, the elder of the three Howard boys living at Castle Howard and he then, or shortly afterwards, went on to whatever it’s called, the Supplementary Reserve of the Coldstream Guards and I think that may have had something to do with me choosing the Coldstream as a parent regiment and he was killed just before the Bocage.

    Rank: Major
    Service No: 72092
    Date of Death: 02/07/1944
    Age: 26
    Regiment/Service: Coldstream Guards, 5th Bn.
    Grave Reference: VIII. F. 6.
    Additional Information: Son of Geoffrey William Algernon Howard and of Ethel Christian Howard (nee Methuen). B.A. (Cantab.).

    And another great friend was somebody called David Jacobson and he was also much more politically aware than I was. A very remarkable person, he was killed - he joined the Tower Hamlet Rifles, the Territorial part of the Rifle Brigade, and he was killed in the first retreat in ’41, in the desert, near Derna.

    Rank: Lieutenant
    Service No: 97076
    Date of Death: 07/04/1941
    Age: 23
    Regiment/Service: Rifle Brigade, 9th (lst Bn. The Tower Hamlets Rifles) Bn.
    Grave Reference: Joint grave 15. H. 6.
    Additional Information: Son of Ernest Nathaniel Joseph Jacobson, C.B.E., and Gladys Welcome Jacobson, of Little Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. B.A. (Cantab.). Scholar of Trinity College. King's Scholar of Eton College.
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tVC8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA181&lpg=PA181&dq=david+jacobson,+killed+1941&source=bl&ots=E3kNdsZHVZ&sig=36cvoZxLM_m_co2E-SysXxYfbSo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xx7wUu2LIMPR7AaT44HwBQ&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=david jacobson, killed 1941&f=false

    But somebody else who was my third very close friend there was somebody called Peter Pease and he joined the Air Squadron at the time. So I think those - I think all those three people in fact did something at that time, partly because they felt very strongly involved. Peter Pease was shot down over Maidstone on the great day of the Battle of Britain - when was it, the 15th September ‘40.

    Rank: Flying Officer
    Trade: Pilot
    Service No: 72447
    Date of Death: 15/09/1940
    Age: 22
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 603 Sqdn.
    Grave Reference:
    Additional Information: Son of Sir Richard Arthur Pease, J.P., D.L., M.A., 2nd Bart., and of Lady Pease (nee Kissel), of Richmond.

    I in fact I lost all my three close friends at Cambridge during the war and another great friend, Archie John Wavell he was killed in Kenya shortly afterwards in the Mau Mau.

    But apart from that, well, I think the great awakening for me was Munich. Until then I was certainly not conscious of a tremendous interest amongst my contemporaries, mainly because I was for some reason not very politically involved at that time.

    When your course at Cambridge finish?
    Oh I finished at Cambridge what eh, June ’39 and I was going off after a - you know the usual sort post exam spree. I was going off for the best part of a year abroad as I was reading for the - hoping to get into the Foreign Service, Diplomatic Service. I was going off to France for the best part of six months and then to Germany.

    Were you in France when war was declared?
    No, no, I wasn’t because it looked like things were going that way and therefore it seemed pointless pottering off, starting off there. I was fairly certain there was going to be a war.

    Do you remember the actual day that War was declared, ...?

    ...what you were doing ...?
    ...I remember it very well indeed. I had spent most of those two days - we lived on the Isle of Wight at the time and I spent I think September 1 and 2 travelling up and down from the Isle of Wight. I’d taken my seat in the Lords by then and I’d been listening a little bit to the debate. I remember very well indeed I was up again, I was starting to feel rather like I felt at Munich: I thought we were going to rat on the polls and that hesitation about actually declaring war - well I mean as a young man I didn’t really know really what was going on but I was getting very worried about it. I was in the House the morning when war was declared and I remember very well those sirens going off and I remember going to the Shelters. I think it was in Parliament Square, I think, and that false alarm.

    Then I spent the afternoon with my friend David Jacobson and one could stay in those days at Claridge's as a young man for about £2.50 there that night at Claridge’s and again I remember the sirens going off and I also going down - you know one had the feeling there was going to be gas attacks and all that sort of stuff and I remember going down in the early morning to wherever the shelter was in Claridge’s without my gas mask. I also remember a particularly shameful incident when one of the staff there remarked on the fact that I didn’t have it and offered to go up to my bedroom to get it. And I allowed him to go, thinking that he was more likely to - I preferred him being exposed to this imminent gas attack which I thought might be coming, than I was. As an atone for that - to atone for that - I felt a really terrible guilty conscience when I realised the ghastly thing I’d done, I spent all the rest of the next day building, helping the staff to do the sandbags round Claridge’s - as a result of which for quite a long time after the war I’d always able get into Claridge's and was always allowed a very preferential rate.

    What Claridge’s full of Americans at that time?
    No, no, I don’t think so, no, no. Full of the usual old English clientele, I think.

    Did you feel some sense of relief when Chamberlain did declare war on ...?
    Oh, certainly, certainly I did. I was, you know, I was getting terribly concerned that we were going to rat, that there might be another Munich.

    When did you actually join the Coldstream Guards?
    Oh well I was a late joiner I’d been - I forget what the thing was called, there was some sort of list which I was on but it was a pretty vague list. I spent the - I suppose I had about - there was lovely September weather and we lived on the Isle of Wight and it was most beautiful ... I remember how absolutely lovely the weather was that summer. We used, I used to go down to the beach: there was a particularly attractive lady who’d rented the cottage on the beach so I quite liked that. But one read the newspapers, one read about Poland; it was very depressing and it was about five weeks I think before I actually went down to Sandhurst to the O.C.T.U. there.

    What did you feel about the kind of instruction you got there?
    Oh, I was only there for two months because I got pneumonia just before Christmas so my training was extremely elementary. I was absolutely no good at all and I got pretty bored with it I think. I can’t believe I was any good at all.

    My two most vivid memories at Sandhurst, which I rather enjoyed: we used to go up to - I remember the dormitory there, I think there were four in it. A great friend of mine was one of the people, somebody called Alan Hare http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-alan-hare-1615415.html who later became Director of the Financial Times and lucky chap in retirement, amongst other things he was Chairman of Chateau Latour, so I’m very glad that I’ve remained a fried of his.

    There was somebody called Bobby Henderson who was also I think - I’m not certain if he was in our dorm - but Bobby Henderson’s aunt used to own the Windmill Hotel - the Windmill Theatre. So we used to drive up occasionally to see the young ladies at the Windmill Theatre. It’s extraordinary when you think what goes on in the theatre these days,
    I think they were allowed to uncover one bosom as long as long as they stood quite still and this was the enormous erotic thrill we got. That’s what I remember much more vividly of Sandhurst than anything else.

    I do remember - I can’t have been very good, I do remember when I was actually drilling my Squad or Platoon, they professed not to hear my words of command and marched themselves into the lake there. And I also remember I think it was somebody in the Coldstream a Captain or Adjutant or something, telling me he didn’t think I would be any good in the Coldstream and I think he was probably quite right too. So I don’t think I was much good at Sandhurst and certainly I don’t think I learned a great deal there.

    But you had to interrupt it because of pneumonia?
    Oh, what?

    You had to interrupt it because of pneumonia?
    Oh yes and then I saw an opportunity to of not going on with a thing that I was getting rather bored with, so I joined a unit called the 5th Scots Guards which was a Ski Battalion. I’m a very keen skier and I found that much more exciting and enjoyable and we had - a great number of my friends joined it and we went off to train at Chamonix, which I had no objection to, and I think in the same way as the Russian Fleet when it went out to eh, round the Cape of you know - through the North Sea, sinking some fishing boats on the way, and then round the Cape of Good Hope and then to Tsushima where they were destroyed really by the Japanese under Tōgō. It was always said you could follow their route by the number of champagne bottles. I think you could have followed the route of the 5th Scots Guards to Chamonix by the number of champagne bottles which came out of the train. We were there for a fortnight only.

    Where they destined to go to the Winter War between Finland and Russia?
    That’s right, but via Norway, Sweden and the ? as I’ve never quite understood what it was and we in fact embarked in the port of Glasgow onboard a rather fine Polish liner, the Batory, to go off, and we were all set to go when the Finnish Armistice came. It was an extremely lucky thing for us that there was that armistice, I think. Our bones would be bleaching on some sort of tundra very quickly. But it was a rather pleasant interlude and I went straight away from that to our Training Battalion at Pirbright. There I think I did learn a little bit: elementary field craft and that sort of stuff, but it was a pretty short interlude there.

    And then the next step?
    The next step was to go to the Holding Battalion, I think, of the Coldstream; it was partly in the Duke of York’s Headquarters, first time I think I ever saw the Duke of York’s. And then up by Regent’s Park; we were there and I was there, you know, getting increasingly frustrated and impatient, you know, when the fall of France and all that. I didn’t go to France and all I remember was these wretched French refugees in the - what’s the place called - Earl’s Court where they have the great exhibitions there when they were evacuated. But I was only a pretty short time in the Holding Battalion. I remember playing ping-pong. I also remember being confined to Barracks.

    I think yes for staying out too late at the Bag of Nails and other night clubs which one used to go to. So - and that’s really what led me straight into the Commandos because I was getting very bored sitting on my arse and then they started to form the Commandos, and they called for volunteers from each Guards battalion - Guards Regiment.

    How did you hear about the Commandos?
    I don’t know, I suppose there was some notice posted up or something. All I do remember: being interviewed down somewhere near P? Street by then Colonel Laycock. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Laycock He’d just been made a Colonel I think. I was very unused to being interviewed. I mean this is terribly gossipy I’m afraid. One’s, you know, one’s been interviewed many times since so one rather knows the form but I wasn’t prepared for the question - ‘Why do you want to join the Commandos?’ I mean I could have told the truth which I was bored with sitting on my arse and being and confined to Barracks and the Holding Battalion but Bob Laycock saw that I was a bit inexperienced at - and I always remember his question - the words he put in: ‘I suppose Jellicoe you want to have a crack at the Bosch!’ I suppose in a way I did but it wasn’t precisely what ...

    ... he prompted you with the right answer?
    He prompted me with the right answer yes.

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=w-wp439Dcl0C&pg=PT17&lpg=PT17&dq=commando+julian+berry&source=bl&ots=BzPtXCMZjm&sig=XqIbrjwg8t2zAqxTpOcSdBMkA_k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p2LxUueEPIfT7AbkwYHQDw&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=commando julian berry&f=false

    But in any case you were in?
    In any case I was in and we did our - there was a Troop from each Guards Regiment and then from the 60th - No. 8 Commando we were in, which is what he commanded to begin with. Our Troop was commanded by Mervyn Griffith-Jones, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mervyn_Griffith-Jones, a famous barrister since. I think he was made a Captain and then he had two Subalterns under him. One was Ian Collins, Collins the publishers, who was about twice my age, he was getting on Ian but he played for the Davis Cup, a great tennis player, I.G. Collins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Collins_(tennis) and I was the other subaltern. Then there were lots of sprigs or spriglets of aristocracy like Gavin Astor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Astor,_2nd_Baron_Astor_of_Hever and Julian Berry

    And then there was some much more grander people from an older - well Randolph Churchill was in our Commando. There were grander people from oh, Lord FitzWilliam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Wentworth-Fitzwilliam,_8th_Earl_Fitzwilliam and ‘Bones’ Sudeley - Lord Sudeley Person Page, my future father-in-law Philip Dunne http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Russell_Rendel_Dunne a racehorse owner. It was very much White’s club not that I was a member of White’s club but very White’s ‘clubby’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White's

    But that was when I first met David Stirling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Stirling who was in the Scots Guards with the troop or whatever it was called, and where I also met the person whom David always said he owed so much to in founding the S.A.S., Jock Lewes, who was also in it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jock_Lewes

    What impression did David Stirling make on you at first?
    At that time absolutely none at all and when we went out to the Middle East, in the Glengyle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Glengyle, what I, all I remember about David Stirling at that moment: he was called the Giant Sloth because he lay in bed in his cabin the whole way out there. We hardly ever saw him. That’s what we called him. But then I think I did learn a bit of soldiering there, we had a pretty energetic time down at Burnham on Crouch to begin with. You know long, long marches and I think our, certainly our Commanding Officer knew quite a bit about training. We were toughened up and it was rather a good thing we had three weeks consistent, a period of three weeks there and then a weekend off.

    Did many of them have to drop out because they couldn’t take the physical exertion?
    I don’t think so. No, no I don’t think - we had very, very, very few dropouts. I was only there for I suppose six weeks. I remember so well driving up to London you know, after the bombing, not actually in the bombing, but the Mile End Road and things. It looked all pretty ghastly

    So this was the latter part of 1940?
    This was Battle of Britain time. This was August - July, August, September 1940. I think sometime in September I then went on a course at Loch Ailort which again was Commando training - rather good course, and again extremely sort of hard physically. Shimi Lovat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Fraser,_15th_Lord_Lovat was the chief Instructor there, Lord Lovat. Bill Stirling, David’s brother was also on the instructional staff there. There were amusing people like David Niven on the course and there were some old boys. One I knew best was somebody called Edward Beddington-Behrens http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Beddington-Behrens who’d been in the First World War. We thought he’d, everybody rather - I rather befriended him and I got on very well with him and he as a great financier and he was actually up there because he was going to be in - have a Command in Sussex or Kent if there’d been a successful German invasion with the Stay Behind Forces. He was up there for that reason. Well, it was rather practical training, some of it was deer stalking ...

    ...living off the country?
    ... yes, and also poaching - poaching the deer on Lord Brocket’s estate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Nall-Cain,_2nd_Baron_Brocket Lord Brocket was known to have been something of a - the then Lord Brocket rather - Nazi sympathiser so we felt fully entitled to poach his deer. and some sort of really long, taxing two or three days in the hills and mountains there. I remember they’d all looked rather askance at Edward Beddington-Behrens because I suppose he was in his 40s but I remember one very long two-day outing and everybody was wondering - they were all wondering how he was going to get on. This chap, he performed far better than most of us did. So the rather changed their tune about Edward Beddington-Behrens, who then became a great friend of Macmillan and all that, but that’s another story. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Macmillan

    Did you have much to do with David Niven?
    No, not much, no. He was rather a different generation but he was an amusing chap. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Niven But that was the Commando training; then we joined our Commando. We were then at Inverary and it was all pretty gruelling this was sort of the autumn of ’40, and then at Largs where we did quite a lot of sea stuff on the Clyde. I nearly pretty much drowned myself whilst on the Clyde, late at night or something on the Cumbraes, and then on the Isle of Arran. There we - the three ‘Glen’ ships were there which had been designed - were converted for this sort of Commando stuff
    Keyes then used to come up. [H.M.S. Glengyle, Glenroy, Glenearn]

    That is Admiral Keyes, Admiral Keyes of Zeebrugge fame, who had really asked and got himself appointed as - I don’t think it was called Chief of Combined Operations but it was what Chief of Combined Operations became, by Churchill of course who was an old pal of his. He used extreme pressure on Churchill to secure this appointment and he was always pressing, of course, for the engagement of the Commandos. There were now - I don’t know how many there were in the UK - but there were three or four training on the Isle of Arran. One of the things which he was keen on was the attack on Pantelleria near Malta but there were others - lots of other schemes that he eh - but all of them fell through. 

We spent some time on Arran and again it was pretty arduous training but the old boys, the grandees of Commando did pretty well and they got their grand wives up and it was all very pleasant.

    Was there a sense of frustration because of all the delay getting into action?
I think we were getting a little bit fidgety but then. I mean we had Leave over Christmas and it was Embarkation Leave in fact because knew then we were going up to the Middle East, so there was quite a lot of excitement about that and it was very good company. I mean we had some very interesting and amusing people there, joined us. Well the trip out, which I remember very well, the usual marvellous time in Cape Town but we were joined on board there - well, Evelyn Waugh had joined the Commando by then.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Waugh. Old Admiral Cowan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Cowan who used to command the Mediterranean Fleet, he had come out as - we thought as an Observer but in fact he was very actively engaged. He was in the desert when he was captured there. Peter Beatty Person Page son of the Admiral, he was a Naval Officer, he was part of it. It was an amusing crowd and I think by then we thought that we were going to be actively involved.

    Did Evelyn Waugh fit into things because ...
    Not really, no.

    ... in one of his novels he gave the impression that he didn’t,
    I don’t think he did really fit into things but I don’t think - I think he became much more of a misfit later on, I think. I saw a bit of Evelyn Waugh after the war; he was a great, great friend of my father-in-law; my second wife you’ve met, her father, and in fact the last thing in his Diary there’s a very moving paragraph about the death of Phil Dunne as he called him. He never really fitted in although I think he did extremely well in Crete with Bob Laycock and was extremely brave, there’s no doubt about that at all. But, no, he wasn’t really suited for this type of thing, nor indeed was Randolph. But of course, it was helpful having a Churchill in the Commando: it meant that views were eh ... received at a very high level.

    So you went round the Cape to the Canal Zone ...
    We went round the Cape, up through the Canal Zone. We were then destined for an operation which was involving a Division as well, for something which was always extremely close to Winston’s heart and that was the capture of Rhodes: which he saw as the key to the Aegean, the key perhaps to persuading the Turks to come into the war and then perhaps ...

    [end of REEL 1]
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    REEL 2 continues

    As you know, this project, the capture of Rhodes was and remained very close to Winston’s heart all through the war - it kept surfacing, constant pressure on the Americans for example, and on his Middle East Command. I suspect, although you could certainly make out a very strong strategic case for, if possible bringing Turkey into the war, and then getting a toe-hold in the Balkans, and perhaps the fact that it’d be no bad thing to get to Greece and Bulgaria and Yugoslavia before the Red Army could, there was something which maybe was in the background of his mind, even at a very early stage. But also I think, the fear of huge casualties by the sort of an unsuccessful or hard-fought Overlord, I don’t know. I have a feeling that perhaps also that one of the things which may have been a driving force for Winston was the fact that Gallipoli had been such a political - I mean he’d lost his job as the First Lord of the Admiralty as a result of it - and perhaps that somewhere was some way in his subconscious, but Rhodes was always very much in Winston Churchill’s thoughts.

    But for whatever reason, that was again an abortive operation, never took place. I think it was primarily due to the fact that it coincided, or would have taken place about the same time, or shortly after Rommel’s successful April ’41 offensive whenever it was, in the desert and there just weren’t the troops, etc available for it. So that was an abortive operation too which never took place.

    Did Laycock speak to you all about Rhodes?
    Well we knew about it, yes. Laycock by then was commanding I think three or four Commandos, Layforce I think it had become, we were just one of them. But certainly the General who was designated to command us, he addressed us, I remember it, onboard the ship. I can’t remember his name which is awful - a rather good-looking guy. Then we were transferred to Alexandria, to Sidi Bish. They didn’t quite know what to do with us and there were a series of rather abortive little raids and operations which never came - I wasn’t in them, only bits of our Commando was, but I was involved in one which - I suppose we are now in May ’41 - it was from Tobruk which was by then besieged. We had an old Yangtze gunboat put at our disposal, the Aphis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Aphis_(1915) and the idea was to sail from Tobruk in the Aphis, or using Tobruk as the base, with No. 8 Commando a large part of it, to attack the German airfield about 50 miles west, 60 miles west behind the German lines, besieging lines, at Tobruk near Gazala. But this old lumbering gunboat was - and it was absolutely bound to happen I would have thought - was detected very early on by the Italian or German air force, or both and we were extremely lucky not to be sunk. We had two days of bombing, including very quite low-level attacks by Italian - both high level and low level attacks. I remember I think they must have taken her for a cruiser. Well I remember, and I can still very vividly recall an Italian bomber attack of about six or eight Italian bombers coming in and their bombs dropping short of this boat and bouncing straight over her. It was rather an extraordinary sight.

    Another vision I have in my mind’s eye is old Admiral Cowan who’d insisted on coming, with a Tommy gun, well into his 70s, shooting at these Italian bombers coming over. So that was a failure and there were others. Then of course, not our Commando but two Commandos went to Crete to eh - landing too late to be of much use but did something to cover the retreat. That’s all been very accurately described in a recent book by Anthony Beevor about the battle of Crete http://www.antonybeevor.com/index.php/previous-books/crete-the-battle-and-the-resistance/. I wasn’t there so, and we were at Mersa Matruh at times and we were then awaiting to be disbanded and morale wasn’t very high, I must admit, at that time.

    Had there been any casualties aboard the Aphis when it was bombed?
    No, I don’ t think there were any casualties at all; most extraordinary thing.

    This Admiral Cowan seems to have made quite a reputation in North Africa ...
    Yes he certainly did.

    ...as a combative but very old sailor?
    That’s right he was well into his 70s and again I wasn’t there but some stage at bit later on, he was in - I think again it was from Tobruk and he - there was an Italian tank or something which he - or German - again I don’t know. But what I do know is he was firing at it and these people, they could see that he was a very old gentleman indeed and eventually he was compelled to surrender. He was taken prisoner, went to Italy and then was I think, he was swapped with some other - he didn’t end the war in captivity. I think he ended his days hunting with the Warwickshire Hunt. He was a very energetic man, a great martinet: he’d been a very stern disciplinarian when he was C-in-C in the Mediterranean Fleet in the Interwar Period. But that’s a diversion.

    So, you were saying that morale wasn’t very good...
    Morale wasn’t very good. We’d had all these abortive things. We hadn’t been properly used. It had coincided with the Rommel offensive and then the decision was taken to disband the Commandos and we were disbanded.

    How did you feel about it?
    I think by that time one was - one had got really bored of standing by for operations, or what one could see were not particularly well-planned operations. I think one was fairly reconciled to it. We were able to go off to do separate little things. I spent a month in Tobruk, I don’t know how, with Carol Mather http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Mather. He’s incidentally somebody whom you might like to ...

    ... Yes
    Sir Carol Mather became an MP, he recently has written a very good book.

    He persuaded me to go up I think with - it was following that experience with the Aphis when it was patently absurd - it was not the way to raid a Germany airfield with a huge - being transported in a huge, clumsy, slow - large clumsy slow gunboat but there were other ways of doing it. His scheme, we were just four of us, each of us with an NCO - his scheme was imaginative but to me ... I thought it was an excellent idea at the time: in that we were going out in a small craft from Tobruk, we were going to land behind the German lines, raid the same aerodrome which was one of the main German air bases, and the original part of his scheme was we were then going to walk back, not go back by boat, but walk back through the German lines and then re-enter the Tobruk defences. I’m not certain we’d have got very far, after blowing up German aeroplanes and walking back through the German lines, but I’m absolutely certain, as we were coming through the 18th Indian Cavalry Regiment, if we’d managed to get through the German lines that would have been the end of us when we’d tried to re-enter via the 18th Indian Cavalry Regiment! But luckily each time - and three times we set out to undertake this raid - each time the young Naval RNVR commando - I don’t know if it was his fault or whether it was a bad navigation system, we never found the right place and I’m extremely glad we didn’t because I think we’d have ended up at best in a German or an Italian jug for the rest of the war. I liked it that time in Tobruk. It was my first acquaintance with the Aussies, I think it was the 4th Australian Infantry Division was there under General Morshead [n.b. 9th Division http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9th_Division_(Australia) ]

    I think I certainly I went - I’d been to Australia, indeed I’d been to New Zealand many times since, My early days were in New Zealand but I couldn’t remember anything of Australia which I had just been to as a young boy. But meeting the Australians in Tobruk was really much going in at the deep especially a young Peer and a young Guards Officer, we were a very easy target for good Australian ribaldry which was plentifully bestowed upon us and was extremely good for these two young Officers. We got on extremely well with the Aussies there. I enjoyed my month in Tobruk then and I particularly enjoyed - we had two twin Vicker K guns I think, down bottom of the garden by the port where we were staying and the Stukas used to come over morning and evening, and it was really rather like a pheasant drive. I used to thoroughly to enjoy that.

    It just shows the difference when one hasn’t much responsibility and is fresh: I remember two years later in Leros also being subjected to rather heavy Stuka bombing and being absolutely terrified, or disliking it intensely, whilst two years earlier it had rather been like shooting at high pheasants - never hitting them, we never hit anything. We were really rather lucky because a bomb came through the next door room in our - where we were billted and didn’t explode.

    The difference being just those two years’ experience?
    I think it’s partly responsibility and I had rather heavier responsibilities when I was on Leros
    and partly tiredness. I think courage or imperturbability is - it’s a matter which changes with everybody I think, but as far as I am concerned I think it’s partly whether one has responsibilities or not for others, and partly I think as far as I’m concerned a question of how tired one is - on the ball.

    So that really was the end of my Commando experience because I the went and joined my Battalion in the desert, which is the 3rd Battalion of the Coldstream

    What did you feel about the enormous difference which must have existed between the typical Regimental soldiering in the Guards and the very different discipline of the Commandos?
    I think one adjusted fairly soon and of course - a Motor Battalion in the desert, there was a good deal of latitude, you know, and one was fairly dispersed. I happened to have a particularly nice Company Commander, somebody called John Lloyd, marvellous person, and they were very, very nice. Well, he was the most ... one could not have fallen upon a nicer person to have commanding one’s Company. Not that we were all that active. I was only - I’m trying to think now - I must have been just under a year or ten months or so with my Battalion.

    So this was ’41 - ’42?
    This was, this would have been from the eh, yes I suppose it must have been from about July ’41. Well it wasn’t all that eventful a period but I must say I liked the desert. I loved sleeping out which one did very often. I liked the Company which I was in. I liked my Company Commander very much. I liked my fellow Platoon Commanders and I liked the chaps in my Platoon very much. They were mainly from County Durham and Northumberland; a lot of them had been miners. They were eh ... I suppose it sounds rather platitudinous but they were a very nice and a very good lot indeed. They were pretty well-trained and they looked after this young Subaltern pretty well.

    We didn’t have a very adventurous time. We went up on the escarpment for one time doing patrols up there, above Hellfire Gap - well, to the south of it, I suppose - it was very open up there. I used to go out ... we worked a lot with the 4th South African Armoured Car Regiment and they used to take us out about ten or fifteen miles and then perhaps we’d go on on foot at that stage or be out for the night, just sort of keeping contact. But that was my first real experience of that sort of thing and I rather liked - I can still see these, they were called Marmon-Herringtons, I think. I think they’d been constructed down somewhere in South Africa. I can still - I remember standing in the turret of these and looking down at - Corporal Kruger was driving our armoured car. Corporal Kruger he had a very big tummy
    and I can still see it as I looked down through the turret.

    That was all good clean fun. One used to out on patrol. I only ran into the Germans once on patrol. I had my father’s old automatic pistol with me and the only time I shot at anybody with a pistol in the war was on that occasion, or tried to shoot, but the pistol jammed, so the German was quite unscathed, as I was too.

    This was a German patrol?
    No I think we’d actually run into the German frontline thing. We were - they wanted us to capture - get a prisoner out but partly through my pistol jamming that all was a bit of a failure.

    What was the attitude towards the enemy in the western desert, did you hate the Germans or respect them, or?
    No not at all. No, we respected them. They behaved extremely well, or so I gather from people who were captured or wounded. There was a certain camaraderie there, I think. Having no civilian population, I think, probably helped it a lot. We had a considerable admiration for Rommel and of course we used to sing German er - Lili Marlene was our favourite thing. We were always tuning in to the German radio to hear Lili Marlene.

    In English or in German?
    Well, usually in German, yes. Though certainly I had no feelings of personal animosity, I was extremely keen that the Germans should be defeated but I didn’t come into contact them - actually physical contact much with them then. We were then involved in the November ’41 offensive, 3rd Guards Brigade [n.b. 22nd/200th/201st Guards Brigade under John Marriott, Brigadier Marriott. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Charles_Oakes_Marriott

    We came - had a bit of shelling at various times. We had no infantry action then at all and then carried straight forward right across the desert to Ajdabiya, right at the bottom of the Gulf of Sirte, I think it’s called, where again we had to settle down to sort of patrol activity. I remember one nasty incident when I came back from patrol and I found that my batman, a very nice man, had been shot in the stomach and was dying. That was really almost my first experience of seeing somebody badly wounded and I remember how shaken I was by that.

    Was that from an air attack?
    That was an air attack, yes, he’d been machine-gunned from the air. Then we advanced further west to Marsa al Brega, I think it was, where our Battalion - we were in the front line there. I say frontline - not like trench warfare in ‘14-’18. There was a marsh away to the south of the - the coastal road goes along I suppose about a mile inland there - or a mile and a half inland - and then away to the south was very marshy and that was where our frontline was.

    I had a bit of a problem there because I was sent out very early one morning to patrol, to the north of the road to see what was going on. I took a small patrol, I suppose eight men with me, with one truck - maybe only six, I can’t remember quite how many we were. It was rather difficult because after we’d gone a certain distance we couldn’t see to the south. We went along along the coast, patrolling, going west and we couldn’t see to the south because of the dunes. One heard a certain amount of noise going and eventually when one got on to a high enough dune, we could see really what was going on. This - what in fact was going on, it was Rommel’s counter-attack, counter-offensive. By the time we’d cottoned on to that - maybe we hadn’t thought fast enough, but we’d been told to go up to a certain point, so we did, I did - our retreat was cut off. You know, where we’d left, that had - I think we’d left it with a driver and I suspect he’d gone off. I can’t really remember now. But that did face us with a rather long walk. We had a long long walk back, I suppose the best part of a hundred miles, a hundred and twenty miles or so.

    When you say we, who were you with?
    Me and this little Patrol I had of mine. I’d left most of my Platoon of course with my Company. I’d just taken a small group for a patrol to have a look at what was going on between the road and the sea.

    So it was a small group you were in command of?
    Yes, well, part of my Platoon. So we then had a long walk back and a fairly thirsty walk back too. I think we must have walked all that day, or lay up. I think we lay up a bit. We walked all that night and then the next morning. We saw something what looked like some wells and we were getting a bit short of water. So I went with a couple of chaps, or just one chap, up to the wells to see what it was and only when I got within about thirty yards or so ,did I realise that there were chaps there and they started shooting at us. I’m afraid I didn’t investigate what they were about because there were a lot of them. Although they the missed me at about 30 yards, they hit me at about 200. So they knocked me over with a thing in the shoulder. So maybe we should have investigated what they were. What I think they were, I think they were in fact Sanussis, which were under British command and they’d mistaken us for Germans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senussi. But at 30 yards or so I didnt feel like spending too much time investigating their precise identity. And then we had another day, day and a half’s walk back.

    So you’d been hit in the shoulder by rifle fire?
    By rifle, rifle bullet. It missed my spine, very luckily, by a fraction.

    Which shoulder were you hit in?
    On the right shoulder. Went in the back and came out here and missed the spine by literally a fraction. Then after another night’s walking, or a day and a night, we eventually ran into an armoured car screen from an Indian Division and they gave us a lift back and I got to Benghazi.

    So you just had a field dressing?
    Oh yes, yes. I didn’t lose a great deal of blood, went through the flesh.

    Was anybody else in the group hit?
    No, no, I was the only one hit. It was my fault for not running away faster.

    Then ... well, it was very simple: I went back and our Battalion had retreated fairly successfully back to the the Gazala Line and I rejoined them three or four days later.

    Did you have to go into hospital?
    No, I didn’t. No. We had a very good doctor, called Malcolm Pleydell, who in fact joined the S.A.S. later as a doctor and wrote a very good book under another name [nb Malcolm James] on the Desert war including the S.A.S. http://www.specialforcesroh.com/showthread.php?29078-Pleydell-Malcolm-James

    I suppose I must have been a month there with my Battalion. We were - it was a very fortified - you know, a lot of minefields and things, which was guarding really the southern approaches to Tobruk, and waiting for the next German offensive really.

    I don’t remember much from that time except one used to do patrolling a good deal. I do remember we were, my Platoon, we were guarding the entry to one of the minefields or the passage through them and I saw three cars approaching from the desert, in the desert. I didn’t know who it was and then it turned out to be the Corps Commander who had been out for reconnaissance General Lumsden http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Lumsden

    It was - by the time he arrived it was dark and he asked to be taken to our Brigade Headquarters, it was about a mile away. Could I show him the way? I said Of course Sir.

    So I walked in front. Very stupidly I’d forgotten that of course the car engine running behind me - the engine of the car running behind me was going to effect my compass. And the first think I’d known I was walking back through the minefield with the Corps Commander in the car behind me. When I realised this I had to explain to him, a slightly peeved Lieutenant-General that I’d made a slight error of navigation but he and the Brigadier forgave. It’s all rather idle comments, I’m afraid.

    In any case, I er, that wound I had went bad and about three weeks before ...

    [end of REEL 2]
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    REEL 3 continues

    This was about three weeks, I think, before the German next offensive which after a very, very - as you know a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, heroic French defence and action at Bir Hakeim led in fact, to the pretty disorderly retreat of the 8th Army right up to - back to El Alamein and the Fall of Tobruk.

    So you say the wound went bad, you mean you got gangrene?
    My wound went bad yes, or got very infected. I was evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station in Tobruk. They took a look at it and they said You’d better go back to Alexandria. So I was shipped back to Alexandria into 64th General Hospital which I remember with great affection. I used to read a great deal and rather sort of stuck-up and snobbish about my reading and I remember reading a great deal of Proust when I was ten days or a fortnight in hospital with this wound being looked after. I think because one’s - I don’t know it just suited me then - I’ve never been reading Proust with any real eh ... Temps perdu - I can’t remember the name of the great Proust novel ...

    ...Memories of ...
    ...Memory of time past! Temps perdu yes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Search_of_Lost_Time
    We had a - we were marvelously looked after there, as I’ve always been in every military hospital except one, I’ll just mention to you, couldn’t have been better looked after there. We had a really beautiful nurse amongst others. She was only 24; she had snow-white hair and her name was Miss D? B? and we used to call her ‘Penny Whistle’ and she very nearly became the Duchess of Wellington. She missed it by a whisker but she did marry extremely well. She looked after us, couldn’t have looked after us more kindly and I’m not making an aspersions on her character in saying that. We were marvelously well looked after.

    I was released after ten days or so, went on Leave to Cairo and then I ran into David Stirling and he said: ‘What about joining me?’ I was still on Sick Leave and I said ‘Yeah, I like the idea very much indeed. Can you fix it up with my Battalion?’ He said ‘Yes I can fix it up with your Battalion.’
    I then went off on a week’s Sick Leave I think, was meant to be up to Beirut and there I got malaria and spent two days I think in - staying with Bill Astor who was doing something in up the hill - a lovely house and I think he thought two days was enough looking after this young Officer so I was then sent to a Hospital - a Casualty Clearing Station and Australian Casualty Clearing Station which was manned by Australian male nurses - no Miss Dolla Bugles - and I don’t think I’ve ever got out of a hospital quicker than I got out of the - I didn’t fancy being looked after by Australian male nurses, much as I appreciate and like the Australians.

    I went back to Cairo and then joined - it was then still called L Detachment of the S.A.S., as technically as David Stirling’s Second-in-Command. I’m trying to think this - by now we must be May or late April, about May - you know the Bir Hakeim dates and things better than I do - it must have been about May ’42.

    Yes, probably a bit later.
    It can’t have been a great deal later, it may have be later May yes.

    Where had you met David Stirling in Cairo?
    I suppose I ran into him at Shepherd’s Hotel, where everybody met everybody. But I just ran into him by sheer chance I think. Don’t think I had an appointment or anything.

    Was he on some recruiting expedition, or did it just come straight off the top of his head?
    No, no I think he was in between raids by then. I’m sure he was - or planning raids - staying with his brother Peter at the lovely flat they had. I may have met him by design. Of course I knew very well that he and Jock Lewes, both of whom I’d known pretty well in No. 8 Commando, had - I mean I knew that he’d set up this Raiding Force and of course I may have been attracted by it. I can’t recall. I think it was sheer chance, but it may not have been and he may have been in touch with me when he found out I was in hospital, or something like that. I don’t know. I’d always liked him and I’d heard a bit about what they’d been doing and was intrigued I think.

    [Remainder of interview not transcribed]
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    Remembering Lord Jellicoe by Patrick Leigh Fermor

    In February 2007, following the death of his friend, Paddy wrote about George Jellicoe in the Spectator magazine.

    George Jellicoe, who died last week, was an early member of David Stirling’s SAS, and soon became commander of the Special Boat Service. We first met in pitch darkness soon after midnight on 24 June 1942 in a cove off southern Crete, both of us in rubber boats, one of them taking off Jellicoe and his comrades — most of them French — back to Mersa Matruh, the other landing me on the island for a SOE mission. We exchanged shadowy greetings. On landing, I soon learnt from the Cretans of the success of their long, strung-out series of raids, and the number of enemy aircraft and the stockpiles of ammunition and fuel they had destroyed.

    When George and I met by daylight a year and a half later in Cairo, I was struck immediately by the tonic effect of his presence, his initiative and his inflexible determination, and his knack of command. Also, his humour and buoyant spirits. We became great friends. He had a gift for getting on with his own soldiers and sailors and, most importantly, with our Greek allies. Among many operations, he worked several times with General Christodoulos Tsigantis — the ‘General Gigantes’ of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet — the dashing, original and very effective commander of the Sacred Brigade, mostly enlisted from guerrillas who had escaped from occupied Greece and which he led brilliantly from Cairo to Rimini. Many years later, Tsigantis told a friend that George was the bravest man he had ever met.

    When the tail end of the German army was retreating from north Athens, George — well in advance of the advance mission — was already pedalling into the city centre on a borrowed bicycle. As we know, the same energy and flair carried him through his successful spell as a diplomat, and to great heights in postwar politics.

    Tidcombe Manor, in the Wiltshire downs, was a delightful retreat from his manifold duties, which were here replaced by swimming, riding, reading and music, and the company of friends, in which he was wonderfully abetted by his wife Philippa. George meanwhile had painlessly developed from a young centurion to an active senator and then to a retired paladin, and evenings there were marked by lively talk and much laughter, a spirited combination of punctilio and bohemia.

    George often returned to Greece, where his name is revered. Below the window of the house in the southern Peloponnese, where these lines are being hastily written, a favourite promontory juts into the sea, affectionately known as ‘Jellicoe’s leap’.

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    The Scotsman Obituary


    Earl Jellicoe, KBE, FRS, DSO, MC

    War hero, government minister and businessman

    Born: 4 April, 1918, in London.

    Died: 22 February, 2007, in London, aged 86.

    AN AVUNCULAR and gracious man, Earl Jellicoe served with much distinction during the Second World War and played a fundamental part in the advancement of the Special Air Service as a potent fighting force. His escapades behind enemy lines are now part of SAS legend: though Jellicoe - always modest and retiring about his war experiences - seldom talked about them.

    Later, Jellicoe was a member of Edward Heath's government, but in 1973 he resigned after it became known that he was involved with call girls. On Jellicoe's immediate resignation Heath wrote "that his actions accorded with the best traditions of British public life."

    George Patrick John Rushworth Jellicoe came from aristocratic stock. His father was Admiral Lord Jellicoe the commander of the Royal Navy at the Battle of Jutland, his mother a member of the Cayzer family.

    He had been a page at George VI's coronation - along with the sons of Earls Haig and Kitchener. Jellicoe attended Winchester and then got a first in History at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1939, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards.

    Much of his war service was spent with No 8 Commando, the SAS and SBS (Special Boat Squadron). Jellicoe's adventurous war was rich in dangerous exploits. He carried out guerrilla raids principally in North Africa, Rhodes, Greece and Crete. In 1942, he was in command of a British, French and Greek raiding party on Crete that destroyed enemy aircraft and vehicles. During this 12-day mission, the party lived rough, finding shelter in whatever the island's wilds had to offer, but succeeded in inflicting considerable damage to the German infrastructure.

    For another raid, Jellicoe dressed as a Cretan peasant and gained access to a German hanger, blowing up 16 aircraft. He then went to Tobruk where the British garrison was facing savage fighting and were cut off on the land side by strong enemy forces. Jellicoe led forays behind German lines - he and his men were credited with detonating numerous rail lines, roads and supply depots. In Greece, he cycled into Athens and led the liberation of the city.

    Jellicoe was demobbed at the end of the war with the rank of lieutenant-colonel with a string of medals: the DSO, MC, Legion d'honneur, Croix de Guerre and the Greek War Cross. He joined the Foreign Office and served in embassies in Brussels and Washington. In 1958, he decided to leave the Foreign Office and join his mother's family company, the Clan Line, which soon became British and Commonwealth Shipping.

    Jellicoe had inherited his title in 1935, but had seldom been active in the House of Lords. In the late Fifties, he made some significant speeches in the House and Harold Macmillan then gave him ministerial office at the Admiralty. In 1964, when the Tories were in opposition, Jellicoe was Lord Carrington's deputy in the upper House.

    In fact, Jellicoe was to serve under the next two Tory prime ministers, Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Sir Edward Heath. With Heath, Jellicoe had a somewhat strained relationship, not helped by Jellicoe's saying of the Tory leader: "Not the greatest leader of the opposition, but he has potential to be a great peacetime prime minister."

    Jellicoe served under Heath as Lord Privy Seal and then secretary of state for defence. But in 1973, following the rapid departure of Lord Lambton for enjoying the company of call girls Jellicoe admitted that he too had been indulging in similar practices.

    Jellicoe's hasty departure from the Heath government left it bereft of a certain stability and a dash of much needed colour.

    Instead, Jellicoe carved out a most successful career in business. He joined the boards of Tate & Lyle, Davy Corporation, S G Warburg, Sotheby's, and sat on the council for King's College, London and the British Heart Foundation. As chairman of the British Medical Research Council (1982-90) he offered himself as a guinea pig for the an AIDS vaccine they were developing.

    Military colleagues unanimously elected Jellicoe president of the SAS in 1996, and three years later Jellicoe was voted to retain his seat in the Lords. At the time of his death, he was the House's longest serving member.

    Jellicoe had a sharp intellect and was a charismatic and active man - he was still skiing at 80.

    He was twice married. His first marriage to Patricia O'Kane was dissolved and he married Philippa Dunne in 1966. She survives him, as do two sons and two daughters from his first marriage, a son and two daughters from his second marriage and another son.
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    Attached Files:

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    London Gazette:
    War Office, nth November, 1942. The KING has been graciously pleased to approve
    the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East: —
    The Distinguished Service Order.
    The Earl Jellicoe (124546), Coldstream Guards (Sunningdale).

    Recommendation for Award for The Earl of Jellicoe Rank: Lieutenant Service... | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 373/46/22
    Name The Earl of Jellicoe
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Service No: 124546
    Regiment: Coldstream Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Middle East Special Operations and Escapes
    Award: Distinguished Service Order
    Date of announcement in London Gazette: 5 November 1942

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
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    London Gazette

    War Office, 2yd March, 1944.
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in .recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field: —

    The Military Cross.
    Captain (temporary Major) The Earl Jellicoe,. D.S.O. (124546), Coldstream Guards (Sunningdale).

    Mentioned in Despatches
    War Office, 15th December, 1942.
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East during the period November, 1941, to April, 1942:—
    Foot Guards.
    C. G'ds.
    Lt. (actg. Capt.) The Earl Jellicoe, M.C. (124546).

    War Office, 2nd March, 1944.
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field: —
    C. G'ds.
    Foot Guards.
    Corps of Royal Engineers.
    Capt. (temp. Maj.) The Earl of Jellicoe, D.S.O, (124546).
  16. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    You've done a lot of hard work there Diane. Great posts. :)
    Thank you.

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    Thanks for the comments and reps.

    I recommend the audio itself to anyone who cares to spend an hour or two being gently escorted through the war years: he comes across as charming, thoroughly self-effacing, and an inveterate name dropper - of sorts. Well, he did meet so many well-known people.

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