2660354 James BLAKENEY, Coldstream Guards & SAS Original (The 'Tobruk Four')

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by temptage, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

    In my local Cemetery in Cleethorpes there is this very unassuming headstone with a little gem inscribed upon it. Many a time I had walked past it without batting an eyelid. Its not the sort of stone that grabs your attention at all.

    But there towards the bottom is the name of :poppy: James Blakeney :poppy:, one of the 'original' Originals of the 1st SAS. As you know, the Special Air Service Regiment was formed from members of No8 (Guards) Commando, in particular the ‘Tobruk Four’ - Jim Almonds, Pat Riley, Bob Lilley and James Blakeney – all Coldstreamers. They were part of the original L Detachment to which the current SAS trace their roots back to. It is claimed that the Tobruk Four perfected the art of survival, which is still continued to this day within the Regiment.

    Not a lot is known about James Blakeney. I will admit to not reading either of 'Stirlings Men' or 'Gentleman Jim' so don't know whether he has any mentions in the books. I believe I found a description of where and what the SAS were doing on the day he died, on the internet, but then I couldn't find it when I went looking for it again.

    Admittedly, this isn't his final resting place. He is buried in Hanover War Cemetery, but having his name there on the stone really brings it on home how much we take our War Dead for granted.

    Casualty
    Private BLAKENEY, JAMES
    Service Number 2660354
    Died 08/04/1945
    Aged 20
    1st Special Air Service Regiment, A.A.C.
    Son of James and Ada Blakeney, of Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.
    INSCRIPTION: DEEP IN OUR HEARTS A MEMORY IS LEFT OF ONE WE LOVED AND WILL NEVER FORGET
    Buried at HANOVER WAR CEMETERY
    Location: Niedersachsen, Germany
    Number of casualties: 2358
    Cemetery/memorial reference: 15. B. 2.
    See cemetery plan

    Any more information on this 'hero' would be really appreciated.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=920&pictureid=5542

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=920&pictureid=5543
     
  2. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    There's an account of Jim Blakeney's action on pages 319 - 321 of Stirling's men. "Alongside Du Vivier's jeep was Wainman's, and on board was another of the SAS originals, Jim Blakeney, who had been hit in the arm. 'I told Jim to get back up the track towards the crossroads," remembers Wainman. "Then there was a loud bang. The whole bloody jeep had gone up".

    John
     
  3. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Strange according to his entry here he died in 1945, SAS Blakeney, James More here, Possibly jumped with Lt. Bonnington's stick and was subsequently taken Prisoner of War during Operation Squatter in November of 1941. He was recorded as being in Camp 54, Fara-in-Sabina,(near Rome) in Italy during 1943. He subsequently escaped and rejoined his unit sometime in 1944 and was killed in action in Germany in April of 1945 during Operation Archway. Private James J Blakeney ( - 1945) - Find A Grave Memorial
     
  4. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    There must be some mistake with his age on the CWGC records. This shows that he was aged 20 when he died in 1945 - as such his age would have been only 16 when he was taken POW in November 1941.

    John
     
  5. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

    Yes I know his record showed his age incorrectly. It turns out he was about 5 yerars older i believe.

    It certainly threw me when I first tried tracking him down with the details that he died in Arnhem in 1944. It makes you wonder why families incorrectly state dates on headstones.

    Could it be that he was constantly in action or a POW from before 1944 and that they had had no contact with him since he was in or around Arnhem?

    Saying that, I cant find any concrete evidence that he was even at Arnhem!
     
  6. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

    Can anyone else add anything about this SAS Original?
     
  7. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

    I have recently acquired this photograph, from a very kind gentleman in Germany, of James Blakeney's grave in Hanover War Cemetery.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    temptage,

    Nothing new but there are four brief mentions of Blakeney in Michael Asher's sprawling book The Regiment. As mentioned he was killed in Germany (possibly before the Nienburg area?).

    "L-Detachment Original and prison-camp escapee Cpl. Jim Blakeny was taken out by an armoured car, while running from his blazing jeep."

    When did Blakeney escape his POW camp in Italy? Gavin Mortimer in his book has him returning to Britain in October 1944 based on a "SAS report on the repatriation of Blakeney, 1944, National Archives, AIR50/205".

    Asher on the other hand leaves you with the impression he took part in Operation Gain whose first elements had gone into Normandy on June 14/15 (possibly earlier from other sources) under commander Major Ian Fenwick. It could be my misinterpretation on how he inserted Blakeney's name into the story at that point?

    Regards ...
     
  9. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

    Thanks Cee. Theres nothing like rubbing salt into the wounds! I read another version of the same occurance online but to this day I cannot find it again. At the time I wasnt even specifically looking for it, but I just remember reading it.
     
  10. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

  11. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    temptage,

    Thanks for pointing that out. You have to be absolutely delighted with the information from contributors on there - that is if you can sort it out. What a difference it makes when family members decide to get involved. Why did none of those people show up here? When I do a simple Google search for "James Blakeney SAS" this thread is fourth from the top. It's odd how some things on WW2Talk take off and some don't.


    Regards ..
     
  12. temptage

    temptage I thought it would only take a few weeks......

    I was the instigator of that blog thread. I gave all the original information and photos, and then through a bit of detective work managed to track down his remaining family, who have then contributed invaluable details to it.

    I suppose they havent got involved on other websites because as far as they are concerned they have everything to remember their Uncle Jimmy by, and dont feel the need to find more, but are happy to help when asked.
     
    wtid45 likes this.
  13. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Just take a look at this web page. Invaluable additions from members of his family with never seen before photographs, and his birth certificate and medals etc.

    James Blakeney SAS ~ WW2 Hero and Local Man » Rod Collins

    Not only a great web page, but all kudos to you for your efforts.
     
  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    I was the instigator of that blog thread. I gave all the original information and photos, and then through a bit of detective work managed to track down his remaining family, who have then contributed invaluable details to it.

    I suppose they havent got involved on other websites because as far as they are concerned they have everything to remember their Uncle Jimmy by, and dont feel the need to find more, but are happy to help when asked.


    Aah I was wondering that as well, but couldn't quite see the connection. Anyway it's wonderful to see you got some great results.

    Cheers ...
     
  15. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    A thread that's not been added to for a few years, but in sorting out some photos earlier today to post in the "Jeeps" thread here;

    Jeeps

    I came across names that I had not (to my detriment) thought of in years, and given that the "James Blakeney SAS ~ WW2 Hero and Local Man » Rod Collins" blog mentioned in previous posts above appears to have disappeared I thought it may be worth while (for Cee and temptage and wtid45 and any other folks interested) to add this here.

    As ever, given the utmost respect that I have for the author of the source of information attached, an extract from what I believe to be the absolute definitive work on SAS and LRDG casualties (may it promulgate their memory for evermore) and as a matter for my conscience in using this source, and to continue its original aims, I have donated £100 to the Combat Stress charity prior to posting here.

    Please note, if I should receive a cease and desist request I will, immediately and with all reverence, always.

    From:

    THE SAS AND LRDG ROLL OF HONOUR 1941-47

    VOLUME III – “WE WERE GOOD MEN”

    North West Europe

    EX-LANCE-CORPORAL X, QGM

    Please note I have also firstly attached a contemporary report from Harry Poat to Mike Calvert concerning the relevant action.

    Sincerely, always


    Jim.

    Archway report extract a.jpg

    Archway report extract b.jpg

    Archway report extract c.jpg

    James Venney Blakeney 1.jpg

    James Venney Blakeney 2.jpg

    James Venney Blakeney 3.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    davidbfpo, travers1940 and Cee like this.
  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Jim,

    Just great information once again, well done!

    Regards ...
     

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