Lieutenant Fleming and Rifleman Savage LRDG Italy June 1944

Discussion in 'Special Forces' started by vitellino, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everyone,

    I have already posted this on an old thread but now think it would be better on its own.

    I am investigating the deaths of servicemen behind the lines in Italy and have come across what I think is part of an Escape and Evasion Report written by Corporal James Swanson - there's no source given, as is often the case in Italian books - in which he describes what happened to Patrol M2, intended to drop near Montepulciano in the province of Siena in southern Tuscany but which came down further west near to Monte Amiata. The CO, Lt. Fleming, was missing after the drop and the other members of the stick went looking for him :


    SAVAGE was left with the Parachutes about 20 yards away; MURRAY and PARRY-JONES went off again to see if they could locate Lt. FLEMING and the rest of the kit. KILEY and myself also went to search for Lt. FLEMING, we had been looking around for about 2 minutes when we met MURRAY and PARRY JONES again.

    However, the LRDG website has this entry:

    Post by 'Infidel' of 13 Aug 2012

    Sad to inform that Eric "Kip" Kiley, formerly of M2 Patrol L.R.D.G. passed away recently in Blackheath, London. He took part in one of the few LRDG operational Para drops, jumping into Siena, Italy on 13th June 1944. Lt. Simon Denis St. Ledger Fleming and Rifleman Bob Savage both died due to parachute failure. Some were quickly surrounded and captured but others including Kiley escaped. Eric subsequently made his way back to Allied lines.

    It seems obvious to me that Rifleman Savage had been picked up by the Germans and shot under the commando order. I don't think that this can be ruled out for Lt. Fleming either.

    To complicate matters there are two concentration forms - one for Savage alone, and the other for both men. The second one indicates that they were picked up together by the Graves Registrationi Unit.

    Does anyone have any other information on this?


    Montepulciano sheet 121.png
    201101-cb476900f9f538a429d511e670b99543.jpg 201102-2d387a3895f6cad4c22a5a376bd4a090.jpg
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  2. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    British Special Forces: The Story of Britain's Undercover Soldiers
    By William Seymour

    "The drops had to be postponed twenty-four hours on account of bad weather, but on the night of 12 June M2 Patrol under S.D. Fleming and W2 Patrol under Lieutenant J. Bramley were dropped to the south-east of Siena, and the following night M1 and Wl Patrols with Captain A. Greenwood and Lieutenant Rowbottom came down some way from their planned dropping zones — south-west of Arezzo. Sadly, Lieutenant Simon Fleming's parachute failed to open and the LRDG lost another competent and courageous officer. Another man of his Patrol was killed in the drop, and the remainder gradually got back to the Allied lines without having achieved anything. The second Patrol ......................"

    (Sorry no sources quoted)

    The Men Who Made the SAS: The History of the Long Range Desert Group
    By Gavin Mortimer
    Quoted source;-
    " Murray and Kiley also evaded capture and it was later discovered that Lieutenant Simon Flemings chute had failed to open due to a faulty static line and he had been killed on landing. In 1969 the LRDG Association newsletter Kip Kiley wrote an account of this mission , adding he was still in contact with Simon Flemings mother who `constantly wears a LRDG brooch`"....

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  3. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Thanks for this reply.

    Presumably one of the stick had found Lt. Fleming's body, otherwise how was it known that his chute had failed to open? It wasn't Cpl. Swanson who became separated from Kiley and made his way to our lines alone.

    I have the first few pages of the LRDG's War Diary WO 218/92 relating to Greenwood's experiences and should perhaps obtain the rest,

  4. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Perhaps someone may have access to the 1969 LRDG Association newsletter Kip Kiley wrote his account in?

    Theres a little about Swanson and Kileys escape on Google books but the page regarding Fleming isnt shown?

    The Men Who Made the SAS

  5. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Thanks Kyle,

    I had found these snippets.

    Interesting as to how the news got round about the faulty parachute. One theory could be that the Germans told the men they captured, and they reported it when liberated. Other than Kiley and Savage men mentioned by Swanson are Parry Jones, Keeley, Murray, Locke and the W/T operators, unnamed but referred to as Signals. Swanson saw Parry Jones being captured and reported that when he was with Kiley:

    'Fighting broke out again but not in our direction and I concluded that another of our party had been seen'.

  6. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Sorry for delay in getting to this folks (“Absence and apologies” in “User Introductions” section has the gen.)

    For Vitellino, hopefully this will help your research.

    Please be aware that it has taken much soul-searching on my part to post here, 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 LRDG casualties. May it promulgate their memory for evermore. 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.

    So, for Vitellino and all who have contributed here, from:



    Central and Eastern Mediterranean



    Attached Files:

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  7. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    And should there be any doubt.

    Attached Files:

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  8. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Thank you so much. This is just the information I was looking for.

    I already had Cpl.Swanson's account and so knew that Bob Savage had been killed after he had landed. I now now why and by whom.

    With every good wish,

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  9. Pam Swanson

    Pam Swanson Member

    James Swanson 2822478 was my grandfather. He always told us that Lt. Fleming's parachute had been affected by battery acid during the flight and that is why it had failed to open. I have a picture of my grandfather standing beside Lt. Fleming's original grave. He and Kip did used to visit and stay with Lt. Fleming's mother when there were LRDG reunions in London. Sadly my grandfather passed away in April 2007.

    I came across this forum whilst searching for more information on his service online. There are oral history recordings of his military life on the Imperial War Museum website should you wish to listen, if you haven't done so already.


    Attached Files:

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  10. Pam Swanson

    Pam Swanson Member

    Can I ask where you found the report? Are you able to post the link?
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  11. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member


    I will look up everything I have and post it shortly,

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  12. Pam Swanson

    Pam Swanson Member

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  13. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Here you are, Pam.

    It is in a book written in Italian which came out last year. I collobarated with the author on part of this book, but
    not on the report of the M2 mission. I contacted him a while ago to ask where he obtained this report but he has not replied.

    Book containing Swanson report.jpg Swanson 1.jpg Swanson part 2.jpg Swanson part 3.jpg

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
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  14. Pam Swanson

    Pam Swanson Member

    Many thanks for looking this out for me.
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  15. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    It's a pleasure, Pam. I have referred to your grandfather in my forthcoming book, 'Some Corner of a Foreign Field', to be published by Austin Macauley but don't yet know when.

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
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  16. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Hello Pam,

    The report of patrol M2 is part of the LRDG papers (WO/218/92) held in The National Archives here;

    L.R.D.G. | The National Archives

    They are not digitised, so in echoing your thanks, Vitellino (top lady that she is) has done a top job in posting it here, as have you in posting the photograph. Thank you so much for doing such. It is very much appreciated.

    It all helps to promulgate the memory of chaps such as your grandfather, which for me, and I hope all, is a good thing.

    Kind regards, always,

  17. Pam Swanson

    Pam Swanson Member

    Thank you Janet, I look forward to reading it when published.
  18. Pam Swanson

    Pam Swanson Member

    Hi Jim

    You're welcome. It is absolutely a good thing.

    Kind regards


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