Operation Musketoon. British Prisoners of War at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Smudger Jnr, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    With Remembrance Day drawing ever near I learned today that the Naval Attache at the British Embassy here in Berlin is arranging to visit the Memorial site at Sachsenhausen on the 11th november.

    Over the last few years the Remembrance Day was organised Internationally and is always held on the Sunday following the Liberation Day in April.

    Besides always attending in April we at the Berlin Branch of the RBL have decided that it would be nice to commemorate those brave allied service personnel who died there, mostly by execution and as such we will also attend with the Embassy staff.

    The Rev Max Homewood, will conduct a short service and we hope to have a Piper in attendance.

    I have read accounts of the Special Services that resulted in those being taken POW ending up at Sachsenhausen, but today I was forwarded a document that was resarched and written by a Officer of the BRIXMIS between 1988 and 1990.

    These being the only persons to be able to visit the DDR area of East Germany and as such performed the Remembrance Services until the time of Unification.

    The document is extremely well written and there are references quoted.
    I have received permission from the sender to post on the forum as there is no Copyright as far as they are aware.

    The Document contains a lot of interesting information and I am sure members will find it well worth reading.

    Operation Musketoon.

    There is a difference in the Information I have received and that on the attached link, regarding the execution.

    I had heard that the group were tipped off that they were to be executed and decided to go down fighting.

    Until now I had not actually read anything to corroborate the story.


    Attached Files:

  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Just thought that I should change the title a little as the BRIXMIS article attached is very well worth reading.

  3. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria.

    Hi Smudger Jr have just read OPERATIONX MUSKETOON - GLOMFJORD - 15/21 SEPT 1942 tonight actually was looking for info. on a chap that is remembered on a war memorial in Keswick that i had taken a picture of and i found a web site with alot of details on and one was for chap called REGINALD H. MAKEHAM who was one of the Commando's that was executed by the German's trully awful here are his details from the site
    REGINALD H. MAKEHAM age 28 Pte Gordan Highlanders / No 2 Commando 23rd October 1942

    Son of Reginald Linnel Makeham and Mary Susan Janet Hope Makeham; husband of Rebecca Makeham ( Downie ), of Keswick, Cumberland, married March Q 1942.

    Serving with No 2 Commando Captured and later executed after the Glomfjord raid. The first 7 men to fall victim to Hitlers Commando Order of 18th October 1942
    and the site from where i got the details are-http://keswick-at-war.yolasite.com/ damn can't seem to get the link to work.
  4. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member


    A very interesting mission indeed.

    Speaking of Sachsenhausen, have you read Jimmy James's autobiography 'Moonless Night'? It's a gripping book. He was one of the "lucky" 23 Great Escapers to be recaptured and NOT executed, but he and 3 others were sent to the "Prominenten" section of Sachsenhausen. Using a knife and spoon, he and his fellow Great Escapers dug a tunnel out of the Concentration Camp and ESCAPED AGAIN!!!

    An incredible story of indefatigable daring and resolve.

  5. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Very good article about a very interesting operation, hope that the service goes off well.

    Look forward to your report and any photo's you may have
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  7. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I've just joined the forum and this my first post.

    CSM Miller Smith was originally in The Coldstream Guards. He had served 4 years with the colours and had then joined Southport Borough Police. He was recalled as a reservist at the outbreak of the war. He is commemorated by a plaque at Southport Police Station (in the Police rather than public entrance). There is also a handsome silver sports cup "The Miller Smith Trophy) on display.

    Steve Y.
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Thank you for the extra information regarding CSM Miller Smith.

    My RBL Vice Chairman and one of our Standard bearers are ex Coldstream Guards and they will be glad to learn this extra information.

  9. mercian9130

    mercian9130 Junior Member

    Going to Berlin next month and have arranged a visit to Sachsenhausen. Will place RBL crosses on the memorials to UK, Commonweath & Allied service personnel and agents who were executed there.
  10. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    If you are anywhere near our RBL premises on a Friday evening, please feel free to pay us a visit, you are more than welcome.

    Our details are on the Portal Page with a Hyperlink.

    Maps shows where we are located and opening times etc.

  11. mercian9130

    mercian9130 Junior Member

    Just to expand on the BRIXMIS briefing - Lt.Colonel John McGRATH survived KZ Sachsenhausen. He had served in the British Army in World War One and had managed cinemas / theatres in Dublin between the wars. He was recalled to the Army on the outbreak of war (he was said to be in the RE). Captured in the Dunkirk campaign, he was sent to an Oflag (possibly Oflag IIIA at Luckenwalde). It is probable he was asked by the senior British POW, Major-General FORTUNE, former GOC 51 (Highland Div) to volunteer to go to a camp the Germans had set up at Friesack to recruit Irish servicemen (as they had done in the 194-18 War near Limburg, using Sir Roger CASEMENT to suborn the prisoners). Apparently McGRATH successfully dealt with the Germans and very few prisoners actually supported the Nazi cause. He was allegedly caught by the Germans passing messages supposedly to Irish diplomats but Terence O'REILLY states he had been taught the code system used by the British for communications between the POWs and the UK and he had taught it to other loyalist soldiers in Friesack. He was sent to Sachsenhausen and kept in solitary confinement for much of his time there. However, he ended up in the same convoy of 'Prominenten' as 'Wings' DAY and was liberated by the Americans in the Alps in 1945.
    See Terence O'REILLY, Hitler's Irishmen, Cork, Mercier Press, 2008.

    Alun Thomas
  12. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Many thanks for that information.

  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    This weekend sees the 67th Anniversary of the Liberation of the camp and Today is the Main day for Remembrance.

    Main Service is 1400 hrs.

    The Royal British Legion Berlin Branch will again be in attendance and we will lay Wreaths at the Commando Special Services Memorial stone and at Station 'Z'.


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