Whereabouts of Special Boat Service records

Discussion in 'Commandos & Royal Marines' started by gwendraith, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. gwendraith

    gwendraith Junior Member

    I'm hoping someone will be able to help. My uncle was a member of the Special Boat Services operating in and around the Greek Islands. He went on a mission called the Alimnia mission in 1944 and the group were captured and subsequently executed under Hitler's Sonderbehanflung orders (special treatment i.e. execution). My grandparents were never told what happened to him other than he was presumed died as POW. In 1986 the proverbial hit the fan when Kurt Waldheim, then President of Austria and former Secretary General of the UN was accused of being implicated in the deaths of 6 servicemen in 1944, one of whom turned out to be my uncle George. Margaret Thatcher ordered an enquiry which I have a copy of. Bit of a shock for my family to say the least, especially for my mum, his younger sister.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have received a copy of my uncle's service records and they are fine until the summer of 1942, listing his postings until he escaped from Tobruk and won the MM. From the summer of 1942 until April of 1944 when he was presumed dead there are no entries which is presumably because he was recruited into the SBS (he was in the Sherwood Foresters). Where will his SBS records likely to be if they still exist? I have a full account of that last mission with the SBS from the MOD report and all the German documentation during his capture, but I'd really like to know what he was involved in during the earlier part of his SBS career.

    Anyone have any ideas? Thanks. :poppy:
     
    brithm likes this.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hello - Can you post his name etc. One of us will look up his original MM citation for you for starters.

    Ref the Sherwood Forresters and SBS unit-What unit(s) did he served with?

    Nothing showing for Alimnia online at the National Archives. Was this the official Operation name?
     
  3. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Some links relevant to the Alimnia misson Sub Lt AL Tuckey And HM Levant Schooner 24 (Captured 20th April 1944)) Ronald Edward CARPENTER
    Telegraphist, HM Levant Schooner 24, Royal Navy. RN no. P/JX 245508.
    He died on 20 April 1944. He was 20.
    He was the son of Mr and Mrs Arthur Albert Carpenter of Cranleigh
    He is remembered on panel 84, column 2 Portsmouth Naval Memorial
    Additional Information
    Ronald Carpenter served with the Special Boat Squadron and he was captured with Lieutenant Tuckey RN, N A Velissariou, M N Lisgaris and D Trandadyllou while transporting an SBS team near the Isle of Alimnia in April 1944. They were all interrogated and then executed. It is reported that his execution was signed by a future President of Austria and Secretary General of the UN - Kurt Waldheim.
    These SBS detachments operated in rotation from a large schooner
    anchored on the Turkish coast. Transport to and from targets was sometimes by Royal Navy Motor Launch, but more often by the caiques (local fishing boats) of the Levant Schooner Flotilla, crewed by the Navy and local volunteers.Cranleigh - They Gave Their Today
     
  4. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  5. gwendraith

    gwendraith Junior Member

    Hello - Can you post his name etc. One of us will look up his original MM citation for you for starters.

    Ref the Sherwood Forresters and SBS unit-What unit(s) did he served with?

    Nothing showing for Alimnia online at the National Archives. Was this the official Operation name?

    Thank you. 4976245 Pte Augustus George Evans MM. I have his citation, a copy of the original was included in the MOD report of 1986. He was in the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters and was recruited into the Special Boat Squadron (S Detachment - P Patrol). I've looked at the NA. I have a huge amount of original documents which came from the report. Margaret Thatcher wrote to my mum's MP about it. We even have the report on microfiche which came with the report when it published. It was a huge story, in all the newspapers and World In Action did a programme which included the Alimnia Mission (official name).
     
    brithm likes this.
  6. gwendraith

    gwendraith Junior Member

    Some links relevant to the Alimnia misson Sub Lt AL Tuckey And HM Levant Schooner 24 (Captured 20th April 1944)) Ronald Edward CARPENTER
    Telegraphist, HM Levant Schooner 24, Royal Navy. RN no. P/JX 245508.
    He died on 20 April 1944. He was 20.
    He was the son of Mr and Mrs Arthur Albert Carpenter of Cranleigh
    He is remembered on panel 84, column 2 Portsmouth Naval Memorial
    Additional Information
    Ronald Carpenter served with the Special Boat Squadron and he was captured with Lieutenant Tuckey RN, N A Velissariou, M N Lisgaris and D Trandadyllou while transporting an SBS team near the Isle of Alimnia in April 1944. They were all interrogated and then executed. It is reported that his execution was signed by a future President of Austria and Secretary General of the UN - Kurt Waldheim.
    These SBS detachments operated in rotation from a large schooner
    anchored on the Turkish coast. Transport to and from targets was sometimes by Royal Navy Motor Launch, but more often by the caiques (local fishing boats) of the Levant Schooner Flotilla, crewed by the Navy and local volunteers.Cranleigh - They Gave Their Today

    Thank you very much for that and taking the time to look for me but I have it all from the Government enquiry of 1986 which the MOD sent to my mum. It's a very in depth report and my mum was sent all the documents including the German ones, communications between HQ and the unit holding the 6 servicemen and interrogation transcripts which they handed over for the enquiry. They were translated for us and also put on microfiche. Waldheim wasn't implicated in the end as he was on leave at the presumed time of the executions and in any case he was only a Lieutenant at the time and wasn't of a high enough rank to order executions. He undoubtedly knew what was going on though. I have everything there is to know about the Alimnia mission including the original orders and subsequent search for the group and everything that happened to them whilst in German hands, but I want to know where the the file is for my uncle's service with the SBS from 1942 - 1944 when he died. My family have met the Carpenters by the way.
     
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  7. gwendraith

    gwendraith Junior Member

    Oooh! That's brilliant, thank you so much WILLS. I shall read through all that to see if there's any mention of my uncle and peruse the photos. I have a lot of photos (some on the Special Forces Roll Of Honour site) Thank you so much for the link :)
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    There's no unit under that name coming up at the National Archives for war diaries that I can see.
     
  9. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    A bit of a long shot but WO 361/1089 is enquiries into missing personnel of the SBS in the Aegean. Might be worth a look

    John
     
  10. gwendraith

    gwendraith Junior Member

    A bit of a long shot but WO 361/1089 is enquiries into missing personnel of the SBS in the Aegean. Might be worth a look

    John

    Thanks for that. I just took a look at NA and the dates are given as 1944 Sep 18 - 1946 Jul 19, slightly too late but they might be worth a read when I next go to the NA/
     
  11. gwendraith

    gwendraith Junior Member

    There's no unit under that name coming up at the National Archives for war diaries that I can see.

    I looked there and like you found nothing. There might be something in HS 8/
    Special Operations Executive Records which may or may not be released.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks for that. I just took a look at NA and the dates are given as 1944 Sep 18 - 1946 Jul 19, slightly too late but they might be worth a read when I next go to the NA/

    The date given is when the file was put together/investigated etc. so they will be investigating missing men from before the dates given.
     
    brithm likes this.
  13. Hi
    Just wondered if you have tried also for additional info as dad was in the same Regiment
    Sherwood Foresters Regimental head Quarters (Now The Mercians)

    A H L McDOUGALL
    Admin Officer
    RHQ MERCIAN (Nottingham)
    Foresters House
    Chetwynd Barracks
    Chilwell
    Nottingham
    NG9 5HA

    Tel: 0115 9465415
    Mil: 94451 5215
    Fax: 0115 9469853
    Mil: 94451 5223

    Interesting I have a small bible with what it looks like the signature of an Evans in it which was in dads possession which he must have picked up on his travels

    see previous post ''Well Travelled Bible''
     
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    BLYTH, Hugh William, P63138, Captain, SCOTS GUARDS attached SPECIAL BOAT SQUADRON, Captured ALIMNIA, 7 April 1944 - WO 344-31-2

    courtesy of AndyBaldEagle
     

    Attached Files:

    brithm likes this.
  15. Flamstead

    Flamstead Junior Member

    Hi dbf,

    Many thanks for posting that extra information on here.

    Like gwendraith, I share an interest in this mission. Sub-Lt Allan Lane Tuckey RNVR is named on our village War Memorial in Flamstead, Hertfordshire.
     
  16. pete

    pete Junior Member

    I realise this is about a year old and things may have moved on, but I thought readers may be interested in this Obituary to Col David Sutherland CBE, MC and bar, as it mentions 'S' Detachment of the SBS. I would also point you in the direction of the Commando Veterans Association website where, in addition to the album shown above for the SBS, we have an album for the Greek Sacred Squadron http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/WW2/comb+ops/greek+sacred+squadron/

    Times obituary.
    Colonel David Sutherland
    October 28, 1920 - March 14, 2006

    Special Forces officer who won the Military Cross in a dangerous wartime raid on Italian-occupied Rhodes


    LIEUTENANT David Sutherland and Royal Marine John Duggan were the only two to return from Operation “Anglo”, a raid on the Italian-occupied island of Rhodes by the Special Boat Service in September 1942. The SBS team was pursued relentlessly; it had attacked two airfields and destroyed aircraft positioned to support Rommel’s threatened advance on Cairo and to bomb supply convoys to beleaguered Malta.
    The team of eight, plus two Greek guides and two interpreters, sailed from Beirut in the Greek submarine Papanikolis on August 31 to a beach near Cape Feralco, on the east coast of Rhodes, from where the two target airfields of Calatos and Maritsa lay eight and fifteen miles (24km) distant. The party landed without difficulty using a folding boat and three inflatable floats, which they concealed in caves after obliterating their foot prints in the sand. Beyond an assessment that the Italian garrison was about 30,000 strong, there was no intelligence on the local situation. The mission had to be accomplished by the night of September 17/18, when a submarine would call to pick up the team — or the survivors. They had no radio link to their base or to the Navy.

    After resting for the first day, the group split into two parties — one under Captain James Allot to make the 30-mile return march to Maritsa and the second under Sutherland to attack the nearer airfield at Calatos. Sutherland’s party reached a point overlooking the airfield by the night of September 11/12 and spent the next day noting how the aircraft were dispersed. He decided on a simultaneous two-pronged night attack: one by a Greek officer with two Royal Marines to place explosive charges on aircraft on one side of the airfield, while he and Marine Duggan dealt with those on the opposite side.

    Despite torrential rain during which Sutherland and Duggan were detected by a sentry, at least 13 aircraft were destroyed together with several fuel storage tanks. All five men got away from Calatos airfield but only Sutherland and Duggan reached the planned rendezvous for return to the beach. Shots heard to the north before dawn suggested the other party had met the enemy, as indeed they had. Next day the surviving pair lay up in the hills to confirm their assessment of aircraft destroyed, then made for the rendezvous (RV) overlooking the beach where they expected to meet Allot’s party on return from Maritsa.

    Neither Allott’s group nor the missing three from Sutherland’s appeared at the beach RV, but an Italian patrol craft arrived with a landing party which found the folding boat and inflatables. After narrowly avoiding discovery by an Italian foot patrol on September 17, the pair left a written message at the RV explaining the lost boats and climbed down to the beach to swim out to the expected submarine. Two hours before midnight a reply to their identification torch signal was seen — it was flashed through the submerged submarine’s periscope — and, after replying, “Swimming, come in,” in Morse code, they entered the water. Although calm, the sea was cold and having eaten only a tin of sardines each over the previous five days it was little short of a miracle that, after an hour and a half in the water, they sighted HM Submarine Traveller and were helped aboard over the foreplanes. Minutes later Traveller had to crash-dive to avoid an Italian naval patrol boat.

    Sutherland was awarded the Military Cross for his leadership and initiative and Marine Duggan the Military Medal. All other members of the SBS team were taken prisoner. The two Greek guides, who had earlier escaped from Rhodes and volunteered for the operation, were tried for treason and the older one, aged 24, executed. The younger man, aged 19, was imprisoned but died soon after the war from tuberculosis.

    David George Carr Sutherland was born near Peebles in Scotland. He was educated at Eton and RMC Sandhurst, from where he was commissioned into his father’s regiment, the Black Watch, in October 1939. He served with the 6th Battalion in the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium and was evacuated from the beach at La Panne, east of Dunkirk in June 1940. He was an early volunteer for the commandos, soon after their formation, and went to the Middle East with a troop of 8 Commando. He served for a time in besieged Tobruk and with David Stirling’s 1st SAS Regiment in the Western Desert.

    He took over command of the squadron-sized “S” Detachment of the SBS when the unit was reorganised under Earl Jellicoe on April 1, 1943, and moved to a new base at Athlit Bay on the coast of Palestine. He took his detachment to Crete intending to destroy enemy aircraft capable of reaching the southern shore of Sicily, where the Allied invasion fleet was due in July, but managed to burn only a few, as the Luftwaffe had discontinued night use of the airstrips. He was awarded a bar to his MC in September 1943 for his work on Crete.

    Better results were achieved in a series of raids on enemy installations on Aegean islands north of Rhodes in early 1944. Secure operating bases on the Turkish coast were negotiated by quiet diplomacy, but when one of the SBS Greek-manned support craft collided with the harbour wall at Bodrum, Sutherland and the crew were arrested and briefly locked up in the castle until explanations could be made. He parachuted into Albania in October 1944 to join men of his “S” Detachment operating with local partisans against the withdrawing German Army, but found the partisans more preoccupied with local politics than attacking the joint enemy.

    On return from Albania, at only 24, Sutherland became a lieutenant-colonel, on succeeding Jellicoe, in command of the SBS. He subsequently led them in a series of operations in support of Tito’s partisans in Dalmatia and Istria but, as in Albania, found that the indigenous political struggle had become more important than harassing the withdrawing enemy. He was mentioned in dispatches in July 1945 in recognition of his period in command of the SBS. He also received the Greek War Cross.

    Return to peacetime soldiering was difficult, as it was for many of his contemporaries who had survived the war. He spent a year with the British Military Mission in Greece, advising the government forces in their struggle in the bitter conflict with communist guerrillas, and was later an instructor at RMA Sandhurst. Perceiving that it would be many years before he would regain his wartime rank of lieutenant-colonel to command the Black Watch, he left the Army in 1955 to begin a new career with the security service, MI5. At one stage he was the service’s senior representative in Pakistan, but took a nostalgic break to command 21 SAS of the Territorial Army 1956-58 and, from 1967 to 1972, to serve as deputy commander of the SAS Group. He was appointed CBE in 1974.

    In 1946 he married Jean Henderson, his partner at the Sandhurst passing-out ball in 1939. She died of cancer in 1963 and he married the author and historian, Christine Hotchkiss, in 1964. He is survived by his second wife and a son and two daughters of his first marriage.

    Colonel D. G. C. Sutherland, CBE, MC and Bar, wartime commander of the Special Boat Service, was born on October 28, 1920. He died on March 14, 2006, aged 85.
     
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