Discussion in 'General' started by T. A. Gardner, Feb 15, 2007.
Lt.Col. Robert Cole from the 101 Airborne
Oh yeah and Mike Strank who raised the replacement flag in my avatar
B. A. Jimmy James, Roger Bushell, and everyone else in the Great Escape, and especially those who went on to tunnel out of Sachenhausen as well.
Douglas Bader because, come on...
Charles Lightoller, home guard, but in the classic tale took his boat over to Dunkirk when he was 68 to squeeze in 130-odd BEF-ers.
My Grandad and Von Der Heydte.
For sheer determination, will-power and endurance, Arthur Nicholls GC must be among the greatest role models. His story deserves to be better known.
ACTING BRIGADIER ARTHUR CRANE NICHOLLS GC
Coldstream Guards attached Special Operations Executive
One of the wildest and most inhospitable territories in which the S.O.E. resistance movement operated was Albania and several British Missions were introduced to join different groups there. Acting Brigadier Nicholls was parachuted into Albania in October, 1943, as General Staff Officer to the Allied Military Mission.
By the middle of 1943 large areas of Albania were controlled by the partisans and German communications through the country had been severely curtailed. But the Germans moved several fresh units into the country. They reached the small hamlet where the British Mission had been established but, before they arrived, the staff had broken up into small parties, each trying to slip through the German cordon before it closed. Unhappily, the party with the wireless sets and most of the equipment was ambushed with all its mules, but the others escaped, though communication with the outside world had ended.
The Commander of the Mission managed to get clear of the area and he was accompanied by three other British officers, two British N.C.O.s and several Albanian and Italian partisans. Although the little party had succeeded in avoiding the main German thrusts, it had failed to break out of the German cordon and spent several days playing hide and seek with their enemy amongst the rugged and unfriendly mountains. A day or so before Christmas it looked as though a group of the attackers was making straight towards its camp and it was decided to make a hurried move up the course of a mountain stream. Soaked boots was added to the list of miseries that everyone had to suffer and several of the party developed bad frostbite of the feet. Brigadier Nicholls, particularly, had to bear a great deal of pain from his condition but he refused to remove his boots for fear that he would never be able to get them on again.
Eventually, after almost a fortnight of wandering through the mountains, the party reached what they believed to be comparative safety in a sheepfold above Kostenjge. Here they settled down to try to recover their strength but, unhappily, they had miscalculated the situation and next day they were fired on by a small detachment of pro-German Albanians that had established itself on higher ground during the night. The only possible escape route was up a bare snow-covered hillside that was under iong-range fire from the Albanians' rifles and the tired men had the alternative of following the route or inevitable capture. They chose the former.
Several members of the party, including the Commander of the Mission, were hit during the climb and either killed or wounded so that, when the survivors reached comparative safety at the top of the hill, it had been reduced to Nicholls, one other officer and three Albanian partisans. Nicholls decided that, at all costs, they must escape and make contact with the nearest British Mission so that he could give a full report of events. Some of the rest of the party were in favour of stopping and setting up a fresh camp where they could rest but Nicholls virtually drove them on for sixteen hours until he was certain that pursuit had been shaken off. Then they halted in another sheepfold.
Nicholls sank to the ground exhausted and when, some time later, he tried to rise again he found that he could not stand. Both of his feet were badly poisoned and gangrene had set in. The one other officer who remained with the party was also in trouble with his feet but only one was badly frost-bitten and he could still walk after a fashion. Nicholls was still determined to make contact with the nearest British Mission and he believed that there were two of them located at some distance to the south. He ordered the other officer to set off to try and contact one of them and to take with him the only one of the three Albanians who spoke English. It was going to be a difficult journey involving a crossing of the deep and fast flowing Skhumbini River but his companion obeyed the order without hesitation. The Brigadier decided that he himself must try to reach another Mission that he believed to be to the north. He wrapped his poisoned feet in goatskins and then made the two remaining Albanians tow him along the ground on his duffle coat. This method of progress was slow and uncomfortable and, all the time, he was in great pain. To add to his discomfort, at one point, he fell over a bank and dislocated a shoulder. After some days of journeying in this manner, the little party came across a friendly Albanian who knew where the Mission that they were seeking was and agreed to deliver a message there. Nicholls scribbled it on a piece of paper saying, merely, that he was in trouble with his feet and asking if someone could be sent out to meet him.
The message was delivered safely but, unfortunately, just as the Germans were launching an attack that drove the members of the Mission away from the direction in which Nicholls was coming. As a result, it was several days before an officer was able to go out and meet him. By now, Brigadier Nicholls was in a very poor condition for, apart from his injuries, he was on the point of collapse from starvation. In three weeks he had eaten nothing but a handful of maize meal, a little sour cheese and some goat's milk. A litter was improvised and, for five more days, he journeyed in this until he reached a point where a car [another source says a mule] could collect him. Despite his condition he remained cheerful and talked of little else but reorganising the resistance forces and resuming the offensive against the Germans. When he eventually reached his destination he insisted on making a full report on the situation in the territory where he had been operating before he would discuss the matter of his own future. Then he was taken to the house of an Albanian patriot who lived outside Tirana and there a doctor amputated his feet.
Everything possible was done for him but Brigadier Nicholls was in no condition to withstand so severe an operation. For some days it was hoped that he would recover but there was little strength left in his tired body. On 11th February 1944, a very brave man died peacefully in bed. He had suffered great hardship with almost unbelievable fortitude. He had gone on doing his duty and, in the end, he had given his life for his country. The officer who went out to meet this gallant man and brought him in from the mountains was so impressed by his indomitable spirit and determination in the face of great suffering that, as soon as he was able, he wrote a full account of the events and recommended that Brigadier Nicholls' gallantry should be appropriately recognised. As a result, he received the posthumous award of the George Cross.
No. & Rank at the Time of Action: 62269 Major
(T/Lieutenant Colonel & Acting Brigadier)
Unit/Occupation: Coldstream Guards, attached to the
Special Operations Executive (SOE).
Date and Place of Birth: 8th February 1911, Bexhill-
Family: Son of Joseph Crane and Josephine Crane
Nicholls (nee Campbell). Married Dorothy Ann Violet
Nicholls (nee Schuster), of Swinbrook, Oxfordshire
Early Life: Educated at Marlborough College 1925-29
and Pembroke College, Cambridge University 1931-
33, where he studied Law.
Date and Place of GC Action: October 1943 -January 1944, Albania
Remarks: AFC Nicholls was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards Supplementary
Reserve in 1937, after service with 86th (East Anglian/Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field
Brigade, RA (TF). He was promoted Captain in 1939, Major in 1940, A/Lt Col in 1943,
and Brigadier on 8th January 1944. He served in France in 1940 with 1st Bn/Coldstream
Guards and was a War Office assignment in 1943.
The London Gazette: 1st March 1946 No. 37485. His widow, by then Mrs A G Dunlop Mackenzie, accompanied by his mother received Brig. Nicholls’ GC on the 29th October 1946.
General Rommel- Back in his days when he commanded the afrika corps, before he was promoted to field marshal.
My Grandad - Private Wilf Lee, in '44-'45 was a Cromwell driver in 4th County of London Yeomanry.
His favourite was Lt Gen Brian Horrocks, who he had had sat on the front of his tank on a couple of occasions.
If you want a role model? How about me? larger than life.
Home Guard...Blitz.... Sword Beach to the German border. Took parrt in every battle until after the Overloon and Venraij battles....Wounded twice... once severely. Did great things as an Engineer in private life.
Handsome! Virile! well spoken.
This posting makes me roll about laughing....I shall now go and sip my afternoon tea with a bloody great big grin all over my face........
If you put it like that Sapper, I can now only choose you.
My Grandfather SS Sargent
Anyone who has succsessfully lead men into combat. Be he/she an Officer or an NCO.
Gus Walker would have to be one role model to consider.
The following taken from "Defence News" also attached Christmas card from Gus Walker and newspaper clipping.
RAF hero honoured with Blue Plaque
13 Sep 06
A wartime Lancaster bomber pilot who flew highly dangerous missions into the heart of Germany and occupied France is to be honoured by the village where he grew up with a prestigious Blue Plaque.
http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/Templates/GenerateThumbnail.aspx?imageURL=/NR/rdonlyres/77E10BE5-74B5-427C-9AF0-335D78580C9E/0/portraitasacm.jpg&maxSize=210 Air Chief Marshal Sir Augustus Walker GCB CBE DSO DFC AFC.
[Picture: Courtesy of Yorkshire Air Museum]
Sir Augustus Walker rose through the RAF ranks to become one of its most senior officers; Air Chief Marshal. He was born in Garforth, then a small mining village in North Yorkshire, and spent his entire childhood in the same house, in Lidgett Lane. It is now receiving the Blue Plaque from Leeds Civic Trust, nearly 75 years after "Sir Gus" left the village to attend university and join the RAF. Ron Sudderdean, from the Garforth Historical Society said:"The entire funds for the plaque and ceremony supporting the unveiling were raised by the Garforth Historical Society which wanted to celebrate one of its sons who became a war hero, received horrific injuries and then rose to the highest ranks within the Royal Air Force.
"We raised the £600 needed mainly through sales of books we wrote about Garforth's history. It's money well spent."
The wall plaque will be unveiled by one of today's senior RAF commanders at a ceremony next month marking the life of Gus and his front line contribution to World War 2.
Augustus Walker was born in 1912 and attended Cambridge before being accepted into the RAF in 1934. He became a pilot the following year and flew many aircraft in the inter-war years when air power could for the first time prove decisive to the outcome of battle.
At the outbreak of war Walker was a Squadron Leader but was soon promoted to Wing Commander and took command of 50 Sqn at Lindholm, Yorks, flying Lancaster bombers. He took part in the bombing of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in July 1941 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). He was then promoted to Group Captain and appointed to command RAF North Luffenham in Rutland.
http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/Templates/GenerateThumbnail.aspx?imageURL=/NR/rdonlyres/482E19D4-A53D-4106-803A-528A6F119C39/0/crewofhampden.jpg&maxSize=210 Sir Gus with crew of No 50 Squadron in front of a Handley Page Hampden, with "Fifty" Gus's dog, Lindholme 5 November 1940.
[Picture: Courtesy of Yorkshire Air Museum]
On 8 Dec 1942 Lancasters under his command were preparing to take off on a night raid over Turin. All were fully bombed – many with 1,000lb bombs - and fuelled for the punishing return raid over Italy.
While taxiing to take off, Gp Capt Walker saw something fall from the bomb bay of one of the heavy bombers and, thinking it might have been a bomb, instinctively rushed across the airfield to warn the crew to abandon the sortie. Suddenly there was an explosion. He was within a few metres of the aircraft and thrown nearly 80 metres by the blast which severed his right arm.
Incredibly, as he was being taken to hospital he asked one of his staff to telephone the Air Officer Commanding and ask if he would take back a one-armed station commander in two month's time. He did come back exactly then.
Only a month later he became an Air Commodore at the age of 30. He continued to fly – having an artificial arm with leather loops that he wrapped around the control column!
In 1954 he became Commandant of the RAF's flying college at Manby in Lincolnshire, using the time to convert to jets and later on in he learned to fly helicopters as an Air Vice-Marshal, going solo after just five days.
In 1964 Air Marshal Sir Augustus Walker became the Inspector General of the RAF and finally Air Chief Marshal in 1967 when he accepted the NATO appointment of Deputy Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces in Europe. He made his last log entry on 1970 when he retired aged 57.
http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/Templates/GenerateThumbnail.aspx?imageURL=/NR/rdonlyres/6DBBF77C-69CD-49EE-8105-E37FF634878A/0/youngportrait.jpg&maxSize=210 Sir Gus as a Flying Officer in 1935.
[Picture: Courtesy of Yorkshire Air Museum]
In retirement "Sir Gus" took up a wide range of interests including the formation of the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington, being one of its first patrons. "He died in December 1986 aged 74, and since that time we have pondered how best to remember such a great man," said Ron.
The plaque will read: "Air Chief Marshal Sir Augustus Walker was born in Garforth and brought up in this house. Serving in the RAF he rose to its highest ranks. An inspirational figure, he led daring raids with 50 Sqn on industrial targets in Germany and commanded a series of bomber stations during World War 2."
Director of Leeds Civic Trust, Dr Kevin O'Grady said:"From time to time we receive requests from individuals and organisations for a civic plaque. The Garforth Historical Society is so proud of "Sir Gus" that they have allocated all their funds this year for the project. The plaque will be sited on his late parents' house, which is on the route large numbers of our students take to their local college.
"It will be an inspiration to them. Leeds Civic Trust runs an extremely successful Blue Plaque scheme and we are delighted to include one marking the local connections of a man who became a luminary in the RAF."
Good article in ATB about his murder.
Nice chap he built birdboxes and birdfeeders.
I still find myself wondering why on earth he retired to France...
Not sure if it's allowed, not a specific person but a type, the Para at Arnhem.
RAF pilots, specifically Gibson and Cheshire... also the men of E Company in Band of Brothers
My Grandfather SS Sargent
DerCommander, tell us more about your Grandfather.
I'd like to hear more as it's not very often you come across someone who has a personal connection to the SS.
Deleted by me as several complaints from other members .
One reason that post seems very dubious is Der Commander says his Grandad was a an SS-Sergeant.
Would a Scharfuehrer command a Camp or be in charge of 10 000 men?
No don't think so.
I wouldn't say that he was my role model, I don't have the right nose, but I am very appreciative for what Bob Hope did during WWII and years following for US troops overseas. He took it upon himself to entertain soldiers and sailors before the war started for the US and worked tirelessly throughout, traveling everywhere.
His Christmas shows are the subject of some of my fondest childhood memories. He would do a whirlwind tour of US installations near war zones and then broadcast a show for the people at home. I remember his shows from Vietnam and how happy the boys were to see people from home. I can only suspect that he had the same response from the boys in 1944 and 1952.
His work was so appreciated over here that he is the only American to have been made an Honorary Veteran. He said that this, among his many other awards, was his most cherished.
He was a great, great person and I'm glad that England sent him to us when he was a mere child. It was their loss and our immeasurable gain.
Sorry if I broke the rules again.
And I am not leying If you dont want to hear about then dont ask.
I am sorry if I broke the rules again but I would never lie and if I had a chose
I would not want a murder for a grandfather and who loved Hitler.
Separate names with a comma.