RAF officer with LRDG?

Discussion in 'Special Forces' started by Tim091, Dec 26, 2020.

  1. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    My grandfather (Leonard Walter Elsey) was a career RAF man, his specialism was armaments. I have a photo album of his showing him in the desert in WW2 with the LRDG. My research to date doesn't throw any light on why he was with them!

    His service record shows:
    7/1/42 HQ203 Group (ME Command)
    9/2/43 Base Air Reinforcement U (ME Command)
    27/08/43 Rear AHQ Desert Air Force (ME Command)

    See pics from a page in his album titled "Long Ranger Desert Group". Maybe someone recognises some of the faces, or has any other info?
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Tim

    Is it possible to upload his service records for members to read in them in context

    I note WW1 Biplane Fighter Pilot Restoration in this it mentions he was :
    He also has a medal that his Grandfather was awarded, an Iraq Active Services Medal. A medal for general service in Iraq 1924 – 1938 and appeared to have served in the Long Range Desert Group in WW2!

    The photos posted could be in Iraq late 1938?? - I dont know, just asking the question

  3. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    Cheers for the reply Tricky Dicky. The page in the album is titled "Long Range Desert Group" so has to be post 1940. His full record is attached for info.

    Attached Files:

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    As you say in post 1 his time in North Africa during WW2 was 7/1/42 - 27/08/43

    LRDG was basically founded in the middle of 1940 and in middle/late 1943 transformed into mountain troops. I understand that a lot of their arms were ex RAF so perhaps your father was with them to train in the maintenance and use etc of these

  5. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    Interesting, thanks, I didn't know that about the ex RAF arms so could be a link there. Could be he was just in the area and had a cup of tea of course!
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    It appears in several places

    Long Range Desert Group - Wikipedia
    Supplementing their army-supplied weapons, the LRDG was equipped with surplus Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft guns, which were acquired for their high rate of fire. The most widely used of these was the Vickers K machine gun, which was sometimes used mounted in pairs.[33] From mid-1941 the LRDG acquired .303 Browning Mk II's from RAF stocks, also mounted in pairs, with a combined rate of fire of 2,400 rounds per minute.[34] When new vehicles were issued in March 1942, several were converted to carry captured dual-purpose 20 mm Breda Model 35s, which replaced the Bofors 37 mm, and each half-patrol was equipped with one Breda "Gun truck".[35] In September 1942 the .50 Browning AN/M2 heavy machine gun began to replace both calibres of the Vickers machine guns and the Boys anti-tank rifle.

    Something to research further perhaps

  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    In 'Eastern Approaches' by Fitzroy Maclean he writes about the large SAS raid, facilitated by the LRDG, on the port of Benghazi 13 to 14 September 1942, and that a RAAF officer accompanied them, to arrange supply drops etc.

    I am not immersed in the history of the LRDG, others are, but having looked at the photos I think the vehicles are the logistic support team that backed up the LRDG, notably creating supply dumps for patrols return journeys. Maclean refers to the LRDG using three ton trucks where possible to move supplies. So he may have been deployed at one of the oasis used as a forward base.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  8. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    Thanks davidbfpo, useful info, I shall investigate further. Grandfather was RAF not RAAF though.
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Wouldnt matter whether they were RAF or RAAF or RNZAF, South African or from wherever, if they had specialist skills that LRDG could use then they would be used.
    A surveyor I once knew was employed by them (he was RAF) because he was very good and accurate in reading a sun compass, he said of himself that he wasnt the 'have a go hero', but did put them fairly accurately where they needed to be - so horses for courses

    Desert innovator: Bagnold's sun-compass | National Army Museum


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