The Long Range Desert Group

Discussion in 'Special Forces' started by Peter Clare, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I know there are many threads here on this unit, a small number are mainly on the LRDG and so a suggestion for merging has been sent to a Moderator to review. The next post has been added here as this could be the main thread as the title is the unit's full name: Long Range Desert Group.
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    A longstanding friend started in 2008 to research and post on a personal blog the exploits of Willis Michael 'Mike' Sadler, who worked with the LRDG although a member of the SAS. Mike's particular skill was navigation. The blog The Mike Sadler Project starts with:

    There may be items there of interest. I remain in contact with the blog's owner, alas without any updates on completing the project and he has moved to pastures new after being a USMC Lt. Col.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
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  4. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Thanks Matt, I will have to look out for that too!

    Not sure how many LRDG books I have read per se but have picked up coverage in some books such as The Raiders by Macksey (I think) and I found an old copy of G Patrol mentioned back on the first page of the thread.

    The accuracy of LRDG navigation by sun compass still seems like wizardry to me.
  5. Me too. I've read Ghost Patrol by John Sadler and The Long Range Desert Group by Gavin Mortimer. Both great reads. What they achieved and how they did it still astounds me.
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  6. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everyone,

    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 Rfmn 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?



    Fleming Savage LRDG Foiano.JPG savage podere oria nera.jpg Montepulciano sheet 121.png

    Attached Files:

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  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    This appears to be the main thread on the LRDG and this is added on the predecessors to the LRDG in WW2. It is only a pointer as several online references do exist.

    Note the British had developed desert patrolling before in the North African desert, when the Senussi tribe revolted against Italian occupation of Libya during WW1, with fighting between November 1915 to February 1917.[1] The formation was the ‘Light Car Patrols’, which Bagnold was aware of; so was General Wavell who had witnessed the Senussi’s defeat in February 1917 at Siwa.[2]
    [1] See: Senussi Revolt | National Army Museum and Senussi campaign - Wikipedia

    [2] For the full story see ‘The Other Desert War’ by John W. Gordon. See: and is summarised on: LRDG Birth of a legend . Supported by a short essay ‘Deserts, Cars, Maps and Names’ by Jim Harold: and another book
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  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Yesterday by accident I found a book review of “The Eyes of the Desert Rats: British Long-Range Reconnaissance Operations in the North African Desert 1940-43” by David Syrett (Helion and Company, Solihull 2014) 330pp. Illus. Index. Maps. ISBN 978-1907677656 Hbk. £35.

    It appeared originally on a newsletter from Friends of the National Army Museum in the Summer of 2015, written by a member here Phil Mccarty and moved to a previously unknown website

    See pgs.8-9. See:

    Three passages struck me as useful:
    Odd, I seem to recall the Italians tried and the Germans had a unit in Tunisia that did corner and capture several SAS, including David Stirling? From his Wiki:
    From: David Stirling - Wikipedia

    I cannot find much easily on this, so to the rescue:
    From: SAS chief went from botched raid on Benghazi to Colditz | Daily Mail Online

    An observer of the LRDG/SAS remarked that the book omits any mention of 2SAS in Tunisia, plus the dearth of photos for them then.
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  9. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Sadly I'm not surprised if Tunisia was overlooked. (Just because of the general habit of overlooking the campaign, not because of anything to do with 2SAS.)
  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Post 38 refers to "Lofty" Carr and there is an obituary for him today (behind a pay wall alas), the title says enough:
    It ends with:
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  11. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    102. I don't think anyone could ask for a longer run!

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