Private Frank McNaught

 

Unit : 11th Parachute Battalion

Army No. : 3131378

Awards : Mentioned in Despatches

 

On 18th September 1944 McNaught was slightly injured by flak as the aircraft in which he was travelling crossed the Dutch coast. In the Rhenen area the plane caught fire, necessitating a crash-landing, and McNaught, who was one of the last to leave, pulled out an injured man as he jumped to the ground. Because he had sprained both ankles McNaught left two officers to care for the wounded man and hid in a nearby ditch. An hour later a Dutchman approached and arranged shelter.

 

On 11th October 1944 McNaught and a Dutch civilian were arrested as they were going to a different hiding place. They were locked in an empty house but escaped after killing two guards, the initiative being taken by the civilian who unexpectedly attacked the first German as he entered the room.

 

Twice during the next week McNaught went with sabotage squads to lay explosives on railway lines, and both operations were successful. Owing to German reprisals on innocent civilians this work was not continued. After participating in an organised attempt to reach Allied lines, which failed during the crossing of the Arnhem-Ede road, McNaught returned alone to the Arnhem area.

 

He remained in hiding in the woods for four days, although Germans constantly patrolled the area. By this time he was exhausted through exposure and hunger and in desperation attacked a German with a heavy stick and then tried to reach Barneveld. Friendly civilians provided him with food en route, and six days later he met one of his former helpers. Whilst waiting for another opportunity to cross the lines McNaught twice acted as an armed guard for expected "drops", each of which was cancelled at the last moment. In February 1945 he was taken to Niewe Merwede, but the final stage of the evacuation had to be postponed because of fog. Once again McNaught was hidden by the Dutch, until he was escorted to Allied forces at the Haven on 7th March 1945.

 

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