Abbreviations

2 i/c

9467

AA

A/C

ADMS

AFV

Ammo

Armd

Arty

A/Tk

Bde

BHQ

Bn

CMP

CO

Comd

Coy

CP

Div

DLI

DZ

FOO

I

IO

Junc

LMG

LST

Map Ref

MC

ME

MG

Mins

MMG

MT

OC

OO

OP

OR

Pl

Posn

PW

RASC

Rd

RE

Regtl

Rgt
RV

RVD

Sec

SP

Tpt

Yorks

Second-in-Command

Map Reference

Anti-Aircraft

Aircraft

Assistant Director Medical Services

Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Ammunition

Armoured

Artillery

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Battalion Headquarters

Battalion

Corps of Military Police

Commanding Officer

Commander

Company

Command Post

Divisional

Durham Light Infantry

Drop Zone

Forward Observation Officer

Intelligence

Intelligence Officer

Junction

Light Machine Gun

Landing Ship Tank

Map Reference

Motorcycle

Messerschmitt

Machine Gun

Minutes

Medium Machine Gun

Motor Transport / Mount

Officer Commanding

Operation Order

Observation Post

Other Ranks

Platoon

Position

Prisoner of War

Royal Army Service Corps

Road

Royal Engineers

Regimental

Regiment

Rendezvous

Rendezvoused
Section

Start Point

Transport

Yorkshire Regiment

 

 

Month and year: July 1943

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. J.D. Frost D.S.O. M.C.

 

1st July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

Bn less train party settling into new site.  A proportion of the Bn were taken to Sousse by M.T. for bathing.

 

2nd July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

a.m. - Proportion of the Bn go bathing at Sousse.  Coys carrying out training under their own arrangements.

 

3rd July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

a.m. - Coys training under their own arrangements.  An order was issued by Brigade stating that there would at all times be one "Alert Coy" on hours notice to deal with any enemy parachute troops who might be dropped in the area with the object of sabotaging aircraft and equipment.

 

p.m. - Proportion of the Bn bathing at Sousse.

 

4th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

1000 - R.C. Mass held in 2nd Bn lines.  Road Party arrives.

 

1400 - Proportion of Bn bathing.

 

2100 - Rail party arrive with the remainder of the Bn stores and tentage.

 

5th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

a.m. - Bn training under Coy arrangements.  This final stage in training was chiefly concerned with the testing out of weapons and further polishing up in night work.

 

p.m. - Proportion of Bn bathing at Sousse.  "B" Coy Alert Coy.

 

6th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

a.m. - Bn training under Coy arrangements.  Coy Comds., attached naval bombardment officers, signals officer and attached officers warned for briefing the following day.  A Special Order of the Day issued by H.M. King George VI was republished in Part I Orders (App to Serial 47).

 

7th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

1000 - Briefing of Coy Comds. for operation FUSTIAN.  This was not a full or final briefing but rather the outlining of the Bn plan and the placing of Coy Comds. into the picture of which up to now they were ignorant.  All details of plan etc will be found in the various operation orders, "I" summaries and other documents attached to this diary as appendices.  The part which was to be played by 1st Para Bde was briefly as follows.

 

The island of SICILY was to be invaded in the early morning of 10th July by British, Canadian and American Forces.  The 8th Army was to land on the S.E. corner of the island and drive up the eastern coast to MESSINA, the conception being that once the eastern sector was occupied the island would be forced to capitulate.  One of the main obstacles to this advance was the River SIMETO some 6 miles south of CATANIA.  The only main crossing of this river was the PONTE PRIMOSOLO map ref 9467 (Sheet 4 Catania Naval Collation Map 1/25,000) a large spanned bridge about 500 yds east of the junction between the rivers SIMETO and SORNALUNGA on the main road SYRACUSE - CATANIA.  Should this bridge be blown up by the enemy in their withdrawal the advance of the 8th Army might well have been held up for some time allowing the enemy to establish a line beyond the river obstacle.  South of the bridge and dominating it was the high ground which would itself have proved excellent country for a delaying action if held by determined troops since it dominated the road on either side and also the low lying coastal plain to the east which contracts into a bottleneck some one and a half miles south of the river.  Who-ever held this high ground would dominate the greater part of the Catania plain as well as the main approaches to it from the south.  To hold both the high ground and the PRIMOSOLE bridge intact would very materially aid the chances of a quick entry into CATANIA.  To hold the high ground without the bridge would itself be of considerable value, but to hold the bridge without the high ground would, in the face of an even moderately determined enemy, have been virtually impossible.

 

The plan therefore was that 1st Para Bde with attached troops should drop on D.Z.s north and south of the river by night, a few hours in advance of the 8th Army, seize the bridge intact and establish bridgeheads on the high ground to the south in squares 9365 and 9465 and also in the plain north of the river between the "F" in FIUME SIMETO 9468 and the loop in the river at 9368.  These would be held until the arrival of the leading troops of the 8th Army, anything from 8-12 hours after the Bde dropped.  The operation was provisionally fixed for the night 12/13 July depending on the state of the 8th Army advance.  After being relieved the Bde was to be prepared to co-operate in the advance on and capture of CATANIA according to circumstances.

 

2nd Bn The Parachute Regiment was allotted the task of capturing and holding the high ground south of the river, the main features being the enemy positions at 9365, 9465 and if possible at the rd junc. 924650 (See 2nd Bn O.O. Operation FUSTIAN).

 

The Naval F.O.O. mentioned in para 4 of the O.O. was to be in W/T communication with a 6" from a cruiser one of whose tasks was to engage targets in the Bde sector when called for until such time as the 8th Army's artillery could take on such targets.

 

Full details of enemy dispositions as appreciated from "I" summaries air photographs osn may be found in 2 Bn "I" summary, Operation Fustian and details of plan in the operation order.

 

8th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

1030 - General Sir Bernard Montgomery carried out a short inspection of the Bn.  He spoke personally for a few moments to Coy Comds. and then called the Bn round him.  Having congratulated everybody on their extraordinary appearance of physical fitness he went on to say how he had often in the past felt the need of airborne troops and now that he had got them it would be "money for jam".  He said that there were some people who believed that the Italians were nice people really; personally he thought they were very nasty people.  The 8th Army had killed quite a lot of them - they were quite easy to kill.  After asking several questions as to where people came from he left with the promise that he would see the Bn again in a few days time - under very different circumstances.

 

1400 - Greater part of the Bn swimming.

 

9th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

Coy training and drawing up of kit.  Swimming.

 

10th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

0900 - Final briefing of Coy Comds. on maps, air photos, and models.  Plan as in operation order fully explained.

 

1600 - Pl. Comds. briefing.

 

1700 - Coys start general briefing of all ranks by platoons.

 

11th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

1000 - R.C. Mass; C of E Service in "B" Coy lines.

 

1100 - Coys continue briefing.

 

12th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

0830 - Coys carry out final briefing and checking of administrative points.  Containers loaded on lorries.

 

1445 - Blocks move off and cross S.P. see Admin Instructions to operation FUSTIAN (all times in para 7 should be retarded one hour).

 

1715 - First block arrive at strip C to be told that the operation was postponed, no code word having been received.  All blocks were turned back at the respective airfields and returned to camp.  This postponement was not a surprise in view of what was known of the position of the 8th Army at the time.

 

1900 - Bn back in camp.

 

13th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

0900 - Coys spent morning carrying out final a briefing which was of considerable advantage.

 

1445 - Blocks commence moving off from camp for airfields as before.

 

1715 - Blocks arrive at respective airfields as per Admin Instructions.

 

1730 - Stick Commanders take over A/c and bombing up.

 

1815 - Hot meal eaten on airfields.

 

1910 - Block 4 emplanes on Airfield C.

 

1940 - Block 4 takes off from Airfield C.

 

1945 - Block 7 takes off from Airfield D.

 

2000 - Block 10 takes off from Airfield A.

 

The route was from base airfields to MALTA thence 10 miles east of CAP PASSERO on the S.E. tip of SICILY, thence northward to a point 10 miles east of the mouth of the River SIMETO, thence inland to D.Z.s six miles south of CATANIA.  All details of flights, positions dropped, flak encountered and damage or casualties caused by it, may be found in the air reports tabulated from Stick Commanders reports.  See App E.

 

2215 - It would be quite impossible to give in normal War Diary form the complete account of the action fought by the Bn during the early hours and throughout the day of 14th July.  So many men were dropped miles from their objectives, resulting in small isolated engagements carried out for the most part with great initiative, that it would be impossible to put these many stories into a comprehensive whole.  In the main they are stories of attempts to join up with the main body, carried out by small groups of men intent on inflicting as much damage and disorganisation to the enemy in the meantime as possible.  Accounts of these actions told, where possible, by the stick commanders concerned or where they did not return by other members of the stick who were more fortunate, are attached.  The main account of the battle is as follows.

 

2215 - "A" Coy and two planes from B.H.Q. were dropped between 2215 and 2230 hrs with extreme accuracy on the correct D.Z.  Of the two "S" Coy planes in this leading wave one was forced to return to base after being badly shot up by A.A. fire and was unable to make sufficient height to drop its stick, while the second stick dropped on the extreme west end of the D.Z.  The leading planes got in without much flak opposition, but those which came in later experience fairly intensive A.A. fire.  The whole block dropped slightly before scheduled time due to a favourable wind.

 

2245 - Bn H.Q. moved forward from their dropping area to the Bn C.P. at the road junc. 913665 and on the way made contact with about 50 men from "A" Coy under their Coy Comd.  At this time the enemy were sending up a considerable number of flares and firing heavily at A/c coming across the D.Z. in what seemed to be a variety of directions at once.  Very few of these planes dropped their sticks and as was subsequently found out many of them missed the D.Z. and eventually dropped their loads well out to the North and N.W.  Bn H.Q. and "A" Coy remained where they were for some 30 minutes in the hope of collecting stragglers.

 

2315 - "A" Coy and B.H.Q. moved to the Bn C.P. arriving there at about midnight.  The D.Z. area was burning in many places where incendiary bullets had set it alight but in spite of this the enemy failed completely to put any effective fire down, such as he did being spasmodic and extremely ineffective.

 

14th July 1943

Place: Sicily

 

0015 - The party at the C.P. waited in the hope of collecting more men together and were in fact joined by two sticks from "C" Coy and various bits and pieces from other sticks.

 

0100 - A check taken at this stage gave a total of 112 all ranks at the C.P.  During this stage there was no contact with Bde H.Q. or with any other of the Bns due to the fact that our 22 Set dropped on the D.Z. out of action.

 

0200 - Since it appeared that no further men were likely to join up, the force moved on towards the F.O.P. at 936665 without encountering any resistance.  The enemy were firing shrapnel bursts over the D.Z. and firing desultory M.G. fire without effect.  The Commanding Officer who had injured his leg on dropping was walking with great difficulty.

 

0215 - A proportion of the Bde Defence Platoon was encountered moving back towards the D.Z. in search of an 18 R/T Set.  They gave the information that the Bde Commander and the Bde Major were some way on.  The C.O. accordingly made contact with him and it was decided to attack "JOHNNY I" with the force at our disposal.

 

0300 - Force crossed the Bridge at 936668 pausing to pull down telephone wires which ran up to the enemy position.  On proceeding it was found that the pillbox at 935666 was unoccupied, pushing on again the force moved east along the road running from rd junc. 936665 and then turned south across country towards the northeastern slopes of JOHNNY I.

 

0315 - Meanwhile an engagement began to take place unknown to the C.O. or any of the main body which was to be the decisive feature of the night's work.  Proportions of three sticks each under command of an Officer, two from "A" Coy and one from "B" Coy had dropped on the D.Z. and failed to contact the main body.  One of the three sticks had been very actively engaged in dealing with both German and Italian positions on the southern edge of the D.Z.  At about 0230 hrs they joined up after searching without success for the rest of the Bn.  Being vague as to the situation they formed a composite force totalling 3 Officers and 25 Other Ranks and decided to attack JOHNNY I by themselves.  Although they had no definite confirmation of enemy positions on the feature, they had captured a D.R. on the track leading up to it and this led them to believe that the enemy were there.  Accordingly at about 0315 hrs this force moved south up the track to a position N.E. of JOHNNY I at 936664.  From this position a sweep was put in, one section moving round the North of the feature, one round the eastern oust, while the third under command O.C. Force moved up the N.E. slope.  The section moving round the North met no opposition but captured several Italians hiding in caves; they then pushed forward onto the summit looking West into the valley.  The other two sections met with slight L.M.G. fire and was soon silenced and with the aid of a few grenades succeeded in extracting 40 Italian prisoners from the caves about half way up the hill.  They again pushed further up, again silencing L.M.G. fire, and the left hand section captured a further 80 prisoners.

 

0400 - They again encountered light fire from the S.E. corner of the feature but by the time they got there the enemy had disappeared.  There was also some ineffective fire from JOHNNY II.  Thus finding themselves in possession of JOHNNY I and about 130 prisoners.  Accordingly O.C. Force put out two sections in the olive groves at 632655 to cover the southern approaches, and sent the remaining section back to the Bn F.U.P. to pick up the prisoners who had been dropped off and to collect water.  One Officer had already been sent back to try and contact the C.O. and tell him the situation.  Meanwhile to return to the main force.  At about 0315 hrs the C.O. had sent "A" Coy about 50 strong to occupy JOHNNY I unaware of the Operation described above.  "A" Coy reached the summit at 0400 hrs finding the crest, or so it seemed in the darkness, to be completely unoccupied, a little unaimed rifle fire was coming from JOHNNY II and an occasional shot could be heard but nothing else.

 

0430 - By this time the main force consisting of B.H.Q. and elements from "S" and "C" Coys had reached a position at the N.Eastern base of the feature.  The C.O. was by this time in great pain owing to his damaged leg, and he sent a part of B.H.Q. and the remainder of the force onto the hill to contact "A" Coy and to take up defensive positions.  This force reached the summit just as dawn was breaking meeting no opposition, and some 15 mins later contacted O.C. "A" Coy who had by this time discovered the real situation.

 

0500 - Accordingly a reconnaissance was made with a view to taking up defensive positions.  Meanwhile the prisoner situation was becoming out of hand, prisoners appearing from all directions at once including naval and air force personnel.  At the northern summit of the hill (934659) was a farm house surrounded by huts which had been used as a barracks by the enemy.  This farm had a "large yard" surrounded by high rock on the West and huts on the East; this was used as a P.W. cage, and the house itself which over-looked the main bridge MARSDEN as an H.Q. and also an O.P.

 

0530 - A perimeter defence was taken up with the troops at our disposal which now totalled about 140 men nearly half of them from "A" Coy.  To begin with the disposition took the form of a close perimeter on the high ground round the farm house which had already been wired and a few trenches dug by the Italians.  Three positions dominated the plain to the North and the valley to the East and West.  To the south there was a limited field of fire of about 200 yds, through the olive groves (934657) outside the perimeter a platoon of "A" Coy was pushed forward to the southern end of the grove to watch the valley and the road to the south.  Orders were given to dig in as fast as possible.  One German recce plane flew very low over the positions.

 

0545 - Passive air defence was adopted.  A few minutes later 4 Messerschmitts crossed the area without taking any action.

 

0600 - The position came under heavy M.G. fire from JOHNNY IV (924655) and also from the area of a farm house some 200 yds to the S.E.

 

0630 - Positions still under fire which is now reinforced with mortar fire.  Owing to the fact that none of the Bn heavy weapons - M.M.G.s and 3" Mortars were available it was quite out of the question to take any counter action against this, since it was not within the range of our Brens and we were anxious to conserve all possible ammunition.  All through that morning we were to feel the need of these weapons which had they been available would have saved us many casualties.

 

0700 - Enemy fire especially mortars becoming more accurate.  Casualties beginning to occur amongst the forward Coy in the grove which never had a proper chance to dig in.

 

0730 - A patrol from "C" Coy is sent out to try and knock out the German M.G. posn's located about 200 yds S.E.  They were heavily engaged by the enemy long before reaching it and are shot up by three armoured cars suffering casualties.

 

0800 - Forward troops are withdrawn inside the perimeter.  At this time it became apparent that we were under M.G. fire from three sides and the enemy were closing in on us, not in very great strength but with heavy fire power and considerable skill.  A great deal of sniping had taken place on both sides.  At about this time a German M.G. 34 crew was shot up and the M.G. brought in along with two prisoners, one badly wounded.  It was then that we learned definitely that we were opposed by troops of the 4th German Parachute Rgt who had dropped two days before on our D.Z.  Meanwhile the Naval F.O.O. was trying desperately to get in touch with his ship but with-out success.

 

0830 - Situation becoming rather serious.  We were suffering casualties fairly regularly and the enemy fire was increasing in accuracy.  There was no doubt that the position could be held indefinitely and if the enemy chose to assault we could inflict heavy casualties.  The main danger was that our force originally 140 strong would dwindle under prolonged fire and our ammunition was extremely limited.

 

0845 - Four M.E.s 109 crossed the position and proceeded to M.G. our forces on the bridge.

 

0900 - Naval F.O.O. makes contact with cruiser and brings down fire at about (932654).  The morale effect of hearing those shells coming over was tremendous; the fire was lifted steadily back for pockets of enemy well concealed were engaging us with M.G. 34 and Schmeisser fire from a range of about 400 yds.  Finally at about 0930 hrs three rounds of gunfire landed within 150 yds of our position, one shell landing about 30 yds from the P.W. cage, wounding some 2 or 3 prisoners and throwing the remainder into a state of hysteria for about five minutes.

 

1000 - Decrease in enemy fire.  It appeared that the Naval shell fire had forced the enemy to withdraw from their nearest positions.  A considerable amount of M.G. 34 fire was still being laid down on the positions, and snipers were active, one in particular firing accurately and with considerable zest.

 

1030 - Enemy M.G. positions on JOHNNY IV shelled by Naval fire.  These targets were not however suitable for a shoot of this kind and were never silenced though they changed position from time to time.  Meanwhile artillery fire could be heard several miles away to the south and it was apparent that no relief could be expected from the 8th Army for several hours to come.

 

1100 - One enemy howitzer abandoned and in working condition was found in the valley between JOHNNY I and II with plenty of ammunition.  Several men of "S" Coy with an experience set to work to move the gun into a position from where it could be fired and to charge the ammunition.  The fact that this gun was eventually used was due to the initiative of O.C. "S" Coy to whom the idea was due and who took a large part in the preparation and in directing the fire.  No sights could be found that day but 15 shells were eventually fired onto enemy positions in the areas of JOHNNY III and IV.

 

1200 - Situation easier.  Sniping and M.G. fire still continuing but a general lessening in tension was apparent.

 

1300 - Little activity in the Bn sector.  Enemy guns on the Catania plain started shooting shrapnel bursts onto JOHNNY II which was unoccupied.

 

1500 - Fire from Naval guns brought down on enemy battery position west of Catania which had commenced shelling the 1st and 3rd Bns on the bridge; their O.P. was set alight and a few minutes later all their Ammo blew up.  The battery did not fire again.  A further battery more to the west was also shelled and although it was never silenced it was forced to change positions regularly.

 

1600 - Enemy troops and tpt. in the farm at 924660 was shelled.  These had been observed during the afternoon but were just out of range of infantry weapons.

 

1700 - Troops on the bridge seem to be strongly engaged by enemy arty.

 

1800 - C.O. is able to move up to B.H.Q. bringing with him news that the force on the bridge had been obliged to withdraw.  About 15 men from 3rd Para Bn joined us on JOHNNY I.  Situation on JOHNNY I fairly quiet.

 

1930 - Sicilian farmer informs us that German armd. car is approaching from the south, as several high velocity shells had landed only a few minutes before this seemed fairly probable and a patrol was organised to deal with this.  However before the patrol set out A.F.Vs appeared in the olive grove.  It was a Sherman tank, the leading elements of the 8th Army.

 

1945 - The I.O. was sent back to contact the O.C. tank force and also the C.O. of the leading infantry - the D.L.I.

 

2100 - When contacted they were originally intending to take up positions some two miles south of JOHNNY I and had received orders that they were to attack the bridge at dawn the next morning with heavy Arty support.  They agreed however to send one Coy forward to support us on the high ground.

 

2340 - One Coy of D.L.I. reinforce the Bn on the high ground.

 

15th July 1943

Place: Sicily

 

Night passes quietly.

 

0600 - Two Bn's of D.L.I. with Arty, M.G. and tank support make a determined effort to retake the bridge but without success.  The bridge though slightly damaged by shell fire was still intact owing to the fact that sappers of the 1st Para Squadron, R.E. had removed all charges prior to withdrawing.

 

1100 - O.C. "B" Coy with about 8 men rejoins the Bn after having made his way from the lower slopes of Mt Etna.

 

1130 - A further 20 rounds were fired from the captured Italian howitzer at targets between the bridge and Catania.  The enemy honoured this gesture by putting down C.B. fire in the valley where the gun was.  After all ammo had been fired the gun was left to its fate.

 

1300 - The afternoon passed without incident.  Artillery exchanges took place most of the time.  During the afternoon various stragglers joined the Bn.

 

2300 - The Bn, D.L.I. and a Coy of M.M.G.s move into position in the area preparatory to a night attack on the bridge.

 

Midnight - Very heavy Arty. and M.G. barrage commences on enemy positions lasting until 0200 hrs.

 

16th July 1943

Place: Sicily

 

0200 - Bn D.L.I. attack the bridge.

 

0300 - Bridge once again in our hands.

 

0630 - Bn moves out of positions which had been handed over to the D.L.I. during the night and move about three miles south down the SYRACUSE road.

 

1000 - Tpt collects the Bn and transports it to SYRACUSE via Lentini and Augusta.  Two trucks meet General Montgomery en route who stopped and congratulated them, offering packets of cigarettes all round.  During the action the Bn lost two Officers - Lieut M.G. Dunkeld and Lieut J.C. Horner killed - and 14 Other Ranks killed.  33 O.R.s. wounded, 9 Officers and 129 O.R.s. missing.  Of the missing many turned up over a matter of days and weeks including 4 of the 9 Officers.  The reason for this large number can be seen at a glance by reading the Airtables and seeing where the majority of the Bn dropped.  A total of 460 Italians and 2 German prisoners passed through the Bn P.W. cage.

 

1500 - Bn arrives at SYRACUSE and embarks on an LST bound for SOUSSE.

 

2300 - Air Raid on SYRACUSE which continued almost without respite until 0400 hrs.

 

17th July 1943

1200 - Leave SYRACUSE after delay caused by parachute mines dropped in the bay.

 

2200 - Reach MALTA and lie outside the harbour until 0400 hrs.

 

18th July 1943

0400 - Leave MALTA - Voyage uneventful.

 

19th July 1943

0630 - Arrive SOUSSE.

 

0730 - Disembark, move back to camp by M.T.  Bn resting.

 

20th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

0830 - Div Comd. visits the Bn and talks to the troops.

 

p.m. - Bn Swimming.

 

21st July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

a.m. - Checking up of numbers, equipment etc.

 

p.m. - Bn swimming.

 

1915 - E.N.S.A. concert at 93 R.A.S.C. lines.

 

22nd July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

Coys at Coy Comds. disposal.  Swimming.

 

23rd July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

1030 - Line inspection by C.O.

 

1130 - Stick Comds' Conference.

 

Swimming.

 

24th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

Coys at Coy Comds' disposal.

 

25th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

1000 - R.C. MASS - Swimming at MONASTIR.

 

1900 - C.O. makes a short address to the Bn on the results achieved in the last operation and the possibilities for the future.

 

26th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

Coys at Coy Comds' disposal.  120 men from H.Q. Coy go to the Div Rest Camp at HAMM LIF outside Tunis for four days.

 

27th July 1943

Place: Sousse


Major P. Albury and 90 reinforcements are posted to the Bn.  Major Albury takes over command of H.Q. Coy.

 

1100 - C.O. addresses reinforcements.

 

1230 - C.O. to conference at Div.

 

28th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

Coys at Coy Comds' disposal.  Swimming at MONASTIR.

 

29th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

Coys at Coy Comds' disposal.  Nothing to report.

 

30th July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

0830 - "S" and "C" Coys to rest camp at HAMMAM LIF.  This Camp was situated right on the shore and men were able to bathe all day if they wished, as well as going to Tunis.

 

2130 - "H.Q." Coy report back from rest camp.

 

31st July 1943

Place: Sousse

 

Nothing to report.

 

 

Appendix 'F' - Exercise FUSTIAN

Stickmaster's Report

 

Plane No.14, Bn H.Q.

The stick dropped well in the centre of the D.Z. at about 906658 some 20 minutes before scheduled time.  We were not engaged either while dropping or on landing.  The majority of the stick including the wireless containers were rapidly got together and we then moved into a ditch where we lay up for a few minutes, gathered the remainder of the stick less two men (one of whom joined us later while the other never jumped) and waited for the scheduled dropping time.  During this period flares were being sent up and a certain amount of unaimed fire went over our heads.  At 2240 hrs we moved forward towards the Bn C.P.  The C.O. who had hurt his leg on landing was walking with great difficulty.  On the way to the C.P. we contacted "A" Coy at its assembly area and after waiting there for a few moments we all moved on together, reaching the Bn C.P. at approx 2345 hrs.

 

Plane No.15, Bn H.Q.

The stick dropped in the centre of the D.Z. at 2220 hrs and joined up with the main body at the Bn C.P. without incident.  The [?] R/T was found damaged on landing.

 

Plane No.16

The stick landed on the D.Z. in the area 915663 some 20 minutes before scheduled time.  I was only able to collect five of my stick after waiting approx. 30 mins by the container holding spare arms.  We came under M.G. fire from the farm buildings at 920659 so I decided to move off with what men I had and try and neutralise them.  I reached the bridge 918662 with three men, the remaining two having been sent out to the right and not having been seen since.  We got within 30 yds of our M.G. position and silenced it with Bren and Sten gun fire.  We were then held up by further M.G. fire on our left, meanwhile more Germans came out of the farm buildings and an exchange of grenades and automatic fire took place at the end of which the enemy withdrew back into the farm houses.  During the engagement my No.2 on the Bren was wounded in the leg.  I then saw some figures moving towards the farm up the track which formed the Bn C.P.  I took them to be our own people escorted by two Germans.  We let them cross the bridge and then shot up the guard, killing one and severely wounding the other.  The four men I collected were unarmed and therefore of little value.  About [?]0 Germans on the D.Z., attracted by the firing, came down the track.  We opened up on them as they came to the North side of the canal bank, to which they made a brisk reply taking up positions on the bank.  We engaged them with grenades and automatic fire for about 10 minutes.  By this time (about 2345 hrs) I was running short of ammunition and had only two Bren magazines left, so I decided to withdraw eastward along the canal to the Bn F.U.P. at 936664.  I could see no sign of anyone on the Bn C.P.  I moved about three quarters of a mile down the canal and lay up in a bomb crater to try and determine what was happening.  I saw several sticks dropped to the east of the C.P. track and tried unsuccessfully to contact them.  I then decided to move on again to the Bn F.U.P.  As I came to the bridge at 936668 about six vehicles with what appeared to be 20m.m. Machine Cannons mounted on them approached down the main road from the north and turned along the track at 931659 towards the farm buildings, so I lay up for about half an hour to see if any more activity took place.  Finding none I crossed the bridge and moved to the F.U.P. where I contacted a platoon commander from my own Coy and one from "B" with about 22 men between them.  By now it must have been between 0200 and 0230 hrs in the morning.  As none of the rest of the Bn seemed to have arrived I took over command of this force as senior officer present, organised it into a composite platoon with the two officers and a [Remainder missing].  Next morning I was joined by one of my section Serjeants and three men of the stick who were the last numbers to drop.  They could give us no news of the remainder of the stick whom we never did contact.

 

Plane No.17, A Coy

Stick landed on the D.Z. at map ref. 904663.  Encountered low angle light A.A. fire during the descent and on the ground.  On landing thirteen of the stick r.v.d. quickly but we never found the three signallers who were with the stick or the Pl. Sjt.  One man was injured on landing but was able to proceed with the stick.  We bumped into our Coy Comd almost immediately afterwards and formed up at the Coy R.V.  We waited there with the Coy for a few minutes and then moved forward all together to the Bn C.P. after which we took part in the main battle.

 

Plane No.18, A Coy

Stick landed on the D.Z. at about 904660.  Encountered a little low angle A.A. fire while dropping, and on reaching the ground.  On landing the majority of the stick made contact with the R.M.O. and moved off with him to the Bn C.P.  I was the last man to drop and on landing moved also to the Bn C.P. where I contacted the remainder.  I found that two members of the stick were missing and I did not see them again until after the operation.  Subsequently we took part in the main battle.

 

Plane No.19, A Coy

The stick landed on the D.Z. at 892657, time approx 2214 hrs.  We encountered some light A.A. fire in dropping, and some spasmodic bursts came in our direction from the hills to the south.  There were numerous fires burning on the D.Z. and the enemy were putting up flares regularly.  My section r.v.d. rapidly but my Bren gunner was missing.  I believe that the remainder of the stick went off with the 2 i/c of the Coy.  On collecting my section I struck north towards the "CATERPILLER" road and then due east under cover of the embankment.  I bypassed what I believed to be a German patrol to my right and contacted two sections with three officers on the Bn C.P. but there was no one else there.  We all moved back as a platoon in an attempt to contact the rest of the Bn but met no one on the D.Z. apart from some members of Bde H.Q.  We then returned to the C.P. meeting nobody.  At this stage Lieut. Franks decided that we had better attack JOHNNY I as a composite platoon.

 

Plane No.21, A Coy

The stick dropped on the D.Z. at 895652.  A certain amount of low angle A.A. fire was crossing the D.Z. above our heads, and spasmodic firing on the D.Z. by the aid of flares.  I was at the end of the stick and collected the last four men of the stick.  I went to the Coy assembly area, left the four men, and moved back across the D.Z. trying to contact the remainder.  I found another three men and moved back to the assembly area where I contacted Lieut. Franks with another two sections.  We moved to the C.P. without meeting the rest of the Bn, searching once more for them on the D.Z. without success, and then returned to the C.P.  At this stage Lieut. Franks decided to attack JOHNNY I with the scratch force at his disposal.

 

Plane No.23

Stick landed on the D.Z. area 890655 close to the railway.  The stick was spread out, the containers close together.  I collected six of my stick, one MMG and plenty of ammunition.  The Coy Comd. also contacted a stick from "A" Coy and half a stick from "B" Coy, two signallers and the Coy A.A. section less the L.M.G. placed on the Caterpiller as flank protection and as a road block as arranged.  There was spasmodic fire across the D.Z. at this time.  I then moved east to the Bn C.P. with the flanking section moving about a hundred yards in the rear.  It was then found that the Vickers section of five men and one M.M.G., previously sent forward, was missing.  On the way we contacted the C.O. and reached the Bn with the remainder at about 2300 hrs.  We were subsequently engaged in the main battle.

 

Plane No.45

The stick landed at approx. 846790 (CATANIA 1/100,000) at about 2230 hrs.  We were not subjected to fire immediately on landing.  I managed to collect 10 members after some searching, and also two members of Plane No.44.  I was informed by one of the members of my plane that he had heard the serjeant in charge of the stick say that he was going out to do a Commando raid with 4 others.  I never saw or heard of this party again.

 

After orientating myself, I first thought that I must have been landed East of the D.Z. so I started off in a westerly direction hoping to reach PICCADILLY.  I heard sounds of traffic on a road so decided to investigate having left the majority of my party in a gully.  I failed to identify the road as PICCADILLY.  We crossed the road and cut an overhead cable further up the road, and then returned to the side of the road.  I then summoned up the remainder of the party and decided to shoot up some passing tpt.  Having watched some vehicles pass we shot up a D.R. and a lorry with German soldiers inside, who however, did not stop.  We remained where we were and engaged another lorry, but they stopped and very rapidly got an M.G. 34 into action against us.  I think at least one further lorry load of troops came up the road and I ordered a withdrawal to the gully where we reformed and discovered that three or our party were missing.  I had realised by now that I must be somewhere well west of CATANIA and later saw fires to the south which confirmed my opinion.  I therefore started to move southwards but owing to the proximity of daylight decided also to look for a lying up position which I found and where I spent all next day (14th July).  We kept a constant lookout all day and studied map and ground with a view to moving off to our proper objective that night.  During the early part of that day two members of my party left the hiding place without authority and soon afterwards we heard an exchange of shots which obviously came from an enemy locality in our vicinity.  Having made my plan for the move I set off at about 2100 hrs heading due south and avoiding any enemy localities which were usually given away by talking.  We reached the railway station in square 8773 at about 0200 hrs, and shortly afterwards laid 75 Grenades on the road at about 878729.  We crossed the River Simeto at about 0400 hrs and later owing to the need of orientating myself and for a rest, we lay down for about two hours at approx. 872687.  At daylight there seemed to be no apparent enemy localities, and knowing where I was I continued [unreadable] stopping at a Sicilian farm where there were some peasants who pointed out one or two enemy localities.  At this time also 2 Italians surrendered to us.  Avoiding enemy localities I continued my movement until I finally reached JOHNNY I at about 1100 hrs.

 

Plane No.46

The stick landed astride the embanked road turning east and west through the square 9173 at about 2230 hrs.  Very little fire apart from low angle A.A. fire was encountered on landing.  We collected all the stick less three men after about one hour and found, in addition, two men from the 3rd Para Bn.  We moved off in a S.S.W. direction towards the Bn D.Z.  We got to the river junction in square 8868 without incident reaching it at about 0500 hrs.  We laid up in that area all day.  During the afternoon I went out on a recce with Coy 2 i/c a few hundred yards down the river bank in an easterly direction.  From there we could see the railway bridge at 912692 and heard firing from that area.  We also had the farm house at [?]88683 under view.  We intended to move off that night as soon as it was dark towards the Bn position, but at about 1900 hrs our lookout reported enemy parachute troops dropping in the area.  About 2-300 dropped from J.U.52s about one mile to our north.  Accordingly we lay up for the remainder of the night.  Next day the Coy 2 i/c and another serjeant went out on a further recce.  On their return we decided to move south that night and investigate the SAT 8 airfield 8767.  At about 2200 hrs that night (15th July) we moved east down the river and saw several civilians moving about.  We therefore waited until the moon had gone down before crossing the river.  At about 0200 hrs we crossed the river and moved south into SATELLITE 8.  This was deserted and covered with bomb craters.  Several abandoned A.A. guns were discovered.  We then turned east and crossed the railway just south of the station 893668.  We started moving east down the river and lay up that day at approx. 894661.  That night we moved again along the river to 905665 where we crossed the river and the "caterpiller", struck south into the centre of the D.Z. then moved N.E.  We finally struck south through the hills and contacted A/Tk personnel of the 8th Army at about 0400 hrs on the morning of the 17th at 926650.

 

One of the missing members of the stick turned up with the 3rd Para Bn.

 

Plane No.47

The stick landed on the extreme west of the D.Z. at about 889658.  We landed at about 2225 hrs at which time a considerable amount of fire was crossing the D.Z.  I spent some 45 minutes trying to contact the remainder of the stick, but at the end of that time I had only one man a C.M.P. Cpl attached to the stick.  I then moved eastwards with him towards the Bn C.P. stopping at a farm house (904663) to check my map, and met some members of Bde H.Q.  We then pushed on to the Bn C.P. which we reached at about 0030 hrs but found no-one there.  I then decided to move on to the F.U.P.  After progressing about 600 yds we saw a stick dropping but they vanished on landing and we did not investigate.  We reached the bridge at 937668, cut some wires and were fired on.  We moved on for about 10 minutes until we came to the road junction at 936666 where we found a hutted camp on the east side of the road which we found to be vacated.  The Pill box at the rd. junc. was also empty.  When then pushed on again and came to a large field on the west of the road - this was occupied by Germans so we took cover in the ditch.  By this time it was beginning to get light.  We were then fired on from our left flank and also from an M.G. 34 from the main road.  While the gun was moving into position I saw 2 secs. of Germans moving out of a farm house to my front towards JOHNNY I.  Considerable exchange of automatic and mortar fire was taking place.  At the same time a FIESLER recce plane approached, made a couple of turns and disappeared.  It was followed by two M.E.s.  I then gave my glasses and equipment to Cpl. North, stalked the M.G. 34 on the road and destroyed it with a grenade.  I then crawled back to the ditch.  I then saw another M.G. 34 with three O.R.s moving along the road.  I fired at them but they took shelter.  I next saw them moving into a farm house by the road, and I followed them up there.  I threw another grenade into the doorway where they were.  I saw the result and believe them to have been wiped out: at the same time I saw an armoured car, so moved back once more into the ditch.  We made another attempt to cross the field but were driven back to the ditch by heavy fire.  We then saw a German Officer walking across a field.  We decided to capture him which we succeeded in doing.  Using him as cover we succeeded in crossing the field and reaching the road.  There we met the Bde Major in a truck driven by an Italian Sjt.  He was going down the road on a salvage mission but we warned him to go no further.  I handed the prisoner over to him, and accompanied him back to MARSTEN.  I then left him in order to get back to JOHNNY I [?] met the Brigadier who told me where "B" Coy was and put me in a jeep.  I went up the field with this and dropped off just short of JOHNNY I.  I then started walking up the road and was fired on by a Schmeisser so I took cover precipitously in a river - in this was a German sniper: we fired at each other for about 45 minutes at the end of which I succeeded in shooting him.  I then moved up onto JOHNNY I, contacted the C.O. and eventually joined my Pl. Comd.

 

No other members of my stick returned from the operation.

 

Plane No.48

Stick landed spread out across the D.Z. at about 2230 hrs.  Several other sticks were dropping at the same time, and although I only contacted 1 other man from my own stick, I met up with Platoon Sjt. and 7 O.R.s.  There was a certain amount of M.G. fire crossing the D.Z. at this time.  We decided that it would be easier to reach the Bn C.P. by using the North side of the "caterpiller".  After a few hundred yards we recrossed the road and contacted Bde H.Q.  We remained in position of defence round the Bde H.Q. as detailed by the Bde Major and stopped there for about an hour after which Bde H.Q. moved to the bridge at 934673 where we were again used for local defence.  At about 0400 hrs Bde H.Q. moved off and we were told to rejoin our Bn.  We moved off to the T junc. 936669 where we met 2 Sjts, a corporal and 9 O.R.s from "A" Coy.  They told us that they were moving to their objective (JOHNNY III).  We let them move on as it was getting light and followed on about 100 yds in the rear.  At the rd. junc. 936668 we encountered an enemy D.R. whom we shot.  We were also engaged by an M.G. from the olive grove bordering the road: we threw grenades at it which stopped it firing though we couldn't see the result.  This brought a couple of armoured cars down the road from which we took evasive action and moved off towards out platoon objective - the farm house at 930658 - this was occupied by the Germans and as the road was being freely used by enemy vehicles we concluded that the Bn had failed to reach its objective.  Accordingly we moved backwards towards 1st Para Bn.  We got into the gully at 635674 when five M.E.s came over machine gunning.  At about mid day we contacted a Major from the 3rd Bn, joined up with him and moved onto JOHNNY I.  On the way we captured an Italian M.G. post at 929665.  We joined the Bn at about 1400 hrs.

 

Plane No.49

The stick landed very scattered on the S.W. of the D.Z.  I was only able to contact two members of my stick when I collected and moved towards the "caterpiller" collecting a Medical Orderly and 4 O.R.s from another stick en route.  On the "caterpiller" I contacted the stick commander of stick 48.  My story is the same as his until the time when we met the armoured cars.  I took cover with two men on the right of the road and lost contact with the remainder.  We then moved back towards the 1st Bn where I again met the stick commander of 48 stick.  From there on again our stories are the same.

 

Of the remainder of my stick 7 are in hospital and only one is unaccounted for.

 

Plane No.70

We landed off the D.Z. at a point some miles North of Lentini 945662.

 

We rvd in an olive grove quickly, the container lights were on and we had no difficulty in finding them.

 

The ammunition basket was not found.  We were fired on as soon as we left the A/c from the direction of the olive grove.  We were forced to move in a southerly direction where we contacted stick No.71.  The officer took command of both sticks and as we were under fire from M.G.s and Mortars led us south, and then doubled back over a railway track, to try and reach the correct D.Z.  Here six of us under Sjt. Coates became separated from the main party, the Sjt. had an injured knee, one man was wounded in the leg.  We placed out A/T grenades on the road, Lentini - Catania and laid up all next day until the arrival of the forward elements of the 8th Army at 1900 hrs.

 

Plane No.71

We landed off the D.Z. at a point North of Lentini 945662 at 2255 hrs.

 

On landing I captured the German driver of the anti-para patrol truck.  I took him along and collected members of my stick.  I had 23 men and we were under M.G. and Mortar fire most of the time.  At about 2320 hrs I challenged a party on the move - it was Lt. Horner and his stick.  As we could not move North owing to the M.G. fire we went south and then swung round and moved in a northerly direction, trying to reach the correct D.Z. and F.U.P.  During this move the prisoner was killed.  I left two men and a Bren to cover our advance and discovered that there were only eleven of us left.  I heard the Bren open up but did not see the two men again.

 

At about 2400 hrs the officer decided that as we were too far from the remainder of the Bn to push forward and carry out sabotage work on the way.

 

We march forward and at about 0100 hrs, 14.7.'43, we saw a glider pass over head being fired upon by troops in half-tracks.  We reached Piccadilly and laid our A/T grenades as there appeared to be a lot of traffic on the road.  One enemy truck was blown up as we moved off.  We continued to advance and came upon an ammunition dump unguarded.  The officer fixed two grenades in it so that the slightest movement would set them off.  We carried out and passed an enemy camp and patrols.  As dawn was beginning to break we laid up in an olive grove.  At about 0700 hrs we saw the enemy retiring North from Lentini.  This withdrawal went on all day, armoured and heavy transport included.  We saw the enemy lay mines.

 

We were relieved by forward elements of the 8th Army at about 1740 hrs.  While the officer was telling the forward carrier driver where the mines were some Kittyhawks were fired on by an infantry L.M.G.  They attacked and dropped a bomb which hit the carrier and killed Lt. Horner.  We were then evacuated.

 

Plane No.72

There has been no trace of any of the occupants of this plane with the exception of one man who had a fainting fit in the aircraft.  The pilot estimates that he dropped the stick some half mile North of the D.Z.

 

The plane contained Major J.G. Ross, D.S.O., O.C. "C" Coy and Major Mountford, O.C. "H.Q." Coy.

 

Plane No.73

The stick was dropped in the area of AGNONE 9757 (Italy Naval Collation Map sheet 5 - Lentini).  I jumped number 16 and the only member of the stick I contacted was No.15.  We were heavily fired on while dropping and once on the ground they started mortaring the area in which we were.  There was also a fierce battle going on to our left where we later learnt that British Commandos, some members of my own stick, German parachutists and Italians were having a general mixed skirmish amongst themselves.  I soon came to the conclusion that I was off the map and moved to a small wood about 500 yds to my right where I contacted No.15.  The wood came under shell fire and we moved into a gully at 971586.  By this time it was 0300 hrs so we lay up that night and the next day in the gully.  During the day we cut telephone wires which we discovered leading to a cave at 973567.  That night we attempted to break through S.W. to link up with the 8th Army but were fired on.  We then tried moving South and S.E. but were fired on heavily in both cases.  We finally moved back once more to the gully.  The next morning a column of German A.F.V.s moved westwards along the road AGNONE - LENTINI and was attacked by Allied aircraft which destroyed an ammo lorry, a car and about 6 motor cycles.  We lay up through the day and heard the 8th Army to our south.  That night we patrolled the area and found a deserted Italian Barracks and a railway station.  It seemed that the enemy must have cleared out the previous night.  At about 0830 hrs on the following morning (17th July) we contacted units of the 8th Army.

 

Another Serjeant and 5 O.R.s dropped in square 9556, moved North across the railway line until daylight broke on the 14th.  They lay up that day watching troop movements and saw a patrol of 14 Germans as well as clusters of Italians.  On that night they moved south west recrossing the railway line.  They lay up that night and on Thursday moved slightly west.  During Thursday night they captured a German Tank Officer and his Batman.  On Friday night they met several hundred Italians with and without arms who said they had finished fighting.  That night they contacted a major and some men from the 1st Bn.  They lay up that night and the next day moved into LENTINI, taking the German Officer with them, and contacted the 8th Army.

 

One Corporal dropped in the area 9457, lay up that night and during the next day.  At 2000 hrs on the night 14/15 he moved due west about [?] miles and heard numerous enemy troops in the area.  He lay up next day moved S.W. next night and planted his 75 grenade in front of a small Italian Mobile column - this blew up a M/C combination and killed 3 men.  He lay up all day Friday, moved again on Friday night and contacted the 8th Army on Saturday morning in area 9049.

 

Three other members of the stick were taken prisoner but later released by East Yorks.

 

Plane No.74

The stick landed just west of the D.Z. in area 887657 some numbers actually dropping across the railway.  I collected eight of the stick fairly quickly and spent some time looking for the remainder without success.  We then started moving N.E. across the railway line and then east under cover of the embanked "caterpiller" road.  We reached the Bn C.P. at about 0045 hrs where we contacted Lieut. Dunkeld, his batman and a Bren gunner all of our stick.  This made my stick complete less 2 men from the "I" section and 1 from the medical section who had received orders prior to emplaning to move direct to the Bn C.P. on dropping.

We were subsequently engaged in the main battle on JOHNNY I.

 

Plane No.76

I jumped No.1 from my plane and landed on the D.Z. at about 905661.  I sprained my ankle on landing.  I spent a very long time on the D.Z. looking for the stick but contacted no one.  I then went to the Bn C.P. arriving there about 0230 hrs and met three men from "A" Coy.  We intended to remain there until dawn and then make our way to JOHNNY II but were compelled to remain there under cover throughout the day owing to enemy fire.  That night (14/15 July) we moved onto JOHNNY II but found no-one there.  We spent that night in the olive groves at the foot of JOHNNY II and next morning contacted men of the D.L.I.  The grove in which we were was being shelled and so we moved out and made contact with some the ADMS in a jeep.

 

It wasn't until I got back to N.Africa that I learnt that none of the rest of the stick had been able to jump.

 

Plane No.78

The pilot of this plane refused to run in owing to heavy F.L.A.K.  The stick was therefore obliged to return without dropping.

 

Plane No.79

This report was given by the Regtl. Chaplain who took command of the small group mentioned below.

 

The stick dropped very fast and spread out on both sides of the road running through square 8653 (LENTINI NAVAL COLLATION MAP sheet 5).  On first landing I thought that I was on the D.Z. seeing the road to the North and high ground about a mile to the south, similar to that on the correct D.Z.  After about 10 minutes I contacted three privates of the stick but no-one else.  Meanwhile I heard enemy crossing the D.Z. making a great deal of noise and shouting to each other in German, this was followed by several shots and a voice shouting "Kamerad".  From this I surmised that some of the latter part of the stick had been rounded up.  According we made our way through bushes and thick undergrowth and managed to evade the patrol who appeared to be methodically searching all the area with the aid of powerful torches and flares.  We passed through some enemy M.T. lines and came at length to a chalk road in fairly good condition.  We intended at this time to make for some high ground, but being uncertain where the road led and constantly hearing German and Italian voices, we went into an orange grove which I believe to be that on Map Ref. 875538.  It was then about 0315 hrs.

 

We lay up there for the rest of the night and all next day while constant streams of German lorries went up and down the roads leading into the grove and round it.  At 2100 hrs we left the grove and made our way to some high ground about 8549.  At about midnight we decided to stop, still no knowing where we were.  On the thursday morning we saw what we took to be part of the plain of CATANIA with Mt ETNA in the distance.  In front of us was a town (FRANCOFORTE) about seven miles to the west.  There was a thin but steady trickle of enemy transport along the road that we could see, and there seemed to be several enemy emplacements in the valley.  There was also an enemy A.A. battery about mile behind us.  We lay up that night and the next morning I went to the nearest farm to try and obtain information regarding our location.  The inhabitants were friendly, told me that the town in front was FRANCOFORTE, confirmed the fact that there were enemy troops in the vicinity and said that they had heard that LENTINI and CATANIA were in British hands.  Accordingly I decided to make for CATANIA [?].

 

Unfortunately one member of the party developed a fever that evening and it was out of the question for him to move, but by same evening I thought he was fit to start.  We had only gone about two miles when he collapsed again and we could not move for the rest of the night.

 

At 0430 hrs on Sunday we started again and reached LENTINI which we found occupied by British Troops at 0615 hrs.  Learning that the Bde had moved on we got transport back to SYRACUSE.

 

 

Appendix 'J'

Administration Instruction to Operation Order 'FUSTIAN'

EMPLANING ORDER No.1.

 

10th July 1943.

 

ALLOTMENT OF A/C.

        1.  1. The Bn has been allotted A/C as follows:-

Block No.

4

 

 

7

 

 

10

Airfield

C

 

 

D

 

 

A

No of A/C.

11

 

 

10

 

 

10

A/C Nos.

14-15

16-22

23-24

42

43-49

50-51

70-76

77-79

Sub Units

Bn H.Q.

'A' Coy

'S' Coy

Bn H.Q.

'B' Coy

'S' Coy

'C' Coy

'S' Coy

Block Officers

)
) Capt. J.D. Brayley, MC.
)

  )

  ) Capt D.E. Crawley

  )

)

) Capt F.E. Kite

 

PRIORITY OF A/C.

        2.  In the event of A/C becoming U/S they will be struck off in the following order:- 79, 76, 49, 21.

        3.  If A/C are available over the number allotted, one A/C may be available to Block 4.

 

TRANSPORT.

        4.  The Bn has been allotted 31 x 3 ton R.A.S.C. lorries. This tpt will be reporting at 0900 hrs 12 July 43. It will be met by Adm Offr, who will sub-allott on the scale of one lorry to a stick. He will also see that each lorry is marked with its stick or A/C No, as above.

        5.  Block Officers will see that all lorries in their blocks are loaded and move off as stated in para 7 below. Any breakdowns up to the time of moving off will be reported to Adm Offr, who will replace with Bn tpt.

        6.  All attached (i.e: Bde Sigs, B.F.O.O., A/Tk Offr) will report to their Block Officers at 1000hrs on 12 July 43. Bde Sigs will be carried in A/C No's 15 and 42.

 

TIME TABLE FOR MOVEMENT.

        7.  Blocks will move off as follows:- Block 4 to pass S.P. at 1345 hrs arrive 1615 hrs.  Block 7 to pass S.P. at 1405 hrs arrive 1635 hrs.  Block 10 to pass S.P. at 1415 hrs arrive 1645 hrs.  S.P. is at rd junc 490385, Sheet 65.  All vehicles will form up in front of Bde H.Q.

        8.  Adm Offr will provide one 3 ton lorry to each Block as a spare, which will move with the convoy.

 

LOADING A/C.

        9.  Loading of A/C will start at 1645 hrs.

 

MEALS.

        10.  Block Officers will arrange a hot meal for ALL troops in their block on the airfield. They will draw the necessary extra rations from O.C, H.Q. Coy.

 

EMPLANING.

        11.  Troops will be prepared to emplane on the pilots instruction from 1900 hrs.

        12.  Vehicles will be retained at A/C until take off, unless otherwise ordered by airfield control.

 

[Signed John Lane] Major, 2 i/c.

2nd Bn, Parachute Regiment, A.A.C.

B.N.A.F.

 

 

Appendix

EXERCISE FUSTIAN

2nd Bn The Parachute Regiment.   U.S.A.A.C. Group 62, Squadron 7.

TABULATED FROM STICK COMMANDERS REPORTS

 

AERODROME STRIP 'C'.    BLOCK SERIAL '4'.

 

Stick number

Coy or formation

Total number in stick

Total number who jumped

Numbers who did not jump

Reason

Stick comd's name

Where dropped

Approx height

Speed Fast / Slow

Scheduled dropping time

Actual dropping time

Container etc, loaded

Containers etc, found

Pilots name

REMARKS

14

Bn H.Q.

17

16

No.12

Feet tangled in No.11's strop

Sjt Dent

D.Z.3

450'

Normal

2240

2220

3 containers

3 containers

Capt McGaughy

 

15

Bn H.Q.

19

19

-

-

Cpl White

D.Z.3

300'

Fast

2240

2220

4 containers 2 baskets

2 baskets*

Lieut Henry

 

16

A Coy

15

15

-

-

Sjt Price

D.Z.3

400'

Slow

2240

2215

1 container 1 basket

1 container 1 basket

Capt Kizer

 

17

A Coy

17

17

-

-

Sjt Lyoness

D.Z.3

400'

Slow

2240

2220

1 container 1 basket

1 container

2/Lieut Koehler

Note 1

18

A Coy

18

18

-

-

Sjt Lemaitre

D.Z.3

600'

Normal

2240

2230

2 containers 1 basket

2 containers 1 basket

Capt Massengale

 

19

A Coy

15

15

-

-

Sjt Wright

D.Z.3

800'

Slow

2240

2215

1 container 1 basket

1 container

Lieut Proctor

Note 2

20

A Coy

16

16

-

-

Sjt Wane or Ware?

D.Z.3

650'

Normal

2240

2215

2 containers 1 basket

2 containers 1 basket

Capt Conley

 

21

A Coy

16

16

-

-

Sjt Power

D.Z.3

650'

Normal

2240

2215

1 container 1 basket

1 container 1 basket

Lieut Richie

 

22

A Coy

15

15

-

-

Sjt McWilliam

D.Z.3

500'

Slow

2240

2205

1 basket

1 basket

Lieut Flautt

Note 3

23

S Coy

16

16

-

-

Sjt Jackman

D.Z.3 890656

500'

Fast

2240

2230

4 containers

4 containers

Lieut Noffsinger

Note 4

24

S Coy

16

-

16

Note 5

L/Sjt Joy

-

-

-

-

-

4 containers

-

Lieut Walker

Note 5

42

Bn H.Q.

-

-

-

-

RSM Oliver

-

-

-

2250

-

-

-

Capt Koenen

Note 6

43

B Coy

17

17

-

-

Sjt Marsh

Note 7

500'

Fast

2250

2250

4 containers 1 trolley

None

Lieut Crane

Note 7

44

B Coy

17

17

-

-

Sjt Pritchard

Note 8

500'

Fast

2250

2250

4 containers 1 basket

None

Capt Burke

Note 8

45

B Coy

16

16

-

-

Sjt Willott

Note 9

400'

Normal

2250

2235

1 container 1 basket

None

Lieut Moss

 

46

B Coy

16

16

-

-

Sjt Parkinson

918737

500'

Fast

2250

2230

2 containers 1 basket

None

Capt Johnson

Note 10

47

B Coy

15

15

-

-

Sjt Thomson

Note 11

600'

Fast

2250

2215

1 basket

None

Lieut Brinkeroff

Note 11

48

B Coy

15

15

-

-

Sjt Hacker

Note 12

500'

Fast

2250

2230

1 container

1 container

Capt Halderson

 

49

B Coy

16

16

-

-

Cpl Ballock

893642 D.Z.3

400'

Fast

2250

2230

1 basket

None

Lieut Busslles

Note 13

50

S Coy

16

14

No.15 No.16

Note 14

Sjt Bowen

8673

400'

Fast

2250

2255

6 containers

4 containers

Lieut Plummer

Note 14

51

S Coy

16

-

16

Note 15

Sjt Verge

-

-

-

-

-

5 containers

-

Lieut Armistead

Note 15

70

C Coy

15

15

-

-

Sjt Coates

Note 16

600'

Fast

2305

2305

1 container 1 basket

1 container

Capt Bailey

 

71

C Coy

14

14

-

-

Sjt Frew

Note 17

800'

Fast

2305

2245

1 basket

-

Lieut Arnold

Note 17

72

C Coy

16

15

-

Note 18

Sjt James

-

-

-

2305

-

1 container 1 basket

-

Capt Veteto

Note 18

73

C Coy

16

16

-

-

Sjt Meads

Note 19

1000'

Fast

2305

0030

2 containers 1 basket

-

Capt Soudy

 

74

C Coy

15

15

-

-

Sjt Cowie

D.Z.3

600'

Slow

2305

2305

1 basket

-

Capt Titsworth

 

75

C Coy

14

14

-

-

Sjt Morris

Note 20

300'

Fast

2305

2250

1 container

-

Lieut Honnert

Note 20

76

C Coy

17

1

16

A/C hit by A.A. fire

Sjt Knowles

-

-

-

2305

-

1 basket

1 basket

-

Note 20b

77

S Coy

16

Estim 10

Estim 6

Plane crashed

Sjt Varley

895638

150'

Fast

2305

2315

5 containers

5 containers

Lieut Powers

Note 21

78

S Coy

15

None

15

Note 22

Sjt Conroy

-

-

-

2305

-

4 containers

See para (p)

Lieut Seuer

Note 22

79

S Coy

16

15

No.?

Fainted

Sjt Williams

-

450'

Fast

2305

0030

6 containers

-

Lieut Herman

 

80

S Coy

16

16

-

-

Sjt Easton

-

-

-

-

-

5 containers

?

Capt Sherrard

Note 23

 

NOTE 1. No. ? feet came through No. ? rigging lines resulting in minor injuries to the latter.

NOTE 2. Basket mentioned in para (m) contained spare arms which it was not possible to collect.

NOTE 3. Excellent run in: stick dropped according to plan.

NOTE 4. Containers close together and easily found.

NOTE 5. A/C unable to drop stick. Returned to base. A/C was damaged by A.A. fire and unable to make sufficient height for dropping. Returned to base with difficulty.

NOTE 6. None of this stick accounted for and no details known other than all jumped.

NOTE 7. 845815 (10 miles NW of D.Z.) Only one member of this stick accounted for. A/C had no Navigator.

NOTE 8. 847795. (9 miles NW of D.Z.) Only one member of this stick accounted for. A/C was hit by A.A. on run in, but returned to base.

NOTE 9. 847795. (9 miles NW of D.Z.)

NOTE 10. Heavy A.A. fire encountered and A/C hit. A/C twisting and banking while dropping stick.

NOTE 11. 892658. (West edge of D.Z.) Run in North - South. A/C hit by A.A. fire while crossing coast.

NOTE 12. 913664. (1/2 mile North of D.Z.)

NOTE 13. Run in North - South.

NOTE 14. No 15 fainted and fell across 16's static line. 2 containers came down together rendering the contents u/s.

NOTE 15. Pilot refused to run in. Pilot refused to run in, because of FLAK. All containers returned to base with A/C.

NOTE 16. 4 miles N LENTINI. Stick landed in Orange grove and was unable to find basket.

NOTE 17. 4 miles S.E. of D.Z. 3. Stick landed on telegraph lines, railway and in Orange grove. Unable to find basket.

NOTE 18. Blackout in plane. The only member of the stick accounted for is the man who failed to jump. He can give no details.

NOTE 19. 8 miles S.E. of D.Z. 3.

NOTE 20. West end of D.Z. 3. Tracer entering A/C as stick jumped.

NOTE 20b. A/C hit by A.A. fire and only the Pln Sjt. Joe Knowles jumped. All the others were flown back to base. See account of Joe Knowles and David McLoughlin.

NOTE 21. This A/C was hit by A.A. fire and is known to have crashed. It is believed that six men were unable to jump and none of them have been accounted for.

NOTE 22. Pilot refused to run in owing to A.A. fire. All containers were jettisoned on the route home without the permission of the Stick Comd.

NOTE 23. It is known from the Pilots report that all this stick jumped, but none of them have been accounted for.