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British Raiding Support Regiment

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War.
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Postby Joe Everett on 02 Feb 2007 14:01

Hello
I am researching my late fathers WW2 service with the British Raiding Support Regiment, assiting Tito and carrying out operations from the island of Vis 1943 to 45. Does any on have first hand information about this outfit or can they point me in the direction of written collections i.e. memoirs/books written by ex service personnell or partisans if they subscribe to the site.

Many thanks stay well
Joe Everett
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Postby pitman on 06 Feb 2007 20:42

Many books on Allied special operations in the Adriatic mention the RSR in passing, but none that I have read mention it in detail, nor have I read any book specifically on it (which is not to say that none exists; I just don't know of any). It is actually a very interesting "lost" unit of World War II.

For some of those brief references I mentioned, the following probably have some:

Strutton, Bill. Island of Terrible Friends. New York: W. W. Norton, 1961.

Stokoe, E. G. Lower the Ramps: Experiences with the 43rd Royal Marine Commando in Yugoslavia. Bath: Chivers, 1988.

Neill, Roy S. Once Only. London: Jonathan Cape, 1947. (my memory on this one could be wrong and it could be some other theater)

McConville, Michael. A Small War in the Balkans: British Military Involvement in Wartime Yugoslavia, 1941-1945. London: Macmillan, 1986.

Jenkins, W. G. Commando Subaltern at War: Royal Marine Operations in Yugoslavia and Italy, 1944-1945. London: Greenhill Books, 1996.

Churchill, Thomas. Commando Crusade. London: William Kimber, 1987.
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Postby Joe Everett on 06 Feb 2007 21:02

I thank you for your information and yes they have been overlooked, but it is hardly surprising given their remit that they wre eminently forgetable. Plus the political status of the Balkans (Sebia) then and up to the present day does seem earn to many points for British politcians.

I do know my dads lot along with lots of others were awarded the Red Star of Yugoslavia but the aforementioned politics of the day prevented acceptance. A bit like Korea and Suez up until recently.
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Postby JonS on 06 Feb 2007 21:50

Charles Messenger: "Commando"
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Postby Joe Everett on 14 Feb 2007 22:05

Thank you for your reference
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Postby neil watkins on 03 Mar 2007 22:06

are you George Pitmans son? my grandfather was Robert Downie.they knew each other well.

Joe my grandfather spent a short time on Vis at the beginning of 1944. a breif account of this can be found in Francis Reid,s book.

I Was In Noah,s Ark. 1958 Chambers.
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Postby pitman on 04 Mar 2007 06:21

Are you referring to me? "Pitman" is just a nickname, given to me by some US Army Rangers about 18 years ago. My last name is something else.
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Postby neil watkins on 04 Mar 2007 16:19

yes sorry i was. its just a coincedence though ,George Pitman,from Liverpool served in the same troop in the RSR as my grandfather in Greece 1944. you seemed to know some books on the subject too. although you didnt mention Francis Reids book or Jack Gage,s book "Greek Adventure".
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Re: British Raiding Support Regiment

Postby Pattyella on 15 Nov 2010 00:13

Neil, George Pitman was my "uncle" he never had children of his own, (he passed away about 15 years ago) but was best friends with my dad Thomas Crossman who also served in the RSR.
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Re: British Raiding Support Regiment

Postby waynebuck on 23 Oct 2011 01:28

Hi Joe,just seen your question on the RSR,my grandad was in the SAS and he was guarding Tito at some point in the war and im looking for info on that aswell as cannot find anything at all.Did you find any info in last 4 years since you posted the question.just seen there is a book coming out on 11th Nov 2011 called The diary of a special forces soldier 1943-45 and it says in foreword about tito and the RSR regiment, Bye for Now, Wayne Buck in Whitwell,Derbyshire
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Re: British Raiding Support Regiment

Postby mycraigydon on 22 Jan 2012 23:12

Hi Joe,
my father was in RSR also and he was dropped onto Mt Etna before the invasion and worked his way up via Monte Casino and into Tito country.

A book has just been published by plymouth uni as follows:

Raiding Support Regiment The diary of a special forces soldier Walter Jones / G H Bennett

Peter Ball
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Re: British Raiding Support Regiment

Postby Joe Everett on 25 Aug 2012 22:45

Appologies for the delay in replying as I must admit I had begun to give up on the research.
Thanks Wayne and Peter if Ihave your tags right? Yes Wayne I do know of the book due Nov 2011 must go and get one.

Peter my dad did tell me he to was at Monte Casino when he got injury to his foot, was your dad he in either A or C Battery and did he mentiion anyone by the title of Pops as where one ws the other wouldbe close by and his nick name was chico as he was the baby of tthe group?
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Re: British Raiding Support Regiment

Postby mycraigydon on 28 Aug 2012 15:06

Joe,
sorry I don't have anything more or knowledge of Pops, unfortunately never got to talk to dad about it all before he died. But I do know he was part of of a Browning 1.5 group.
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Re: British Raiding Support Regiment

Postby Joe Everett on 03 Sep 2012 23:38

Thanks Peter, if I have it right .50 calibre Brownng would be C Battery and I beleive A Battery was for Vickers, the ohters were for 4 inch mortatrs and mountain artillery the type that could be easily broken down and hoofed about by hand.

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Re: British Raiding Support Regiment

Postby walter jones on 13 Feb 2013 10:53

I noticed you have taken interest in my grandfather Walter Jones's book. He served in the RSR - Raiding Support Regiment during World War 2. Before he died he finished a book from the diaries that he meticulously wrote in every day during the war. Serving across many countries in the RSR, historians at the University of Plymouth kindly decided to publish his book. This book is just a small part of his writings and focusses only on the RSR in Yugoslavia, mainly on the island of Viz, as this has been a subject that has previously had very little written on it. If I can help anyone with anything, please get in touch.
Thanks, Matt Stewart 07971069976 / matt.stewart1977@hotmail.co.uk


I don't think many people know about his book or even know it exists. Be great if people get the opportunity to read this very accurate account.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Raiding-Supp...0701877&sr=1-1

The Second World War in Yugoslavia is an area neglected by historians and other commentators. This is perhaps surprising as Yugoslavia was the only country in Europe to be conquered by the Germans and then, later, to free itself solely as a result of guerilla activity. Other countries had to be liberated by Allied armies. The British played an important role in supporting the activities of Tito s guerilla army. This is the story of Walter Jones s service and the operations of the Raiding Support Regiment. A precursor to the modern SAS the Raiding Support Regiment fought alongside the commandos and Tito s partisan in Yugoslavia. Based on the Island of Vis in the Adriatic they provided heavy weapons support to British and partisan forces trying to drive the Germans out of Yugoslavia. Later they served in Albania and Italy. This is a brutally honest account of one man s service with the Regiment and a neglected period of European history. It documents the transformation of a young man into a combat veteran as he witnesses the effects of bombing, the deliberate killing of POWs and partisan savagery against those who transgress the partisan code
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