What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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CanKiwi2
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OK, not so much an update...

Post by CanKiwi2 » 17 Jun 2012 16:24

but more of an enforced hiatus to the story for a few weeks in case you are wondering what the long silence is all about..

Been in hospital for the last couple of weeks (gotta love paramedics, ambulances and Hospital Emergency Depts when they really get into action...long story behind that one but I got carted out of work and taken on a fast ambulance ride to the hospital... and dont get me going on the constipatory effects of morphine (wonderful stuff....) and the vile laxatives that hospitals use to counter said effect - blaaaghh!!!!). Anyhow, just got out of hospital, going to be another couple of weeks recovering, so there will not be any update from me until around mid-July.

Sorry about the enforced hiatus but the story will resume!!!!! And believe me, I had lots of time in hospital to work thru parts of the plot in my head. The morphine did some great things for the story line for a while too, trouble is I forgot those bits after the morphine wore off - but I just know they were superb!!! :lol:

Cheers.............Nigel
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 18 Jun 2012 06:50

Great to hear you are OK, wishing you a full and a speedy recover.

Take care, regards, Juha

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CanKiwi2
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 10 Jul 2012 12:46

Juha Tompuri wrote:Great to hear you are OK, wishing you a full and a speedy recover.

Take care, regards, Juha


Kiitos Juha, now back up and running 8-)

Cheers.............Nigel
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 10 Jul 2012 18:00

Note: the ranks listed below would appear to be the ranks the Officers, NCO’s and men held prior to their being selected for the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards. With the exception of the Officers holding command positions in the 5th Battalion, their actual ranks within the Left Flank Company are unknown.

Company Commander: Major C J Stone: East Surrey Regiment: covered earlier.

Company Headquarters
Capt. The Hon. J L Lindsay: 2nd Bat, Queen Victoria’s Rifles

What little is available on Capt. The Hon. J L Lindsay are a series of notices in the London Gazette, starting with THE LONDON GAZETTE, 8 JANUARY, 1937, Territorial Army, advising that 2nd Lt. Hon. J. L. Lindsay is transferring from the 22nd (Lond.) Armd. Car Co., to be 2nd Lt. with the Scouts – Scottish Horse, from l0th Dec. 1936. From this and a subsequent notice in THE LONDON GAZETTE, 22 FEBRUARY, 1938 TERRITORIAL ARMY. SCOUTS. Scottish Horse—advising that 2nd Lt. Hon. J. L. Lindsay to be Lt. 20th Feb. 1938, one surmises that Lindsay was a Territorial Army officer in the Scottish Horse (a Yeomanry Regiment of the British Territorial Army from 1900 to 1956). Between Feb 1938 and June 1944, no information is available but one surmises that at some stage he had transferred to Queen Victoria’s Rifles (at the outbreak of World War II, 1/QVR and 2/QVR were formally made part of the KRRC (King’s Royal Rifle Corps).

In the SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 27 JUNE, 1944, it is advised that K.R.R.C. (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) Capt. The Hon. J. L. Lindsay (64126) is placed on the h.p. list on account of il-health, 26th June 1944. Subsequently, in the SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 24 APRIL, 1945 - Memorandum. Capt. The Hon. J. L. Lindsay (64126) h.p. list (late K.R.R.C.) relinquishes his commn. on account of disability, 25th Apr. 1945, and is granted the hon. rank of Maj.

Section Sgt-Major P H Thompson: 449 Company: (no information found)

2Lt G M Jackson: 2/5th Essex Regiment(?)

George Michael Jackson had served as a soldier in the Household Cavalry before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant near the start of WW2. His son, General Sir Michael David "Mike" Jackson, GCB, CBE, DSO, DL (born 21 March 1944) became one of the British Army’s most high-profile generals since the Second World War, serving for three years as Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces and then as Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, in 2003. In his biography, “Soldier” by General Sir Mike Jackson, he says of his father: “My father George Jackson served in the Army for forty years, without ever rising beyond the modest rank of major. He suffered a serious heart attack in the early 1950s and that put the kibosh on any further promotion. The Army was pretty ruthless about such matters then. My father never showed any resentment at this setback. If it ever went through his mind that he might leave the Army, he never mentioned it to me. He was a great gentleman, very courteous, and scrupulously honest; a delightful man, who always had a wry smile on his lips, perhaps indicative of his humorous attitude to life. I liked him and I respected him; to me he was always ‘Pop’. Pop was a tall, lean, dark man with a long nose, all features which he handed on to me. He sported a neatly trimmed moustache, a practice I have not emulated! Pop was an active and practical man, who’d been a member of the Boys’ Brigade and who was very fond of playing football. In adulthood he became a keen motorcyclist. Mother (Ivy, (née Bower, who was a curator at a museum in Sheffield) was dark too, slight but none the less forceful, a strong, bright-eyed Yorkshire woman, who had been quite a beauty in her youth. She loved walking, and in her teens had done a great deal of hiking in the Peak District.

My father joined the Army in 1935 as a private soldier, becoming a trooper in the Household Cavalry. I can remember his telling me about being a member of the Sovereign’s Escort at the coronation of King George VI, which sounded very impressive to a young boy. He didn’t make the big leap to commissioned rank until about halfway through the Second World War, when he became an officer in the Royal Army Service Corps. I suspect that my parents waited until my father was commissioned to get married.

George was the youngest of five children of Charles Henry Jackson, the skipper of a deep-sea line-fishing vessel working out of Grimsby. My grandfather, whom I sadly never knew, had lost his father when he was only four and, having been sent to work on a Lincolnshire farm at the age of ten, had run away to sea in his late teens. The life of a long-line fisherman then was very hard, sailing small vessels up to Iceland and along the Greenland coast even in winter, often under brutal masters and in cruel conditions, defying icebergs and heavy seas in the search for cod and halibut up to 20 stone in weight. Such a harsh life left him unmarked, however, for Pop said that no family ever had a better father. My grandfather was patient, loving and fair; everyone who knew Charles Jackson respected him and his word, and looked upon him as a gentleman. In the First World War he served as a master of a minesweeper. In the Second World War, though by then well into his sixties, he again volunteered for service with the Royal Navy and was made master of a small vessel working out of Scapa Flow.

My parents must have met during the early part of the war when both were in their mid-twenties, though unfortunately I know almost nothing about the circumstances beyond the fact that Pop was then living in Bristol, and since my mother’s death late in 2006 there is now no one left alive to tell me. My mother Ivy was from Sheffield, where her father, Tom Bower, had been an engineer in the steel industry who had lost his job in the Depression. She was a year older than my father, born five months before the outbreak of the First World War, and the only child of her parents, which was unusual for the period. (Her own mother had been one of eleven siblings.) An intelligent girl, she won a scholarship to Sheffield Grammar School, and when she met my father she was working as a curator at the Sheffield Museum.

Along with so many British soldiers, my father spent the early part of the war kicking his heels. He and my mother married on 7 March 1942, soon after he received his commission (see additional note below – this was actually his promotion from 2Lt to Lt). I was born two years later, at my mother’s home in Sheffield, just ten weeks before my father finally went into action on D-Day, 6 June 1944. He was second-in-command of a squadron of amphibious vehicles (DUKWs) whose function was to ferry men and materiel ashore. His squadron commander was killed on the first run in to ‘Gold’ Beach, so my father had to take command from then on. For him, as for so many others, D-Day was a baptism of fire. For his actions then and subsequently he was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre and was mentioned in dispatches. Like so many of his generation, he was reluctant to talk about his experiences and, judging that it would make him uncomfortable, I didn’t seek to push him to do so.

I don’t know much about what Pop did for the rest of the war except that he took part in the Allied advance through north-west Europe, finishing up on VE-Day in Germany. After the war he was posted to Palestine, in the Mandate days, before the creation of the State of Israel. British soldiers were trying to keep the peace between Arabs and Jews, and might be attacked by either; it was no place for wives and children. So my early years were spent in Sheffield with my mother’s family, and then in Aldershot when Pop came back from Palestine. In 1948 he was posted to Libya, an Italian colony which had been occupied by the British during the war, and which would become an independent kingdom in late 1951. My first memory is of sailing out by troop-ship with my mother to join him.”

After the Second World War, George Jackson was eventually posted to Tripoli, Libya, where the family lived for two years, during which time Michael’s younger sister was born. After suffering a heart attack, George Jackson retired with the rank of major after 40 years in the Army. Delving into the London Gazette, it would appear that Mike Jackson missed a couple of things about his father – his commission in 1942 was in point of fact a promotion from 2Lt to Lt – as per the SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 13 MARCH, 1942 advising that George Michael JACKSON (226972) was promoted from 2Lt to Lt. on 21st Feb. 1942. From this and a post-war SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 18 APRIL, 1947, advising that 2nd Lt. (War Subs. Capt.) George Michael JACKSON (226972) from Emerg. Commn. to be Lt., 9th Nov. 1946, with seniority, 9th May, 194O. (Substituted for the notifn. in Gazette (Supplement) dated 8th Nov. 1946.) one can conclude that Jackson had been commissioned as a 2nd Lt early in the war, where it would seem that he volunteered for the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards.

A SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 3 DECEMBER, 1946 advises that “The undermentioned Lts. to be Capts. 9th Nov. 1946, with seniority 1st July 1946: — (War Subs. Capt.) G. M. JACKSON (226972). A SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE of 13 APRIL, 1948 advised that on 9th Nov 1946 — (War Subs Capt ) G M JACKSON (226972), with seniority 9th May 1945 (Substituted for the notifn. in Gazette (Supplement) dated 3rd Dec 1946). Subsequently THE -LONDON GAZETTE, 16 May 1950 advises that Capt. G. M. JACKSON (226972) to be Maj., llth May 1950. THE -LONDON GAZETTE, 15 FEBRUARY, 1952 advises that Major George Michael JACKSON (226972), Royal Army Service Corps has been awarded the (Belgian) Croix Militaire 1st Class. In the SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE of 23RD MAY 1961, for the ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPSCapt. G. M. JACKSON (226972) to be Maj., llth May 1950, with seniority 12th June 1951. (Substituted for the notifn. in Gazette (Supplement) dated 19th May 1950.). And finally, a SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 12™ MAY 1970 advises that Maj. G. M. JACKSON (226972) retires on retired pay, llth May 1970.

LCpl W A Challington: Cameron Highlanders

William Albert Challington (3515161) would go on to join the Commandoes. He was awarded a DCM for the raid on St Nazaire, where he was a Sgt in 2 Commando. He was captured in the aftermath of the raid and would remain a POW for the remainder of WW2.

“On 28th March 1942 during the Commando Raid on St.Nazaire,France Sgt Challington was with the assault group covering the dry dock area. Disembarking from the burning bows of HMS Campbeltown on to the dock gates, Sgt Challington immediately engaged the enemy gun crews.who were on the roof of the pumping station and whose plunging fire was intense in the immediate area. Under his devastating covering fire, the assault onto the roof of the pumping station and the consequent destruction of the crews and guns was successfully completed. Later, when his assault group formed a covering force in the area which the demolitions were taking place, this NCO showing total disregard for his own safety, engaged and knocked out an enemy machine gun position which was bringing heavy fire to bear on the Operational HQ. Continuing to display great courage and initiative, his group later became engaged in the street fighting in the town of St.Nazaire and during the fighting he alone engaged an enemy motorcycle combination which approached at high speed firing an automatic gun from the sidecar. Durirng this street fighting, this NCO's dash and initiative was outstanding and with a small party he managed to regain the open country through the town in an attempt to escape to Spain. He was captured only after organising other members of his party to set off in pairs to freedom.”

Image

Image
Photo sourced from: http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGall ... +1941a.jpg
1. Harold Harbert; 2. Cyril Lima ; 3-5. n/k; 6. Pete Honey* (awarded MM St. Nazaire);7. Joe Rogers* (awarded MM at Spilje, Albania); 8. n/k; 9. Leo Homer*; 10. n/k; 11. Joe Slater; 12. n/k; 13. "Dolly" Gray; 14. n/k. 15. Tom McCormack (kia at St Nazaire); 16. Dick Wilcox* ;17. Hugh Cox*; 18. Fred Wilkes*; 19. Syd Murdoch*; 20. Bill Hughes*; 21-23. n/k; 24. John Stewart (kia at Salerno); 25. Ernie Hurst*; 26. A.'Molky' Molkenthin; 27. Cyril Wilkinson; 28. Arthur 'Aggs' Ashcroft*; 29. Les Whelan*; 30. Bill 'La' Aspey; 31. Len Perkins (awarded the MM 1945); 32. Jack Cheetham*; 33. Ken McAllister; 34. Don Randall* (awarded DCM at St Nazaire); 35. Ken Bruce; 36. Capt. Donald Roy* (awarded DSO at St Nazaire); 37. Louis Walter 'Ben' Brown*; 38. William Challington* (awarded DCM at St Nazaire); 39. Colin Jones* (awarded MM at St Nazaire) ; 40. Fred Holt*; 41. Edward "Tiny" Burke; 42. Ted Douglas* (awarded the MM at St Nazaire and escaped through France back to the UK); 43. Ted Coates; 44. n/k; 45. Harold "Aggs" Roberts*; 46. John Gwynne* (kia at St Nazaire); 47. Frank Sumner*; 48. Gnr. R.Milne*; 49. Ben Fryer; 50-51. n/k; 52. H.Jacobs; 53. 'Cocky' Moffat

*Denotes took part in Operation Chariot - St Nazaire

On the night 27th/28th March 1942 many from 5 troop took part in the raid on St Nazaire and a considerable number from this picture were wounded and/or taken prisoner.

Company Cooks:

LCpl W F Lebeau, 2nd Bat Northamptonshire Regiment: (no information found)

Trooper S Schofield: 3rd Horse Cavalry Training Regiment: (no information found)

No. 13 Platoon Commander: Captain G R G Bird: The Sherwood Foresters

As with many other officers, references to G R G Bird are found in The London Gazette, the first such reference being in THE LONDON GAZETTE, 6 SEPTEMBER, 1932 Foresters—2nd Lt. G. R. G. Bird to be Lt. 29th Aug. 1932. In the inter-war period, promotion from 2nd Lt to Lt usually took some years and from this (and his approximate retirement date) we can surmise that Bird joined The Sherwood Foresters as a 2nd Lt around the mid-1920’s. The only reference to Bird during the war years is a reference to Capt. G. R. G. Bird, Foresters (s.c.) Capt. (actg. 17/10/41). By 1947, we know that G R G Bird was a Lieutenant-Colonel, by way of his authorship of a 1947 paper listed as “Tobruk: account of operations of 1st Battalion the Sherwood Foresters 1942 June 1-21, by Lieutenant-Colonel G. R. G. Bird.”

In the SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 2 JUNE, 1953 Maj. & Bt. Lt.-Col. G. R. G. BIRD (44029) from Foresters, to be Lt.-Col. on the Employed List (1), 9th Sept. 1952. The London Gazette of 31st DECEMBER, 1957 advises that Lt-Col. '(Temp. Col.) G. R. G. BIRD (44029) from Foresters (Emp. List) to be Col., 29th July 1955, with seniority 26th June 1955 and precedence next above Col J. G. ATKINSON, O.B.E. (47509). (Substituted for the notifn. in Gazette (Supplement) dated 24,th Jan, 1956.). The London Gazette of 25th August 1961 advises that The undermentioned Brigs, to be Supernumerary to Establishment on the dates shown: G. R. G. BIRD, A.D.C. {44029), late Inf., 29th July 1961. The London Gazette of 1st September 1967 advises that Brig. G. R. G. BIRD (44029) late Inf. having attained the age limit for liability to recall ceases to belong to the Res. of Offrs., 4th Sep. 1967.

The Men of No. 13 Platoon

Sapper V G Bishop: (no information found)

2Lt C Bridge, Training Battalion, The Coldstream Guards: (no information found)

LCpl R G Cooper, Royal Sussex Regiment

L/Cpl Raymond Gerald Cooper (132904) first served in the ranks, and was then commissioned (via an emergency commission) into the Royal Regiment of Artillery as a 2nd Lt on 25 May 1940. He was promoted to Lt on 25 November 1941 and in July 1943 he served as a Forward Observation Officer (FOO) on HMS Tetcott (a destroyer) during Operation Husky (Sicily). From 13 October 1942 to April 1946 he served as a Temporary Captain.

J Crossthwaite Eyre

The London Gazette of 24 January 1941 mentions that J. Crosthwaite Eyre (134990) is a 2nd Lt. and is transferred to the Intelligence Corps as 2nd Lt, retaining present seniority as of 15 July 1940. The London Gazette of 20 June 1941 advises that 2nd Lt. J. Crosthwaite-Eyre (134990), transfers from the Intelligence Corps, to be 2nd Lt. in the Royal Engineers from 1st Nov. 1940, retaining his present seniority, from which one surmises that perhaps Intelligence wasn’t quite his cup of tea.

2Lt J Denniston, 14/20 Hussars: (no information found)

Lt R E Donaldson-Rawlins, 35th S T Regiment, Royal Artillery

The London Gazette of 30 December 1938 advises that Ralph Ernest Donaldson RAWLINS to be 2nd Lt as of the 31st Dec. 1938. The London Gazette of 29 September 1944 announces that Lt. R. E. D. Rawlins (79995) of the ROYAL REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY relinquishes his commn. on account of ill-health, 29th Sept. 1944, and is granted the hon. rank of Capt.

Cpl B G Eastwood, No 3 Troop Carrying Coy, RASC: (no information found)

Sapper H A Edwards, 469th AA Coy, Royal Engineers: (no information found)

Pte D G Fitzgerald-Robinson, Army Tank Signals: (no information found)

Gunner J A Gibson, 273rd AAC: (no information found)

2Lt W Goodbody, 3rd County of London Yeomanry

William James Perry GOODBODY was the Son of James P. and Jennie F. Goodbody, of Limerick, Irish Republic. The London Gazette of 14 September 1939 records that William James Perry GOODBODY (98120) (late Cadet Serjt., Shrewsbury Sch. Contgt., Jun. Div., O.T.C.). is commissioned as 2nd Lt in the Royal Armoured Corps from 2nd Sept. 1939. The Diaries of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (an Armoured Regiment - Ref http://www.warlinks.com/armour/3_cly/3cly_42.php) record that on 13 June 1941, 98120 2Lt WJP Goodbody to be W/S Lt. The Regiment was posted to the Middle East and on 29 May 1942 Captain WJP Goodbody died of wounds received in combat on the 27th of May against a German force. He was 36 years old. He is buried in the War Cemetery at Tobruk.

Image

Gunner Hecksher, 273rd AAC: (no information found)

Gunner K W F Herbertson, 273rd AAC: (no information found)

2Lt H L Hoppe, 5th Bat, The Bedfords and Herts Regiment

The London Gazette of 12 December 1939 records that the date of appt. of 2nd Lt. H. L. Hoppe (94117) Bedfs. 6- Herts. R. is 30th July 1939, and-not as notified in the Gazette of 5th Sept. 1939. On 27th October 1941 the Battalion moved to Liverpool and embarked for Singapore on the SS Reina Del Pacifico, with their transport on SS "Bonnikom". Captain H L Hoppe commanded "B" Company. The 5th Battalion landed on Singapore Island on 29th January 1942 and were taken prisoner at the surrender of Singapore on 15th February 1942, just 17 days after their arrival. They landed without equipment and had been trained in warfare against the German Army in Europe. They had never trained in jungle warfare, were not acclimatized and had never seen a Japanese soldier nor knew what they were capable of both as an enemy at war and as captors.

Upon capture the 5th Battalion was split into small groups over five days and communication between groups became next to impossible. From the Battalion six officers and twenty-six men were killed and many more wounded. They suffered three and a half years of captivity where a third of the soldiers died from over-work, sickness and starvation. Captain Hoppe was one of the survivors. The London Gazette of 12 July 1955 advises that Lt. (Hon. Capt.) H. L. HOPPE (94117) having exceeded the age limit of liability to recall ceases to belong to the Territorial Army Reserve. of Officers., 13th July 1955, retaining the hon. rank of Capt.

Lt Jordan, S.P., Royal Engineers: (no information found)

Lt C S Hampton, 10th Bat, H.L.I

The London Gazette of 3 June 1927 records the promotion of 2nd. Lt. C. S. Hampton (6th Bn. H.L.I) to be Lt. 28th Jan. 1927. The London Gazette of 3 December 1957 advises that Maj. C. S. HAMPTON, T.D. (31801), having exceeded the age limit, ceases to belong to the T.A. Res. of Offrs., 4th Dec. 1957, and is granted the hon. rank of Lt.-Col.

2Lt A I R Kraunsoe, 12th Light AA Regiment, Royal Artillery

The London Gazette of 17 November 1964 records that Capt. (Hon. Maj.) A. I. R. KRAUNSOE, T.D. (76034), having attained the age limit, ceases to belong to the T.A. Res. of Offrs., 20th Nov. 1964, retaining the hon. rank of Maj.

Pte G Lawless, 162nd Field Ambulance: (no information found)

2Lt D M McClintock, Hertfordshire Yeomanry: (no information found)

Lt G R Nimmo, 10th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

The London Gazette of 6 March 1934 records that the 7th Bn. A. & S.H. saw 2nd Lt. G. R. Nimmo from the Active List, to be 2nd Lt. 7th Mar. 1934. The London Gazette of 20 June 1950 annouced that Capt. (T. Maj.) G. R. NIMMO, M.C. (50140) had been killed in action. From a photo of the WW2 Memorial at Trinity College, Cambridge on which G R Nimmo is listed, we know he graduated from Cambridge University.

Image
[i]Cambridge Trinity College World War Two Memorial, G R Nimmo listed


P Peirano: (no information found)

2Lt Petty, F.H.B, Royal Artillery: (no information found)

2Lt J C E Rude, 76th (H) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

The London Gazette of 18 July 1939 advises that 2nd Lt. J. C. E. Rude to be Lt. as of 18th. July 1939. The London Gazette of 25 January 1946 advises that Lt. J. C. E. Rude (42137) of the Royal Artillery transfers to the Seaforths as a Lt., retaining his present seniority.

2Lt H D Tooms, 2nd Bat, RASC

The London Gazette of 19 July 1945 lists H D Tooms (116131) as a Major (Temp).

Pte W Young, 162nd Field Ambulance: (no information found)

No. 14 Platoon Commander
Captain M R B Kealy, The Devonshire Regiment (already covered)

No. 14 Platoon


2Lt A Boyle, The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders: (no information found)

Cpl F W Brooks, 4th County of London Yeomanry:(no information found)

2Lt A D R Buxton, 2nd M T Bat, The Rifle Brigade: (no information found)

2Lt W A R Farmiloe, 2nd Bat, The London Rifle Brigade

No military information found, but W A R Farmiloe is listed as the driver of a Wolseley Hornet in the Nottingham Junior Short Handicap (6.5 miles) at the Whit-Monday BARC Meeting on 16th May 1932 (Brooklands Races).

Trooper C Ferris, 11th City of London Yeomanry: (no information found)

Galloway, 128th LAA Bty, Royal Artillery: (no information found)

Pte Greenham, 52nd HTR, Royal Armoured Corps: (no information found)

J Hermon: (no information found)

V Hermon: (no information found)

Gunner A A B Hodges, 35th Signal Regiment, Royal Artillery: (no information found)

2Lt A W Hough, The Tower Hamlet Rifles: (no information found)

S Johnson: (no information found)

Gunner Lazonby, 88th Light AA, Royal Artillery: (no information found)

Lt D Leslie, H.L.I Depot:(no information found)

2Lt A M R Mallock, 2/53rd (W) Div. Signals

The London Gazette of 30 July 1943 lists A. M. R. MALLOCK (Lt. R. Sigs.) (51544) as promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer (War Subs) as of 1 June 1943. The London Gazette of 12 January 1945 lists A. M. R. MALLOCK (IA. R. Signals) (51544) as promoted from Flying Officer to Flt. Lt (War subs) as of 18th Dec 1944. The London Gazette of 21 May 1946 lists Flt. Lt. A. M. R. MALLOCK (Lt., R. Signals) (51544) returning to Army duty as of 26th Apr. 1946.

2Lt P M Miller, The Loyal Suffolk Hussars: (no information found)

2Lt Morant, 88th Bty, Light AA, Royal Artillery: (no information found)

Pte G Neville, The Manchester Regiment (Canadian Volunteer)

Pte G Neville was a Canadian Volunteer and one of the “Halifax Hundred”, approx. 100 volunteers from Nova Scotia who travelled to the UK and enlisted in The Manchester Regiment prior to the start of WW2. Pte Neville enlisted in the 2nd Manchesters in the summer of 1939 and along with a number of other Canadians in the Regiment, volunteered for and was accepted into the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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CanKiwi2
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 25 Jul 2012 21:56

Going to backtrack briefly here. You may recall that many Posts ago I went into a little history on the Pintaliitäjä-Craft and the development of high speed torpedo hovercraft - and there was a section on the performance Trials of P-10 on the Gulf of Finland, Summer of 1939. ”CCCP” was painted on the sides to confuse any Observers, as it was known that the USSR was conducting trials on a similar type of craft designed by a Soviet engineer, Vladimir Levkov. It was hoped that any sightings of the Finnish craft would be confused with the Soviet Navy craft that had been observed carrying out trials.

Well, more documentary evidence has emerged and just for the record, here is a video clip of Merivoimat trials of P-10 in the summer of 1939.

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 25 Jul 2012 22:45

Thank you very much Nigel, never seen before live footage about the Levkov craft.
Nice off-water scenes.

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=91987&p=846308&hilit#p846308

Regards, Juha

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The 5th Battalion, Scots Guards (Continued)

Post by CanKiwi2 » 23 Aug 2012 13:37

All the men below were actually in the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards. The names are taken from the list of men in the Left Flank Company and from personal memoirs, obituaries and the like. All photos are of the men concerned, all information is correct - with the exception of mentions of what they get up to in Finland during the Winter War, which is of course alternative history. I'll be posting the unamended and historically correct information in the thread on British Volunteers in the Winter War later for anyone that's interested. And believe me, I won't be going to this level of detail for any other units - just, I got really interested in these guys. When you look at what many of them went on to achieve in WW2, it's quite astounding to think of these men all in one Battalion - and what that Battalion could have achieved if used in a way that was commensurate with their abilities as displayed in later years.

Sapper W Ormerod, 661st Field Coy, Royal Engineers

Sapper William Ormerod (1903548) of 661 Gen. Constr. Coy, Royal Engineers died on 17 June 1940, killed in action against the Red Army in Finland. He is buried in Karelia. The Army Roll of Honour 1939-45 Database records that William was born in Manchester and resided in London (W).

Image
Photo sourced from: http://www.ormerod.uk.net/Graves/Cornwa ... nce_03.JPG
William Ormerod’s grave in Karelia

2Lt W E D Paul, 4th Royal Welch Fusiliers
(no information found)

2Lt P Pinckney, 145th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
(no information found)

Capt. C O M Priday, 15th Motor Training Bat, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps
(no information found)

2Lt M Scott, Training Bat, The Coldstream Guards
(no information found)

2Lt Alexander James (Sandy) Scratchley, 4th County of London Yeomanry

Alexander James (Sandy) Scratchley (35050) belonged to the 4th County of London Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corp. One mention of him alludes that “Sandy was a famous hurdle race amateur jockey” – (that’s actually a steeplechase rider – this and the fact that he was a pre-war officer in the 4th CLY which had high mess bills, indicates he was reasonably well-off). Limited mentions of him include that on 10 Sept 1939, the 4th County of London Yeomanry War Diary records that at 1103 a Convoy of 3 trucks under 2Lt Scratchley left for MINEHEAD. On 11 Nov 1939, 2Lt AJ Scratchley was Gazetted with effect 22 Sept 39. He volunteered for the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards and served in Finland with the battalion for the duration of the Winter War. On his return, he was posted to the Special Training Centre, Inverness, following which he rejoined the 4th County of London Yeomanry Regt. Temporarily. He was a member of L Detachment SAS in 1942 and 1 SAS (A Squadron) from 1942-43 with the rank of Lt. He was a member of 2 SAS (A and HQ Squadrons) over 1943-44 where he was promoted to Captain and then to Major.

The London Gazette of 1 August 1944 records that Lt. A. J. Scratchley of the SAS, from 4th Co. of Lon. Yeo., to be War Subs. Lt., 1st Apr. 1944, retaining his present seniority. On 4 May 1944, Capt. A J Scratchley of the Royal Armoured Corps was awarded the Military Cross for action in Italy. He was also awarded the D.S.O, Mentioned in Despatches and received a bar to his M.C. He seems to have been fairly well known – numerous accounts of the SAS or memoirs or interviews of SAS members such as Carol Mathers mention Scratchley. Roy Farran mentions in his book “Winged Dagger” that “....the army to send me back to the 8th. I was still cooling my heels when an old pal, Sandy Scratchley, got me into the Special Air Service...”

He also seems to have been on good terms with Peter Kemp (and on a personal note, I have a copy of Peter Kemp’s book, "Alms for Oblivion", with a personal note to Sandy Scratchley and signed by Peter Kemp).

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Photo sourced from: http://www.specialforcesroh.com/gallery/file1781.jpg
Alexander James (Sandy) Scratchley

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Members of 2 SAS on parade for an inspection by General Bernard Montgomery, following their successful participation in the capture, behind enemy lines, of the port of Termoli in Italy. On the left is Major A J Scratchley, MC DSO, while on the right is Captain Roy Farran (holding a German submachinegun).

The final mention of Scratchley is in the London Gazette of 2 April 1957 where it is advised that the TERRITORIAL ARMY RESERVE OF OFFICERS - Capt. (Hon. Maj.) A. J. SCRATCHLEY, M.C (35050), having exceeded the age limit, ceases to belong to the T.A. Res. of Offrs., 3rd Apr. 1957, retaining tine hon. rank of Maj. He died in 1973 at the age of 67.

Gunner D H Scibbens, 35/12 Light AA, Royal Artillery
(no information found)

2Lt A Speyer, 7th Bat, The Cheshire Regiment

The only mention of 2Lt A Speyer found is a brief mention in the London Gazette of 1 November 1946, that as of 30th Oct. 1946, War Subs. Lt. A. SPEYER (346761) of the Palestine Regiment is granted the hon. rank of Lt. This may or may not be the same Speyer.

Rifleman D Stern, 1st Bat, The Rangers (King’s Royal Rifle Corps)
(no information found)

2Lt A Watkins, The Coldstream Guards
(no information found)

2Lt A Wormald, 1st Motor Bat, (King’s Royal Rifle Corps)

The London Gazette of 8 December 1944 advises that Tempy. Lt. A. Wormald of the Royal Marines is seconded for service with the Army as of 16th Aug. 1944, Tempy. Lt. A. Wormald to be Actg. Tempy. Maj. as of 16th Aug. 1944 and that Tempy. Lt. (Actg. Tempy. Maj.) A. Wormald is granted the War Sub. rank of Tempy. Capt. And to retain the rank of Actg. Tempy. Maj. 16th Nov. 1944.

No. 15 Platoon Commander

Captain Dixon, The Cameron Highlanders
(no information found)

No. 15 Platoon

William Alexander Carlton Collingwood

Brigadier W A C Colingwood, OBE (12 Feb 1915 - 24 Dec 1992) went to school at Charterhouse. As a boy he boxed, fenced and swam with marked success, riding in the winter-time; then, well equipped for an Army career, he sat the Sandhurst examination and passed high in the list. Displaying a characteristic enthusiasm and cheerfulness, Bill entered wholeheartedly into both military and sporting activities at Sandhurst, winning the Modern Pentathalon. He went on holiday in Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia with three other cadets, where they were temporarily arrested in Zagreb for spying - an event which Bill regarded with glee. In 1935 he was commissioned into the 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers, who were still using horse transport, and he found himself very much at home in the stables. His sporting activities led him to be selected and to train for the British Olympic squad, due to go to Berlin in 1936, but appendicitis put him out of the team.

While convalescing in Cornwall, he met a number of artists and writers, discovering a strong empathy with them, which he was to develop later on. Then, on holiday in Florence, where he had been guided by some of his new friends, Bill met Barbara Tatham, his future wife. That year, he learned to fly a BA Swallow aircraft. He became engaged to, and then married Barbara. Shortly after the Munich crisis, the Collingwoods moved – typical of Bill's sense of humour - to a new address at Collingwood Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle. When war broke out, he instantly volunteered for the 'sharp end', the “5th Battalion, Scots Guards”, the cover name for a ski battalion of volunteers intended for service in Finland against the Russians. After training with the Chasseurs Alpins in Chamonix, the battalion embarked for Finland.

After returning from Finland in late 1940, there followed a period of flying experience, appointment as Adjutant at the Depot, and several courses including the Staff College at Camberley. Bill was appointed Brigade Major of a tank brigade, but when its role was changed to training, he volunteered for the Parachute Regiment. After a short spell as a company commander in 7 PARA, and then completing his parachute course at Ringway, Bill joined that remarkable 3rd Parachute Brigade team: James Hill the Brigade Commander, Alec Pope the DAA & QMG and Bill the Brigade Major. A private soldier from 9 PARA, temporarily posted to 3 Brigade defence platoon, remembers Bill at the time: 'He always had a smile and a cheery word for all of us. He was a lovely officer!'

On the night of 5 June 1944, Bill left in an Albermarle aircraft with the Pathfinders, having selected the Brigade DZ himself from air photographs. The pilot, a Charterhouse contemporary, could not find the DZ at all, and had to make five circuits of the area. Bill was on the edge of the hole ready to jump, when a near miss with another aircraft and then an AA shell-burst close to the fuselage toppled him out. But somehow his foot had got caught and he hung by one leg under aircraft for an agonising ¾’s of an hour, wafting in and out of consciousness, until his batman, Pte Allen, and the rest of the stick who had been unable to jump, hauled him in. Among all the dashing parachuting stories, this is a perfectly true one! Major Napier Crookenden, Bill's opposite number as Brigade Major of the Airlanding (Gliders) Brigade, was eating eggs and bacon in the RAF mess, Brize Norton at 3.30 that afternoon, preparatory to flying over to join the 3rd and 5th Parachute Brigades, when in came a battered figure, his face still covered with camouflage cream, wearing his smock and limping badly. It was Bill, followed closely by his stick. “Can you give us a lift to Normandy?” he asked, and was at once provided with a spare glider. By 9.30 that evening, Bill was in position at 3 Para. Brigade HQ in Le Mesnil, having come in to Ranville with the 6th Airlanding Brigade, as his second attempt to land in Normandy within 24 hours. Few can claim this double assault on Hitler's 'Western Wall'!

Bill showed great endurance by carrying on with his key role, despite injuries, often under heavy fire and not helped by a wound in his backside, until eventually he had to submit to being evacuated. Graded Category B, he recovered enough to become Chief Instructor at the School of Land/Air Warfare in Old Sarum, which he knew from a previous course there, and it was possible for Barbara to be with him again. So ended the brief war experience of a first rate Regular officer, typical of so many men, full of energy and enterprise and of complete devotion to duty who laid the foundations of the young Airborne Forces. When the war was over Bill, now A.l fit, went to India as GSO 1 of the Indian Airborne Division but very nearly died of meningitis. Barbara was sent for, came out and remained with him when he had again recovered. They spent memorable leaves together in Goa and Kashmir and thereafter were seldom separated. Regimental duty with his own Royal Northumberland Fusiliers followed in Gibraltar, then Warminster, on the directing staff at Camberley, on the Suez Canal, CO of 1RNF in Northern Ireland, then still a land at peace.

Bill commanded the Old College at Sandhurst, taught naval history and had a hand in the beginning of the “Edward Bear” parachute exercises, whose brand of quirkiness on the whole appealed to him. He also helped organise the World Modern Pentathalon Championship, based on Sandhurst and, for the two years he was there, his gentle kindness and consideration for the cadets created its own form of discipline. Bill's Army career ended as Commander of 151 TA (Territorial Army) Brigade in Durham and North Yorkshire, where he continued to hunt and to ride point to points. He retired from the Army in 1962.

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Newspaper cutting, from the Newcastle Journal , including a photograph of Sir James Duff, the Mayor of Durham, with Brigadier W.A.C. Collingwood, Commanding 151st Brigade, centre, and Colonel A. de V. Gibson, Commanding 8th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, in Durham, 14 March 1960

In 1962, Collingwood was made Regional Officer of the Independent Television Authority in the South West & the Channel Islands, where he was to indulge his fondness for sailing. His grasp of the job, personality and his way with people all made him a popular figure. Three years later, he returned to his beloved South West and in 1977 came his retirement from the IBA. He and his wide settled in a house on the Devon side of the Tamar river at Bere Alston. His own description 'We made a garden' is inadequate to express what he created at several levels on the site of a fifteenth century silver smelting works, with exotic plants, goldfish pool, lawns and trees, He also converted 'the barn' into a fully equipped hall where art exhibitions attracted visitors from near and far, and where he was planning to promote concerts

Bill Collingwood died suddenly at home on Christmas Eve 1992 among his family, so further diminishing that 'band of brothers' which was the 6th Airborne Division. He left his wife Barbara, four children, 12 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren, as well as very many friends and old comrades, all sadder for the loss of a marvellous companion, player of games and of tricks, a man whose very presence lit up the company he kept.

2nd Lt P V Cowley

The London Gazette of 28 January 1941 advises that P V Cowley (74603) is promoted from 2nd Lt. to Lt as of the 1st of January 1941 (Royal Northumberland Fusiliers). On 23 January 1946 the Gazette advises that P V Cowley is to be Captain and on 23 May 1946 to be Major (temp). On 26 January 1951 he is promoted to major on a permanent basis.

W B Coltart
(No information found)

R C G Davis
(No information found)

2nd Lt. D L Furness

The London Gazette of 18 March 1952 advises that the undermentioned Lts. (War Subs. Capts.) to be Capts: D. L. FURNESS (68942), 1st Jan. 1949. The London Gazette of 21 September 1965 advises that Capt. D. L. FURNESS (68942) of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, having attained the age limit, relinquishes his commission 23rd Sept. 1965, and is granted the hon. rank of Major.

2nd Lt. C G M Gordon

The London Gazette of Friday the 14th of February 1941 advises that for the CAVALRY, the undermentioned 2nd Lts. to be Lts. As of 1st Jan. 1941: Royal Horse Guards C. G. M. Gordon (95550). The London Gazette of 19 August 1952 advises that Capt. C. G. M. GORDON (95550) to be Maj., 3rd July 1952. From December 1956 to December 1959, Major Gordon commanded the Household Cavalry Regiment (Mounted). The London Gazette of Tuesday, 26th December 1961 advises that Maj. C. G. M. GORDON (95550) retires on retired pay, 16th Oct. 1961, and is granted the hon. Rank of Lt.-Col.

2nd Lt. M G Grant

The London Gazette of 28 April 1942 records that Pilot Officer M. G. GRANT, 2nd Lt. R.A.S.C. (44802) to be Flying Officer (war subs.) as of 2nd Nov. 1941.

C F Guiness
(No information found)

V D Keyworth
(No information found, but what on earth were his parents thinking to saddle him with those initials. One can guess what his nickname was in the Army)

K D MacKenzie
(No information found)

P L A Maytham
(No information found)

2nd Lt. F G Mooney

The London Gazette of 14 July 1942 advises that Royal Irish Fusiliers 2nd Lt. F. G. Mooney (143434) is placed on the h.p. list as of 12th June 1942. The London Gazette of 23 February 1943 advises that War Subs. Lt. F. G. Mooney (143434) of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, moves from h.p. List, to be War Subs. Lt. 30th Dec. 1942. The London Gazette of 26 May 1950 refers to Lt. (Hon. Capt.) F. G. MOONEY (143434), context unknown and the 30th July 1965 mentions that Army Cadet Force, Buckingham has seen Lt. F. G. MOONEY (143434) (Hon. Capt., late R. Ir. F.) resign his commission., 8th June 1965.

R A Newson
(No information found)

J Ricomini

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J. Riccomini: Later in the war, he was in the SAS. No other information found other than this photo and a brief reference to his being in the SAS.

J G Ruther
(No information found)

D W Selby

The London Gazette of 2 June 1943 mentions 1173087 D. W. SELBY as a Leading Aircraftman. This may or may not be the same D W Selby. No other reference found.

C R Stevens
(No information found)

W G Stuart-Menteth

The May 9th 1935 issue of “Flight” records that at REDHILL, W. G. Stuart-Menteth joined the club as a new member. The London Gazette of 12 October 1938 records that the date of appt. and order of seniority for Lt W G Stuart-Menteth is 2 June 1939. The London Gazette of 31 January 1941 records that Capt. W. G. Stuart-Menteth of The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) was Mentioned for Distinguished Services in the field and on 7 August 1956 advises that W. G. STUART-MENTETH. (90817), having exceeded the age limit, ceases to belong to the T.A. Res. of 'Offrs., 8th Aug. 1956, retaining the hon. rank of Maj.

A B Tedd
(no information found)

G Towers
(Rather too many to pin down which one he was)

P H Turner
(no information found)

J S Wallace-Thompson
(no information found)

G R West
(no information found)

J Wilson
(no information found)

P Wilson
(no information found)

G Wickman
(no information found)

K W Willis
(no information found)

J R Wooler (possibly a Canadian Volunteer)
(no information found)

W Ward
(no information found)

Other members of the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards

In addition to the personnel listed above, the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards contained a wildly assorted bunch of “personalities”, many of whom would go on to make names for themselves in other endeavours, both in WW2 and in the Post-War years. This information has been gleaned from personal memoirs, information available online and private sources. I’ve included it here both as a historical record (believe me, it took a long time to collect and collate all this information and put it together – and it’s nowhere near complete – and I owe a huge debt of thanks to those who have helped me, most notably Chris Rooney, whose father, Oswald Basil Rooney, was in the 5th Battalion and who has been an invaluable source for original photos from his father’s collection as well as source documents and information on some of the members of the Battalion. Thx Chris!!!!).

And on a serious note, if anyone can add to this information, please post it here or inbox me – I’m working on a Wikipedia article on the Battalion and any and all information, even if it’s a single reference, is invaluable for this kind of thing.

Cyclops Bradley:

No information found other than a brief mention that it is thought that Cyclops Bradley went on to the Small Scale Raiding Force.

James Michael Calvert

James Michael Calvert (6 March 1913 – 26 November 1998) born at Rohtak in India, son of a member of the Indian Civil Service. He was educated at Bradfield College and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1933, and for a time was the Army's middleweight boxing champion as well as playing water polo and swimming for the army.. He read for the Mechanical Engineering Tripos at St. John's College, Cambridge. After graduating in 1936, he was appointed to the Hong Kong Royal Engineers. In this post, he learned Cantonese. He also witnessed the Japanese attack on Shanghai and the Rape of Nanking, which made him one of the few officers who truly appreciated the potential threat posed by the Japanese. When WW2 broke out, Calvert volunteered for the 5th Battalion Scots Guards and service in Finland.

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Brigader James Michael “Mad Mike” Calvert

Somewhat of an expert with explosives, he gained a great deal more practical experience in Finland as he participated in the demolition of numerous Red Army supply dumps and odd pieces of infrastructure such as bridges. After the Battalion returned from Finland, he went on to train Commando detachments in demolition techniques in Hong Kong and Australia. In Australia, along with F. Spencer Chapman, he assisted with training Australian commandos who formed the first Australian Army Independent Companies at Wilsons Promontory, Victoria in 1941. He was then appointed to command the Bush Warfare School in Burma, training officers and NCOs to lead guerilla bands in China for operations against the Japanese. The Japanese invaded Burma in early 1942. Calvert and others from the school raided Henzada by riverboat after the fall of Rangoon as a deception operation to convince the Japanese that Australian reinforcements had reached Burma. Calvert then spent a period of time touring Burma with Orde Wingate. After the Bush Warfare School closed, Calvert was sent with 22 men from the school and a few hundred men separated from their units to guard the Gokteik Viaduct thirty miles east of Maymyo. (The Allied Commander in Chief, General Archibald Wavell apparently hoped that Calvert would use his initiative and demolish it, in spite of orders from the civil government to keep it intact. For once, Calvert obeyed orders). After retreating from the viaduct, Calvert's unit finally retreated to India at the very rear of the army, often behind the Japanese lines.

In India, he reunited with Wingate, and the two became firm friends. Calvert led one of the company-sized columns in Operation Longcloth, Wingate's first Chindit operation in 1943. This was a long-range penetration operation behind enemy lines, which put great demands on the endurance of all who took part. Calvert was awarded the DSO for his achievements on the operation. Calvert next commanded 77th Indian Infantry Brigade in 1944 in Operation Thursday, the much larger second Chindit operation. His brigade spearheaded the airborne landings deep in the Japanese rear. In May, the Chindit brigades moved north. The monsoon had broken and floods impeded the Chindits' operations. In June 1944, Calvert's brigade was ordered by the American General Joseph Stilwell to capture the town of Mogaung. Although his men were greatly weakened by shortage of rations, exhaustion and disease, he succeeded in doing so against desperate Japanese defenders, by the end of the month. His brigade had suffered 800 battle casualties in the siege; half of its strength. Of the remainder, only 300 men were left fit to fight.

On receiving orders to move to Myitkyina, where another Japanese garrison was holding out, he closed down his Brigade's radio sets and marched to Stilwell's army's headquarters in Kamaing instead. A court martial was threatened, but after he and Stilwell finally met in person and Stilwell appreciated for the first time the conditions under which the Chindits had operated, 77th Brigade was evacuated to India to recover. Calvert was awarded a bar to the DSO for the second Chindit expedition. In the field Calvert was "clearly the most successful and aggressive Chindit commander," and a font of "positive leadership" throughout the campaign. He frequently led risky attacks from the front, a practice that earned him the nickname "Mad Mike." Calvert was then evacuated to Britain on medical grounds (ironically following an accidental injury) in September 1944. In March 1945 he was appointed to command the Special Air Service Brigade and held this appointment until the Brigade was disbanded in October 1945.

After the war, he attended the Army's Staff College. After passing the course, he was appointed to a staff post as Lieutenant Colonel in the Allied Military Government in Trieste. During the Malayan Emergency the British Army experienced the rebirth of the SAS. Disbanded shortly after the end of the Second World War, the specialists of the SAS returned in 1950 when General Sir John Harding, Commander-in-Chief Far East, decided that he needed independent advice from an expert in jungle warfare. He called for Calvert, who he knew had had considerable experience of jungle warfare in Burma. Calvert had also been one of the prime movers in ensuring the SAS ethic had not died out at the end of the war. The Malayan Scouts were an early unit that contributed to the resurrection of the SAS. Calvert was selected in 1950 to command the Malayan Scouts (SAS) engaged in operations against Communist insurgents in Malaya. Although he held the local rank of Brigadier, he nevertheless led several patrols and operations in person. However, the Malayan Scouts were not subject to proper selection procedures and never lost an early reputation for poor discipline. Calvert's exertions meant that he was invalided home in 1951.

Calvert reverted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and was posted to the British Army of the Rhine. While there, he was accused of an act of indecency, court-martialled and forced to leave the Army under a cloud. He was also prone to alcoholism by this point in this life. He several times tried to rebuild a career as an engineer, in Australia and Britain. Following his dismissal, Calvert wrote three books about his time in Burma with Wingate and the Chindits: Prisoners of Hope, Fighting Mad: One Man's Guerrilla War, and Chindits: Long Range Penetration. Calvert also contributed to acclaimed British documentary television series, The World at War. He died impoverished and an alcoholic in 1998.

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Brigadier Mike Calvert in action, Burma 1944:

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Chindits: Long Range Penetration, written by Mike Calvert for the Ballentines History of the Second World War series

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Spencer Chapman, DSO & Bar, ED (10 May 1907 – 8 August 1971) was a British Army officer and World War II veteran, most famous for his exploits behind enemy lines in Japanese occupied Malaya. His medals include the following: The Arctic Medal, Gill Memorial Medal, Mungo Park Medal, and the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal. Chapman's mother, Winifred Ormond, died shortly after his birth in London. His father, Frank Spencer Chapman, was killed at the Battle of Ypres. Freddie (or sometimes Freddy as he was to become known) and his older brother, Robert, were cared for by an elderly clergyman and his wife in the village of Cartmel, on the edge the Lake District. He was schooled at Sedbergh School before studying at Cambridge.

Chapman was joined Gino Watkins' 1930-31 British Arctic Air-Route Expedition and a subsequent Greenland Expedition in 1932–33 as the "ski expert and naturalist". In these expeditions he experienced cold of such intensity that he lost all his finger and toe nails. He spent twenty hours in a storm at sea in his kayak and at one point fell into a deep crevasse, saving himself by holding onto the handles of his dog sled. He later led a three man team across the desolate Greenland ice-cap, the first European to do this since Nansen. He was fluent in Inuit and was an able Inuit Kayaker and dog sledger. He also fathered a son by an Inuit girl but the child died a year later. He was awarded the Polar Medal for his participation in the first expedition. It was clear that Gino Watkins moulded an extraordinary esprit de corps in his expeditions, and the expedition members were a strange mixture of military intelligence (MI) officers, hard nuts, and rather fay Cambridge misfits. Many of the members would go on to do extraordinary things in the war. These members included Martin Lindsay, Augustine Courtauld and Chapman himself.

In 1935, he went to Finnish and Norwegian Lapland, and had "an exciting" expedition on skis with a reindeer called Isaac, which he eventually sold to a butcher. Early in 1936, he joined a Himalayan climbing expedition. He was a keen mountaineer and enjoyed the difficult climbs and achieved peaks, as well as meeting Basil Gould, the Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet. Gould invited Spencer to be his private secretary on his political mission, from July 1936 to February 1937, to persuade the Panchen Lama to return from China and establish permanent British representation in Lhasa. Spencer learnt Tibetan well enough to converse. He was involved in cypher work, kept a meteorological log, pressed six hundred plants, dried seeds, and made notes on bird life. He kept a diary of "events" in Lhasa and took many photographs that were sent to India on a weekly basis. He was allowed to explore within Tibet and did so in an unshepherded way into the middle of Tibet and around the Holy City.

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Naturalist, adventurer and a now almost forgotten explorer, mountaineer and hero of the second world war, Freddie Spencer Chapman (far left). Photograph: British Library

After his return from Lhasa, Chapman obtained permission to lead a five-man expedition from Sikkim to the holy mountain Chomolhari, which the British group had passed on the way from Sikkim to Tibet in July 1936. Chapman and Sherpa Passang Dawa Lama succeeded to become the first mountaineers to climb the 7314 m high peak, which they finally reached from the Bhutanese side after finding the route from the Tibetan side impassable. The mountain would not be climbed again until 1970. In 1938 Spencer taught at Gordonstoun School where Prince Philip was one of his pupils. Commissioned into the Seaforth Highlanders as a lieutenant on 6 June 1939, Chapman was attached to the Ski Battalion (the 5th Battalion) of the Scots Guards where he trained at Chamonix and then fought in Finland with the Battalion. He designed the skis that were to be used by the Battalion, but on arrival in Finland these were replaced with the superior Finnish military skis. He became somewhat of an expert in behind-the-lines operations whilst in Finland. After the Winter War, he served a spell as instructor at the S.O.E. training centre at Arisaig and was then posted to a Commando School in Australia to train Australian and New Zealand forces in guerrilla warfare and eventually to join what was then Special Training School 101 STS-101 in Singapore. This school had as one of its main objects the organization of parties to stay behind in areas the Japanese might overrun.

In August 1941, a plan for stay-behind parties that would include local Indians, Chinese and Malays was proposed, but this was rejected by the British colonial governor, Sir Shenton Thomas, as extravagant and defeatist. By now a Captain, Chapman took part in undercover raids during the Japanese invasion. When Singapore did fall, in early 1942, Chapman disappeared into the mountains, not to emerge again until May 1945. Conditions were atrocious. Half-starved, delirious due to malaria and festering ulcers from leech bites, Chapman and the two Brits he had eventually linked up with daubed themselves in dye, marched miles through the dense jungle by night, and set about inconveniencing the Japanese. In the first fortnight alone, they blew up 15 railway bridges, derailed seven trains and exploded 40 military vehicles, mostly using homemade bombs of gelignite hidden in bamboo sticks. They used 1,000lb of explosives, threw 100 grenades, and caused – according to Chapman's own estimate – between 500 and 1,500 enemy casualties. The Japanese command believed it was up against 200 highly trained commandos, and deployed 2,000 troops to hunt the three-man band down.
Aware that this rate of attack could never be kept up, Chapman tried to make it to the sea but was eventually forced back into the jungle where he started training local insurgents – teaching them to whistle The Lambeth Walk for identification purposes after dark while announcing his own nocturnal arrival with the cry of a British tawny owl. The risks were immense. When any of the locals who assisted him were caught, their whole village would be burnt to the ground - the inhabitants incinerated inside their houses, or shot and bayoneted to death, men, women and children. Chastened by such endurance, despite suffering many of the jungle's ills - pneumonia, infected leech bites and blackwater fever, a variant of malaria that caused him 'frightful vomiting and dysentery, accompanied by such agonising pains across my pelvis that it seemed as if all my bones must come apart'. When the fever was at its height, his fits were so bad that two men had to hold him down. He travelled to other guerilla camps and en route he lived variously with Chinese bandits, Malay tribespeople and communists. On one such visit he was served a special banquet, with an unfamiliar meat. It was only later he learned the hideous truth. 'I was told I had been eating Jap,' he wrote. 'Though I would not knowingly have become a cannibal, I was quite interested to have sampled human flesh.'

Almost permanently sick, Chapman spent 17 days in a coma, only subsequently realising what had happened from the absence of any notes in his diary. Once, he was so feverish that his mouth had to be bound shut to prevent his chattering teeth giving away his whereabouts to a Japanese patrol. And on the one occasion he was captured, Chapman blithely announced that a Japanese prince had been his keen birdwatching companion at Cambridge. The arresting officer was apparently so charmed that he apologised for having no whisky to offer Chapman, and declined to bind his hands and feet. Chapman then waited till dead of night and, despite a debilitating bout of malaria, made good his escape.

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Freddy Spencer Chapman entered the war as a lieutenant with the Seaforth Highlanders and ended the war as a Lieutenant-Colonel

In December 1943, he was overjoyed to be joined by two special forces officers, John Davis and Richard Broome, who had been landed in Malaya by submarine to coordinate guerilla activity for a planned Allied invasion. For over a year they worked as a three-man unit, training Chinese guerillas, making contact with other resistance groups and trying desperately to procure a working radio. At last, in February 1945, they obtained one and made contact with the British forces in Ceylon, who were at first reluctant to believe that any of them, but particularly Chapman, could possibly be alive after so long in the jungle. A rescue plan was soon launched to bring the jungle heroes home and in May 1945, after a hazardous journey to the coast, they were picked up by submarine and taken back to Ceylon. Chapman's heroic tale of survival was over and three months later Japan finally surrendered. In recognition of his extraordinary achievements and endurance he was given a DSO and bar, although not the Victoria Cross that many, including Mountbatten, thought he deserved.

Yet for years after the war, Chapman felt a keen sense of despair. Having sealed off his emotions in the jungle, in peace-time he found himself tormented by memories of 'companions shot down beside me . . . the screams of defenceless Chinese women and children bayoneted to death by the Japanese'. Writing of Chapman after the war, Field Marshal Earl Wavell said that, "for sheer courage and endurance, physical and mental", the adventurer-naturalist stood together with TE Lawrence as "examples of what toughness the body will find, if the spirit within it is tough". Both, Wavell reckoned, were "very worthy representatives of our national capacity for individual enterprise". Quite why Chapman hasn't found Lawrence of Arabia's fame is anyone's guess. After the war, he was headmaster of schools in Germany and South Africa. Married with three children, he ended up as warden of a hall of residence at Reading University in the UK. Forced to retire before he would have wished, aware his health and energy were no longer what they were, and suffering from one of the periodic bouts of depression that had gripped him since Cambridge, he shot himself in the head in his office, aged 64. Chapman wrote a number of books, including perhaps his most famous, “The Jungle is Neutral.”

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Cover of “The Jungle is Neutral” by F Spencer Chapman

Sir Rupert William John Clarke

Sir Rupert William John Clarke, 3rd Baronet, AM, MBE (5 November 1919 – 4 February 2005) was an Australian soldier, businessman and pastoralist. He achieved success in a number of fields, including horseracing, the military and as a corporate chairman. He was born in Sydney, New South Wales, the son of Rupert Clarke, 2nd Baronet (a prominent pastoralist and Member of Parliament) and Elsie Tucker (born in Melbourne). His father purchased the Villa Les Abeilles in Monte Carlo and the young Rupert attended a French-speaking primary school. Upon his father's death on Christmas Day 1926, he succeeded as the Third Baronet of Rupertswood at the age of seven years. His mother remarried (to the Fifth Marquess of Headfort) and he moved to England. Rupert became an accomplished athlete at Eton and then later at Magdalen College, Oxford. He excelled at shooting, swimming, fencing and rowing. Scholastically he excelled, particularly in languages. Sir Rupert visited Australia during university holidays in 1937 where he met his future wife Kathleen Grant Hay and then returned to England.

He then spent a considerable amount of time travelling through Germany with friends who would soon be on the opposing side during World War II. Just prior to the outbreak of WWII he returned to Australia. However, being too young for a commission in the Australian Army he returned to England where his membership of the Oxford University OTC assisted in his enlistment as a weapons instructor and then to Royal Military College Sandhurst, where he digressed by volunteering for a ski battalion to fight the Russians. He trained in Chamonix, Mont Blanc with the Chasseurs Alpins as part of the 5th Battalion Scots Guards, serving as “Guardsman” as the soldiers in the Scots Guards were known. He gained notoriety within the Battalion in Finland for his obvious enjoyment in blowing things up. After returning from Finland, he completed a further stint at Sandhurst and in 1941 was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion the Irish Guards. The unit had lost most of its senior officers in a dive bombing attack off Narvik and with the experience he brought with him from the fighting in Finland, Sir Rupert had no trouble establishing a reputation as a mad Australian weapons officer given to blowing things up and shooting flies on barracks walls.

After an appointment as aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-General Sir Harold Alexander, Clarke was present at various major turning points in the war, including the withdrawal from Burma, the North African Campaign against the German Afrika Korps and the Invasion of Sicily. As ADC to Alexander, he met Chiang Kai Shek and Pope Pius XII. In 2000, Sir Rupert wrote a book on his war adventures entitled With Alex at War – From the Irrawaddy to the Po 1941-1945.

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Cover to “With Alex at War” by Rupert Clarke:

After the war, Clarke returned to Australia and married Kathleen Grant Hay, daughter of a successful Melbourne brewery owner. Following his appointment as a Director (his first of many) of the Richmond Brewery in 1950, Sir Rupert returned to England seeking introductions to inspect breweries, then became involved in a partnership venture to ship cattle to Australia for stud purposes. He later became involved in horse racing, and was on the Victoria Amateur Turf Club (now the Melbourne Racing Club) for 40 years, nearly half that time as chairman. He was also chairman of Cadbury Schweppes Australia, and P&O Australia, deputy chairman of the Distillers Group and the third generation of Clarke Baronets to sit on the board of the National Australia Bank and managed to fit in time to be the Honorary Consul of Monaco in Australia.

He died in 2005 at the age of 85, leaving three children and his second wife, Gillian de Zoete. His eldest son, Rupert applied to succeed him as the Fourth Baronet of Rupertswood. The baronetcy (originally awarded to Sir William Clarke by Queen Victoria in 1882), is one of only two now extant with Australian territorial designation, and the only such baronetcy held by an Australian-born citizen.[

Guardsman Sir Ivar Iain Colquhoun, 8th Baronet

Guardsman Sir Ivar Iain Colquhoun, 8th Baronet, JP, DL (4 January 1916 – 31 January 2008 aged 92) was the eldest son (of five children) of Sir Iain Colquhoun, 7th Baronet and his wife Geraldine Bryde (Dinah) Tennant. Sir Ivar was educated at Eton. He was working at a lumber camp in Finland at the outbreak of World War II, and returned to the UK where he joined a Territorial Army battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders as a private soldier. When the Soviet Union invaded Finland in November 1939, he was seconded to the 5th (Ski) Battalion, Scots Guards. After returning from Finland in late 1940, he joined the artillery in Libya and served there during the siege of Tobruk, later to become the subject of some of his drier reminiscences. By the end of the war, he was serving as a liaison officer with the Kings Company, Grenadier Guards and subsequently became a Captain in the Coldstream Guards.

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The young Sir Ivar Iain Colquhoun, 8th Baronet at his coming of age party in January, 1937

He was married in 1943 to Kathleen Nimmo Duncan (died 17 April 2007), 2nd daughter of Walter Atholl Duncan, of Cadogan Sq, London. His wife's sister Marjorie Ray Duncan married in 1938 the 6th Earl of Verulam. After marriage, he settled the family at Camstradden, by Luss. His eldest son, Torquhil (who died in 1963 at the age of 19), was born in 1944, followed by Iona Mary (who married the 12th Duke of Argyll in 1964) in 1945 and Malcolm Rory Colquhoun (b 20 Dec 1947), 9th baronet, who as the surviving son succeeded as Clan Chief, in 1947. Prior to succeeding to the title, he was styled Malcolm Colquhoun of Luss, younger of Luss, as the heir to the baronetcy and estate.

Sir Ivar was the eighth baronet, the 30th Laird of Luss and Clan Chief of Colquhoun. As a member of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, he made regular appearances at clan gatherings and clan games and endorsed the clan museum. From 1949 until 1982 he was chieftain of the Luss Highland Games which were held every July. He served as a Justice of the Peace for over 20 years, though was reported to not enjoy it much. He was a deputy lieutenant for Dunbartonshire and for 20 years (between the 1950’s and 1970’s) was the chairman of the British Sailors’ Society, a charity dear to his heart. He was a keen sailor, often exploring the sea lochs up the West Coast where he knew and loved the inlets and passages around the western isles as well as any man alive. He was also an active force in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, while his sister, Lady Arran, was a powerboat champion and pioneer. A countryman through and through, he was a keen shot and gardener with a particular interest in forestry plantations, never happier than when out with his gun, or in his garden, or inspecting one of the forestry schemes that he assiduously cultivated on the Luss Estate. He also loved brightly colored cars.

He inherited the titles and the Luss Estate from his father, Sir Ian Colquhoun, the 7th Baronet, who died in 1948. The legacy he had been left by his father, which in those days extended to some 70,000 acres on the west side of Loch Lomond, was not in good shape (business matters had never been Sir Iain’s forte) and so he devoted his energies to restoring the fortunes of the Luss Estate, which he had initially been advised to sell. Although the estate, renowned as one of Britain’s most beautiful, with its hill grazing for sheep, was not economically viable for agriculture, and its sporting facilities for pheasant and grouse shooting, stalking and fishing were not in the big league, Colquhoun fought a valiant battle against the encroachment of urban sprawl. He was a principled opponent of wind farms on the ground of aesthetics even when there were lucrative subsidies available and few objections from the green lobby, thus preserving Loch Lomond from an eyesore. He lived at the family mansion of Rossdhu until 1972, when economic reality meant that large houses such as this were no longer viable, and moved back to Camstradden where he had embarked on married life almost 30 years before.

In the event, with nearby Glasgow, once famous for its slums, becoming renowned as a prosperous city, the solution to the problem was inspired. Twenty years ago Colquhoun invited the American golfer Tom Weiskopf, to develop a golf course, and this was eventually achieved in co-operation with the Arizona developer Lyle Anderson. The result is an internationally famous golf course that attracts top professionals in the summer just before the British Open and is well known to television viewers. The land is leased from the Colquhouns, and their magnificent Robert Adam-designed house, Rossdhu, has become the clubhouse decorated with the family tartan, with their furniture and paintings, while Colquhoun and his wife Kay, lived in the dower house next door. At the same time, Colquhoun fought hard to protect the village of Luss, often voted the prettiest village in Scotland, and won a five-year campaign to prevent BP building an oil terminal on his land. Those who worked for Colquhoun during his 60-year tenure at Luss recall that, although shy, he was a canny and doughty fighter, resisting the lure of development money. His proactive diplomatic efforts to protect the islands in the loch and the cottages on his land were executed with brilliance and a firm hand, often he simply said: "We don't do that."

An enthusiastic traveller, especially in African countries such as Egypt, Säo Tomâe and Guinea, where he steeped himself in the local culture and historical oddities such as distilling from sugar cane and enjoyed puzzling out the purposes of archaeological remains. While travelling to Samarkand with his old friend Sir Iain Moncreiffe, the two seemed to delight in competing with each other to describe arcane details of tribal life. In addition to his other interests, Sir Ivar had a great interest in – and considerable knowledge of – Clan and genealogical matters, although in his old age he had delegated many of his duties, including those as Chieftain of Luss Games, to his son Malcolm.

Lady Colquhoun died in April 2007 on their 64th wedding anniversary. Sir Ivar lived out the rest of his days at Camstradden, becoming ill in August 2007 with a recurrence of a cancer problem from many years before. Although he kept himself largely to himself, he was a familiar figure around Helensburgh with his dogs and brightly coloured cars; he was a generous host, a knowledgeable and witty companion to his many friends, and deserves to be remembered for having rescued and replenished his threadbare inheritance and, in so doing, preserving the ancestral lands of Clan Colquhoun for posterity – a considerable achievement, and one of which he was enormously proud. Sir Ivar Colquhoun died peacefully at home at Camstraddan on his beloved Loch Lomondside just outside the village of Luss on the 31st of January 1938. Sir Ivar was the longest serving Clan Chief of Colquhoun, having succeeded to the title in November 1948 and holding it for almost 60 years. With his death, the last of the great post-war generation of landowning Scottish clan chiefs – familiar names such as Cameron of Lochiel, Fraser of Lovat, the Dukes of Atholl and Montrose – came to an end. He was also one the last survivors of the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards.

He is succeeded in the baronetcy by his surviving son Malcolm (60) who is married to Katharine. They have three children, Patrick, Fergus and Georgina.

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Sir Ivar Iain Colquhoun, 8th Baronet, Guardsman (5th Battalion, Scots Guards)

To Be Continued.....
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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The 5th Battalion Scots Guards (Continued)

Post by CanKiwi2 » 24 Aug 2012 13:47

William Hubert Fox

William Hubert Fox (26 January 1911 – 20 September 2008) was born in Manila in the Philippines, the son of a successful trader who operated around the South China Sea. His parents travelled extensively and whilst still an infant he had visited Madrid, Paris and London. In 1916 Fox was sent to preparatory school, then attended Haileybury Public School. He was expected to go on to Oxford University and thence into the petroleum industry; but this was not to be. Fox read an advertisement in The Times inviting people to audition for the Central School of Speech and Drama (well known for training actors). He won a scholarship but since he was from a wealthy family, the scholarship was only given on the condition that the money be passed on to the next person on the list. Fox's father agreed to fund Fox's studies only on the basis that Fox would complete what was normally a two-year course in a single year. He achieved this, and was awarded the school's gold medal upon graduating.

In 1930 Fox left drama school and won a role in London's West End performing in an eight-month run of W. Somerset Maugham's new play The Breadwinner at the Vaudeville Theatre. Following this success Fox co-founded an acting troupe, based in the West Country, where they converted a former swimming baths in Teignmouth into a theatre. He staged the thriller Rope and following a glowing review from actor Cyril Maude, the play had an eight-week sold-out run. In 1932 he married Carol Rees, who was seven years his senior and already pregnant with their daughter. The relationship did not survive the divergence of their careers and Rees petitioned for divorce in 1937. Fox went on to perform in J.B. Priestley's play Dangerous Corner, directed by Tyrone Guthrie; he was billed as "a great discovery". He rejected an offer to join the Broadway cast of the play, opting to join a company led by John Gielgud at the Old Vic Theatre. He played opposite Peggy Ashcroft in As You Like It, and their performance was painted by Walter Sickert.

1934 was Fox's busiest year to date; he performed in five stage plays in the West End. One was Precipice, a play about a ballet, which co-starred dancer Anton Dolin. After a short spell on Broadway, Fox returned to Britain. In the US he had been offered an audition by Warner Bros., but turned it down since his new love, Patricia Hillard was acting in Oxford. After being spotted dining together at the Savoy Grill by W. B. Priestley, who said he had never seen a couple "so much in love", they had a successful run in Priestley's play I Have Been Here Before which ran from 1937 until 1938. Fox also acted in and wrote radio dramas. He often wrote under a pseudonym, as he didn't want his fellow actors to know he was the writer and sometimes made casting decisions. His first performance was in 1934 in Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea.
In 1939 Fox and Hillard were living in Dolphin Square, where they became annoyed by their neighbour, Unity Mitford's, habit of playing loud Nazi marching songs. Inspired by this, and fortified by "lunch at L'Ecu de France", Fox joined the Territorial Army. While he was receiving military training he also happened to be playing a Nazi officer in a play called Weep for the Spring, about life in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler.

As a territorial soldier Fox was amongst the first to be called up in 1939 upon the declaration of war with Germany. Fox was commissioned as an officer in the London Irish Rifles. He volunteered to join a ski battalion which was to be sent to Finland to aid that country in the Winter War against the Soviet Union. On his return from Finland, he attended Staff College at Camberley, then spent the majority of the war stationed in North Africa and the Middle East. One of his roles involved helping to administer the meeting between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin in Tehran in 1943. After six years service Fox was demobilized with the rank of Major (and had had a spell as an acting Lieutenant-Colonel). He later learned that in 1945, a few days before the liberation of Manila, his parents had been shot by the Japanese. After the war he continued to hold a reserve commission as a captain and honorary Major until 1961, when he reached the age limit for service. He was awarded the Territorial Efficiency Decoration (TD) in 1967.

After demobilisation Fox was considered too old to take on the types of “younger” roles he had used to play, and as he had no experience as a lead actor directors were wary of casting him in these parts. It was whilst in Baghdad that Fox decided to start the Reunion Theatre; this association was designed to help demobilised actors who had been out of the business for several years. The association did this by performing extracts from well-known plays and inviting agents and producers to watch. One actor who benefitted from this was Dirk Bogarde. After several successful productions Fox handed over the chairmanship of the Reunion Theatre to Laurence Olivier. During the 1950s and '60s Fox's career was mixed; he did a season at Stratford and took on several West End comedies. The 1960s saw less theatrical roles; he did however perform in film, television and radio, for which he also wrote.

Fox started a wine merchant business and also dealt in antiques and pictures. These activities led to his devoting less time to acting though he continued to perform, notably in television shows such as The Duchess of Duke Street, When the Boat Comes In and Yes, Prime Minister. The late 1970s saw a return to theatre and the West End in a revival of T.S. Eliot's The Family Reunion. He would also appear in an opera as Haushofmeister in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne. Fox was a member of the Gentlemen's Club and the Garrick Club, where he often spent time in the company of Kenneth More and Kingsley Amis

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William Hubert Fox, Actor and Guardsman, 5th Battalion, Scots Guards

Brigadier Simon “Shimi” Christopher Joseph Fraser, DSO, MC, TD, 15th Lord Lovat, 4th Baron Lovat and 25th Chief of the Clan Fraser

Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, the 15th Lord Lovat, 4th Baron Lovat and 25th Chief of the Clan Fraser was born on 9 July 1911 in Beaufort Castle (the Lovat’s traditional home), Inverness, Scotland and died 16 March 1995 in Beauly, Inverness-shire, Scotland. His friends called him "Shimi" Lovat, an anglicised version of his first name in the Scottish Gaelic language. His clan referred to him as MacShimidh, his Gaelic patronymic, meaning Son of Simon. Simon ws the favored first name for the Chiefs of Clan Fraser. Fraser was the son of the 14th Lord Lovat and Laura, daughter of Thomas Lister, 4th Baron Ribblesdale. After being educated at Ampleforth College (where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps) and Oxford University, where he joined the University's Cavalry Squadron, Fraser was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Lovat Scouts (a Territorial Army unit) in 1930.

The Lovat Scouts were first formed in January 1900 for service in the Second Boer War as a Scottish Highland yeomanry regiment of the British Army by Simon Joseph Fraser, 14th Lord Lovat, father Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat, and uncle of David Stirling, the creator of the Special Air Service. The unit was commanded by an American, Major Frederick Russell Burnham, the British Army Chief of Scouts under Lord Roberts, who fittingly described the Lovat Scouts as "half wolf and half jackrabbit”. Major Burnham was selected for an award of the the Victoria Cross but declined rather than give up his American citizenship. Well practiced in the arts of marksmanship, field craft, and military tactics, they were also phenomenal woodsmen always ready to tempt fate, but also practitioners of discretion: "He who shoots and runs away, lives to shoot another day." The Lovat Scouts also have the distinction of being the first military unit to wear a Ghillie suit.

The Lovat Scouts were attached to the Black Watch, but were then disbanded in July 1901 while two surviving companies (the 113th and 114th) were formed for the Imperial Yeomanry. When the Second Boer War ended in 1902, the two companies of the Imperial Yeomanry were also disbanded. The unit was reformed the following year as two regiments, titled the 1st and 2nd Lovat Scouts. From these scouts a sharpshooter unit was formed and in 1916 this became the British Army's first specialist sniper unit. The two Lovat Scouts battalions saw extensive involvement on the Western Front, at Gallipoli, in Egypt and in Macedonia during WW1. The Sharpshooters were formed from gamekeepers (or ghillies) from the highland estates and were used in an observation and sniping role on the Western Front until the end of the War. With the defence cuts implemented after World War I, one regiment of the Lovat Scouts was disbanded in 1922.

With the start of the Second World War, the Lovat Scouts were mobilized and there were initially plans to send the Battalion to Finland to join the 5th Battalion Scots Guards and the Atholl Highlanders. However, with the Battle of France in full swing and Norway having been lost, in May 1940 the Lovat Scouts were instead sent as a garrison to the Faroe Islands to protect against a possible German invasion. They remained there until June 1942, when they were sent back to the UK and a number were removed from the unit due to a decrease in performance. The numbers were then swelled with new recruits, including hill walkers from Yorkshire and Lancashire, but also new recruits from the Regiment's more traditional recruiting areas. After a period based in northern Scotland and in Wales, the Scouts were sent to Canada in December 1943 for specialist ski and mountain training. As a consequence of their training in Jasper, they were sent to Finland from mid 1944 to the end of the war, where they fought as a component of the Allied Forces under overall Finnish command.

However, that’s more by way of a footnote than anything. Returning now to Lord Lovat, he transferred to the regular army (still as a second lieutenant) joining the Scots Guards in 1931. The following year, Fraser succeeded his father to become the 15th Lord Lovat and 25th Chief of the Clan Fraser. He was promoted lieutenant in August 1934. Lovat resigned his regular commission as a lieutenant in 1937, transferring to the Supplementary Reserve of Officers. He married Rosamond Broughton, the daughter of Jock Delves Broughton, on 10 October 1938, with whom he had six children.

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“Shimi” Lovat and Rosamond, nee Broughton on their wedding day, 10 October 1938

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“Shimi” Lovat in 1939, just prior to the start of WW2

In June 1939 Lord Lovat also resigned his reserve commission. In August 1939 however, as war approached, Lord Lovat was mobilized as a captain in the Lovat Scouts. He volunteered for the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards and would see service in Finland where his natural abilities as a military commander would shine, despite his having enrolled in the Battalion as a Guardsman. With the 5th Battalion attached to Osasto Nyrkki, and with the full fury of the war forcing a rapid tempo of operations, Lord Lovat soon found himself a Captain once more, only this time in command of a mixed group of volunteers from a number of the Commonwealth Battalions who had volunteered for “special service”. In September 1940, Captain The Lord Lovat was awarded the Finnish Cross of Liberty, 1st Class for his part in a raid on military installations in Leningrad. His citation (translated from the original Finnish) reads:

Captain The Lord Lovat commanded a detachment of our soldiers which carried out a successful raid on military installations within the Soviet-occupied city of Pietari on the night of 21st/22nd July, 1940. Although the area selected for the raid formed part of a highly organised defensive position and although the enemy brought fire to bear on and around our attacking troops as soon as their presence became known, Captain The Lord Lovat by his speedy and clear-headed appreciation of the situation and by his cool leadership succeeded in retaining the initiative and by either killing or driving the Russians from their positions, enabled our fighting teams to carry out the demolitions which were the object of the raid.

Throughout the operation Captain The Lord Lovat exercised faultless control and bold and skilful handling of his forces, not only in the initial stages which entailed the elimination of enemy guardposts and defensive positions, but also during the two hours spent deep within the enemy positions in attaining of the objective. Later, although the withdrawal was a precarious undertaking owing to the enemy's continuing attacks and defensive fire, and to the nature of the withdrawal itself, it was achieved without casualties and utilizing a carefully planned and laid smoke screen to conceal the assault gyrocopters which removed the detachment.

I consider the fact that this operation was carried out with complete success and practically without loss to our troops was largely due to the excellent leadership and control of Captain The Lord Lovat.


(Note of course the reference to the “Soviet-occupied city of Pietari” – when this Award was publicized, the war was in its last weeks, the Kremlin had been destroyed, Stalin was dead, incinerated together with a sizable portion of the Politburo and secret peace negotiations were underway with his successors. At this stage of the Winter War, and with the Finnish military holding a front that stretched from the White Sea to the suburbs of Leningrad, Finland was applying pressure obliquely on the still-secret negotiations by referring to Pietari (St Petersburg) and Ingermanland (the area surrounding Leningrad and stretching from the Finnish border to Estonia) as traditionally part of Finland, which indeed it is/was).

Following his return from Finland and the Winter War, Lord Lovat volunteered to join one of the new commando units being formed by the British Army, and was eventually attached to No. 4 Commando. Now a (temporary) Major, Lord Lovat commanded 100 men of No. 4 Commando and a 50-man detachment from the Canadian Carleton and York Regiment in a raid on the French coastal village of Hardelot in April 1942. For this action he was awarded the Military Cross on 7 July 1942. Lord Lovat became an acting Lieutenant-Colonel in 1942 and was appointed the commanding officer of No. 4 Commando, leading them in the abortive Dieppe Raid (Operation Jubilee) on 19 August. His commando attacked and destroyed a battery of six 150 mm guns. Lovat was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).The raid as a whole was a disastrous failure: over 4,000 casualties were sustained, predominantly Canadian.

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Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat at Newhaven after returning from the Dieppe Raid, August 1942

Lord Lovat eventually became a Brigadier and became the commander of the newly formed 1st Special Service Brigade in 1944. Lord Lovat's brigade was landed on the coast of Estonia near Narva during the invasion of Estonia in April 1944. Lord Lovat reputedly waded ashore donning a white jumper under his battledress, with "Lovat" inscribed into the collar, while armed with a Suomi submachinegun. Lord Lovat instructed his personal piper, Bill Millin, to pipe the commandos ashore, in defiance of specific orders not to allow such an action in battle. When Private Millin demurred, citing the regulations, he recalled later, Lord Lovat replied: “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish and we’re attached to the Finnish Army, so that doesn’t apply.”

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Miekka Beach (Invasion of Estonia). Lord Lovat, on the right of the column, wades through the water. The figure in the foreground is Piper Bill Millin.

Millin began his apparently suicidal serenade immediately upon jumping from the ramp of the landing craft into the icy water. As the Cameron tartan of his kilt floated to the surface he struck up with "Hieland Laddie". He continued even as the man behind him was hit, dropped into the sea and sank. Once ashore Millin did not run, but walked up and down the beach, blasting out a series of tunes. After Hieland Laddie, Lovat, the commander of 1st Special Service Brigade (1 SSB), raised his voice above the crackle of gunfire and the crump of mortar, and asked for another. Millin strode up and down the water’s edge playing The Road to the Isles. Bodies of the fallen were drifting to and fro in the surf. Soldiers were trying to dig in and, when they heard the pipes, many of them waved and cheered — although one came up to Millin and called him a “mad bastard”.

When the brigade moved off, Millin was with the group that attacked the rear of a small town being used as a defensive position by the Germans. After the capture of the town, he went with Lovat towards Narva, piping along the road. They were very exposed, and were shot at by snipers from across the river. Millin stopped playing. Everyone threw themselves flat on the ground — apart from Lovat, who went down on one knee. When one of the snipers scrambled down a tree and dived into a field, Lovat stalked him and shot him. He then sent two men into the long grass to look for him and they came back with the corpse. “Right, Piper,” said Lovat, “start the pipes again.”

At Puhkova, where they again came under fire, the CO asked Millin to play them down the main street. He suggested that Millin should run, but the piper insisted on walking and, as he played Blue Bonnets Over the Border, the commandos followed. When they came to the crossing which later became known as Puhkova Bridge, Maavoimat Parajaegers on the other side signaled frantically that it was under sniper fire. Lovat ordered Millin to shoulder his bagpipes and play the commandos over. “It seemed like a very long bridge,” Millin said afterwards. The pipes were damaged by shrapnel later that day, but remained playable. Millin was surprised not to have been shot, and he mentioned this to some Germans who had been taken prisoner. They said that they had not shot at him because they thought he had gone off his head.


William Millin, the son of a policeman, was born in Glasgow on July 14 1922. For a few years the family lived in Canada, but they returned to Scotland and Bill went to school in Glasgow. He joined the TA before the Second World War and played in the pipe band of the 7th Battalion the Highland Light Infantry. He subsequently transferred to the Cameron Highlanders before volunteering to join the commandos in 1941. He met Lord Lovat while he doing his commando training at Achnacarry, north of Fort William. Lovat, the hereditary chief of the Clan Fraser, offered him a job as his batman, but Millin turned this down and Lovat agreed instead to take him on as his personal piper. When Millin boarded the landing craft bound for the Estonian beaches, he took his bagpipes out of their box and, standing in the bow, played Road to the Isles as they went out of Kotka. Someone relayed the music over the loud hailer and troops on other transports heard it and started cheering and throwing their hats in the air.

Like many others, Millin was so seasick on the rough crossing that the coast of Estonia proved a welcome sight, despite the dangers that came with it. “I didn’t care what was going on ashore. I just wanted to get off that bloody landing craft,” he said. He accompanied 4 Commando down the Baltic coast, into Poland and then on to Germany; he finished the war at Lubeck. After being demobilised the following year he took up the offer of a job on Lord Lovat’s estate. This life proved too quiet for him, however, and he joined a touring theatre company with which he appeared playing his pipes on the stage in London, Stockton-on-Tees and Belfast. In the late 1950s he trained in Glasgow as a registered mental nurse and worked in three hospitals in the city. In 1963 Millin moved to Devon, where he was employed at the Langdon Hospital, Dawlish, until he retired in 1988. In several of the Ten Tors hikes on Dartmoor organised by the Army he took part as the piper, and also visited America, where he lectured about his D-Day experiences. Millin played the lament at Lord Lovat’s funeral in 1995, and he donated his pipes to the National War Museum in Edinburgh. Bill Millin married Margaret Mary Dowdel in 1954. She predeceased him and he is survived by their son.

Lovat's forces swiftly pressed on, Lovat himself advancing with parts of his brigade from Miekka Beach to Puhkova Bridge, which had been held by men of the Finnish Army’s Parajaeger Division who had landed in the early hours by glider. Lord Lovat's commandos arrived at a little past one p.m. at Puhkova Bridge though the rendezvous time as per the plan was noon. Upon reaching the rendezvous, Lord Lovat apologized to Everstiluutnantti Yrjö Mäntyruumisarkku, CO of the 7th Parajaegerpataljoona (Paratroop Battalion). The commandos then marched across Puhkova Bridge to the sound of Bill Millin's bagpipes, as a result of which twelve men died, shot through their berets. Later detachments of the commandos rushed across in small groups with their helmets on. He went on to establish defensive positions around the outskirts of Puhkova, south of Narva. The bridges were relieved later in the day by elements of the Maavoimat's 3rd Field Infantry Division.

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Photo sourced from: http://www.commandoveterans.org/images/VL158.png
Two legendary Commando Officers - the 'Laird' of Achnacarry, Lt. Col Charles Vaughan and Lt. Col The Lord Lovat : photo taken shortly after the capture of Narva, E-Day+2 (there is no record of why Lt Col. Vaughan was in Estonia, what role he played or how long he stayed. It may be that he was evaluating training for the Commando forces vis-à-vis actual combat as Lt-Col Vaughan ran the Commando training centre which trained all the Allied Commandos and the US Rangers during the Second World War. Born in 1893 (died 1968), he was a Veteran of the First World War and the Retreat from Mons in 1914. In the inter war years he graduated from Drill Sergeant to RSM, but he was much more than just a bawling barrack square man, although he could do that if needed. His obvious military potential as an officer was recognised and he was commissioned. A Londoner by birth and proud of it, Charlie's standards for soldiers and soldiering were set by his long service in war and peace. He accepted nothing but the best, whether it be in fitness, training, weaponry and musketry, fieldcraft and tactics, drill and turnout, or even in the more apparently mundane matters of administration which included feeding and hygiene. Together all these factors made the 'whole' - and the self disciplined and reliant Commando soldier 'fit to fight' and 'fighting fit' with high morale, willing and capable of tackling any military task, under any circumstances, and against any odds" He apparently served in No.7 and No.4 Commando before taking up his role as the Commandant of the newly formed Commando depot at Achnacarry, a position he held from 1942-1945.

During the Battle of Utena on 12 June 1944, Lord Lovat was seriously wounded whilst observing an artillery bombardment by the 21st Pansaaridivisoona. A stray shell fell short of its target and landed amongst the group of observing officers, killing one, and seriously wounding others. Lord Lovat made a full recovery from the severe wounds he had received in the Baltic but was unable to return to the army (he transferred to the reserve in 1949). In 1945 he joined the Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, "becoming responsible for the functions of the Ministry of Economic Warfare when these were taken over by the Foreign Office". He resigned upon Winston Churchill's election defeat. In 1946 he was made a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John. His formal retirement from the army came on 16 June 1962, he retained the honorary rank of brigadier.

Lord Lovat's involvement in politics continued throughout his life, in the House of Lords and the Inverness County Council. He devoted much of his time to the family estates. He was chieftain of the Lovat Shinty Club, the local shinty team which bears his family name. Lord Lovat experienced a great deal of turmoil in his final years; suffering financial ruin and two of his sons predeceased him in accidents within months of each other. A year before his death, in 1994, the family's traditional residence, Beaufort Castle, was sold. Piper Bill Millin, Lord Lovat's personal piper who had piped the Commandos ashore on D-Day, played at Lord Lovat's funeral.

Capt. Hugo Samuel Kenneth Greenlees

On 26 April 1940, Lt Greenlees was posted to The Cameronians. After serving in Finland with the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards, he ended up joining SOE. The London Gazette of 18 Feb 1943 records Lieutenant Hugo Samuel Kenneth Greenlees (129984), Infantry (Betchworth, Surrey), but with no mention as to why. On 4 January 1945, Captain Hugo Samuel Kenneth Greenlees (129984) of The Cameronians Special Reserve was awarded the OBE (Middle East, Special Operations). Greenlees was part of the SOE team assigned to work with the Chetniks in Yugoslavia attached to the HQ of Mihailovitch, the Chetnik Commander.

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Photo sourced from: http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGall ... __+5tp.jpg
Captain Kenneth Greenlees, No.11 Commando 5 troop. Photo © NMS/2012 courtesy of National Museum Scotland

Captain Eric Stewart 'Bertie' Hodgson (75234)

The London Gazette of 3 May 1938 records that Eric Stewart HODGSON (late Cadet Lce.-Corp, Sutton Valence School Contingent, Jun. Div., O.T.C.) to be 2nd Lt. as of 4th May 1938 with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. He volunteered for the 5th Battalion Scots Guards and was killed in action on 28 June 1940 at the age of 21 in a Raid on a Soviet airfield.

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Photo sourced from: http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGall ... on+kia.jpg
Captain Eric Stewart 'Bertie' Hodgson

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Lt Col. Charles Newman, CO of 2 Commando, with Captains Ronnie Mitchell and Eric 'Bertie' Hodgson, two of his officers. 1941. Colonel Charles standing, Ronnie Mitchell nearest the camera. Eric 'Bertie' Hodgson was killed in action at St Nazaire. Charles Newman was awarded the Victoria Cross at St Nazaire. Ronnie Mitchell was awarded the MBE in 1945.

Anthony Hough
(no information found)

Guardsman Earl Jellicoe: George Patrick John Rushworth Jellicoe

Guardsman Earl Jellicoe: George Patrick John Rushworth Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe, KBE, DSO, MC, PC, FRS (4 April 1918 – 22 February 2007) was the only son but sixth and youngest child of First World War naval commander, commander at the Battle of Jutland, Admiral of the Fleet The 1st Earl Jellicoe by his wife Florence Gwendoline (died 1964), second daughter of Sir Charles Cayzer, 1st Bt., of Gartmore, Perthshire. George Jellicoe was one of the longest-serving parliamentarians in the world, being a member of the House of Lords for 68 years (1939–2007).

Jellicoe was born at Hatfield and was christened on 29 July 1918 by The Rt. Hon. and Most Rev. Dr. Cosmo Lang, the 89th Archbishop of York, while King George V (represented by Admiral Sir Stanley Colville) and Lady Patricia Ramsay (at the time she was known as HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught) stood sponsor as two of his godparents. The others were: Miss Lilian Lear, Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey (Third Sea Lord), Mr. Eustace Burrows (cousin), Major Herbert Cayzer (uncle), and The Rev. Frederick G. G. Jellicoe (uncle, and Rector of New Alresford). Much of his childhood was spent at St. Lawrence Hall, near Ventnor on the Isle of Wight; at a Broadstairs (Kent) prep school; in London; and in the Dominion of New Zealand, where his father was Governor-General between 1921 and 1924. He was educated at Winchester College, where he was styled and known as Viscount Brocas. He won the Vere Herbert Smith history prize and secured an exhibition to Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1936. BA, Modern History tripos 1939, but awarded 1966). He was chairman of the Pitt Club, and his tutor Steven Runciman became a lifelong friend. He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl Jellicoe in 1935, at the age of 17.

In October 1939, the young 2nd Earl Jellicoe was a cadet in the first wartime intake at Sandhurst. He volunteered for the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards and served as a Guardsman in Finland over the course of the Winter War, gaining a great deal of practical and highly useful experience in clandestine behind-the-lines warfare. (“The most useful piece of education I ever received”). After returned from Finland in late 1940, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards after which he joined No. 8 (Guards) Commando with whom he sailed (31 January 1941) to the Middle East as part of Colonel Bob Laycock's Layforce (whose Commando officers included Evelyn Waugh, Randolph Churchill, Philip Dunne, Carol Mather, David Stirling and many distinguished others, quite a number of whom had served and fought in Finland as part of the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards). He served with L Detachment (from April 1942) (with some of the above and Stephen Hastings) which went on to become the nucleus of the Special Air Service.

He was Mentioned in Despatches thrice, and wounded (bullet in shoulder) once whilst with the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards in 22 (Guards) Brigade in the Western Desert in January 1941. He won the DSO in November 1942 for a raid that blew up more than 20 German aircraft, (Ju 88s), on Heraklion airfield, Crete that June: “His cool and resolute leadership, skill and courage throughout this very hazardous operation were mainly responsible for the high measure of success achieved. He ... placed charges on the enemy aircraft and brought off the survivors after the four Free French members of the party had been betrayed and killed or captured” (from the London Gazette, 5 November 1942

In September 1943, Jellicoe was sent to the Italian held island of Rhodes to negotiate with the Italian Admiral Inigo Campioni for the surrender of his forces to the Allies. However, Jellicoe's negotiations were pre-empted by a surprise German attack on the island on 9 September. He was able to escape from Rhodes during the resulting chaos while the Italian garrison was captured by the German invasion force. This was part of the Dodecanese Campaign. In 1943 he was named Commander of the Special Boat Regiment Middle East and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. For the remainder of the war his SBS command conducted secretive and dangerous operations along the coast of Italy and Yugoslavia. In 1944 he won the MC for one of these actions. At the end of the war Jellicoe was among the first Allied soldiers to enter German-occupied Athens, beating the communist-controlled guerrillas ELAS to create a pro-Allied presence in the capital. Years later, when First Lord of the Admiralty, Jellicoe told at least one reporter: “The only serious military distinction I ever achieved was having a new type of assault boat named after me. It was called I am ashamed to say, the Jellicoe Inflatable Intruder Mark One.”

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http://www.cayzer.com/public_scripts/resizer.php?file=../domains/cayzerfamily.org.uk/local/media/images/medium/George_jellicoe.jpg&preset=default
Earl Jellicoe, late WW2 Photo

In March 1944, Lord Jellicoe married Patricia Christine O'Kane (Oct. 1917-March 2012), who was employed at the British Embassy in Beirut. She had been born and raised in Shanghai and was the daughter of a Greenock-born Irish father and an English mother. Patricia, Countess Jellicoe (popularly known as Patsy Jellicoe), would remain married to the 2nd Lord Jellicoe until 1966, when they divorced. They had two sons and two daughters together, the eldest son being The 3rd Earl Jellicoe. He married again in 1966 to Philippa, daughter of Captain Philip Dunne, M.C. (1904–1965), by whom he had one son and two daughters. He had eight children in total, born between 1944 and 1984. He was a member of Brook’s (since 1940), the Special Forces Club, the Ski Club of Great Britain and was a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Mercers.
Soon after the war ended, Lord Jellicoe joined the Foreign Service, serving in London (German political department, Third Secretary); Washington (Third Secretary, when Donald Maclean of the Cambridge five was Head of Chancery, and then as one of the 11 Second Secretaries with Philby, seeing NATO signed on 4 April 1949); transferred to Brussels 10 September 1951 (Head of Chancery) acted as Chargé d'Affaires in 1952); London (no. 2 in Northern department in charge of the Soviet Desk from September 1953); and Baghdad from January 1956 (First Secretary and Deputy Secretary General of The Baghdad Pact. The Suez Crisis (from July 1956) wrecked everything the Pact was trying to achieve; Jellicoe was appalled by British policy and came close to resigning at this point. He eventually left the Foreign Office in March 1958, after marital difficulties (in February 1958, Permanent Secretary Sir Derek Hoyar-Millar wrote to him; “You have a choice of ceasing your relationship with this lady [Philippa Dunne] or changing your job”). He changed jobs and became a director of the Cayzer dynasty's Clan Line Steamers (cargo ships), and Union Castle Steamship Co. (passengers). However, enthusiasm for his mother's family's businesses ultimately gave way to the call of politics, where, took up his seat in the House of Lords on 3 December 1957.

By October 1958 he had joined the Conservatives in the Lords. By January 1961 he was a Government Whip, in Harold Macmillan's administration. He was Joint Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Local Government June 1961–July 1962; Minister of State, Home Office July 1962–October 1963; First Lord of the Admiralty October 1963–April 1964; Minister of Defence for the Royal Navy April - October 1964; delegate to the Council of Europe and the Western European Union (WEU) 1965-1967; president of the National Federation of Housing Societies 1965-1970; a governor of the Centre for Environmental Studies 1967-1970; chairman of the British Advisory Committee on Oil Pollution at Sea 1968; chairman of the third International Conference on oil pollution of the sea 1968; an hon. vice-president of PEST (Pressure for Economic and Social Toryism); and deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Lords 1967–1970. During the late 1960s he also worked in the City of London where he became chairman of British Reserve Insurance and a director of S G Warburg (Finance and Development) Ltd.

In Ted Heath's administration he was Minister in charge for the Civil Service Department (CSD), Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords from 20 June 1970 until 24 May 1973 when he admitted, "some casual affairs" with call girls (from Mayfair Escorts) and resigned (thus ending his third career in government service. In June 1972 Jellicoe was sent to lead Concorde's first sales expedition. As Alan Trengove in My Lord, the super salesman, in the Australian The Sun of 22 June 1972 put it: “There has probably never been a sales team [122 strong] quite like the aristocratic British contingent that is trying to sell the Anglo-French supersonic Concorde to Qantas... The earl is an astute salesman who has obviously done his homework... He has the stamina to address a couple of press conferences each day as well as make daily speeches... cultivate politicians, DCA personnel and Qantas bosses. At fifty-four, the earl looks a rugged character. He has a strong broad chin and speaks with a directness that appeals to Australians..”

Loss of government office soon seemed somewhat serendipitous. With no estates to distract him Jellicoe re-joined S. G. Warburg & Co. (1 October 1973), and became a non-executive director of the sugar company Tate & Lyle 1973–1993. Thanks in the main to Sir Saxon Tate, and presumedly because he had succeeded as chairman (until June 1978) of their subsidiary Tunnel Refineries, the family made him Tate & Lyle's first non-family chairman 1978–1983. Having revived and retrenched Tate & Lyle Jellicoe became chairman of Booker Tate, 1988-91. He took on numerous other positions as Chairman of various Boards and organisations over the years as well as being President of a range of Society’s and Associations (perhaps most notably, president of the SAS Regimental Association 1996–2000, when he became its patron). From 1990 on, he again took a more active part in the House of Lords. He died on 22 February 2007, six weeks shy of his 89th birthday.

In 2000 his friend, the former British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nicholas Henderson, wrote: “George is a man of moods. He is not complicated but a many-sided character. There are in fact four Georges: there is George the First, the unabstemious, boisterous Lothario, with a leer like a roué in a Peter Arno cartoon, blessed with an iron constitution and athletic prowess that enabled him to have been on the verge of the British Olympic ski and sleigh teams; then we have Hero George, the dashing man of action, a leader who whether descending by parachute or commanding by sea, kept the enemy on tenterhooks in the Eastern Mediterranean throughout the war; thirdly, there is George the aesthete and sightseer, who, with little finger raised, will speak discerningly of paintings, mosaics and furniture, a great patron of the arts, his talent as a collector manqué only due to lack of funds, which has not prevented some bold purchases; and finally we have pensive George, scholar and public servant, concerned to promote the national interest, high-minded, cautious and conscientious ... [A] striking and irrepressible feature of that character has been his easy communion with members of the opposite sex, and this may have been prefigured by an early experience. He spent some time as a small boy in New Zealand where his father was Governor-General. George wanted to become a wolf cub, but no pack was available, so instead he joined the local Brownies. He got on very well with them.”

The following is the text of an interview with Earl Jellicoe regarding the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards that I found online:

Earl Jellicoe: “….suddenly found that there was a chance of joining the 5th Scots Guards, which was a skiing battalion, aiming eventually at Finland, to support the Finns against the Germans. Crazy idea, you know, we were going to send… well you can check on that, I don’t know, but it was the best part of a brigade, including a ski battalion, and I was a keen skier so I joined the ski battalion. We had a marvellous time. Two or three weeks in Chamonix. And I’ll always remember going out to Chamonix as a guardsman, had a lot of people in who were Lieutenants and things and a lot of people keen to join and they were quite prepared to go down to a non-commissioned, in the ranks.

J: But you were commissioned were you, straight away?

EJ: No, no. I was a guardsman. I joined straight from Sandhurst as it were. Never finished my time at Sandhurst. I remember the trip out to Chamonix very well. And I think that people who had been interested in that would easily have known where we were because the champagne bottles were strewn along the railway line. Rather like the Russian fleet going out in 1905 round the cape to take on Kyoto in 1905, the sea was full of champagne bottles then. In any case I then joined the training battalion, Coldstream. Then [?] myself, which I didn’t like one little bit, in the holding battalion at Regent’s Park when the battle of France was going on. And I found that extremely…

J: Why, because you wanted to be in France?

EJ: Yes. It was rather ghastly what was going on and there I was pootling along in a holding battalion. And one tended to go out later and later at night to the Bag of Nails and that sort of thing. And eventually I got confined to barracks and that coincided with the formation of the commandos and the possibility of joining the commandos. I’ll always remember going for my interview with that with Bob Laycock who commanded…”

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Photo sourced from: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5 ... SS500_.jpg
An interesting and well-written little read for those so inclined: “A British Achilles” - the biography of George Jellicoe by Lorna Almonds Windmill. She used the title “A British Achilles” with reference to his military abilities combined with his career- derailments as a result of women: in the 1950s for love, and in the 1970s for escorts.

To Be Continued (Up Next - Carol Mather and others)
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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CanKiwi2
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The 5th Battalion, Scots Guards (continued)

Post by CanKiwi2 » 24 Aug 2012 18:42

Sir David Carol MacDonnell Mather, MC

David Carol MacDonnell Mather (3 January 1919 – 3 July 2006) was born in Adlington, Cheshire, the younger son of Loris Emerson Mather. His family owned Mather and Platt, an engineering company in Manchester, which was chaired by his father and later managed by his elder brother, William. His grandfather was Sir William Mather, MP for North Salford, Gorton and Rossendale for 19 years, from 1885 to 1904. Mather was educated at Amesbury, Harrow and then at Trinity College, Cambridge, after which he joined his elder brother at the family company as an apprentice for a short period. He enjoyed sketching in pen and ink, and painting in watercolours. He also took part in and outdoor pursuits, including skiing and fishing. He played polo and enjoyed fox hunting. He also rode, and won, point-to-point races.

He joined the Welsh Guards at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, and attended Sandhurst. In February 1940, before his officer training was completed, Mather volunteered to join the 5th Special Reserve Battalion, Scots Guards. The battalion was formed in anticipation of supporting Finland in the Winter War in 1939–1940, but the conflict ended before it left the UK. Mather returned to training with the Welsh Guards and was commissioned in March 1940. He volunteered for training at the Irregular Warfare Training Centre in Lochailort in October 1940, joined No. 8 Commando, and headed with the unit to North Africa in January 1941 as part of Layforce. After 8 Commando was disbanded on 1 August 1941, Mather joined "L Detachment", the nucleus of the future SAS headed by David Stirling, where he joined raids on enemy airfields. In October 1942, he was offered the opportunity to join his elder brother on the staff of General Montgomery. Montgomery was a family friend, through his wife, Betty. Rejoining Stirling's force for a last operation deep behind enemy lines, he was captured by the Italians in Tripolitania on 20 December 1942.

He was transferred to Italy by submarine, and spent 9 months as a prisoner of war in Fontanellato in Northern Italy. He escaped in September 1943, shortly after the Italians agreed an armistice with the Allies, and walked 600 miles down the Apennines to the Allied lines near Campobasso, north-east of Naples. He returned to England in November 1943, where he rejoined Montgomery as a liaison officer in early 1944 to assist with preparations for D-Day. He landed on D+1, and remained with Montgomery through the operations in Northern France and Belgium, acting as Montgomery's eyes and ears on the front line. He was awarded the MC for a successful reconnaissance mission in Nijmegen on 18 September 1944, on the second day of Operation Market Garden, while it was still occupied by the German Army. On 9 January 1945, he survived being on an Auster that was shot down near Grave in the Netherlands: the pilot was killed, and another passenger, Major Richard Harden, took the controls and crash-landed while Mather deployed the flaps. Mather was hit by four bullets and badly injured, suffering 13 separate wounds and losing a kidney. He spent several months in hospital before rejoining Montgomery in July 1945 near Osnabruck.

Mather joined the regular army in 1946, returning to his regiment, the Welsh Guards, in Palestine, where he remained until the independence of Israel in 1948. He married the Hon Philippa Bewicke-Copley, daughter of the 5th Baron Cromwell, in 1951 (she who survived him after 55 years of marriage. Together, they had one son and three daughters). He was Assistant Military Attaché in Athens from 1953 to 1956, served in Military Intelligence in the War Office from 1956 to 1961 and the Far East from 1961 to 1962, when he retired with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He resigned his commission in 1962 to join the research department of the Conservative Party, working alongside Christopher Chataway and Anthony Meyer. He became a councillor on Eton Rural District Council in 1965.

He stood for Parliament as the Conservative candidate for Leicester North West in the 1966 general election, losing to the incumbent Labour MP Barnett Janner by a wide margin. He then joined 250 other aspiring MPs (including colleagues from the research department) in competing to be selected as prospective Parliamentary candidate for Esher, a safe Conservative seat, in 1969. Elected in the 1970 general election, he disagreed almost immediately with Prime Minister Edward Heath's course of joining the European Economic Community. He remained a Eurosceptic throughout his political career. He also campaigned vigorously for the return of capital punishment; supported the suggestion in 1974 for the creation of a 10,000-strong "Citizen Volunteer Force" to support the police; supported the role of the Army in Northern Ireland, and Royal Ulster Constabulary; and campaigned against the M25 being driven through his constituency. His strongly held right-wing views gained him to appointments on various backbench committees, but did not endear him to the party leadership.

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Sir David Carol MacDonnell Mather, conservative MP for Esther and Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury, 21 February 1973.

He became less vocal in sharing his views when Margaret Thatcher appointed him as an opposition whip in 1975, soon after she became leader of the Conservatives. After James Callaghan's Labour government lost a motion of no confidence by one vote in 1979, orchestrated in part by Mather, he became a government whip after the Conservatives won the 1979 general election. He served as a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury from 1979 to 1981, as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household from 1981 to 1983, and finally as Comptroller of the Household from 1981 until 1987. He received a knighthood in the 1987 New Year's Honours List, and retired at the 1987 general election. In retirement, he wrote “Aftermath of War: Everyone Must Go Home”, published in 1992. A memoir of his duties in Germany in 1945, visiting camps holding Axis prisoners, including Cossacks and Yugoslavs who fought for the Germans and who were returned to face an “uncertain future” under Stalin and Tito, the book was also a defence of Harold Macmillan against allegations of treachery made by Nikolai Tolstoy. Mather also published a war memoir in 1997, “When the Grass Stops Growing”. He died in Lower Oddington, Gloucestershire on 3 July 2006

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“When the Grass Stops Growing” by Carol Mather

The following are excerpts from an interview with Carol Mather:
(for the original and genuine interview which I took, twisted and rewrote, see http://www.griffonmerlin.com/ww2_interviews/carol-mather/)

Interviewer: As a boy did you read adventure stories? Scott, Burton, Ryder Haggard?

Carol Mather: Oh yes, but also my father was involved with Shackleton. After he’d come back from his expedition in 1916 – he continued to serve with the Navy through the first world war, but after that my father helped him to get a job in an engineering firm in Glasgow and the 2 boys Eddie and Ray, Eddie ended up as a Labour minister but Ray we knew best of all and my sister was supposed to marry him at one time, but it didn’t quite come off! In my youth I was a bit of an explorer. I had joined to expeditions, one to Lapland and one to Newfoundland, then I went on one of my own to the Yukon and Alaska.

Interviewer:How old were you then?
Carol Mather: I was at Cambridge; 19 or 20.
Interviewer: I was going to ask you about you family background.

Carol Mather: The family business was an engineering firm in Manchester called Mather and Platt and my elder brother eventually became head of the company. There wasn’t room for 2 anyway and I was in the army, so I stayed in the army til 1962 and then I went into politics. We lived in Cheshire, near Manchester and the firm started off making cotton spinning equipment. My great grandfather founded the firm in 1840 sometime. Then they made big pumps for ships, heavy engineering it was. It was going great guns until 1960, and heavy engineering disappeared and plastics came in, so that was the decline of the family fortune really. I did a short apprenticeship there on the shop floor before I went to Cambridge, then war broke out after I’d been at Cambridge for 2 years.

Interviewer: Your family were very happy about you trekking off to the Yukon and places on your own?

Carol Mather: Oh yes. My father went all over the place, on business really, but he went all over the world and was a member of the Royal Geographical Society and I joined it towards the end of the war. We sort of had it in the blood. My father was a great naturalist as well, so we were taught to observe thing s from a young age, birds and wildlife and so on.

Interviewer: Did you read about Bagnold in the 30’s?

Carol Mather: No, no-one knew about that except the people who lived out there. I was very influenced by a young chap called Gino Watkins who was an Arctic explorer. This was the Cambridge University Exploration Society and they went off to Greenland and were ostensibly planning a route, but mainly on the ice cap in Greenland. I was rather inspired by him and wanted to be an Arctic explorer, hence my joining the expeditions to Lapland and Newfoundland, in the sub arctic, and then war came and all that came to an end and I ended up in Finland and then in the desert.

Interviewer: Yes, you spent some time in Finland didn’t you?
Carol Mather: Oh yes, almost a year in fact.
Interviewer: Let’s talk about that then, how did you come to go to Finland? And wasn’t that when you first met David Stirling? I was really interested in your description of Stirling – falling asleep on the boat to Petsamo all the time, a bit of a sloth.

Carol Mather: Extraordinary figure. Before the war he wanted to climb Everest and went off to the Canadian Rockies to train. Then he joined the ski battalion in 1940, that’s when I first met him, there was some confusion at first as to what our task really was. We thought we were going to help the Finns but in fact it appears that we were aiming for the Swedish ball bearing steel mine at a place called Gallivarii in the middle of Sweden and that we were going to land in Norway and walk across it and then blow these mines up. But the Swedes and Norwegians got wind of that and then we ended up really going to Finland and fighting alongside the Finns against the Russians. It was quite an extraordinary war and not at all what we expected.

Interviewer: In what way?

Carol Mather: Well, the weather was one thing. We were expecting snow, we’d trained in skiing techniques at Chamonix for a couple of weeks. But it was extraordinarily cold when we got there, they unloaded as at Petsamo, this little port right up in the Arctic, packed with ships and total chaos but we played a rugby match against the Kiwis and the Aussies and the South Africans despite the temperature – and I believe there was a Rhodeasian team too. First Rugby International in Finland, probably the first above the Arctic Circle for that matter, all I remember it was bloody cold, even with the winter clothes the Finns fitted us out with. And then the other battalions that had arrived got trucked off south and for some reason we were kept back and then they threw all our specially designed skis away and gave us these Finnish Army skis, much better than ours as it turned out which was embarrassing for old Freddie Chapman who’d specially designed ours, and we skied south and the Finns trained us in winter fighting at the same time. And then they decided not to put us on the frontline but to attach us to one of their special units, we’d never heard of them before – in fact we didn’t really know anything about the Finnish Army at all – but this was their best unit, Osasto Nyrkki and they were very very good and they decided we had enough potential to join them.

Interviewer? Osasto Nyrkki? Than means Fist Force doesn’t it?

Carol Mather: Yes, and it was a real eye-opener for all of us. You can trace back almost all the British Army special forces, the Commandos, the Special Air Service, the Paratroopers, they all have their origins in the eight months or so we spent training and fighting with Osasto Nyrkki. Extraordinary bunch of chaps and they really knew how to fight. They did tremendous damage to the Red Army, taught us how to do it to. Taught us to paratroop, use gliders, attack the enemy where you were least expected, destroy their supply dumps and transport and headquarters. All behind the enemy lines, and you knew there would be no mercy if you were caught. And they had their extraordinary little four wheel drive cars that they’d bought from America, built by an auto firm over there called Bantam, which I believe was actually the US branch of Austin. Very similar to the jeeps we used later in the SAS in fact, but the Finns had them early in 1940. That was where Dave Stirling got the idea to use the Jeeps for the SAS in the desert came from, he took one look at them and remembered those little cars the Finns used, all decked out with machineguns and stuff.

Interviewer: I believe you mention one raid where you used those Bantam cars?

Carol Mather: Yes, yes it was towards the end of the war, late summer I believe and the Red Army launched a huge offensive against the Finns. Attacks all along the front, waves of tanks and aircraft attacking continuously. Tremendously hard fighting all along the front. The Finns were struggling and we were tasked with a rear area attack, one of those deep behind the lines raids, to take out aircraft before they could move them up to the front. They were actually down near the border with Poland I believe. We trained for a few days with the jeeps, I’ll call them jeeps for convenience and they were in fact very similar. It was a mixed-up unit, whoever was available, a bunch of us and a bunch of Finns from Oasasto Nyrkki but we all knew what we were doing and everyone in our team spoke enough Finnish to get by at that stage, terribly hard language to learn but we were forced to, there was no room for miscommunication. We loaded up the jeeps in these big two-engined transport aircraft that the Finns had that were actually more like gliders than aircraft, except they had engines, and we flew down south. Landed at midnight, those aircraft could land without their engines and we just whispered in to the middle of the airfield in the middle of the night. Unloaded the jeeps and just drove around the airfield shooting up the barracks and tents and blowing up and shooting up the aircraft. I think we destroyed about 300 aircraft just on that field. Of course after a while the Reds started shooting back.

Interviewer: That would have made it a bit more dangerous..

Carol Mather: Yes, but in those days it was all good fun. No worries, no cares and no sense of danger because you’d never experienced it before. Later in the war, after a couple more years, you became more jittery and more aware of what might happen. At the time of course, we just shot up or blew up everything. Some of the chaps loved demolitions, there was an Aussie chap on that mission, Rupert, Rupert Clarke, he loved blowing things up so we used to give him as many demo packages as he could carry, he’d run down a row of aircraft sticking them on and twisting the timer, he always set it as short as possible, said it gave him a real thrill to watch them go off, he cut it close a few times. Mad as a hatter that man was. Personally, I enjoyed shooting them up. My driver was this crazy Finn, he took us through a row of aircraft, bombers I think, they were lined up in neat rows, and I had my 20mm Hispano-Suiza cannon on a mount, I lit them up on the right and the other chap, another Finn, he had twin 12.7mm’s, he lit them up on the left. Tremendous fun.

Interviewer: How did you get out of there?

Carol Mather: Well, our transport aircraft were waiting off at one end of the airfield out of the way. Of course, we all had to be back right on time and we had to be careful not to shoot too high in that direction and fortunately none of us did or it would have been a long drive home. As it was, we drove back, blew up the jeeps, scrambled back into the aircraft and they took off right away. Very short take off run when they didn’t have much weight in them, amazing aircraft, wish we’d had some of them later in the war, the pilots flew all the way back to Finland at about 100 feet, just skimming the tops of the trees, that was the bit that worried us all, getting back, we all thought the Red Air force would be out looking for us but there was nothing and the Finnish fighters met us part way back and escorted us the rest of the way. We had a few killed, a few wounded on that mission but all in all, considering that our team and the other team that went in that night took out around 500 aircraft, killed quite a few hundred Russians, it was quite a good score overall.

Interviewer: Was that the highlight of your time in Finland?

Carol Mather: Yes, I’d have to say it was. We did a lot of raids, a lot of work behind the Russian lines, that raid had to be the highlight but it was quite nerve-wracking at times.

Interviewer: That’s very apparent in your diary extracts; you start of quite gung ho then you say I’m quite nervous here.

Carol Mather: Diaries were frowned upon as such and while I kept a diary, I usually wrote up these accounts pretty soon after the events, if there was a lull back at our base camp. I couldn’t have written the book without because I couldn’t have done it from memory and it gave a flavour of the times. It was very noticeable, the change in our attitude from when we first arrived in Finland. After a while, after you’d seen friends killed or wounded, you were much more cautious than for instance anyone who was brand new and hadn’t experienced anything like this before. So there was a period when you didn’t know what danger was really and you didn’t think you’d be a victim of anything until it happened. It was a very carefree existence really. Anyone with a bit of enterprise, they had a wonderful time really. And what we did, the behind the lines missions, we actually lost far fewer killed and wounded than the units that went and fought on the frontlines.

Interviewer: I remember asking Lord Jellicoe if he got scared and he shrugged and said he didn’t think so, couldn’t remember feeling scared. Said he rather enjoyed the whole thing. There does seem to have been a very strong sense of camaraderie within the 5th Battalion - a band of young people all together doing something thrilling and daring.

Carol Mather: Yes there was. It was very real camaraderie, we most of us came from very similar backgrounds, a lot of the Guardsman and NCO’s, almost all in fact were officers who’d dropped in rank to get into the Battalion, there were lots of us who had either still been at Sandhurst like George (Earl Jellicoe) or were second Lieutenants, and there were lots of those. A lot of us knew each other, either from School or Cambridge or from Sandhurst. And quite a few of the chaps had relatives in the unit, Shimi Fraser for example, he was related to Dave and Bill Stirling and to Gavin Maxwell, they’d all been at school together with Basil O’Brien and Mickey Rooney, everyone was very high-spirited but you knew that when it got serious, everyone would buckle down and pull their weight and they did.

Interviewer: And what about communications? You mentioned that the Finns had very good communications earlier?

Carol Mather: I did didn’t I. Yes, it was very impressive to us. I mean at the time, in the British Army then and for quite a while into the war, you have to remember that our wireless communications were pretty rudimentary. The Germans had better wireless communication than us, but even in the Desert with the SAS we had no real wireless communications. But with the Finns, it was something else. They had these amazing portable radios, some of them you could actually carry on your back, for the time it was revolutionary stuff and they issued them right down to companies and even platoons. All built by that Finnish company, Nokia, everyone’s hard of them now but back then they were unknown outside of Scandinavia. They told us later they’d tried to sell the radios to the British Army but they’d been turned down. Some idiot in the War Office no doubt! Us, we had no idea even how to use a radio then, we used field telephones or sent messages by runner. Later of course our radios got pretty good but in Finland it was a real eye-opener for us, like something out of those American popular mechanics science of the future magazines. Once we learned how to use them, we found them really useful. When we got back home, that was one of the things we all recommended that the Army develop, but of course the recommendations and all the reports we did just disappeared into the War Office. God knows what happened to them.

Interviewer: Yes, I understand that some very detailed reports were prepared and sent in to the War Office on the lessons of the Winter War.

Carol Mather: Yes, and it was a complete waste of time. Nothing we wrote up was ever acted on, the only things that were achieved were by men from the Battalion taking the initiative, and that mostly consisted of the units that were set up – the training school in Scotland that eventually resulted in Battle Training for most of the troops going in on D-Day, the Commandos, Dave Stirling setting up the Special Air Service, even Ian Fleming’s 30 Assault Unit was I think based on some Finnish unit we ran into, at least I understand that was where the idea came from.

Interviewer: Can you recall some of the things you recommended?

Carol Mather: I’ll try, but keep in mind that it was all fifty years ago and I may be mistaken. I know we all commented on the Finnish Nokia radios and on the Bantam Jeeps, I mean we all asked if Austin in the US could design and build something like that for this tiny little country, why in hell couldn’t they have done it for us. Then I know there were the transport aircraft and the gliders and parachuting. They were years ahead of us with that sort of thing, they were dropping paratroopers from DC3’s in 1940, told us they got the idea from the Russians, and none of us even knew the Russians were doing stuff like that either. Their national airline had bought DC3’s just before the war, and when the war started they just repainted them as Air Force planes, same crews and everything, and they knew how to fly alright. The Finns had some pretty good anti-tank guns too, just blew the Russian tanks to pieces, that was something we all wished for in the Desert. Close Air Support, that was another thing the Finns did really well that we didn’t get till years later. The Finns, they had it on tap right from the start and some of best aircraft they had were those old Hawker Henley’s, they’d picked up a lot of them from the RAF who were using them as target tugs. Blithering idiots! The Finns gave them 20mm cannon and bombs and we could talk to them on our radios and we’d call them up when we got into a spot of bother and they’d arrive and just line up and paste the Reds. It was half way through the Desert War before the RAF managed to get anything like that in place and it was only with a lot of pushing by the Army, the RAF just didn’t want to do that sort of support. The Finnish Air Force were completely different, they went all out to support the Army.

Interviewer: You seem to have had a bit of contact with the Finnish Air Force?

Carol Mather: Yes, we did. Quite often they flew us and dropped us off behind the Russian lines, picked us up afterwards. In summer they fitted their transport aircraft with floats and we flew in and out of lakes. They had lots of those little German Storch’s, they’d apparently bought a license to build them and we used them a lot to evacuate casualties. That was a real morale booster, you knew that if you were wounded, they’d fly in anywhere to pick you up, those little aircraft, they could land and takeoff from an outhouse roof, quite literally. That was something we missed in the Desert, those little Storch’s. It was quite soul-destroying to have to leave our wounded behind. I remember once one of the chaps, he had a broken back, we couldn’t take him with us and we left him behind in the desert with a bottle of water and a pistol. We never had to do that in Finland, we could always find somewhere that those Storch’s could get into and out of.

Interviewer: What about the rest of the Finnish Air Force?

Carol Mather: I can’t tell you much about them. I mentioned their close air support, we almost always had that on call when we were on behind the lines missions, but we never had much to do with their fighter or bomber boys. We knew that by the time we got there, they pretty much controlled the skies over the frontlines, but really, we didn’t have a lot to do with that part of the war. Although the Osasto Nyrkki boys, they used to like to say they destroyed more Russian aircraft than the air force ever did. Just a bit of friendly rivalry there I think.

Interviewer: What about the fighting on the Isthmus and along the Syvari, did you have much to do with that?

Carol Mather: Not a lot, we were lucky in a way in that right from the start, we were attached to Osasto Nyrkki and sent on raids behind the Red Army lines. I don’t think we ever actually fought as a Battalion. It was always small groups, I think the largest was a Company and that was pretty big for what we did. And the thing was, the war got very stagnant towards the end. The Finns fought far more skillfully than the Russians, but they were a very small Army and the Red’s could always throw those massive numbers of infantry and tanks and aircraft at them, and there was only so far the Finns could advance before they were too exposed. Once they reached that line along the Syvari and then across to the White Sea, all they could do was hold on and try and inflict such enormous losses on the Russians so that in the end they would say it wasn’t worth it. Which is of course what happened in the end but only after they’d killed Stalin and half the Politburo in their raid on the Kremlin. And that was a gamble, a complete gamble, but they took it and it paid off in the end. But I was saying that the war was stagnant for the most part, the main fighting line went backwards and forwards and there weren’t any major initiatives, and that’s what Osasto Nyrkki supplied really and therefore we were at the peak of events in the Winter War and we were winning the war, our war, and just hammering the Reds every way we could. If you look at a record of the number of planes that Osasto Nyrkki destroyed it was far greater than the number destroyed by the Ilmavoimat and that was just a window of opportunity that the Finns spotted. Of course, as time went on, the Russians would have become much more aware of what might happen and so airfields would have been more heavily guarded but the war ended before that happened. Really the last raid on airfields was that mass attack I mentioned, and of course we did the same things against the Germans in the desert war later.

Interviewer: Were there other things you learned to use against the Germans later?

Carol Mather: Yes, and funnily enough one of the main lessons was targeting transport and logistics deep in the enemy rear. A lot of these operations failed but it made the Russian High Command very jittery about their rear. They had very long lines of communication. They were highly vulnerable all along their line of communications and with these unexpected raids taking place almost anywhere along that line. Quite apart from the aeroplane score, I think creating uncertainty in the mind of the enemy was an important factor. And the distances in Russia were so vast, it’s hard to describe, but they couldn’t guard all their lines of communication so there were always areas where we could attack, we got very good at finding them. The one thing I didn’t like was that we killed an awful lot of horses. Everyone, the Russians and the Finns, used large numbers of horses and we would have to steel ourselves to kill them, it wasn’t like blowing up trucks or soldiers, with horses it was far more personal. Personally, that was the hardest thing for me to do but it had to be done so we did it. The other thing we did a lot was target Headquarters. Personally, I was on two missions where we wiped out a complete Divisional Headquarters and that was rewarding work, you cut the head off and the Division was just a headless beast, still fighting but with no brain. And the Finns were masters of psychological warfare, they would target the Divisional and Army commanders that they regarded as competent and leave the incompetent ones in place. That was how they got Timoshenko, I wasn’t on that mission, it was apparently pretty tough but they got him somewhere up near Lake Onega and with him gone, you could feel the whole battle change, the tempo of the fighting. It was like there was no intelligent control anymore, just pieces fighting by themselves and that helped the Finns tremendously in the last weeks of the war. Of course sometimes they used aircraft and just bombed the hell out of the HQ, but we took out our fair share.

Interviewer: The mission to get Timoshenko, wasn’t that one of the inspirations for the mission to get Rommel in the Desert War?

Carol Mather: Yes, in a way. The idea I think, but the ways the missions were carried out were completely different. I mean, Osasto Nyrkki were professionals, they’d trained and practiced this stuff for years and they really knew how to do it, I mean, they taught us but we were neophytes compared to some of those chaps. Our mission to get Rommel was pretty sloppy by comparison and it failed as well. If I can make a comparison looking back, I’d have to say Osasto Nyrkki were as professional back then as the Special Air Service became in the 1970’s, they were that far ahead of us. I mean, they even had lightweight body armour for goodness sake, and the Yanks were only experimenting with that right at the end of the war.

Interviewer: That’s a new one to me.

Carol Mather: (chuckles). It was new to us to, but it’s the reason we most of us survived. Yes, they had thus lightweight body armour they were issuing to everyone as fast as they could make it, as good as anything that was available up until the 1970’s or 80’s at least except they had it in 1940. And of course, they tried to sell it to us after the Winter War and some idiot in the War Office no doubt said no. Should have shot the chaps that turned all that Finnish stuff down! But it was light and it kept out grenades and shrapnel and ricochets, wouldn’t stop a bullet coming straight at you but it was good, gave you a sense of security, you ended up taking more risks, being more aggressive than if you didn’t have it and that gave us an edge too. Only found out a few years ago that it was made from steel, ceramics and wood fibre. Amazing stuff, I still think about some of the things the Finns had back then and shake my head. There was this tiny little country up in the Arctic and they’d come up with some amazing stuff, science fiction is what I’d call it looking back.

Interviewer: What about the Suomi submachinegun, what did you think of them?

Carol Mather: Superb. Just superb. I have to say that about all the Finnish Army equipment, it was in a class of its own. We turned up at Petsamo with our Lee-Enfield .303’s, good rifle but still, we didn’t have the sten guns that we got later and they were just rubbish compared to the Suomi, that was just a work of art. Indestructible, tough, great range, accurate, huge magazine, we all loved it. Mine saved my life half a dozen times. When there’s a horde of the enemy coming at you, there was nothing like it. But everyone forgets now that it wasn’t just the Suomi, they had a superb self-loading rifle, the Lahti-Salaranta SLR. It was based on, I forgot what exactly but I think it was an American gun that the Belgians made and the Finns took it and these two Finns redesigned it, made a superb self-loading rifle from it, looks a lot like the post-war Fabrique Nationale SLR that we used for years. Anyhow, that Finnish SLR, it was self-loading, had a twenty round mag, highly accurate, and about half the Finnish soldiers had those and the other half had the old Mosin-Nagants, not a bad rifle either, about on a par with our Lee-Enfield’s. And they had a machinegun designed by that Lahti chap, the Sampo they called it, it was every bit as good as that German machinegun we all hated. Then they had this thing like a big shotgun that fired grenades, single shot but you could fire it pretty quickly with practice and when you didn’t have artillery on call, it was pretty useful. They had some very nasty little flamethrowers as well, scared the hell out of me, hate those things, they even had one that could be fitted under a Suomi. Mind you, those flamethrowers, they terrified the Russians, they’d stand up for anything but shoot some flame at them and they’d run like rabbits. Don’t blame them either, I would have bolted too if I saw that stuff aimed at me. Overall, the Finns were surprisingly well-equipped, we hadn’t expected that, they had lots of artillery and mortars and they used those a lot, there was always artillery fire along the front and you could tell when the Russians were doing a big push because the firing picked up really quickly.

Interviewer: Yes, the Finnish Army’s artillery was apparently very good.

Carol Mather: You could say that. They had this artillery general, Nenonen, he was a genius. The way they controlled their artillery, I couldn’t tell you how they did it, but they had enormous numbers of guns and mortars, and they could concentrate the fire from hundreds of guns anywhere along the frontlines. They had artillery fire controllers with radios attached to almost all their infantry units, we had them attached to us. They had to be Finnish to talk to the Finnish artillery chaps on the guns, we couldn’t speak Finnish well enough for that, most amazing fire control I’ve ever seen. I remember one mission, the Russians had us trapped when we were on our way out of Russia towards our lines, we were OK during the day when we could get close air support but after it got dark we thought we were dead but the Finnish fire controllers with us, they called in their artillery and we sat their all night with this box of artillery around us. Didn’t get much sleep and it was scary as hell with all that stuff exploding all around you, but it worked. In the morning we could see bodies all around, swaths of them and then the close air support came back and we made it to a lake nearby and got picked up by floatplanes. That was a close call. Very close.

Interviewer: Did you ever see the rocket artillery the Finnish Army used? See it in action I mean?

Carol Mather: Only once and that was because of a mix-up. We were behind the Russian lines, supposed to attack a Red Army Artillery Regiment in the middle of the night but when we got to where the guns were supposed to be, we realized there was a huge Russian attack being prepared. There were hordes of infantry moving up, a few tanks, but mostly infantry. Thousands of them from what we could see. So we got on the Radio and let HQ know and after a few minutes they told us to leave as fast as we were able to. Just as we were preparing to move out, we heard this whining sound that grew louder and louder and then we saw flames in the sky moving fast. At first we thought it was aircraft that were crashing but then they flames disappeared and there were explosion in the midst of the Russians a few seconds later and then more and more, explosion after explosion. We started to withdraw really fast, our CO realized we’d better get out of the way fast. So we were withdrawing as fast as we could in the darkness and then we saw sheets of flame from the direction of the frontlines, just sheets of flame lighting up the sky, the flames shooting into the sky and an unearthly howling that just went on and on and on. The flames were roaring towards us and we thought we were seriously in trouble, and then the whole area behind us, it was suddenly blotted out with hundreds of explosions occurring simultaneously. Earth and trees and bushes and no doubt bodies were being flung up into the air and we could hear screaming and yelling. Then within what seemed like seconds there was another wave of explosions and then a third. After that we lost count, it seemed as if the whole sky was howling and raining missiles and it was nothing but noise and explosions and we were burrowed into the ground under any cover we could find and it just went on and on for an eternity. It frightened us and we were outside the impact zone. The CO, he was on the radio by then and then my mate, he tapped me on the shoulder and pointed and I could see what seemed like hundreds of Russians streaming to the rear and a lot of them had thrown their guns away and were screaming at the tops of their voices and throwing their equipment away so they could run faster. Then the Finns bought their conventional artillery into play, I think the CO and the Fire Controllers were talking the guns onto the targets because the poor devils who were running suddenly disappeared in a rain of explosions and smoke and whenever another group appeared, the artillery came down on them too. After we got back, they told us that the best part of a Soviet Rifle Division had been wiped out, just completely wiped out, all in less than an hour.

Interviewer: What was it like, being behind the enemy lines a lot?

Carol Mather: Very tense, very very intense. We were always carrying a heavy load, food, ammo, explosives, weapons, bedroll, you were very heavily loaded and a lot of the time you were on foot, I the forest. And it was thick forest, lots of swampy ground, lakes, rivers, sometimes it was pretty heavy going. And the Russians used to have patrols of their own out looking for us so you were always on edge, you had to be very careful about not leaving any traces, not making any noise, the one good thing is you were usually never short of water. But you were always short of sleep. We did have Benzedrine, and they were useful up to a point. One of our number once took a sleeping pill, Sandy Scratchley only to find he was immediately on an operation at night!

Interviewer: Did you see any of the local people?

Carol Mather: In Karelia yes, there were quite a few Karelians who’d ended up in the Sovuet Union that had survived the Purges and the Deportations that Stalin inflicted on them and we were on reasonably friendly terms with them. The NKVD had treated them vilely during what we referred to as “colonial times”, deported thousands of them, killed thousands as well. We found quite a few mass graves, especially down near the White Sea Canal, shocking stuff, really motivated us to fight harder. But when we got into areas where there were Russian settlers, the Russians were not friendly towards us or to the Finns. A lot of the Russian civilians had to be put into camps in the end, you couldn’t trust them and when the Red Army started to send soldiers behind our lines, they helped them, so the Finns had to put them in camps.

Interviewer: Did you ever fight the Red Army troops, the partisans, behind the Finnish lines?

Carol Mather: No, the Finns had their own units to do that, although I understand the South Africans and Rhodesians helped, they had some superb trackers in their units. There was a composite unit of Finns and South Africans they put together to track down partisan groups, quite small but very ruthless and very effective, never ran into them but one hears stories. Pähkinänsärkijä, I think they were called – and no, I have no idea if I pronounced that correctly, but I think it was partly a reference to how they got information on the partisans from the local Russians, the CO was a Boer, chap named Lawrence de Kock. Quite the operator but I don’t know anything much about them other than that, our role was different, we were behind the enemy lines all the time.

Interviewer: Operating behind the Russian lines, the Maps were presumably useless?

Carol Mather: Well, for Karelia they were almost blank. There were lakes, forests and swamps and a few roads. Further south, there were more roads, a bit more farmland but it was still mostly forest until you got further south and it all became grassland. But usually we were operating in the forests. The Finns knew there way round in the forest, they never seemed to get lost. It was harder for some of us, but Shimi Fraser now, he was in his element. We all learned a lot and funnily enough, we even passed on one or two things to the Finns. Shimi, he taught all of us, Finns included, how to make Ghillie suits for camouflage. Very useful bit of equipment when you want to hide. We had Russian patrols walk right by us and never see us thanks to those. Shimi used to stalk the Russian patrols with a knife, he’d come up behind them and knife them silently, one after the other, just stalking them until they realized someone was missing and then he’d disappear. It was something to see, pretty ruthless but he said deerstalking with a knife was harder. There was one of the Finnish chaps in Osasto Nyrkki, Lauri somebody (Interviewer: Lauri Torni?). Yes, that was him, he and Shimi used to have competitions, I mean, their personalities were completely different, Lauri, he was a young chap but hard as nails, but he and Shimi, they would just disappear into the forest with their knives and comeback and they wouldn’t talk about it, Shimi would just say “8” and Lauri would say “11” or the other way round and you knew that was how many Russians they’d killed that day. The other Finns did something similar, they’d crawl into a Red Army position and slide in with the sleepers and kill one or two of them, slit their throats and leave them there for the others to find when they woke up. That had to be pretty demoralizing. Shimi now, he would just go in and kill them all. Quite a few of the lads got good at it. The other thing the Finns excelled at were setting booby traps. They had a nasty sense of humour when it came to those, we picked it up from them pretty damn quickly. The booby traps kept them from chasing you too fast when you were rabbitting after we hit them, they never knew when something nasty would get them and it really slowed them down. But the maps, to start with they were blank, but towards the end of the war we started getting good ones. The Finnish Air Force had a mapping unit and they must have worked whenever there was daylight, because by the end of the war we would be tasked with a mission and we’d have brand new maps of the area well before we started. Good maps too. Very good.

Interviewer: I believe in your book you mentioned you got very little leave? But you got to see Vera Lynn in Helsinki?

Carol Mather: Actually, I only got one leave while we were in Finland, the fighting was heavy all the way to September and most of the time the only breaks we got were between missions, a couple of days while we rested and fixed up our equipment and then we’d be off on the next one. But the one time I did get a week’s leave, it was in July before the Reds started their big push, I went to Helsinki. One of the Finnish chaps told me that there was a lovely hotel in Helsinki called the Hotel Kämp. So that’s where we went. We drove up in a truck to Viipuri and then took the train from there to Helsinki. By then there wasn’t much risk of an attack by the Red Air Force so we went up in daylight and I must say, it was a beautiful trip, very scenic if you like pine and birch trees. Helsinki was a bit drab and quiet, not too many people, all the men and a lot of the women were in the Army, a lot of the children and old people were out in the countryside helping on the farms so there just weren’t that many people left. And we found the Hotel, it was quite nice, we had no difficulty getting rooms even though it turned out to be the centre for all the foreign journalists and photographers and whatnot. When we arrived that night, the Hotel seemed deserted and we were all so exhausted we just had dinner and a bath and then went straight to sleep but when we went downstairs the following morning the place was overflowing with a noisy conglomeration of people; there were Finnish soldiers, women volunteers, politicians, and foreign journalists and photographers of a dozen different nationalities. Most extraordinary were the Swedish women journalists. Every paper in Sweden seemed to have sent a "special correspondent" and there were dozens of them. They all had blonde hair, big blue eyes, and wore dainty coats and little white hats that tied under: their chins. They looked like the front row of a Cochran chorus. George (Earl Jellicoe that is), had breakfast with a table of them, God knows hw the man did it but we didn’t see him again until it was time to leave. He said he learnt a lot of Swedish in those few days. The man was incorrigible, never did change his ways, but he certainly knew how to enjoy himself. Helsinki seemed like quite a nice city, but it was empty. The Finns told us that the normal population was 300,000 but due to the war there were only 30,000 people left, everyone else was in the military or in the country or working in factories or for the war effort somewhere. It di limit one’s recreational possibilities somewhat. Whoever had dubbed it "The White City of the North" had a truly romantic soul, because it had a pretty bleak and dismal atmosphere. Granted, it was the war and the cars had been requisitioned for the military and most of the shops were boarded up and even in the middle of the day there were only a few people in the streets. And dancing was prohibited. So it wasn’t very exciting, except perhaps for George. But at least one could eat and drink. And yes, I got to see Vera Lynn. She came to Helsinki, stayed with the Ambassador, but she did a few small concerts at the Hotel Kämp and I got to see here there. Of course, when I did, we had one of the last bombing raids on Helsinki in the war that the Russians managed, and we all had to go down to the shelters for a while, but still, it was wonderful to hear her singing and meet her in person. But after a week in Helsinki we really wanted to get back to where the real action was. Even George. (chuckles).


Vera Lynn concert, Hotel Kämp, Helsinki, July 1940

Interviewer:And when things got bad in the fighting, you’d imagine life back in Helsinki?

Carol Mather: After that of course, when things got rather bad where we were, we’d joke about how much worse it would be to be back in Helsinki and that would bring a few chuckles.

Interviewer: Did you ever get ill on your missions?

Carol Mather: Well, not so much ill, although carrying enough food was always an issue, but the worst thing was the mosquitoes, especially when you were close to a swamp or anywhere there was groundwater, and that was a lot of the time. They could drive you crazy and there wasn’t much you could do. You wrapped bandages around or a cloth or a handkerchief, anything you had - in the end we got these mosquito nets from the Finns but they didn;t have enough of them for everyone and it was a hile before they got issued to us and we all suffered. The other thing we got issued with was this pine pitch oil, pikiöljy is what the Finns called it, that you rubbed on your skin. Smelled a bit so sometimes you couldn't use it because the smell might give you away so you just gritted your teeth and got chewed to bits by the mozzies and the horseflies and blackflies. On a bad mission you'd come back streaming blood from all the bites and there was bugger all you could do about it, although covering yourself in mud sometimes helped.

Interviewer: Looking back in time, what do you think of it all now?

Carol Mather: It was an amazing time. A very strange war, one that none of us expected to fight in really, we were all geared up to fight the Germans and instead we spent almost a year fighting the Russians, who would go on to be our Allies against the Germans a couple of years later. And the Finns, fighting beside the Finns was very strange too. We had no idea what they were like when we went there, I guess the image most of us had was of something like Swedes, you know, blonde, not that smart but nice people who were bound to lose the war in the end and without much of a military and we would do our best to help them but it would be just another Poland. But it wasn’t like that at all, for one thing the Finns weren’t anything like the Swedes and they fought like the devil, incredibly stubborn people, didn’t know when to give up, when we passed through Viipuri on the way to the fighting at the start of the war we were amazed to see even schoolgirls and schoolboys, young kids, toting around rifles that were taller than they were and they all knew how to use them. That was when it really dawned on us that this would be a different war, that these people were like us and they had no intention of quitting. And I’ve already talked about their Army, the weapons and stuff they had, they were really prepared for a war with the Soviets and the Marski, Marshal Mannerheim, he was, well all I can say is that he’d spent fifteen years doing his best to make sure Finland was prepared as best he could make it to fight, and Finland fought and won, which just boggles the mind when you look at the disparities between the two countries. There was a lot of luck involved of course, the purges of the Soviet military that Stalin carried out gave the Finns a huge edge, and then killing Stalin towards the end of the war, that was a pure gamble, they threw the dice on that one and they landed the right way for Finland. But even without that, the Baku Raid might have won them more time, and of course by September 1940 they’d inflicted an enormous number of casualties on the Red Army, well over a million dead and more than that injured, there was almost nothing of the pre-1939 Red Army left, the Finns had killed most of the capable commanders, devastated the Red Air Force, there was almost nothing left of the Soviet Navy, just a few ships in the Black Sea. Even Stalin should have realized by then that he’d bitten of more than he could chew. And we all saw what the Finns did to the German Army in 1944 and 1945 – I mean, they even beat the Red Army into the center of Berlin. No-one expected that in late 1939 when the Winter War started.

(Interview ends).
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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The 5th Battalion, Scots Guards (almost finished...)

Post by CanKiwi2 » 29 Aug 2012 13:15

Gavin Maxwell

Gavin Maxwell FRSL, FIAL, FZS (Sc.), FRGS, (15 July 1914 – 7 September 1969) was the youngest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Aymer Maxwell and Lady Mary Percy, fifth daughter of the seventh Duke of Northumberland. His paternal grandfather, Sir Herbert Maxwell, was an archaeologist, politician and natural historian. He was a cousin of Bill and David Stirling (of SAS fame) and was raised in the tiny village of Elrig, near Port William, in Wigtownshire, south-western Scotland, where the surname "Maxwell" is very common. Maxwell's relatives still reside in the area and the family's ancient estate and grounds are in nearby Monreith. He was three months old when his father was killed in the First World War. ''I kept Gavin very much as the child of my anguish,” declared his mother. Melancholy pervaded his life, disappointment ended all his endeavours, but his wild, perverse spirit sustained him, driving him headlong into adventures of ever- increasing eccentricity. One of his final projects was to set up a breeding colony of eider ducks on a Hebridean island furnished with children's windmills, tinkling bells, flag bunting and little tents of pine branches.

Birds were his first love. His early childhood was spent on the moors of his family's estate in Galloway, collecting and studying all manner of flora and fauna. By the time he was sent to boarding school he had met only 10 children, including his three siblings, and he found his new life intolerable. He attended a succession of preparatory and secondary schools, including St Cyprian's School – where he found encouragement for his interest in natural history – and Stowe School. “You must try to be like other people,” they told him. His education fizzled out when he became seriously ill at the age of 16 - from then on he was plagued by ill- health. In his book, “The Rocks Remain”, he relates how family pressure then led him to take a degree in Estate Management at Hertford College, Oxford, where he spent his time pursuing sporting and leisure activities instead of studying. He cheated his way through the intermediate exams but passed the final examinations honestly, having crammed the entire three-year course in six weeks.

Having been bought up on the hills of Elrig near Monreith, Gavin at an early age became an expert shot at wild game and trap shooting. He was much in demand at pheasant shoots where hosts wanted to achieve large "bags". He was also a gun expert. One of his party tricks was to throw a weighted cigarette packet in the air and shoot it with a revolver before it hit the ground. When WW2 broke out, he volunteered for service in Finland with the 5th Battalion Scots Guards. He was accepted and proved a natural choice as a small arms instructor within the Battalion as well as a witty raconteur who adopted a manner suggesting a caricature of a Guards officer. With the 5th Battalion attached to Osasto Nyrkki in Finland, Maxwell’s talents as a small arms instructor were allowed full expression, to the benefit of both Finns and British undergoing instruction. It was in the course of this training that he invented the "double-tap" - two quick shots into the body - that is still the hallmark of a well-trained shooter. He also took the Finnish Army combat shooting ranges with their mechanical pop-up targets and devised a new “close-quarter combat range” where trainee’s were constantly confronted with surprises - " - a thunderflash, a dummy or group of dummies springing from the shadows dressed in Red Army uniform. Whatever state they were in, the trainees had to blast the target dummy with a "double-tap" successfully. Maxwell, it is said, also revolutionised the rules of table tennis by decreeing that the ball could be either returned by bat or shot out of the air with a revolver.

On returning to the UK after the end of the Winter War, he became a small arms instructor for SOE. There, he attracted the notice of the medical officer as a “creative psychopath”. He enraged his superiors by asking for compassionate leave when his pet flamingos flew out to sea, but he also made a number of close and lasting friends. He was due to be parachuted into France to help the Resistance but broke an ankle on the compulsory static jump onto a concrete floor in a gymnasium. Soldiers who did that were not allowed to do the real thing in case it happened again.

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Photo sourced privately from Chris Rooney
Gavin Maxwell (Center, front). David Stirling on the left of the photo, Greenlees on the right. The Stirlings, the Frasers (Lovat) and the Maxwells are all related. Greenlees and O’Rooney attended the same school as the Stirlings and Lord Lovat.

At the end of the war, Gavin took flying lessons. He was reputed to have run out of instructors willing to fly with him before he could qualify. He then enrolled in a postal course in journalism, which he did not finish. Both his grandfathers had owned newspapers. For a short period of time Gavin tried to make a living as a portrait painter with limited success. Gavin then hit on the novel idea of making a fortune by fishing for basking shark on the West Coast of Scotland – a venture which lasted from 1945 to 1948. This involved buying the small island of Soay off Skye in the Inner Hebrides, building a processing plant and buying several harpooning boats, which suffered from varying degrees of unseaworthiness. To do this he borrowed large sums of money from various relations, money which was totally lost. The only good thing to come out of this episode was his first book, "Harpoon at a Venture" (published 1952) which gained critical acclaim and sold reasonably well.

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Photo sourced from http://pix.avaxnews.com/avaxnews/31/0c/ ... edium.jpeg
Gavin Maxwell – fishing for basking sharks in the Inner Hebrides

In 1956, Maxwell toured the reed marshes of Southern Iraq with the British explorer Wilfred Thesiger. Here he found himself extraordinarily, mystically happy in a desolation of water and sky which seemed to him to exist outside time and space. Thesiger's view of his companion was more prosaic: “Dead baggage,” he commented. And when Maxwell's baby otter, the first of many, died, the extravagance of his grief seemed merely lunatic to Thesiger: “He should be locked up” was his comment. Maxwell's account of their trip appears in “A Reed Shaken By The Wind”, later published under the title “People of the Reeds”. It was hailed by the New York Times as "near perfect”.

Maxwell next moved to a remote part of the Scottish mainland. This is where his "otter books" are set. The first, “Ring of Bright Water”, (1960) sold more than a million copies (and was made into a movie starring Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna in 1969) and it is this book for which Maxwell is now perhaps best known, The book describes how, in 1956, he brought a Smooth-coated Otter back from Iraq and raised it in "Camusfearna" (Sandaig) on the west coast of Scotland. He took the otter, called Mijbil, to the London Zoological Society, where it was decided that this was a previously unknown sub-species of the Smooth-coated Otter. It was therefore named Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli (or, colloquially, "Maxwell's Otter") after him. It is thought to have become extinct in the alluvial salt marshes of Iraq as a result of the large-scale drainage of the area that started in the 1960s. After the first book, he wrote “The Rocks Remain” (1963), in which the otters Edal, Teko, Mossy and Monday show great differences in personality. “The Rocks Remain” is a sequel to Ring of Bright Water, and documents the difficulty Maxwell was having, possibly as a result of his mental state, in remaining focused on one project and the impact that had on his otters, Sandaig, and his own life.

In 1966, he traveled to Morocco with a companion, tracing the dramatic lives of the last rulers of Morocco under the French. His account of the trip was published as “Lords of the Atlas: The Rise and Fall of the House of Glaoua 1893-1956”. The Moroccan government considered his book subversive and banned it. In “The House of Elrig” (1965), Maxwell describes his family history and his passion for Galloway, where he was born. Maxwell married Lavinia Renton (née Lascelles) on 1 February 1962. The marriage lasted little more than a year and they divorced in 1964. In 1968, Maxwell's Sandaig home was destroyed by fire and he moved to the lighthouse cottage of Eilean Bàn (White Island), another island he owned off the coast of Skye. Maxwell died from cancer later that same year. Eilean Bàn now supports a pier of the Skye Bridge built during the 1990s. Despite modern traffic a hundred feet or so above it, however, the island is a commemorative otter sanctuary and houses a museum dedicated to Maxwell.

Guardsman Francis Basil O'Brien

The London Gazette of 1 March 1940 advises that “The undermentioned Cadets (Offr. Cadet Trng. Unit, Sandhurst), to be 2nd Lts. 25th Feb. 1940: Inniskilling Fusiliers. Francis Basil O'BRIEN (121598). The London Gazette of 13 December 1945 announced that Major (temporary) Francis Basil O'BRIEN (121598) of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Enfield) is to be a Member of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order (OBE?). No other references found aside from having volunteered for the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards and service in Finland.

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Photo sourced privately from Chris Rooney
Basil O’Brien (standing, back)

Philip Pinckney

Philip Hugh Pinckney was born on 7th April 1915, the son of John Robert Hugh and Winifred Pinckney, of Hungerford, Berkshire. He was educated at Eton College, where he served as a Cadet Sgt in the College’s contingent of the Junior Division Officers’ Training Corps and went up to Trinity College, Cambridge. Pinckney later enlisted as a gunner in the Territorial Army, with 145 (Berkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery, and was granted an emergency commission with the Royal Artillery on 2 September 1939. He volunteered for the 5th Battalion Scots Guards and service in Finland, attended ski training at Chamonix and fought in Finland over the course of the Winter War of December 1939-September 1940. In Finland, Captain Pinckney distinguished himself in action numerous times. Pinckney was held in high regard by the men he commanded; one of them, John Huntington later commented: “Lt. P H Pinckney took command ….. He was the finest officer gentleman and leader I have ever come across during my lifetime. He once refused to be decorated unless every member of the troop on that certain operation received the same medal. Needless to say his request was turned down. Capt. Pinckney never received his medal.”

On returning to the UK, Lt. Pinckney remained briefly with the Berkshire Yeomanry on airfield defence duties until late 1940 when he transferred to No 12 Commando, initially as a section commander in E Troop and later, on promotion to Temporary Captain, as E Troop Commander. He commanded a small raid, comprising members of E Troop and naval personnel, on the French coast near Ambleteuse in July 1941, which was thwarted by a German machine gun post and led to two naval members of his party dying in the ensuing fire fight. Pinckney also took part in Operation Anklet, a diversionary raid on the Norwegian Lofoten Islands, in December 1941. By the following year he was part of a detachment from No 12 Commando which worked with the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF).

In June 1942 he was involved in planning a raid (Operation Airthief) to steal a German Focke Wulf FW190 fighter aircraft from a Luftwaffe airfield near the French coast; to be flown back by Jeffrey Quill for evaluation. The plan was abandoned after a Luftwaffe pilot inadvertently landed a FW 190 at RAF Pembrey, Wales, on 23 June 1942, following a dogfight! Jeffrey Quill, the Spitfire test pilot, described him as “a man of rare and timeless character. One might have encountered him accompanying Drake's raid on the Spanish treasure trains in Panama, or steering a fireship amongst the Armada anchored off Calais, or with Shackleton on his epic open-boat journey from Antartica to South Georgia. Equally he was in no way out of place in the Ritz bar; he was a man for all seasons.”

Pinckney later took part in Operation Basalt, a raid on the Island of Sark on the night of 3/4 October 1942. One of the purposes of the raid was to capture German prisoners and bring them back to the UK for interrogation and intelligence gathering. With the assistance of an islander, the raiding party was able to locate five Germans sleeping in a hotel annexe, who were promptly taken prisoner by the raiders. However, four of the Germans later tried to escape their captors, resulting in three being shot and killed; the fourth managed to escape. The small scale raids on the Channel Islands caused German disquiet and irritation; in particular the Op Basalt raid, which subsequently prompted a German propaganda communiqué condemning British tactics. The timing of Hitler’s infamous ‘Commando Order’ on 18 October 1942, ordering the annihilation of all men operating on Commando raids against German troops regardless of circumstances, is too striking to overlook. This order was later to have tragic consequences for Pinckney and others.

Philip Pinckney was posted to 2 S.A.S. Regiment in the summer of 1943, shortly after qualifying as a military parachutist at RAF Ringway and in July 1943 took part in SAS operations in Sicily, in advance of the main Allied landings. On the Pinckney Family Tree, John Pinckney writes " He died on 7 Sep 1943 at Baigno, Italy, , at age 28; On 10th July 1943 the S.A.S. went into action in Sicily ahead of the invading armies of the Allies. For fifteen days they marauded behind the German lines. On the German withdrawal to the Italian mainland, the S.A.S. went back to Africa to refit themselves for the next stage.

His final deployment in September 1943, on Operation Speedwell, was a parachute mission into Italy behind enemy lines to interrupt German military rail movements across the Apennine passes. The thirteen men assigned to Op Speedwell were divided into two teams (sticks), one led by Pinckney, and the other team of six led by Captain Patrick Dudgeon MC. Philip was loaded up with several million lira which he was to deliver to the partisans assisting us in German-held territory. He had at this time a cracked spine which was being treated, but he insisted on going with his men, and overruled the doctor who tried to stop him, and who in the end had to apply freezing mixture to deaden the pain. To compound matters his stick was dropped north of Florence into gusty wind, according to another stick member. Lance-Sergeant Stokes, who was also in his stick, recalled later: “He jumped first and I second. I heard his old familiar bellow and saw him vanish through the aperture and I followed hard on his heels. It was a nice night and I could see everyone clearly - just before we landed I swung out of line and started to drift away and the Captain yelled to me: “Watch your drift, Stokes, watch your drift.” I hollered back: “OK, sir.” I then saw him half wave his arm in acknowledgement. That's the last I saw of him as my drift continued, and a few seconds later I landed smack into a house in an Eyetie village. We all got together except for the Captain, and against orders spent an hour and a half looking for him.... There is no doubt at all in my mind that his back gave way when he landed.”

Thus injured, Philip didn't stand a chance. He was captured, so local sources stated, and shot on 7 September 1943, in spite of his uniform, by Italian Carabinieri, and buried at Baigno. On 22nd February 1945 he was reburied in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Il Girone, Florence. Four other members of the Speedwell team were also captured and executed in separate incidents. Captain Pinckney died, aged 28 years.

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Photo sourced from: http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGall ... nckney.jpg
In Memory of Captain Philip Hugh Pinckney (100670), Royal Artillery and 2nd, Special Air Service Regiment, A.A.C. who died age 28 on 07 September 1943. Remembered with honour, Florence War Cemetery

Quintin Theodore Petroe Molesworth Riley

Quintin Riley was the youngest son of Athelstan Riley (1858-1945), and the Hon. Andalusia Louisa Charlotte Georgina Molesworth (died 1912). He was born in 1905 and attended Pembroke College, then Cambridge University. He spent the years 1931 to 1937 on a series of Polar expeditions – the British Arctic Air Route Expedition over 1931-1932; the Arctic expedition to Greenland led by Gino Watkins in 1933; the British Graham Land Expedition led by John Rymill over 1934-1937. In 1938, seeing war looming, he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and in 1940, along with other British Arctic and Antarctic explorers, he volunteered for the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards and fought in Finland through to late 1940.

On returning to the UK after the Winter War ended, he was first appointed to HMS King Alfred (RNVR training establishment, Hove, Sussex) and then almost immediately transferred to work as an Instructor at the Special Warfare School in Scotland. In 1941 he was assigned to HMS President and over 1941-1942, he was an Instructor in the Winter Warfare School in Iceland. (In 1942, Riley found time to marry Dorothy Margaret Croft, eldest daughter of the Rev. R.W. and Mrs Croft, of Kelvedon, Essex. They were married on 21August 1942 in Kelvedon Parish Church, Essex and would go on to have one son, Johnathon.

In 1943 he saw service with Combined Operations Command (he participated in Operation Avalanche, the Allied landings at Salerno, Italy, in Sep 1943) and then late in 1943 he was appointed as Commanding Officer, 30 RM Commando (created by Ian Fleming, this unit morphed into 30 Assault Unit, with Riley remaining the CO through to late 1944). This unit was tasked to move ahead of advancing Allied forces, or to undertake covert infiltrations into enemy territory by land, sea or air, to capture much needed intelligence, in the form of codes, documents, equipment or enemy personnel. They often worked closely with the Intelligence Corps' Field Security sections. Individual troops were present in all operational theatres and usually operated independently, gathering information from captured facilities. Patrick Dalzuil-Job, who was covered in an earlier post, was also ex-5th Battalion and a member of this unit. It is often surmised than Ian Fleming,

In 1944, Riley was transferred to South East Asia and served in Intelligence Division, Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia (SACSEA), Ceylon. Later in 1944, Riley served as Staff Officer, G2 (Intelligence) Division, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). From 1945-1947 he was stationed in Germany, where he spent considerable time liasing with his counterpart in the Finnish Military Headquarters (Finnish Zone of Occupation, headquartered in Stettin).

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Image sourced from: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5 ... SL500_.jpg
“From Pole to Pole: Life of Quintin Riley, 1905-80 (1987)”, written by Johnathon Riley (Quintin Riley’s son)

Cyril Rofé:

….“seldom feels strange in strange countries”. Born in Cairo on April 11, 1916, he was educated at Clifton and Chillon College, trained for the hotel business at the Swiss Hotel School in Lausanne and, after a period at the May Fair Hotel in London, went to the Bristol, in Vienna, where he acquired a love of opera and skiing. He got out ten days after Hitler marched into Austria, and on the outbreak of war volunteered for aircrew. While waiting for training he joined the Scots Guards special ski battalion, which was intended for Finland, and when this was disbanded went into the Air Force and trained as an observer (navigator and bomb aimer). Short, wiry and always determined, he was in the crew of a Wellington bomber of No.40 Squadron which was shot down into the Maas Estuary on, June 11, 1941. He later escaped, made his way through to the Red Army lines, joined and fought with a Cossack unit against the Germans before being flown to Moscow and returned to the UK via Murmansk, after which he joined Air Transport Command.

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Photo sourced from: http://www.farhi.org/images/Cyril_No%20caption.jpg
Cyril Rofé: photo taken in 1951, wearing the tie of the R.A.F. Escaping Society. (The jagged line in the tie, just visible symbolises barbed wire.)

For more on Cyril Rofé, read http://www.farhi.org/Documents/Escape_or_Die.htm or read Paul Brickhill’s book, “Escape or Die.”

Guardsman Oswald Basil Rooney

Oswald Basil (“Micky”) Rooney was born 19-November-1916 at Walton On The Hill, Surrey. He joined 21 Artist Rifles on 21st September 1939 and began Officers training at the Officer Cadet Training Unit, Sandhurst. On 6th February 1940 he transferred to the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards as a volunteer, dropping in rank to Guardsman to do so and going to Chamonix in France with the Battalion for ski training.

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Photo sourced privately from Chris Rooney
Ski-training at Chamonix: Oswald Basil Rooney on the left of the photo

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Photo sourced privately from Chris Rooney
Ski-training at Chamonix: Oswald Basil Rooney at front, Basil O’Brien to Rooney’s right.

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Photo sourced privately from Chris Rooney
Oswald Basil Rooney front right and his mate Basil O'Brien at the back. OBR and Basil joined up in 1939 and they have consecutive army numbers. Basil O'Brian was a rugby playing mate of OBR's at The Harlequins. Basil could ski so he talked OBR into putting his name down "skiing in Chamonix much better than square bashing in London."

He fought over the course of the Winter War between Finland and Russia as a Guardsman in the 5th Battalion, participating in a number of operations against both the Red Army and infrastructure-type targets behind the Soviet lines. As with the rest of the Battalion, Roonet returned to the UK in late 1940 following the end of the Winter War and the conclusion of the peace agreement between the USSR and Finland. In the meantime, while he was training to go to Finland, the London Gazette of 1 March 1940 had advised that “The undermentioned Cadets (Offr. Cadet Trng. Unit, Sandhurst), to be 2nd Lts. 25th Feb. 1940: Inniskilling Fusiliers. Oswald Basil ROONEY (121599)” and he returned to find himself a 2nd Lt, without having completed his Officers training at Sandhurst.

On returning to the UK, Rooney was appointed 2nd Lt with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Omagh and immediately promoted to Capt Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Omagh, based on his extensive combat experience in Finland. Fighting with Osasto Nyrkki in Finland had given Rooney a taste for special operations and in late 1940 he joined No 12 Commando The Irish Commando, Londonderry, reverting in rank to Lieutenant to join the Commandos. On 2-Jun-41 he married Rachel Blair White of Dublin. On 27-Dec-41 he participated in Operation Anklet, the 12 Commando raid which was a part of the main Operation Archery, Lofoten Islands Norway. In Feb-42 he was part of No 12 Commando Small Scale Raiding Force, based in England on the South Coast and also Anderson Manor. On 2-Sep-42 Raid he took part in the raid on Aldenay with MTB 344 - 8 raiders were landed on the rocks beneath the lighthouse. When they returned later they had the enemy's code books and seven prisoners - the lighthouse keepers, radio operators and guards.

For the 3-Oct-42 Operation Basalt on Sark in the Channel Islands there seems to be conflicting information as to whether he was on this raid or not. In a letter in the 1990s he says he wasn't but in an interview in USA in 1945 he says he was. On 11-Nov-42 he took part in Operation Farenheit - The Pointe de Plouezec raid on a signaling station on the French Coast. Among others participating in this raid were Anders Lassen VC., Peter Kemp, Appleyard & Pinckney. In
1942 he was part of the Foretop France (Foretop N Allied 1942 - 1943 NW Europe) Plan to raid U-boat bases on the French coast, abandoned as too impractical); Peter Kemp, Brian Reynolds and Sergeant Nicholson trained the men for the raid. Kemp found Rooney to be "a powerfully built, self confident officer" and that apart from pistol shooting and movement at night "he and his men knew more about the business than I. (Kemp has about 8 pages documenting this raid in his very readable book, “The Thorns of Memory”.

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Photo sourced from: http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGall ... rooney.jpg
Rooney as a Commando Officer

Jan-43 Forefar Raids French coast - there were a number of Raids called Forfar. On 2-Sep-43 Rooney was on the first raid to go into France by Parachute and came out by MTB. On 20-Nov-43 Rooney was posted to the South Wales Borderers, Western Isles of Scotland. According to the SWB records they were in the Western Isles, Scotland for training - they held the 24hr route marching record (at a guess this was training was for "D day as the SWB were assigned a forced march to get inland and relieve the Commandos holding a bridge). On 16-Feb-44 Tooney was posted to 3 SAS (French) at Troon Scotland. He was assigned with training the French SAS--this is where he was awarded the Cross of Lorraine, given to Rachel Rooney by the French Colonel at the handover of 3 SAS after training. On 1-Apr-1944, Rooney was posted to 2 SAS at Troon, Scotland.

Rooney went to France in August 1944 where he broke his back when his parachute became entangled with electricity power lines near Metz in northern France. A jeep also hit the lines and blew up so, with the Germans alerted to their presence, he had little choice but to release himself from his parachute and drop to the ground. Roy Farran later dropped with Rooney's men into the Po valley Northern Italy. After a number of other short-term assignments, Rooney was posted to BAS Washington on 27 March 1945 and, with 3 of “The Originals” of the SAS (SAS Major Mike Sadler, RSM Tait and Sgt. Maj. Rose) he was sent on a lecture tour of the USA. On 1-Jul-1959 Major Rooney relinquished his Commission

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Photo sourced from: http://www.specialforcesroh.com/gallery ... &type=full
Major Oswald Basil Rooney died in December 1995 at Banbury, Oxfordshire, in the UK. Information (with the exception of Rooney’s fictional involvement in the Winter War) and all photos are courtesy of his son, Chris Rooney.

David Stirling

Sir Archibald David Stirling, DSO, OBE, Scots Guards: David Stirling, founder of the SAS, needs very little in the way of introduction. Suffice it to say that as an enlisted member of the Battalion, he was in his element, seeing a great deal of action, gaining a great deal of experience and enjoying himself tremendously. The experience Stirling gained in fighting with the Finnish Army’s Osasto Nyrkki unit made a major contribution to Stirling’s thinking which led to the eventual founding of the British Special Air Service.

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Photo sourced privately from Chris Rooney
Sgt David Stirling, 5th Battalion, Scots Guards

George John Patrick Dominic Townshend, 7th Marquess Townshend

George John Patrick Dominic Townshend (13 May 1916 – 23 April 2010), styled Viscount Raynham until 1921, was a British peer and after WW2, a businessman. He was the only son of John Townshend, the 6th Marquess, who achieved some notoriety after a series of court cases revealed the uncomfortable truth that his wedding in 1905 to George's mother, Gladys Ethel Gwendolen Eugenie Sutherst, was a hard-nosed commercial arrangement. Having fallen on hard times, the 6th Marquess had first sold off parts of his inheritance, including a lease on Raynham Hall, then set off for America – accompanied by a former curate and amateur hypnotist called Robbins, who had some influence over him – to find a rich wife. A Mrs Evelyn Sheffield of Jacksonville, Florida, seemed to fit the bill, but Lord Townshend broke off the engagement when he discovered she was not as rich as she had implied. Mrs Sheffield sued for breach of promise, but the case collapsed when she was revealed to be a former barmaid. Returning to England, Townshend was introduced by an intermediary (who was promised a 10 per cent commission) to a barrister called Sutherst, who agreed to pay off the marquess's debts in return for a marriage that would make Sutherst's daughter a marchioness.

Shortly after the wedding, Sutherst tried to have the 6th Marquess declared insane: a court found him incapable of managing his own financial affairs, but sane enough to remain at liberty, under the care of his wife. The sinister Robbins was then prosecuted by the Marquess's trustees for improperly disposing of Townshend paintings and jewelry. Lady Townshend – who made a career as a writer of "scenarios" for the silent cinema and was sometimes described as the most beautiful woman in England – later wrote of a "curious kink" in the Townshend genes. There had indeed been a number of cases of extreme eccentricity over the centuries. Nevertheless, despite the marriage having been “arranged”, Gladys gave every impression of being genuinely devoted to her husband, and set herself the challenge of restoring his fortunes so that George and his younger sister Elizabeth could be brought up in Raynham Hall. She was successful in this and George would eventually inherit the estate in good order, even though she had to sell some of the family's extensive land holdings elsewhere.

Having displaced as heir presumptive his kinsman General Sir Charles Townshend, hero of the 1915 siege of Kut in Mesopotamia, George duly succeeded (at the age of 6 years) as 7th Marquess and 12th baronet on his father's death in 1921. The young peer's incident-prone childhood and youth were avidly chronicled by the popular press. He was reported to have seen and accurately described "the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall" (the ghost of "Turnip" Townshend's wife, Lady Dorothy Walpole) and to have received letters, signed "a British Communist", threatening to kidnap him – to which his mother responded: "His assailants will have to look out, for he is a very clever little boxer." He survived a near-fatal bout of blood poisoning after being injured playing cricket at Harrow; a serious road accident in which he was the 17-year-old driver; and another smash in 1940 in which a fellow officer, Lord Blythswood, was killed and it was unclear to the coroner which of them had been driving.

The Marquess's 21st birthday in 1937 fell on the day after George VI's Coronation – and although some legal experts said that "coming of age" was achieved on the eve of the actual anniversary, the Lord Chancellor's Office decreed that Townshend could not be summoned to participate in the ceremonies as a peer because it was impossible for him to take his seat in the House of Lords in time. He was, however, entitled to attend as a minor, seated behind the robed peers. By way of compensation, his mother threw what she called an "extra special" party for him at Raynham, involving 600 guests, tenants, schoolchildren, civic dignitaries and – according to one breathless reporter – "the fire brigade chiefs of 12 nations".

Lord Townshend joined the Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry in 1936 (aged 20), and was an ADC to General Sir Edmund Ironside as GOC Eastern Command. He married Elizabeth Pamela Audrey Luby (d. 1989), daughter of Thomas Luby, on 2 September 1939. They had three children. In 1940 he transferred to the Scots Guards and volunteered for its ski battalion, which was formed to fight the Russians in Finland. After training at Chamonix he would serve with the Battalion in Finland, fighting against the Russians for the better part of 1940. The rest of his military service through WW2 seems to have been low-key, with the only recorded incident being a lucky escape in April 1942 when 25 officers and men were killed, and more than 70 injured, by machine-gun fire from a Hurricane aircraft during a demonstration exercise at Imber on Salisbury Plain.

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Photo sourced from: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/arc ... 26734f.jpg
George John Patrick Dominic Townshend, 7th Marquess Townshend

A Norfolk landowner on a grand scale, after the war Townshend devoted himself to the estate and to maintaining the Hall, parts of which were let out as apartments. A countryman at heart despite the growing demands of business life, and proud of his descent from the great 18th-century agriculturalist, he was active in the running of the home farm and at his ease among his farming tenants and neighbours. He entered business as a pioneer of commercial broadcasting and the founder chairman of Anglia Television from 1958 to 1986. Perhaps his exposure to Nokia technology in Finland during the Winter War had some bearing on this. When bids were invited for the East of England television franchise in 1958, Anglia was the most distinctive of four competing consortia. Investors brought together by Townshend included the Norwich Union insurance company, the Manchester Guardian newspaper and two Cambridge colleges. Based in a former agricultural hall in Norwich, Anglia went on air for the first time in autumn 1959, serving homes from Peterborough to the east coast and later extending northwards to Lincolnshire and Humberside.

It developed a reputation for quality that belied its relatively small size – with particular strengths in wildlife and historical documentaries, and original drama. As chairman of Anglia for 28 years, Townshend was a prominent voice in the industry, speaking out (as head of the British Regional Television Association) on behalf of the smaller regional broadcasters when their interests were threatened either by more powerful London-based franchises or by the policies of the Independent Television Authority. He was also a firm upholder of moral standards on the small screen. In 1970 he intervened to stop Anglia showing nude scenes from the erotic musical Oh! Calcutta! in an arts documentary.

Lord Townshend married Elizabeth Luby, daughter of a judicial commissioner in the Indian Civil Service in 1939. They had a son and two daughters; the marriage was dissolved in 1960, and Elizabeth died in 1989. In 1960 he married Ann Darlow, his second wife (died 1988); they had a son and a daughter. In 2004, he married Philippa Swire, mother of the Conservative MP Hugo Swire, who survives him. The heir to Lord Townshend's titles is his elder son Charles, Viscount Raynham, born in 1945. Lord Townshend spoke occasionally in House of Lords debates on agricultural and bloodstock matters; and, among a portfolio of business interests, he became vice-chairman of the Norwich Union insurance company and chairman of its City subsidiary, AP Bank; when AP was sold in 1983 he joined the board of its new owner, Riggs National Bank of Washington, DC. He was also a long-serving director of London Merchant Securities, the property-development empire created by Max (later Lord) Rayne. He was chairman of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, as his mother had been, and a Deputy Lieutenant of the county for a decade until his divorce in 1960. With his second wife, Ann, he established a stud farm for Arab horses and took up stag hunting in Devon.

Lord Townshend died on 23 April 2010. At the time, he was one of the last survivors of the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards.

Captain Frank A L Waldron

Captain Frank Waldron attended Trinity College between 1938 and 1929 where he was a Rowing Blue. He was in the Oxford Air Squadron but became airsick so gave up flying and joined the Scots Guards. He volunteered for the Scots Guards 5th Ski battalion which existed Jan - Mar 1940. He then was in the 2nd battalion and sent to the Middle East. Apparently wayward unconventional officers ended up in the 2nd. On March 6 1943 he was involved in the Battle of Medenine. In September 1943, on the embarkation of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards for Salerno, he is listed as the Support Company Anti-Tank Platoon Officer. He returned to Scotland before joining the Armoured Division in Jan 1945.

Lt-Col Robert (“Bobby”) Samuel Best, the 8th Lord Wynford

Robert Samuel Best was born in Calcutta on January 15 1917, the eldest son of Samuel John Best - second son of Lt-Col the 5th Lord Wynford - and his wife Evelyn, a daughter of Maj-Gen Sir Edward Sinclair May. Bobby's uncle Philip, who became the 6th Lord Wynford in 1904, was awarded a DSO when serving in the Artillery in the First World War; his uncle Matthew ended his Navy career as Admiral Sir Matthew Best, DSO and Bar.The family descends from the lawyer Sir William Draper Best, who became Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in 1824 and on his retirement from the Bench was created a peer as Baron Wynford of Wynford Eagle, Dorset - in 1829.

Bobby was educated at Eton and the RMC, Sandhurst, and in 1937 was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He joined the 1st Battalion, with whom he was subsequently posted to France, as part of 2 Division in the BEF, in September 1939. Early the next year, he took over as Signal Officer, 1 RWF, at Mouchin, close to the border of France and Belgium; but then in February 1940 he answered the request for volunteers to form a ski battalion - the 5th (SR) Battalion, the Scots Guards - to defend Finland against the invading Red Army. This was a unit composed of experienced skiers and mountaineers, all of whom had to resign their commissions in order to join. However, when neutral Sweden refused the British permission to cross their territory into Finland - and after snow-training at Chamonix - the unit was disbanded.
Best was re-granted his commission in April 1940, and the next month went back to France, returning to the BEF via a reinforcement camp at Rouen. But as the Germans cut off the BEF forward areas, reinforcements were ordered to make their way by route march to Cherbourg and thence home across the Channel. Best arrived back in Britain in early June 1940. He rejoined 1 RWF as it reformed at Consett, in Yorkshire, and was deployed on coastal defence duties, with HQ at Malton. He was appointed regimental adjutant later that month, at the start of a hectic period of re-organisation, re-equipment and re-training. In the summer of 1941, he was appointed GSO3 (SD) HQ Home Forces; and he attended the Junior Staff School at Brasenose College, Oxford, from January to April 1942. From July 1942 until March the next year, he was GSO3 (Ops) HQ 1st Army, and was involved in the planning of the Torch landings in North Africa.

He embarked for North Africa with HQ 1st Army in the autumn of 1942, landing at Algiers. In January the next year, he was posted as liaison officer to the Free French 2 Corps, and was then GSO2 (L) HQ French 19 Corps, Tunisia, March to May 1943. As the Allied assault intensified on Axis positions in Tunisia, from Medjez el Bab to Tunis, Best was with the Free French during the action which led to the capture of Jebel Zagouan, an important high-point overlooking the route to Tunis, and it was here that he won his Croix de Guerre with Silver Star. Subsequently, Best was GSO2, HQ 4 British Division, in North Africa and Italy from May 1943 to June 1944, when he joined the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. By now he was Lord Wynford, having inherited the peerage on his father's death in 1943.

In the second half of June 1944, with the battles of Cassino and the fall of Rome behind them, the Allies were now pressing on northwards for Florence. The Germans, in the meantime, had established a fresh defensive line across Italy, running westwards from the Apennines north-east of Perugia. The German line took advantage of Lake Trasimene, with particularly strong defensive positions to the south-west of the lake. Fighting in the area was bitter and in the course of it, in command of A Company of the 1st Battalion, the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, in 4 Division in an attack on German positions to the west of Lake Trasimene, Wynford was so severely wounded that he lost his left arm. On recovery and repatriation, Wynford was GSO2 Instructor at the Staff College, Camberley, in 1945-46, and then DAQMG Q (Ops) 5 at the War Office until March 1948.

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Photo sourced from: http://images.npg.org.uk/800_800/4/6/mw52846.jpg
Lt-Col Robert (“Bobby”) Samuel Best, the 8th Lord Wynford. Photo by Bassano, vintage print, 25 July 1942

He re-joined 1 Royal Welch Fusiliers in BAOR as a company commander in 1950, and went to Jamaica with them in March the next year, at which time he variously served in the West Indies - Jamaica, Grenada and the Windward and Leeward islands. In response to growing tension in the region, in early May 1951 Wynford was flown with his company to Grenada, and then in mid-June with half his company to Antigua. In both cases, Wynford acted as military adviser to the Governors concerned, and in neither case was there any bloodshed - because, it was noted, Wynford's company "set such a steady example to the people". Later that year, after Jamaica had been hit by a hurricane, Wynford led another company in carrying out all manner of tasks in the worst affected area of the island - from casualty and road clearance to food delivery, tent pitching and much else. As a result, that part of the island was the first to get back on its feet. For his services as company commander there, Wynford was appointed MBE in 1952. The citation for the award paid tribute to Wynford's "excellent leadership, organisation and personal example" and to his "marked ability to get civilians and the military to work together".

He returned to Britain from the West Indies in January 1953 and attended the Joint Services Staff College. He became Military Assistant to General Sir Gerald Templer, High Commissioner and Director of Operations, Malaya, in September 1953, remaining with Templer for two years during the later stages of the jungle war against Communist insurgents. Wynford was then second-in-command 4 RWF (TA) at Wrexham in 1955-56, and Officer Commanding Depot RWF, in the rank of major, in 1956-57. During the latter period, he helped to develop the collection of regimental items which was later put on display in the Eagle Tower of Caernarfon Castle. His final appointment was GSO1 (Directing Staff) Joint Services College, from 1957 to 1960 (Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 1957). Lord Wynford retired from the Army in 1960 in order to take charge of the running of his family's agricultural estates in Dorset. He became a Deputy Lieutenant for Dorset, and a stalwart of the Country Landowners' Association and of the Bath and West Show.

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Photo sourced from: http://images.npg.org.uk/800_800/9/4/mw139794.jpg
Baron and Lady Wynford with their daughter by Bassano, whole-plate film negative, 25 July 1942

He married, in 1941, Anne Daphne Mametz, daughter of Maj-Gen J R Minshull-Ford, DSO, MC. They had a son and two daughters. Their son, John Philip Robert Best, who was born in 1950, succeeded to the peerage on the death of the 8th Lord Wynford in 2002 at the age of 85.

The Canadian Volunteers:

At least six Canadians who at the time were serving with the 2nd Manchesters volunteered for service in Finland with the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards. Brief bio’s of theses six men are included below.

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Sourced privately
Attached photo (L-to-R): Arnold ‘Slim’ Carver, Charles ‘Norm’ Eisener, Jack Foster, Donald Morrison, Richard Serrick, Edward Vere-Holloway

Arnold ‘Slim’ Carver: Italy Cross, Nova Scotia Canada: Enlisted in the 2nd Manchesters April 1939. Volunteered for 5th (Ski) Battalion Scots Guards & returned to the Manchesters after unit was disbanded. Served in France & safely evacuated from Dunkirk. In 1941 transferred to the West Nova Scotia Regiment serving in Sicily, Italy & Northwest Europe. Wounded late in the war, Arnold was Acting Company Sergeant Major at time of discharge in 1945. Passed away December 1988, Bridgewater NS - Age 69.

Charles ‘Norm’ Eisener: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Canada: Enlisted in the 2nd Manchesters March 1939. Volunteered for 5th (Ski) Battalion Scots Guards & returned to the Manchesters after unit was disbanded. Served in France & safely evacuated from Dunkirk. In 1941 transferred to the Canadian Army serving in Sicily, Italy & Northwest Europe. Served as Field Marshall Montgomery’s driver during the Northwest Europe campaign. Passed away Middleton, NS 1995 - Age 78

Jack Foster: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada: Enlisted in the 2nd Manchesters March 1939. Volunteered for 5th (Ski) Battalion Scots Guards & returned to the Manchesters after unit was disbanded. Served in France & safely evacuated from Dunkirk. Reported to be serving in the Merchant Navy at the end of the war.

Donald Morrison: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada: Enlisted in the 2nd Manchesters March 1939. Volunteered for 5th (Ski) Battalion Scots Guards & returned to the Manchesters after unit was disbanded. Served in France & safely evacuated from Dunkirk. Serving in the Palestine Police Force at the end of the war.

Richard Serrick: Jollimore, Nova Scotia Canada: Enlisted in the 2nd Manchesters November 1938. Volunteered for 5th (Ski) Battalion Scots Guards & returned to the Manchesters after unit was disbanded. Wounded in France May 1940. Transferred to the Royal Artillery in 1941, served the remainder of the war on the Burma front and returning home in 1946. Also served in the RCA from 1949-1956. Passed away April 2007 New Glasgow, NS. - Age 88

Edward Vere-Holloway: Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada: Enlisted in the 2nd Manchesters March 1939. Volunteered for 5th (Ski) Battalion Scots Guards though he did not return to the Manchesters after unit was disbanded.

The list of men in Left Flank Company posted earlier includes 1 confirmed Canadian (Pte Neville, from Ottawa) also from the Manchesters, as well as a possible a 2nd (who gives his home address as c/o Bank of Montreal in London which indicates some sort of Canadian affiliation).

And that brings to an end the descriptions, such as they are, of the men of the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards. There are many more whose names I haven’t been able to find, many of whom no doubt went on to bigger and better things, many of whom undoubtedly died or were wounded in WW2. Although the Battalion was a temporary one and short-lived as a unit, they were certainly an elite unit, made up of men very different to the norm. They were men who had all volunteered for an unusual and highly dangerous assignment where they would be on their own, fighting an unknown enemy in an unknown country. Their backgrounds were numerous and varied but they almost all had a sense of adventure, of wanting to do something different and dangerous. Some of them were experienced military men, many were not. The record of their actions both before the war and after they moved on to other units speaks for itself about what sort of men they were and what they were capable of.

Next Post: The 5th Battalion Scots Guards in the Winter War
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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The 5th Battalion, Scots Guards in the Winter War

Post by CanKiwi2 » 29 Aug 2012 19:23

The 5th Battalion, Scots Guards in the Winter War

Following completion of their three weeks of ski training at Chamonix (which incidentally proved to be a waste of time as in Finland the Battalion was re-equipped with Maavoimat skis and trained as per Maavoimat ski-doctrine), the 5th Battalion returned by train across France to the UK on 11th March 1940 and promptly embarked on the Polish passenger ship MS Batory (now operating under the Finnish flag and busily shipping foreign volunteers to Finland). The Batory sailed to Belfast, where she linked up with a small convoy of ships carrying volunteers from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Rhodesia and Ireland together with cargo ships carrying arms, aircraft and munitions as well as food.

The Norwegians and the Swedes, seriously concerned about the threat that the British and French posed, refused permission for the British and Commonwealth troops to disembark at Narvik or Lygenfjiord (although material supplies were allowed to be unloaded at the Norwegian posts for transshipment to Finland). The troopships meanwhile had to continue on to Petsamo and very soon, the wildly disparate units of the 5th Battalion Scots Guards, the 28th Maori Battalion, the Boer De La Rey Battalion and the Irish Volunteers (the 1st Irish (Wolfe Tone) Battalion and the 2nd Irish (Michael Collins) Battalion) were being disembarked onto Finnish soil and moved south as rapidly as transport could be made available.

After some discussion within the Maavoimat and then with the Battalion CO, Lt.Col. Coates, it was decided that the best use of this Battalion would be to attach the unit in its entirety to Osasto Nyrkki, the elite unit of the rather secretive Maavoimat “Special Forces” units. The decision made, the Maavoimat Osasto Nyrkki instructors began an intensive six week training program in skiing, Maavoimat weapons and equipment, combat tactics, shooting, combined arms operations with artillery and close air support, explosives and demolition, with the whole exercise culminating in an even more intensive one week parajaeger course. The Maavoimat training was tough, but with very very few exceptions, the men of the 5th Battalion were made of stern stuff, a tough adventurous group prepared for any hardship and up to any challenge. They took to the intense Maavoimat training, absorbing everything they were being taught – and their instructors were all men who had spent the prior three months on the frontlines fighting the Red Army. They spoke with the voice of experience – and enough of them spoke at least rudimentary English or French that the lessons sank in.

So did the impression of the tough Finnish soldier. On the cross-country military-skiing training, the British (who had largely learnt a very basic style of cross country skiing from the French at Chamonix) found it impossible to keep up with their Maavoimat instructors to start with, a task made even more difficult by the heavy loads of equipment they began to have to carry and the tactical exercises they were tasked with. Likewise, the Maavoimat shooter training impressed all of the British, including Maxwell. They took to the weapons the Finns issued them with – the Lahti-Saloranta 7.62mm SLR, the Suomi submachineguns as well as the Sampo machineguns and the new Maavoimat grenade launchers – at once, and were even more impressed by the Maavoimat combat range training, the close-quarter battle training, the Maavoimat’s man-portable radios, the ability to call on artillery and close air support, the tactical flexibility and speed of manouvre that was expected (and demanded). It was a radical change for the men of the 5th Battalion, but they absorbed their training and pushed on.

It help of course that the Battalion was very much an elite with around 50% of the “enlisted” men and NCOs being junior Officers or Officer Cadets. These largely came from the British public school system, with all that this implies (“The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton….”). They certainly weren’t well-trained officers in the sense that the Maavoimat trained their officers, but they were both intelligent and highly motivated and learnt fast. The Maavoimat training was absorbed with a sponge-like intensity and the results would speak for themselves. The Battalion adapted quickly to Osasto Nyrkki’s approach to war, a good indication of which is seen in the interview with Carol Mather in the preceding post.


The 5th Battalion, Scots Guards maintained an ancient British tradition … slaughtering the enemy, whoever they were……

But before this topic is wrapped up completed, one last anecdote is telling: Following the return of the 5th Battalion from Finland in late 1940, a dowager was hosting a garden party for the returned Officers. She cornered a young subaltern and said. “It must have been terrible for you fighting those ghastly Bolsheviks. What was it like?” There was a long moment’s silence as the young subaltern stood there with a pensive expression on his face and a cucumber sandwich in his hand before at last replying in a somewhat apologetic tone, “The noise, the people! And those Bolsheviks were so very working class.” Even after a year of intense combat, the traditional British sense of understated humour was still hard at work.


“Hearts of Olden Glory” - Officers and men of the 5th Battalion, Scots Guards

There's thunder clouds round the hometown bay
As I walk out in the rain
Through the sepia showers
And the photoflood days
I caught a fleeting glimpse of life
And though the water's black as night
The colours of Scotland
Leave you young inside

There must be a place, Under the sun
Where hearts of olden glory grow young

There's a vision coming soon
Through the faith that cleans your wound
Hearts of olden glory will be renewed
Down the lens where the headlands stand
I feel a healing through this land
A cross for a people
Like the wind through your hands

There must be a place, Under the sun
Where hearts of olden glory grow young

There must be a place, Under the sun
Where hearts of olden glory grow young


That said, we will now lay the 5th Battalion Scots Guards to rest until we get to the actual fighting of the Winter War.

Next: The Foreign Press in the Winter War
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 30 Aug 2012 17:18

The International News Media and its impact on the dispatching of Volunteer Units

In the past few Posts, we have looked at the larger volunteer units that were dispatched to Finland or made available to the Finnish Government, largely for political reasons and based on the ties of the countries concerned with Finland – the Italian Alpini Division, the Spanish Blue Division and the Hungarian Division being cases in point. The Scandanavian Division was formed from volunteers in Finland’s immediate neighbours – Sweden, Norway and Denmark outraged at the attack on a fellow Scandanavian country. The Polish Divisions were the result of different factors – the pre-war agreements between the two countries to assist one another and the rescue of large numbers Polish military personnel from Latvia and Lithuania being two of these. This, combined with Polish outrage at the “stab in the back” of the Soviet Union, were reason enough.

The first true “volunteer” unit, the ANZAC Battalion, was driven by different motivational factors, as we have seen. New Zealand had almost no commercial ties and only recently establish government-to-government links of any sort with Finland at the time, and the decision to send a volunteer unit was about as altruistic as any political decision ever was. The Boer “De La Rey Volunteer Battalion” from South Africa was in its turn the result of internal political factors coming into play within South Africa together with historic (and remembered, at least among the Boers) ties between the Boer and the Finns dating back to the days of the Boer War. However, the next three Volunteer Units to arrive, all from the British Commonwealth (28th Maori Battalion from New Zealand, the Atholl Highlanders and the 5th Battalion (SR) Scots Guards from the UK) were by and large dispatched as a result of a surge in popular demand for the Governments of the countries concerned to provide tangible military assistance to Finland.

These three Battalions were soon followed by others from within the British Commonwealth – the Australian 1st Volunteer (Royal New South Wales Lancers) Battalion, the Rhodesian Selous Volunteer Battalion (which included many South Africans), a further Battalion of South Africans sponsored rather more officially by the Government, the Canadian Volunteer Battalion made up of approximately 1,500 Canadian volunteers, almost all of whom had no (or very limited) military experience and a Canadian Forestry Battalion. Arriving in Finland at more or less the same time were the two Battalions of Irish Volunteers, the American Volunteer Battalion, otherwise known as Carlson’s Rangers and led by an ex-Marine Major, Evans F Carlson. And lastly, the Finnish-American Legion (Amerikansuomalainen Legioona or ASL), a battalion-sized unit made up of Canadians and Americans of Finnish heritage. Finally, there was a unit of South American volunteers formed from volunteers from the Spanish-speaking South American states, the Regimiento de Voluntarios Bolívar (again, a Battalion-sized unit formed primarily of volunteers from the Argentine, Paraguay and Chile but with a smattering of volunteers from other South American countries).

Finally, last to arrive and perhaps most unexpectedly of all, came a sizable Brigade-sized group of some 5,000 Japanese volunteers from the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Special Naval Landing Forces (Kaigun Tokubetsi Rikusentai). Three units in their entirety “volunteered” to fight in Finland – the 6th Kure SNLF, the 2nd Maizuru SNLF and the parachute-trained 3rd Yokusuka SNLF together with supporting units. We will take a look at each of these units in turn, but before we do, a quick look at what drove this variety of volunteer units from within the British Commonwealth, the USA and South America is in order (the Japanese “volunteers” fall into a category of their own and will be looked at in detail when we cover them, together with Japanese assistance to Finland).

By and large, the raising and dispatch of these volunteer Battalions from the British Commonwealth, the USA and South America was driven by a combination of the huge public surge in support for Finland that occurred when news of the Soviet attack on Finland arrived followed closely by news of the early and completely unexpected Finnish successes against the Red Army. At first, this public support took the form of expressions of outrage which rapidly turned to fund-raising and relief efforts. The first calls for outright military assistance were made in December 1939 and then, as the news of the dispatch of the ANZAC Volunteer Battalion filled the news along with stories of the Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Polish and Scandinavian volunteer Divisions, there grew a demand among the British, British Commonwealth and American public that the British Commonwealth should do no less. The news media world-wide played a significant part in fuelling this demand. The successes of the Finns in holding the Red Army to a standstill in the heavy fighting on the Karelian Isthmus, followed by the defeat of major Red Army forces in Eastern Karelia and in the Arctic created an image of a gallant Finland fighting ferociously and successfully to hold of the ravening hordes of the Red Army.

The at-times euphoric dispatches from Finland made headlines regularly: a dispatch from the New York Times reporter, Harold Denny, filled the headlines across Manhattan – “FINNS VICTOR ON CENTRAL FRONT …. GAINS ON SOVIET SOIL REPORTED BY FINNS …. 30,000 RUSSIANS DEAD.” From Rovienemi, a mile and a half from the Arctic Circle, Virginia Cowles, the svelte blonde Bostonian reporter, filed a typical dispatch for the London Sunday Times on a December attack on the Red Army’s 44th Division. “For four miles the roads and forests were strewn with the bodies of men and horses: with wrecked tanks, field kitchens, trucks, gun-carriages, maps, books and articles of clothing. The corpses were frozen as hard as petrified wood and the color of mahogany.” Another well-known american journalist, Martha Gellhorn, wrote that “….I live in a world where it is almost always night, a world of blued headlamps and white painted tanks, armoured cars, trucks and staff cars driven by wraiths in white camoflauge suits as gunflashes from the Finnish artillery batteries burn like summer lightning across the night sky. It is a night war fought in snow and ice with unending forests hiding the armies …. Too fantastic to be true ….” Her dispatch concluded “It is safe to say that the Finns have a highly trained Army, good troops helped by knowledge of the terrain they fight in and with the determination of those who fight to defend their own soil.”

With the Phony War in France dragging on, the world was hungry for such news. Day by day, from Stockholm to Paris, London to New York, Tokyo to Sydney, an avid readership followed the fortunes of the Finns. The enterprising Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) through it’s correspondent in Finland, William L. White, had even brought the war into every American home over the Radio: regular news reports were heard by telephone line from the defensive positions on the Karelian Isthmus to Helsinki, thence by submarine cable to Stockholm, and finally by Swedish land-line and submarine cable across Germany to the powerful short-wave transmitter at Geneva. There were many others besides these well-known “names” in war reporting as we will see, and their ability to report on the war was facilitated and supported by the Finns, who were prepared and organized to deal with a sudden influx of foreign press correspondents and war reporters.

The War Correspondents in Finland to a man (and woman) supported the Finnish fight, and in this they commanded their public. World-wide, the public responded, pressuring their Governments to do something, anything, to assist the gallant Finns. And the Governments, as governments are wont to do in a democracy when pressured by public opinion, responded. Public pressure in democracies has its own demands, and governments had to at least be seen to do something. The result was aid in the form of whatever military equipment could be spared, while in the case of the smaller countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia, South America and even in the United States, small volunteer units to fight in Finland were raised. This in turn created more news for the war correspondents, more stories about “our boys at the front,” more human interest and a greater readership. The ongoing military successes of the Finns in holding of the Red Army, and even driving them back, provided a positive feedback loop that generated every more pressure to continue supporting the Finns.

This was all good news for Finland, but the always positive portrayal of the Finnish fight in the international news media was no accident. Aside from the natural inclinations of the newspapers, radio and cinema-news media in the western democracies to support the “gallant under-dog”, it was largely due to the work of the Valtioneuvoston Tiedotuskeskus (VTK, or State Information Centre), which despite it’s name was actually a military sub-unit within the Propagandaliitto organization (or more accurately translated, “Propaganda League”, which despite it’s non-military name and ostensibly civilian nature was under the direct command of the Finnish General Headquarters. In the late 1930’s, largely as a result of the very effective manipulation of the media that had taken place by the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and an evaluation of this as compared to the approach of the Spanish Nationalists to the news media, the Maavoimat’s Experimental Unit had identified to the Finnish General Headquarters that there was a need for a distinct unit to manage propaganda and news effectively in the event of a war, particularly in view of the ability of the Left and the Soviet Union to manipulate the media. This was a new and fairly radical proposal for the era, albeit an area that the Soviet Union and Communist Parties and left wing organizations world wide had experience in.

For the Finnish military. the Spanish Civil War had been a crucible of ideas, concepts and tactics, largely as a result of the participation of a large group of Finnish volunteers known as Pohjan Pojat (“The Boys from the North”), and commanded by Eversti Hans Kalm, who had commanded an identically named unit in Estonia in the War of Independance. A competent military commander and a virulent anti-communist, Eversti Kalm led Pohjan Pojat in Spain with the same verve and enthusiasm with which he had led his unit in Estonia. One of the many concepts that had emerged in Finnish military thinking out of this crucible was that of the “Tietoasota” - the “Information War” – where the foreign news media would be fed specific propaganda material in order to influence the political situation and to counter anticipated Soviet propaganda efforts. As was articulated by the Maavoimat’s Experimental Unit, the Nationalists in Spain had suffered setbacks due to their handling of the foreign press. With the backing of Germany and Italy, this was not a major issue for the Nationalists – but in the case of Finland it could be critical to gaining support from Britain, France and the USA – the only countries other than Germany that counted in terms of countering any threat from the Soviet Union. In this, the Experimental Unit also looked not just at newspapers and magazines – the traditional media – but also at the fast developing radio and film technology which allowed the dissemination of material with a far greater “gut impact” than the written word. This, the Experimental Unit theorized, would result in a war of information far different even than that of twenty years previously – and how Finland was portrayed in the international media could have a major bearing on the willingness of foreign governments to provide assistance in the event of a war.

In the first two decades of the twentieth century, the concept of public relations was largely unknown, and while censorship of the news had been practiced in WW1, the actual manipulation of news for military purposes was not the art that it would become in WW2. Indeed, the new field of advertising (reklaami) was so new that at the time there wasn’t even a word in Finnish to describe it until 1928 when the word “mainos” won in a competition to find the best word to describe advertising. Several advertising agencies were however established in Finland in the 1920’s. In 1923 the Import Industry set up an Advertising Centre (Teollisuuden Ilmoituskeskus) and in 1924 the very first Public Relations Office (Liiketaloudillinen Neuvontatoimisto) – “counseling office for business administration” – was established. But the idea of consulting companies was too new and very soon it was converted into a regular advertising agency. The 1920’s and 1930’s were a golden age for the advertising industry. Companies established advertising departments, seminars on advertising were arranged, books on advertising theory were published, several agencies were established, and in 1928 the first association of people in the advertising business (Reklaamimiesta Kerho – “Club of Advertising Men”) was established.

The Finnish military were certainly not behind in considering the uses of propaganda – in earlier posts we have already looked at the magazines and papers put out by the Suojeluskuntas and Lotta Svard organization. In 1934, propaganda issues of the Finnish Armed Forces were brought to a new level when an Information Centre (Sanomakeskus) was established in The Ministry of Defence. In the late 1930’s, with the situation in Europe growing more unstable and the threats from the USSR growing more overt, the Maavoimat’s Experimental Unit, as one of a number of recommendations emerging from early studies of the Spanish Civil War, recommended the setting up of a larger and more comprehensively organized military unit to manage the news media in the event of a war, with specific reference to the successes of the Republican side in manipulating the news media. At the same time, a number of Ministries within the Finnish civil service had already begun setting up their own Press Offices. In the Spring of 1937 the General Headquarters had responded by creating a distinct Unit made up of Finnish news, advertising and cinematic executives and personnel together with a small number of Finnish novelists and writers. This unit was to be responsible for carefully manipulating and feeding the Finnish interpretation of events to foreign journalists as well as communicating to the general public of Finland.

The unit was ostensibly a voluntary civilian volunteer group set up under the name Propagandaliitto (‘Propaganda League”) but was in a reality under the direct and thinly disguised control of the General Headquarters. Media, Advertising and Cinematic personnel within the Suojeluskuntas and the Reserves were transferred in to this specialist unit and every effort was made to recruit additional personnel from these industries. This included women and the unit was rapidly brought up to strength – and beyond, as the threat from the USSR became more overt. In late 1937 the first training sessions in war propaganda and the manipulation of the international news media took place, with the unit developing its own training materials and approach. These included guidelines to Officers on dealing with Foreign correspondents, the setting up of a Press Centre in key locations and the provision of Guides and transport/drivers and plans as to how Finland was to be portrayed to the media and what information needed to be concealed – in particular, that to do with weapons and armaments. There was concern that if Finland portrayed itself as being to well-equipped, aid might not be forthcoming and there was therefore a deliberate underplaying of Finland’s capabilities throughout the Winter War, and indeed WW2 for that matter. Overwhelming victories were for example always played down as being the result of mistakes made by the enemy and “fortunate circumstances” or “officers and men acting on their own initiative when as opportunity was spotted” rather than as a result of well thought out plans, adequate training and preparation and outstanding weapons.

Finland was perhaps the first military in the world to actively involve the commercial advertising industry in the planning and preparation of war propaganda and techniques for preparing and disseminating the intended viewpoint. It was an area that the Finnish advertising industry had some relevant expertise in - in the early stages of public relations in Finland, advertising agencies performed most of what we now consider public relations duties. In Finland, the 1920s and 1930s were major milestone decades for the development of both the cinematic industry and the advertising industry. In 1922 for example, a propaganda film extolling Finland was shown all over the world and was a great success for Finland. Likewise, as we have seen, the marketing of Finnish forestry products had been an international success – as had been the preliminary marketing campaign for the 1940 Olympics in Helsinki.

(Please note that while the source for the information below was Harri Anttonen’s website which contains comprehensive information on the Finnish military, I’ve made some adjustments for the purposes of my alternative history – for the original material, please refer to http://www.oocities.org/finnmilpge/fmp_tk41_44.html)

On setting up Propagandaliitto, three sub-units were formed under the newly appointed Propaganda Chief of the Finnish General Headquarters, Eversti K. Lehmus. These were:

Valtioneuvoston Tiedotuskeskus (VTK, or State Information Centre): This unit was responsible for collecting, packaging and disseminating information from internal and international sources and distributing media releases to domestic and foreign news media either directly or via a sub-unit, the Finnish News Agency (Suomen Tietotoimisto or STT). VTK would also be responsible for utilising the Finnish cinematic industry to prepare short news features on the progress of the fighting (which were to be made available to foreign news media at no cost).

Puolustusministeriön Tiedostustoimisto (Information Office of the Ministry of Defence): This unit concentrated on “assisting and guiding” foreign journalists in the event of a war. News media “minders” were to be specially selected for their ability to work easily with foreign journalists and to ensure that the image conveyed was that which the Finnish military wished to be conveyed in the event of a war. It was stressed to “minders” that manipulation of the media should not be overt but carried out subtly, as much as possible by letting the “facts” speak for themselves. Tiedotusupseeri (Information Officers) appointed to work with the foreign press had a remarkably fluid role and great care was taken to appoint personnel with the characteristics necessary to work comfortably with foreigners. As such, Tiedotusupseeri tended to be rather less taciturn than the norm, and included a large number of women, all of whom had to have completed military training. In addition, each Army Group had an Information Officer who was responsible for facilitating the access of the foreign press within the specific Army Group.

Päämajan Propagandaosasto (Propaganda Detachment of the General HQ): This unit collected photos, films and other news material and compiled official reports on military happenings for dispatch to the VTK. It was also responsible for the preparation of Propaganda material directed at the enemy.

Shortly before the outbreak of the Winter War, it was decided to institute a minor name change to Päämajan Propagandaosasto. In a nutshell, the word "propaganda" was very much becoming a term with negative connotations in Finland due to Soviet actions, coming to mean only twisted and false information. It was decided that it’s use was to be dropped. Propaganda administration and all propaganda units were ordered to use the word "tiedotus" (information) instead of "propaganda". Päämajan Propagandaosasto was promptly renamed Päämajan Tiedotusosasto, which name remained throughout the Winter War and remainder of World War 2.

The new units gained their early expertise in promoting Finland abroad, with very real experience gained after Finland was awarded the Olympic Games for the year 1940. As the pressure from the Soviet Union grew ever more threatening over 1939, Propagandaliitto was one of the very first units to be mobilized. They immediately went on the offensive, concentrating on France, Britain, Germany, Italy and the USA – in other words, the major powers that might exert pressure on the USSR in favor of Finland – and in neighbouring Sweden to lesser effect (unfortunately many in Sweden still at that time saw Finland through the spectacles of the Swedish left’s view of the Finnish Civil War, a militaristic country with Marshal Mannerheim as a potential dictator, comparing the Suojeluskuntas to the Italian fascists and the German Nazis and viewing Finland’s failure to give in to the Soviet Unions demands as “warmongering”).

The overall result world-wide was a sudden series of articles and news releases portraying Finland in a favorable light percolating into the media in these countries from various sources. The lead-up to the 1940 Helsinki Olympics was utilized heavily, while at the same time Finland’s trading partners were approached and asked to relay Finland’s concern’s to their political representatives. At the same time of course, Finland was attempting to place large orders for military equipment and the contacts made in this way were also leveraged to the extent possible. Within North America (and elsewhere), the leaders of organizations within the large Finnish communities in both the USA and Canada were contacted by Finland’s diplomatic representatives and asked to assist in promoting assistance to Finland – with some degree of success.

The overall end result was that by the time the Winter War broke out, there was a vague awareness of Finland as a rather pleasant and hard-working little county somewhere up there in Scandinavia where “people like us” lived, which “paid their debts on time” and which was under threat from the Soviet Union – a country allied closely with Nazi Germany. At the same time, Propagandaliitto had been working furiously on the details of the “propaganda war” to be fought should the Soviet Union attack. The result surpassed all projections as the newly created units approached their responsibilities with a creativeness and ability to think “outside the box” that rather definitively resulted in Finland winning the “propaganda war” that was fought in the media world-wide in parallel to the Winter War. It would be a far different result for Finland than that of the Nationalists in Spain.

Tiedotuskomppania, TtusK (Information Companies)

Within the military, Information Warfare was also given a heightened priority. Each Army Group had an Information Company (Tiedotuskomppani, TtusK) assigned but under the overall command of the Information Detachment of the General HQ. These companies tasks were two fold and included both the collection and dissemination of information. On the one hand they produced written and broadcast news and reports, bulletins, photos and film footage for passing to HQ for further use. On the other hand, they arranged film shows and entertainment on the front for the troops where possible, and also were responsible for spreading Finnish propaganda amongst the enemy troops by loudspeakers and via leaflets. Within each company, there was usually a detachment responsible for psychological warfare – generally with the aim of terrifying the enemy troops and lowering their morale. These sections often worked with special detachments of troops assigned to carry out missions specifically aimed at terrifying the enemy.

The spreading of leaflets was carried out in a number of ways - with special "propaganda mortars", leaving them in suitable places on the front such as pinned to the bodies of dead Red Army Soldiers or delivering them via Ilmavoimat units which dropped large amounts of propaganda leaflets over the course of the war. Over the course of the war it was found that loudspeaker propaganda (both voice and music) sooner or later caused Soviet counter-measures, which usually included severe shooting with all available weapons. It was therefore not very popular among Finnish soldiers and was soon dropped.

Another function of the Information Companies prior to the Winter War was to train Officers, and Commanding Officers in particular, in how to deal with the foreign press in the event of a war. Such training was cursory at best, as it was expected that the Information Officers that would be assigned to each foreign journalist would act as a “filter,” with the “language barrier” being used deliberately to assist in this tactic. As it turned out, this was not really needed – foreign journalists in the Winter War tended to lap up the typically Finnish taciturn understatement, with the Information Officers doing their best to supply the additional background and further information needed as “filler” material for the correspondents.

Personnel of the information units consisted completely of reservists of whom many were well known in the Finnish advertising, newspaper and cinema world. Company Commanding Officers were mostly acknowledged editors-in-chief or highly trained mass media professionals. As with many of the rear area units within the Finnish Armed Forces, some 75% of the personnel of the Tiedotuskomppania were Lottas. At the start of the Winter War, there were 12 Information Companies in existence, some of which were not assigned to an Army Group but rather had a “floating” role – to be used as the situation demanded.

Each Information Company was organized as follows:
.
Tiedotuskomppani HQ – 25 pers
1x Komppanianpäällikkö (Company CO - Reserve officer)
2x Rintamalehden Toimittaja (Front Newspaper Journalist)
2x Kuulutustekstin Laatija (Order/Bulletin Text Composer)
6x Rintamakuuluttaja (Front Announcer)
2x Kuulutinteknikko (Loudspeaker Technician)
6x Rintamaopas (Front Guide)
6 x Rintatiedotusupseeri (Front Information Officers)

(Note that the Front Guides (Rintamaopas) and Information Officers (Rintatiedotusupseeri) with the Company HQ and many of the photographers with the Photo Lab were largely for the purposes of assisting foreign media in their news reporting. Over the course of the Winter War, every effort was made to “assist” the foreign press. As it turned out, very little guidance was needed as the foreign press were almost unanimously determined to help Finland and often sought guidance on how this could be best achieved).

3 x Tiedotusjoukkue (TtusJ) (Information Platoon) – 3 x 21 pers
1x Joukkueenjohtaja (Platoon Leader – Reserve Officer)
10x Rintamakirjeenvaihtaja (Front Correspondent)
4x Rintamaopas (Front Guide)
2x Rintamaradioreportteri (Front Radio Reporter)
4x Radioteknikko (Radio Technician)

Valokuvalaboratorio (Photo Laboratory) – 17 pers
1 x Laboratorion hoitaja (Laboratory Keeper)
4x Kuvateknikko (Photo Technician)
2x Rintamaelokuvaaja (Front Cinematographer)
10x Rintamavalokuvaaja (Front Photographer)

Support Platoon – 21 pers
1x Platoon Officer
2x Sgts
1x Transport Pool NCO
4x Transport Pool Drivers
2x Admin Clerks
1x Food Provisions
2x Cooks
1x Field Kitchen personnel
1x Kitchen vehicle driver (horse & cart/sledge)
1x Food and animal feedstuff vehicle (horse & cart/sledge)
1x Backpack and tent vehicle Driver (truck)
1x Photo Laboratory Truck Driver (truck)
2x Radio Truck Drivers (2x trucks)
1x Radio Repair Technician

Vehicles assigned to the Information Companies were generally requisitioned civilian cars and older trucks. Information Companies generally having a lower priority that combat unirs. The exceptions of course were the Rintatiedotusupseeri (Front Information Officers) assigned to work with foreign news correspondents and foreign film crews – these received a high priority and were generally assigned vehicles on an “as needed” basis from the Army Corps transport pool. Generally, some 10 to 12 civilian cars were assigned to each Company, together with a small number of old civilian vans and motorbikes not considered suitable for the combat branchs..

Information Companies at the start of the Winter War were as follows:

Tiedotuskomppania (1.TtusK) (1st Information Company) - attached to VI Army Corps (VI AK).
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni A. Poijärvi

Tiedotuskomppania (2.TtusK) (2nd Information Company) - attached to IV Army Corps (IV AK).
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni E. Salovuori

Tiedotuskomppania (3.TtusK) (3rd Information Company) – attached to II Army Corps (II AK).
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni E. Palolampi

Tiedotuskomppania (4.TtusK) (4th Information Company) – attached to VII Army Corps (VII AK).
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni U. Räsänen

Tiedotuskomppania (5.TtusK) (5th Information Company) – attached to III Army Corps (III AK).
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni A. Alanne

Tiedotuskomppania (6.TtusK) (6th Information Company) – attached to Group Oinonen (RO).
Commanding Officer: M. Kauppinen

Tiedotuskomppania (7.TtusK) (7th Information Company) Helsinki - Naval Forces (Merivoimat)
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni M. Haavio

Tiedotuskomppania (8.TtusK) (8th Information Company) Tuukkala (Mikkeli), Air Defence (Ilmapuolustus) and Air Force (Ilmavoimat).
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni P. Päiwiö

Tiedotuskomppania (9.TtusK) (9th Information Company) Helsinki - Home Guard Troops (Kotijoukot)
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni M. Kivilinna

Tiedotuskomppania (10.TtusK) (10th Information Company) – Parajaegers & Special Troops
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni M. Jukola

Tiedotuskomppania (11.TtusK) (11th Information Company) – attached to I Army Corps (I AK)
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni M. Keijola

Tiedotuskomppania (12.TtusK) (12th Information Company) – attached to V Army Corps (V AK)
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni K. Kotkas

Even before the Winter War started, the military information department began to operate effectively from the General Headquarters in Mikkeli. Tiedostusosaston quickly mobilized all twelve Tiedotuskomppanioita, in which worked approximately fifteen hundred rintamakirjeenvaihtajaa during the war - the TK-men. They were writers, photographers, filmmakers, cartoonists and radio announcers and technicians. The TK-men (and women, for some two thirds were Lotta’s) were in civilian life journalists, teachers, or advertising men. They moved according to where the war took place. TK-stories were written in the distant wilds of Lapland and the Kola Peninsula, from the Norwegian Finnmark to the shores of the White Sea and Lake Onega. They came from the front lines of war, but also from the small villages and towns of Olonets. All articles and film from the TK-men at the front were always sent first to the headquarters in Mikkeli, to the Päämajan Tiedotusosasto (Information Detachment of the General HQ). There, information went through the censoring filter and from there it went to the Valtioneuvoston Tiedotuskeskus (VTK, or State Information Centre ) for release to the media – both foreign and local.

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Photo sourced from: http://pirkanmaansanomat.fi/wp-content/ ... rtteri.jpg
An unknown TK-man reporting from the frontline on the Syvari. Picture taken on 18 July 1940. Photo: Aarne Haapakoski, SA-image

Tiedotuskomppanioiden front correspondents wrote about 8,000 articles over the course of the Winter War on the war and life on the front or in battle with the Navy or the Air Force. Of these articles, 1,070 were banned completely by the headquarters. Miraculously, however, they are spared and preserved in the National Archives in Helsinki. The articles written continuously emphasized the efforts of both the civilian population and combatants, and stressed the need for the whole of Finland's full cooperation. Many of the articles were very realistic descriptions of the battle and early in the war, many of these stories had to be carefully edited because they described in too much detail the Finnish military tactics and equipment. However, as time passed and experience was gained, the TK-men and women gained the necessary experience to carry out much editing of the militarily sensitive material themselves. Thus for example, when we see photos of the Winter War, the troops are mostly seen carrying the older Mosin-Nagant rifles rather than the newer Lahti-Salaranta SLR's, the grenade launchers and the body armour are never seen and when we see photos of Finnish artillery and tanks, it is almost always the older guns and tanks, almost never the newer and more effective equipment. The same was true of the Ilmavoimat, where the latest fighters and ground attack aircraft wer almost never seen - altho there is now archival material available that was never published at the time. This of course was part of the deliberate strategy of downpaying Finland's capabilities and it was one that the war correspondents generally cooperated with. Those that did not cooperate, or did not indicate a willingness to cooperate, were somewhat restricted in their access to military units as a result.

There was a strong emphasis on stories describing victorious battles against overwhelming odds – something that was achieved throughout the war and at first, the foreign correspondents were disbelieving of such stories – until they had seen the battlefields for themselves or accompanied the Finnish Army into battle. As Mannerheim himself said to a group of foreign press correspondents visiting the HQ at Mikkeli, “I had no idea the Finnish soldiers were so good, or that the Russian soldiers were so bad.” The TK-men also focused on vivid descriptions of the losses suffered by the enemy - their own may not even mentioned or would be downplayed. This was of course general war propaganda, and was not restricted to the Finnish army - it was typical of the War Correspondents in WW2 as the war progressed. And the Finns were always conscious that this was a war for information. The articles that were written served a belligerent military purpose and were just as much a part of the war effort as was the actual fighting.

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Photo sourced from: http://kuvat2.huuto.net/1/f8/106dc88967 ... 1-orig.jpg
A Finnish book, “TK-Miehet” about Information Company in the (Continuation) War

Through most of the war, the reporting contained plenty of content from East Karelia as well as from the Isthmus. The capture of Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula was certainly written up at the time, as was the discovery of the Soviet camps, the so-called Gulag on the Kola and also near the White Sea Canal. The capture of number of Soviet “slave-ships”, some of them still with prisoners in them, was also heavily publicized and aroused outraged in the USA and the British Commonwealth countries. Much was also made of the cultural and linguistic affinities of the Finns in Eastern Karelia with the Finns of Finland – and the sufferings of the Karelians under Soviet rule was made much of by the foreign press. On the other hand, the potential of the natural resources in Soviet Karelia was not mentioned – while many in the Finnish leadership supported the idea of a “Greater Finland,” the long term outcome of the war was questionable and it was thought that this was a matter on which it was best to remain a wary silence.

On the other hand, there were many lulls in the fighting once the frontlines had stabilized and while it was necessary to maintain the Armed forces at full strength, the lulls left the men with spare time. Not all of this was spent building defensive positions – a lot of men took up hobbies, there were sports competitions and educational programs as well as military training. Very little was written of these activities - "Obviously it was not desired for the enemy to know that the Finnish soldiers did more than just stand on guard and dig foxholes in preparation for potential attacks." It would certainly have provoked some dissatisfaction on the home front if it was known that the men were idling but were not allowed to return on leave. The men themselves of course, by and large understood the circumstances but this did not make the lack of leave any the more palatable at the time.

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Photo sourced from: http://pirkanmaansanomat.fi/wp-content/ ... /05/Maaselän-radio-ja-kuuluttaja.jpg
Maaselän Radio sent greetings and played music requests from Medvezhyegorsk over 1940. The radio announcer is Aarne Lasanen. Photo: Erkki Viitasalo, SA-image

Back at Päämajan Tiedotusosasto (Information Detachment of the General HQ) in Mikkeli, there were a group of approximately fifty men and women usually employed in checking articles, photos and film before they went out. Their tasks included censorship of the writing, grammar and style checking. They were respected professionals of the Finnish language, such as Olavi Paavolainen, a legend of his time, and the well-known poet and scholar Martin Haavio. These men were generally over the age limit for military service and this was a role they could fill that served the war effort and freed up younger men for the fighting. In addition, a number of military officers vetted the content for anything of a militarily sensitive nature. A similar but larger unit in Helsinki carried out the same task with regard to articles filed by foreign correspondents. In this, there was an understanding of the deadlines imposed on foreign correspondents and in this, as in all else, the Puolustusministeriön Tiedostustoimisto (Information Office of the Ministry of Defence) officers who were responsible for working with foreign journalists worked hard to facilitate their task.

Image
Photo sourced from: http://pirkanmaansanomat.fi/wp-content/ ... osasto.jpg
The Information Office in Lappeenranta, Finland in October 1940 (just after the end of the Winter War). Photo: TK-graph from Toby Noble, SA-image

(The above is sourced from http://pirkanmaansanomat.fi/tag/tiedotuskomppania/ and adapted a bit)

The following two additional Information Companies were formed over the course of the Winter War:

Äänisen Tiedotuskomppania (Ään.TtusJ) Äänislinna (Onega Information Company)
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni T. Vartia

The Äänisen Tiedotuskomppania was responsible for the areas around Lake Äänisen (Onega) through to the White Sea, generally focusing it’s educational efforts on the Karelian Finnish population. Somewhat incidentally, it was this Company that was responsible for providing support facilities when the widely popular song of Summer 1940 celebrating the Finnish soldiers reaching Lake Äänisen and wresting the traditional homeland of the Finns back from Soviet oppression was filmed near Lake Äänisen.


Äänisen Aallot (“Onega Waves”) – sung by Georg Malmstén – filmed towards the end of the winter months in early 1940 after Finnish forces reached the shores of Lake Äänisen, over the spring, summer and autumn of 1940 this song was widely popular with the both the soldiers on the front and with Finnish civilians.

Äänisen Aallot (Waves of Lake Onega
composer: Georg de Godzinsky, lyrics: Kerttu Mustonen
This version: George Malmstén (1942

Lyö aallot Äänisen aavan, ne keinuu näin kertoen:
On uuden huomenen saava, maa Vienan ja Aunuksen.
Ne kuuli sorean soiton, min' taiston temmellys toi.
Nyt joukko horjumaton sen rantoja taas vartioi.

Hiljaa tuutii Ääninen aaltojaan, uupuu rantaan
satujen saarelmaan. Sua kaukaa, armain,
täällä muistelen - kerran noudan
onnemme venheeseen.

Lyö aallot Äänisen aavan, ne keinuu näin kertoen:
Toi heimo Karjalan maahan nyt uuden jo kanteleen.
He kulki voitosta voittoon ja löivät vihuripäin,
siks' kunnes koskematon ja ihana maa tänne jäi.

****************************

The waters of wide Onega roll, the waves are telling a story:
The lands of Viena and Aunus shall have a new dawn.
A graceful song was heard there, a song brought by fierce fightning.
A steadfast legion is again guarding her shores.

Silently Onega lulls her waves, making them crash to the shore,
the shore of an fairy tale island.
Here, my love, I keep dreaming about you -
someday I will carry you to the boat of our happiness.

The waters of wide Onega roll, the waves are telling a story:
The kin of Finland brought a new kantele to the land of Carelia.
From victory to victory they roamed, striking like a gust of wind.
Untill a beautiful and uspoiled land remained here.

The singer, Georg Malmstén, was born in Helsinki in June 1902. He would go on to become a popular entertainer in Finland and arguably one of the most important influences on Finnish popular music in the 1930’s and 1940’s. As well as singing, he composed music for film, starred in many films, and also directed one film. His brother Eugen Malmstén, his sister Greta Pitkänen and his daughter Ragni Malmstén were also all well-known entertainers. Georg himself began studying music in primary school, then at the Helsinki Music Institute (now the Sibelius Academy). In 1925, Georg Malmstén married Ragnhild Törnströmin (d.1981). They had two children, Ole Malmsten (1925-1981) and Ragni (1933-2002). Around the same time he played with the Navy Band. Towards the end of the 1920’s, Malmstén moved to the Helsinki Conservatory to study singing under Väinö Lehtinen. He also appeared in student concerts.

Malmstén made his first recording in 1929 on a journey to Berlin, where he recorded songs which included some of his own compositions, such as the song “Särkynyt Onni” (Broken Fortune), which sold about 17,000 copies and brought him popular music stardom. Malmstén wrote his songs in Swedish (his mother tongue), with translations into Finnish made by his friend Roine Richard Ryynänen. Malmstén recorded most of his songs in both Finnish and Swedish. Malmstén’s early career seemed to be headed towards classical music – in 1929 he appeared in Handel's opera “Julius Caesar” and in 1930 he appeared at the Savonlinna Opera Festival where he sang Jussi's part in the opera “Pohjalaisia.”

Some six months later he gave his debut recital at the Helsinki University Hall following which he was offered a position in Finnish opera, but for financial reasons he could not take the offer because it would have required he forgo pop music, and he would have been unable to support his family on opera wages alone. Malmstén focused on sales activities for the record company (Parlophone) he had set up finally began to perform popular music. In the same decade he became the vocalist for the Dallapé orchestra and also performed in the capacity of the conductor. At the same time, he wrote musicals and also starred in them. He expanded his repertoire to include pop music outside and became one of the most prolific entertainers in Finland, producing over 800 records in numerous genres. He made about half of his releases under the pseudonym Matti Reima.

When the Winter War broke out, Malmstén was assigned to the Naval Base in Helsinki where is primary responsibility was entertaining the troops. Over the course of the Winter War he performed numerous concerts for troops at the front line, as well as making a number of recordings such as the above-mentioned “Äänisen Aallot” (Onega Waves). During the war, with many men in the military and the others working in essential war industries, the recording companies did not have the time to look for new talent or the personnel and resources to manufacture new records. As a result, through 1940 there was very much a hiatus in the Finnish musical industry. Malmstén himself during the war years was perhaps the most recorded of Finnish singers (although other singers such as The Harmony Sisters also made equally dedicated contributions to entertaining both the troops and Finnish civilians). War-time Malmstén classics included "Liisa Pien'" (Lili Marlene), "Tumma Yö" (Dark Night), "Kaunis Valhe" (Beautiful Lie), "Kaarina", "Pienet Kukkivat Kummut" (Small Flowering Hills) and many others. Entertainment Tours were "välillä vihollisen luotisateessa" as Malmstén himself put it. Malmstén was released from service in late 1945 and made his first post-war album in the same year.


"Pienet Kukkivat Kummut" (Small Flowering Hills) – another war-time song from Malmstén

In the post-war years Malmstén did not make any particularly significant recordings until 1947, when he recorded the well-known songs, “Pennitön Uneksija" (Penniless Dreamer). In the early 1950s he recorded a number of songs that later became classics such as "Stadin Kundi." He also wrote the song " Kohtalokas samba", which became his brother Eugen Malmstén’s signature song. Other famous Malmsten lyrics came from the 1940s are the "Totisen Pojan Jenkka", "Erokirje Heilille" and the previously mentioned "Pennitön Uneksija."


“Pennitön Uneksija" (Penniless Dreamer)

In the 1960’s, Malmstén began to hold come-along evenings (vetää yhteislauluiltoja), which resulted in many of his songs being “rediscovered” as it were. He recorded many new versions of past classics. The last time Malmstén made a recording was in 1975, where he sang "Ilta Skanssissa" and "Pennitön Uneksija” for a Dallapé Orchestra 50th Anniversary disc. Georg Malmstén died in Helsinki on 25 May 1981 from a long-term illness. He is buried in Hietaniemi Cemetery (Block H36).


Image
Photo sourced from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... lmsten.jpg
Georg Malmstén in Merivoimat (Naval) Uniform

Tiedotuskomppania Kola (TtusRL) (Kola Information Company)
Commanding Officer: Kapteeni V. Näsi

After the capture of Murmansk, the Kola Peninsula and Eastern Karelia to the White Sea, this company was responsible for reporting on the now-liberated Eastern Karelian Finns as well as on the discoveries of the NKVD-run Camps and the atrocities and mass murders carried out in these on the Kola and along the path of the White Sea Canal. The visits of foreign correspondents to these camps was facilitated as pleas were made to the world to assist with a massive relief effort. The capture of a small number of Soviet “slave ships” in White Sea ports and the identification of their origins generated a major domestic political uproar within the United States.

Next Post: The Foreign Correspondents
Last edited by CanKiwi2 on 31 Aug 2012 13:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 31 Aug 2012 10:29

Hi Nigel, and thanks for your input here.
Really nice.
CanKiwi2 wrote:On the other hand, there were many lulls in the fighting once the frontlines had stabilized and while it was necessary to maintain the Armed forces at full strength, the lulls left the men with spare time. Not all of this was spent building defensive positions – a lot of men took up hobbies, there were sports competitions and educational programs as well as military training. Very little was written of these activities - "Obviously it was not desired for the enemy to know that the Finnish soldiers did more than just stand on guard and dig foxholes in preparation for potential attacks." It would certainly have provoked some dissatisfaction on the home front if it was known that the men were idling but were not allowed to return on leave. The men themselves of course, by and large understood the circumstances but this did not make the lack of leave any the more palatable at the time.
There was also a quite widespread spare time activity: puhdetyöt (~spare time handicrafts?)
Later often mentioned that the troops spend way too much time on them (sometimes the work being organized as small scale industrial level).
Increased fortification works would have perhaps been a better alternative.

Here some examples:
http://www.palasuomenhistoriaa.net/en/? ... Trench_art
https://www.kuvakokoelmat.fi/pictures/s ... akusana_3=

Regards, Juha
Last edited by Juha Tompuri on 31 Aug 2012 10:53, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: adding info

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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 31 Aug 2012 18:17

Juha Tompuri wrote:Later often mentioned that the troops spend way too much time on them (sometimes the work being organized as small scale industrial level).
Increased fortification works would have perhaps been a better alternative.

Here some examples:
http://www.palasuomenhistoriaa.net/en/? ... Trench_art
https://www.kuvakokoelmat.fi/pictures/s ... akusana_3=

Regards, Juha


Thx Juha, I have a section later on where I can work some of those photos in - thanks for the links.

Cheers.......Nigel
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Foreign Correspondents....

Post by CanKiwi2 » 31 Aug 2012 18:32

The Foreign Correspondents

The Winter War was one of the first “modern” information wars, and the Soviet attack on Finland quickly became the focus of international attention, particularly as Poland had been overrun and the “Phoney War” along the French-German border was not generating any news. From October 1930 on, foreign correspondents began arriving in Finland. The fastest to be on the sport were the Swedes and the Americans. “The press scented the blood” recalled one reporter. The international news media needed images and news to feed the mill - and the international interest was also of significant political importance to Finland. On the first day of the war in Finland there were already about fifty journalists and war correspondents in the country, some of whom remained for the entire war, although many would later leave for France and the UK as the Germans invaded Norway and then France. These war correspondents and journalists told the world of the struggle by 3.5 million Finns against the 183 million people of the Soviet Union.

Many of the arriving reporters were not prepared for the Finnish winter. Hugo L. Mäkinen, an American of Finnish origin, operated as a liaison officer for the foreign correspondents in Finland. In Mäkinen's experience, the journalists' attitudes toward Finland were favourable from the start, even though their awareness of the local conditions was not perfect at times. An image of an English war correspondent wearing a raincoat and flimsy shoes in the extreme cold of Lapland outside Rovaniemi's train station was still vivid in Mäkinen's mind many years after the war. However, while many of the correspondents were not prepared for Finland, Finland was prepared for them. Immediately on arrival at an airport or port, correspondents were assigned an official Guide, a Tiedotusupseeri, together with a vehicle and driver as needed. Every effort was made to facilitate the work of the Correspondents, and “their” Tiedotusupseeri was there to ease there path, to arrange accommodation, meals, permits, access for interviews, translation and censorship services, photographs – in other words, whatever was needed to make the correspondents work easier and to ensure they reported favourably and reflected the picture that the Finnish Military Command and Government wanted painted.

Very few restrictions were placed on the correspondents, up to and including access to the front lines. Those that so desired were “embedded” with Finnish military units and after some cursory military training, permitted to accompany these units into battle. Quite a number of reporters took the initial offer, only a very small number were game to repeat the experience but those that did, including among them the redoubtable Virginia Cowles who was to accompany Osasto Nyrkki teams on a small number of missions, reported some unforgettable stories.

All of the journalists who reported on the Winter War in the early months, before Soviet airpower had been broken by the Ilmavoimat, had an interesting time travelling to Finland. Virginia Cowles is perhaps as good as any of them at describing the trip:

“IT WAS A STRANGE FEELING FLYING FROM ONE WAR TO ANOTHER. The transition was a gradual one. When you took off from the aerodrome "somewhere in England" and flew over the North Sea in a plane with the windows frosted over so you couldn't see out, it was very much World War No. 2. It was still World War No. 2 at Amsterdam and Copenhagen; but at Malmo, a port in southern Sweden, the issue began to get shaky. When you asked “for the latest war news” the answer was: "Which?" And by the time you reached Stockholm there was no longer any doubt: "The war" meant Soviet warships and Soviet bombers and the fighting in Karelia.

Stockholm was in a state of tension. The papers carried advertisements calling for volunteers, the restaurants were filled with women canvassing for funds, and the hotels decorated with posters, saying: "Defend Sweden by Helping Finland Now." The war on the Western Front was as remote as China. I stayed there only twenty-hour hours; besides a general impression of excitement and confusion I chiefly remember how cold I was. I was wearing a thick suit, fur-lined boots and a sheepskin coat, but the biting wind penetrated my bones. I had a suitcase filled with sweaters, woollen underwear, woollen socks, a ski suit and a windbreaker. I put on everything except the ski suit, and tried not to think what it would be like when I got to the Arctic Circle.

Every day a Finnish aeroplane flew from Stockholm to Turku, a town in the south of Finland. The plane left "some time." The hour was never certain, for Turku was often bombed and the pilot had to await an all-clear signal before he took off. On the day I left, I arrived at the aerodrome at three o'clock, but we didn't leave till nearly six. There were only half a dozen passengers; four Finns - two army officers and two women, a Swedish journalist and a German-Jewish photographer. The photographer told me he had left for Turku the afternoon before, but when the plane was halfway there the pilot received a warning of bombers and had to return to Stockholm.

It was dark when our plane took off from the hard, snowpacked field. It seemed odd to me to fly to a war. One moment you were walking peacefully along brightly-lit streets, and an hour or so later you were groping your way in the dark, your ears strained for the sound of planes. When I used to fly from France to Barcelona and Valencia, the transition was so quick it was almost incongruous. Here it was the same. First, the lights of Stockholm fading away, then the sheen of the ice on the Gulf of Bothnia, then the Finnish forests like ink stains against miles of frozen fields and lakes. After about an hour and a half, the pilot dropped a flare which made a pink streak through the darkness. Suddenly, far below, a circle of lights went on like candles round a huge birthday cake. A notice flashed in front of the plane: "Landing Fasten your Belts," and a few minutes later our wheels were running along the icy field.

We were led to a small wooden shack where our baggage was examined. Two elderly Finnish women journalists were waiting to interview the passengers; one of them cornered me and asked in an impressed voice whether I had come all the way from America to cover the war in Finland. When I replied no, only London, she said: "Oh." I could tell by her expression I was no longer front-page copy.

When the baggage was inspected a bus drove us to the station. Ordinarily the train trip to Helsinki took about three hours, but as the railroad was often bombed we were told the length of the journey was uncertain. At any rate, the train was a pleasant surprise. I had prepared to freeze to death, but now found myself sweltering on a centrally-heated train. It was so hot I peeled off three sweaters. The next surprise was the dining-car. I had expected to go hungry, too, but instead I had an enormous dinner: soup, meat, vegetables, and all the bread and butter I could eat. Besides the German photographer, there were two Finnish soldiers and a Swedish woman in our compartment. The latter kept asking the conductor nervously what time we were due to arrive. The conductor was a large man with a melancholy voice. His reply was always the same, but despatched with an air of profound wisdom: "One can never tell."

I soon found out what he meant, for shortly after midnight there was a screeching of brakes, the train came to a jarring stop, and the conductor shouted to everyone to clear off the train and take cover in the woods. We climbed down the embankment in snow several feet deep, only to have him shout a few minutes later that it was all a mistake, the planes were not coming after all, and now we could climb back again. We arrived in Helsinki at two in the morning without further excitement. There were no porters or taxi-cabs, so we had to walk to the hotel, about a mile away; the German photographer carried my bag and I thought what a fine thing it was to be the female of the species.”


(The above is quoted from “Looking for Trouble” by Virginia Cowles)

Virginia Cowles had arrived at the Hotel Kämp and this was to be her base throughout the Winter War, as it would be for almost all the foreign correspondents in Finland over the course of the Winter War. On arriving, Puolustusministeriön Tiedostustoimisto swept into action with profuse apologies for not having met her at the Airport at Turku. She was immediately assigned an Information Officer. “A charmingly aristocratic young lady, a tall slim Finnish-Swede in a Finnish Army uniform, her husband was fighting at the front. She spoke delightfully accented English and made things happen with an imperious wave of her hand. Not the least attractive thing about her was the chunky metallic Suomi submachinegun she carried slung over one shoulder even in the Bar of the Hotel Kämp. “You may want to go up to the Front”, she told me with a smile, “in which case this will be very much necessary. And it is also useful to fight of the reporters at the bar.” I would later acquire my own Suomi submachinegun and a more effective weapon I never did come across.”

Image
Photo sourced from: http://blogs.elpais.com/.a/6a00d8341bfb ... 49c970b-pi
The svelte Bostonian reporter, Virginia Cowles, a veteran of war reporting from the Spanish Civil War

The Press Centre in the Hotel Kämp

Immediately prior to the outbreak of the Winter War, as the interest of the foreign press in the situation vis-à-vis Finland and the Soviet Union grew and foreign correspondents began to arrive in Helsinki, the Foreign Ministry and the Puolustusministeriön Tiedostustoimisto (Information Office of the Ministry of Defence), as per War Plans, opened a Press Centre in what was then the Hotel Kämp, on the Esplanade. The Hotel Kämp Press Centre was intended to function as an all-in-one centre for the foreign media – Press accreditation, the handing out of official news releases and information, arranging of Information Officers to assist foreign correspondents, the provision of transport, arrangement of military passes for access to restricted and front-line areas – in other words, all the functions necessary to facilitate the work of the foreign media made available at one location.

The Hotel Kämp itself was in an ideal location in central Helsinki – it had been built originally in 1887 by the restaurateur Carl Kämp (1848-1887) as a luxurious hotel, and was designed by the architect Theodor Höijer (1843-1910). At the time of its opening and through WW2, the hotel added a contemporary continental - for most local observers a Parisian - touch to Helsinki. Guests of the city's leading hotels, the Seurahuone and the Kämp, arriving by train or boat, were fetched in an omnibus from the train station or the harbor. During the decades immediately after the Hotel Kämp was built, modern transnational travel emerged, with luxury hotels being built near train stations. Georges Nackelmacker developed his network of Wagon-lits luxury trains around Europe. The increased mobility stimulated commerce and economic growth. The phenomenon of Grand Tour cultural tourism grew more popular and at the same time was expanded by growing numbers of common tourists as well as by business travelers.

It became fashionable for the bourgeois to live in the city centers, where new waves of urbanization reshaped many European capitals. Modeled after the Champs-Elysées in Paris or the Nevsky Prospekt in St Petersburg, Helsinki developed its Southern and Northern Esplanades, separated by an elegant park. The Hotel Kämp is situated on the Northern side or Pohjoisesplanadi, which was paved in 1891 and where people had the right to construct stone buildings, whereas the Southern side or Eteläesplanadi was reserved for wooden housing, the street having previously belonged to a suburb. In 1832, on the site of the future Hotel Kämp, a wooden house was built according to designs by Helsinki's main architect, Carl Ludwig Engel of Berlin. In 1812, Tsar Alexander I had made Helsinki Finland's capital. After a fire had destroyed large parts of Helsinki, the redesigning of the city was assigned to Engel who, previously, had worked on city designs and building architecture for Tallinn and St. Petersburg. In the 1840s, a bakery and warehouses were built on the site.

In 1874, the goldsmith Ekholm had bought the houses on the site but they were in such a bad shape that he was ordered to demolish one of them. As a result, he was no doubt glad to sell them both in 1883 to the restaurateur Carl Kämp. Born in a village in the parish of Helsinki in 1848, as a young man, the restaurateur Carl Kämp moved to the capital to work in restaurants and hotels, including Seurahuone (Societetshuset in Swedish). In 1872 he set up his first own restaurant Oopperakellari, which quickly gained a considerable reputation. He married a German woman, Maira Dorothea (née Moss), and they had two children. Helsinki was at this stage rapidly modernizing - in 1882, a private telephone network had been created and, in 1884, the first light bulbs had been lit in Helsinki. During these exciting times, Carl Kämp had the ambition to build a grand hotel. He had a budget of one million gold Marks, including a separate state loan and a construction loan from the Imperial State. 180,000 Marks were reserved to buy the site, 690,000 Marks for the construction and 130,000 Marks for the decoration.

The preliminary blue prints for the hotel were completed in 1895 by the architect Theodor Höijer (1843-1910). Höijer had graduated from the Royal Academy in Stockholm and became the first architect in Finland to gain important private commissions. Among the notable public buildings designed and constructed by Höijer are the Finish National Gallery or Ateneum, the main fire station and the main library in Helsinki. He was active until 1905, when he became seriously ill. When Kämp's project risked failing for financial reasons, the owner of the apartment block next door, the Municipal Councilor Frederik Wilhelm Grönquist (1838-1912), an orphan who had become a risk-taking self-made businessman, stepped in and bought the hotel's site, offering Kämp a twenty-year lease.

The inauguration of Hotel Kämp toik place on October 29, 1887 and it was officially opened to the public three days later. The Hotel had installed some of the first lifts in Finland. The interior was decorated by the Helsinki artist C. H. Carlsson. Bronze candelabras, Venetian chandeliers and crystal chandeliers from Berlin, which functioned partly with electricity, partly with gas as well as the staircase with railings cast in iron were other highlights of the Kämp. The luxury apartments and suites on the first floor were decorated with silk, the smoking salon was upholstered with yellow leather. The center of admiration was the giant mirror in the ballroom, which was lighted with 25 electric and 24 gas lights creating "a brightness never seen before", "swimming in a sea of light". The hotel also hosted a side office of the telegraph company.

During the years of economic and social development in the second half of the 19th century, in the age before mass communication, in the pre-Nokia era, Hotel Kämp quickly became a political and cultural meeting point for an elite of Finns optimistic in the countries future. At the time, the Helsinki newspapers published a daily list of tourists who arrived in the capital. The Hotel Kämp had the longest and most varied guest list. However, the generous and friendly Carl Kämp would not enjoy his success for long. He died from a heart attack only 2 years after the opening. His widow, Maria Kämp (Suite 512 is named after her), took over in a very professional manner, announcing the passing away of her husband on the front pages of Helsinki's newspapers, underlining that the hotel would continue to operate without interruption. Maria was assisted in running the Kämp by her hotel manager, German Karl König, a former actor who had previously run a German beer pub selling sausages and refreshments. The two could not manage a luxury hotel and quickly run into financial difficulties which forced Maria to sell the Kämp to the newly established Ab Hotel Kämp company in 1890. Subsequently, the widow emigrated with her children, returning to live with her family in Sweden.

The new owners, three businessmen, who had paid 1,290,000 Marks, were unable to make the company profitable. On the verge of bankruptcy, it was taken over in 1892 by the experienced restaurateur Axel Gummesson, who had owned the Seurahuone Hotel of Oulu for several years. He hired a Swedish assistant manager, A. Lundbland. The domestic appliance shop on the ground floor moved out and the space was turned into the Kämp Café on December 21, 1889. The restaurant immediately began to flourish, and Hotel Kämp was saved. The hotel attracted Helsinki's upper-class bourgeoisie. The ground floor fine dining restaurant became known as the Lower House, later as the Bourse Café, because Gummesson and Lundbland sensed the opportunity to turn the Kämp into a meeting place for leading Finnish businessmen, who now had the opportunity to meet their foreign counterparts in an elegant setting. In addition, many Finnish businesses were run by German or Russian industrialists.

For instance the Russian Sinebrychoff and Kiseleff families started a beer-brewing business and the German Stockmann family built the leading department store. The Osberg's, Wulff's, Paulig's, Knief's, Schröder's and Bargum's were some of the other German families who marked life in Helsinki and, by their visits to the Kämp, helped to insure the hotel's success. The Kämp's Upper House focused on night life and attracted Helsinki's jeunesse dorée with its elegant contemporary design with a small dance floor and a clientele who could afford to buy expensive drinks. Hotel Kämp was also famous for entertainment. The management was the first to introduce female orchestras from Vienna to the audience. Hotel guests were especially fond of the American musical comedy singers Helma and Anna Nelson. Other performers at the hotel Kämp included the long-legged Danish variety star Dagmar Hansen, the black singer and comedian Geo Jackson, the Italian singing and music company Emilio Colombo, the "Überbrett singing and dancing artists," Helge and Ingeborg Sanberg as well as many authentic - and some less authentic - Spanish flamenco dancers.

Although Tsar Alexander II proclaimed in 1863 that Finnish was to be a language equal to Swedish in matters concerning the Finnish people directly and the Finnish Theatre was inaugurated in Helsinki in 1873, Swedish remained the preferred language of the educated. With the rising political aspirations of the Finns, a language dispute erupted especially at the beginning of the 20th century, with politics aggravating the linguistic issues. From 1880 to 1890, The Finnish Club, originally a reading and conversation club, met at a rented apartment at the Kämp. Slowly, the club was transformed into a political "Club for Diet members", discussing politics in a lively atmosphere. Therefore, at the Hotel Kämp were born the ideas of a Finnish-speaking national theatre, a national bank, a life insurance, a savings bank and a Finnish publishing house. In 1898, the Finnish writers Juhani Aho (Suite 812 is named after him) and Kalle Kajander together with the painter Pekka Halonen were refused entrance to the Kämp, apparently due to inappropriate clothing. The incident caused an uproar amongst the pro-Finnish community, which only calmed down when the doorman made a written apology to Aho.

Image
Photo sourced from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... ni_Aho.jpg
Juhani Aho, Finnish author and journalist: There was an uproar when Aho was refused entrance to the Hotel Kämp, apparently due to inappropriate clothing. Aho's literary output was wide-ranging since he pursued different styles as time passed - he started as a realist and his first novel “Rautatie” (Railroad, 1884), red one of his main works, is from this period. Later he moved towards neoromanticism with his novels “Panu” and “Kevät ja takatalvi” as well as Juha, his most famous work which has been twice adapted an opera, and filmed four times, most recently in 1999 by Aki Kaurismäki. In addition to his novels Aho wrote a number of short stories in a distinct style, called "lastuja" ("splinters"). Their topics varied from political allegories to depictions of everyday life. The first and most famous of the short stories is “When Father Brought Home the Lamp”, depicting the effect of technical innovation on people living in the countryside. Nowadays the title is a Finnish saying used when something related to new technology is introduced. Aho was one of the founders of Päivälehti, the predecessor of the biggest newspaper in Finland today, Helsingin Sanomat.

In 1900, a new company, AB Hotel Restaurant, was founded to run Hotel Kämp. The capital of 240,000 Mark was equally shared by Gummesson, Lundbland and the property owner Grönquist. By 1910, Lundblad - an able and popular man - had acquired all the shares and become the real director and manager of the hotel and restaurant until the autumn of 1918. Among the other famous groups meeting at Hotel Kämp was the table of a group of architects including Eliel Saarinen, Armas Lindgren, Bertel Jung, Lars Sonck and Nils Wasastjerna. Another group met at the "Lemon Table" formed in the 1910s around the unmarried, wealthy Councilor John Grönlund. Unwritten laws ruled the tables, which could not be approached by acquaintances sitting at other tables. Women were rarely seen in these rounds, according to the unwritten rule "when a man wants to wine and dine, let erotic distraction stay out of it."

Members of a new, liberal front called Young Finns striving for a Finnish National State also met at the Hotel Kämp. Some 28 writers and 12 illustrators belonging to this Finnish nationalist movement, influenced by Europe's modernizing movements, published Suomi 19:llä Vuosisadalla, an opus presenting Finland as a modest and small country of the far North, a bridge between East and West, a vanguard of culture, urging her contribution to Europe's civilization. Probably the hotel's most famous frequent guest was the composer Janne 'Jean' Sibelius (1865-1957). Incidentally, in 2003 the movie director Timo Kovusalo chose the Kämp as one of the settings for his film Sibelius, starring Martti Suosalo as the composer. Sibelius was part of the circle of Young Finns including the artist Arvid Järnefelt and the editor-in-chief of the Young Finns organ, the Finnish-language newspaper Päivälehti (1890, or Helsingin Sanomat from 1904 onwards), who spent so-called “Symposium” evenings at the restaurant of the Hotel Kämp, discussing the evolution of Finnish national culture, especially from the autumn of 1892 until 1895.

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The Kämp Bar: This is where many foreign journalists spent the Winter War. For those that braved the frontlines, this was "home" when they returned to Helsinki.

The premiere of Sibelius' symphony Kullervo in 1892 expressed the nationalist ambitions of the Young Finns, for whom music was a central part of their cultural movement. Incidentally, the composer and conductor Robert Kajanus (1856-1933), who founded the Helsinki Orchestra in 1882, was another eminent member of the Symposium at the Hotel Kämp. After concerts, Sibelius, Kajanus and Järnefelt regularly met at Kämp's Lower House for discussions with Swedish punch, Benedictine liqueur and cigars, accompanied by musical improvisations by the artists present. Sibelius, who focused on teaching at the university, never missed an evening. Apart from a few exceptions, women did not take part in these Symposium sessions. A fact less appreciated by his wife. Sibelius described the times at the Hotel Kämp as follows: "The waves of our conversations rose sky-high. We reflected on everything from earth to heaven, ideas sparkled, problems got inflamed, but always in a positive, liberating spirit. We had the need of ploughing the earth for new ideas in every branch. Those evenings the Symposium gave me a lot at a time when I would have been more or less alone."

The evenings of the Symposium group at the Hotel Kämp are immortalized by the painter Alex Gallén (1865-1931), a spiritual soul mate of Sibelius, in “Symposium” or “Problem” (1894), as the painting was initially called, showing the organist and composer Oskar Merikanto as well as Kajanus, Sibelius and Gallén at a table full of empty bottles. Somewhere between 1896 and 1900, Gallén cut off the left side of the painting showing a female figure with the skin of her naked body peeled off, sitting on the table in front of the men. One day at the Hotel Kämp in 1903, Sibelius composed the Valse Triste for the play Kuolema (Death), which premiered in December at the Finnish National Theatre in Helsinki. That day, the impulsive artist Sigurd Wettenhovi-Aspan, to whom we owe this anecdote, had run into Sibelius, who was developing a terrible influenza. They decided to get boxes of quinine powder at the main pharmacy in town and ended up in the piano cabinet on the banquet floor of the Kämp. They wanted to get rid of the flu and ordered only soda with some lemon juice and sugar to wash down the medicine, together with some oysters. The five grams of quinine made Sibelius get deep into his thoughts reminiscing on his youth. He starting to tap the table with the tips of his fingers to the rhythm of a death waltz, the famous, Valse Triste.

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“Symposium” painted by Alex Gallén (1865-1931): the painting shows the organist and composer Oskar Merikanto as well as Kajanus, Sibelius and Gallén at a table full of empty bottles.

The staff of journalists of the Päivälehti newspaper had the habit of going out together to Helsinki restaurants once their work finished around 8pm. The regularly ended up at one of the tables at the Lower House of the Kämp, where the ingenious author Eino Leino drank a black mocca on his sobering-up days. The Päivälehti founder Eero Erkko was the organizer of the resistance movement Kagaali, which intended to defend the legal and political status of the Grand Duchy of Finland in the years of “russification”. In 1901, Kaagali was planning a meeting in August at the Kämp. When the police got wind of it, it was moved to a secret hideout outside of Helsinki. The following year however, Erkko reserved the entire banquet floor of the Hotel Kämp for a large assembly meeting of Kagaali. The authorities only heard about the meeting the day after, although the official residence of Governor-General Bobrikov was situated obliquely opposite Hotel Kämp.

In 1910, one of Helsinki's first motion picture theatres, Helikon, was opened in the Hotel Kämp's Ballroom with a separate entrance. It went bankrupt in 1925 and was reopened one year later by another company which ran it as the Olympic Cinema for another four years, after which it was closed for good and the space was restored to again serve as the Hotel Kämp Ballroom. In 1914-15, a sixth floor was added to the Kämp and its façade changed by the architect Lars Sonck. In addition, all rooms were renovated, modernized and equipped with water pipes, radiators, cold and hot water. Most rooms were equipped with modern bathrooms, and the popular "American Bar" opened. This was a reaction to the opening of Seurahuone in 1913, a new hotel opposite Helsinki's railway station.

The Kämp's kitchen was run in an almost military-like style with an iron discipline, with a strict distribution of tasks between men and women which remained unchanged until after the Second World War. The staff was multi cultural with a Russian baking pies, a German preparing sausages and smoked meat and a Finn taking care of fish. The working language was Swedish with a mix of German, Russian and French words. Meals normally started with a Swedish-style smörgadsbord and schnaps.

After the death of Municipal Councilor Grönquist, the president of the Kansallis-Osake-Pankki, Mr. Paasikivi, bought the Kämp for his Finnish bank in 1917; he remembered that the bank's founding meetings had taken place in the Mirror Room in 1889. It was a revolutionary time in Finland, whose Parliament approved on December 6, 1917 the Declaration of Independence, making the transition from a Russian province, the Grand Duchy, to an independent nation. It led to a bloody Independence and Civil War which ended only at the end of January 1918. In the autumn of 1917, the Kämp was affected by the great strike. Only guests residing at the hotel were served by the waiters. Two Red Guards controlled the in- and outgoing customers. After the Red Guards took control of the city, the Kämp - as the meeting place of the bourgeoisie - was frequently inspected by the revolutionaries. One day, Manager Lundblad was ordered to switch on the light in the banquet hall. It took the short and stubby man some time to reach the switch, which the patrol interpreted as being slow on purpose, which resulted in the arrest of the Manager, who was not liberated until a few weeks later, apparently because he was Swedish.

The heavy fighting between the White and the Red Finns took its toll. The Hotel Kämp was turned into a hospital for the wounded victims of the Civil War. The Swedish staff was ordered to leave the country, including the hotel manager and his wife. The Hotel Restaurant changed owners. In April 1918 the Baltic Sea Division of the German Imperial Army marched to Helsinki under the direction of General Count Rüdiger von der Goltz, who turned the Kämp into his headquarters.

By the time the Finnish national hero of the Finnish Freedom and Civil War, Baron Gustaf Mannerheim arrived in Helsinki, the Hotel Kämp had started to be used to host meetings of the country's unofficial military command, which was about to create a Finnish Army and nominate Mannerheim as its Commander-in-Chief. The Hotel Kämp has dedicated its most luxurious apartment in the new Hotel Kämp to Marshal Mannerheim, who became the Republic's sixth President in 1944. He had lived at the hotel for a long period in 1919 before moving to his own residence. In the Mannerheim Museum in Helsinki you can admire the great man's camp bed, which he took with him on his extensive travels. It is not known however whether he also used it at the Kämp. The “Marshall's drink” - a completely filled up glass - is known by all Finns. Mannerheim was always quick with a compliment for the hotel staff when an evening was a success, but was known to make nasty comments when someone failed in his duties. Hotel Kämp became the leading hotel in the capital of the newly independent nation. Helsinki now hosted the headquarters of big businesses, banks, insurance companies, trade unions, political parties and, due to its geo-strategic location bordering Russia, an important number of embassies and consulates.

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The Mannerheim Suite bedroom

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The Mannerheim Suite dining room

In the years of the Revolution and the Civil War 1917-18, life was not all sweets and candy. Alcohol and food were rationed and in June 1919, a Prohibition Act came into effect, the only country other than the United States where prohibition laws were put in effect, with the result of the creation of a large black market. In 1922, the law became even stricter, being drunk in public was now considered a crime. At Hotel Kämp, as in most restaurants and cafés, drinks were served, although this was denied in public. The “hard-tea”, a mix of half tea, half spirits, with a small amount of sugar added, was one of the hotel's hot favorites. In addition, cognac, whiskey and wine, brought in by sailors, were all served too. In 1926, the Prohibition inspectors raided the hotel - not for the first time - and discovered in room 34 - officially under renovation - a total of 137 bottles of Estonian liquor. The hotel manager insisted that he had been abroad and, therefore, was not guilty. In the end, the headwaiter and a waiter admitted illegal possession and sale of alcohol. As a consequence, the Governor closed the Kämp restaurant for two months. The Prohibition ended with a referendum in 1932. A photograph captures the moment at the Kämp when hotel manager Ville Weman reopened the door to the hotel's wine cellar. The American Bar also reopened without delay.

The 1940 Summer Olympics had been given to Finland. In early 1939, 47 out of 64 invited countries confirmed their participation. 100,000 guests were expected in Helsinki, where only a handful of excellent hotels such as the Kämp, the Carlton, the Grand, the Helsinki and the Torni existed. The well-organized and prepared for games did not take place because Germany started the Second World War by attacking Poland in September 1939. Finland declared a full mobilization in October 1939. On November 30, 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland and soon after started its air raids over the city of Helsinki. The Olympic Games had to be cancelled. On December 6, 1939 the Hotel Kämp was asked to organize Finland's Independence Day reception. Under the political circumstances and with a war being fought, the President decided not to give a reception. However, the government requested an evening cocktail for the diplomatic corps, foreign correspondents and the political elite. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was asked to mobilize retired waiters and bakers to cater for it. The guests were requested to keep everyday clothes for the reception. The Minister of Education Uuno Hannula attracted all the attention with his grey woolen sweater and red-legged boots. Asked about his unusual outfit, he replied to the amazement of his colleagues that this was indeed his everyday clothing.

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Minister of Education Uuno Hannula (October 22, 1891, Alatornio - July 26, 1963, Kemi) was a Finnish politician, civil servant and a journalist. Hannula was born and in Lapland, abd was one of two sons – his brother Väinö died in the 1918 Civil War. Hannula finished his education in 1912, and worked for some time in a Finnish language school as a substitute teacher. During WW1, he was involved moving Jaeger volunteers across the frontier. He was arrested for this by the Russian police and his house was searched. He was appointed to the Agrarian Pohjolan Sanomat newspaper as an editor in 1917 and that same year was again arrested by the Russians, when he wrote an article about arbitrary arrests by the border guard. In the 1918 Civil War, Hannula was actively involved in the fighting at Kemi in February 1918, where the local Suojeluskuntas broke the Red resistance. Although Hannula and his newspaper Pohjolan Sanomat opposed the Red rebellion, leaflets were distributed also criticizing the Whites. The Civil Guard seized magazines which published articles by Hannula criticizing executions. He also defended the Socialist MP for Kemi, Hilda Herrala, who had been sentenced to death. As a result, Herrala was freed by presidential pardon.

In the 1920s Hannula was critical of the Army, which was still mostly commanded by ex-Russian Army officers. He called for stricter prohibitions on breaking the law and control of smuggling. He wrote three articles criticizing the then governor of the Province of Oulu, following which Governor brought a libel action against Hannula, which led to four months of imprisonment and a fine. This increased the confidence of people in Hannula, and he was elected to Parliament in the 1927 elections. Around this time, he left his position with Pohjolan Sanomat, while remaining a significant shareholder until his death. Hannula would go on to make a political career in Helsinki as an Agrarian Party member of Parliament from 1927-1945. He was education minister from 1937-1940 (remaining as the Education Minister through the Winter War) and Governor of the Province of Lapland from 1945-1958.

With the rise of the right-wing Lapua Movement and the IKL, Hannula demanded that legality be maintained and he remained a strong opponent of right-wing extremism. In the 1930s he emerged as one of the “strong men” of the Agrarian Party, together with Kallio and Juho Niukkanen. In the spring of 1933 before the parliamentary elections, he published a political book which was a best-seller at the time. From October 1936 to March 1937, Hannula was secretary to the Prime Minister. When the Kallio was elected President, Hannula together with Socialist Party secretary Aleksi Aaltonen played a key role in the formation of a new government. Under AK Cajander in the so-called Red Earth (Socialist / Agrarian) government, he was Minister of Education from March 1937 and was confirmed in this position within Ryti’s Government on the outbreak of the Winter War. In Government during the Winter War, Hannula was strongly in favor of western military aid and at the same time towards the end of the Winter War in September 1940, he urged that greater concessions from Moscow be demanded. He remained in the minority when it was decided that only minimal border adjustments would be asked for: Peace was signed on 30 October 1940 in Moscow.

After the Armistice in late September 1940 and then the Peace Treaty with the USSR which was formally signed in late October 1940, a new Government was formed and Hannula was set aside. He then returned to his parliamentary work in addition to writing for Pohjolan Sanomat. He remained as an MP until 1947, when he was appointed Governer of the Province of Lapland, a position he held until his retirement in 1958. As such, Hannula had a major impact on the economic growth of Lapland in the late 1940’s and through the decade of the 1950’s. He was instrumental in the expansion of the Railroad to Lyngenfjiord into a dual-track electrified railway along the entire length, as well as the development of Petsamo as an alternative Port for exports, particularly for the Mining Industry. He was also influential in the early post-war explorations for Oil on the Rybachi Peninsula, an area which had been ceded in ins entirety to Finland as part of the territorial concessions made by the USSR in the October 1940 Peace Treaty.

Hannula enjoyed retirement for five years, indulging himself in writing and in addition to fishing. After retiring, he was often to be found fishing the Torne River. He passed away in 1963.


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“Uuno Hannula - Mies pohjoisesta” by Annikki Kariniemi

The Finnish Winter War with the Soviet Union from November 30, 1930 to March 13, 1940 attracted war correspondents from around the world. Most of them stayed at the Hotel Kämp, where the State Council had opened an information centre for the press on the hotel's second floor, the Kämp Press Room. Among the famous correspondents were Martha Gellhorn, Indro Mantanelli, Max Mehlem, Morgan Vernon, Barbro Alving and many more. They gave publicity to the small country's brave fight for independence, in which they finally succeeded. Most correspondents fought Finland's Winter War at the Hotel Kämp's bar, which had been reinforced and turned into a bomb shelter. Finnish journalists, employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and politicians and industrialists important to the war effort gathered here too. Max Mehlem, the correspondent of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and chairman of an international journalists' association, caught pneumonia after visiting the front in the midst of winter. He was a regular guest at the Hotel Kämp and for his recovery, he had a hotel room transformed into a "hospital room".

In 1941, hotel manager Ville Weman died. His daughter, Greta Lindblom, took over his position. She had learned the hotel business from scratch and traveled the world to study languages. After returning to Helsinki, she worked at Hotel Kämp for eight years. Strict rationing ended only in 1948, followed by a sharp increase in restaurant prices, which had almost remained unchanged since the 1930s. Coffee prices were not liberated until 1954. With the end of the war and consequent political liberalisation, the communists, previously in the underground, re-emerged in 1945. Waiters went on strike in March 1945. At the Hotel Kämp, the guests had to go themselves into the kitchen to get their meals. During this period at the Kämp, The Soviet representative in Finland, Zdanov, President Mannerheim and Prime Minister Paasikivi, often accompanied by the post-war President of Estonia, Johannes Laidonner on one of his frequent visits to Helsinki, together with the Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian and East Prussian Ambassadors to Finland could all be seen at the hotel. Paasikivi had been a longtime director of Kansallis-Osake-Pankki, the company that owned the hotel. He used to sit downstairs in a quiet annex called “himmeli”, separated by a curtain, from where he could leave unnoticed by a secret door through a stairway from the bank's headquarters.

During the crucial time before the Finnish participants in the Potsdam Conference of mid-1945 set off, Prime Minister Paasikivi reserved a room for himself and six ministers on the banquet floor, with an empty, insulated room to each side. The headwaiter of the time, Mauri Lindberg, gave his graduation pen to Paasikivi to sign any agreements made, who told him: "This pen will not be used again." In 1946, the reception for the Finnish Army celebrating its victories through the Winter War and WW2 was held at Hotel Kämp. Marshal Mannerheim, who had been ill that day, was substituted by two generals for the splendid reception at which David Oistrakh played the violin, supported by Einar Englund. Afterwards, the socialist state was handing out princely tips, Lindberg recalled.

Helsinki finally got the chance to host the Olympics in 1952. Two new up-market hotels, the Vaakuna and the Palace, were built for this occasion. The Hotel Kämp, by then the capital's oldest functioning hotel, modernized its facilities and operations. By June 1952, first-class restaurants were allowed to serve drinks at the counter. The Kämp hired a Dutch and a French bartender and ordered new bar stools. The Olympics were a success for the Kämp, which hosted famous guests including Prince Philip of England, but for many other hotels, the games were financially disappointing. Many celebrities have since stayed at the Hotel Kämp. A memorable occasion was the visit of film star Gregory Peck and his Finnish wife, where they were greeted by a fan crowd of over one thousand people.

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Gregory Peck and his Finnish wife, Greta Kukkonen in Finland. Greta Peck (January 25, 1911, Helsinki – January 19, 2008, Beverly Hills, California) was a Finnish-American real estate broker and first wife of Gregory Peck. The Kukkonen family immigrated to the United States in 1913 where Greta changed her first name Eine to Greta. She married Peck in 1942 and divorced him in 1955. They had three sons: Jonathan, Stephen and Carey. Greta Peck owned a beauty salon and a real estate agency and was active in charitable causes, raising money for Finnish World War II veterans. Due to those activities, she received the Order of the White Rose from the Finnish Government in 1967. She was also a member of the Finnish-American Chamber of Commerce and received an honorary doctorate from Finlandia University in 1994. When this photograph was taken, they were in Helsinki for the premiere of Peck’s film “Kotkat Ympäri Suomen”, the 1949 movie about a squadron of Ilmavoimat fighter pilots in the Winter War.

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Gregory Peck in his starring role as a Fighter Squadron CO in the 1949 movie, “Kotkat Ympäri Suomen.” The film endeavoured to be an accurate account of the air battle over the Karelian Isthmus and Finland, when in the winter of 1939/40 and the of 1940 the Ilmavoimat inflicted a crushing strategic defeat on the Red Air Force and so gained air superiority, allowing the close air support and bomber groups of the Ilmavoimat free rein in attacking the invading Red Army – some of the final climatic scenes of the movie are of waves of Ilmavoimat ground attack aircraft destroying Red Army tanks and attacking infantry while the Finnish Army advances, the last shots being of the Ilmavoimat fighters sweeping across an empty sky above. The film is notable for its spectacular flying and air combat sequences. At the time the film was made, almost all the aircraft flown in the Winter War were available and in flying condition and as a result, much of the footage is highly authentic. The film itself is generally historically authentic.

In the autumn of 1962, the Hotel Kämp celebrated its 75th anniversary with another splendid reception. Council of commerce Bertil Tallberg had been a regular guest for 60 years, and building administrator Jussi Lappi-Seppälä stated that he had used hanger number nine in the vestibule's clothes rack for twenty-five years almost on a daily basis. Among the loyal staff who had served the Kämp for over forty years were employees of ten professions from all hotel departments. They were awarded a badge of honor from the Chamber of Commerce. Over the many years of operation, the wars and natural deterioration had left their mark on the Kämp. The wooden structure of the building revealed cracks in the walls. Water leaks further damaged the hotel's framework. During a Labor Day dance in the early 1960s, Ms. Lindblom noticed how the Ballroom floor kept bending. She told the orchestra to stop playing, but the people continued dancing until, all of a sudden, everyone noticed the floor giving in portentously. The newspaper headlines: “Kämp is sinking in the mud of Kluuvi."

After two years of negotiations with the municipal authorities, the owners of the hotel property, Kansallis-Osake-Pankki, decided to preserve the buildings original façade. In 1965, permission was given to demolish the hotel's façade under the condition to reconstruct it as well as parts of the interior in the image of the original. The hotel and restaurant had already been given notice for the termination of their lease several times, but they continued to operate until March 31, 1965 when Hotel Kämp held its farewell party, with people queuing up out in the street all night. After one last effort to save the original façade, the demolition of the hotel started in autumn 1965. After being rejected, the appeal by the Committee of Archaeological Monuments came too late before the State Council because, by then, the original façade had already been pulled down.

By 1967, Kansallis-Osake-Pankki declared that they had been unable to find anyone to take over the hotel and restaurant business; a hotel with less than forty rooms was considered unprofitable. Public opinion accused the bank of greed and cultural ignorance. By February 1967, the bank's president Matti Virkkunen was forced to defend the company's position and stated that everything architecturally valuable had been safeguarded. The façade, the main staircase and the Mirror Room would be rebuilt. However, there was no agreement on the continuation of the hotel and restaurant operations. According to a social-democratic newspaper, the decision had been made by a slight right-wing majority for the benefit of the bank, which erected on the site a business and bank building in the image of the old Hotel Kämp.

The restoration was made in cooperation with the archaeological committee, combining state-of-the-art technology with traditional handicraft. Wherever possible, authentic pieces such as doors, pillars, stairs or iron railings were integrated into the new building. Under the supervision of the sculptor Heikki Häiväoja, the plaster ornaments were remodeled by the interior architect Markku Komonen. Original paintings such as the ones by André and Favén were restored and again set up in their original location. Under the supervision of Professor Antero Pernaja and architect N. H. Sandell, the new building was erected as a copy of Hotel Kämp after the 1914-15 extension, including the colors of the façade Höijer used. Only the Mirror Room was moved to a slightly different location. The new building was inaugurated as the bank's new headquarter in June 1969, with its banking facilities located in the Lower House and a money exposition in the former newspaper room. When the Kasallis-Osake-Pankki merged with Merita to become part of Nordea, a large banking group, the company refocused and tried to find new uses for its redundant properties. In autumn 1996, the Merita group decided to convert the Kämp building back into being a hotel.

The decision was greeted with joy in Helsinki. The new designs were by architect Petri Blomstedt (1941-1998), after whom suite 612 is named, and included a new, contemporary wing and business facilities. On May 9, 1999 the new hotel Kämp finally opened its doors. Again, people queued up to have a look at “their” hotel. Immediately, the Hotel Kämp's reputation as Helsinki's leading hotel was restored. The guestbook contains signatures from the first new prestigious guests the new hotel accommodated, including U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the singers Whitney Houston, Sting, Bon Jovi, Tina Turner and Shakira, to name just a few. The Japanese Emperor in 2002, Queen Noor of Jordan in 2003, King Harald and Sonja of Norway are some of the nobles who have stayed at the Kämp. The Finnish racing driver Mika Häkkinen regularly visits the hotel with his family because he appreciates its privacy.

A band famous for destroying hotel interior's was told by their manager that they could "start throwing TV-sets out of the windows straight away. Please feel free to destroy the interior of your rooms. No problem. I have a credit card." The hotel's security manager turned pale. But then the band manager reminded the band to bear in mind that they were about to tour Russia and that if the hotels there heard about damage in Helsinki, none of them would take the band and they would have to sleep in bed & breakfasts. "Do you know what that means in Russia?" After this speech, all band members fully qualified for a five-star hotel. The Kämp has a house schnapps (Talonsnapsi), made with an extract of pine, anis and eucalyptus as well as an unknown ingredient, mixed with Koskenkorva Viina (a Vodka). It is an old recipe from Tammisaari, a place 100km west of Helsinki. Only recommended to people used to drinking strong alcohol.

In today's hotel, in the reception area, visitors are greeted by two portraits showing the hotel’s founding couple, painted in a later period. In the bar, a painting by Antti Favén from 1915 shows “The Lunch After Akseli Gallen-Kallela's Birthday Party”. In addition to old paintings, the public areas of the Hotel Kämp display contemporary artworks, for instance by Marjatta Tapiola. The 15 suites are located on four floors in the reconstructed old part of the Kämp. The main restaurant, the Grand Café is 'just' a popular one with atmosphere; there is no Michelin star gourmet restaurant in any of Helsinki's hotels. Its new furniture is inspired by photographs of the old one. The breakfast at the Kämp is excellent. An elegantly designed Japanese restaurant, Yume, is located on the ground floor on the left of the hotel entrance. The Kämp Club on the first floor - in Finland called the second floor - is the most stylish part of the hotel. It has a small dance floor and not the old style Grand Hotel feeling. In addition to affordable ones, the bar offers some extremely expensive drinks. The Hennessy Ellipse at 312 Euros per 4cl glass (price as of September 2006) gets regularly ordered. In addition, you can for instance chose from over 40 Champagne brands.

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The Hotel Kämp - all in all, a suitable location for the foreign press during any war.

Note: If you’re REALLY interested in this grand old hotel, read “Hotel Kämp Helsinki. The Most Famous Hotels in the World” by Andreas Augustin and Laura Kolbe. 152 p. ISBN: 3-902118113. Andreas Augustin is a journalist and publisher of hotel histories, Laura Kolbe is a Professor of History at the University of Helsinki. Or if you're in Helsinki, go and have a drink at the Bar, close your eyes and imagine you're hanging out there with Virginia Cowles, Martha Gellhorn, George Steer, Geoffrey Cox and the other War Correspondents of the Winter War......

Remembering the Hotel Kämp Press Centre and the Winter War

In early 1940, with around a hundred foreign journalists stationed in Helsinki, the Foreign Ministry opened a press centre in what was then the Hotel Kämp, on the Esplanade. The Hotel Kämp has been re-opened once again as a luxury hotel, and a plaque on the wall marks the days when cigarette smoke and the staccato chatter of Remington typewriters filled the air.

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Australian reporter James Aldridge writing up a story in the Hotel Kämp in December 1939

Two of the reporters who had been in Finland for the Winter War, American David Bradley (who had covered the war for the Lee Syndicate and the Wisconsin State Journal) and Swede Carl-Adam Nycop (wrote for the Swedish magazine Se), made the trip back to Finland for the unveiling ceremony of the plaque, and they gave their impressions of what had gone on during and immediately after the intense conflict that had temporarily been the main event in the early "Phoney War" days of World War II. The principal memories were of the profound relief of the Finns when the war ended, and the sense of emptiness that everyone felt when the fighting was all over.

Next Post: Who were the Foreign Correspondents?
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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