British military missions in Yugoslavia

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Miha Grcar
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British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by Miha Grcar » 12 Sep 2005 11:33

Hello,

after reading F.W.D. Deankin's The Embattled Moutain I thought that a thread about British military missions in Yugoslavia would be a good addition to this forum. I suggest that we try to make a list of these missions and try to gather as much info on them as possible.

I will use the info I could gather from the book above and hopefully generate some interest from others. I suggest we show the info the the following matter (although not a rule);

1) Name of the mission
2) Leader of the mission
3) Other participants in the mission
4) When did they come to Yugoslavia
5) Where did they land
6) Any additional info about the mission, info of its purpose, time of its ending, killed members etc.

1) "Bullseye"
2) Captain D.T. "Bill" Hudson
3) Major Zaharije Ostojević
Major Mirko Lalativić
4) 20. September 1941
5) Petrovec, Montenegro coast
6) The mission arrived with the submarine "Triumph" from Malta. They were first recieved by Tito and the partisans, but later proceeded towards the command post of Chetniks to make a connection with Mihailović. Major Ostojević and Major Lalativić were representatives of the Yugoslav Government in Exile in London. They both entered the Chetnik ranks abandoning Hudson. The SOE command lost contact with Hudson in November 1941 when Mihailović abandoned him and only made contact again in April 1942.

1) "Henna"
2) Lieutenant Rapotec
3) Corporal Štefan Šinko - radio operator
4) 27. January 1942
5) Mljet island, Dalmatia
6) The men were from Slovenia and lost contact with SOE command in Cairo right after their landing with a submarine. The plan was to go to the mainland with a ferry but the contact was lost. They were in contact with the partisans. Rapotec emerged again in Istanbul in the summer of 1942.

1) "Hydra"
2) Major Terence Atherton
3) Captain Radoj Nedeljković
Sargeant Patrick O'Donnovan
4) 4. February 1942
5) Petrovec, Montenegro
6) The group made contact with Tito but left them with General Ljubo Novaković (former Yugoslav officer who managed to evaded the capture after the defeat of the in April 1941) and headed to the command post of Mihailović. Major Atherton and Sargeant O'Donnovan were murdered and robbed of their money (for the support of the movement) on route by the local Chetnik leader Dakić on 22. April 1942. Mihailović accused the Partisans to be responsible. The truth about the murder was revealed a year later.

1) "Disclaim"
2) Major Cavan Elliot
3) Lieutenant Pavle Crnjanski
Corporal Miljković
Sergeant Robert Chapmann - radio operator
4) 5. February 1942
5) Eastern Bosnia
6) ?

1) ?
2) Captain Wade
3) Lieutenant More
Major Neil Selby
4) 20. April 1942
5) Kopaonik, Western Serbia
6) Major Neil Selby joined the group on 23. May 1942.

1) ?
2) Captain John Sehmer
3) ?
4) 19. May 1942
5) Priština, Kosovo
6) The group was captured almost immidiately after their landing with parachutes by the Bolgarian forces and executed. The Captain Sehmer was handed over to the German forces and later shot at Mauthausen concentration camp.

1) ?
2) Captain Hawksworth
3) ?
4) 20. May 1942
5) ?
6) The group was captured almost immidiately after their landing with parachutes by the Bolgarian forces and executed.

1) ?
2) Colonel S.W. Bailey
3) ?
4) 25. December 1942
5) Gornje Lipovo, Montenegro
6) Bailey enabled Hudson, who was still with Mihailović, to make reports about the Chetnik movement to the SOE headquarters in Cairo. He was also sent to find out what heppened to missions before him.

1) "Fungus"
2) ?
3) Petar Erdeljevac
Pavle Pavić
Aleksandar Simić
4) 21. April 1943
5) Crnačko polje pri Drežnici
6) I don't know which of the men listed was the leader of the group. They were Canadian Croats who had contact with the communists before their immigration. Petar Erdeljevac was an ex-volunteer in the Spanish Civil war and served with the Battalion Dimitrov. Their mission was to make contact to local guerilla forces in Croatia and report about their actions. After they made contact they were with the Partisan command for Croatia.

1) ?
2) Major William Jones
3) Captain Anthony Hunter
4) 19. May 1943
5) Croatia
6) They made contact with partisan forces.

1) "Hoathley I."
2) ?
3) Stevan Serdar
Milan družić
"George" Diklić
4) ?
5) Šehovici, Eastern Bosnia
6) I don't know which of the men listed was the leader of the group. They were Canadian Croats who had contact with the communists before their immigration. Serdar was a Spanish Civil War veteran. The group joined the partisans.

1) "Typical"
2) Major F.W.D. Deakin
3) Captain William F. Stuart
Captain Walter Wroughton - Deakin's radio operator
Sergeant "Rose" Pepetz Rosenberg - Stuart's radio operator
Ivan "John" Starčević - translator
Sergeant John Campbell - bodyguard
4) 25. May 1943
5) Njegovudje, Montenegro
6) The mission was sent to make contact with the Partisans. They met Tito and remained with his staff to serve as a contact link between Tito and the British General Staff for the Middle East in Cairo. The brought 1500kg of medical supplies with them to aide the partisans. The mission arrived just in time of the German operation "Schwarz" which aimed at destroying the partisans in the area of moutain Durmitor and river Sutjeska, during which Captain Stuart was killed. "Typical" was disbanded in September 1943 and absorbed into the mission of Lieutenant-General Maclean. Deakin left Yugoslavia on 3. December 1943 with an allied airplane sent from Italy along with the Partisan political delegation.

1) ?
2) Major Basil Davidson
3) ?
4) 16. August 1943
5) ?
6) Little is known about this mission. They arrived and were supposed to go into Hungary with Tito's approval.

1) ?
2) Lieutenant-General Fitzroy Maclean
3) Colonel Vivian Street - Maclean's chieff of staff
Major Lynn "Slim" Farish - american delegate
Captain Donald Knight
Major Robin Whetherley
Major John Henniker
4) 17. September 1943
5) Bosnia
6) The mission absorbed the men from "Typical" when they arrived. Maclean made contacts with Tito and returned to Italy with Colonel Street on 5. October 1943 to report about the partisan activies. He later returned to Bosnia; his arrival was a great aknowledgement of the partisan war efforts by the British and provided greater allied support as was delivered to the partisans earlier. While the mission was in Yugoslavia Captain Knight and Major Whetherley were killed in a German air raid.

This is what I have. Hopefully some of you could fill in the gaps, correct any possible errors and add some new info...

best regards,
Miha / Nibelung

billr
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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by billr » 14 Jun 2011 14:59

RE. operation disclaim.
The radio operator on this failed mission was my mothers brother, my uncle Bill.
You have his name incorrectly shown as Robert Chapmann, where in fact it should read Robert William Chapman.
who at the time of capture had the rank of corporal.
I can find no official record of this operation and would be very grateful for any item of news regarding same.
Uncle Bill was a prisoner at Stalag VIII B, Lamsdorf and I understand he made several escape attempts before finally being repatriated at the end of WW2.

Regards
Bill Robinson

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Miha Grcar
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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by Miha Grcar » 15 Jun 2011 16:20

Thank you for your input. As I saind im my post, the only reference is Deakin's book.

regards,
Miha

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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by gorran_w » 02 May 2012 21:37

1) ?
2) Major Basil Davidson
3) ?
4) 16. August 1943
5) ?
6) Little is known about this mission. They arrived and were supposed to go into Hungary with Tito's approval.
Basil Davidson: PARTISAN PICTURE

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phylo_roadking
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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by phylo_roadking » 03 May 2012 00:53

Miha...one of the blanks somewhere is Anthony Quayle the actor; formerly of the Home Guard Auxiliary Units, (where he served alongside Peter Fleming, brother of Ian...and author of the seminal Operation Sealion), he followed Colin Gubbins and Fleming into SOE...and he was a British Liaison Officer in Yugoslavia. Whatever happened to him there, he didn't ever talk about it much - but it left him a lifelong pacifist!

Image

For a pacifist....he didn't half star in some classic war movies!!! :lol:
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by billr » 11 Jan 2013 12:14

Miha Grcar wrote:Thank you for your input. As I saind im my post, the only reference is Deakin's book.

regards,
Miha


Miha,
Operation DISCLAIM is quoted very extensively in a book written by Major Elliotts' son.
Although I cannot testify as to the probity of some of this information, you may be able corroborate some of the events via your web-based contacts.
I obtained a used copy of the book from Amazon .co.uk. Details as follows:

Title: I Spy-the secret life of a British Agent.
Author: Geoffrey Elliott
ISBN : 0 316 64307 6
Publisher: St. Ermins Press. London

Regards and thanks for your interest in this subject.
Billr.

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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by Bokkop » 20 Jan 2013 21:20

Hi Miha,

Very interesting post, and hopefully the thread will develop well. A small point about Fitzroy Maclean: at the time he was a Brigadier. From the point he took over the British presence in Yugoslavia:

"37 Military Mission . . . had under its command many subordinate missions in the field, such as that at Topusco, to which Randolph Churchill, with Waugh on his staff, was heading.

The use of mission names might have been confusing too. The novelist Capt Evelyn Waugh was infiltrated in September 1944 but his record states

"11. 9. 44 – 21. 7. 45; 37 M[ilitary] M[ission] Infiltrated Croatia on operation ‘FUNGUS"

Both quotes from The Evelyn Waugh Society Vol. 43 No. 2 (Autumn 2012) -

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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by timbobutcher » 27 Feb 2013 11:55

I am a British author interested in Allied covert operations in Yugoslavia, both SOE and SIS, during WWII. Can anyone help establish an accurate date for the deaths of Donald Knight and Robin Wheterly? They died in a place called Glamoc as a captured German plane prepared for takeoff from a dirt strip arranged by Tito's partisans. Another German plane emerged over the horizon and dropped bombs, killing the two Brits and at least one other, a renowned Titoist commander called Ivo-Lola Ribar. Various sources from Maclean to Dedijer mention this incident but there is no agreement on the date.

Can anyone help?

And can anyone help me find out more about an SIS team dropped into Slovenia early 1944 but caught on landing. They were led by a Capt Max Watt and including a man called Edwin Robinson and another John Cornwell.

With thanks for any assistance

Best

Tim Butcher

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G. Trifkovic
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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by G. Trifkovic » 27 Feb 2013 15:23

timbobutcher wrote:I am a British author interested in Allied covert operations in Yugoslavia, both SOE and SIS, during WWII. Can anyone help establish an accurate date for the deaths of Donald Knight and Robin Wheterly? They died in a place called Glamoc as a captured German plane prepared for takeoff from a dirt strip arranged by Tito's partisans. Another German plane emerged over the horizon and dropped bombs, killing the two Brits and at least one other, a renowned Titoist commander called Ivo-Lola Ribar. Various sources from Maclean to Dedijer mention this incident but there is no agreement on the date.

Can anyone help?
Hi Tim and :welcome: .

Here is the contemporary German translation of the captured Partisan report according to which the Ribar incident happened on 27 November 1943.

The official Yugoslav historiography also mentions the same date (Souce: Hronologija NOR-a, p. 594).
And can anyone help me find out more about an SIS team dropped into Slovenia early 1944 but caught on landing. They were led by a Capt Max Watt and including a man called Edwin Robinson and another John Cornwell.

With thanks for any assistance

Best

Tim Butcher
Can you provide a more specific date of their arrival?

Cheers,

G.
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timbobutcher
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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by timbobutcher » 16 Mar 2014 19:57

G

Thank you for sending this. I blush to see it has been a year since you posted it and yet I have only just come to it now. I don't know what could have happened to the email prompt from the forum.

The mission caught in Slovenia were caught as soon as they landed by parachute on 22 January 1944. I believe they were SIS and might have been heading into Austria. No matter, as they were caught, taken to the prison at Begunje near Bled where their names appear in archives that I have seen. They were handed over to the Gestapo authorities in Ravensbruck and all three ended up in Colditz, where they saw out the war.

If you can help with any other details, I would love to hear them. I have various pictures of the archives and the cells they were held in at Begunje if that would be of any interest. Two of them left graffiti on the walls and doors of their cells which is moving.

Best wishes and, once more, apologies for the delay

TimB

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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by gambadier » 29 Mar 2014 05:56

Their names do not appear in Jeffery's semi-official history of MI6, although he does refer to 'blind' drops of agents into the region, generally unsuccessful and the difficulties they had in recruiting appropriate agents for the region. SIS operations into the Balkans and Austria were run by Bruce Lockhart out of Bari. Generally SIS did not deploy Britons into enemy territory, they used agents of a more appropriate background.

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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by kkevingo » 14 Jul 2015 16:48

Regarding Fitzroy Macleans mission my father Sgt Albert Price was Macleans wireless operator, he was badly injured in a bombing raid in 1944.

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RE. Operation Disclaim

Post by Vladestevanovic13 » 04 Mar 2016 03:37

My grandpa (Pavle Crnjanski) was in this Mission with Elliott, Miljkovic, and Chapman. Have pictures if anybody is interested.

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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by Vladestevanovic13 » 04 Mar 2016 03:48

My grandpa was in the mission with Robert - Pavle Crnjanski... See the pictures below


billr wrote:RE. operation disclaim.
The radio operator on this failed mission was my mothers brother, my uncle Bill.
You have his name incorrectly shown as Robert Chapmann, where in fact it should read Robert William Chapman.
who at the time of capture had the rank of corporal.
I can find no official record of this operation and would be very grateful for any item of news regarding same.
Uncle Bill was a prisoner at Stalag VIII B, Lamsdorf and I understand he made several escape attempts before finally being repatriated at the end of WW2.

Regards
Bill Robinson
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Re: British military missions in Yugoslavia

Post by Humby » 02 Apr 2018 06:49

timbobutcher wrote:G

Thank you for sending this. I blush to see it has been a year since you posted it and yet I have only just come to it now. I don't know what could have happened to the email prompt from the forum.

The mission caught in Slovenia were caught as soon as they landed by parachute on 22 January 1944. I believe they were SIS and might have been heading into Austria. No matter, as they were caught, taken to the prison at Begunje near Bled where their names appear in archives that I have seen. They were handed over to the Gestapo authorities in Ravensbruck and all three ended up in Colditz, where they saw out the war.

If you can help with any other details, I would love to hear them. I have various pictures of the archives and the cells they were held in at Begunje if that would be of any interest. Two of them left graffiti on the walls and doors of their cells which is moving.

Best wishes and, once more, apologies for the delay

TimB
Tim,

My Grandfather was Ernest Arthur Shenton who was a British SOE and was with Captain Hawkesworth.
The information above appears incorrect, Arthur was in Yugoslavia for around 1 year with Hawkesworth prior to being captured and handed to the Gestapo - Banica Belgrade.
I believe they were on their way to Mihailović's Head Quarters with three other English gents when they were intercepted by an armoured train and captured (he thought the other three English gents got away?).
They went through various camps before ending up at Colditz until the end of the war.
I would be very interested to see any information you may have relating to my grandfather?

Humby...

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