Attack landing grounds at (a) TMIMI, and (b) GAZALA, and destroy enemy aircraft.
By parachute, to be picked up by L.R.D.G.
(a) TMIMI Party:- Lt. Mayne, Sgts. MacDonald and Kershaw, Cpl. White, Pcts. White, Seekings, Hawkins, Arnold, Kendall, Chesworth, Bennett
(b) GAZALA Party:- Lt. Lewis, Lt. Bonnington(?), Capt. Thomson(?), Sgt. Riley, L/C Brough, Pcts. Warburton, Phillips, Cattell, Cooper, Burns, Storie, DuVivier
16th November, 1941
The Unit left KARRIT (EGYPT) by plane on the morning of the 16th November, 1941, and was dropped over the objectives between 2230 hrs and 2300 hrs. There was a strong gale and heavy rain, with the result that the section became widely dispersed and the demolition material soaked. One of the planes was shot down by enemy fighters, thus losing 15 Parachutists and crew. Several men were also injured during the dropping and subsequently taken prisoner. The remainder did not operate, and, after being picked up by R 1 Patrol L.R.D.G., commanded by Captain Easton Smith, returned to KARRIT via JARABUB.


November 17th, 1941.

Left KABRIT for parachute operation, with intention of dropping in two parties, one at GAZALA and the other at TMIMI, I being a member of the latter. Our party consisted of Lieut. Mayne, Sgt. MacDonald, Sgt. Kershaw, Cpl. White, and Pcts. White, F., Seekings, Hawkins, Arnold, Kendall, Chesworth, and myself.

We proceeded to BAGUSH where we went into the Officers' Mess; we were made very welcome and sat down to a dinner which was fit for a king, the kind of 'scoff' which the average soldier sees only when in the arms of Morpheus. An officer waited on us at the table, and he looked at us in such a way that we could imagine him saying, "I will give them all that I can, as the poor chaps may not be coming back again!" It was just like having whatever you wished before going to the gallows.

At 2230 hrs., we were all sitting in our planes as detailed. The pilot passed the remark that the wind was getting up, a fact with which we were not at all thrilled. off, and the next two and a half hours seamed to me a lifetime. On arrival at our dropping area, we were greeted by slight flack. I have never seen a party leave a plane so quickly the old troop-carrying Bombays. To set It was cold-intensely cold. The time came to jump, and incidentally, the planes we were using were

On hitting the ground I immediately found myself being dragged by the wind; I could not stop myself, but made desperate efforts to release my harness, this being a job for Houdini. I don't know just how far I was dragged, but after being used as a human bulldozer for what seemed an age, a lull in the fury of the gale allowed my 'chute to collapse. Purely by instinct and training I managed to get out of my harness and roll up the 'chute and bury it, a job which should have been done with the utmost quietness, but owing to the ground in the vicinity being very hard indeed, I made enough noise with my entrenching tool to awaken the whole of the Afrika Corps. burying process completed, I caught sight of a figure approaching me. I was naturally dubious of his identity, but found that the man was one of the party - Pct. Seekings. Our next job was to find the rest of the party, and after walking round in ever-increasing circles, we located them, to find that two members had received injuries on landing. We were then sent out in different directions to find the containers in which were our arms and rations and the main thing of all - water. Our luck was out: all we found were two out of eleven containers, the total bag being two tommy-guns, eight bottles of water, and six blankets. Three bottles of water were handed to the injured members of the party together with a few rations. We shook hands with them, wished them luck, and set out to find our objective.

It was 0245 hrs. when we set off; we walked through the night and came across a Wadi in which we decided to lie up until darkness came again. In the meantime Sgt. MacDonald made a recce of the area. He reported back and gave the position of the drome, which was some two miles away.

The time for leaving our hide-out and proceeding to 'fix' the drome was laid down as 1830 hrs., but at 1800 hrs., the elements intervened - it rained as I have never seen it before - clouds broke by the score, and our nice dry little Wadi was transformed in a matter of minutes into a lake. We clambered to higher ground, trying to salvage what kit we had, but lost a lot in process. We had to try to keep out some of the rain, by deciding to use one blanket per three men, having only managed to save three blankets for nine of us. This proved none too effective, but was better than nothing at all, so with constant wringing out of the blankets, and an occasional sip at the old 'rum stakes' we managed to survive.

When morning came it was apparent that we were not now in a position to carry out an attack on the drome, so we made off for the rendezvous, where, by arrangement, the L.R.D.G. should be waiting for us. A thirty-six hours' march brought us to the approximate position, and as we were by this time in an exhausted condition, we lay down. Seekings said that he could see a light in the distance; no-one seemed to take much notice, and Sgt Kershaw said that is was not a light, but a star low on the horizon, so the matter dropped.

Daylight came, we aroused ourselves, and started walking, when suddenly a truck appeared, but turned out to be one of the L.R.D.G. Patrol appointed to meet us. The first things to greet us were cigarettes. It was the finest fag I have ever tasted, as all ours had been destroyed by the rains. Those chaps got right down to making a real good 'Scoff', and did we wnjoy it!

We were then conveyed back to our base, the only incident being an attack by an Italian Savoya.


Statement by NO. 2660354, Tpr. Blakeney.

The above-mentioned soldier proceeded on operations in the Western Desert on 16th November, 1941, and was dropped in a gale. After landing he lay up until dawn and found himself along with other members of his party, including Lt. MacGoneagle, who was badly injured and died later. Other members of the party were as stated in the following report by Tpr. Davies.

This party, which endeavoured to make for L.R.D. G. RV got lost, and so made their way to the coast and were picked up by an Italian Guard at TMIMI airfield, as per report of Tpr. Davies, prior to arriving on the Italian Mainland.

After staying for ten days at BARI PW Camp, the party was moved to a PW Camp (No.52) near GENOA. Tpr. Blakeney stayed at PW Camp 52 until June 1943, when he was moved to a small PW Camp near to POMARO, where he was employed until the Italian Armistice.

He then made his escape to SWITZERLAND. The trip to the frontier took 19 days, after missing several German patrols. After crossing the frontier, Tprs. Robertson and Blakeney and six others from British Units were picked up by Swiss sentries in September, 1943, and stayed in SWITZERLAND until being repatriated in October, 1944 He then returned to UK via ALGIERS.

Statement by No. 2734997, Tpr. Davies.

This soldier proceeded on operations in the Western Desert on 16th November, 1941, and was dropped in a gale over the DZ. After a rough landing he lay up until daylight when he met some other members of the operational party, which included Lt. MacGoneagle, Sgt. Lazenby, Cpl. Westwater, Cpl. Evans, Pcts. McKay, MacCormick, Malone, Morris, Robertson, and Haldreth. The last-named member died later. Lt. MacGoneagle, who was badly injured, died the same day. Members of the party commenced to make their way to the L.R.D.G. RV, but got lost in the desert.

They had no supplies, as all their containers were lost. On making their way to the coastal sector, they were picked up by Italian Guards on the edge of TMIMI airfield.

The party was taken by road to DERNA where they were interrogated, and after this they were put in a local prison on their own. The following day the party was put in with some British Commandos who were PWs, and stayed the night in BENGHAZI. Next day a party of sixty were taken to TARANTO on an Italian cruiser, and were put in a PW transit camp at BARI.

From the transit camp, Davies was admitted to hospital, where he stayed until 23rd December, 1941, when he was moved to another PW hospital for further treatment until March 27th, 1942. He was then moved to PW Camp No. 59, and in June 1943 he left there for PW Working Camp, 146/XXIII.

On June 8th he escaped and made his way South hoping to get away by boat, but found it was not possible, so he travelled by train North to COMO and made his way to the Swiss frontier and crossed near to HORIA. He crossed the frontier on 26th October, 1943, and was taken to a British camp, NEGERSTEIN. He was in SWITZERLAND until his repatriation in October, 1944, when he returned to UK via ALGIERS.

Statement by No. 895803, Tpr. Brailsford.

Tpr. Brailsford left S.A.S. Base, EGYPT, with "B" Squadron in November, 1942. After the Squadron left, they met "A" Squadron at a RV in the Desert, and he joined the raiding party. The name of the officer he cannot remember, but other members of the party were Sgt. T. Lacey, Pte. Bowman, and one other man whose name he cannot remember, but who was from "A" Squadron.

This party was ambushed by the enemy near the coast road during the early hours of the morning. After engaging the enemy, they had to withdraw owing to their lack of ammunition, and were chased for about ten miles, after which they were surrounded by the enemy in greater numbers.

After two nights in a native gaol, Bowman made an escape, but was caught later and was last seen in Italy. This party was moved to a PW Camp outside Tripoli until being moved to the Italian mainland. After being at PW Camp 66 for a month he was moved to Camp 70 where he was kept for four months.

He was then moved to a PW Working Camp near MILAN PW Camp 62. On the eve of the Italian Armistice, he was released, and was two months in the hills with Italian patriots. Finally the patriots were routed by the Germans, Tpr. Brailsford making his way to the Swiss border, where he arrived on November the 5th.

After spending eleven months in SWITZERLAND, he was repatriated through France and returned to UK via ALGIERS in October 1944.

65 men took part in Operation Squatter, a mere 22 made it to the RV with the L.R.D.G. Return to Kabrit and admit failure, Stirling made clear, and the S.A.S. was finished.

Using parachuting as a means of entry had been important in selling the concept of the S.A.S. to the generals in the desert, it wasn't necessary and had proved ineffective. If the L.R.D.G. could bring them out after an operation, however, the LRDG could take them in.

Instead of returning to Kabrit, therefore, Stirling hid the 22 at Jalo Oasis, 150 miles south of Benghazi, and ordered them to acquire more explosives and weapons.

Then, without informing anyone, and carried by the L.R.D.G. the 22 went back into the desert to finish their mission.