Operation pistol- train blown up.

galcock

Member
My father joined the 2 SAS in North Africa. As a guardsman he had been responsible for fitness training. At one point a party of SAS had been sent tohim for training. When they went off for a parachute drop as part of their induction into the SAS he simply joined in and thus joined the regiment.

This is part of my father's oral account which differs from the official written post operational report for Operation Pistol 1944. Other accounts by him appear in other threads on this site. This operation took place more or less at the same time as the more well known one called Loyton. At this time the German front lines were static - and this was a miscalculation on the part of the planners for both operations. The SAS operated with less hinderance when the front lines were more fluid.

My father's report from Operation Pistol (see previous threads) states that on the first night after landing he placed explosive charges on a railway line near Audviller in Alsace lorraine. This was very close to where they had landed. Perhaps not a wise decision? He blew a train and tender off the line late that night and moved off rather rapidly. I have never understood how when you read the various pistol reports that there is no mention of a large explosion heard by Corporal Hill's escape party that was a subdivision of my father's stick. Anyway he got away with it and moved south across open country but was blocked by a very wide and deep stream. He more or less retraced his steps but moved further to the south east.

As he headed back it became light as the sun was coming up so he hid in some pear trees in an orchard that was beside a road. During the following day he logs german troops passing along the road near the orchard he is hiding in. Children spot him so he moves away. They mistake the SAS for Russian soldiers, thinking they were deserters no doubt, and run off shouting as they went. My father and his party see a gap in the traffic and move off as they have been spotted. In moving he sees empty trenches dug and logs their location with a map reference. He provides many map references in his report, infact so many that I have been able to re-walk his 25 mile route almost exactly. The countryside is agricultural with crops in the low areas and the hills are dotted with thick pine forests.

It is easey to see how a small SAS group could move about unmolested. You also have to remember that during the day the Germans themselves kept off the roads for fear of air attack.

Later that night he and his three man party enter a farmyard and hide in a cow shed. In the morning a servant girl enters the shed; she screams on seeing the men. She is grabbed by one of my father's party and told to be quiet. My father and his men take the girl to the main farmhouse and luckily the farmer if friendly and he allows them in. The farm is called Ferme Feriendal and the farmer is called Mr Konige. He speaks German and French fluently. The following morning the SS call at the house to requisition horses. The farmer refuses saying he cannot spare them. All the while my fathe'rs party are ready in case they enter the hiouse. The Germans leave without the horses.

All of this is his oral story and you will not find them in the official Pistol reports which are on Wikipedia now.

For me Operation Pistol is unique because the men were on foot operating in what then was German national territory. They SAS were told/advised not to contact the locals. But infact, luckily perhaps, my father had lots of help.

In 1945 my father was awarded the Croixe De Guerre but I am not sure if it was for his part in this operation or one later. In 1956 he took part in the Suez parachute drop as RSM to 3 Para when the airfirld at El Gamil was assaulted.
 
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Edwardswyn

New Member
Hi,
This is all very interesting. My uncle was part of c1 stick. Sapper Edwards.
Below is a link I recently discovered documenting his experience. My uncle was killed on April 16 th 1945 and is buried in oosterbeek cemetry in holland. My family thought he must have been left behind after Arnhem but obviously this did not happen.. He returned to the uk on nov 19 th 44 and must have been sent back over on a later date. My mother still has a German flag that other members of the sas unit have signed. I don't know how she got hold of it but I will but I will have another look next time I am down in gods country. Thanks for all the info of op pistol, I am finding it very interesting. I discovered a document at kew re the operation but it is very expensive to copy. I will have to try to visit one day.
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/...nload/Edwardswyn@aolcom/wo/208/3324/0/217.pdf
 
Hi,
This is all very interesting. My uncle was part of c1 stick. Sapper Edwards.
Below is a link I recently discovered documenting his experience. My uncle was killed on April 16 th 1945 and is buried in oosterbeek cemetry in holland. My family thought he must have been left behind after Arnhem but obviously this did not happen.. He returned to the uk on nov 19 th 44 and must have been sent back over on a later date. My mother still has a German flag that other members of the sas unit have signed. I don't know how she got hold of it but I will but I will have another look next time I am down in gods country. Thanks for all the info of op pistol, I am finding it very interesting. I discovered a document at kew re the operation but it is very expensive to copy. I will have to try to visit one day.
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/...nload/Edwardswyn@aolcom/wo/208/3324/0/217.pdf

Hi Edwardswyn,

If you would like to know more about your uncle, Alfred Ronald Edwards, you please contact me on skipodonovan@gmail.com and I will gladly help out.

All the best

Skip
 

galcock

Member
Hello, Edwardswyn,
I do know a lot about operation pistol-my father John Alcock was in charge of c3 patrol. I have walked his escape route and met the families who aided him in alsace lorraine. My name is Graham. Please telephone me at home. I am at home on holidays for the next two weeks. I am writing a book for Pistol and your link has completed a missing link for me. I have spoken to Grumbach on the phone some years ago. He lived in Paris.
I met a woman who hid Scott in here house. tel 01405 704 549
 
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tim4848

Member
I'm going to add this one to my website under party C1. Graham, if I've worked it our correctly, the "we soon joined forces with three other S.A.S. men" refer to your dad SQMS Alcock, Cpl Hannah and Pct. Marczak.

This is also the first time I've seen Lt Lothaire Grumbach referred to with an alias (Lt Lionel George)

You might want to correct your email address with either .co.uk or .com
 
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