Author Archives: Ian Murray

SAS Special Raiding Squadron (SRS) – The Cliffs of Cape Murro di Porco

The cliffs below the gun battery at Cape Murro di Porco are daunting. Did the SAS Special Raiding Squadron really climb them to attack and destroy the guns? Recently discovered documents shed new light. The southern coast of the Maddalena … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 57 – The Cliffs of Cape Murro di Porco

Waco glider 57 landed in the sea off Sicily, near the forbidding cliffs of Cape Murro di Porco. As the men floundered onto the wing, they came under fire. Glider: Waco 57 Tug: C-47, 41-18446, 7 Squadron, 62 Troop Carrier Group, 51 Troop Carrier … Continue reading

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Lt J S D Hardy, RSO of 1 Border Regiment in Operation Ladbroke

Lt J S D Hardy was Regimental Signals Officer of the 1st Battalion of the Border Regiment in Operation Ladbroke. This is his account. Lt J S D Hardy was part of the Battalion HQ team of 1 Border Regiment … Continue reading

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Operation Ladbroke, Fustian, Glutton, Bigot, Husky – or not?

Operation Fustian or Marston? Glutton or Snowboots? Husky 2 or Mackall White? Operation Ladbroke or not? A wry look at the confusion caused by codenames. Codenames and codewords are designed to confuse the enemy. Unfortunately, they often also confuse their own … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider Y – Bayonets & Threats of Execution

Waco glider Y was posted missing in Operation Ladbroke. A recently discovered Italian report has the details: Y’s men were captured and interrogated. Bayonets were brandished, executions threatened. Glider: CG-4A Waco Y. Tug: Albemarle AC, P1557, 296 Squadron, 38 Wing … Continue reading

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Operation Ladbroke Sites – the Coup-de-Main Objectives

Ever wondered exactly where the Operation Ladbroke sites are in Sicily? Here’s a handy battlefield guide to the South Staffords’ coup-de-main objectives.  Please note: it may not be safe or possible to visit some of the Operation Ladbroke sites. See the warning at the bottom of … Continue reading

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Italian Cavalry Attack British Glider Troops on the Ponte Grande Bridge

The source was impeccable: the BBC. The news was incredible: Italian cavalry had charged British airborne troops holding the Ponte Grande bridge. In the middle of WW2, could it possibly be true? The thunder of hooves, clods of earth flying, weapons … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 52 & Gozo in Operation Ladbroke

Waco glider 52 had one of the more unusual stories of navigation failure in Operation Ladbroke. Uniquely, it landed on the tiny island of Gozo. Glider: CG-4A Waco 52, serial 245690. Tug: C-47, 41-18334, 28 Squadron, 60 Troop Carrier Group, 51 Troop Carrier … Continue reading

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A US glider trooper in Operation Varsity – John Kormann’s legacy

On the anniversary of Operation Varsity, an extraordinary gathering in a local restaurant in honour of US glider trooper John Kormann brought back memories, and evoked the sights and sounds of battle. Operation Varsity, the Allied airborne drop across the … Continue reading

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Chatterton vs Hopkinson – the Facts

There is a story about Lt Col Chatterton and Maj Gen Hopkinson and the genesis of Operation Ladbroke that is so pervasive that it has almost become gospel. Certainly it seems to go completely unchallenged. But is there any evidence … Continue reading

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Glider Pilots to Blame for Operation Ladbroke Disaster? Part 3

In his post-war book, the CO of the glider pilots blamed their ‘limitations’ for the ‘near disaster’ of Operation Ladbroke. Is the accusation true? In Part 1 we saw how the use of gliders in Operation Ladbroke, the opening assault in … Continue reading

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The Battle for Augusta – Jim Fern and the 6 Seaforths

The town of Augusta in Sicily did not fall easily, despite half its garrison having fled. Lance Corporal Jim Fern of the 6 Seaforths died fighting in the battle to capture it. The young pit worker from the Leicestershire mining … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 70 – Disaster for Medics in Operation Ladbroke

Waco glider 70 landed in the sea off Sicily. So did the other two gliders full of medical men attached to 1 Border Regiment in Operation Ladbroke. This was a disaster not just for the medics, but also the men … Continue reading

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Glider Pilots to Blame for Operation Ladbroke Disaster? Part 2

The CO of the glider pilots blamed their ‘limitations’ for the ‘near disaster’ of Operation Ladbroke. That was later. What did he say at the time? In Part 1 we saw how Operation Ladbroke, the glider assault that opened the invasion of … Continue reading

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SAS Rogue Heroes – Book Review

‘SAS Rogue Heroes’ is a readable and enjoyable account of the SAS in World War 2. But there’s not much about the SAS in Sicily, and what there is, is not great. Review of ‘SAS Rogue Heroes – The Authorized … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 26 – Combat Medics in Operation Ladbroke

Glider 26 carried a surgical team in the invasion of Sicily. According to contemporary reports, the medics not only saved lives, but they also fought to do so. Glider: CG4-A Waco 26, serial no. 243811. Tug: C-47 or C-53, serial 41-18418, nose (squadron) … Continue reading

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Glider Pilots to Blame for Operation Ladbroke Disaster?

After the failures of Operation Ladbroke, recriminations flew in every direction. The glider pilots were not exempt. Surprisingly, their own commander later blamed them the most. “It was … the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life”, the … Continue reading

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Unseen US document reveals impact of glider battle at Maleme

Glider troops of Germany’s airborne forces landed around Maleme Bridge in Crete in May 1941. They were decimated. The Germans decided never again to mount an airborne assault. The Allies drew the opposite lesson, as a previously unseen American document shows. “Stand … Continue reading

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South Staffords near Syracuse – rare photograph

South Staffords glider troops photographed near Syracuse on the day after the epic battle for the Ponte Grande bridge – a unique picture, a dramatic story. Photographs of airborne troops taken during Operation Ladbroke, the glider assault that began the Allied invasion … Continue reading

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The Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment – Book Review

‘The Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment’ is an academic book in style, but it’s full of interesting nuggets of information about the personalities, politics and technology involved in developing Britain’s parachute and glider forces. Review of “The Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment … Continue reading

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