Author Archives: Ian Murray

3 Commando – the Storming of Torre Cuba

3 Commando’s capture of the Italian strongpoint at Torre Cuba helped prepare the ground (literally) for the surrender of Italy and the signing of the Armistice. Major Peter Young had a disappointing start to Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of … Continue reading

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Paddy Mayne and the SAS Attack on the Second Battery

The SAS Special Raiding Squadron (SRS) should have withdrawn after taking the gun battery on Cape Murro di Porco. Instead Major Mayne opted for more fighting. In one of the opening moves of Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 110 – Glider Pilots Fight for the Ponte Grande

The pilots in Glider 110 landed their Waco in the centre of LZ 1, then went on to fight to the finish for the Ponte Grande bridge. Glider: Waco CG-4A number 110, serial no. 73603 (or 73683).Glider carrying: 6 pounder anti-tank … Continue reading

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Arnhem & Varsity Sketches by Glider Pilot Victor Miller

Victor Miller’s sketches show us something no photograph can – what it felt like to be in the front seat in a massed glider assault. Glider pilot Staff Sergeant Victor Miller fought in and survived three of the great glider … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 50 – Hemmed In By Fire

The men of Glider 50 found themselves surrounded by Italian positions until they were rescued by the SAS troopers of the Special Raiding Squadron (SRS). Glider: CG-4A Waco 50, serial 277213.Glider carrying: 11 Subsection, 3 Section, 9th Field Company Royal Engineers.Troops’ … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 107 – Escape and Evasion

Glider 107 landed near an Italian garrison who shot at it the instant it landed, and then patrolled for survivors. Glider: Waco CG-4A number 107, name “Rocket”, serial no. 277177.Glider carrying: Half of 10 Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion of the Border Regiment.Troops’ … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 46 – Kicking the Hornets’ Nest

Glider 46 landed in a hornets’ nest of Italian defences. For good measure it kicked the nest first by trying to land on the roof of a pillbox. Glider: CG-4A Waco 46, serial 246587.Glider carrying: 9 Subsection, 3 Section, 9th … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 8 – Calm Before the Storm

The C-47 towing Glider 8 had an easy run in Operation Ladbroke. For its captain and his crew, it was the calm before the storm. Glider: CG-4A Waco 11, serial no. 73602.Glider carrying: Part of D Company HQ, 2nd Battalion South … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 52a – Out of the Firestorm

Glider 52a landed close to its LZ, descending out of a firestorm of searchlights and anti-aircraft fire. Glider: CG-4A Waco 52a, serial 42-73623.Glider carrying: Half of a platoon of E Company, 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment.Troops’ objective: Walsall strongpoint [photo] [map]. … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 29 – A Tough Nut to Crack

Unlike most of the glider troops in Operation Ladbroke, the men in Glider 29 reached their objective and attacked it. Glider: CG-4A Waco 29, serial 277232.Glider carrying: Half of 12 Platoon of B Company, 2 South Staffords.Troops’ objective: Bilston strongpoint. Manifest … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider Z – No Business Being There

Glider Z only flew in Operation Ladbroke because a senior officer wangled an extra tug plane. More than one commentator thought he had no business being there. Glider: CG4-A Waco Z, serial no. 277185.Glider carrying: Senior airborne officer and staff, … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 124 – A Life and Death Decision

The pilots of Glider 124 staked everything on reaching land. A few inches of height either way meant the difference between life and death. Glider: Waco 124, serial no. 277233.Glider carrying: Half of 14 Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion of the Border Regiment.Troops’ objective: Outskirts … Continue reading

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Surgical Strike – the Bombing of Syracuse in Operation Ladbroke

Airborne assaults were vital to the invasion of Sicily, and the troops wanted shock and awe in the bombing of Syracuse. But the air forces kept them in doubt until the last minute. The plan for the bombing of Syracuse … Continue reading

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Mystery Plane – Wellington Bomber Wreck off Cape Murro di Porco

For over 75 years the fate of a lost Wellington bomber remained a mystery. Detective work on land and in the sea has confirmed its fate and that of its crew. In September 2017 a friend of mine sent me … Continue reading

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Photo Story: SAS SRS & Airborne – Agony & Ecstasy in the Med

While men of the SAS SRS assaulted a deadly gun battery, glider troops drowned in Operation Ladbroke. Returning later, the SRS remembered both the excitement and the horror.  There is a well-known photograph of SAS troopers of the Special Raiding … Continue reading

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Wilf Oldham – Ordeal by Water.

Wilf Oldham risked being swept away crossing the River Rhine, as British troops escaped the destruction of 1 Airborne Division at Arnhem. It was not his first airborne fiasco, nor his first ordeal by water. First came Sicily. UPDATE – … Continue reading

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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: CG-4A Waco 57Glider carrying: CO and men of Battalion HQ of 1 Border … 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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