View Full Version : 1st Bn Border Regiment - Operation Husky (Syracuse)

09-03-2008, 07:29 AM
When operation HUSKY was launched on the 9th July the Battalion's main role was to capture the town of Syracuse on the East coast of Sicily. For this the Battalions strength was 43 officers and 753 other ranks. Unfortunately many of the gliders came down in the sea drowning a large number of the Borderers and those which did make it to Sicily were widely scattered stopping the Battalion from organising and attaining its objective. However in their small groups they caused problems for the enemy.

The objective was not achieved owing to the failure of the tug and glider pilots to land their loads in the prescribed LZ. This failure was thought to be due to three main causes:-

(a) Lack of navigational assistance to pilots on route and LZ.

(b) False appreciation of strength of wind, and consequent reduced range of gliders after release.

(c) Unwillingness of some tug pilots to fly into flak.

Some of this flak came from friendly forces as the glider forces flew over the sea-landing forces still at sea. The American tug pilots were, in the main, unaccustomed to flying with gliders and released the gliders early - into the sea - when they came under fire.

Of the 72 gliders, 44 came down in the sea, 20 in Sicily, 7 in Africa and 1 in Malta. On a personnel basis, this meant that 64% of the Bn came down in the sea, 25% in Sicily, and 11% in Africa and Malta. The 4 officers and 191 OR's who came down in Sicily suffered 18% casualties in landing, chiefly from handcarts which broke away from their lashing-points, and 12% casualties in action, a total of 30%. Of the 28 officers and 478 OR's who landed in the sea, 19% reached Sicily by swimming and then joined the land party, suffering casualties in action on a similar scale; 23% have been reported drowned, missing believed drowned, or missing; 1% were killed or wounded by enemy action at sea; and 57% were picked up in the sea, and returned to base via Malta, Algiers, Alexandria and Suez. Most of those drowned managed to get out of the gliders, but then sank before succeeding in freeing themselves of their equipment and climbing onto the WACO's. The majority of the gliders floated for 6-7 hours before sinking or breaking up completely, though this time naturally varied with the payload and the force of the crash into the water, gliders which landed tailfirst last much longer than those which plunged straight in nose first.

09-03-2008, 07:35 AM
Glider No.96

We were released from the tug at approx 2215 hrs at approx 500 ft. We hit the water nose first, and the fuselage filled up almost immediately. One of the emergency doors could not open. A number escaped through the nose, and the remainder through the port door. The glider pilot told us to keep on the wings. He said to me that there should be fourteen people, and that he could only count thirteen: I checked up and found that the missing person was Pte Hurley. In about two hours time the aircraft started to break up. The wings broke from the main body, and we held to the nose of the glider as that was all that remained above water. We then had to abandon this support as it was sinking, and transfer to a glider wing which then appeared. At this time Sjt de Muynck decided that he and Cpl Clark should make for the shore as they were comparatively strong swimmers, so to have more support for the non-swimmers. Five minutes later Pte Richards decided to follow the two NCOs. I shouted to L cpl Manley on the other side of the wing - "is everything all right". He replied two of them have gone. I knew that these two were Ptes Casey and Fairbrass. These soldiers, for some time previously had been hysterical. About 0400 hrs Pte Gale drifted off from the glider, and we were too exhausted to go for him as we had been doing on several occasions. The last words we heard from Pte Gale were "I've had it lads". At approx 0430 hrs we were picked up by an invasion barge. I reported that Gale had drifted off half an hour previously but we could not find him. We were then transferred to the "Ulster Monarch" from which in turn we were taken aboard a Norwegian ship and landed at Malta on Monday morning. (My opinion is that Ptes Casey, Gale, Fairbrass and Hurley were drowned, and that Pte Richards may have either made the shore or was picked up.

(Sgd) T. H. Horner, L cpl, 3603472

09-03-2008, 07:40 AM
Glider No.57

The glider took off from Strip C at 1915 hrs and circled to get into formation for about twenty minutes. As soon as all the gliders were in the air a course was set out to sea. Before take-off the crew were all instructed what to do in case of the glider coming down in the sea, on the correct landing zone, or a crash landing off the zone. The crew were all Bn HQ personnel, Lt Col Britten MBE, Capt N.A.H. Stafford, Capt G.G. Black, Lt J.S.D. Hardy, Sjt Burton, L Cpl Toman, L Cpl Smith, Pte Clark, Pte Ditte, Pte Cull, Cpl Day and Sgm Gilbert. The two pilots were Lt Loughran and an American pilot.

The trip was uneventful, and the glider, with a fairly heavy load, flew very well. The load included a handcart and five folding cycles, as well as two No.18 sets, carried by the signallers.

Two islands, which we took to be Linosa and Malta were the only land sighted until about 2000 hrs [2200 hrs?], when the coast of Sicily could be plainly seen off the port side. There was a little flak, but none of it came very near us at all. Our pilot cast off at what we, the crew, thought was the correct place, but which, was as near as the tug was willing to go without taking evasive action. We were actually quite a way out at a height of only 1300 ft. We glided all along the South coast of the Cap du Porco, heading straight for the LZ, but could not make landfall. Lt Loughran gave us "prepare to ditch", but his order was not heard at the back of the glider. The front emergency doors were jettisoned, and the rear doors still locked when the glider actually hit the water.

The fuselage filled absolutely immediately, but there was no panic at all. About half of the crew came through the doors, the remainder through the roof. The first man out started to split the roof as soon as they were clear, and thereby saved the lives of those still inside.

We formed up on the wings a little shaken, but really no worse, and were about to make a plan of action when we and another glider some 50 or 60 yds away were engaged by two MG posts on the cliffs. The enemy fired a few illumination rockets towards us, but their lights did not make the fire much more accurate.

Our only arms were three revolvers and about 18 rounds of amn, so it was useless trying to get all the crew ashore as a fighting unit. We decided to make for the shore in twos and threes, those of us that were armed keeping together to try to do something about the enemy posts. On arrival in shore we found ourselves at the bottom of a cliff face where it was impossible to get higher to get into position anywhere near the enemy posts. We decided to lay up until the following morning.

At 0220 hrs on the morning of the 10th, a bomber, which must have been hit by flak, dropped its bomb load in the water about thirty yards away from us, then crashed into the sea itself. Capt Stafford was wounded in the neck and the hand.

At first light we moved along the cliff face then climbed to a ledge fifteen or twenty feet higher. We found all the crew except three, gathered them together, and decided to swim out to the gliders to try to get some water and tinned food. Two or three of us were fairly successful, so the situation, apart from lack of arms, was not too bad. We also managed to get some of the first aid kits from the gliders.

At 1000 hrs Lt Col Britten decided to attempt to break through to the Bn area, a distance of six to eight miles, so he and Lt Hardy left at 1400 hrs, hoping to meet up with the Bn by first light the next day. We covered about 1000 yds in the first two hours, this in stockinged feet over the rocks was better than we had hoped, but we thought this too slow, so we pocketed our revolvers and decided to walk boldly through.

We met Lt Green at about 1700 hrs, he had a batch of thirty or forty prisoners, but no definite information about the Bn as a whole. We filled our water bottles, had some tea and pressed on.

At one place on our way we looked over a wall and saw some 60 Italians, soldiers and civilians. The soldiers were armed so we bluffed them that we had the situation in hand, took their arms and made them destroy them, explaining as best we could that as far as they were concerned the war was over. We could not of course take them prisoner. They gave us quite a cheer as we left. :D

As darkness set in we were stopped by two men of the Glider Pilot Regiment, they told us they were with a pl of the S. Stafford Regt. As their forming up area was more or less the same as ours they joined us, together we made for Waterloo.

The rest of our journey was more or less uneventful and we reported to Bde HQ at about 2000 hrs. By this time our feet were pretty tender, so we de-booted the first of the many PW.

We joined Major T.P.H. du Boulay at about 2100 hrs in the Bn area where we rested for the night. The Bn moved into SYRACUSE at about 0800 hrs the next day, and from there parties were sent out to collect the wounded, and arm the unarmed men with enemy weapons.

Capt Stafford was collected at about 1000 hrs on the 11th and sent off to the CCS on George Beach. The remainder moved to the Bn area on cycles with as much kit as could be collected from the gliders in an old Italian car.

17 Jul 43.


(sgd) J. Hardy Lt.

1st Bn The Border Regiment.

10-29-2008, 10:31 AM
Check that hedgerow, chaps.

Soldiers of the 1st Bn Border Regt. Oosterbeek, Arnhem


Classic picture of 1 Border, mortar team, Oosterbeek


http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.jouwpagina.nl/fotos3/airborne/Thierney.jpg&imgrefurl=http://airborne.jouwpagina.nl/&h=155&w=170&sz=38&hl=en&start=73&usg=__EVRC6Vv7EMNGiECOX6y2zAa2Drc=&tbnid=ErC7ezca6Ud2lM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=99&prev=/images%3Fq%3DBORDER%2BREGIMENT%2BARNHEM%26start%3D 60%26gbv%3D2%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN

10-31-2008, 03:01 AM
The Horsa Glider


11-28-2008, 04:55 AM
This is interesting:

11-28-2008, 05:54 AM
'What manner of men are those who wear the maroon beret? They are, firstly, all volunteers and are then toughened by physical training. As a result they have that infectious optimism and that offensive eagerness which comes from physical well-being. They have dropped from the air and by doing so have conquered fear. Their duty lies in the van of battle, they are proud or their honour and have never failed in any task. They have the highest standards in things, whether it be in battle, or smartness in execution of all peace-time duties. They have shown themselves to be as tenacious and determined in defence as they are courageous in attack. They are, in fact, men apart. "Every man an emperor" '

Field Marshal Montgomery

02-02-2009, 03:23 PM
"Knitting, as we call it..."

Newsreel on glider training (You might want your audio turned up for the dialogue which kiks-in after about 45 secs.):


Home from home:


02-03-2009, 10:31 AM
Glider landing - first of the allies to land in Normandy - Orne River, left-flank of the allied beachhead, from the film The Longest Day:


Richard Todd, the actor portaying Major Howard of the OX. and Bucks. (Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry) glider troops, actually commisioned into the Parachute Regiment and landed on the Orne river with the Paras on D-Day as a part of the relief force.


02-03-2009, 02:33 PM
One has to have a huge respect for glider troops of that era. I don't think I could do it. I'm afraid of heights, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have a huge issue jumping from high level aircraft, and if I could have made the cut, I would have possibly joined the airborne. But I don't think I could ever fathom going into battle in a claustrophobic wooden crate with wings. These men deserve at least as much respect and acclaim as their airborne counterparts...

This especially applies to Major Howard and his Ox and Bucks at Pegasus Bridge...

02-03-2009, 02:36 PM
Wasn't there a terrible friendly fire incident in Operation Husky involving gliders? I mean as in US Army ADA troops not being made aware of the operation and them firing on the C-47s towing the gliders?

02-03-2009, 03:34 PM
One has to have a huge respect for glider troops of that era. I don't think I could do it. I'm afraid of heights, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have a huge issue jumping from high level aircraft, and if I could have made the cut, I would have possibly joined the airborne. But I don't think I could ever fathom going into battle in a claustrophobic wooden crate with wings. These men deserve at least as much respect and acclaim as their airborne counterparts...

This especially applies to Major Howard and his Ox and Bucks at Pegasus Bridge...

It applies to all of them, Nick.

Indeed, they were respected. They were airborne troops, but not paratroops. They wore the maroon beret and the Pegasus insignia, dress and acoutrements. However, they did retain their regimental designation and cap badge. They reverted to the regular infantry role at th end of hostilities.

British airborne glider troops at Arnhem - 1st Air Landing Brigade of the 1st Airborne Division - were:

1st Bn Border Regiment

Corporal Thierney and his mortar team, Arnhem http://www.jouwpagina.nl/fotos3/airborne/Thierney.jpg

2nd Bn South Staffordshire Regiment

Jack Bird http://search.live.com/images/results.aspx?q=2+south+staffords+arnhem&go=&form=QBIR#focal=eaf435182a521efb3da0a230ce226147&furl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fww2peopleswar%2F stories%2F21%2Fimages%2F11163256871145211962_1.jpg

7th Bn King's Own Scottish Borderers

02-03-2009, 03:36 PM
Wasn't there a terrible friendly fire incident in Operation Husky involving gliders? I mean as in US Army ADA troops not being made aware of the operation and them firing on the C-47s towing the gliders?

Yes. Only one platoon of the Borderers reached their objective, many being dropped too early and landing in the sea.

02-04-2009, 06:32 AM

After a number of cancelled operations in the summer of 1944, the 1st Airborne Division was to land at Arnhem, capture the main road bridge and other crossings over the River Rhine and hold a defensive perimeter of some 3.5 miles along the northern bank from Arnhem to the small town of Oosterbeek. The main force took off on 17th September 1944. The role of the 1st Battalion Border Regiment was to secure Landing and Drop Zone areas to the west of Oosterbeek…in preparation for the Para drop.

On the second day it was to move towards the western side of Oosterbeek and provide the defence of the Division's western perimeter. By 19th September the unit was defending the perimeter from just north of the main road - the Utrechtseweg - in Oosterbeek down to the Rhine. The soldiers fought against overwhelming odds and held on until the order to withdraw was given on the night of 25th September. After nine days of hard fighting, the survivors fit to go made their way down to the Rhine and swam or were ferried in small boats to the safety of the southern bank.




Major John Howard - Ox & Bucks


Major Bob Cain VC - South Staffs

Major Robert Cain, South Staffordshire Regiment, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his exhibition of bravery during the Battle of Arnhem (Operation Market Garden). During this campaign Cain showed coolness and courage under intense enemy fire saving the lives of many fellow soldiers and single-handedly destroying a number of German tanks. Some experts have been so impressed as to suggest that no-one was ever more deserving of the Victoria Cross than Major Cain.


02-06-2009, 07:06 AM
This is the site of a foxhole which in 1944 contained what became the most famous 3-inch mortar crew of WW2: Cpl Jim McDowell, Pte Norman 'Jock' Knight and Pte Ron 'Ginger' Tierney. Tierney faces the camera, and the in the film shots can be seen shouting 'fire'. All three made it back across the Rhine, although Knight was wounded in the crossing.




Major 'Jock' Neill


02-06-2009, 07:17 AM
'Lonsdale Force' At Oosterbeek church:

Oosterbeek Church first featured in the fighting at Arnhem on 19th September 1944, when Major Richard Lonsdale, second in command of 11th Bn Parachute Regiment, gathered the survivors of the fighting around St Elisabeth Hospital. Himself wounded, he climbed in the pulpit, and delivered his now famous speech:

"You know as well as I do there are a lot of bloody Germans coming at us. Well, all we can do is to stay here and hang on in the hope that somebody catches us up. We must fight for our lives and stick together. We've fought the Germans before - in North Africa, Sicily, Italy. They weren't good enough for us then, and they're bloody well not good enough for us now. They're up against the finest soldiers in the world. An hour from now you will take up defensive positions north of the road outside. Make certain you dig in well and that your weapons and ammo are in good order. We are getting short of ammo, so when you shoot you shoot to kill. Good luck to you all"


02-06-2009, 12:28 PM
1st Bn Border Regt, Oosterbeek - Operaton Market Garden

The irrepressable Johnnie Peters (deceased) 14Platoon, B Company:

Sunday 17th Sept.

Glider N0. 161 was crossing the Dutch coast when it came under fierce fire from enemy flak. There was a cry from the rear of the glider: "The tail's coming off!" This message was relayed up to Johnnie, who was sitting just behind the cockpit. Sgt Watson (Platoon Commander) had not heard what he said, and Johnnie related the message to Lt Col. Place (Glider pilot), who sent Lt Maltby (co-pilot) back to investigate. He returned from the tail end with a cheerful grin on his face and reported that it was only flak and that no damage had been done.

He had just returned to his seat when there was a loud explosion in the cockpit and he slumped sideways in his seat. Sgt Watson went forward to help him, despite the fact that he also had been wounded in the head. Ralph (pronounced - Reyf) Maltby died before the Medical Orderly could reach him, as Johnnie Peters realised from the look on Sgt Watson's face. A sudden fear gripped him. What if the pilot should receive a fatal injury? Who would pilot the glider then? The truth was that there was no one capable, and if this should happen then they would all be killed. Soon they were over the LZ and, nose down, dived towards the ground. Bullets ripped through the fuselage and Pte Hughes the the Bren gunner of the scout section, was wounded in the knee by a single bullet that came up through the floor of the glider. The landing was otherwise uneventful; prayers had been answered!"

02-06-2009, 12:50 PM
L/Cpl Albert 'Ginger' Wilson, 11 Platoon B Company:

Ginger saw that his glider had halted ten yards away from a large group of trees, and, looking up into them, saw that another Horsa had smashed into them forty feet above the ground. The pilots were dead in the branches of the trees; the anti-tank gun that the glider was carrying had smashed through the bulkhead into the cockpit. Sgt Hewitson, the Platoon Sergeant, was carried away wounded, and Ginger and Pte Frank Aston were ordered to take a PIAT and cover the railway line with the object of firing at any locomotive that approachd the LZ from the west.

The LZ was now littered with gliders; some still airworthy, others with their tails removed to permit the unloading of heavier equipment. Some had crashed into each other or into fencing and trees and were reduced to matchwood. However, there was not a great deal of time to notice too much as one had to push on to the next stage of the operation, the forming of a defensive perimeter around the LZ's and DZ's ready for the second lift on Monday (18th Sept.).

The 1st Battalion Border Regiment Landing at LZ “S” Arnhem 17th September 1944 by Jason Askew :


02-07-2009, 04:19 AM
Witness the drop of the 1st Parachut Brigade

We had thankfully moved away from our gliders and were taking up our pre-determined defensive posiitons. Then we heard the roar of approaching aircraft coming in from the south-west. As wave after wave passed over us, the sky was filled with bursting parachutes. Moments later it was empty as the paratroopers reached the ground and almost immediately the great open polder was like a field of mushrooms with parachutes scattered all over it. It was an amazing sight. And then within minutes local men and women came running accross the near empty field, appearing as from nowhere to greet us . Such high hopes soon to be disappointed.

02-07-2009, 04:38 AM
NCO Herbert Kessler - Herman Goring Replacement Regiment:

A Sunday of wonderful sunshine , appearing to be one of a series of charming uneventful, days. At least until the afternoon ...Suddenly the air was filled with noise of engines, the air defence guns nearby fired from all ports, and the soldiers looked at each other full of amazement when they realised that the engine-powered planes had gliders in tow.

Lt Heinz Volz, Fallschirmjaeger:

At about midday we suddenly discerned an unearthy droning noise coming out of the air. A huge stream of transport aircraft and gliders approached out of the enemy hinterland, flying at an unusually low altitude. This enormous swarm was escorted by countless fighters, in particular Lightnings. These could observe everything moving on the ground and covered our defence area in minute detail, engaging anything they could see. Our own anti-air did not react. Only in the hinterland did flak open up.

Alfred Ziegler, 9 SSPanzerjaeger, north of Arnhem:

Then I saw twin engined bombers (Mosquitoes)flying fast and low. I remarked to a coleague "Something is up, now we are for it. "Don't be daft ," was the rejoinder "you're always imagining things." The Mosquitoes must have been forming up in the east because suddenly they returned and swooped down over our flak posiitons and shot them up, nothing was left standing."

02-07-2009, 04:48 AM
1st Border moved to the south-west corner of LZ S and crossed the railway line to move quickly to their allotted posiitons. B Company moved off first as they had the furthest to go. The Company set off down Telefoonsweg towards Heelsum for the village of Renkum, where they were to block the main Utrecht road heading toward Oosterbeek and Arnhem. D Company accompnied them for a part of the way as far as the crossroads on the norht side of Heelsum to block the road from Bennekom. A Company remained in the north-west corner of DZ/LZ Z covering the railway line between there and LZ S. C Company were accross to the east, south-west of the village of Wolfhezen, to provide protection from a possible attack from the Arnehm area.

02-10-2009, 02:25 PM
The Battalion position was quiet for the night, for which the men were thankful, being able to get a meal and some rest. The Dutch in the vicinity kept their heads well down, no doubt wondering, as the Borderers were, what the following day would bring. Over towards Arnhem the sounds of firing could occasionally be heard and a red glow could be seen in the sky.

02-10-2009, 02:51 PM
The main body of the Borderers had flown from broadwell Airfield in 44 Horsas piloted by G Squadron of the Glider Pilot Regiment and towed by Dakotas of 512 and 575 Squadrons RAF. C Company and 24 Mortar Platoon (jeeps) were to be lifted from Bakehill Farm in 12 Horsas piloted by F Squadron GPR and towed by C47's of 437 Squadron RCAF. The Battalion's two Bren carriers to be flown in one Hamilcar from Tarant Rushton. 19 Platoon D Company was to fly out on the second lift on the following day, 18th September, from Down Ampney, together with five glider loads of the transport Platoon and the Battalion Reserve of ammunition; they were in Horsa gliders piloted by E Squadron Glider pilot Regiment and towed by c47's of 48 Squadron RAF.

02-10-2009, 03:06 PM
Monday dawned warm and bright. Everyone stood to but there was no real enemy activity. Tea was brewed and a meal eaten from the rations the men had with them. The weather for te second lift was lookinng good. In a few hours time the Battalion would be moving from its present positions to form the outer perimeter around Arnhem itself.

The Germans opposing 1 Border from the west were part of 'Kampfgruppe Tettau', one of the hastily formed groups comprising a variety of units that would take on the British. To the north of the Ede-Arnhem railway line was Helle's Dutch SS Sourveillance Battalion 3, which had already received a bloody nose from 7 King's Own Scottish Borderers (7 KOSB) to the north on the previous day. It was supported by SS-Battalion Eberwein. In the center was Flieghorst Battalion 2 ( aLuftwaffe unit converted to infantry), which would link the northern units with SS Battalion Schultz and Naval Manning Battalion 10, which had been reinforced by men from two other similar units. In reserve was 184 Artillery Regimetn fighting as infantry.

02-10-2009, 03:16 PM
At about 07.00hrs it was observed that the enemy had established some sort of position in one of the houses on the northern side of the main road about 200 yards immediately opposite B Company. It was quite obvious that they were ignorant of the location of the Borderers. Lt Joe Hardy explained the situation to Battalion HQ over the land line laid the previous evening. Having explained that B Company was surrounded, the curt response was 'Fight your way out!'

A burst of fire from two Bren guns at a motorcycle which had turned up at the German position at the house opposite (which had encouraged German soldiers to pour out, no doubt wanting to know what was going) was the signal for pandemonium to break loose! It took a while for the Germans to re-organise themselves, but when they did start to return fire, it was obvious that there was a large number of them in the area. A number of fire-fights and minor attacks took place all round C Company perimeter. Two prisoners were killed by a burst of enemy fire.

02-12-2009, 01:03 PM
The sound of breaking glass could be heard as the Germans broke windows to give firing positons...Things became hectic as the enemy opened fire on them and appeared to bring up reinforcements. An attack from the direction of the paper-mill to the west was repulsed with heavy losses caused by Vickers and 3-inch mortars.

However, shortly afterwards a sniper was firing on the vickers section in the hay-loft. his first shot hit the tripod on the gun and split it in two, as two members of the gun team were hit, one in the face and his companion in the shoulder.

Under sniper fire the gun team managed to remove the gun and equipment out of the loft over the roof of the house. With one box of ammunition still to retrieve, a tracer round set fire to the loft. The team then realized there were three horses in the stable beneath, but they were unable to get to them as the stable-door was on the side of the building facing the sniper. Sadly the horses were burned to death. Enemy mortar and artillery rounds ranged in, using the smoke from the burning buildings as an excellent marker.

After some initial succes it became apparent tha the Company was heavily out-numbered and the decision was taken to pull back.

Lt Ted Newport of S Company remained with one of his guns, 'Cambrai', whose detachment was in D Company's position near the crossroads. The detachment dug themselves in and cammed-up, and as they were about to grab a bite to eat, a German tank appeared at the edge of the wood to the right of the Company position, followed by what was estimated to be a Company of enemy. There was a lively engagement in which Newport joined in by turning a Bren gun on about twenty Germans advancing towards his positons - they went to ground after loosing some men. They then attempted to have a crack at the tank, but it retreated after firing one round. The team considered it a rehearsal for what was to come - the tank was probably a French Renault Char B of Tank Company 224.

The anti-tank guns carried a supply of HE rounds, but most of the ammunition was armour-piercing. The main supply was carrieed in the towing jeep with two spare rounds on the inside of the gun shield.

The anti-tank teams were not a little agrieved back in the Uk to be issued with new ammunition called 'Sabot'. Why? One might ask. This was solid shot of high-quality tungsten encased in a hard plastic, the shot being somewhat smaller than the bore of the gun. When the shot was fired bits of plastic fell away and the velocity was increased by some 35 per cent. The trouble was that the bits of plastic falling away were often mistaken by the gun-layer for the fall of shot, and corrections were made with totally inaccurate results. The gun-teams had been issued with the ammunition a week before Arnhem and had only one day on the ranges to practise with it. The gun-layers had reached a high degree of efficiency with the old ammuniton and to send them to war with this new ammuntion, they all believed, was an error of judgement.

02-13-2009, 03:15 PM
At about 11.00 hrs. the LZ's and DZ' were attacked by 30 ME 109 fighters, which flew over and machine-gunned the area. A Company suffered casualties because the men thought they were their own aircraft. Seven men were killed and a further fourteen were injured. Two of the aircraft were brought down by small-arms fire.

Both A and B Companies came under intermittent fire during the morning as the enemy fired at anything that moved on the DZ and LZ.

The second lift, which had been expected to arrive during the morning, eventually came in at about 15.00hrs. The delay was caused by fog in England.

As the second lift came in, there was increased enemy activity and LZ Z came under fire from MG 34's in the area fo 'Laura' in the south east of D Company's position; the Vickers and mortars with C Company managed to silence much of this. Nevertheless there were some casualties among the incoming troops. All the Battalion glider loads that were due on the second lift, together with those that had failed to arrive with the first lift, with the exception of that of the C.O. Lt Col Haddon.

02-13-2009, 03:32 PM
Captain Barry Ingham of B Company, saw a large Hamilcar glider landing on fire

"Here they come. Christ! Why don't they throw the kitchen sink at them? Six hours late and now they've bought it. I've never seen a Hamilcar in flames before. It's going into those trees. Over and over and over, three somersaults with two Bren carriers inside."

A platoon from A Company moved out, leading the battalion to its new positions around Arnhem. The platoon moved accross a large field to some woods, but forty yards from the woods one of the men was dropped by a sniper. The platoon moved forward again, but ten yards further on they met with heavy fire from all along the edge of the wood. Sgt Ker, the platoon sergeant of the leading platoon, could see a couple of badly sited MG 34's in front of him. He leapt up to fire his sten, but it jammed, so with a 36 grenade in each hand he ran shouting a the guns and the crews and threw both grenades, killing the crews and putting the guns out of action. The Company were held up for about an hour in this posiiton, out in the open without any cover, and every move meant that mortar fire would be brought down on them. Eventually the firing died down, and by now it was becoming quite dark. The Company were ordered to reform on a track at the edge of the field, where a quick check revealed only one casualty with some close shaves.

02-18-2009, 01:16 PM
Borders crashed gliders and soldiers defending Oosterbeek.

The airborne troops seen marching along the road from Oosterbeek to Arnhem, are the South Staffs.

Those airborne troops seen dug-in with walkie-talkie, Vickers and mortars, are Borderers.


11-15-2010, 05:12 PM
your informations about the landing are very interesting!
My Association, Impavidus, collect info about this argoments, you can find some photos on our web site. if we can be of some help about your memories please do not exsitate to conctact me!!

11-20-2010, 11:11 AM
Thank you.

11-20-2010, 01:35 PM
5012 ([email protected])
The Ponte Grande Bridge Battle was one of the most important during the Siracusa's landing. Still now is possible to see the pillboxes near the old bridge, near anapo river.

11-22-2010, 01:40 PM
Thank you, Impavidus. Some, late freinds of mine took part in Operation Huskey, and had mixed experiences of success and failure. Not least, being fired upon by allied ships and being ditched into the sea by their tugs.

I'll post more on this when I have the time to do it justice.

11-23-2010, 07:39 AM
OK! I'll be glad to know more.. if you like, for the moment, you will find more info and some experiences of other veterans in our own web site.

04-26-2012, 07:37 AM
To 32 Bravo,
Thanks for all your posts on Operation Husky. I am fascinated and intrigued with the info above on Glider 57...most of which corresponds with an entry in my father's diary. He was an RAF glider pilot in the operation, his diary recording that he had on board " Lt Col Britten 1st Borders as well as Adj, M.O, Sigs Offr+ 4 sigs. Inf Offr+3 Inf and a 2nd Pilot F/O Ran or Rau (writing obscure) USAAF". However my father's name is not Lougham but he was a Lt at that time. He does not record the number of his glider. I am also researching the truth why his glider ditched in the ocean 300 metres offshore. Most of the rest of Lt.J Hardy's report corresponds with my father's account. Do you have access to any more info on this operation? Thanks Tooks

04-26-2012, 07:48 AM
To Impavidus,
Thanks for your contribution and photos of Syracuse. Do you know where the caves are which British soldiers and pilots sheltered in at Capo Murro di Porco? Are these shown in the photographs which you have already contributed? Thanks again. Tooks

04-26-2012, 02:26 PM
For further info conctact me on the web site or on fb. Well be a pleasure for me to help you.

04-26-2012, 07:09 PM
For further info conctact me on the web site or on fb. Well be a pleasure for me to help you.

Thanks for your quick reply Roberto/Impavidus. Do you mean this web site or are you referring to another?

04-27-2012, 01:15 PM
Thanks for your quick reply Roberto/Impavidus. Do you mean this web site or are you referring to another?

Hi www.impavidus.it we are also on fb, next mounth I will guide the son of a soldier that died here during the landing '43. We are also on fb Associazione Impavidus, and there is a video on Utube.

05-03-2012, 04:23 AM
Thanks for your help. Maybe I will get to Sicily one day. If so I will contact you or your association.

05-03-2012, 12:13 PM
Thanks for your help. Maybe I will get to Sicily one day. If so I will contact you or your association.

You are wellcome. A good book was wrote from a friend of mine. Mr Ian Blackwell and the title is : "Battle for Sicily" Stepping stone to victory. Editor Pen & Sword.

05-03-2012, 01:52 PM
Thanks for that information. In fact the publishers Sword and Pen also have a new book coming out in a few months "Glider Pilots Of Sicily."
I will try to get a copy of " Battle for Sicily".

07-06-2012, 07:47 AM
Hi fellas

You might find this publication interesting: http://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Dragons-Flew-Illustrated-Battalion/dp/1857940482

Also if you contact the Border museum http://kingsownbordermuseum.btck.co.uk/

07-06-2012, 08:48 AM
Hi fellas

You might find this publication interesting: http://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Dragons-Flew-Illustrated-Battalion/dp/1857940482

Also if you contact the Border museum http://kingsownbordermuseum.btck.co.uk/

Hi there 32Bravo. Good to know that you are still around! Thanks for the contact info for THe Border Regiment Museum. Hopefully I will be able to
find out more specific info about Operation Husky and personnel on gliders etc. That is really helpful. Much appreciated. Tooks

07-31-2012, 06:24 PM
your informations about the landing are very interesting

10-20-2013, 09:33 AM
Captain Stafford, who was in glider 57 and wounded after they had landed in the sea, was my father. I have his silk map of Sicily which they were given for the operation, framed on my wall. The uniform which we believe he was wearing during the operation is at the Border Regiment museum in Carlisle along with a few other mementos from his army 'collection' which I went through with the museum when he died a few years ago.

He then spent some time in hospital in Tunisia, which meant that he missed Arnhem but was back in action for the surrender of the Germans in Norway

Robin Stafford