WW II, a British focus  


bryanles.jpg - 14207 Bytes My father (Signalman Bryan Woolnough, M. B. E.) was a signaller in No. 3 Commando at Termoli. (pictured, left with brother Les on the right) When I saw your request, I spoke to him about it. He tells me it wasn't the SAS but the Special Raiding Squadron at Termoli. The SAS had been re-organised into two parts earlier that year, the Special Boat Service and the SRS.

His recollection is that N0.3 landed first to establish the beach head. No. 40 Commando and the SRS landed subsequently; no. 40 deployed to the left and the SRS to the right.

He has passed on to me an interesting scrap of paper. On it he wrote (before they went in) the call signs he was to use to signal that the various objectives were reached. The calls were all animals; for example LION would mean that they have landed successfully and the beach head is formed. With some of the objectives, he has also written 4 figure map references.

My father explained that the signallers were supposed to memorise all the call signs, objectives and other details, but this was almost impossible, so he and his comrade Fred Mansbridge (also a signaller) wrote the information on a sheet of paper which they then tore in two keeping half each. The idea of this was security in the event of capture. After the operation, they kept the paper - I'm not sure why! - and Dad still has both parts.

Regards, from Guy Woolnough

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Other side of sheet.
It shows the deployment of the 3 groups from the beach, also shown are the call signs for each of the groups for each of the 3 days anticipated for the operation, 3rd/4th/5th Oct.

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The picture below is a cartoon of my father, drawn by an Italian artist who was earning a few coins by offering to draw the British soldiers. It is drawn in crayon on good quality paper, and shows Dad in his uniform trudging up a hill with a flower in his rucsac.

It was drawn in 1944. The historical significance is not great, though I like to think of the poor artist; struggling to survive as an invading army comes through his town, he does the best he can by selling his skill to the soldiers. I think the picture has done quite well to survive, because it didn't come back with Dad to Britain until the summer of 1945.

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