Garden 3 - Raids, Raiders, Reconnaissance & Resistance
Operation Jubilee, more commonly referred to as the Dieppe Raid, was an Allied assault on the German-occupied port of Dieppe, France, on 19 August 1942, during the Second World War. The main assault lasted less than six hours until strong German defences and mounting Allied losses forced its commanders to call a retreat.
Over 6,050 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, were supported by The Calgary Regiment of the 1st Canadian Tank Brigade and a strong force of Royal Navy and smaller Royal Air Force landing contingents. It involved 5,000 Canadians, 1,000 British troops, and 50 United States Army Rangers. Objectives included seizing and holding a major port for a short period, both to prove that it was possible and to gather intelligence. Upon retreat, the Allies also wanted to destroy coastal defences, port structures and all strategic buildings. The raid had the added objectives of boosting morale and demonstrating the firm commitment of the United Kingdom to open a western front in Europe. Virtually none of these objectives were met.
Allied fire support was grossly inadequate and the raiding force was largely trapped on the beach by obstacles and German fire. Within 10 hours of the first landings the last Allied troops had been killed, evacuated, or left behind to be captured by the Germans. Instead of a demonstration of resolve the bloody fiasco showed the world that the Allies could not hope to invade France for a long time. Some intelligence successes were achieved, including electronic intelligence.
3,623 of the 6,086 men who made it ashore were killed, wounded, or captured. The Royal Air Force failed to lure the Luftwaffe into open battle, and lost 106 aircraft (at least 32 to anti-aircraft fire or accidents), compared to 48 lost by the Luftwaffe. The Royal Navy lost 33 landing craft and one destroyer. The events at Dieppe influenced preparations for the North African (Operation Torch) and Normandy landings on D-Day 6th June 1944.
The Army Film and Photographic Unit. WW2.
When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, just one Army photographer, Geoffrey Keating, and one cameraman, Harry Rignold, accompanied the British Expeditionary Force to France. On 24 October 1941, the Army agreed to form a corps of trained photographers and cameramen. The unit was called the Army Film and Photographic Unit (AFPU). AFPU photographers and cameramen were recruited from the ranks of the Army. Many had been press photographers or cameramen in peacetime. All recruits had to undergo compulsory training in battle photography at Pinewood Film Studios. Badges and permits were issued after attempts to confiscate film by overzealous British soldiers. The Unit lost 23% of its soldiers with many of them operating behind enemy lines in all theatres of conflict during WW2.
Gabrielle Petit - Belgium Citizen - WW1 - Secret Intelligence Service - Executed 1st April 1916
Petit was born on 20 February 1893 in Tournai to working-class parents. She was raised in a Catholic boarding school in Brugelette following her mother's early death. At the outbreak of the First World War, she was living in Brussels as a saleswoman. She immediately volunteered to serve with the Belgian Red Cross. Petit's espionage activities began in 1914, when she helped her wounded soldier fiancé, Maurice Gobert, cross the border to the Netherlands to reunite with his regiment. She passed along to British Intelligence information about the Imperial German army acquired during the trip. The British soon hired her, gave her brief training, and sent her to spy on the enemy. She proceeded to collect information about enemy troop movements using a number of false identities. She was also an active distributor of the clandestine newspaper La Libre Belgique and assisted the underground mail service "Mot du Soldat". She helped several more young men across the Dutch border.
The Moussey Memorial and the Cross of Lorraine Seat
On the 5th June 1941 the Cross of Lorraine was officially prescribed as the emblem of the French Resistance. This seat is pointed towards Moussey in the Vosges Mountains of eastern France at an angle of 130 degrees, however it is 587 miles away by road. The seat is simply made of sawn timber to represent the main work in the forests above the "Little Mountain Village". It has been constructed by Mike Colton to honour the brave citizens of Moussey and the Rabodeau Valley who resisted the enemy and suffered terribly as a result before liberation in 1944. It is set in a circle of pine trees kindly donated by the villagers and taken from a Forest Guards cottage high in the mountains. The broom bushes were grown from seeds collected from the last meeting place of the SAS patrols in the mountains under the command of Brian Franks CO 2 SAS before they headed back to Allied Lines. This memorial is linked to the Phantom Memorial Garden close to the new Aspects building in the NMA.
Broom is known at Maquis in France, hence the Maquis were rural guerrilla bands of French Resistance fighters, called maquisards, during the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two. Initially, they were composed of men and women who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into Vichy France's Service du travail obligatoire ("Compulsory Work Service" or STO) to provide forced labour for Germany. To avert capture and deportation to Germany, they became increasingly organized into active resistance groups.
Flying Officer Robert William Walker Lutz - 247 Squadron - Typhoon Raider. WW2
"Uncle Bob" was killed in action on the 21st September 1944 during the battle for Arnhem whilst attacking enemy forces in his Typhoon fighter aircraft. He was a member of 247 Squadron RAF (China/British). This memorial plaque is set in front of a Prunus serrulata tree (Royal Burgandy).
The Reconnaissance Corps and 46 Reconnaissance Corps
The Reconnaissance Corps, or simply Recce Corps, was a corps of the British Army, formed during the Second World War whose units provided the mobile spearhead of infantry divisions. It was formed from infantry brigade reconnaissance groups on 14 January 1941.
All the brigade reconnaissance groups of each infantry corps were formed into reconnaissance battalions, each usually bearing the number of its relevant division. For example, the 43rd Battalion, Reconnaissance Corps (based on the 5th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment) was the divisional reconnaissance battalion of the 43rd (Wessex) Division.
Breakaway Survival Tree Seat Project 2005
This memorial seat and others in the Grove were carved by Mike Colton from a giant Sequoia red wood donated by Letton Court Farm, Herefordshire. It had originally been brought over from America in the 1850's. This the largest of the seats weighed in at 4 tonnes. Now they are a haven for wildlife and plants. The main tree seats are set in Garden 1 and Garden 4, but a smaller piece is set in Garden 2 and if you count the rings you will find over 140!
Annette Colton Memorial Poem
Annette Colton was married to Mike Colton and she was instrumental in helping creating the Grove from a great understanding of nature, plants and wildlife. She was good at all the practical aspects of gardening and was a regular volunteer in the Grove. Her original design of the Sun Room can be found on the ceiling in the building. She lost her life in 2011 and the poem is in her memory as well as her Memorial Way. We always considered her to be our "Combat Florist".
They look upon us still, They walk among the valleys now
They stride upon the hill, Their smile is in the summer sky
Their grace is in the breeze, Their memories whisper in the grass
Their calm is in the trees, Their light is in the winter snow
Their tears are in the rain, Their merriment runs in the brook
Their laughter in the lane, Their gentleness is in the flowers
They sigh in autumn leaves, They do not leave
They are not gone, Tis only we who grieve
Kings Heath School Birmingham
Somewhere to sit, the time to pass
Surrounded by trees, flowers and grass
Peaceful as always, from January to December
A place to sit, to sit and remember
We thank the staff and pupils at Kings Heath Boys School in Birmingham for their donation of twenty young trees which are behind the metal seat that was gifted by one of our 'Friends'. The seat was a good place to site the Poem Plaque.
Popski's Private Army Seat
Popski's Private Army, officially No. 1 Demolition Squadron, PPA, was a unit of British Special Forces set up in Cairo in October 1942 by Major Vladimir Peniakoff. Popski's Private Army was one of several raiding units formed in the Western Desert during the Second World War. The squadron also served in Italy, and was disbanded in September 1945.
No. 1 Demolition Squadron was formed specifically to attack Field-Marshal Rommel's fuel supplies, in support of General Montgomery’s offensive at El Alamein, at the suggestion of Lieutenant-Colonel John Hackett. The unit became operational on 10 December 1942 as an 8th Army Special Forces unit. After the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) and the Special Air Service (SAS), PPA was the last and smallest of the three main irregular raiding, reconnaissance and intelligence units formed during the North African Campaign.
When the Second World War broke out, the 42-year-old Peniakoff applied to serve in the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Navy, but was rejected. He was accepted by the British Army, and assigned to garrison duties as an Arabic-speaking junior officer in the Libyan Arab Force (LAF). Not satisfied, Popski left his post and formed the Libyan Arab Force Commando (LAFC), a small group of British and Libyan soldiers who operated behind the lines in the Jebel Akhdar area of Cyrenaica.
The FRIENDS of the Allied Special Forces Memorial Grove took over the fund raising, maintenance
and ongoing improvements to the Grove on the 1st September 2019.
To join the Friends of ASFMG please contact Mike Colton.