22nd Independent parachute Company[pathfinders]

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by ranville, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. ranville

    ranville Senior Member

    Hi, I'm new on here so Hello to everybody.
    I wonder if anyone can help. I was in Normandy for the 65th anniversary and a number of veterans were staying in our hotel in Caen.I met a very interesting chap who was in the 22nd Independent Parachute Company ,so he was one of the first to jump in on the 6th.- He had some amazing [and sad] stories to tell and i learnt things i'd not discovered before For example many of the company were German speaking Jews who had to assume 'nom de guerres' to disguise their identity in the event of capture.This chap's jump name was Ramage[can't remember his real name at the moment] and his mate[who died in his arms] is buried in ranville church just a few headstones away from Den brotheridge.
    This chap seemed a little bittter that the Company does'nt have it's own memorial in the area; though it's name is engraved on the bottom of the plaque at Ranville crossroads.
    I wonder if anyone at there knows anything about this company as there is very little material on them out there.
    Thanks
     
  2. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Hi, I'm new on here so Hello to everybody.
    I wonder if anyone can help. I was in Normandy for the 65th anniversary and a number of veterans were staying in our hotel in Caen.I met a very interesting chap who was in the 22nd Independent Parachute Company ,so he was one of the first to jump in on the 6th.- He had some amazing [and sad] stories to tell and i learnt things i'd not discovered before For example many of the company were German speaking Jews who had to assume 'nom de guerres' to disguise their identity in the event of capture.This chap's jump name was Ramage[can't remember his real name at the moment] and his mate[who died in his arms] is buried in ranville church just a few headstones away from Den brotheridge.
    This chap seemed a little bittter that the Company does'nt have it's own memorial in the area; though it's name is engraved on the bottom of the plaque at Ranville crossroads.
    I wonder if anyone at there knows anything about this company as there is very little material on them out there.
    Thanks
    Hi Ranville, the guy you mention is Herb Fussell and I met him back last year and have been trying to find out more about him and the 22ND ever since, and just last night ther was a post over on on WW 2 Forum from his Grandson saying Herb was unwell I will endevor to find out what I can from him and let you know all the best Jason
     
  3. ranville

    ranville Senior Member

    Hi Ranville, the guy you mention is Herb Fussell and I met him back last year and have been trying to find out more about him and the 22ND ever since, and just last night ther was a post over on on WW 2 Forum from his Grandson saying Herb was unwell I will endevor to find out what I can from him and let you know all the best Jason

    Hi Jason and Thanks ----- Yes his name is Herb and we had a few beers together.Sorry to hear he is unwell[he looked fit as a fiddle in June]---Pass on my best wishes to his granson and look forward to any further info you can find.
    Once again many Thanks
     
  4. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Welcome to forum

    Well you probably already found this but for every case:

    During the Second World War it was found necessary and advantageous to form small groups of parachute soldiers into ‘pathfinder’ units, to parachute onto the selected drop zone ahead of the main force. Their tasks were to mark the drop zone, establish directional radio beacons to enable the coming transport aircraft to ‘home’ in on the exact drop point and to clear and protect the area as the main force parachuted or air landed.

    The Pathfinder Company also acted as an early warning if the selected drop zone was heavily defended, possibly enabling diversion to an alternative. Once the main force was down the pathfinders were employed as a small reserve or reconnaissance force.

    The 22nd Independent Company the Parachute Regiment was formed between May and September 1943 to serve the 6th Airborne Division. Like its sister unit the 21st, the Company consisted of a Company Headquarters and three platoons, each with one officer and 32 men. Each platoon was sub-divided into three sticks, commanded by a sergeant or Corporal. These operated Eureka ground to air radio beacons to Rebecca receivers inside the incoming transport aircraft of the main force. Coloured panels were used to mark DZs by day and 6v battery powered Holophane lamps by night.

    22nd Company jumped on D-Day on 6th June 1944 achieving limited success with the subsequent scattered main lift insertion. It fought around Breville and remained as line infantry in Normandy until the break out to the Seine in August.

    The Company fought in the Ardennes during the winter fighting of 1944-5 and took part in Operation VARSITY, the Rhine Crossing in March 1945. After the war in Europe the Company was attached and accompanied the 5th Parachute Brigade to the Far East in 1945-6.

    22nd Independent Company was disbanded in July 1946.

    Company Commanders:

    1943-4 Maj F Lennox-Boyd
    1944 Maj N Stockwell
    1944 Maj J de T Vischer
    1944-5 Maj MG Dolden
    1945-6 Maj JHS Lane
    1946 Maj DD Campbell, MC
    Also you can find some information about Normandy landing here:

    Reports:
    22nd Independent Parachute Company
    War Diary:
    22nd Independent Parachute Company
    Roll of Honour:
    22nd Independent Parachute Company
     
  5. ranville

    ranville Senior Member

    Welcome to forum

    Well you probably already found this but for every case:

    Also you can find some information about Normandy landing here:

    Reports:
    22nd Independent Parachute Company
    War Diary:
    22nd Independent Parachute Company
    Roll of Honour:
    22nd Independent Parachute Company

    Thanks a lot Sol,----I had seen the printed attachement before and one of the reports,but the others were very interesting. I heard that Maj lennox-Boyd was shot on the way down bya sniper[?]
    Anyway ,many thanks again'
     
  6. cardiff rob

    cardiff rob Junior Member

    If it helps, My grandfather was Griff Thomas, 22 IPC, and I am in touch with one of the survivors of his aircraft (V1740, Harwell) I have lots of photos of them all on 5th June and a copy of the Pathe newsreel film from that day. The navigator of the aircraft received a DFC for his nav despite dropping them on the wrong dropzone. I am in contact with his nephew and also the brother of Delaney O'Sullivan (KIA 6th June)
    My e-mail is tessa dot thomas at tesco dot net
     
  7. cardiff rob

    cardiff rob Junior Member

    Sgt Ramage on board 295 or 570 Sqn Albemarle aircraft with Lt De Lautour from Harwell.

    [​IMG]
     
    wtid45 likes this.
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    cardiff rob,

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    I am sure that forum members would love to see some of your photographs if you are prepared to post them.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    cardiff rob,

    You beat me to it, many thanks.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  10. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Hi Rob, you in Cardiff? welcome and great pic! I hope im right in saying SGT Ramage, is Herb Fussell who has met a few forum members both here and over at WW2F and I join Smudger, in saying post what pics you have, and any more information you have on your Grandfather it would be much appreciated:) regards, Jason
     
  11. Paul Pariso

    Paul Pariso Very Senior Member

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hello Rob and welcome to the forum.....More pictures pleeeeze :)

    Andy
     
  13. cardiff rob

    cardiff rob Junior Member

    My grandfather was formerly a coal miner from Trehafod, near Ponty, and joined the tanks as a radio operator in about 1936. That meant living 'out in the field' a lot and operating a radio which may go some way towards explaining why he escaped from France in the early 1940s on a boat called the Narvol with a radio and a female Frenchie. beyond that he never mentioned the time between the Tanks and the Paras but I tracked down the boat and it was an SOE transport vessel that had been a French fishing boat. The only other snippet of info came from a holiday in Holland where we visited the island of ammeland. Once there he quietly told my father that he had Brengunned a group of German men as they tried to run from the lighthouse there. I haven't been able to tie this down to anything and the info might have been mixed up over time.
    The Para years are much easier to track down. He joined the 22nd at the start and was trained by Len Harvey (former world champ boxer) at Ringway. Several pics in the family file show Len. Stories from those times include forced marches to Stonehenge and then orders to return to camp (20 miles?) by whatever means possible. When, after the war, they drained the lake near the camp they found dozens of rusty bikes, motorbikes and a truck of some sort.
    The unit seems to have included many disaffected foriegn people with obvious language skills. Welsh is similar to Breton, the language of Brittany which Germans were unlikely to understand. There were at least one Austrian, some Irish, French and Belgians and one of the Brit Paras was assigned to be liason with the foreigners.
    The D-day drop was a shambles with them dropping across the wrong drop zone and then discovering that much of the kit hadn't survived the drop. The Holophane lights were scattered and the Eureka beacons suffered badly. Some men were lost and grandads best mate was killed on the drop zone. They left France within a month via an old ferryboat.
    He was seriously injured later in a collision between the truck carrying him and an RAF "Queen Mary" transporter.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. cardiff rob

    cardiff rob Junior Member

    The first (and ooops, forth) pic is of the first aircraft to drop on D-day. Flown By Merrickand with AVM Hollingshurst as a passenger was V1740, an Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle ST from 295 Sqn. The second, third and seventh pics also show the aircraft lined up at Harwell where 2 each from 295 and 570 Sqn, 38 Group, departed before midnight. Picture 5 is similar to another shot (taken closer) which shows Captain Midwood pointing to a map of France for the benefit of other members of the 22nd. In reality it was staged for the cameras and was actually a map of Newbury placed upside-down on the board to confuse the enemy in the event that they managed to get a copy of the shot. Number 6 was a 'doctored' note from Ed Delaney O'Sullivan with regards to a jump performed by my grandfather (Griff "Taffy" Thomas) in front of the King. The ficticious Sqn Ldr O'Sullivan has been mentioned in relation to this particular photo may times but his brother confirms that the Sqn Ldr joke was a favourite! Ten and eleven are the side of a half-photo showing Len Harvey, the Ringway RAF jump and PT instructor who was a former boxing champ. The other 5 men are unidentified but the Gallic faces, rings on little fingers etc would suggest they were men from another unit. The place names on the back may relate to an SAS mission that passed through an area south of Strasbourg later in the war. This pic has mistakenly been quoted as being taken of members of the 22nd.
    The last pic is of a model made in Malta of an Albermarle ST. Produced cy the Czech company VALOM, if anyone else wants to build one.
     
    englandphil likes this.
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Excellenti !

    You don't see many (Well I don't) pictures of Albermarle's.......Thanks for posting Rob !
     
  16. cardiff rob

    cardiff rob Junior Member

    I Fly for a living and one of my colleagues told me the story of the death of the Albemarles. His father had been a genius aircraft designer/engineer and had been called to Martlesham Heath to be involved in some towing trial involving Albemarles that had returned from warmer and wetter climates (far east?).
    As he was chatting with the pilot and walking towards the cargo door on the starboard side he idly pulled a short piece of pinked fabric that was hanging off the inboard edge of one of the panels (Aileron?). A quick tug normally just tears off the loose piece of fabric but this tug pulled the entire underside of the covering and the wood ribs of the panel fell out like comedy teeth!
    It was scrapped on the spot. I believe the same fate befell most of the Mossies that thavelled to the far east.

    Here are some bits culled from other sites that were related to the route and the drop of V1740. Also a nice shot of the tail end of the 296 Sqn aircraft model by VALOM showing the towing gear and the tailwheel (Yes, they had tailwheels as well)
     

    Attached Files:

  17. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    More great pics CR, and being as there is very little out there ref the 22nd I for one am most grateful that you have posted them, just one thing I tried standing on my head to look better at pic 6 but the blood went places that are not natural;) could you please tell me who is in the picture is your Grandad one of the three Paras.Having met Sgt Ramage/Herb Fussell, (he did explain the name change), and spoke of one of his mates being badly injured and going to a pub afterwards and holding his pint so he could drink it, His Grandson recently posted over at WW2F saying Herb was unwell but has not posted since.It is a shme that a history has not been written of the 22nd, and other than snippets in books and online Pegasus Archives, etc there is only one publication I am aware of that touches on a member of the 22nd and that is The First Of Many by Frank Spittle who among other events on D-Day writes of Captain Robert De Latour if you know of any other books please post those you know regards, Jason
     
  18. cardiff rob

    cardiff rob Junior Member

    I've not come across that book. Does anyone have a copy?

    Also, do we have any means of getting in touch with Herb Fussel or his family?

    Oh, and Taffy is the one in the middle of photo number 6. He is also at the middle of the photo of them all briefing with someone leaning on his shoulder.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I've not come across that book. Does anyone have a copy?

    Also, do we have any means of getting in touch with Herb Fussel or his family?

    Oh, and Taffy is the one in the middle of photo number 6. He is also at the middle of the photo of them all briefing with someone leaning on his shoulder.
    Rob I have a copy deals with the life all be it very briefly only 31 pages, of DLT there is also the book Go To It illustrated history of the 6th Airborne Divison that has a few 22nd pics.As for getting in toch with Herb Fussell or family, his Grandson is inactive after that one post at WW2F but I have been trying to find out more I will try to PM him and see what that brings otherwise there could be the local British Legion club other wise I dont know, any ideas guys:unsure: Jason
     
  20. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    I think I might have copies of the war diaries for part or all of June 1944 for this unit. I will have a look tomorrow.
     

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