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Archive for April, 2008

The Bruneval MemorialOn Sunday 24 February members of the branch were represented at the annual commemorations of the Bruneval Raid (Operation BITING) in Seine Maritime.  The 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment were represented and Ron Matthews carried the British Legion Standard.

For those not too familiar with Operation BITING, the Operation was aimed at dismatling a Wurzburg precision radar dish, which was one of a series of early warning installations on the northern coast of France and bring it back to the UK for scientific research.  The chain of radar stations along the north coast of France and the Low Countries was of significant importance to the German Air Force, who were inflicting heavy losses on RAF Bomber Command.

C Company, 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment was selected for the task under the command of Major John Frost.  Having been dropped in France in three separate groups, the Company, which was accompanied throughout by an RAF radar expert, was to carry out the mission and then head back to the coast to be picked up by a small flotilla of Royal Navy landing craft.

In all, 116 men took off from Thruxton Aerodrome on the night of 27 February 1942 in 12 Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V bombers and parachuted into enemy held northern France.  The force was met by very strong German resistance but the Operation was deemed a great sucess with vital German radar equipment and a German scientist being captured.

The British lost 2 men, with 6 wounded and 6 captured.  Two more were captured on their way to Switzerland.  THe Germans lost 5 men and had 2 captured (including the scientist.)

If you would like to know more about this Operation, please click here or if you would like to purchase the book written about the raid, you can get it from Amazon.

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