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Not a lot of people know that ? Joe Powell 4 Cdo  XML
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Belly
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I had nothing better to do on a miserable icey day so I decided to watch Zulu on blu-ray (I won't tell you who wins, don't want to spoil it :lol. Whilst watching the special features I noticed a chap being interviewed wearing a commando tie. Turned out to be Joe Powell who was in 4 Cdo (plays Sergeant Windridge in Zulu)!

He has written an autobiography "The Life and Times of a Fall Guy", I don't know if it mentions his commando service, but he clearly had quite a life, there's a brief biog here:
http://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/local-news/stuntman_talks_of_fighting_zulus_death_defying_dives_and_being_squashed_by_a_horse_1_1447281

Cheers
Paul

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 04/02/2012 22:26:31


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Pete
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Gdsm. Joe Powell is on a nominal roll we have for No.4 Commando 'C' troop. On there you will note that John Martin, nephew of the late Sgt Donald Martin, has stated :

Gdsm Joe Powell survived the war and went on to work in the film industry. Ironically, he arranged many of the explosions in the film "the Longest Day".


http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/nominal+rolls/4+cdo+nom+roll/4+cdo+c+trp.jpg.html

Appropriately trained for such a role !

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/02/2012 12:49:18


Pete Rogers - contact via email HERE
Son of L/Sgt Joe Rogers MM and nephew of TSM Ken McAllister both No 2 Commando 5 troop some of whom can be seen on this video link: Commandos for Life
Another video I made about Commandos is HERE

God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted

Phil Eyden
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That's really interesting. As a member of 'C' Troop he probably would have taken part in the Boulogne raid in April 42. If only it could be proven it'd be a great story to tell our tour groups at the Drop Redoubt in Dover where the raid was based from. I can't seem to find a copy of his autobiography for under 50 though, rather too expensive for me, and certainly too much on the hope of a chance reference.

He's also listed on the Dieppe list: 617353 Gdsm. Powell J. GrenadierGrds

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/02/2012 15:05:48

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Stephen Donnison
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I have a friend who met Joe about 6 years ago at a Zulu reunion He has a photo of him with Joe and the chap who played Hooky. I 'll try and get it

SE Donnison
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Stephen Donnison
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Ive just seen the photo my friend has on his FB page. Joe is wearing what looks like a Commando Assc tie ! Will ask my mate if I can posted here

SE Donnison
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Pete
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Information and photo from John Martin:

Joe Powell served in C troop 4 Cdo with my late uncle, Sgt Donald Martin. When 4 Cdo was reorganised and the troops were redesignated, at the time of the Walcheren campaign in November 1944, they became separated but both were involved in the capture of Flushing. I took the attached photo of Joe in June 1984 in Benouville, Normandy quite close to Pegasus Bridge. I chatted to him for a long time about his post-war career as a stuntman and special effects arranger in films, and found him as amusing as I found him modest. (He first apologised for his deafness, brought on by causing a great many explosions!) Having run across Pegasus Bridge himself under fire, he found it quite ironic to return there in 1962, when The Longest Day was being made, to work on the film. One of his nicest stories was about the producer, Darryl F Zanuck, ordering an elderly Frenchman in a faded cardigan away from where the filming was taking place. Joe had to point out to him that elderly gentleman was, in fact, the legendary Philippe Kieffer who had led the two French troops integrated into 4 Cdo on D-Day. I note that second-hand copies of Joe's book are available on Amazon at a price and from a review it seems that Joe did write about his Commando experiences as well as his post-war career. I remember thinking at the time that those experiences, and his Commando training, certainly gave him a head start.
[Thumb - joe powell 4 cdo.jpg]
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This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/02/2012 14:50:53


Pete Rogers - contact via email HERE
Son of L/Sgt Joe Rogers MM and nephew of TSM Ken McAllister both No 2 Commando 5 troop some of whom can be seen on this video link: Commandos for Life
Another video I made about Commandos is HERE

God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted

NIC
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According to the write up on the Amazon site:
Joe Powell recounts not only the work that earned him the description of 'daddy of British Stuntmen' but also describes his experiences as an active soldier prior to his entry into the film industry. During his service as a Commando in the Second World War, he took part in several reconnaisances in France and Holland, raids on Dieppe and Boulogne, the D-Day landings at Ouistreham, and the attack and capture of Flushing.
.

According to Google Books, some of the words used in the book are:
Commando, D-Day, Ouistreham, Schelt, patrol, raid, Sgt, tank, troops & German


Nick

Nick Collins

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NIC
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I think the book was first published in 2007 by Book Guild Publishing - Joe might be contactable through the Publishers.

Nick

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/02/2012 16:51:45


Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Julie W
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Phil Eyden wrote:I can't seem to find a copy of his autobiography for under 50 though


There is a copy of the book held at Bromley library - a bit of a distance from Dover, I know, but you might be able to get it transferred to Dover library

Cousin of Larry Stephens, No. 5 Commando 1943-1946
geoffmurray1
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2617353 Gdsmn Joe Powell was one of many Grenadier Guards who joined No 4 Commando and were on the Dieppe raid together. I am certain that I have met him but cannot recall where.

2618377 GDSMN CHAMBERLAIN P
2619831 GDSMN CLEWES JD
2619941 GDSMN HODGSON T
2621891 GDSMN HUMPHREYS H
2620946 GDSMN HURD AE
2620144 GDSMN KING C
2614151 GDSMN MARCHANT J
2621497 GDSMN MARSHALL E
2619954 GDSMN MARSHALL R
2617353 GDSMN POWELL JOSEPH
2616557 GDSMN SMITH STAN R
2616669 CPL SPEARMAN WJ
2615853 GDSMN TOMBS PG
2620747 GDSMN WALTERS JOHN ROBERT KIA 6.6.44 Normandy
2619850 GDSMN WEBSTER LG
2620598 GDSMN WHITAKER J

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 05/02/2012 23:55:02


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Stephen Donnison
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Joe Powell on the right. James Booth left who played Private Hook in Zulu ,Sadly he died not long after. In the middle is Ian Knight top historian on the Anglo Zulu War ( his book Zulu Rising is terrific)
[Thumb - 224722_19713942032_589012032_365872_6626_n.jpg]
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SE Donnison
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NIC
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Phil,

According to this article in The Hastings & St Leonards Observer, in 2007, Joe Powell lived in St Leonards...

http://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/local-news/stuntman_talks_of_fighting_zulus_death_defying_dives_and_being_squashed_by_a_horse_1_1447281

Nick

Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Phil Eyden
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From the darkest corners of the internet I managed to track down a signed copy of "The Life And Times of a Fall Guy" for less than half the price mentioned above. I haven't had time to read it yet, but I thought I would fill in a few details from a skim of the opening chapters.

Out of about 260 pages, about 40 deal with Joe's military career and are quite detailed. There are some nice photos, a few of which must be from Joe's collection as they are not credited to the IWM or elsewhere. They show boat exercises in Cornwall in 43, a group shot of No.4 Special Service assault team, a lovely picture of smiling commandos in the ALC en route to Boulogne, a picture of Major Porteous receiving his VC and a group shot in front of a swastika flag from Norh Beveland in 1944.

It covers joining the Grenadier Guards in September 39 and training at Chelsea barracks. He was interviewed by Mjr Vaughn and posted to Troon after being accepted for the Special Service and posted to No.4 under Col. Lister. There he was rather taken aback by the wide variety of uniforms the other recruits were wearing. Joe then narrates his training under Lord Lovat and mentions they undertook practice raids against other regiments and even the Home Guard. His training base camp in Scotland was at Braemar.

During the Boulogne raid he did not land but remained on the ALC manning the boats Boys Anti-tank rifle. However as the boat was bobbing about he couldn't sight anything. Instead he used his Lewis gun to fire tracer at a searchlight and probably knocking it out.

Dieppe is covered too. He rcords a sad tale whereby Cpl John Watley asked him to take his watch if he was killed as he didn't want to Germans to have it. To his everlasting regret he did not after Cpl. Watley was killed and could not return it to his family. He mentions Cpls Burrows and Waddington who were manning a Bren gun; when the Bren became red-hot Waddington decded to cool it by urinating on it. However the superheated steam rose up and scalded his 'privates'!

He mentions training exercises in Cornwall in 43 and an aborted raid planned on a hotel in the Netherlands where German officers were recuperating from the Russian Front. However, the patrol of MTBs were ambushed by E-boats in which one of the E-boats was rammed, but the raid was aborted as the element of surprise was lost. There are quite a few anecdotes about MTBs and other raids.

Posted to Winchester, he then took up boxing. He took part in further raids against France and the Netherlands before being moved to Chichester. During D-Day he manned a Bren with Peter O'Kelly and took part in an action to silence a gun near Ouistreham. He then fought at Pegasus Bridge before being relieved a few days later. Joe notes his unit were then utilised as line infantry for a while and they even recruited German speaking Jews to broadcast propoganda via loudspeakers at the German troops. At Bois de Bavant he was promoted to Sergeant.

He was seconded to a Marine Commando unit for the attack on Flushing and smoked out and threw grenades into a number of pillboxes to clear the defenders. Following this most of the rest of the war was spent on patrol duties although he also was employed taking bearings on V2 rocket launches. He was engaged fighting the Werewolves who were determined to carry on fighting after the surrender and then guarding POW camps holding concentration camp personnel.

Whilst on leave in Germany he was approached by a person in the film industry if he could 'ride a horse', he then visited Shepperton Studios and thus Joe's new life began...

That's just a very brief summary - the book contains a great deal more detail. I hope it was interesting.





This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 09/02/2012 14:16:40

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John Martin
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I understand from Jimmy Dunning that, sadly, Joe is no longer with us. He was in touch with Jimmy shortly before he died. For a spell, they would both have been in C troop 4 Cdo together - including at Dieppe. I, too, managed by find a cheap (ex-library) copy of Joe's book. It also includes an interesting description of the time that he spent working on the film of the Longest Day, when he bumped into Lord Lovat again.
Phil Eyden
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Thanks John, that's very sad to hear. I had literally just posted a letter to him before I read this. RIP, what an amazing career he had.
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