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Newly acquired aerial photo of Commando raid.  XML
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Andy Maines
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Hi

I have just acquired this original arial photo, as you can see from the label on the back it only states that the image is of British Commandos disembarking after a raid on the French coast on the 4th June 1942 in the Boulogne Le Touquet area. The actual unit is not stated, however having made a comparison with the list of raids that was compiled by Henry Brown (see link) it would seem that this is an arial photo of No1 having just taken part in Operation Bristle. The only discrepency being the day ie the back of the photo states 4th June and Henry Brown's list states that the raid occurred on the 3rd June. Despite this slight difference I am convinced that this is a an arial photo of Operation Bristle, does any one else have an opinion regarding this matter?

http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/documents/raids/Cdo+raids+1.JPG.html

Cheers Andy
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This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 04/07/2012 23:17:46


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Belly
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Andy

I've seen quite a few instances were ops are recorded 24 hours out, this is usually due to whether someone records the embarkation date or the landing date. I suspect in this instance they embarked on the 3rd of June and landed early hours of the 4th?
Wikipedia records this as a raid on the 3rd/4th but gives no source for the data. Interestingly it also states the raid was supported by the RAF so that would explain the aerial photo too?

Hopefully someone can check against the war diary. Great photo though, thanks for sharing

Paul

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John M
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Hi Andy

Great photo..........thanks for sharing this.

I have also seen Ops being recorded over two dates........so I concur you have probably identified this raid correctly.

I would also see what the WD's have to say as more info of this raid may be recorded in them.

I have several copies of the WD's entries but not this one.

Best regards

John M

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JB
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Super find, Andy, well done and thanks for sharing indeed.

Has your father have participated in this raid?


Best regards,

JB

Danny L
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Hi,
Do not have the exact date for "Bristle" but below is some information on it.

Place and Codename : Op Bristle, North of Plage St. Cecily.

Aim : Reconnaissance and to remove or destroy R.D.F. apparatus and bring parts of it back. To capture enemy technical personnel.

Forces Taking Part : No 6 Commando - 250.
L.S.I.(S) - 1. LCA - 7. L.S.C - 1. M.G.B. - 4.

Result : Landing successful though LCA were detected during run in. Main object not achieved. Enemy position engaged but was strongly held.

Any Other Comment : While troops were ashore MGBs attacked two enemy patrol boats sinking one and damaging the other and preventing interference with LCA.

References : War Diary, Ops "B"


This information came from a list prepared by the Amphibious Warfare Headquarters in April 1956.

Regards

Danny
Andy Maines
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Hi

Thanks for the responses, I see from Danny's message that he has a ref that Operation Bristle was carried out by No.6 Commando, which contradicts the information in the list of raids complied by Henry Brown ie that Op Bristle was carried out by No.1. The caption with another photo of this raid in the gallery for No1 (see attached link) states that the main force was No1 however other Special Service personnel took part:

"Commandos return from the raid on St Cecily 3/4th June 1942
This raid codenamed Operation Bristle involved No.1 Commando. In his list of Commando raids in our gallery, Henry Brown (No.1 Cdo and later Gen. Sec. of the Commando Assoc.) notes that other Special Service individuals took part.

This photo was printed in the Daily Sketch on Friday 5th June 1942

This is confirmed by Sgt John Huntington of No.12 Commando who provided the photo to John Mewett identifying Lt. Philip Pinckney of 12 Commando as being the officer at the front right of the photo. Philip Pinckney later moved from 12 Cdo. to be a Captain in 2SAS. He was killed on the 7th September 1943 in Italy. For more information on him, copy and paste this link into your browser and send:http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/12/pinckney/

Photo from the collection of Sgt John Huntington provided by John Mewett. Posted by Pete R."


http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/1/pinckney_bmp.jpg.html

I wonder if the ref to other Special Service personnel refers to members of No.6 Cmdo, which might help to explain the statement in Danny's message that the raid was carried out by No.6, perhaps this was a mistake or mix up, especially as this report was compiled some 14 years after the event?

Any ideas, cheers Andy

This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 28/06/2012 03:21:25


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Andy Maines
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Hi

I have just been looking at the excellent link that Peter Cooper posted regarding British Pathe films in a recent message:

"The Pathe News Films are now available at britishpathe.com. There are several short films of Commandos some of which I haven't seen before. Just type Commando into the search box and sit back and enjoy !"

One of the Films entitled "Commandos Do It Again" is actually a film made of the Commando raid depicted in the above arial photo that I have just acquired. Many of the mens' faces can clearly be seen, there is a running commentary to accompany the action, the attached link will take you to this film. Most of the film has been shot from ground level by a land based cameraman, however there are arial shots that must have been taken by the same aeroplane that took the photo that I have just posted, it you view the film you will see what I mean.

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/commandos-do-it-again

The photo also contains intersting images of Commando equipment and weapons, for example there is a nice sequence showing a 1st pattern FS knife, the scabard for this being pushed down in to the owners sock!! Selecting the small white obolong box in the extreme bottom right hand corner of the viewing screen will actually make the film the full size of your computer screen. You can also view the film as a series of stills, I will have to ask Idris Jones of No1 Cmdo if he took part in this raid, one of the men does look a little like my father, but I will have to view some more times to confirm this.

Cheers Andy

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 29/06/2012 23:31:18


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Danny L
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Hi Andy,
It was 1 Commando that carried out the raid as you say.

While at Kew today I had a look at a couple of documents on Operation Bristle and they all mention 1 Commando.

The other details seem correct so whoever compiled the list made a mistake with the unit.

I did not get a chance to look at the 6 Commando War Diary for this period so cannot say if anyone from this unit took part.

Can post some more details about the raid later if you are interested.

Regards

Danny
Andy Maines
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Hi Danny

Many thanks for this documentary evidence confirming that it was indeed No1 that took part in this operation, and yes I would love to see anything that you have regarding this raid.

Cheers Andy

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 29/06/2012 23:33:18


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Belly wrote: Interestingly it also states the raid was supported by the RAF so that would explain the aerial photo too?



Whereas this may well be a print from an original film, I doubt very much that this photo was taken by the RAF.

I joined the RAF as an Aerial Photographer in 1970 and spent 27 years in the trade. At one stage my work involved copying old films (on a nitrate base) onto a more stable and permanent base and therefore I have viewed and worked on many WWII films & photographs.

There are far too many things that tell me that this photo was not taken by the RAF.

Without exception, all aerial photographs, taken from military aircraft, carry a minimum security classification of Restricted, this would be shown, along with other information [Squadron, frame number, camera position, type of camera, focal length of lens, height of aircraft, time & date, plus other information] in a titling strip along the bottom edge of the print.
To prove that the whole frame was printed, and therefore no information was missing, it was mandatory to include the edge of the film/frame in the print - this would appear black on the print and, depending on the camera, may even show the sprocket holes on the film. [The F24 used in the Spitfire, for example, had a five inch format and sprockets down two sides.]
The titling strip would appear as white lettering and would be positioned to appear in the black border - thus if the white borders were cut off, the classification and other info would still be apparent.

The white borders and the inner black borders had to be a regulation size - although if a white border had been cut off it could be deemed as acceptable whereas, if the black border, and therefore the titling strip & classification, was missing then that was a security breach and the proverbial would hit the fan (this was still the case throughout my 27 years in the RAF)

This photo still has the white borders but no titling strip...

Again without exception the reverse of the print would have been stamped in red ink with the security classification on the top centre and bottom centre of each print and, if released to the public or press, 'Crown Copyright' or 'Property of War Dept' or something of that ilk in the centre.

Each camera model had it's own characteristics and these, easily recognised 'signatures', are all missing from this photo.
So, yes the RAF probably did support this raid, but they didn't take this photo.

Nick

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Belly
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Also the fact that it was taken on their return, and it says "Associated Press" on the label, kind of blows my daft original statement out of the water
Must get out of the habit of typing first and thinking later!!

Paul

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Belly wrote:Also the fact that it was taken on their return, and it says "Associated Press" on the label, kind of blows my daft original statement out of the water
Must get out of the habit of typing first and thinking later!!

Paul


On the other hand, it opened it up for discussion and you now know a few more details on how to identity a genuine aerial photograph taken by the RAF...

Nick

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

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Andy Maines
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Hi Nick

Thanks for that info, always good to be as accurate as possible regarding these matters, so now that we know it is not an official RAF photo, who do you think could have taken this shot ie a press aircraft?

Cheers Andy

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John M
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hi Andy

Only the other night there was a programme on TV about the Bomber Command campaigns and there were instances where press photographers were aboard the mission aircraft recording the mission.

This could have been the case in this instance............it seems to make sense. I think the programme is still available on iplayer.

As an aside I am this week in Berlin and Dresden on a visit.......... two of the targets mentioned in the progs.

I have been to both cities before...........Dresden particularly is an eye opener..........the people there are super.

regards

John M

CVA Research Group

Do not speak.....unless it improves on Silence.

A good teacher opens the door.....you must enter yourself.


For Dad No 12 Commando & 4 Troop No 1 Commando
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Belly wrote:Andy

I suspect in this instance they embarked on the 3rd of June and landed early hours of the 4th?

Paul


Certainly this photo was taken in the early hours...

The information on the reverse states that it was taken on the coast of England, so I think it's safe to presume that it was the South Coast.

The shadows on the beach, formed by the masts, are quite long - given the time of year - which would indicate that the sun was quite low in the sky (early morning / late evening).

Given that this is the south coast then the beaches prodominately face south(ish), so it can be seen that these shadows are pointing in a north / north-westerly direction - that would indicate that the sun was in the east / south-east.
The sun, of course, rises in the east, therefore, it is safe to say that the photo was taken in the early morning.

Nick


Nick Collins,

Commando Association Archivist & Photographer.

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

"Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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