Sunday, August 18, 2013

Officers of The Glider Pilot Regiment - circa 1944

Based upon the reported readership and broad geographic distribution, a significant number of people have shown a very strong interest in the World War II British Airborne’s assault gliders. The principal gliders being the Airspeed AS.51 Horsa, Mk I/II, and the massive, but more limited, General Aircraft GAL 49/50 Hamilcar.

In this post I would like to recognize, literally, the officers who led that unique group of extremely skilled soldiers who flew those gliders into combat, and then fought as infantrymen side-by-side with their passengers. They comprised the ranks of The Glider Pilot Regiment. The regiment was, and remains the smallest, shortest lived, yet renowned, of the British Army. It was raised on 21 December 1941, a year after the Parachute Regiment, and disbanded in 1957. Within that short span the regiment earned esteemed battle honors including; ‘Normandy Landings’, ‘Pegasus Bridge’, ‘Merville Battery’, ‘Arnhem 1944’, and ‘Rhine’.

Recently found posted on the Internet was the following group photograph, provided with others, as provenance for a Denison smock, wore by a major of the Glider Pilot Regiment in combat during World War II, which was for sale. Although the image is small, consequently lacking in resolution, it is a photograph of the officers of the regiment taken in 1944, prior to Operation Market-Garden, the Battle of Arnhem. Individuals familiar with the aircraft will recognize that they are grouped in front of the wing of an Airspeed AS.51 Horsa Mk I assault glider. It can be enlarged to a limited degree, allowing recognition of faces by knowledgeable individuals.

I have the extreme good fortune of having as a friend, a retired major of the Glider Pilot Regiment, who was on active service during the latter stages of World War II. He was, and is, personally acquainted with, and personal friend of several of these officers. This includes Bgdr Michael "Mike" Dauncey DSO, who as a Lt earned the Distinguished Service Order for his sustained heroism, and superlative leadership, at Arnhem. He was recommended for the Victoria Cross, but it was denied by FM Montgomery, because he had been taken POW.  In addition, am a member of the Operation Market Garden Forum, which is comprised of a group of very talented and knowledgeable individuals. Those talents include the unique capability to identify individual officers in the photograph. Particular recognition and gratitude are expressed to Paul Pariso, a member of that forum.  This is a work in progress, and as additional information is gained, it will be incorporated into this post.

Officers of The Glider Pilot Regiment circa mid 1944

Identified to date are the following individuals:

Front row, 9th from left = Lt E..J. Markwick A Sqdn (KIA at Arnhem) (not 100% sure on this one?)
Front row, 10th from left = Major John Royle 1 Wing (KIA at Arnhem)
Front row, 11th from left = Lt Col Iain Murray DSO w/Bar 1 Wing
Front row, 12th from left = Col George Chatterton DSO
Front row, 3rd from right = Capt James Ogilvie D Sqdn (KIA at Arnhem)
Front row, 6th from right = Major J Lyne
Front row, 7th from right = Major Robert Croot G Sqdn
Front row, 9th from right = Major Ian Toler DFC B Sqdn
Front row, 2nd from left = Capt Barry Murdoch D Sqdn (not 100% sure on this one?)
Front row, 8th from left = Major Francis Murray F Sqdn (not 100% sure on this one?)
Front row, 1st on the right = Capt Maurice Priest No.10 Flt, G Sqdn
Front row, 5th from right = Major Burton Jackson E Sqdn
Front row, 8th from right = Major Stewart Griffith A Sqdn
Front row, 10th from right = Major J Blatch 2 Wing
Back row, 8th from left = Captain Christopher B Dodwell DFC No.12 Flt, E Sqdn
Back row, 7th from left = Lt Alexander Frank Johnston
2nd row from back, 7th from left = Lt Michael Dauncey DSO G Sqdn
3rd row from back, 4th from left = Capt Bernard Halsall MC No.7 Flt, C Sqdn
3rd row from back, 7th from right = Capt William Barrie G Sqdn (KIA at Arnhem)
3rd row from back, 8th from right = Capt Frank Barclay No.21 Flt, D Sqdn
3rd row from back, 9th from right = Reverend George Pare Chaplain No.1 Wing
3rd row from back, 5th from right = Capt Robert "Robin" Walchli No.24 Flt, G Sqdn
3rd row from back, 8th from left = Lt Bruno Haeffner A Sqdn
4th row from back, 2nd from left = Capt Foster Robson No.16 Flt, F Sqdn (not 100% sure on this one?)
4th row from back, 1st on the right = Rev Wilfred Chignell Chaplain 2 Wing
4th row from back, 2nd from right = Capt Ronald Telfer G Sqdn
4th row from back, 5th from left = Lt Peter Brazier E Sqdn (KIA at Arnhem)
4th row from back, 13th from left = Lt Henry Cole No.19 Flt, B Sqdn (KIA at Arnhem)
4th row from back, 9th from right = Capt Francis Neale B Sqdn (KIA at Arnhem)

An individual photograph of Col George J.S. Chatterton DSO, Officer Commanding, The Glider Pilot Regiment, 1944. Because of the coincident pose, uniform, surrounding background and resolution, its believed to have been out-cropped from possibly a larger and/or clearer copy of the identical group photograph.

Colonel George J.S. Chatterton DSO
OC, The Glider Pilot Regiment 1944 

If any individual viewing this post, has additional information further identifying any of these officers, and is willing to share that knowledge, it would be sincerely appreciated by the author, and acknowledged by recognition and attribution to the source.

Monday, August 5, 2013

An Addendum to Collecting Toy Soldiers/Military Miniatures; The State of the Hobby

Have noticed in the previous blog post entitled "Collecting Toy Soldiers/Military Miniatures; The State of the Hobby", published in May 1912, that I had not included some photographs  which might be of interest to viewers. See for the older page. Apologies in advance; as previously established I'm not even a competent amateur photographer, let alone in the professional ranks. One other thing, please excuse the dust (miniaturized "sands of time"). So in no particular order here are some additional photos amending those presented in the original post, with apologies for any duplicate scenes.

As a traditionalist, the viewer can see that difference in scale doesn't bother me to any extent, as it would a dioramist who demands the consistency of a common scale in all elements of a diorama. However, for the most part the figures are nominally either 54mm (1:32 scale) or 60mm (1:30 scale).

Bill Hocker's Set No.1, a British Army Observation Balloon,
Royal Engineers, circa 1890's (Boer War), with a variety of
 King & County WWII  Eighth Army, and SAS figures in the
 foreground including Col David Sterling and Paddy Mayne

Top shelf depicts the Charge of the Royal Scots Greys and
 Gordon Highlanders at Waterloo by King & County, next
shelf contains a variety of Gordon Highlanders from
 W. Britains, Asset, King & Country and Imperial. The
bottom shelf spans time from Royal Marine Commandos
supported by a Challenger II main battle tank (Forces of
 Valor) in the 1st Gulf War, to Lord Lovat's Commandos at
 D-Day, WWII both sets made by King & Country

On the top shelf, sets from Bill Hocker's Crimean War series,
middle shelf are more of Hocker's sets (note Busnell's Turtle)
 combined with W.Britains (U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard)
 and Imperial (30th Lancers, Gordon's Horse) , bottom shelf
 are Hocker's sets from his Indian Mutiny series 

A better view of Hocker's Indian Mutiny series combined with
both vintage and new W. Britains toy soldier sets

Steadfast has produced some excellent and finely detailed
 sets depicting the guns of the Royal Artillery and various
 military wagons from the Victorian era

Top shelf shows King & Country's representation of the
Australian Light Horse in their renowned charge at Beersheba,
 Palestine in WWI, bottom shelf contains a variety of famous
 WWII aircraft, from Franklin Mint, Corgi and W. Britains

As an adjunct to those who may be interested, the following video is of the Life Guards and Blues and Royals Mounted Bands on ceremonial duties in London.

For those who might be interested, the following is a slightly more learned historical perspective delivered by Dr. Roger T. Stearn of the Victorian Military Society, delivered at the National Army Museum in 2013.