The British Marines, are preparing to instal in Himara Region
Sugar beach, (Kakomea) Sarande, Albania , October 1944
Raiding Support Regiment with their guns. Photo courtesy
Owner: Peter Rogers
Full size: 1100x741
Assyrian Paratroopers in Albania and Greece
The Assyrian RAF Levies Association
The company was formed on the 6th January 1942 from volunteers at RAF Habbanyia in Iraq to safe guard against Axis infiltration through the Caucuses, the area being mostly impassable terrain the enemy would need to rely on existing roads, tunnels and railways. The [AOC] Air Officer Commanding Iraq, Air vice Marshal Hugh De Crespigny reasoned that a parachute company consisting of trusted indigenous servicemen, could destroy these access points and slow German advance, after the operation they would be able to discard their uniforms and blend in with the local population evading capture.
Lectures were given to the regular Levies on the needs to establish a parachute company and volunteers were asked for without enticement, no increase of pay or privileges were offered, this was to ensure that only the “right type” would volunteer. 1000 volunteered for the task and were put through a rigorous selection process, after two weeks of gruelling exercises only the fittest were selected, the 1,000 volunteers were filtered down to 150 Assyrians and 50 Kurds, and these were to form the initial company personnel commanded by Major Barnes. By December 1942, parachute training had commenced from Vickers Valencia’s, the only Aircraft available. The Valencia was so outdated and slow that it was nicknamed the “flying Pig” by the RAF, but it did serve useful as a parachute training aircraft, the fuselage was large enough to accommodate 20 men with equipment..................................... continues....................
J. Bettany and John Japp of No.2 Cdo , Frank Gilles of the RSR, and partisan Martho Rapo
This photo is part of a group taken during Operation Healing 2 , the raid on Spilje, Albania July 1944. The No.2 Commandos shown are L/Cpl. John Japp, Pte. J. Bettany, and they are with Cpl. Frank Gillies - Raiding Support Regt. The Albanian Partisan with the sten gun is Martho Rapo. ( Update by Pete Rogers)
Update 16/10/11 by Pete R. Des Rochford of No.2 Cdo provides a copy of this photo to Paul Bell confirming details and adding the fact of Cpl. Gillies being in the RSR.
Owner: Geoff Murray
Full size: 1218x819