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Last Updated: 21/06/2018 08:52:51

SAS War Diary 1941-1945
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:23
The SAS Regimental Association has loaned a rare copy of the SAS War Diary 1941 – 1945 to Dumfries Museum.

With disbandment looming, producing a record of SAS wartime activities began in the last days of World War Two. A project known by few even within the SAS, and remaining largely unheard of until 2010, the diary is one of the most astonishing accounts to come out of World War Two.

It is the personal and private history of the Regiment from the inside. It contains an unparalleled collection of documents, reports, photographs and maps and tells for the first time the full story of the SAS during World War Two. The Diary was published in a limited edition to mark the 70th anniversary of the Special Air Service.

This amazing publication will be available for the public to view but they need to make an appointment by telephoning the museum on 01387 253374. The diary will be available from 1 to 26 October. 

This is a unique opportunity for local people to access documents rarely seen outside the national museums or libraries in the cities. For anyone interested in the history of World War Two I would urge them to contact Dumfries Museum and see this amazing collection of documents, photographs and maps for themselves. The bravery of the SAS men dropped behind enemy lines is astounding and their reports tell in detail the risks they took to help bring the war to an end. Local man Cecil Riding was one of those soldiers and his story is included in the SAS War Diary. Reading the reports of the operations he took part in and seeing his collection of war memorabilia displayed in the museum brings to life the dangers he faced and the resilience and ingenuity with which Cecil, and the other SAS men undertook their operations. 

An extract from Cecil’s report in the SAS War Diary reads:

“At this stage I was instructed to take command of the Squadron and two days later Col Mayne and Capt Sadler joined me in the forest. After lying low for a day or so Col Mayne decided to send out recce parties to watch the main roads Orleans – Pithiviers and Orleans – Montarges. Here any information gained was immediately transmitted to England. In the course of the third patrol, Tprs Ion and Sigm Packman failed to return. Subsequent information indicated that they had been ambushed (they were travelling in my jeep) and held at Chilleurs-Aux-Bois. The troops who took them were SS elements and it was discovered that after being held for a day they were taken to the wood nearby and shot. I recognise the rings and pen they were wearing and carrying and also such remains as had not been buried. After going back to Le Mans with Col. Mayne to meet ‘C’ Squadron we accompanied them to Ouzouer-Sur-Loire. After gathering information about various missing members of the Squadron we returned to England.”

On 26 October Brigadeer Howard Ham, of the SAS Regimental Association, will be at Dumfries Museum to give a talk. Drawing on the personal stories of the men and their missions behind enemy lines Brigadier Howard Ham from the SAS Regimental Association will talk about the compilation of the SAS War Diary and how the SAS developed throughout World War Two. Light refreshments will be served after the talk. Numbers will be limited for this event so to ensure a place please telephone Dumfries Museum on 01387 253374.
These events relate to the current Dumfries Museum foyer exhibition - the inspirational story of Captain Cecil Riding MC, a local man who was parachuted behind enemy lines into Nazi-occupied France eight days after D-Day as part of Operation Gain. In February 1944 he was selected for the newly formed Special Air Service (SAS) and was posted on special duty throughout occupied Western Europe in 1944 and 1945, for which he was awarded the Military Cross. He later took part in the liberation of Norway. This exhibition tells his story and will be on display until January 2014.

SAS Diary brochure SAS Diary SAS Diary SAS Diary SAS Diary
Page last updated: 25/04/2018
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