British & Commonwealth Military Badge Forum

Recent Books by Forum Members


Go Back   British & Commonwealth Military Badge Forum > Everything Else > Other Military Topics

 Other Pages: Galleries, Links etc.
Glossary  Books by Forum Members     Canadian Pre 1914    CEF    CEF Badge Inscriptions   Canadian post 1920     Canadian post 1953     British Cavalry Badges     Makers' Marks    Pipers' Badges  Canadian Cloth Titles  Books  SEARCH
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 29-11-20, 07:16 PM
zorgon's Avatar
zorgon zorgon is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 172
Default SSB, 4 Commando, Lovat, Dieppe and James Neville, a POW

On behalf of a friend, I am trying to discover some history on a WWII relative of his, a Pte James Neville (6914260). It sounds like he had a very interesting military career but all I have to go on is a half-page of notes he wrote shortly before he died on 24th June, 1989. What we are particularly interested in is his time as a POW after Dieppe and can find nothing on that. All I have is his National POW Ass’n card (attached).

To summarize his WWII events:
• July 1939 basic training at Winchester Hants with Rifle Brigade
• Sep 39, posted to Bovington Hants for Tank training
• Nov 39, drafted to Cairo Egypt with 2nd tank Bde.
• Mar-Apr 40 Norway with 1 Troop Tanks
• Transferred to Special Service (SSB) May 1940 and assigned to the group to assist extricating the Dutch Royal Family
• Provided cover for Dunkirk while based at Calais
• 1941 involved in raids along the French Coast, Channel Islands
• 1942, Dieppe with Lord Lovat’s 4th Commando. , taken prisoner

So it is from here I would like to fill in the blanks although it would be very interesting to uncover any of the specific actions he was involved in during his time with the SSB. I don’t know how to research that. Of course, I can’t vouch for how much of the above is accurate.

After the war he moved to Canada where he joined the RCE on draft for Korea with the 25th Brig but ended up going to Germany with the 27th for the years 1951-53.

Would his nephew be able to access his WWII records?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions, clues or information readers might be able to provide.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg National POW Association card, Neville. small.jpg (71.3 KB, 26 views)
Reply With Quote
Old 29-11-20, 09:19 PM
popskipa's Avatar
popskipa popskipa is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 893

I have a medal group to an Irish Guardsman who was in "Harpoon Force" the unit raised to rescue the Dutch Royal family. Below is what I have found I hope it is of use, Keith

Harpoon Force
As the German blitzkrieg ravaged across Europe, old Kingdoms were been swept aside with impunity by the German army. The Dutch Royal family were next on the list and by late April 1940 their situation was on the brink. A 'Commando' style withdrawal was required. Major Haydon, Officer Commanding 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards was called to arms in order to raise a small combined force to bring the Royal Family to Britain so they might rule in exile.
Harpoon Force left off from Dover aboard Hereward. The invasion had taken everyone by surprise, so about a quarter of the men were on leave and couldn’t be reached through phone or telegram. With the landing planned for Walcheren the wider aims were:
1. Secure it for use of the Royal Navy.
2. Rescue the Royal family.
3. Evacuate embassy staff and other British citizens.
4. Cover the escape route from The Hague to Walcheren.

Besides this the troops already in Holland were to try and secure any gold or diamonds and destroy as much as possible to damage anything the Germans might soon 'inherit'.
They reached the Hook of Holland at dawn on 13 May to find the place in flames and had just docked when Stukas began bombing their ship and strafing them for good measure. They also found that it wasn’t just the enemy who were shooting at them. Some of the locals supported the invasion and began taking potshots at the battalion from several houses, forcing them to take cover.
The 'Micks' had to get to The Hague to escort the Dutch royal family, but it was hard going even when members of the Dutch resistance came to their aid. The Dutch also warned them not to accept candy or cigarettes from any local because they were likely poisoned by nazi-sympathisers.
Since Haydon was given some leeway in his orders, he chose not to sacrifice anyone to The Hague. Walcheren was under siege, so securing it was hard enough. Besides the ship’s guns, all his battalion had were a few 3-inch mortar guns, the standard issue Bren guns, some anti-tank guns, and two signal trucks.
By late morning, trucks began arriving from Amsterdam, but none carried the Royal Family. They instead brought diamond-filled crates which the sailors loaded onto the Hereward. To make room for more, they began unloading the ship’s stores for the use of the resistance.
With the Germans still strafing them and still not a Dutch Royal in sight, Haydon finally gave the order to secure the roads between Walcheren and the docks. They hoped that some British nationals might make it out. Shortly after noon, a fleet of cars finally made it to the docks – the Royals were fashionably late! Haydon thus passed the work to Captain Thomas Halsey, of the Malcolm, but he came back with bad news:
'Nonsense! She left yesterday!.
Crossed wires meant that Queen Wilhelmina and her party were left standing on the dock, barred from boarding. It finally transpired that Princess Juliana had been evacuated the previous evening, so they eventually were given a berth. The problem was the Queen simply refused so the ship left. She was not going to leave her people without the Government, who finally arrived at 6pm that evening. The Germans had spent the afternoon taking pot-shots and bombing the docks to keep themselves amused. Harpoon Force finally weighed anchor and took their precious cargo off. It cost the lives of some 36 Guardsmen.
I collect to the special forces units of WWII especially those in N. Africa, Aegean & Mediterranean. Also WWI Hejaz campaign, Imperial Camel Corps, Lawrence & associates. 44 & 56th Foot, Essex & Anglian Regiments, Essex Yeomanry...
Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-20, 08:51 AM
popskipa's Avatar
popskipa popskipa is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 893

The next-of-kin are able to request a copy of the soldiers records. The cousin can apply if they enclose a letter of authority from the nok, together with a copy of the death certificate, and details of date of birth, full name and service number of the soldier.

Write to:
Army Personnel Centre
Support Division
Historical Disclosures
Mail Point 55
Kentigern House
65 Brown Street
G2 8EX
United Kingdom of Great Britain

The enquirer may be sent an application form to complete and be asked for a £30.00 fee. I believe the fee is at the discretion of the clerk and may be waivered for family.
Also, due to the covid restriction there will be a delay. An enquiry taking three months to complete could now take six!

Please let me know what the cousin finds...

Good luck, Keith
I collect to the special forces units of WWII especially those in N. Africa, Aegean & Mediterranean. Also WWI Hejaz campaign, Imperial Camel Corps, Lawrence & associates. 44 & 56th Foot, Essex & Anglian Regiments, Essex Yeomanry...

Last edited by popskipa; 30-11-20 at 10:57 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-20, 10:05 AM
manchesters's Avatar
manchesters manchesters is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Lancashire
Posts: 6,087

Kentigern House.

Simon Butterworth

Manchester Regiment Collector
Rank, Prize & Trade Badges
British & Commonwealth Artillery Badges
Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-20, 10:20 AM
grey_green_acorn's Avatar
grey_green_acorn grey_green_acorn is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kent, UK
Posts: 4,150

Link to download relevant forms:

"Manui dat cognitio vires - Knowledge gives strength to the arm"
"Better to know it but not need it than to need it and not know it!"
"Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest."
Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-20, 04:16 PM
zorgon's Avatar
zorgon zorgon is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 172

Thank you all for the useful and excellent information. We'll follow up on all routes suggested to track down details. I'll most certainly get back to the Forum and let you know what we discover.

Reply With Quote

4 commando, dieppe, lovat, pow, ssb

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:26 AM.

Powered by: vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.