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317 Field Security Section - History






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Following 89 FSS, a second Airborne FS Section, 317 (Airborne) Field Security Section, was formed for the new 6th Airborne Division, on the 1st Jun 1943, mainly using personnel from 89 FSS. On completion of training, the Section's primary task was area and special unit security for the up coming invasion of Europe - Operation OVERLORD. Field Security tasks were to be conducted initially in the Normandy area, in the vicinity of Ranville.

Just prior to D-Day, the FSO, Capt Donaldson-Loudon left to join the Special Operations Executive (SOE).  Following this Capt Frank MacMillan took over.

The Section was the first FSS to land in Normandy, with the majority arriving by Glider on D Day - 6 June 1944, at Landing Zone (Z) N, near Ranville. Although some members of the Section arrived earlier by parachute with special tasking. At least one individual, Jock Edwards, was assigned as a temporary interpreter to Brigadier Poett, 5 Para Bde, who landed at the same time as the Pathfinder force of 22 Ind Para Coy, just after midnight.  Sgt. Edwards accompanied Brigadier Poett to Pegasus Bridge to rendezvous with Major John Howard.

A month later Capt. MacMillan, was soon wounded accidentally when he was shot in the leg by one of his own men whilst he was cleaning his pistol.  He was evacuated, leaving the section once more (temporarily) under command of Capt Donaldson-Loudon, who happened to be in the area. He then went back to SOE duties leaving the CSM in command for the next 6 months.

Other members of the section were wounded in action, either directly through enemy fire, or glider crashes on D Day. Sgt Van Laer, broke both ankles, but still retained the operations fund of 10,000 Francs, and after capture, used it to purchase Black Market food and drink for other prisoners. By mid Aug 1944 the division returned to England to prepare for further operations.

A new FSO Lt (later Capt) Rogers joined in January 1945 and the Section conducted another drop - Operation VARSITY, in Mar 45. The unit was initially called upon to fight as infantry, only conducting FS duties when feasible, initially near the town of Hammekiln. During the Division's time in an infantry role the Section conducted FS duties in the forward areas of the advance, and one of the brigade detachments under Sgt Stagnetto (please click for further information), believed itself to be the first British unit to discover the Belsen Concentration Camp taking photographs.

The Section found itself on VE day, May 45 at Wismar on the German Baltic coast. With the war over, final twist occurred. The Section set up its office in Wismar, and despite a curfew and the war officially over, a grenade was tossed through the door by a Nazi "werewolf", luckily with no casualties. It returned to the UK in late May, but found itself deployed with the rest of 6 Airborne Division in Oct 45, to Palestine and conducted on 3 years of CI and peace-keeping duties, including the murder of Sgt Woozley at Haifa, until disbandment in Jul 1948.

Personnel with 317 FSS for either Op OVERLORD or Op VARSITY included:

Officers:
Capt Donaldson-Loudon followed by Capt F MacMillan
Lt (later Capt) P Rogers followed by Capt JD Fraser

NCOs:
CSMs - Roberts and Knight (later Hanet ex 89FSS)
Cpls or Sgts, - Thomson, Batchelor, Jump, Van Laer, Stagnetto, Cleator, Veroft, Kershaw, Caudell, Edwards, Burgess.

 

Awards

Mentioned In
Dispatches

27881 Captain F G MACMILLAN, Intelligence Corps
317th Field Security Section.
For operations in Normandy, 1944.

Lieutenant P ROGERS, Intelligence Corps
317th Field Security Section.
For operations in N W Europe, 1945.

Corporal N JUMP, Intelligence Corps
317th Field Security Section.
For operations in N W Europe, 1945.


 

317[4].jpg (184175 bytes)

317FSS, Ranville Schoolyard
Normandy 1944

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317FSS, Ranville Schoolyard
Normandy, 1944

317[2].JPG (74452 bytes)

317FSS, Normandy 1944

317[3].JPG (83007 bytes)

317FSS, Normandy 1944

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Germany 1945

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Sgt's Fraser & Wells, 
1945, Luneburg Aerodrome, Germany

Donaldson_Loudon.jpg (118698 bytes)

Capt. Donaldson-Loudon
Commissioning Photograph

317[9].JPG (33313 bytes)

Sgt. Gerry Caudel, 
Germany 1945

 








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