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89 (Parachute) Field Security Section
| It was determined in 1942,
upon the formation of 1st Airborne Division, that in keeping with the
regular line infantry and armoured divisions, the Airborne Divisions
should be established with both a Division HQ intelligence section, and
a Field Security Section (FSS). The FSS was formed on 28th June 1942,
and the all volunteer cadre formed up at Figheldene, near Netheravon.
It is possible however, that Intelligence Corps personnel - an officer, and 4 NCOs parachuted into France in Feb 1942 on OP BITING, the "Bruneval Raid". Possible candidates, include Sergeant's Loker and Van Laer as these were early qualifiers from the Parachute School at Ringway. The Intelligence Corps' role on this mission appears to have been in support of strategic intelligence, rather than field security.
Intelligence Corps Parachute FSS were cross trained for both parachute and gliderborne operations with a requirement for dispersal of effort throughout the Division, in case of losses in the deployment phase of operations.
The establishment of the section was at Figheldene was: the Field Security Officer (FSO), a Captain; a Company Sergeant Major (CSM / WO2), 4 Sergeants and 12 Corporals, and a Lance-Corporal Batman. The first FSO was Captain JD Dunbar.
The first operational deployment of the unit was on Operation TORCH in November 1942. The unit crossed from Oran, Algeria into Tunisia by road rather than deploying by air. After the a hard fought ground campaign and the fall of Tunis, and the final capitulation of the Africa Korps, the Division (and 89 FSS) then found itself involved in the invasion of Sicily - Operation HUSKY.
For HUSKY, 89 FSS deployed in gliders, and it was here that Capt Dunbar, the FSO was tragically drowned attempting to rescue another soldier, when their glider ditched prematurely. Without an FSO for the next 9 months, the section was commanded by CSM Loker, at the seaborne landings at Taranto in September 1943, where the speedy arrest of the German Consul at Bari took place in a commandeered civilian car. After a hair-raising journey the Section, which included Sgt Robert Pinguet (please click for further information), were able to collect the Consul, who said “Gentlemen, I’ve been waiting for you”.
The unit returned to Harlaxton, Lincolnshire in the UK in December 1943, having left 2 personnel (Sgt Granville and Cpl Novitsky) with 2 Independent Parachute Brigade Group, who subsequently operated both in Southern France, and in Greece during the Communist uprising. The Section proper returned to the East Midlands and conducted a variety of duties including escort to VIPs and Royal Engineer counter-booby trap training in preparation for the next phase of operations in NW Europe.
Six members of 89 FSS were next hived off to form 317 (Airborne) FSS for 6th Airborne Division and the Normandy landings (see 317 FSS section).
Capt John Killick was appointed FSO in early 1944. The FSO and 6 NCOs dropped on 17 Sep 1944 in the 1st drop of Op MARKET GARDEN, with additional NCOs in the glider borne element. Initially, FS duties (including the arrest of Dutch Nazis) took place as the FSO and 4 NCOs went with the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment elements into Arnhem. The remainder of the Section remained with their respective Brigade HQ.
However, as the battle progressed FS tasks were abandoned and the Section fought as infantry. Sgt Chambers, with the FSO in Arnhem, was noted directing artillery at the Bridge, and was described as having 10,000 lives (after capture at Arnhem, he escaped and was later repatriated by Russian forces!).Cpls Arthur Maybury (see below) and Phillip Scarr were died. Five others were evacuated with wounds. The FSO, and others, were captured at the bridge. After the war Capt Killick joined the Diplomatic Corps, and as Sir John Killick, was Her Majesty's Ambassador to both NATO and Moscow. At Arnhem only a single member of the Section escaped unscathed, Cpl David Zucker, and he had bullet holes in his clothes.
The Section was reformed in the UK in 1945 with members from 317 FSS, and with Lt (later) Capt GA Williams as FSO and was posted to Denmark and Norway in May 1945 with 1 Airborne Division. The unit conducted FS duties in a more benign environment as liberators, arresting senior Nazis - SS, SD and Gestapo, and local collaborators, and special search duties before returning to the UK, and disbanding almost a year to the day after the Arnhem drop.Subsequently, since WW2, with the Intelligence Corps units supporting each UK army formation, 89 FSS was reconstituted. In today's British Army '89' is retained as an honorific as the unit supporting HQ 16 Air Assault Brigade, composed of the 3 Parachute Regiment Battalions, is 89 Military Intelligence Section (89 MI Sect).
Corporal Arthur Maybury
Cpl Arthur Maybury, 89 FSS, was the only member of the Section to be killed by enemy action at Arnhem, dying of wounds received early on in the battle (Cpl Phillip Scarr, also died during Operation MARKET GARDEN, but is likely to have died of exhaustion, having swum the Rhine in an effort to evade capture). Cpl Maybury was part of the Section led by Capt John Killick into Arnhem, accompanying 2nd Bn, Parachute Regt (along with Sgt Chambers and others), into Arnhem town on 17th September. After he was wounded entering the area near the bridge, Cpl Maybury, who was believed missing at this point, was taken to the Huishoudschool, on the Rinjkade (the roadway along the bank of the Rhine, adjacent to the Bridge, and running under it). Here, Cpl Maybury's wound was treated by a Dutch civilian - Dr Zwolle. The Doctor, in searching his patient, discovered a "Black List" of members of the Dutch Nazi Party (the NSB) living in the Arnhem area. These Dutch Nazis were to be arrested and interrogated by 89 FSS, as part of the Field Security task. The good Dr, probably fearing for his patient should he be captured, took the list. Cpl Maybury subsequently succumbed to his wounds, probably on 18th September, and is interred in the Oosterbeek CWGC Cemetery. Captain Killick subsequently received authority to lead a small patrol, comprised of 6 members of B Coy, 2 Para, to search for the missing Cpl Maybury. This patrol, operating in the side streets near the bridge, took place on 18th September. It was photographed by a Dutch civilian (in fact, a Dutch-Jewish photo-journalist who was hiding in Arnhem under an assumed name), and these photographs illustrate the patrol increasing in size as 5 or 6 stragglers were collected. Dr Zwolle was later picked up by the Germans whilst gathering food. The "Black List" was discovered in his possession, and this resulted in his summary execution, on 19 September. This fact is commemorated on a plaque in Bakkersraat, Arnhem, where the Dr and 4 other civilians were shot. Captain Killick and the other members of the Section in Arnhem were subsequently captured, however, Sgt Chambers later escaped and was repatriated after linking up with Russian forces at the end of the war.
Personnel with 89 FSS for either Op HUSKY or Op MARKET included:
4804144 Corporal E A ZITMAN, Intelligence
89FSS, England, 1944
Inspection by HM George VI, April 1943
89FSS, Italy 1943
Capt. John Killick, Training
Capt. Jack D. Dunbar
Capt. Jack D.
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