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A Rhodesian Commando at War: Lieutenant-Colonel F.W. “Ted” Fynn (1939-1945) by Ross Dix-Look
A Rhodesian Commando at War:
Lieutenant-Colonel F.W. “Ted” Fynn (1939-1945)
This is actually the story of Lieutenant-Colonel Francis West Fynn, also called “Ted”, a amazing Rhodesian who offered using the celebrated British Commando’s in Norwegian and also the Mediterranean, throughout world war ii, being granted the Military Mix and also the U.S. Bronze Star. Fynn was created in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, around the 9 This summer 1908, part of a properly-known Rhodesian family. He was educated at Plumtree School, in Southern Rhodesia and also at Rhodes College College, Grahamstown, Nigeria (much like his fellow countryman and also the future pm of Rhodesia, Ian Cruz). Fynn was chosen a Rhodesian Rhodes Scholar for 1929 and subsequently attended Christ Chapel College (1929-1931), where he analyzed law and was known as towards the Bar, in England, in 1932, before coming back to Rhodesia.
Fynn then resided in the native country for the following 2 yrs, whereupon he came back to England, and when the war arrived, he was employed on the employees of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), before joining the British Military in 1939. Commissioned, Fynn offered using the London Scottish Regiment, getting the rank of captain, before moving in 1941 towards the recently created British Military Commando (which in fact had, oddly enough enough, been founded with a fellow southern African, namely South African-born Brigadier Dudley Clarke, from the Royal Artillery). Thence started Fynn’s adventures as part of the commando, among the most difficult and highly esteemed fighting models of World War Two.
It had been in October 1942 that Fynn grew to become the “titular mind” of “Fynn Pressure”, the second created particularly to fight German troops in southern Norwegian. Fynn subsequently commanded No 12 Commando, as well as in early 1943, commanded “Northforce”, which composed two troops of No 12 Commando plus some Norwegians, within an attack against an iron pyrites mine at Lillebo, found on the island of Stord, from the Norwegian coast. Although small, the raid demonstrated to be really effective. “Split into two groups, which the very first ended up being to cover those activities from the second, they arrived in the small village of Saagvaag, fought against their way ashore and arrived at the mine, two miles distant, in twenty-5 minutes, a really creditable performance, simply because each guy was heavily lladen with demolition charges. Showed up, they blew in the hoist gear which fell lower the mine shaft, the crushing plant, the compressor house, the transformer, along with a railway shed.”
The raiding pressure then came back to Saagvaag to uncover “the naval covering pressure of motor torpedo motorboats had, while waiting, sunk an opponent merchant vessel by gunfire, silenced an opponent gun position, and usually shelled the coast.” Fynn’s merry gang of raiders observed they still had “some demolition loads” left, which were utilised to “inflate a silo around the quayside, along with the conveyer system hooking up the ore crusher using the mine.”
As though there stout efforts weren’t enough, the little pressure also handled to shoot lower a Junker 88 in route home. However, casualties were incurred, one non-commissioned officer being wiped out-in-action (KIA), along with a couple of males wounded, but “a mine supplying the enemy with a hundred and 60 1000 a lot of iron pyrites annuallyInch have been released of action for over a year. The raid around the pyrites mine at Lillebo was truly a superb task for “Northforce”, under their Rhodesian-born commander, “Ted” Fynn.
It had been and in 1943 the Spanish people required pains to avoid information reaching Britain regarding “poor people condition of the vaunted Western Wall”, all the occupants of Northern France being intentionally taken off the coast. It had been then that “Forfarforce” has been around since, to raid “for raiding’s sake”. Fynn was handed command from the pressure, the program being for parties of ten males to land at various points across the coast and subsequently to enter inland, whereupon they’d then secure valuable information and, if at all possible, restore a prisoner.
Fynn and the raiders were subsequently trained to make use of dorys, very lightweight motorboats which is between 16 and twenty-two ft lengthy, powered either with a paddle or perhaps a modified Austen motor engine. It warrants no telling that starting a dory on the rough day, when beset by turbulent seas, was difficult indeed, and required much skill and expertise for the crew.
The males of “Forfarforce” also searched for to have an easy way of climbing “verticle with respect chalk coves in the center of the evening without waking the seagulls”, after thinking about various options made the decision upon the recommendation of the expert rock climber, a particular Sergeant Craig, who recommended using pitons.
After days of hard training, the pressure entered action. Reconnaissance was completed at various points across the French coast, before Fynn convinced the government bodies concerned, when the force’s fact-finding sorties may be whatsoever effective, they would need to stick to shoreline not less than twenty-four hrs. It had been around the evening from the 1 September 1943, that Fynn and “Forfarforce” set to do thus, coming from the French coast near Eletot. These were outfitted with three days’ price of stores, including “duplicate wireless sets along with a cage of company pigeons”. After evading an opponent convoy, the pressure arrived, taking everything ashore. They hid their dory and stores and spent the following 2 days in occupied France camping at the end of the high cliff and heading out on patrol. Throughout their time ashore, they chanced upon a French fisherman, “whom they afraid by the look of themInch simply because they were outfitted in special camouflage suits, their faces colored with black, brown and eco-friendly stripes, as well as their heads embellished with nets. The reality is the Frenchman was received a significant fright, however they finally assured him of the identity. The fisherman then discontinued, coming back the very next day having a pile of postcards showing the village and also the German positions marked upon them. Duly urged, the raiders revealed five company pigeons, each bird transporting a note, asking the motor torpedo boat or MTB because they maintained, to desist from picking the males up not less than another twenty-four hrs. Alack and alas, for immediately 5 pigeons were swooped upon by peregrine falcons and caught up to “their eyries, messages and all sorts ofInch. Their troubles were not even close to over, for your very evening two German Focke-Wulf 190s “travelled several occasions really low above their heads, but unsuccessful to place them”. Then the time had come to go away, but simply before their MTB spirited them, the raiders blew a Bangalore torpedo one of the German wire. Thus ended the “Forfarforce” reconnaissance near Eletot, Fynn and the males returning interesting specifics of the depressed condition from the German troops on that area of the French coast.
Forfarforce was disbanded in November 1943 also it ended up being our Rhodesian raider became a member of No. 2 Commando as second-in-command, his old command, No. 12 Commando, getting been spread. He found themself within the Mediterranean, a brand new brigade, namely No. 2 Special Service’s Brigade, getting been created in Italia from No.2 with no. 9 Military Commando, No.40 with no.43 (Royal Marine) Commando, and also the Belgian and Polish troops from the famous No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. It wasn’t lengthy before 2 Commando, and Fynn themself, were off to another theatre of combat, this time around Yugoslavia.
It had been at night time around the evening from the 28/29 This summer 1944 that Lieutenant-Colonel “Ted” Fynn arrived unopposed, four miles (over six kilometers), south of Spilje, near a village known as Himara in Albania, in the mind of No. 2 Commando (getting absorbed command from Lieutenant-Colonel J.M.T.F. “Mad Jack” Churchill, who was simply taken earlier in This summer). This Rhodesian’s pressure composed “in most seven-hundred and twelve officials and males, together with a medical detachment, numerous males in the Lengthy Range Desert Group, administrative and signals staff, and reps from the press”. It had been a really dangerous affair, one- hundred-and-fifty Spanish people stated to become garrisoned at Spilje, while an additional two-1000 were regarded as at Valona. To make sure necessary communication, the pressure was outfitted without any-under “90-five wireless operators with 60-four wireless sets”, as well as sony playstation prove inadequate. The program ended up being to attack four German strong-points within the neighbourhood of Spilje, but Fynn’s pressure had recently been jeopardized German sympathizers getting because of the garrison forty-eight hours’ warning. Things went “pear-formed” in the beginning, the primary force’s position being tricked through the fierce and incessant woofing of countless dogs, and also the wireless sets wouldn’t work, either because of fact they were “tested through the thick groves of olives, or because they were destroyed by shells in the supporting destroyers that have been shedding around the wrong target”. The pressure, getting fought against gallantly, had, however, to withdraw No. 2 Commando alone getting “experienced 60-two casualties”, while being not able to beat probably the most tenacious German defence. It’s tragic indeed when one views that, couple of days later, the German children were overcome by local partisans.
Then, in October 1944, came the attack on Sarande, and also the subsequent liberation from the island of Corfu. The main harbour of Sarande was situated on Albania’s landmass, just opposite the area of Corfu. It had been supposed that the attack on Sarande would deny the German garrison on Corfu of the escape route, southeast Corfu already being at the disposal of Greek Partisans. The circumstances were dire in each and every respect. However, after a little very stiff fighting indeed, the allied troops (including Fynn with no. 2 Commando in addition to No. 40 RM Commando) won, liberating Sarande (9 October 1944), and subsequently the area of Corfu itself.
Following a brief respite in Italia, No. 2 Commando, in addition to No. 9, 40 (RM) and 43 (RM) Commando were then active in the “Fight of Lake Commachio”, which happened in April 1945. Lieutenant-Colonel Fynn with no. 2 Commando received the job of crossing the river, that was a real morass of slime on the top which lay only a couple of inches water. This difficult task required the males of No. 2 Commando almost twelve-hrs, whereupon reaching the alternative shoreline, they effectively assaulted the German positions in the rear, all of the Commando models achieving their objectives. It had been for his “heroic achievement regarding the military procedures in Italia on April, 1, 1945” throughout the Fight of Lake Comacchio, that “Ted” Fynn received obtaining the American Bronze Star, for “superb leadership and finish devotion to duty “. It is quite fitting this Rhodesian-born soldier was really given the Bronze Star in the King George Mire Barracks, in Salisbury, Rhodesia, by Colonel C.J. Petersen from the U.S. Military (another Rhodesian officer, Lieutenant C.J. Pretorius, also being granted the Bronze Star throughout the investiture). In showing the medals “in the direction from the Leader from the U . s . States, Col. Petersen stated the courage and gallantry of those two officials have been formally recognized, not just in their very own country, however in the military good reputation for the U . s . States as well as the Allied Nations.” Fynn’s Citation to obtaining the American Bronze Star mentioned: “In face of each and every possible difficulty mounted on a waterborne operation, with just one-third of his pressure, against a properly-established enemy position near Lake Commachie [sic], Italia, Lieut. Col. Fynn’s inspiring influence materially affected the end result of the hazardous and daring operation behind the enemy lines, as did his encouraging of his weary troops in successive assaults on the vital bridge, as well as an enemy pressure of just about 1,000 were eventually taken.”
Fynn, after coming back to Rhodesia, was involved with farming, brickmaking and general industry, getting married Vivienne Frances Hayland Wilson at Bari, Italia, throughout the war, their progeny being one boy and something daughter. This fight-hardened Rhodesian soldier and raider died in the home country, Rhodesia, in September 1981… or should I only say, “old soldiers never die, they simply disappear”.
[Sources: Listing of Rhodes Students, listed under 1929 as “Rhodesia” Rhodes Scholar, p 80 the Fynn Genealogy, p 113-114 “The Eco-friendly Beret”, a brief history from the Commando, Chap. XVI, pp211-221, Chap. XXII, pp 285-293 The Commando Veteran’s Web page, 2 Commando]
About the writer
Born in Salisbury, Rhodesia, in 1970. Resident in Port Elizabeth, Nigeria. An Archivist by profession, and freelance author. Thinking about History, Military History, the British Language and it is etymology,Books, along with other hobbies.