COMMANDO RAIDS ON THE CHANNEL ISLAND OF
75th Anniversary Commemorative Event - 27th December 2018
Photos of the event here;
Operation Hardtack 7cx
Branch of the Royal British Legion are planning to unveil a
commemorative stone on Thursday 27th December (to
accommodate ferries, the original date of the 28th was brought
forward), on the
75th Anniversary of Operation Hardtack 7 on the
island of Sark. The commemorative stone will be unveiled on the
path on the Hog’s Back at the site of the minefield and close to
the spot where the two French Commandos died. It is planned for
this to take place at 12 noon and is to be followed by a lunch
at Stocks Hotel at approximately 1 pm, for those wishing to
attend the commemoration. More details on the programme will be
promulgated when plans are finalised.
OPERATION HARDTACK 7 - SARK
The Night of the 25th/
26th and 27th/28th December
series of Commando Raids were planned under the code name
HARDTACK in late 1943 and were numbered from 1 to 36.
The operations were conducted by men
Commando and the
Boat Service (SBS), and took place on the
islands and the northern coast of
in December 1943. Most of the raids consisted of ten men of
various ranks, carried by
Torpedo/Gun Boats (MTB/MGB) and
except for one operation, which was an airborne landing. The
raids were ended by order of
Laycock because they caused the enemy to bring up
reinforcements, which could have been detrimental to the
strategy for D-Day. In the Channel Islands raids were planned
against Jersey, Herm and Sark. The Herm raid was cancelled in
the planning stage, but the raids on Sark and Jersey went ahead
and both were planned for the night of 25/26 December with the
aims of reconnaissance and capture of prisoners – the Jersey
raid landed safely at Petit Port, climbing the cliff, they
failed to locate a German soldier. On returning to the beach, a
mine was set off seriously injuring a Captain Ayton who was
taken to the beach and returned to England where he died of his
wounds. Like the Jersey raid the Sark raid used men from No. 1
(French) Troop of 10 Commando, 12 Commando and the SBS.
Sark 25/26 December 1943.
Operation Hardtack 7.
The raid on
this night failed to achieve its objectives when the Commandos
were unable to scale the cliff having landed by Dorey from MGB
(ML) 292 on Derrible Point at about 23.15. The Raid was
commanded by an officer from 12 Commando, 10 men from No1 Troop
and 2 men of the SBS, as follows:
Pierre-Charles Boccador * (Translator) 10
Briat (Radio Operator) 10
Sergeant Andre Dignac
* 10 Commando
* 10 Commando
Pierre Vinat (Medical Orderly) 10
Lance/Corporal Yves Quentric
Maurice Le Floch
* 10 Commando
David Smee * (Dorey Skipper) SBS
Right * (Dorey Engineer) SBS
(If anyone knows the name or initials of Cpl Right, please
Of the above
men not all went ashore, as the Dorey capacity was 8. Men marked
with * were in the Dorey the remainder stayed on the MGB.
(Nicknamed ‘Tarzan’ for his climbing ability) led the climb but
was unable to make the final ascent and at 02.15 gave up the
attempt. Back on the Dorey, McGonigal and Boccador decide to
survey the beach of Derrible Bay and the cliff of the Hog’s
Back, they encountered and brought back a mine. They returned to
the MGB at 04.10 and headed back to Dartmouth. On arrival they
are given permission to try again and planned another raid for
the 27/28 December.
Sark 27/28 December 1943.
Operation Hardtack 7.
MGB (ML) 322
(Took part in the Jersey raid) was their boat for the raid and
left Dartmouth at 16.00. This time the Commandos landed from
Dixcart Bay onto the Hog’s Back at 22.20 and the same men go
ashore again, with Dignac leading the climb and paying out a
rope for the others to use. The rudimentary map they used marked
a minefield and they moved forward carefully but suddenly a mine
exploded and Bellamy is killed almost instantly, the same
explosion also badly wounds Dignac who dies as he is being
injected with morphine by Boccador. More mines are set off as
they escape from the minefield and Le Flock is wounded in the
chest but can walk, as can the wounded Nicot and McGonigal.
Boccador is unwounded and is the one that helps all the others
to the rope and down the cliff. They are on board the Dorey by
02.30 and on the MGB by 03.00 when they set off for Dartmouth,
with Vinat treating the wounded on the journey, on arrival the
wounded are immediately taken to hospital.
report on the raid to Commander Northwest France and made on the
29th December said:
28th between midnight and 2.45 am the raiding patrol against the
Isle of Sark started. The base garrison located in the middle of
the island reported 5 explosions at 1.10 am. At the crack of
dawn 2 soldiers in English uniforms have been found on the
minefield above the steep coast near Dixcart Valley, one was
recognised as French, one was already dead and the other one
moribund. Landing took place at the same spot like in
04/10/1942, supposedly in a small vehicle. Force of command is
unknown. Injuries found originate from small mine pieces.
According to the traces of blood found on coastal rocks more
wounded or dead soldiers are expected. Weapons and armament have
been left behind, among them was a radiotelephone.
Bellamy were buried in the Sark cemetery on the 30th
December. It is said that the Dame of Sark demanded to know the
names of the men for the Death Register of the island.
No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
this Commando were made up from various countries and each Troop
in the Commando was formed up of Nationals from each country, as
No. 1 Troop
(French). No. 2 Troop (Dutch), No. 3 Troop
(British),* No. 4 Troop ((Belgian), No. 5 Troop
(Norwegian), No. 6 Troop (Polish), No. 7 Troop
(Yugoslavian) & No. 8 Troop (French).
* This Troop
was made up of mainly German (Jewish) Nationals that had come to
Britain as refugees from Nazi Germany, but this did not show in
their title. Each man was given a British name and documents to
support that name. Being German speaking, they were often used
behind enemy lines and as interrogators to gain intelligence.
The graves of those killed in action were marked with the normal
cross, but those were later replaced by the Jewish symbol, the
Star of David.
Lt Col Reg