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Thread: RAF Squadron Commanders and SOE Force 136

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    3

    Default RAF Squadron Commanders and SOE Force 136

    I recently acquired a US dollar signed by nineteen men and women, most of whom were OSS operatives in Burma, Thailand, and China. At least two were associated with the American 1stAir Commandos. On the back of the dollar are the signatures of three men I believe to be RAF or RCAF squadron/flight leaders working with British SOE Force 136.

    There is the signature of James Blackburn. I suspect he is the same James Blackburn who commanded 159 Squadron and was awarded the DSO for his work for Force 136. There is also the signature of Les (Leslie?) Brookes, who could be the leader of 628 Squadron. This squadron also worked with Force 136 and Brookes was piloting one of the Catalina Flying Boats landing operatives during "Operation Oatmeal." The third signature is Tommy Lee. I believe he is the Canadian Tommy Lee who was a flight leader in 357 Squadron. "B" Flight of this squadron (Catalinas) became 628 Squadron and also worked with Force 136.

    The American officer who owned the dollar was Major Frederick J. Roehs of the Army Air Corps. I have not been able to find much on him but one newspaper article from March 1944 states he was "a member of the staff of the general commanding the China-Burma-India Theater of Operation." I do not know which general (Stillwell, Sultan, Mountbatten?) or what staff position. However, it certainly had him in close contact with the OSS and SOE.

    Do any of the forum members have access to log books or documents that might include the signatures of these three RAF men? I feel this will be the only definitive way to be sure I have identified the signers correctly.

    Thanks for any assistance.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
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    Default

    To all,

    I answered Dustyshelf's (Mike's) query on the WW2talk.com forum, not knowing he posted here, too. I added scans from my collection of James Blackburn and Tommy Lee signatures -- and both were closely involved with RAF Liberator Special Duties flights out of India. Rather than post my info here (no time tonight to cut and paste), I'm going to take the easy way out and give you the url for that message board. Jagan, I hope you don't mind!

    It is: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/5083...soe-force-136/

    Regards,

    Matt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Hello My grandad is Les Brookes! That is his signuature. I think my Dad has tried to contact you of another site but had no reply. Please get in touch!

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Nov 2007
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    Georgieporgie94,

    Has your Dad tried to contact me or dustyshelf? Probably the latter, who has the signed dollar.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
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    Default

    Hello

    Yes he has tried to contact Dustyshelf on a different forum I think. I wasn't sure how to get in contact?!

    I have been trying to collect details about my grandpa and his service when we found this. It's amazing!

    Thank you

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
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    Default

    You can try sending dustyshelf (Mike) a direct email. When you are logged on, click on his name and choose the email option to have his address appear. I will write to him momentarily to give him a heads-up, so maybe if he is around he will post on the forum, and soon your dad (hopefully) will be in direct contact with Mike.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Georgina and Matt---

    Just now getting a chance to reply. Might have done so a day sooner if I had not misplaced the password to log into the forum! Georgina has mailed me directly and I will respond likewise. If we have anything worth adding to this thread we will certainly do so.

    ---Mike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
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    Default

    Excellent, Mike. Glad you and Georgina are in direct communication.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    1

    Default Leslie Brooks Pilot of Catalina "P"

    Quote Originally Posted by georgieporgie94 View Post
    Hello My grandad is Les Brookes! That is his signuature. I think my Dad has tried to contact you of another site but had no reply. Please get in touch!

    Thanks
    Hi Georgie,

    My father was Charles Berry engineer on Catalina "S" during Operation Oatmeal in October 1944 launched from Trincomalee in Ceylon (pilot Peter McKeand and co pilot Clive Russell-Vick. I am writing a small book on the RAF involvement in this operation (largely 240 squadron) based on 1st hand accounts of the air crew and would be interested in whether your father or you have any info I could use (e.g. your grandfather's stories) and/or any photos of him.
    I have his account via Laddie Lucas from "Voices in the Air".

    Hope to hear from you.

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