OPPELT, Gustav

Served as : 
BATE, George
Rank: 
Private
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Pioneer Corps, 93 Company
Service: 
Army
Service number: 
13801860 & 5550123
Date of birth: 
1914
Died : 
Wednesday, August 19, 1942
Killed in action or died of wounds
Age: 
28
Operations: 
Gustav Oppelt was a refugee from Czechoslavakia (Sudeten German) and was killed during operations at Dieppe. For this raid he was attached to 'X' troop, of  No 10. Commando, an inter allied commando. In line with policy for volunteers from German occupied countries Gustav Oppelt used an alias of George Bate with another service number of 5550123 and alias Regiment (Royal Hampshire). 
 
The 10(IA) Commando War Diary for 19th August 1942 records the following "Five members of 'X' troop also took part in the raid. These were Ptes. Bates, Latimer, Platt, Rice, and Smith. Pte. Platt and Pte. Latimer returned."  
 
Pte. C. Rice and Pte. J. Smith were possibly also Czech. 
 

In 1941 Gustav Oppelt was being trained for possible SOE active service. He attended Special Training Schools at Arisaig, Wokingham, and Dunham House, Altrincham and other locations for training and assessment. In July 1941 of Major Drumbell, SOE,  wrote an appraisal for him:

Description: Short, light build, flaxen hair
Languages: German, English, slight Czech
Occupation: Metal Worker
Military: 4 months Czech Pioneer Corps; 15 months AMPC - Private
Health: A forceful character but inclined to abe a little to sure of himself
Physical Train: Strong and has great powers of endurance
Fieldcraft: Very good, as an individual the best on the course
Close Combat: Has a knowledge of ju-jitsu
Weapons: Inclined to be an erratic shot (v.good revolver) this is owing to over confidence and tendency to rush.
Explosives: Knows it inside out but is inclined to be over confident and is bordering on "Stage 2"
Communications : Can read and send 4 w.p.m. 
Reports: Good
Map reading; Good. He took some time to pick it up but does not rest until efficient.
Driving: Bicycle
Remarks: An R.C. from Geretin. He is very keen and active. His poweres of endurance are remarkable and he is ready to undertake anything and has unbounded confidence in himself. This makes him slightly impetuous, and though not undisciplined, or purposely non-cooperative,  he is apt to upset the plans of others by going a bit beyond his orders. For this reason I would classify him as "J".
Major Drumbell, 17-7-41.
 
An SO2 document records that he was to be returned to his unit, 93rd Coy., Redruth Cornwall, on the  2nd January 1942. However in April 1942 he was called to the War Office and told to bring all his kit. In this order it refers to him as a 'student' which may suggest he was still in training with the SOE. This date is significant to 10 Commando as it was in the Spring of 1942 that the idea of an inter allied Commando, ie. 10 Commando,  was first raised at the War Office and shortly after it was formed. 
 

The SOE personal file for Gustav Oppelt notes that  he died whilst operating with 10 Commando on the Dieppe raid. 

Sources
National Archives ref DEFE 2/45  -  No. 10 (IA) Commando War Diary , June 1942 - Sept 1945
National Archives ref HS 9/1124/1 - Special Operations Executive Personal File description "Gustav OPPELT, aka George BATE - born c.1914, died 19 or 20.08.1942."
 
Notes 19th July 2017
There is no record of Commando or other special service , nor of his alias, on the CWGC database. The above information has been sent to the CWGC for a review of their record.
Latest August 2017 - The CWGC have accepted our documentation and added his Commando service to their record.
 

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