MARTIN-SMITH, Patrick Geoffrey Brian

Rank: 
Captain
Unit/Base: 
12 Commando
'30 Commando Assault Unit'
Regiment/Corps: 
Worcestershire Regiment
Service: 
Army
Number: 
130112
Honours & Awards: 
Born: 
Wednesday, September 26, 1917
Birthplace: 
London
Died : 
Friday, January 20, 1995
Place died: 
London
Age: 
77
War Service
18 May 1940 commissioned Second Lieutenant.
1940 - 1943 No.12 Commando.
1943 - 1944 No.30 Commando.
July 1944 - May 1945 No.1 Special Force, SOE.
1945 awarded the Military Cross in recognition of gallant and distinguished service.
26 Sept 1967 retired from military service.
Post war member of the Commando Association from Victoria Park, London.
Award Recommendation
"Mil. Est. 66 attached Mil. Est. 43 SO (M).
Lt . T/Capt.
Capt. Martin Smith was infiltrated by parachute to the Friuli district of Northern Italy, then some 200 miles behind the enemy lines, on the 18th July 1944 to act as 2i/c to Squadron Leader Czernin who was then working to open up a route into Austria between the Plocken and Brenner Passes.
Capt. Martin Smith himself was given the task of arranging the safe houses and the actual crossings of the frontier by the various parties of agents. To do this he established his base a few miles South of the Austrian frontier.
Between the end of July and the end of November Squadron Leader Czernin's Mission was exposed to repeated enemy attacks and it was due in great part to Capt. Martin Smith's resource and leadership that the Guerilla bands with whom he was associated (who were in an extrememly low state of morale due to promises of supllies which did not materialize owing to bad flying conditions) were held together successfully.
When the snow closed the passes Capt. Martin Smith was ordered to close on Major Fielding who was in the same area and to withdraw with his Mission through Slovenia. This entailed a hazardous and almost impossibly difficult march of some 300 miles across the mountains to Slovene HQ, and that this march, largely through deep snow, was successful was in no small measure due to Capt. Martin Smith's courage and devotion to duty and unfailing cheerfulness under frightful conditions.
Capt. Martin Smith's work with the Mission produced much valuable information on conditions in Southern Austria and North Eastern Italy which would not otherwise have been obtained, and he showed exemplary initiative and devotion to duty during five months in Reich territory."
 
Sources
Commission - London Gazette 34855, page 3098.
Obituaries in Commando Association newsletter 100 (1995).
Private Papers of Captain P.G.B. Martin-Smith held at the IWM, documents ref: 16757.
Captain Martin-Smith oral Interview recorded and held at the IWM, catalogue no.12069 [hear the interview].
MC - London Gazette 37204, page 3962 and National Archives file WO373/59/352.
Retirement - London Gazette 44415, page 10424.
 

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