Special Raiding Squadron

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'Special Air Service'

The Special Air Service (SAS) has its origins in the North African desert. It was formed in 1941 to undertake small-scale raids behind enemy lines. Many of its men were drawn from Commando units in the Middle East including Nos. 7, 8 and 11 and also operated under the title L Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade. A brigade was usually made up of around 5,000 men, so this name was a fiction designed to deceive the enemy.

'Special Raiding Squadron'

In April 1943 1st SAS Regiment was restyled as the Special Raiding Squadron and undertook raids in Sicily and Italy alongside the 2nd Special Air Service, which came into existence in May 1943 in Algeria.
The Special Raiding Squadron was commanded by Major Robert Blair Mayne, better known as 'Paddy'.
In 1944, the S.R.S. and 2 S.A.S. were placed under the umbrella Special Air Service Brigade.


No 3 Commando
Royal Artillery
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Bar to the Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches

On the 28th June 1940 Captain J.F. Durnford-Slater was appointed Lieut. Colonel and ordered to raise and command No 3 Commando after volunteering for Special Service whilst Adjutant of the 23rd Medium and Heavy Training Regt., RA.

FASSAM, Joseph William

Joseph William Fassam 1st SRS
Lance Bombardier
No 8 Commando
Middle East Commando
Royal Artillery
Killed in action or died of wounds
Lance Bombardier Joseph Fassam died during operations at Termoli Italy with the Special Raiding Squadron having left the Commando.
No. 8 Commando;  
4 Special Service Battalion;
'B' Battalion Layforce;

HEARN, William Herbert

No 3 Commando
No 8 Commando
Devonshire Regiment
Killed in action or died of wounds
Private William Hearn died during operations at Termoli, Italy with the Special Raiding Squadron having left the Commando. A shell hit the truck that he was sitting in.

MCNINCH, William Matthew

William McNinch MM
Lance Sergeant
No 11 Commando
Royal Armoured Corps
Military Medal (MM)
Killed in action or died of wounds

Lance Sergeant William McNinch died during operations at Termoli Italy with the Special Raiding Squadron having left the Commando. A veteran of the Litani River raid he died when a shell hit the truck that he was sitting in.

RALPHS, Edward

No 7 Commando
South Lancashire Regiment
Military Medal (MM)
Private Edward Ralphs was awarded the Military Medal whilst serving in the Special Raiding Squadron [1][2]. He had previously served in No.7 Commando [3].

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