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WorldWar2.ro Forum > WW2 in General > Thomas Charles David RUSSELL of the SOE


Posted by: Merlin September 22, 2006 07:55 pm
There is a single "soldier" buried in the Tincabesti Cemetery, Thomas Russell MC.
Russell fought with David Sterling behind Rommell's lines in Libya and from data I received from his regiment, he was parachuted into Yugoslavia and came over the border into Romana with two other operators to make contact with the Resistance.
In early September 1943 they were staying in a house in the village of Varciarove near Timişoara. While one of them was in the forest making a radio transmission, the other two were attacked, "probably by thieves". Russell was murdered, but the other one escaped.
Unfortunately that is all the Scots Guards could give me as full details on Russell's file will not be available until 75 years after his death, ....... incerc la CNSAS ?

www.alliedspecialforces.org/specialidentificationgrouplionsofjudahhistory2.htm provides details of operations in which Russell was involved in Libya.

Does anyone have any further data...... any contacts in Varciarove, Timis ?



Posted by: BG7M September 22, 2006 08:47 pm
Varciorova is a small village near Portile de Fier dam ( Danube's Iron Gates), in Mehedinti county (200 km far away from Timisoara). That zone was for centuries famous for facile border crossing - even some of Hungarian revolutionary generals from 1848 escaped in Ottoman Empire by this point.

Posted by: Carol I September 22, 2006 09:21 pm
QUOTE (Merlin @ September 22, 2006 08:55 pm)
There is a single "soldier" buried in the Tincabesti Cemetery, Thomas Russell MC.
Russell fought with David Sterling behind Rommell's lines in Libya and from data I received from his regiment, he was parachuted into Yugoslavia and came over the border into Romana with two other operators to make contact with the Resistance.

Part of 'Operation Autonomous'?

Posted by: Carol I September 22, 2006 09:32 pm
Sorry, only now I have noticed the second part of the title. Do you have some information on 'Operation Ranji'?

Posted by: Carol I September 22, 2006 09:42 pm
Also from http://www.alliedspecialforces.org/specialoperationsexecutiverollofhonourqtor.htm: Captain Thomas Charles David RUSSELL, Scots Guards attd. Special Operations Executive, Miltary Cross - Ex. 1 SAS - Murdered on S.O.E. Mission Ranji, 4th. September 1943, Age 28 (Romania - Bucharest War Cemetery - 2.E.3.). Probably you knew most of this anyway.

Posted by: Merlin September 23, 2006 01:08 pm
This is what I received from his regiment:-

Subject: 132235 Captain TCD Russell MC Scots Guards
Date: Fri 10/24/03 03:09 PM

Peter,
Only his official Next of Kin can access the records. From other sources the following is of interest.
Captain Russell was a member of a three man SOE team sent to reconnoitre the
Timisoare area, and entre if possible into contact with anti Axis elements and set up a wireless transmissions communications base. After great difficulty due to enemy activity in the area, he made contact with the local peasant group in Varciorove, who would not agree to co-operate activity until he had consulted his leaders in Bucharest. While this was being done Captain Russell and the W/T team laid up in a hut in a forrest close to Varcorove. One of the W/T team left the hut to make a transmission at a safe house and it waas during this period that Captain Russell was murdered, the other member of the team managed to escape. It is not known if Captain Russell was killed by Police, Germans or thieves. However, the latter
has always been presumed as the killers.
Captain Russell served in 2nd Scots Guards in Egypt, along side David Stirling, who from Guardsmen formed the Long Range Desert Group, from these Patrols the SAS were formed by Stirling. Captain Russell was awarded the Military Cross whilst serving with Special Forces on the Combined Raid on Tobruk, on Operation Ranji, he dressed as a German Officer in a ruse to gain entry into restriced areas. Op Ranji was a complete success. I hope this few details will be of use.
Yours Aye.


The SOE memorial however says "Killed on Operation Ranji".



Posted by: Carol I September 25, 2006 09:46 am
QUOTE (Merlin @ September 23, 2006 02:08 pm)
After great difficulty due to enemy activity in the area, he made contact with the local peasant group in Varciorove, who would not agree to co-operate activity until he had consulted his leaders in Bucharest.

Thanks Merlin. The quote above is quite interesting as it hints towards an organised "resistance structure" coordinated from Bucharest. I wonder if this really existed or if the peasant leader contacted by Russell only mentioned the need to contact Bucharest in order to buy the time needed to announce the authorities.

Posted by: Horace June 22, 2018 10:21 am
QUOTE (Carol I @ September 25, 2006 09:46 am)
QUOTE (Merlin @ September 23, 2006 02:08 pm)
After great difficulty due to enemy activity in the area, he made contact with the local peasant group in Varciorove, who would not agree to co-operate activity until he had consulted his leaders in Bucharest.

Thanks Merlin. The quote above is quite interesting as it hints towards an organised "resistance structure" coordinated from Bucharest. I wonder if this really existed or if the peasant leader contacted by Russell only mentioned the need to contact Bucharest in order to buy the time needed to announce the authorities.

Hello
I am interested in history of David Russel and Mission RANJI
Kind Regards
Dan Draghicescu

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