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Leney RA 7949775

Now this dog-tag isn't anywhere near to going home, but the history of its intended owner is far from unlike all the others. Sgt Roger Leney was trained as a radio operator with the RAC in July 1943, he then volunteered for "special duties of a hazardous nature" as advertised on squadron orders. Something I'm sure would have most men take a step in the other direction. 
 
The duties became clear after reaching the signals training school of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) at Henley-on-Thames two months later, and the hazards on transfer to Milton Hall, near Peterborough, in February 1944. He was to be a member of a three-man team parachuted into German-occupied France after the start of the Allied invasion of Normandy in June that year.
 
Together with about 90 similar groups, the team was to establish contact with elements of the French Resistance organisation, arm them by air-drop, and direct sabotage against the enemy in a manner to assist rather then hinder the Allied invasion. The teams, known as "Jedburghs", each comprised an English-speaking officer, either British or American, a French-speaking officer and a radio operator equipped with a radio transceiver.
 
Leney's team, codenamed "Jeremy", of which he was the radio operator, was commanded by Captain Geoffrey Hallowes (obituary September 27, 2006), with Lieutenant Henri-Charles 
Giese making up the complement. As the team was to be dropped in Haute Loire, they were flown from Algiers and dropped on the night of August 24, 1944.
 
On arrival, they were to operate under the instructions of an SOE member codenamed "Diane". This was an American woman known locally as "La dame qui boite" (the woman who limps), 
having lost the lower part of her left leg in a shooting accident before the war. She was on the spot to meet the team near her base at at Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.
 
Leney stayed with her to make radio contact with SOE headquarters, while Hallowes and Giese sought out the local resistance fighters of the Forces Français de l'Intérieur 
(FFI), who supported General de Gaulle, at Le Puy-en-Velay. Thanks to Leney's successfully establishing radio contact with SOE headquarters, 30 containers of arms were dropped to 
equip enough of the FFI to threaten detachments of German troops expected to withdraw through the region on their way from southern France.
 
By late September the work of the Jeremy team in Haute Loire was completed. Giese left to join the French Army, while Hallowes and Leney were ordered to Marseilles and then sent 
to Bari, where they were held on stand-by for a mission in northern Italy. When this failed to materialise, they returned to England to prepare for operations elsewhere.

On March 15, 1945, Leney was parachuted into Burma with a team from Force 136, an arm of SOE operating in South East Asia, as the radio operator for a group raising local Karen guerrillas. After training, the guerrillas were deployed to assist General Slim's 14th Army in preventing the escape of the Japanese 28th Army across the Irrawaddy into Thailand. The operation, in which Leney took part, codenamed "Character", proved highly successful, the Karen guerrillas fighting tenaciously in their native hills.

Leney was awarded the Military Medal for his service in Burma and also mentioned in dispatches. In 1946 he received the Croix de Geurre with Silver Star for his work with SOE 
in occupied France.
 
After demobilisation, he became engaged in the agricultural engineering industry and, after retirement, acted as a voluntary conservation warden for the National Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust.
 
He married, in 1950, Shirley Rollett, who survives him with three sons and a daughter.
 
Roger Leney, MM, radio operator with the SOE, was born on May 4, 1923. He died on May 4, 2008, his 85th birthday.

Gascoigne WU 4756831 - update!

I had a phone call today from an unknown mobile, so I answered it in my usual official telephone manner and demanded to know who it was. Sanda Fyfe was the reply... I was a little confused, then the bell rung. I posted a dog-tag out to her not so long ago. Her father was 4756831 GASCOIGNE WU, who signed up with the Yorks & Lancs before being transferred over to the RAC. She said she had an email to send me with some photographs. I was amazed, its so nice to see a family take pride in their relatives and have treasured all the items that go along with the memories!
 
Sandra is immensely proud of her father (and rightly so) and says she will treasure the the dog-tags we sent her, she was lucky as we found all three! 
 Sandra's mother and father.                              4756831 GASCOIGNE WU
4756831 Trooper GASCOIGNE  medal entitlement and slip. 
The Record of service card confirming that his number was issued by Yorks & Lancs and that after over a year with them he was transferred over to the Royal Armoured Corps. It always nice to see paperwork like this confirming what we have learnt.. or think we have learnt!
So, I was a little confused when I first saw this photograph of a small monkey in the photographs that Sandra sent me. It wasn't until I saw the notes that were with them that I understood and it made me laugh and was certainly worth of a photograph. Apparently this little chap would sneak into the Army camp and steal anything that was nice and shiny. Well... in the days when the army pretty much ran on brasso! Everything was shiny... he was probably the cause of trouble to some and amusement to many.