In Jock McDiarmid, MM C de G I posted a plea for information or source material that would assist me to write a piece about a former World War II Special Air Service Regiment soldier who was School Sergeant at The Armidale School from 1957-59 and from 1961-April 1962.
There is not much about Jock on the web – his exploits, having taken place before the information age, are largely unrecorded.
My principal source is D.I Harrison’s These Men Are Dangerous: The Special Air Service at War, Cassell and Company, London, 1957, which was awarded to me as a school prize in 1957. The School was proud of Jock. This book mentions Jock’s involvement in the British invasion of Italy across the Strait of Messina, for his part in which he was awarded Military Medal in 1943 (see Jock McDiarmid’s MM commendation), and his involvement in operations behind German lines in France in 1944. There is also a photo of D.I Harrison and Jock in Holland in 1945.
What I did not know was whether, prior to the invasion of Sicily, Jock had a background of operations in North Africa as well. I think the photo at left answers that question. It comes from the Special Forces Roll of Honour website.
Apart from the photo, this page tells us that Jock was in the Special Air Service Regiment from 1941-45, which means that he must have been with SAS from its very early days – the first operation of L Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade (renamed 1st SAS in September 1942) was in November 1941, a parachute drop in support of Operation Crusader, the operation which relieved the siege of Tobruk.
We are told that his parent unit was the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), and he is listed simply as “Commando (Pte)” in 1941. He is listed as a Corporal in L Detachment SAS in 1942, then in A Squadron 1 SAS (1942-43), and 2 Troop Special Raiding Squadron (1943) – with which unit he landed behind German lines at Bagnara and was wounded in action during the invasion across the Strait of Messina – and then a member of C Squadron, 1 SAS, 1944-45.
I am still in the market for information about Jock – please post a comment if you have reliable information or can guide me to useful links.