On the night of June 3 1944 21 year old Lt Jeff Beadle commanded Y Troop 40 commando Royal Marines during Operation Flounced (31 May/5 June 1944).
The raid on the enemy held island of Brac involved Commando Units of 2 Special Service Brigade primarily from 40 and 43 Royal Marine Commandos, and 2 Special Service Brigade HQ assisted by Partisan forces.
He led his Marines forward under the cover of darkness they advanced up a heavily defended hill Pt 422 with bayonets fixed firing from the hip at German entrenchments to the accompaniment of bagpipes played by Lieutenant Colonel ‘Mad Jack’ Churchill, “Will ye no’ come back again?”
Six men reached the summit but thanks, as Jack Churchill wrote afterwards, to Beadle’s gallant leadership, they delayed its recapture by a much superior enemy.
Fighting off a German counter-attack Beadle ran out of ammunition for his captured Schmeisser and had drawn his Colt pistol when he was caught by an explosion, shrapnel cutting into his back and shoulder as well as buttocks and legs.
Left for dead that morning he was found by the Germans and taken prisoner, evacuated to the mainland he remembered a German medical officer telling him “You will be pleased to know that your soldiers have landed in France” he was mistaken for an American airman when under integration in Hungary and taken to Stalag III where the 'Great Escape' had taken place earlier that year.
Jeff had planned to lead a party to freedom through the last undiscovered tunnel 'George' however all the prisoners were marched out of the camp to avoid the approaching Russians on the infamous winter march from Poland back to Germany.
On April 26 by chance Beadle met an advance party from 45 Commando RM, and so was able to rejoin the Royal Marines.
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