"What a fantastic day we had on Saturday! Thank you so much for all your endeavours in bringing this about. I know it has been quite a journey! It couldn’t have happened without your committed input."
Diane Grainger - daughter of Captain Ronald Taylor
A special tribute -
The story of SOE in Italy has for too long lingered in the shadows, overshadowed by its exploits in France. Yet its support of the Italian partisans fighting the occupying German forces in northern Italy was on an epic scale. After the allied landings in Italy, dozens of British missions were parachuted into the country to assist the rising tempo of Italian resistance against an increasingly vicious occupation marked by dreadful Nazi reprisals on the civilian population.
Sabotaging German supply lines, roads, railways and bridges was central to the task of what was known as No 1 Special Force. Captain Ron Taylor, a skilled engineer, was perfect for the job of both carrying out demolitions himself and training a team of Italians to help him using supplies regularly dropped in by allied aircraft. The work required skill and enormous bravery, and Ron was the first to acknowledge that without the help and courage of the civilian population, both men and women, SOE could never have fulfilled the task. In the mountains of north-east Italy, life at the best of times was hard.
Over the winter of 1944-5, harried by German forces including ruthless Cossacks, it was perilous. But Ron survived, No 1 Special Force went on to make a vital contribution to victory and liberation in 1945, and in later life he never forgot the Italians who had risked, and in many cases lost, their lives in assisting him and his mission.
Today, we remember Ron himself, a man of courage who risked his life to help set Europe, and Italy, free from the Nazi scourge.
DAVID STAFFORD Author of the official history "Mission Accomplished: SOE and Italy 1943-1945"
Click HEREto read about all four BRIGHTON'S SECRET AGENTS
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