I' m making historical researches for a book about the FSSF on Port Cros island.
First, I’d like to explain the reasons of my passion for the FSSF’s story and the American airborne troops.
I am 35 years old and I am married. My parents live in Normandy.
It is thus in Normandy where I began my first historical researches on the American parachutists of 82nd and 101st Airborne.
On the field searches and meetings with farmers allowed me to collect a lot of information and also objects abandoned on the ground by the parachutists.
I was then able to have since 15 years a beautiful collection of objects of the ground of 82nd and 101st Airborne.
My profession obligations led me to live in Toulon for 4 years (2001 to 2005), it is thus quite naturally that I began to study and to discover the underestimated and unknown epic by the parachutists and the FSSF in the South of France for the Dragoon operation.
My method was the same as in Normandy: start with field searches and meetings with the farmers who were present on the battle zones in 1944.
I was first of all interested in the drop zone around Le Muy before focusing on the parachutists released by mistake on St Tropez. In 2004, i wrote a book, about 50 pages, on the epic of the famous “gingerbread” 509th Parachute Infantry Batallion for the liberation of the town of Saint Tropez.
For two years, I have been taking interest in the epic of the FSSF for the Hyeres Island and more particulary for the Island of Port Cros.
I began at first my researching on Port Cros alone before getting in touch with the members of Port Cros’ National Park.
The perspective of the project for a book motivated me in my research and allowed me to get help from the island’s residents and the National Park.
It is the first time a such precise work on the history of the FSSF in Port Cros is made. People appreciate my work.
Thanks to the Net, I succed to have informations with Bill Story (one of the president FSSF association).
Thanks to his assistance, I managed to get in touch with Bill Merrit’s nephew (KIA the Estissac Fort, Port Cros in 08/15/44).
Bill Merrit’s nephew sent me a report of the assault of the island written by the Chief warrant officer Edmund L. Mueller of the 1st battalion. This report " Attack of île of Port Cros” by chief warrant officer Edmund L. Mueller, Executive Officer, 1st Battallion, 1st Regiment, FSSF " is a very interesting and precise document.
By reading several bookson the FFSF, I was able to obtain complementary information on the assault of the island by the 1st Regiment.
I know well the story of the liberation of the Port Cros Island by the first regiment between August 15th and 17th , 1944. I acquired this knowledge thanks to the reading of numerous books and reports about the First Special Service Force.
These books are the following ones:
- The first Special Service Force by the Lieutenant Colonel Robert D. Burhans
- The Devil Brigade by Robert H. Adleman and Col. George Walton.
- The Supercommandos by Robert Todd Ross.
- Once Upon Wartime by Peter Layton Cottingham.
- The Black Devil Brigade by Joseph A. Springer.
- With the Black Devils by Mark J. Nelson.
- A Perfect Hell by John Nadler.
- Snow Plouch and the Jupiter Deception by Kenneth H. Joyce.
On the other hand, I succeed in finding a copy of the following documents:
“ Record of first Regiment, First Special Service Force during mission and ccupation of isle de Port Cros August 15, 1944 by J. F. R. Akehurst, LT. Col., Commander 1st Regiment, First Special Service Force”
I didn’d succed in finding a copy of the following document:
"The operation of the 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment (First Special Service Force) at Île de Port Cros, Off the South coast of France, 14-17 August 1944" General Subjects Section, Academic Department, The Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. Advanced Infantry Officers Course, 1947-1948.
Do you know this document?
Now I wish to obtain veterans'new information of the 1st Regiment, it is for that reason that I send the thread. Here in France, the story of the FSSF is unknown in spite of its heroic action for the liberation of our beautiful region, Provence. I wish to repair this oversight by publishing for the end of year 2007 a work only on Port Cros and its liberation by the first Regiment.
In fact, it’s not easy to have contacts with 1st regiment veterans!!!
About the epic of the 1st regiment, i try to find new documents about the 1st Regiment and the battle of the Port Cros Island ?
Perharps someone have something like personal recollections on the Port Cros’battle, period pictures, maps, military documents regarding the 1st regiment action on the Port Cros’s island?
During my searches on the island, I was very lucky to find a paddle abandoned on the ïle on August 15th by the First Special Service. I was also able to find on the spot the wreck of a helmet.
To finish with my long letter, i’m at present trying to reconstitute the list of all the persons killed (KIA and DOW) on the island between August 15th and August 17th.
At the moment I am coming upon the number of 9. The names, i identified are the following ones:
- T4 Reynolds J. King 4-1: Fort de l'Eminence KIA 08/15/44. Won the Silver Star for his action.
- Pvt George Nixon 2-1 : Fort du Moulin / Le Chateau KIA 08/16/44
- Capt W. H. Merritt 3-1: Fort de l'Estissac KIA 08/16/44
- Pvt. W. B. Harry 3-1 : Fort de l'Estissac KIA 08/16/44
- Pvt Wilson 3-1 : Fort de l’Estissac KIA 08/16/44 (
- Pvt. G. W. Glew 3-1 : Fort de l'Estissac DOW 08/17/44
- Lt. R. G. McLean 2-1 : Village of Port Cros DOW 08/16/44
- Sgt. J. L. Walmeister : Fort de Port Man DOW 08/16/44
- T4 Frank J. Tomasoski : DOW 08/20/44 (perharps after hurts during the Port Cros battle?)
someone have any remarks or recollections concerning these men?
So now you know all about the purpose of my research.
I hope that with your help I could be able to clarify a part of the epic of the FSSF.
For pictures, look here: