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The Services Edition — Extraordinary Editions

Extraordinary Editions

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The Services Edition

At the behest of the SAS Regimental Association 1000 copies of the SAS War Diary have been reserved for members of the Armed Forces and the wider Services family, military institutions and libraries, so that military personnel and historians worldwide can have access to the Regiment's wartime history.

The Services Edition differs from the Anniversary Edition in that it contains an additional 24-page chapter detailing the immediate post war activity of the Regiment when, despite having been disbanded, the SAS ran a War Crimes Investigation Team.

In its way, and in the way of the Special Air Service, the SAS War Crimes Investigation Team is like the SAS War Diary itself.  For many years after the end of the Second World War it remained a secret – even within the SAS itself.

In August 1944, 2 SAS under Brian Franks dropped into the Vosges Mountains of Eastern France in Operation Loyton.  Their mission was to hold the mountain passes for the Allies to sweep through; it was scheduled to last days but the advancing American Third Army stalled.

Loyton dragged on for weeks; 2 SAS ran out of food, weapons and ammunition.  When 2 SAS pulled back through the lines, 31 men were missing.

In mid-1945, Franks ordered his intelligence unit, under Major E.A. “Bill” Barkworth, to discover the fate of the missing men and to bring those responsible to justice.  In October 1945, when the SAS was disbanded, Franks refused to renege on his promise to his missing men and, with the help of a remarkable individual, Prince Yurka Galitzine, defied the government and kept the unit going.

One centre of investigations was the village of Moussey, at the heart of Operation Loyton.  Today, in a lonely and isolated spot in a col above the valley, stands a memorial to the SAS men murdered there, erected by the people of Moussey - even though the village suffered horrifically at the hands of the Nazis because of the activities of the SAS there. The SAS still return to this place.

The Barkworth unit brought many of the guilty to the Nuremburg courts; it also helped the legendary Vera Atkins track down Nazis responsible for the torture and murder of SOE agents, most especially women agents.

The SAS War Crimes Investigation Team, and the last SAS soldier, finally came home in 1948 – three years after the SAS had been disbanded.

Please note that all the Signed Editions also have this additional chapter.


Extra chapter

The War Crimes Team

service at Moussey 1945