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George Reddaway was interviewed by the IWM about his time in Phantom.  Information from taken from his interview with IWM 

Personal Recollections of the development of Phantom after Dunkirk 1940-3 4

George Frank Norman Reddaway Oral History IWM

After his return from Dunkirk, a couple of days on leave in Cambridge and debriefing interviews, Reddaway was sent to Lechlade, Gloucestershire, where Phantom were reforming to get ready for the “imminent” invasion.

4 and later 6, Phantom squadrons were formed, each with a Dingo Scout Car, 1500wt truck and 3 or 4 motorbikes and to continue to extend the successful tactics developed in the Battles for France and Belgium. 3 weeks later, Phantom, now named GHQ Reconnaissance Unit RHQ was moved to its new home in Richmond Park. He became a Subaltern in Major Warre’s Squadron alongside Frank Thompson and Michael Astor and began a series training missions to prepare tactics for the invasion.

At this time, Phantom’s use of wireless communication and cipher became more important as their expertise in coding grew and they specialised in the one-time pad. Fellow Phantom, Peter Astbury, a communist and electronic wizard designed many machines to support this work “not quite enigma but jolly good machines”


In a series of exercises, Phantom patrols were sent into different sectors to link corps and divisional HQ to their brigades who were posted around the periphery of the country and they trained by visiting the brigades and sending encoded information back to DHQ over radio.

Back at Richmond, they witnessed the Blitz over London and Pembroke House was almost bombed. Officers were eating dinner when bombs were dropped at the from and back and the dining room ceiling fell down; there were no air raid shelters. He can also remember a deer being fatally wounded by shrapnel from a bomb which cut its throat and the resulting meals in the mess that followed enriched their diet. A few more deer were killed after…

In 1941 a squadron had been sent to Greece and in October 1942 a squadron went out to Algeria and one was with the 8th Army. By 1943 it became apparent that the invasion was not going to happen and Phantom concentrated on preparing for D-Day.

REEL 1 Reaction to declaration of Second World War, 9/1939. Recollections of operations as officer No 3 British Military and Air Mission (Phantom) in France and Belgium, 1/1940-5/1940: background to being asked to join unit, 1/1940; role of unit; character of training at Valenciennes, France; insignia worn; move into Belgium with headquarters party, 10/5/1940; reception received by Belgian civilians; nervousness about presence of Fifth Column, 5/1940; observing demolition work in Antwerp, Belgium, 22/5/1940; presence of Belgian refugees on roads and German Air Force attacks; work of mission in Belgium and its expansion on return to GB; degree of chaos/order in Belgium, 5/1940; embarkation aboard SS Abukir at Ostend, Belgium, 27/5/1940; torpedoing by German E-boat S-24 and sinking of SS Abukir in English Channel, 28/5/1940; period in sea and rescue by Royal Navy destroyers. REEL 2 Continues: debriefing by RAF on return to GB, 6/1940. Aspects of period as officer with No 1 GHQ Reconnaissance Unit and GHQ Liaison Regt (Phantom) in GB, 6/1940-1/1943: reorganisation of unit at Lechlade, 1940; move to headquarters at Richmond; renaming of unit, 1/1941; unit personnel; development of one-time cipher pads; German Air Force attacks on Richmond; public morale during German bombing; sense of social solidarity during Second World War. Aspects of operations as officer with K Sqdn, GHQ Liaison Regt (Phantom) in Tunisia and Italy, 2/1943-11/1943: move to Tunisia, 2/1943; loss of former commanding officer Major General George Hopkinson at Castellaneta, Italy, 12/9/1943; pattern of operations in Italy, 9/1943-11/1943; reasons for return of unit to GB, 11/1943; role later played by unit in the campaign in North West Europe. Aspects of period as officer with British Military Government in Germany, 1945-1946: background to application to join military administration, 2/1945; period in Westphalia. REEL 3 Continues: amusing story of application from civic dignitaries in Hanover petitioning to become part of GB, 5/1945; division of Berlin between four occupying powers; change in relations between western occupying powers and Soviets in Berlin; denazification programme; loss of German professionals to US; leaving Germany, 1946. Aspects of period as civilian servant with Information and Research Department, Foreign Office in London, GB, 1947-1977: initial duties as Private Secretary to Lord Pakenham, 1946-1947; setting up Information and Research Department after experience with United Nations, 1947; call for department to 'do something about President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt' during 1956; demise of department, 1977; role of department during Hungary Uprising, 10/1956-11/1956; role of department during Indonesian Confrontation in Borneo, 1962-1966; question of failure to exploit Foreign Office research facilities over Falklands Crisis, 1982. REEL 4 Continues: question of failure to exploit Foreign Office research facilities over Falklands Crisis, 1982

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