The Phantom Signals Memorial
Len created this memorial to remember his colleagues who lost their lives during Operation Loyton.
The SAS operation saw Len and his colleagues from F Squadron Phantom Signals - Sgt. Gerald Davis, Signalman George Johnston and Signalman Peter Bannerman dropped behind enemy lines in the Moussey area of eastern France along with members of 2 SAS.
The whole operation went horribly wrong when the Third Army stopped at Nancy to the west. This pause enabled the Germans to put 2 divisions of troops including one armoured division into the area around Moussey and the Phantom/SAS party along with many members of the resistance were harried, ambushed and attacked from one area to another with the end result of Len's 3 colleagues losing their lives, 31 men from 2 SAS losing theirs and 140 civilians from over 200 who were captured from Moussey did not return from the concentration camps.
The creation of the Phantom Memorial Stone was cut from a much larger slab in the Quarry at Senones a few miles from Moussey and this represents the resolve of the people of the village to shield the Phantom/SAS party from the enemy. These men from Moussey could have betrayed the soldiers and saved their own lives. They did not and subsequently died horrific deaths in concentration camps. Many men from other villages in the region suffered the same fate.
Len asked Mike Colton to obtain the stone and this was accomplished by him along with Scarf Jones and Richard Marshall of the Allied Special Forces Association in 2003.
The memorial area and design was achieved by Lens son Robert. Over the years the memorial has undergone many changes and is now complete in its new position beside the new Aspects Building at the NMA.
National Memorial Arboretum
to right of Millennium Avenue on the approach to the Armed Forces Memorial
OS Grid Ref: SK 1832614434
Coral granite memorial stone with attached metal plaque in black and silver lettering on the 12 o'clock face. Set on a cube-shaped black metal base with names listed on plaques on each side in 2-3 columns. A black Lorraine cross is fixed to the top of the stone. The base set on a red ground with an inlaid black stone arch. The stone is reached by a path laid out in the design of a "P"; the planting on the site represents and commemorates the 140 French men and boys of Moussey and its surroundings, of 220 who were captured, who did not return from concentration camps. An information plaque, including a pictorial map of the region, and regimental insignia is at the front of the site.
[Additional plaque]: GHQ LIAISON REGIMENT / PHANTOM/ PHANTOM WAS A WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS UNIT./ IN 1944, F SQUADRON PHANTOM WAS IN FRANCE CARRYING OUT A SPECIAL ROLE TO PROVIDE COMMUNICATIONS/ FOR THE SAS. THIS WAS CALLED OPERATION LOYTON./ THE SAS HAD BEEN PARACHUTED BEHIND ENEMY LINES INTO THE VOSGES MOUNTAINS AROUND MOUSSEY, TO/ ORGANISE AND ARM THE LOCAL RESISTANCE. THEIR JOB WAS TO DISRRUPT THE ENEMY IN ADVANCE OF GENERAL/ PATTON'S SEVENTH ARMY DRIVE THROUGH THE VOSGES MOUNTAINS TO STRASBOURG./ IN FACT GENERAL PATTON STOPPED SHORT AT NANCY./ THIS MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THREE MEMBERS OF F SQUADRON PHANTOM WHO WERE KILLED/ ON OPERATION LOYTON AND TO OTHERS WHO GAVE UP THEIR LIVES AT THE SAME TIME./ SERGEANT GERALD DONOVAN DAVIS AGE 26 OF MAIDENHEAD./ ORIGINALLY QUEEN VICTORIA RIFLES AND ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS./ HE WAS BETRAYED, CAPTURED, TORTURED AND SHOT ON 20TH AUGUST 1944./ HE IS INTERRED AND HAS A MEMORIAL IN THE VILLAGE CHURCHYARD IN MOUSSEY, VOSGES, FRANCE./ SIGNALMAN GEORGE GOURLAY JOHNSTON AGE 28 OF KIRKCALDY, FIFE./ ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS./ HE WAS KILLED IN COMBAT NEAR FONTENOY-LA-JOUTE, FRANCE ON 20TH OCTOBER 1944 WHEN RETURNING/ THROUGH ENEMY LINES. HE HAS NO KNOWN GRAVE./ SIGNALMAN PETER BANNERMAN AGE 23 OF INVERBERVIE, KINCARDINESHIRE./ ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS./ HE WAS KILLED IN COMBAT NEAR FONTENOY-LA-JOUTE, FRANCE ON 20TH OCTOBER 1944 WHEN RETURNING/ THROUGH ENEMJY LINES. HE IS INTERRED AND HAS A MEMORIAL IN THE VILLAGE CHURCHYARD AT MOUSSEY, VOSGES, FRANCE./ TO THE 31 MEN OF THE 2ND SAS REGIMENT AND THE 3 SERVICEWOMEN. THE MEN WERE CAPTURED, MANY OF THEM WERE TORTURED AND ALL WERE/ SHOT BY THE GESTAPO, ALSACE, ON THE ORDERS OF HITLER. THE WOMEN, ONE BRITISH AND TWO FRENCH, WERE KILLED BY LETHAL INJECTION AT SCHIRMECK/ CONCENTRATION CAMP; THEIR BODIES WERE FOUND LATER IN A MASS GRAVE IN NATZWEILER./ TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE FREENCH RESISTANCE OF THAT AREA OF FRANCE, REMEMBERED WITH GREAT HUMILITY, WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES GIVING/ AID AND SUPPORT TO THE SAS. SO MANY MEN WERE KILLED IN THE VILLAGE OF MOUSSEY THAT IT IS NOW KNOWN AS THE VALLEY OF WIDOWS./ THEIR SACRIFICE MUST NEVER BE FORGOTTEN./ IN A LONELY CLEARING AT VIOMBOIS HIGH UP IN THE FORESTS OF LORRAINE THERE IS A MEMORIAL TO THOSE OF THE FRENCH RESISTANCE WHO FELL IN THE/ CAMPAIGNS OF 1944./ THE GESTAPO COMMANDER IN ALSACE, THE GESTAPO CHIEF OF FRANCE AND THE GESTAPO CHIEF IN STRASBOURG WERE ALL TRIED, CONVICTED AND SENTENCED/ TO DEATH BY HANGING. OTHERS WERE GIVEN PRISON SENTENCES./ THIS MEMORIAL HAS BEEN ERECTED BY TWO PHANTOM SURVIVORS OF LOYTON WITH SUPPORT FROM THE REMAINING OFFICERS AND OTHER/ RANKS OF PHANTOM, THE ALLIED SPECIAL FORCES ASSOCIATION, HEREFORD AND THE OLD MAIDONIANS ASSOCIATION, MAIDENHEAD.
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