- Contributed by
- Bournemouth Libraries
- People in story:
- Pte. Adrian Bazar, Capt. John Sadoine and Capt. J. Tonkin
- Location of story:
- The Ardennes, Belgium
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 12 May 2005
My name is Adrian Bazar. I joined "F" Squadron Phantom SAS in the summer of 1944. Phantom was an intelligence and forward communication regiment attached to the SAS.
Capt. John Sadoine, a Belgium, was an officer in "F" Sqdn. whom at that time had never met, but had heard a few rumours about. This can best be summed up by one of his platoon writing in the book "Phantom at War" who stated that he was a rather volatile and difficult officer, but an extremely efficient and reliable one when in action. Capt. Sadoine was involved in several operations and was one of the first two Phantom patrols with the 1st SAS to drop into France just after "D" Day.
I have read two books concerning Capt. Sadoine in his next operation; "Fire from the Forest" by Roger Ford and "Bulbasket" by Paul McCue. Both books describe "Operation Bulbasket" which began in June 1944. Two separate Phantom SAS were dropped in France, one led by Capt. Sadoine and the other by a Capt. J. Tonkin. The object was sabotage and resupplying the Maquis with arms and ammunition, together with helping them to improve their resistance operations.
Both books relate that there was no cooperation between Sadoine and Tonkin. Tonkin believed that Sadoine had his own agenda with the Maquis. Tonkin's party had been found and attacked by German troops and sustained casualties and for whatever reason, accused Sadoine for betraying his party to the Germans. Sadoine was brought back to England under close arrest in August 1944. The books leave it at that, just mentioning that Sadoine played no further part in the war.
In July 1944 I was attached to the 82nd American Airborne Corps HQ in Epernay, France, working with a Cpl. W/T operator receiving and transmitting coded messages.
On 13th December of that year, Capt. Sadoine arrived at our HQ and introduced himself to us. I remember he wasted no time in ordering the Cpl W/T and myself to stop operating, pack our equipment and be ready to move out by 06.00 next morning. The following day Sadoine arrived in a jeep and did not explain what our mission was except to say he would be visiting Phantom HQ at Waterloo, near Brussels, first. The weather was atrocious and when we reached Brussels were pleased to hear we were to stay the night in an army hostel, meeting up with Sadoine next day.
Early the following day we met up and drove to Waterloo to pick up W/T equipment and code books. Once again we were off somewhere; I don't remember ever being told what our task was. Although the weather was again very poor and we were most uncomfortable driving in an open jeep, the corporal and I both felt we wanted to do our best for Sadoine. I remember he just had that charisma about him.
The fog now was so bad that it was hard to see more than a jeeps length ahead. We seemed to be the only vehicle on the road that was moving and no wonder. We crawled along main and secondary roads, country lanes and rough tracks, climbing all the time. It must have been late afternoon when we reached our objective, a small red school house in the village of Froidfontaine. Some Phantom personel were already there. I don't remember how long we stayed but it was dark when we left. I felt satisfied that we had completed our mission and set up a Phantom patrol, whatever the reason for travelling in these conditions. O
We arrived back at 82nd HQ early in the morning of 16th December. The Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes had already started.
Much later I learnt the significance of Froidfontaine as our destination. It was a good vantage point as it overlooked close German positions.
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