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Operation Freston

Article about: A rare original photo of the Freston mission team. Operation Freston was the last SOE operation in Poland during WW2. After months of prevarication and delay on 26 December 1944, the Freston

  1. #1

    Default Operation Freston

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    A rare original photo of the Freston mission team.


    Operation Freston was the last SOE operation in Poland during WW2. After months of prevarication and delay on 26 December 1944, the Freston Mission to the Home Army finally landed in Poland and made contact with the Underground. The mission never achieved its objective: its members were captured by the Soviets and handed over to the NKVD, who treated them not as allies but as prisoners. This mission was requested by Polish PM Mikołajczyk in February 1944, and had it not been delayed might have improved intelligence and liaison prior to the Rising later that year.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Operation Freston

    Hi, I'm new to your site and am not really sure whether i have already managed to send this message, if i have I apologies for sending it more than once. The reason I have just joined this site is that I am researching Operation Freston as my Dad was the signal man on this mission, his name was Donald Galbraith and he received the BEM for this mission. I would dearly love to have a copy of this photograph if at all possible. Thank you

  3. #3

    Default Re: Operation Freston

    My Dad is the man on the right hand side at the front. I would greatly appreciate also if you have any further information on the photo - when and where it was taken. Thank you

  4. #4

    Default Re: Operation Freston

    It is unclear exactly where the photo was taken, some reports say that the photo was taken just before the Freston team was flown back to Brisindi but I think the photo was most likely taken near the village Katarzynów. This was where the Freston team was taken by the Polish reception AK unit III kompanią II batalionu 27. Pułku Piechoty (3rd Company, 2nd battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment) under Józef Kotecki (nom de guerre ‘Kruk’) commander of Home Army Radomsko and Kielce district. ‘Kruk’ was in command of the protection of the Freston team.

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    Above: The AK protection unit to the Freston mission.


    TEAM ‘FRESTON’; DROPPED 26/27 December 1944 (British Military Mission).

    D.T. Hudson, Colonel.
    P.R.C. Solly-Flood, Major.
    P. Kemp, Major.
    D. Galbraith, Sergeant Major.
    Antoni Pospieszalski ‘Łuk’, Captain. Liaison officer.

    Gally1957, was your father's rank Sergeant or Sergeant Major, again some reports differ?
    Last edited by StefanM; 07-12-2013 at 12:44 PM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Operation Freston

    Hello 4thskorpion,

    Thanks for replying, and thank you for the photograph of the protection team. Firstly just to explain that most of the information I have on my father is what I have managed to find my self, mostly through the internet, as my Dad never spoke about his army career, and have only fairly recently learnt that he was a member of the SOE and the Freston team, I found this out purely by accident and just entered his name onto the National Archives, I had never up to that point even heard of the SOE. Through searching I found a book called operation freston which is written by a Jeffery Bines, someone bought the book for me. We also had to do a freedom of information request to get the file opened early on the national archives, unfortunately it doesn't really tell us a great deal. What I have come to realise, reading the book and going through the papers from the archives, in answer to your question, What I think is that he went on the mission as a sergeant and came out of the mission as a company seargent major, it states in the book that he received his promotion whilst on the mission, and we have a paper from the archives that states he was promoted to CSM. In the book it also states that he was one of the youngest CSM's at 25, one thing we did know from being fairly young is that when he joined the army he lied about his age, so he would more than likely have only been 23 years old when on this mission. I don't know whether you have any other photo's are information to do with my Dad, but if so I would dearly love to see any information that you do have. Considering he served for 25 years with the army we seem to have very little info, and as my older sister had once applied for his army records, only to have her request and cheque returned, not sure why it was returned and whether it was anything to do with his involvement with the SOE.

    Thanks in anticipation
    Kind regards

  6. #6

    Default Re: Operation Freston

    Quote by Gally1957 View Post
    thank you for the photograph of the protection team.
    My pleasure

    Quote by Gally1957 View Post
    Firstly just to explain that most of the information I have on my father is what I have managed to find my self, mostly through the internet, as my Dad never spoke about his army career, and have only fairly recently learnt that he was a member of the SOE and the Freston team, I found this out purely by accident and just entered his name onto the National Archives, I had never up to that point even heard of the SOE.
    This must have been quite a startling discovery, I know it was for me when I discovered purely by chance that my Polish grandmother was an inmate at three German concentration camps.

    Quote by Gally1957 View Post
    What I think is that he went on the mission as a sergeant and came out of the mission as a company seargent major, it states in the book that he received his promotion whilst on the mission, and we have a paper from the archives that states he was promoted to CSM.
    You are quite right, men were often promoted on mission. Thanks for clearing up this little Freston inconsistency for me


    Quote by Gally1957 View Post
    I don't know whether you have any other photo's are information to do with my Dad, but if so I would dearly love to see any information that you do have. Considering he served for 25 years with the army we seem to have very little info, and as my older sister had once applied for his army records, only to have her request and cheque returned, not sure why it was returned and whether it was anything to do with his involvement with the SOE.
    Unfortunately I don't think I have any other "Freston" photos although I will another look through my 27. Pułku Piechoty AK photo collection over the weekend. Also PM me with you email address and I will send you an non-watermarked scan of the one photo I know I do have

    I presume your sister completed the kinship form and supplied death certificate of your father to the MoD ...apologies if you father is still alive but I assumed not if your sister sent in the kinship form as next of kin. Otherwise your father's connection with SOE would not make any difference to receiving his service history from the MoD. Did you also check in the National Archives and at the Imperial War Museum to see if they have any Freston mission photos?

    There is an SOE yahoo group whose members include one or two highly knowledgeable SOE experts and they may be able to help?
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Operation Freston

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    Above: por. Józef Kotecki (nom de guerre ‘Kruk’) commander of Home Army Radomsko and Kielce district and in command of the protection unit to the Freston mission.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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