The Art of Tetman Callis The Second World War Maybe they’ll give you a medal

Maybe they’ll give you a medal

“While the opposing armies faced each other, motionless, along the Gazala line, a small and highly unconventional unit was in training under conditions of the tightest security at Mersa Matruh, 320 miles to the east. Its members wore German army uniforms, carried German weapons and German identification papers, drilled in German and gave and received orders in German. Even off duty they addressed each other only in German; yet all were members of the British army and, except for their two officers and two instructors, were Palestinian Jews of either German or Austrian origin. The unit to which these men belonged was styled the Special Interrogation Group (SIG), a formation whose very existence was so nebulous that it was sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Special Intelligence Group or the Special Investigation Group. Its progenitor and commander was Captain Herbert Cecil Buck, MC . . . . The SIG’s purpose was to raid behind the lines disguised as German troops. This was a triply dangerous business. To operate behind the lines was risky enough; to do so wearing the enemy’s uniform and in violation of the Geneva Conventions carried the risk of summary execution in the event of capture; to be so captured and identified as a Jew could only compound the offence. Among the very few British special forces officers who knew of the SIG’s existence it was known as Bertie Buck’s Suicide Squad.” – John Bierman and Colin Smith, The Battle of Alamein

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