Author Topic: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39  (Read 10275 times)

sns_research

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The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« on: September 10, 2009, 09:20:59 AM »
Hello,

I'm currently researching the Special Night Squads (SNS), a counter-insurgency unit formed by (then) Captain Orde Charles Wingate in Palestine during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39.
As you may know, one of the squads was based on men from the Manchester Regiment, under the command of (then) Second Lieutenant Robert "Rex" King-Clark.
I would very much like to know if there is any information available about that part of the regiment's history, whether in the regiment's archive, soldier memoirs, etc.

Thank you!
Shlomi

sphinx

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2009, 03:06:40 PM »
Try reading his book about it, "Free for a blast".

sns_research

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 03:56:04 PM »
Thanks. I know about the book and have read the relevant parts of it. Are there any regimental documents regarding the SNS?

Offline Robert Bonner

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 04:07:34 PM »
The answer to your question is no. There is nothing in the regimental archives.  Possibly the National Archives have something but that is unlikely.  Free for a Blast is your best chance.
Robert

liverpool annie

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 04:40:01 PM »


Hi Shlomi and welcome !

Not an answer to your question I'm afraid but in case you don't have them already ... a couple of background snippets !!  :)

Quote
KING-CLARK — ROBERT. Robert (Rex), died peacefully, on 29th December, 2007, aged 94, husband of Jean, father of Robert and Catherine and grandfather of John Robert. Late Lieutenant Colonel MBE MC FRGS The Manchester Regiment and Glider Pilot Regiment. Memorial service to be held at Rhu and Shandon Parish Church, on Tuesday, 8th January, 2008, at 1.30pm. All friends invited. No flowers, but donations much appreciated to S.S.A.F.A. (Dumbarton) c/o Belnahy G84 0AY.

Published in the Herald on 4 January 2008

Quote
Robert "Rex" King-Clark is not a name that will ring many bells to followers of motor sport, indeed he is not even discussed on "The Nostalgia Forum" where even the most obscure racing topic gets an airing. A Scot, although born within a mile of the Brooklands track, he was educated, like his namesake Jim Clark, at Scotland's premier public school, Loretto.

A long and distinguished military career saw King-Clark winning an MC in pre-war Palestine where he commanded one of Orde Wingate's Special Night Squads and later commanding both the Manchester Regiment's 2nd Battalion and later the Army Air Corps. His motor racing career on the other hand was much shorter lasting only from the Brooklands Easter meeting in 1936 to that year's Autumn meeting. Driving a super-charged 747cc J4 MG the 22 year-old King-Clark managed a dead-heat with Welshman Roy Eccles at the 1936 Brooklands August meeting, a performance that earned him the coveted membership of the British Racing Drivers Club.

King-Clark's brief motor racing career soon took second place to more daring exploits, such as flying his Miles Whitney Straight monoplane to various postings in the Middle and Far East, flights that coincidently saw him taking aerial photographs of Italian military facilities in North Africa. You can read about his motoring exploits in his excellent book Free For a Blast.

http://www.prewarcar.com/read_article.asp?ID=2514



Offline Wendi

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 04:46:21 PM »
Hi Shlomi and Welcome from me too !!

I'm sorry to admit that until your post, I knew nothing about the SNS so thank you for bringing it to my attention !

Robert has suggested The National Archives.  They have a really good search engine here http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/ where you might find something to help  :-\

Wendi  :)
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it!  No matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and with your own common sense" ~ Buddha

liverpool annie

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Offline george.theshed197

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 05:06:21 PM »
'A soldier's soldier' with whom I maintained correspondence right up to his decease, a man whom I regarded as one of my closest friends and one who is sadly missed, Rest in Peace Rex old friend.
George.

sns_research

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2009, 05:52:59 PM »
Thank you all very much for your replies!
I hope to visit the national archives and the Imperial War Museum later this year, I will try looking there for relevant material. BTW, which battalion did King-Clark and his men serve in?

Offline themonsstar

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2009, 09:10:30 PM »
He serve in the 1st & 2nd Battalion.

sns_research

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2009, 11:27:28 AM »
Another question regarding King-Clark:
I've found a picture of his private plane in the Ein-Harod (the kibbutz which served as the SNS base and HQ) landing strip, dated to October 1938. I also remember reading about him giving "fun rides" to his comrades. However, I did not find any mention of this plane used for a military purpose, which is quite surprising. Does any one know whether King-Clalrk's plane was ever used, officially or otherwise, for a military purpose?

Attached is the picture:

sns_research

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2009, 04:26:03 PM »
Hello all,
I've got another question. Apparently King-Clark has left the SNS during September 1938 and was replaced by an officer (I suppose by the rank of lieutenant) named Bane (or a similar name - I have found his name mentioned only in Hebrew sources). Any guess as to who may that officer be?
Thanks!

Offline Robert Bonner

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Re: The Manchester Regiment and the SNS in Palestine, 1938-39
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2009, 10:00:23 AM »
Rex's plane was not used for military purposes.  It was his own personal property.

He had to leave the SNS and rejoin 1st Manchester when the battalion left Palestine and were posted to Singapore.  The days of Wingate's SNS were already numbered but his friend 'Bala' Bredin of the Royal Ulster Rifles remained with them for a little longer.
Robert