Honour for Scot who blinded Third Reich

A SCOTTISH paratrooper killed during a covert Second World War midnight commando raid to seize vital radar equipment – leading to the Allies building the first radar cloaking device – has been honoured in the French village where he fell.

A SCOTTISH paratrooper killed during a covert Second World War midnight commando raid to seize vital radar equipment – leading to the Allies building the first radar cloaking device – has been honoured in the French village where he fell.

Rifleman Hugh McIntyre was gunned down at the age of 22 while helping elite troops steal parts of a radar dish in the British paratroopers’ first action in France.

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Rifleman McIntyre from Dalry, Ayrshire, parachuted into the snow-covered village of Bruneval in northern France in 1942 with a 120-strong team led by Lieutenant Colonel John Frost, who was later portrayed on screen by Anthony Hopkins in the film A Bridge Too Far.

While the paratroopers managed to take control of a large villa overlooking a key radar tracking the movements of Allied aircraft occupied by the Germans, the young Scot was killed by Nazi machine gun fire.

The elite team achieved its mission, meaning parts of the radar dish, which had a range of 130 kilometres, could be flown back to Britain and analysed so scientists could develop radar blocking techniques to hide allied aircraft from the Germans.

Soldiers, villagers and the only survivor of the raid, Ken Holden, a Navy veteran, gathered for a weekend last month marking the 70th anniversary of the assault, known as the “Biting Raid”.

The young soldier was buried in a grave with an unmarked headstone until it was identified by historians in 1947.

He has now been honoured with a plaque at the war memorial in La Poterie Cap-d’Antifer.

Rifleman McIntyre, a former coal miner, had signed up for the Cameronian Scottish Rifles in 1939 before joining the 2nd Parachute Battalion, Army Air Corps – known as the Jock Company after its formation in 1941.

David Webster, a historian from Rifleman McIntyre’s home town, said: “It’s very important that men like Hugh are remembered and honoured.

“The result of that raid was absolutely crucial in how the war was developing. A lot of people believe Britain was ahead of the Nazis in terms of radar technology and that simply wasn’t true.

“The raid was designed to snatch pieces of the radar so we could find a way of blocking it, which we did. The service these men gave and their sacrifices were incredible.”

During the raid on 27 February 1942, the men split into two teams, one headed for the radar, known as the Wurzburg radar after the German city, while the other, which included Rifleman McIntyre, were ordered to take the villa.

The Scot was shot by a soldier in a hidden machine gun post after they had taken the building.

After the 30-minute raid which left six men wounded, the troops escaped to a nearby beach and evacuated by boat.

On their return to Portsmouth, the men were ordered to keep details of the mission secret.

But Mr Webster recounted how Rifleman McIntyre had written a poignant letter to his brother George which escaped the censor.

Part of it read: “I’m going to tell you something Geordie. I’m going over on a raid this week and don’t tell any body not even Mother nor Father nor your best friend and I shouldn’t be writing this as it’s a great secret.”

He also wrote “I’ll be home next Saturday on leave” and that he would be “sending a pound to mother in case of accidents”.