THE BELGIAN SAARF DETACHMENT

1945

 

 

SHORT HISTORY

 

The Special Allied Airborne Reconnaissance Force was created beginning of March 1945.

It was composed of British and Belgian SAS, American Jedburghs, French and Polish Paras.

Training was very short, and on April 22nd 1945, 60 teams of 3 men were ready for action.

Their initial task was to be dropped behind enemy lines,
and to liberate the POW camps and some of the concentration camps.

Due to the rapid advance into Germany, the SAARF teams were converted from "airborne" into "jeepborne".

March 1945, England.
The Belgian SAARF Detachment on training.
The man on the left, with glasses, is Major ROLIN.

Only one airborne mission took place on April 26th 1945.

The teams convinced the camp commander of STALAG XI, near Altengrabow,
where 20.000 Allied prisoners were held, to surrender.

The SAARF was disbanded end of June 1945, having been in existence for little over 7 weeks.

 
Air leaflet dropped above Germany in March 1945 in anticipation of the SAARF operations behind German lines.
The Allied High Command feared that captured SAARF's would be considered as terrorists, and shot on the spot.
The leaflet contains a strong warning against such summary executions.

Commanding officer :
Brigadier General NICHOLLS DSO MC.

Commanding officer of the Belgian Detachment :
Major ROLIN.

 

 

FORMATION BADGES

 

A shoulder title and a formation badge were created.

The shoulder title consisted of the yellow capital letters "SAARF" in a dark blue rectangle.

SAARF Shoulder Title

Embroidered version

   
SAARF Shoulder Title

Printed version

The Formation Badge, designed by SAARF's CO, consisted of a silver-blue wing,
edged with dark blue, and tipped by a red arrow breaking red chains.
The formation badge was worn on the bottom of the right arm sleeve.

 
SAARF Formation Badge   Belgian Workmanship

 

Picture of several SAARF Teams, the man on the left is a Belgian.
The 3rd man from the right wears the Formation Badge on his right sleeve.

 

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