Born: 28th July 1914, Ipswich.
Died: shortly before dawn 23rd October 1942; age: 28; Secretly Executed under Hitler’s Commando Execution Order – by a single shot in the back of the neck, at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.
Residence: 188, Bellingdon Road, Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
Occupation: Under Manager – Grocers.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 841059.
Regiment: Gordon Highlanders, No. 2 Commando.
Panel 14, Column 2.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Reginald Linnel Makeham & Mary Susan Janet Hope Makeham; husband of R. Makeham, of Keswick, Cumberland.
Father: Reginald Linnel Makeham, born 1882, Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire. – died 1936, Dunmow, Essex. A Traveller – Paper Merchant.
Mother: Mary Susan Janet Hope Makeham (nee Stark), born 1880, Girtham, Kirkcudbrightshire, Gatehouse of Fleet, Scotland.
In 1939, Mary was residing at 6, The Terrace, Sidlesham, West Sussex.
ENGLAND & WALES REGISTER 1939.
Reginald was an Under Manager at a Grocers. He was lodging with his employer, Grocery Manager, 33 year old, Hubert Harry Lisley and his family – at the Lisley’s home – 188, Bellingdon Road, Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
In 1942, Cockermouth, Cumberland, Reginald married, Rebecca Downie, born August 1910, Keswick, Cumberland.
Reginald is also remembered on the war memorial in the churchyard of St. Mary’s Church, Sidlesham, West Sussex, and at Keswick, Cumbria.
On the 9th April 1940, the German Army invaded Norway.
With Norway’s cheap hydraulic power and their harbour facilities the occupying Germans decided to launch an expansion programme for the Norwegian aluminium smelters. The Germans needed aluminium to manufacture aircraft. More aircraft would guarantee Germany’s victory in the war. Glomfjord power plant, at Meloy, Nordland, had been built in 1918 on a plateau to the design of the architect Olaf Nordhagen. Glomfjord power plant provided the power to the Haugvik aluminium smelting works.
After the fall of Norway, Denmark, France, and the Low Countries, the Allies were forced to change their thinking with regards to acceptable ways of waging modern warfare. They tightened the economic blockade on Germany, and began to resort to commando raiding to harass the German forces. One such mission was Operation Musketoon.
Operation Musketoon, was the codeword for the Anglo-Norwegian raid launched by a team from No. 2 Special Services Commando Unit, of which Lieutenant Colonel Jack Churchill was the Commanding Officer. Reginald was selected to be part of a team consisting of 12 soldiers, two of whom were Norwegians. The team trained on a large country estate in Scotland. A fortnight later they were transported on the Minerve class submarine ‘Junon’ which left the Orkney Islands, on the 11th September, and entered the Bjaerangsfjord on the 15th September.
On the night of the 19th/20th September the commandos, each issued with special equipment, and dividing into two groups, proceed with the attack on Glomfjord power plant. Both groups were successful and the penstocks and turbine room were blown up, stopping the power supply so that the German military had to abandon their plans to increase aluminium production at Haugvik.
During their escape a German soldier was killed, and a seconded wounded. Norwegian Corporal Erling Djupdraet was also severly wounded, when stabbed in the stomach with a bayonet. He was left behind to recieve treatment. Three days later, on the 23rd September, Erling died from his wounds in Bodø hospital, he was 21 years old.
After the raid four of the team took a northern route to attempt escape:
Frederick Harry Trigg – Royal Sussex Regiment.
Corporal Sverre Granlund – Royal Norwegian Army.
Sergeant Richard O’Brien – Royal Berkshire Regiment.
Corporal John Fairclough – Grenadier Guards.
They all evaded capture and reached Sweden where they were eventually repatriated.
Reginald and the other six members of the team took a southerly route.
The successful raid had invoked fury in Adolf Hitler. On the 18th October 1942, he issued a secret Commando Order, which stated that in the future all Allied commando’s captured by German forces in Europe and Africa should be killed immediately, without trail, even if in uniform, or if they attempted to surrender.
Discovered by the Germans, and surrounded, the seven soldiers were forced to give themselves up, and expected to be honourably treated as prisoners of war. They were taken by boat, train, and truck to Colditz Castle and put into solitary confidment.
On the 13th October, the men were taken to the SS Reichssicherheitshauptamt headquarters at Berlin, where they were interrogated. They remained in Berlin until the 22nd October, when they were taken to the civilivan concentration camp Scahsenhausen on the outskirts of Berlin.
Shortly before dawn on the 23rd October Reginald and his fellow commandos were each killed by a single shot in the back of the neck. Their bodies were conveniently disposed of in the camp crematorium.
Captain Graeme Delamere Black D.S.O. M.C., from Ontario, Canada serving with the South Lancashire Regiment, age 31.
Captain Joseph Blundell Johnson Houghton M.C.- Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, age 31.
Rifleman Eric Gordon Curtis – Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, age 21.
Rifleman Cyril Henry Abram – Rifle Brigade, age 20.
Sergeant Miller Smith – Coldstream Guards, age 26.
Lance Bombardier William Henry Albert Chudley – Royal Artillery, 20.
Extra information and help courtesy of Sandra.