In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North-West Europe: (Note: Gazetted as Major Patrick McGinty (129133), MC, Army Air Corps)

Major Farran, Commanding the Jeep Squadron comprising 54 men and 18 Jeeps of 2 SAS Regiment landed by Dakota at RENNES on 19 Aug 44.

This Squadron operated continuously from that date until 17 Sep 1944, harassing the enemy in his rear areas from ORLEANS to ST.LOUP.

Confirming damage, inflicted on the enemy by the small force under Major Farran, amounted approximately 500 killed or wounded, 23 staff cars destroyed, 6 motor-cycles, and 36 miscellaneous vehicles including trucks, troop carriers and a petrol wagon. In addition a dump of 100,000 gallons of petrol was destroyed, a goods train shot out, and the Germans at BEAULIEU panicked into blowing up their R.D.F. station, and evacuating the garrison. Much essential information and bombing targets were passed back by W/T.

Squadron casualties were 7 killed, 1 missing and 2 P.O.W., of whom 1 subsequently escaped.

On 30th Aug, 1944 Major Farran decided to attack CHATILLION-SUR-SEINE (at the time about 50 miles behind the German front). This town was strongly held by the enemy.

Under cover of darkness, Major Farran placed his Squadron in position, covering all entry and exit with Jeep and foot parties. At 0630hrs 30th Aug the attack was opened with 3″ mortar fire on the German HQ in the Chateau. 48 mortar bombs were placed on this target.

Fierce resistance was encountered from enemy troops in the town, and a reinforcement column of 30 vehicles full of troops, was dispersed, and prevented from giving help to the enemy garrison. After seven and half hours of hard and successful fighting, Major Farran withdrew his small force to the FORET de CHATILLON.

A conservative estimate of the enemy casualties is at least 100 Germans killed and a considerable number of wounded, whilst SAS casualties were 1 killed and 2 wounded.

This well-conceived and brilliantly executed operation caused the enemy to mistake Major Farran’s Squadron for the advance elements of the 3rd US Army, and thereby to withdraw from CHATILLON sooner than necessary.

His personal courage, initiative and tactical sense, enabled him to direct his small force with minimum Loss.

At one stage during the operation it seemed likely that the small British force under his command would be destroyed; however, Major Farran with complete disregard of his own safety, moved from party to party encouraging and inspiring his men to press home the attack, thereby ensuring success.

Major Farran is the very best type of officer, and the above is but one example of the offensive spirit, and brilliant leadership shown by him, and there can be no doubt that his small force played a considerable part in disorganising the German forces retreating in front of 3rd US Army.

Served in Northern Italy, 1945 incl Op TOMBOLA; He led many behind enemy lines patrols and raids under the code name of “Paddy McGinty”, hence the LG entry.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. The award of The Military Cross
  3. The award of a Bar to The Military Cross
  4. The award of a 2nd Bar to The Military Cross