Major Fielding was in command of a Mission of four British personnel which was dropped by parachute, on the night 12/13 August 44 some two hundred miles behind the enemy lines to Tramonti, in the Friull district of North Eastern Italy, charged with the primary task of establishing a base for subversive operations and of obtaining information to facilitate the penetration of East Tirol and South West Carpathia.

After a hazardous march to the North, Major Fielding managed to establish his Mission with the Italian Partizans at Forni Avoltri some fifteen miles south of the Austrian border and immediately set about establishing his courier lines.

Soon after he arrived the enemy being quickly sensitive to his activities made repeated and determined attacks with regular troops with the object of clearing his area which on account of his shortages of arms, food and clothing, and the fact that his locally recruited Italian bodyguard became increasingly demoralized through repeated promises of drops which never materialized owing to adverse flying weather, made his position sometimes critical and at all times highly dangerous.

In spite of these difficulties however by his own courage and personality Major fielding managed to keep his ragged force together and to continue with his work, and during the period he himself crossed the Austrian Frontier disguised as a peasant and made a reconnaissance of the Upper Gail Valley.

On the 10th October the mission was forced to withdraw but Major Fielding returned to the area on the 20th October to re-establish the contacts for his courier lines. Nest day however, he was betrayed to the Germans, surrounded by the enemy, and wounded and forced to withdraw once more.

The Germans then placed a price of 800,000 lire on this officer’s head, an almost irresistible temptation to this poverty stricken district to betray him.

By mid November the snow has closed the passes for the winter and Major fielding was order to come out via Slovenia. With what remained of his Mission, he successfully accomplished a dangerous and almost impossibly difficult march of three hundred miles across mountains which were deep in snow.

That Major Fielding accomplished his task from which extremely valuable information was obtained regarding conditions in Austria and North Eastern Italy was due to his outstanding leadership, resourcefulness and courage for which I have no hesitation in recommending his for the immediate award of the DSO.

Lt Col PA Wilkinson, DSO, OBE
Est 43

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. Timeline: Italy 1943-5
  3. Obituary: Maj GRH Fielding, DSO – 3H