World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                      Howard Habron 

Operation Archery

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Patrick (Paddy) Habron, Howard Habron, Henry Brown, Tom Sherman,Arthur Ashby, Dusty (Osmond) Miller, Charles Stacey, Paddy (Laurence) Murphy, Ann Jones, Ken Enock, Mary Habron and Joseph Herb Devins.
Location of story: Vaagso, Norway.
Unit name: 1 Troop, 3 Command
Background to story: Army                                                      


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Howard Habron,


On 27th December 1941 British Forces of the newly formed Combined Operations carried out a daring raid on the island of Vaagso, which is in Norway. The Operation was code named "Archery"; it was carried out by British Commandos backed up by Royal Navy, RAF, and Norwegian troops.

During the raid "Operation Archery" my Dad, Patrick (Paddy) Habron was a L/Cpl of 1 Troop, 3 Commando. The Commando veterans were contacted by Mr Peter Bell and invited to attend a celebration in the village of Maloy, in Norway, which is where the fiercest fighting took place. He applied to the lottery for funding, which was granted under the returning heroes' fund.

Eventually seven Commandoes attended: Henry Brown (President of the Commando Association), Tom Sherman, Arthur Ashby, Dusty (Osmond) Miller, Charles Stacey, Paddy (Laurence) Murphy, and my father Paddy (Patrick) Habron. I went with them on the trip back to Norway, along with my wife Mary, sister Joy and other family members, also Ann Jones whose father was killed on the raid, and Ken Enock, whose father died of injuries sustained on the raid.

An American author joined us; he has written the definitive book on the raid called "The Vaagso Raid"; his name was Joseph Herb Devins. We were all treated royally by the Norwegians. We travelled for eight hours from Bergen to Maloy on a restored second world war gun boat, the "HITRA" which ferried men and supplies from Shetland to Norway from 1943 to 45. One of our party, Charlie Miller, is an ex journalist, he posted details of the celebration on the "Wire" as he put it. There was precious little recognition by the British Government, who were not in attendance at the celebrations, although the Band of the Royal Marines was there. The celebrations coincided with the 200th Anniversary Of Independance from Sweden These men are an inspiration, and there are precious few of them left. The Commando Association is to disband due to falling members and will be officially disbanded on 18th Sept in Portsmouth.

Howard P Habron