Papers of Maj Ronald R Prentice and Capt H Arthur Wickstead
Ronald R Prentice, born ; stationed at General Headquarters, Middle East Command, Cairo, Egypt, 1942; served in Special Operations Executive (SOE), Force 133, Greece, 1943-1944; served in Parachute Regt, ; died .
H Arthur Wickstead, born in Birmingham, West Midlands, 1913; scholar at St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a Double First in Classics; Henry Fellow, Yale University; School Master, Bedford School, Bedfordshire; served in Gloucestershire Regt, 1940-1943; served in Special Operations Executive (SOE), Force 133, Greece, 1943-1944; Allied Control Commission, Palestine, 1946; government official in Cornwall and Shropshire, 1952-1974; died 1989.
Prentice and Wickstead were parachuted together into Mastroganni, Greece, on 10 Aug 1943 as part of the British Military Mission (BMM), West Macedonia (Allied Military Mission from autumn 1943). From there, they proceeded to set up a base of operations at Pendalophos (known as Area 1 from Feb 1944). Under the command of Lt Col Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Special Operations Executive (SOE) forces in the Balkans, or Force 133, they took an active role in Allied efforts to sabotage German activities in Greece, often working alongside indigenous partisan (andarte) movements such as Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos (ELAS). These efforts culminated in Sep-Nov 1944 as the AMM took action against the retreating German Army. Designated Operation NOAH'S ARK, this operation also saw Prentice promoted to Major and in temporary command of Area 1. He left Saloniki on 13 Dec 1944. It is not known when Wickstead was withdrawn from Greece, but it is likely that it was shortly after Prentice's departure.
The papers of Maj Ronald R Prentice and Capt H Arthur Wickstead were placed in the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives as a single collection in June 1993 by Peter Wickstead, son of the late Capt Wickstead.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The collection principally concerns the work of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in West Macedonia, Greece, 1943-1945. Prentice's diaries and personal notebooks document his services at General Headquarters, Middle East Command, Cairo, Egypt in 1942 and his services as an SOE commander in West Macedonia, Greece, 1943-1944. These are supported by a series of official and unofficial reports relating to Allied Military Mission operations, notably including situation reports from Allied Military Mission sub-area stations detailing the planning and execution of Operation NOAH'S ARK, the harassment of German forces during their withdrawal from the peninsula, and papers relating to the joint British and Greek command of partisan forces in Greece. The collection also includes papers, in Greek, relating to Greek partisan activities in West Macedonia and combined operations with British and American units; maps and photographs of Allied Military Mission area of operations; correspondence between Allied Military Mission commanders and sub-area commanders; papers relating to wireless-telegraphy traffic; Allied Military Mission administrative, financial, and logistical records; and, German occupation documents and newspapers, most notably relating to German 1 Mountain Div. Substantial additional material in Greek includes political propaganda, party documents and newspapers, 1941-1946 , as well as post-war Greek publications about the resistance movement in Greece. Finally, the collection includes a partially completed index of signals, Allied Military Mission, 1943-1944, compiled by Wickstead shortly before his death in 1989 and papers relating to post-war publications about the resistance movement in West Macedonia, 1943-1944.
Papers are arranged by document type and language, as above, and chronologically within sections. Printed post-war material is grouped separately.
CONDITIONS OF ACCESS AND USE
Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form.
Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.
English, Greek and German.
Transliteration of the Greek material in this collection is based primarily on the modern Greek demotic form rather than the pure katharevusa form. Translation was based on the conversion of Greek words into phonetic symbols and then into the nearest English equivalent. It should also be noted that, over time, modern Greek vocabulary has been supplemented by several strata of loan words; in the case of West Macedonia, these have include influences from Armenia, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.
The Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives holds several collections relating to SOE operations in the Balkans, most notably the papers of Lt Col Count J A Dobrski (Ref: GB99 KCLMA Dobrski); Capt Patrick Hutchinson Evans (Ref: GB99 KCLMA Evans); Brig Godfrey Pennington Hobbs; Brig Edmund Charles Wolf Myers; Maj Philip Frederick Nind (Ref: GB99 KCLMA Nind); Maj Ronald R Prentice and Capt H Arthur Wickstead; and, Col (Hon) Christopher Montague Woodhouse.
The Public Record Office, Kew, holds a substantial collection of material relating to SOE operations, most notably Political Warfare Executive correspondence (Ref: FO 898/25-28); papers relating to SOE activities, Middle East, Cairo, 1940-42 (Ref: FO 898/113-114); Quarterly Reports of Special Operations Executive, Oct 1943-Dec 1945 (Ref: PREM 3/408/1); Confidential Papers of Col William J Donovan, 1940-41 (Ref: PREM 4/25/5); and, Special Operations Executive: Balkan Files (Ref: HS 5).
The collection was extensively consulted by Professor (late Lt Col) Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond for his publication, The Allied Military Mission and the Resistance in West Macedonia (Institute for Balkan Studies, 1993).