‘Micky’ Burn MC (11 Dec 1912–3 Sep 2010)
While not a navy man I feel his exploits and connection to the ‘little ships’ are well worth remembering.
Michael Clive Burn, a Captain of the Kings Royal Rifle Regt and No. 2 Commando has sadly passed away in his north Wales home in his 98th year after suffering another major stroke. He has been described by many as a prolific author, prize winning poet, raconteur, an unrepentant wag and an indestructible human being.
With James’ permission I would like to include this excerpt from his blog The St Nazaire Raid: Forgotten heroes when he visited with Micky on Sat July 10 this year. James Dorrian is the author of the very good Storming St Nazaire.
Saturday was spent with Micky Burn, who has now left hospital and is being looked after at home. For someone who has had a stroke, his intellectual grasp remains amazing, with a memory of past (in his case, at almost 98, VERY past) events that puts the rest of us to shame. He spends a lot of time in bed, and one would have to say there is something fittingly decadent in the way he issue orders from a reclining position - a sort of latter day Augustus, demanding the return, not of lost legions, but of his physical independence.
I don't know what it is about these ex-Commandos: but where mere mortals have to result to pills and potions to keep body and soul together, they rely on the kind of sheer bloody-mindedness that made them such an elite in the first place. Pity that can't be bottled: what a world we would have then.....
Micky was one of very few people to have met personally both Adolf Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt, the former whom he admired at the time (1935) but later realizing what he really stood for, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth for many years.
March 1942 sees Micky on his way to St Nazaire to take part in “The Greatest Raid of All” where he was detailed to secure an area of the town to allow demolitions to be safely carried out. Disaster struck when his ‘little ship’ ML 192 was struck by four large caliber shells causing her to crash ashore nowhere near his intended landing place. Four of the ships company of 17 were killed along with eight of Micky’s 14 man commando group. He was the only commando to make it ashore safely, the rest of his comrades being wounded then captured. He was wounded three times but somehow reached his objective but with only a pistol and no support he could do nothing and shortly after was captured. He spent the remainder of the war in Colditz Castle where he wrankled the senior POW officer W CDR Douglas Bader by preaching Marxist theories to his fellow officers. He also helped with a secret radio utilizing his journalistic skills boosting morale with updated messages on the war’s progress.
Post war he met and married Mary Booker in 1947 and he spent the remainder of his life in Wales with his beloved Mary passing away in 1974.
This following link should take you to a little teaser taken from a documentary being made about Micky to be followed by a movie about his part in Operation Chariot ---
May He Rest in Peace
Joining those other ‘Legends of St Nazaire’ who have preceded him.