No Car for a Prince

It was in December, 1940, that the first airborne demonstration was given to the Army. A small party from No. 2 (Parachute) Commando came from Ringway to Salisbury and “sticks” of officers and men of "A" "B" "C" and "D" troops dropped soon after dawn one morning.

As we approached the DZ we could see a vast array of cars and spectators through "the hole." The drop was uneventful, the landing "comic opera."

As a seething mass of red-tabbed officers pounced on each of the parachutists on landing, shooting questions which varied from the sublime to the ridiculous, reorganisation on the DZ was not particularly easy. However, we eventually left the DZ, followed by squads of spectators.

The umpires met us, and battle commenced. One party was told they were under heavy fire from a bren-carrier; when the NCO asked, quite reasonably, where the fire was, the umpire parted a mass of spectators, ten files deep, to reveal the said carrier. And so it went on . . . .

The "B" Troop section, seizing the largest and most luxurious car they could find in the car-park, moved off in it to the objective area. Little did they know the car belonged to HRH Crown Prince Olaf of Norway !

Later in the day, HRH, having walked several miles through thick mud,joined up with the car-thieves.

Some days later, the officer criminals, apparently pardoned, met HRH Prince Olaf and HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands over drinks, and HRH Prince Olaf autographed the original drawing of the incident by the well-known artist, Brian de Grineau.

The hangover eventually passed off, but the picture remained.

A sketch of this incident by Bryan de Grineau is shown in Pegasus extracts for No 2 Commando.

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