Douglas Philip William Russell was a member of The Queen’s Westminister Rifles (TA) in 1939 and was mobilized into the regular Army on the outbreak of war.
In 1940, he volunteered for special services and joined No 2 (Parachute) Commando briefly before it was re-designated as the 11th Special Air Service (SAS) Battalion in November 1940.
11 SAS was reorganised in August 1941 in preparation for its transfer to 1st Parachute Brigade and renamed the following month as 1st Parachute Battalion.
L/Cpl Russell was initially posted to S Coy in Lt Hope's platoon, as part of the reorganisation, but later served with 2 Platoon R Coy.
He saw active service in North Africa and was wounded at the Battle of Tamera.
Later in 1943, the 1st Parachute Brigade was tasked with seizing Primosole Bridge in Sicily, on Operation Fustian, however the pilots on Douglas Russell's aircraft couldn't locate the drop zone and it returned to base. His stick was later dropped into Sicily.
Douglas Russell had been promoted to Sgt by the time of the seaborne landings in Taranto Italy, September 1943.
Shortly after his arrival in Italy he was nominated by his Company Commander to take part in a search and rescue mission behind enemy lines for escaped Allied Prisoners of War (PoW). He was captured by the Germans during the mission, held as a PoW and sent to Stalag VIIA at Moosburg, Germany.