Operation Basalt

The Basalt operation during the Second World War consisted of a small British raid on Anglo-Norman Island of Sark occupied by the Germans.


On the night of October 3 to October 4 1942, a small unit of ten men of the Special Operations Executive and the twelfth Commando British landed on Sark for reconnaissance and capture prisoners.

Nine soldiers entered the house of a resident while the tenth would contact a representative of SOE. The occupant of the house, Frances Pittard, proved valuable and informed about twenty Germans staying at the Hotel Dixcart not far away. She declined the offer to be taken to England.

Front of the hotel was an elongated shed building, apparently unguarded. This schedule included a corridor and five rooms in which slept five Germans, none being officer.

These men were awakened and taken away while the commando decided to push on to the hotel in order to catch more enemies. To minimize the custody of prisoners, the commandos tied with climbing ropes they had brought, and emphasized their pants. Removing belts, straps and tear down flies was a common trick in commandos to prevent the escape of prisoners.

At that time, one of the prisoners began shouting to alert those in the hotel, he was immediately shot a shot.38.The enemy now being alerted heavy fire broke out from the hotel. The commando then decided to return to the beach with the four remaining prisoners.

Along the way three prisoners escaped. We do not know if they could get rid of their relationship during the exchange of gunfire or whether they escaped together. Two were killed and stabbed.

The fourth was returned safely to England and proved a mine of information. The commando also evacuated an SOE agent who acted under the cover of a Polish worker deported to the island.

A few days later, the Germans diffused a press propaganda suggesting that at least one of the prisoners had escaped and two were shot with their hands tied. This could affect the decision of Hitler on the Commando training that every soldier commando, or comparable, captured should be executed.

The men of the commando

Names of some of the soldiers who participated in the raid:

Major Geoffrey Appleyard

Captain Pinkney

Lieutenant Anders Lassen (later Major, VC, MC – Operation Roast )

Corporal Flint

Soldier Redborn


David Niven, who participated in some of the operations in the Channel, said in his autobiography The Moon’s a Balloon that the commandos had landed at Sark were taken to the pub by the people for a tour. However, it should also be noted that Niven also said, but erroneously, that there were no Germans in Sark at the time.

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