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Operations GHQ Liaison Regiment

Page Created
January 19th, 2024
Last Updated
January 25th, 2024
Great Britain
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Additional Information
Order of Battle

Northern Europe
May 10th, 1940 – May 31st, 1940
Liaison Missions Belgium and France
No. 3 British Air Mission, Phantom Squadron
In May 1940, as a German invasion of the Low Countries appears imminent, the “Phantom” Squadron, part of No. 3 Air Mission mobilises for its mission. On May 10th, 1940, they leave Valenciennes and enter Belgium, setting up an Advanced Report Centre at Mielen-sur-Aelst, while the Air Mission goes to the Belgian Grand Quartier General (G.Q.G.) at Willebroeck.

Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkinson deploys liaison officers and patrols to strategic locations, and soon, vital reports on military movements and actions start arriving at the Centre. Over the next days, these reports cover enemy advances and Belgian withdrawals, displaying the Squadron’s effective training. By May 12th, 1940, the Mission moves to the Forest des Soignes, south of Brussels.

“Phantom” establishes connections with the French and contacts the British cavalry. As the British and French Armies strengthen the Dyle position, “Phantom” completes a successful phase, transitioning to a new challenge of competing with other information sources. They continue relaying critical information to the Allied Central Air Bureau (A.C.A.B.) and the British Expeditionary Forces’ GHQ.
As the war situation escalates, “Phantom” plays an increasingly crucial role in reconnaissance and protection. On May 18th, 1940, Hopkinson offers the Squadron’s services to “Macforce”, conducting patrols and maintaining liaison with British and Allied formations. By May 23rd, 1940, the Squadron moves to the General Headquarters reserve at Premesques, continuing its important liaison duties.

With the Battle of the Beaches imminent, Wing Commander Fairweather advises a withdraw. The Squadron undertakes various tasks, including aiding the 4th Division and covering the retreat of the 144th Infantry Brigade. On May 31st, 1940, the Squadron departs for England. Tragically, the vessel carrying a part of the unit, the Abukir, is torpedoed, resulting in significant loss of life, including Wing Commander Fairweather.

September 1940 – May 1942
Battle of Britain
GHQ Liaison Regiment
By the end of 1940, Phantom Squadrons are actively deployed alongside different Army Groups along the South and East coasts of England, in anticipation of a potential invasion. Three Groups, later known as Squadrons A, B, and C, are strategically stationed at Corps Headquarters in various coastal locations across England. Their mission involves gathering crucial information and reporting directly to the Commander-in-Chief in the event of an invasion.
Each Group is equipped with a small headquarters and four scouting patrols. These patrols consist of an officer, a junior NCO, and five other ranks, supported by a Daimler Scout Car with a No. 11 wireless set, three motorcycles, and a light truck loaded with supplies for extended self-sufficiency.

Squadron A, operating in Montgomery’s command zone in Kent, is located near Chilham Castle. Squadron B is positioned in Bath and Buckinghamshire, while Squadron C remains in reserve at Potters Bar. Subsequently, E Squadron is formed in East Anglia, based in Barham near Ipswich, under Captain J Morgan’s command.

The squadrons focus on collecting strategic local information, such as evaluating ground conditions for possible invasion scenarios, and continuously sharpen their skills through various training exercises. One such exercise, photographed by Lieutenant Malindine, aims to test aerodrome defenses. These exercises are crucial in determining the most effective use of their vehicles, wireless equipment, and operators, thus enhancing Phantom’s reputation for maintaining contact with all simulated enemy activities during exercises.

The Regiment also takes on the responsibility of guarding Richmond Gate against potential German Paratrooper attacks. Hopkinson believes that Phantom’s base location is known to the Luftwaffe, evidenced by over four hundred bombs landing in the park from May 1941 to May 1942. A bombing incident at Pembroke House, which nearly destroys the building during a dinner, highlights the risk. Despite this, Hopkinson discourages his men from seeking cover during air raids, holding the view that “taking cover could make cowards”.

August 19th, 1942
Operation Jubilee
GHQ Liaison Regiment

June 5th, 1944 – August 19th, 1944
Operation Overlord
GHQ Liaison Regiment
During Operation Overlord, Phantom assigns one patrol to accompany each divisional Headquarters of the I and XXX Corps, ensuring they land with the main divisional Headquarters. On D-Day, three Phantom Patrols, numbered 5, 8, and 14, are deployed with the British 3rd Infantry Division, the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division, and the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division.

Additionally, certain Phantom patrols undertake parachute drops in collaboration with the Special Air Service (S.A.S.), aiming to establish and maintain communication with the Special Air Service Brigade Headquarters.

As Phantom’s efficiency in communication is proven, similar arrangements are made with U.S. forces under the 12th US Army Group. This enables Phantom to extend its vital communications support to various U.S. corps, showcasing their significant role in ensuring effective communication among different Allied military divisions.

September 17th, 1944 – September 27th, 1944
Operation Market Garden
GHQ Liaison Regiment
During Operation Market Garden in September 1944, Phantom plays a crucial role alongside the parachute troops at Arnhem. A Phantom patrol is responsible for providing vital communication and liaison between the forward units and their headquarters. For their exceptional efforts in maintaining these critical lines of communication throughout the operation, two Phantom officers are awarded the Military Cross.

To facilitate rapid and unhindered movement, checkpoints are instructed that if they encounter any paratroopers wearing black berets, these individuals are not to be stopped for checks but instead allowed to pass through with utmost urgency.

In addition to their role at Arnhem, Phantom units also operate with XXX Corps and are associated with General Browning, whose headquarters is located adjacent to the 82nd Airborne HQ in Groesbeek. Their involvement in these operations underscores Phantom’s significant contribution to communication and coordination during key military engagements.

Across the Rhine
GHQ Liaison Regiment
Patrols from the regiment accompany assault parties across the Rhine and into Germany. The Commanding Officer of the Regiment credits them with providing crucial information: “Due to us, nearly everybody knew exactly where all the leading troops of all the Armies had got to, and a firm grip on the situation was maintained.”

They are instrumental in relaying the first details about the German concentration camps and prisoner of war camps. A notable achievement is the facilitation of the link-up with the Russians. Directed by the U.S. 1st Army to a specific rendezvous point, a Phantom patrol is present at the moment of the historic link-up with the Soviet Forces, swiftly communicating this significant event.

Throughout the eleven months of combat on the Western Front, Lieutenant Colonel McIntosh’s “Phantoms” transmit over 70,000 messages from the battle areas to the headquarters of the 12th and 21st Army Groups, playing a pivotal role in the flow of information during key operations.


December 27th, 1940 – April 26th, 1941
Greece Campaign
GHQ Liaison Regiment
As the threat of a German invasion of Britain diminishes by late 1940, Hopkinson sees a need for Phantom to prove its usefulness. The Germans occupy Romania, and Mussolini’s Italy invades Greece, but the Greeks robustly resist. Despite being outnumbered, they outperform the Italians. The situation escalates when the British attack in Libya and Taranto, leading Hitler to plan an invasion of Greece to secure Romanian airfields.

In response, Hopkinson decides to deploy Phantom to the Middle East, providing them a crucial overseas role. ‘A’ Squadron, under Major Miles Reid, is chosen for this mission. Their departure is confidential, but their diverse gear mix makes it hard to predict their destination. In Cairo, their presence surprises and irritates GHQ Middle East, who refuse their plan to relay information directly to GHQ Home Forces.

Supported by Major-General Sir Arthur Smith and General Wavell, Phantom is initially attached to the Western Desert Force but returns to Alexandria due to vehicle issues. Later, they fly to Greece, facing challenges due to Britain’s reluctance to engage and Greek limitations on observing military operations. Despite this, they establish effective communication links and undertake reconnaissance missions in Greece.

As the German invasion looms, Phantom is strategically positioned, but the swift fall of Yugoslavia and German successes in Greece lead to an Allied defeat. A Squadron faces a dire situation at the Corinth Canal bridge, leading to their surrender and subsequent imprisonment.

Like other Allied Forces in Greece, Phantom experiences significant setbacks, with only nine members managing to escape. Ironically, reinforcements heading to the unit arrive in the Middle East just in time to assist in the squadron’s reformation. Despite the challenges in Greece, Phantom leaves a positive impression on General Wilson and other senior commanders with their rapid and accurate communication capabilities from the battle zone. Going forward, Phantom understands the importance of cultivating such alliances.

GHQ Liaison Regiment

North Africa

GHQ Liaison Regiment