3 Sqn 2 SAS1

This photo is of the whole surviving Italy detachment of 2nd SAS taken September 1945.

Over the Christmas and New year break I was contacted by the grandson of Pct Harry Shanley, (always known as 'Jock' to his SAS mates) who took part in several SAS missions behind enemy lines, including Operation Galia. It was thrilling to hear from yet another family of the Galia squad but sadly I learned Harry had passed away on Christmas day aged 92.  I was aware of Harry's own web posting about Galia here -but whilst I tried, I never managed to make direct contact with him.  


Harry's passing is particularly poignant coming as it does in the 70th anniversary of the launch of the Galia mission on the 27th December 1944 which I commemorated over the christmas period by tweeting extracts from Bob walker Brown's war diary. Here is an article from Scotland Now  which contains a story about Harry's visit to The Edinburgh garden of rest earlier in the year and a photograph of him. My Dad had fond memories of Harry Shanley whom he described as a larger than life character, always laughing and up to mischief. It is such a shame the SAS were disbanded after the war and all the men went their separate ways destined (in the main) never to meet again. 

It is lovely though that in recent years the families of the Galia squad have come to learn of the bravery and modesty of their fathers and grandfathers and belatedly the Galia squad, the Italians who fought with them and the USAAF who supplied them in the field are now forever commemorated by the memorial which was dedicated to their memory in Rossano, Northern Italy (the parachute drop site) in July 2014 (see blog below). 

My thoughts and condolences are with Harry's family at this difficult time. 

RIP SAS Pct Harry 'Jock' Shanley 

Rob Hann

January 2015