Miles Ernest -Surgeon Lieutenant Commander RN, Royal
Naval Port Detachment Murmansk.
Born on 22nd
February 1900 in Hong Kong.
Son of a member of
the British Diplomatic Corps, Dryden was a career naval officer. He spent the
beginning of the German War at sea with HMS Prince of Wales and was onboard for
the engagement with the Bismarck, during which the Hood was sunk. Transferred to
shore duties before the battleship went to her doom in the Far East, Miles
Dryden found himself on Malta during the difficult months of the siege.
He had trained as a
civilian pilot, mainly to ferry family members between their estate in Cumbria
and the main residence in London, but discovered a real love of flying.
His ability was
harnessed and he found himself acting as an unofficial replacement pilot on
three offensive missions run by 830 Squadron FAA, from their base at Hal Far,
Malta. His 'illegal' status prevented him from receiving the kudos earned on a
successful mission, raiding elements of the Italian Navy and their facilities
at Augusta, Sicily.
In July 1944, Dryden
was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and assigned to the Royal Navy Port
Detachment at Murmansk, USSR.
the RMS Scythia, part of the controversial Convoy JW61A, a repatriation mission for over
10,000 Soviet citizens, Dryden acted as an extra medical officer and was
shocked at the debilitated state of the Russians, mainly ex-prisoners of war.
During the voyage
and afterwards at Murmansk, Miles Dryden acquired sufficient knowledge of the
Russian language to constantly badger and annoy the Soviet authorities, always
searching for more medical supplies and facilities for his patients.
Along with the rest
of the Port Detachment, Dryden was detained at the start of hostilities in
He was moved from
the temporary facility in Murmansk to Baranovichi in the former Polish
In December 1945,
after a succession of work camps, he finally came to rest in a special work
facility outside of Kremlyov, USSR.
At Kremlyov, shortly
to be renamed Arzamas-75, prisoners of war and enemies of the Soviet state were
engaged in building a new facility for the 'All-Union Scientific Research
Institute of Experimental Physics', the VNIIEF, a facility that aimed to
research, design and produce the Soviet Union?s nuclear weapons.
Lastanza, Giuseppe Antonio [Italian] - Major [Maggiore], OC 2nd Battalion, Folgore Infantry Regiment,
Allied Italian Forces.
Born on 20th September 1909 in Pisa, Italy.
Lastanza was one of the few survivors of the Ravenna
Division, immolated during the defeat at Stalingrad in late 1942.
He returned to his homeland but, with many others from the
Russian Front, was kept out of the public view so that their awful physical
condition was not seen.
Slow to recover, he did not serve again until late 1944,
when he became part of the Folgore Group. Subsequently, he declined to return
to Italy when the Italian Government declared its neutrality during the new
Giuseppe Lastanza was taken prisoner during the Battle of
Arnoldstein on 28th/29th Novermber 1945. He is believed to have perished during
the notorious forced march through the Alps, between the dates of 30th November
and 3rd December 1945, along with over three hundred other prisoners taken at
the same time.
He has no known grave.
Haefali, Albrecht Gabriel ?
Major [Commandant], OC 3rd Compagnie, 3rd Btn,
13th DBLE [renamed 1st Brigade], 1st Free French Division* subsequently
promoted to Colonel and made OC Legion Infanterie Group.
Born on 19th August 1910 in Interlaken, Switzerland. Joined
French Army in 1934, serving as an Aspirant then Sous-Lieutenant with 1st
Regiment Etrangere Infanterie* in Algeria. Transferred to the mainland France
as a Lieutenant with 11th Regiment Etrangere Infanterie, 6th Infantry Division*
he saw no action before escaping to England in 1940.
One of the original officers of the 13th Demi-Brigade,
Légion Étrangère*, he took part in the ill-fated Norwegian Campaign before
transferring with 13th DBLE to North Africa. Fought with the 13th and
subsequently the 1st Free French Division through Italy, France, and Germany.
Final position was as Commander of 3rd Compagnie in the
rank of Captaine. However, because of an error within 1st French Army
administrative, his temporary promotion to command of 3rd Battalion whilst St
Clair was detached elsewhere, was made permanent. Typical French pragmatism
ensured that he remained at the rank and St Clair was promoted elsewhere to
maintain a balance in ranks.
His actions during the relief of the Chateau du
Haut-K?nigsbourg earned him the Croix de Guerre.
However, his insistence in pursuing the Goumier?s commander
earned him much criticism from his peer group, and in particular, staff, and
senior officers within the 1st French Army.
The 1st French Division was brutalised during the Soviet
offensive in Southern Germany and, despite 3rd Battalion?s excellent record, Haefali
was made a scapegoat and removed from his position.
Subsequently, he was transferred to command the Motor pool
and supply echelon of the French 2nd Corps.
As the Legion Corps became larger, absorbing more units,
Haefali was transferred to command the 2nd and 3rd Btns, Legion Etrangere,
receiving promotion to full Colonel, sponsored by those who appreciated his
In November 1945 he was temporarily assigned to ?Deux? to
participate in an operation being run in one of the POW camps now springing up
for Soviet prisoners.
He returned to the Legion Corps shortly afterwards.
Köster, Rudi - Sergeant [Sergent], 1st
Kompagnie, 5th Legion Regiment du Chars Spéciale, 3rd Legion Division ?Alma?,
Legion Corps D?Assault.
Born on 18th December 1921 in Passau, Germany.
Joined the SS-Totenkopfverbände in 1939, training and
subsequently serving at Dachau. Transferring into the Waffen-SS within the
Totenkopf Division, Köster served within the Kradschutzen Abteilung, fighting
all the way to Demyansk and Leningrad.
The 3rd SS suffered greatly in the battles, with 4 in 5 men
dead, wounded or missing.
Withdrawn to France to refit, the 3rd SS was redesignated a
Panzer Grenadiere division and Köster had his first brush with tanks.
During the brilliant success at Kharkov, Köster served with
distinction and was selected to transfer into the newly formed 9th Kompany, a
Tiger I unit.
He was then committed to action at Kursk where he was
credited with thirty-two kills during fierce fighting on the Psel River, for
which he was awarded the Iron Cross first class.
As a Tiger II commander, he earned the German Cross in
silver for his excellence during difficult days in and around Arnswalde in
Pomerania as a member of the 103rd SS Schwere Panzer Abteilung. He was wounded
when his King Tiger was knocked out and, evacuated to Germany, missed the
immolation of his unit.
The award of the Croix-de-Guerre was made for his bravery
and skill during the Battle at Barr, Alsace, as commander of ?Lohengrin?.
Replacing his wounded loader, Köster served the main gun
when Knocke took over the vehicle during the intense battle at Brumath on 4th
Yamashio, Toshiro ?
Major [Rikugun-Sh?sa] ? OC 1st Tank Battalion, 3rd Special Obligation Brigade
?Rainbow?, 63rd Army.
Born on 19th February 1916 in Tomakomai, Japan.
He commanded the forces that routed an American/Chinese
tank assault near Guiping, China, on 13th August 1945.
Yamashio died of a snake bite on 19th November 1945.
Burastov, Nikanor Davidovich - 1st Lieutenant [Starshy Leytenant], 1st Company, 3rd Battalion,
424th Rifle Regiment, 18th Rifle Division, 132nd Rifle Corps.
Born on 5th July 1922 in Stepnogorsk, USSR.
Burastov joined the 424th Regiment in 1944 and immediately
gained a reputation for fearlessness and being a firebrand. He emerged from the
German War without a scratch, his reputation as a fighting officer second to
He escaped the immolation of the 132nd Rifle Corps during
Operation Thermopylae along with most of his company.
The savaged 424th Rifle Regiment was brought up to strength
with new recruits and placed in the line in a quiet location, temporarily
attached to the 3rd Guards Cavalry Corps whilst the staff of the 3rd Red Banner
Front of Soviet Europe worked on reconstructing some new forces from the
remnants of the 19th Army.
The 424th was destroyed during opening phases of
Burastov was wounded and captured during the fighting at
Hattmatt on 2nd December 1945.
He made a bid for freedom on 5th December 1945 and
In 2007, woodsmen working next to the Chateau Hunebourg,
near Dossenheim-sur-Zinsel, discovered human remains that have subsequently
been confirmed as those of Burastov.
Given the extremely low temperatures at the time of his
escape, combined with the severity of his injuries, it would seem reasonable to
assume that he succumbed to his wounds or froze to death on the night of
2nd/3rd December 1945.
Hetherington, Oswald Baines
- Major, 2IC, 18th Armored Infantry Battalion, 16th US Armored Brigade.
Born on 12th November 1906 in Billings, Montana, USA.
Hetherington served solely with the 16th Armored from its inception
through to December 1945.
On the death of the Battalion Commander, he took charge of the 18th for
the fighting around Hattmatt on the 2nd December 1945 where he suffered a
He never served again and was invalided stateside in June 1946.
His life was blighted by illness, both physical and mental.
On 7th May 2000, Oswald B Hetherington self-administered a lethal
medication in line with Oregon State Legislation ORS 127.800-995, The Death with Dignity Act.