|Saturday, 23 February 2002|
Tribute to a brave soldier
by Sharm de Alwis
"Old soldiers never die
Of the young, brave men of our country who enlisted in the Allied Army to battle in two World Wars, K.S. (Rajah) Kadigawe stands supreme. He has no peers in the award of accolades and citations and sports the Oak leaf which is the over-flow of the Victoria Cross for bravery. He is mentioned in Churchill's Memoirs and in "The Red Berets" which is the history of the Paratrooper Brigade.
He has had adventurous experiences on the War Front and, certainly, the mind and body-set acquired at Ananda College where he was in the boxing team as well as in the Cadet corps at a time that the school reigned supreme amongst all of the country's schools in cadeting would have served him in good stead.
K.S. Kadigawe received two citations, one of which won him the Oak Leaf and which has been comprehensively covered by me in an earlier publication. The other which was in Greece will be dealt with in this article. Even Royalty has to salute him, as did the Queen on her last visit, when he is in uniform, wearing the medal. Paratroopers operate in missions in numbers ranging from two, five or even ten according to the dictates of the assignment. Once they are dropped in hostile territory each is alone until the regrouping particularly if they are dropped off target. Fewer the numbers, the more sensitive and hazardous is the mission. Each man has to think and act for himself in the manner of Rambo and the only mind focus is the successful accomplishment of the mission.
Kadigawe served in the war theatres of Middle-East, North Africa and France against the Desert Fox, Rommel's forces. The Allied Supreme Commander was Montgommery.
Colour of skin and language barriers when they are dropped in hostile territory cannot be thought of. Intuitive progress has to be made, thinking on the feet. They are normally dropped around 1.00 a.m. and they have to fend for themselves without sight, only with radio signals. The equipment comprises bare dry rations sufficient for 24 hours, map in the event they are dropped off target, rifle, revolver and dagger.
Taking off from an islet off Greece, two of the paratroopers were dropped close to Athens where a German camp was positioned. They were on an intelligence reconnaissance for a subsequent onslaught. The camp was found to be heavily guarded and barricaded except for one area which had the basic protection, obviously, inviting attack but, certainly, boby-trapped.
Based on the findings of the two paratroopers, the camp was attacked within a few days and was totally destroyed.
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