Operation Pomegranate (i)

This was a British special forces operation to parachute a Special Air Service party to destroy Axis aircraft in Italy (12/17 January 1944).

The sole operation of its type in Italy, the operation was undertaken in support of ‘Shingle’, and began with the parachute delivery of Major A. Widdrington, Lieutenant J. Q. Hughes and four other men of the 2nd SAS onto Monte Tezio to the east of Lake Trasimeno in central Italy in preparation for their attack on the airfield at Sant' Egidio near Perugia, which was the base for a number of German reconnaissance aircraft.

The Douglas C-47 transport aeroplane of the USAAF used for the operation crashed into the side of Monte Tezio after the SAS party had left it, and all six members of its crew were killed.

After the drop the party advanced toward its target area, but was compelled to divide when challenged by a German guard. Widdrington and Hughes went on alone, and the other four went missing in unknown circumstances. On the night of 17 January the two officers got onto the airfield and planted Lewes bombs on seven aircraft, of which three were destroyed. As the two men were making safe one of the bombs which they had not used it exploded, killing Widdrington and injuring Hughes, who was taken to a German hospital but later escaped and made it back to the Allied lines in March.