Robert "Zack" Lardner, the IRON GATE mission, (or the Danube Mission)
Mate just stumbled on to your site while trying to get more info about the IRON GATE mission, or as my Grandfather called it the Danube Mission.
The info i know about it is in 1940 whilst in the Mediterranean on board H.M.A.S ''STUART'' my Grandfather Robert "Zack" Lardner and a number of others Aussies RAN Sub Lieut Scott, T.Van Prooyen, A Collins, D.Owens, A/B Pankhusrt (dec)
From various ships they were recruited by a RN officer for an OP to penetrate German held Romania and destroy some locks across the Danube River.Just before reaching their objective they where captured but later escaped and travelled through Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Crete and eventually Egypt. Some of them including my grandfather were sent back to the UK and drafted to HMS Forrester and took part in the Murmansk Convoys run, later in 42 R.Lardner was drafted to Stamshaw in Portsmouth to await completion of Quickmatch.
Mate this Story I think is Huge,
More ground covered than BRAVO 2 ZERO!!! as you can probably tell I am a Soldier not a Sailor thats probably what killed my Pop I think this story should be told if possible, the Aust Navy should be proud of these Blokes.
If you have any information about this mission I would love to hear it. The Quickmatch Association was trying to get this story reconition back in 1991!
Please feel free to email me any time keep up the great work on your site.
It would be great to find out what other people know about this Mission.
Now we have Scott talking about his Grandfather Robert Lardner and some others he names as taking part.
My message to Dave Beharrie came screaming back to me, he has obviously changed his internet provider and his mail address, so we have wound up a blind alley, sorry.
Thanks for your quick reply if anyone else contacts you about this mission can you please pass on my details as i would like to try get these blokes the recognition they deserve.
I have some letters from the HMAS Quickmatch Association that were sent to USSR Consulate in 91 regarding this and some members trying to get the Russian 40 year Jubilee Medal,and also they were supposed to be mentioned in despatches.
Walter Butler ,President of the Quickmatch Ass sent these letters also to Ministry of Defence London. They kept just getting the run around, the poms only accepted apps from British citizens. Theres another letter dated 78 that basicly says they were on Special Service with the Royal Navy, but when all is said and done, it was the RAN in which they were serving at the time and it should be RAN who recognizes the service.
Pretty sad that all these Sailors have probably taken this story to their graves.
Do you have any contacts from Quickmatch do you know if any of these blokes are still with us?
I have asked the Naval Historical Society ( I am a member there ) about the Monograph.
Also suggested to Petar that he looks at Captain Hector Waller's Reports of Proceedings for 1940, all the Sailors on the Mission came from his Scrap Iron Flotilla, and he was Captain D.
We may yet crack open this story.
Greg Gilbert has passed your email on to me as I have also come across this story and will be doing some further research in the future.
I agree that this episode needs further recognition. It was so secretive at the time that it does not rate mention in the official histories and the only dedicated reference that I can find on it was a monograph produced by the Naval Historical Society of Australia some years ago. Some of that monograph, however, does in some places read as though it has been somewhat embellished.
As I mentioned, I am intending to research this a little further with a view to producing a Semaphore in the near future. I note in the email that Mr Lardner's father has passed away but if yourself or Mr Lardner are able to put me contact with any of the Australians involved I would be very appreciative, this is a step I have not yet gotten to. There appears to have been about 15 Australians involved all drawn from HMA Ships STUART, VAMPIRE and VOYAGER.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss further.
Ph: (02) 612 76510