All posts tagged: Navigator

Mike Sadler, desert navigator who guided British commandos, dies at 103

Mike Sadler, desert navigator who guided British commandos, dies at 103

[ad_1] Add to your saved stories Save In mid-December 1941, a group of British commandos gathered in the Libyan desert outside an enemy airfield west of Sirte. They had crossed 400 miles during more than two days, driving stripped-down vehicles through wadis and wind-packed sand from an oasis deep in the Sahara. Their guide, navigator Mike Sadler, was on his first mission, learning to use the sun, stars and surveyor-type instruments to traverse expanses with no roads and few landmarks. “A lot rested on it,” he recalled. Earlier that year, a British team dropped by parachute suffered heavy casualties against German Gen. Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps. This time, the special forces were attempting a surprise ground attack from the desert. The British force surged into the Tamet airfield and gunned down German and Italian pilots and crew. At least two dozen planes were destroyed or disabled. A fuel depot was set ablaze. A simultaneous British attack was underway at an air base in Sirte. Both teams slipped back into the desert night, meeting the navigator …

Mike Sadler, Intrepid Desert Navigator in World War II, Dies at 103

Mike Sadler, Intrepid Desert Navigator in World War II, Dies at 103

[ad_1] At the end of a grueling day, Mr. Liebling related, “a G-2 (intelligence) officer came out of the staff tent” to talk to the Britons. “He had a bottle of whiskey with him, which was an excellent idea, because they were pretty well done in by that time. After half an hour, he climbed out and told us that he thought they were all right.” Willis Michael Sadler — known to friends as Mike — was born in London on Feb. 22, 1919, to Adam and Wilma Sadler and was raised in Stroud, a village in Gloucestershire about 110 miles to the west. His father was the manager of a plastics factory. Mike attended the Oakley Hall School in Cirencester and the Bedales School in Hampshire. After graduation in 1937, he moved to Southern Rhodesia, his imagination fired by boyhood tales of adventure in a land of lions and elephants. With family connections, he got a job on a tobacco farm, where he worked until the war broke out. After his North Africa adventures …