I.S.9 Officers—Biography

Dr. Luigi Donfrancesco, nephew of I.S.9 “A” Force agent Andrea Scattini, has discovered a number of online sites that offer information on six key I.S.9 officers.

These officers—Andrew Robb (New Zealand), Richard W. B. Lewis (United States), Bridges George McGibbon-Lewis (UK), Major John Francis Fillingham (UK), Major John Alec McKee (UK), and Raymond Lee Couraud (France)—are mentioned frequently in the official I.S.9 history and in I.S.9 situation reports and war diaries on this site.

The men were active in I.S.9 No. 5 Field Section operations along the the Adriatic coastline of Italy.

Captain Andrew Robb

An entry for Andrew Robb is included in unithistories.com, “British Army Officers, 1939–1945”:

Here are a few details from that entry:

Born March 20, 1901 in Dunedin, New Zealand

Employed by the Colonial Service and lived in Malaya

Served in the Johore Volunteer Engineers (1932–1938) and the 1st Perak Battalion, Federation of Malay States Volunteers (1939–1942)

Served as Lieutenant, G Branch, Land Headquarters, Australian Intelligence Corps (1942–1944)

Commissioned on May 14, 1945, General List (emergency commission)

Retired to Christchurch, New Zealand with his wife, Antonina, where he worked as a surveyor

Died December 1974

Captain Richard Warrington Baldwin Lewis

Born November 1, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois

Active in the Middle East, North Africa, and Italy

Served in the American military intelligence service operated out of Washington, D.C. known as M.I.S.(X), which partnered with British M.I.9 in I.S.9 Central Mediterranean Forces activities

Was a commanding officer of the Northern Italy War Crimes Investigation Team

Received a Legion of Merit Award in 1944 for service behind enemy lines

Discharged from service in 1946 with the rank of major

Was a visiting lecturer at Smith College (1951–1952), a resident fellow at Princeton University (1952–1954), and faculty member at Rutgers University until appointment to the Yale University faculty in 1959

At Yale, taught in the Departments of English and American Studies

Was considered an authority on the development of the American novel in the 19th and 20th centuries

His Edith Wharton: A Biography won a Pulitzer Prize in 1976

Retired from Yale in 1988

At the time of his death on June 13, 2002, he was survived by Nancy Lewis, his wife of 52 years, and their son and two daughters

Resource links:

A tribute, “R. W. B. Lewis: Pulitzer Prize-winning literary scholar and critic,” from the Yale Bulletin & Calendar, (June 28, 2002):

Wikipedia biography:

Fazi Editore mention of R. W. B. Lewis’ Dante Alighieri

Review of Lewis’ The city of Florence: Travels through past and present:

Obituary in the Guardian:

Captain (later Major) Bridges George McGibbon-Lewis

Resource links:

Wikipedia biography

Entry for from unithistories.com, “British Army Officers, 1939–1945”

A few details on Bridges McGibbon-Lewis’ life from that history:

Born November 12, 1918 in Kensington, London

Awarded the Military Cross on August 24, 1944 for service in Italy

On November 2, 1940, commissioned (emergency commission) in The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)

In June 1941, escaped from Crete aboard an abandoned landing craft; was taken POW by the Italian submarine Adua, which intercepted the landing craft; escaped after being landed in Italy and fought with the partisans

On September 17, 1944 was transferred to the Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment, Army Air Corps (served through January 1, 1946)

Died September 7, 2001 in Westminster, London

Major John Francis Fillingham

Was Captain Andrew Robb’s direct superior during I.S.9 service

Entry from unithistories.com, “British Army Officers, 1939–1945”

A few details on John Fillingham’s life from that history:

Born February 16, 1918, in the Sculcoates district, East Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Frank Fillingham and Ada Wright, from Hull

Commissioned, the East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York’s Own), Territorial Army (July 5, 1939)

Mobilized Territorial Army (August 24, 1939)

Served in Italy

Seconded to the Air Ministry Directorate of Intelligence as the senior Army representative on Section AI 9 dealing with escape and evasion (E&E) matters (1945–1948)

Short service commission, Intelligence Corps (?–May 2, 1958)

Permanent commission, Intelligence Corps (May 3, 1958–September 4, 1962)

Died December 1991 in the Richmond district, Surrey

Major John “Jock” Alec McKee

Worked as a courageous field operational officer in enemy territory (mainly in the Marche region of Italy) with I.S.9 agents and collaborators, to rescue POWS.

Repeatedly mentioned in “Babka’s” Diaries [I Diari Di Babka 1943–1944 Aristocrazia Antifascista E Missioni Segrete, published by Alessandro Perini, 2007]

The following information is from the Archives Hub website (resource materials held at King’s College London, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives)

Born in 1916

2nd Lieutenant, Royal Scots (1939)

Lieutenant (1941), served with 4th Indian Division, Western Desert, 1941–1942

Was a prisoner of war in Libya; escaped in 1942

Member of I.S.9 “A” Force, special unit involved in escape operations in the Western Desert (1942), Italy (1943–1944), and Austria (1945)

Promoted to captain in 1945, and to major in 1950

Died in 1981

Captain Raymond Lee (Couraud)

French, naturalized British

Raymond Couraud (aka Lee) born in France on January 12, 1920

Was age 18 when he enrolled in the French Foreign Legion in 1938
(To be enrolled in the Foreign Legion one needed to be at least 21, so Raymond Lee Couraud lied about his date and place of birth, saying he was born four years earlier in Belgium.)

Assigned to the French Forces’ 5th Company of the 13th Brigade in March 1940

In Marseilles, in 1941, he assisted in the rescue of scores of artistic and intellectual refugees who sought to escape from the Nazi threat

In England, joined the Special Operations Executive of the French Free Forces; later served in the second regiment of the Special Air Service (SAS), and then commanded the newly formed French Squadron of the 2nd SAS

Resource links:

“Le Captain Lee-Couraud and le “French Squadron” du 2nd S.A.S. Regiment”

Wikipedia entry

ww2awards.com entry

warlinks.com entry for the Battle of Termoli

Raymond Couraud indexed at the British National Archives

A synopsis of Mary Jayne Gold’s Crossroads Marseilles 1940

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