Operation Typical was the name of the first World War II British mission fully assigned to Yugoslav partisans HQ and Marshall Tito. The six soldiers flew from Derna airfield on 27 May 1943 and parachuted to Black Lake in Montenegro at the height of a large German offensive Operation Schwarz which aimed to destroy the partisan forces. The group was led by Colonel William Deakin and Captain William F Stuart, together with the two radio operators, Sergeants Walter Wroughton and Peretz 'Rose' Rosenberg. Canadian-Yugoslav Ivan ('John') Starčević acted as a translator and Sergeant John Campbell (RM) was a cipher clerk, and bodyguard.
I was to explain to the Partisan leadership the point of view maintained by G.H.Q., Middle East, namely that the war in the Mediterranean has reached a stage in which Allied offensives may be considered imminent and the synchronization of the Partisan effort therefore becomes desirable. My further instructions were to arrange for the Partisan forces to attack specific targets on enemy lines of communication with supplies and, if necessary, British personnel provided by us; to report on the military situation in the country and advise us on the selection of targets; and to convey the wishes of G.H.Q., Middle East, to the Partisan G.H.Q. and to report the point of view maintained by them.
The mission insisted on sabotage operations, offering explosives and, if necessary, British demolition experts, for this purpose. The selection of targets varied, from disrupting German supplies to North Africa by cutting off the railway line to Greece to shipments of Romanian oil and Yugoslav minerals (e.g. copper, chrome and bauxite) to Germany.
Deakin and the team followed Partisan HQ across the Durmitor range ending up in German, Italian and Bulgarian encirclement under heavy bombing. On 9th Jun 1943, Stuart was killed in an air-raid while Tito was wounded in the shoulder. The party broke through the encirclement at Tjentište in the middle of the night and informed Cairo HQ on 13th Jun 1943.
By the end of June they arranged timings and locations for the explosives and medical aid to be parachuted while they moved onto Olovo, Kladanj and Vlasenica. On 30th Jul 1943 they reached Bijela Voda near Žepče, where Deakin witnessed and reported on the destruction of fourteen kilometres of railway tracks. By 4th Aug 1943 the party reached plateau of Petrovo Polje before moving onto Jajce on 25th Aug 1943.
The Italian army surrendered to the Anglo-American forces in Italy on 8th Sept 1943. Soon after, British G.H.Q. instructed the mission to negotiate an armistice and carry out the disarming of the Italian troops, which was rejected by Tito who demanded the Italians surrender to partisan troops. The main race was towards Split, the Italian HQ, with the aim to disarm the Italians before the German troops reclaimed the region. On 11th Sept 1943, Deakin, together with an American Captain M Benson left for Bugojno, to join General Koča Popović and the 1st Proleterian Brigade on their way to Split. They arrived on 16th Sept 1943, and found General Becuzzi, the commander of the Bergamo Division with 14,000 already disarmed soldiers. Deakin and Benson, together with Lieutenant John Burge, witnessed Becuzzi signing the terms of surrender.
After a brief speech to the citizens of Split in the main square, translated by Ivo Lola Ribar, Deakin and Wroughton returned to Jajce via Sajkovići, Grahovo and Drvar.
On 26th Sept 1943 in Mrkonjic-Grad Deakin reported to the newly arrived Brigadier-General Fitzroy Maclean. The gesture completed the Operation Typical