- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
I never had the privilege of meeting Sergeant Mann but I have friends that called him friend. This is a great loss to our community.
Shared from Military Minds Facebook page.
This gentleman was one of the original members of the FSSF
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce that C. W. 'Charlie' Mann passed away, Saturday 28 Jan 2017, at the age of 94.
He was a proud member of;
3rd Regiment (4 Company) FSSF
Award: Bronze Star
Place: Italy 1944
Born June 30, 1922, and raised in Port Hope, Ontario, he joined the militia in 1937 and the regular army in 1940. In 1942, he volunteered for the renowned First Special Service Force (the Devil's Brigade or Black Devils).
Like most soldiers, he saw the world. He served in the Aleutians Islands in Alaska, North Africa and Italy. As a member of the Special Service Force, he was involved in fierce fighting in Italy. In late 1944, when he was in southern France, the Special Service Force was disbanded. He was in England when the war ended and then returned to Canada.
He married June Popkin of Montreal in 1946, and they had two children, Melodee and Marten.
While it was known as the 'Devil's Brigade', it was in reality, the First Special Service Force (FSSF) made up of young soldiers who were to become infamously famous and highly feared by the 'enemy'.
They were an elite World War II 'special force' where hand-picked Canadians and Americans came together. The First Special Service Force (FSSF) was activated in July, 1942 under the command of Lt. Robert T. Frederick, who went on to become a Brigadier-General at age 36 and the youngest Major General at 37.
First named the 'Black Devils by the Germans for the black boot-polish they smeared on their faces during night attacks, the FSSF was highly trained as demolition experts, mountaineers, skiers, parachutists and hand-to-hand combat troops.
They took some 35,000 prisoners of war and one of the most important accomplishments on the battlefield was Frederick's leadership, who according to his men, ruled with an iron fist in a velvet glove.
The young highly trained unit, in fact, laid the foundation of today's elite forces, such as the Navy Seals and Green Berets, and they never failed to take an objective.