On a journey of discovery to historical sites? Download the TracesOfWar app directly on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Basil, Albert Edward "Joe"

Date of birth:
(Enfield, United Kingdom)
Date of death:
February 2nd, 1992
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


Father Albert Edward Basil joined the British Army as a chaplain. He became a captain in the Chaplain Corps and was assigned to the Special Service Brigade. As US Rangers arrived at the Commando training center near Fort William, Scotland, he was employed there as well. Father Basil joined the Rangers as they were transferred to Africa and he stayed with them until the end of the Africa campaign.
During the fighting at El Guettar, the Rangers were to capture the enemy-held high ground overlooking the pass at Djebel-El-Ank. After they launched their attack on March 21th, 1943 at 0600 they took the frightened Italians completely by surprise, Father Basil calling out to them in fluent Italian to surrender. The Rangers took 200 POW's and secured the position, giving the 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division an easy way through.
After the Rangers had been replaced under American command, British Army leadership recalled Father Basil back to the Commando training center in Scotland.
He completed his term of service with the British Commando's and served with them on missions in Greece, the Balkans and Italy.
His friendship with the Rangers continued after the war. He was a welcome guest at several reunions and always attended them as long as his health would permit.
Father Basil died February 2nd, 1992.

Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!

Second World War (1939-1945)
1st Ranger Battalion, 1st Infantry Division "The Big Red One", U.S. Army
During a fierce engagement with the Italians, in which the Rangers were taking a considerable number of casualties, Father Basil, speaking Italian, courageously convinced the Italians to surrender. For this heroism he was awarded the Silver Star.
Silver Star Medal (SSM)


  • Photo: Infantry.army.mil
  • - Bahmanyar, M., Darby's Rangers 1942-45, Opsprey Publishing Ltd., Great Britain, 2003
    - Darby, W.O. with Baumer, W. H., Darby’s Rangers – We led the way, The Random House Publishing Group, U.S.A., 1980
    - Black, Robert W., Rangers in World War II, The Random House Publishing Group, U.S.A., 1992
    - Infantry.army.mil