No 12 Commando

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'Operation Checkmate'

Location

Kopervik
Norway
59° 17' 1.3452" N, 5° 18' 24.7572" E
Wednesday, April 28, 1943

Operation CheckmateA combined operations raid on Axis shipping in the harbour at Kopervik, Norway. This raid was a No 14 Commando operation. The raiders managed to sink several ships using limpet mines, but were eventually captured and initially taken to Haugesund for interrogation before being transported to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

'Operation Crackers'

Monday, February 22, 1943
An intelligence gathering operation originally planned to include the destruction of observation posts in the Norwegian fjords, but due to bad weather the raiders took over an unmanned observation post for a week of intelligence gathering before making good their escape. 
 

'Operation Foxrock'

Location

St Valery en Caux
France
49° 51' 38.0952" N, 0° 42' 30.8052" E
Sunday, May 31, 1942

Night of 31st May/1st June. This was a planned operation by 100 men from No 12 Commando at St Valery en Caux which was aborted after the raiding party were spotted by German naval  forces.

12 Commando Nominal Roll

In 1946 the Army Council decided that the Army Commandos were to be disbanded and no provision was allowed or made for any depository or office which would have at least contained a complete Roster of Names of the men who served in the various units.
 

12 Commando Operations

These are some of the operations that No 12 Commando took part in, either on their own, or as part of a Combined Operations assault.  In many cases only a handful of Commandos from No 12 took part rather than the Commando as a whole. They are in date order and form part of our overall history of No 12 Commando.

Click on the links for more detail about each.

Operation Chess - France, July 1941

Operation Kitbag - Norway, November 1941(aborted)

Operation Anklet - Norway, November 1941

12 Commando, Redesignation of 4 (Para) Troop,1943

Type: Letters
Author: Chris Rooney
Year of Publishing: 2014
Keywords: Rooney, Lovat,

A letter to Captain Oswald B (Mickey) Rooney of 4 (Para) Troop, No12 Commando from Lord Lovat, HQ Special Service Brigade, on the reallocation of No12 Cdo.Lovat has added a footnote to Mickey Rooney

OC No 9 'is short of a good subaltern who can be added to the 27 other ranks. Please contact him.

Document courtesy of Capt Rooney's son, Chris Rooney

BARTHOLOMEW, Peter Ian

Peter Ian Bartholomew No 3 Commando
No 3 Commando
Peter Ian Bartholomew served in No 12 Commando until their disbandment when he moved to No 3 Commando. He participated in the D Day landings as Captain of 2 troop.  On the Commando's return to NW Europe from the UK in 1945, he took command of No 3 Commando with the rank of Acting Lieutenant Colonel. 
  • Awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallant and distinguished service in North West Europe, the award being published in June 1945. [London Gazette 37138, page 3231.]

BASSETT-WILSON, Paul Francis

Paul Bassett-Wilson MC
No 9 Commando
No 12 Commando
Captain Paul Bassett-Wilson MC died during operations with No.9 Commando at Lake Comacchio, Italy [1].
A former pupil of Stowe School and student at Trinity College [2], he had earlier served as a Lieutenant in No.12 Commando. 
  • 27/28 March 1942 (Lieutenant) (No.12 Commando) embarked on Motor Launch ML443 as part of the raiding force for Operation Chariot at St Nazaire.  He was evacuated back to the UK after the raid.[3].
  • 4 September 1943 posted from No.12 Commando to No. 9 Commando [4].

BOLDEN, Stanley

Stanley Bolden 12 Commando
No 12 Commando
SAS
Lance Corporal Stanley Bolden, No.12 Commando, was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Field [1][2].
He was later killed in action serving as a Corporal with the 2nd SAS Regiment during an attack on the German 51 Mountain Corps HQ at Albinea Italy [3][4].
Recommendation
Operation Cartoon.
"L/Cpl. Bolden was with the detachment of the Special Service Brigade which landed at Sagvaag, Norway on the night 23rd/24th January, 1943.

BOWMAN, Thomas Horne

No 12 Commando
No 1 Commando
Lieutenant Thomas Bowman served in No.12 Commando ( Para Troop) and then No.1 Commando 6 Troop in the Far East.
Post war he had a business in Camberley Surrey and was also an actor. He had a role in the "My Fair Lady" New York Broadway Revival which ran from March 25, 1976 to February 20, 1977.
  • His death was announced to members in Commando Association newsletter 105 issued September 1997 " Lt. Thomas Horne (Tom) Bowman (12 & 1 Cdo.) of New York, U.S.A." 
Sources

BRETT, Gerrard

No 12 Commando
Lieutenant Gerrard Brett was awarded the Military Cross [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire 27/28 March 1942. He embarked on board HMS Campbeltown [2], was taken prisoner after the raid and sent to Stalag 3D Berlin-Steglitz [3].
  • 7 November 1953 relinquished commission and granted honorary rank of Captain [4].
Sources
[1] London Gazette 37162, page 3493.

BRODISON, Samuel James

CSM Samuel Brodison MM 12 Commnando
No 10 Commando
No 12 Commando
Company Sergeant Major Samuel Brodison was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service carrying out beach obstacle reconnaissance in France during May 1944 [1][2].
Recommendation
"This SNCO was a member of a military force which landed to the east of Calais on the north coast of France, on the night 16/17 May 1944, to carry out a reconnaissance of enemy beach obstacles.

CALLAWAY, Thomas, F.

Thomas Callaway12 Commando
No 12 Commando
Corporal Thomas Callaway was one of the commando contingent who embarked on HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot, the raid at St. Nazaire 28 March 1942.
Reported missing after the raid, found to have been taken prisoner and later transported to Stalag 357 at Oerbke, Nr. Fallingbostel.
 
Sources
St Nazaire Society website.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939045 / National Archives file WO417/43.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.

CHUNG, Ronald Robert Fong

Ron Chung 12 Commando
No 12 Commando
Corporal Ron Chung took part in Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire. Embarked on board HMS Campbeltown he was taken prisoner after the raid and transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, Poland.
Post war Ron was a regular attendee at Commando Association events. His son Martin also completed Commando training and received his own green beret on 30 May 1980.
 
Sources
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.
St Nazaire Society website.

CLAPTON, John Francis

Lieutenant John Clapton 6 Commando
No 6 Commando
No 12 Commando
Lieutenant John Clapton was awarded the Military Cross [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished service on 28 January 1945 whilst leading a small Recce patrol at a wood near Linne [2].
  • Served in No.12 Commando 4 Parachute Troop prior to moving to No.6 Commando [3].
Sources
[1] London Gazette 37027, page 1942.
[2] National Archives file WO373/53/64.

COOPER-KEY, Caryll Astley

No 12 Commando
30 January 1930 commissioned Second Lieutenant, Yorks. and Lancs. Regt. [1].
1 August 1938 (Lieutenant) promoted Captain, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers [2].
August 1940 second in command of No.12 Commando on its formation [3].
15 June 1942 second in command of 142 Commando Company [4].
16 June 1944 (Captain)(War Substantive Major) resigned his commission [5].
 
Sources
[1] London Gazette 33575, page 652.

COX, Victor John

No 12 Commando
Sergeant Victor John 'Jack' Cox, No 12 Commando, was assigned to No.14 Commando for Operation Checkmate.  He was captured on the raid at Kopervik in Norway on 29th April 1943.  He was imprisoned and later executed after being taken to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and shot.  
 

CRUDEN, Peter Ramsay

Captain Peter Cruden 12 and 6 Commando
No 12 Commando
No 6 Commando
Peter Ramsay Cruden was commissioned Second Lieutenant Royal Artillery 22 March 1941[1].
  • Lieutenant in No.12 Commando [2]
  • 6 June 1944 (Lieutenant) (No.6 Commando) shot and wounded in shoulder by sniper at Normandy [3][3a].
  • 8 November 1945 (Temporary Captain) Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished service in NW Europe [4].
  • 4 January 1946 transferred to the Black Watch [5].

DEERY, Stewart

No 12 Commando
Sergeant Stewart Deery was awarded the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished services during Operation Chariot at St Nazaire. He was one of the Commando contingent who embarked on HMS Campbeltown. Taken prisoner after the raid and transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf in Poland.
 

FERGUSON, W.J.

No 12 Commando

Corporal Ferguson was one of the commando contingent embarked on board HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot, the raid at St. Nazaire on 28 March 1942. He was wounded, taken prisoner of war and transported to Stalag 3A at Luckenwalde, Germany. 

Sources
Army Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/41 and WO417/45.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/11.
St Nazaire Society website.

FYNN, Francis West (Lt Col)

Lieutenant Colonel Francis Fynn 2 commando
Lieutenant Colonel Francis Fynn 2 Commando
No 2 Commando
No 12 Commando
Lieutenant Colonel Francis West Fynn became the Commanding Officer of No 2 Commando from June 1944 after Lt Col Churchill was taken prisoner of war. 
 
A former Lance Sergeant in the Royal Artillery T.A., he was appointed Second Lieutenant on the 23rd December 1939 [1]. On the 11th July 1942 the then Lieutenant Fynn was posted from the RA to the Gordon Highlanders [2]
 

HARRISON, Stewart Sandbach (LtCol)

No 12 Commando
Commanding Officer of No. 12 Commando.
 
A veteran of World War One and recipient of the Military Cross, announced in July 1918, and later a bar to the Military Cross in August 1919.
 
Sources
London Gazette Supp. 30780, p7909 and Supp. 31745, p924.
List The Bugle , author Maj. Gen. Corran Purdon CBE, MC, CPM.
Commando Association obituaries newsletter 70 issued March 1980.
 

HENRIQUES, Robert David Quixano

Special Service Brigade
No 12 Commando
Major Robert Henriques was the Brigade Major of the Special Service Brigade throughout the operation at Vaagso in Norway on 27 December 1941 [1].
  • Former Troop Leader of 'E' troop No. 12 Commando [1a].
  • 2 June 1943 (Captain)(Temporary Major)(Acting Lieutenant Colonel) appointed M.B.E. (Military Division) [2].

HOYLE, Robert

Robert Hoyle 12 Commando
No 12 Commando
Corporal Robert Hoyle embarked on HMS Campbeltown for the raid at St. Nazaire on 28 March 1942. Reported as missing after the raid he was later found to have been taken prisoner and transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, Poland.

HUNTINGTON, John, Memories of No 12 and No 1 Commando

Type: Personal Papers
Author: John Mewett
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: Memories of Sgt John Huntington 'E' Troop No 12 Commando and 3 Troop No 1 Commando

Sgt John Huntington was in E Troop No 12 Commando and 3 Troop No 1 Commando.

This document is Johns memories as detailed in letter form over the course of 5 years to John Mewett. Unfortunately before the project was complete JH died but what was related makes for a very interesting first hand account of life in a commando unit.

JOHNSON, James

No 12 Commando
Lance Sergeant James Johnson was awarded the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished services  during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire on 28 March 1942.
He was one of the Commando contingent embarked on board HMS Campbeltown for the raid, captured and later transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, Poland.
 
Sources 

LEMON, Frederick

No 12 Commando

Lance Corporal Fred Lemon embarked on HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot, the raid at St. Nazaire 28 March 1942. Reported missing after the raid, found to have been taken prisoner and transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, Poland.

Sources
St Nazaire Society website.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/43.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.

MAGINNIS, John

No 6 Commando
Rifleman John Maginnis volunteered for the Commandos whilst serving in the Royal Ulster Rifles. He initially joined No 12 Commando and on their disbandment moved to No 6 Commando. 
 

MALONEY, Daniel

Private Daniel Maloney 1 Commando
No 12 Commando
No 1 Commando
Private Daniel Maloney, from Hulme Manchester, served with No. 12 Commando,  and later No. 1 Commando 6 troop in the Far East. He is on a Casualty List of those wounded during the action on Hill 170 on 31st January 1945.

MCGONIGAL, Ambrose Joseph

Ambrose McGonigal MC
No 12 Commando
SBS
Lieutenant Ambrose McGonigal was awarded the M.C. [1] for distinguished service during a raid on the enemy held island of Sark on the night of the 27th December 1943. This was a reconnaissance operation to obtain certain information and if possible capture a prisoner. Very soon after landing the raiding party inadvertently entered a minefield and the resultant explosions killed one member of the party and badly injured a second. Whilst evacuating from the minefield a further 4 mines exploded killing the already injured man, and wounding Lt. McGonigal and 2 others.

NASH, Douglas James

No 12 Commando
Douglas Nash was awarded the MM  in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field on the 26th December 1943. 
 
The death of Sgt. Douglas J. Nash, MM (12 & 6 Cdos) of Cleveland, Ohio, USA., formerly of Birmingham, was announced in Commando Association newsletter 75 issued September 1982.
 
Source
London Gazettes supp. 36403, page 1042.
 

PINCKNEY, Philip Hugh

No 12 Commando
SAS

Captain Philip Pinckney was executed whilst a prisoner of war. At the time he was serving with 2 SAS and had been captured on Operation Speedwell after parachuting with 6 others into Bologna, Italy. The aim of the operation was to disrupt enemy railway movements.

REEVES, Walter

No 12 Commando
Bombardier Walter Reeves was one of the commando contingent who embarked on HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot, the raid at St. Nazaire 28 March 1942. Taken prisoner he was later transported to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf, Poland.
  • 1938 attested into the Royal Artillery.
Sources
St. Nazaire Society website.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/43.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO 392/1.

SIMS, Edward, G.

Private Edward Sims 12 and 6 Commandos
No 12 Commando
No 6 Commando
Private Edward Sims served in No 12 Commando until it was disbanded in 1943, then in No 6 Commando. He was batman to Captain Peter Cruden [1][2].
  • Post war in June 1946 he was one of ten commandos chosen at random to sit with the Queen in the Royal Box at the Albert Hall concert in aid of the Commando Benevolent Fund [3]
  • Born Slade's Green, Kent. Pre war employed as Butcher's assistant. Post war in 1959 working at Katowice Poland. Later returned to UK living in Dartford [2][2a][3].

TIBBLES, Harry

No 6 Commando
Private Harry Tibbles, a bren gunner with No. 6 Commando,  was awarded the M.M. for his gallantry near Lauenburg on the night of the 28th April 1945 during the period when his troop were responsible for the left flank of the bridgehead over the River Elbe.

WESTLAKE, Peter David

Peter Westlake 2 Commando
No 2 Commando
Rifleman Peter Westlake, 6 Troop, was one of the commando contingent who embarked on Motor Launch ML 192 for Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire 28 March 1942. Reported missing after the raid, found to have been taken prisoner and transported to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf, Poland.
 
Sources
St Nazaire Society website.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/43.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.

WRIGHT, Robert Ernest

No 12 Commando

Corporal Robert Wright was one of the commando contingent embarked on HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot, the raid at St. Nazaire on 28 March 1942. Reported missing after the raid he was later found to have been taken prisoner and transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, Poland.

Sources
St Nazaire Society website.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/44.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.


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