No 1 Commando

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1 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. 

1 Commando Operations

These are the main operations that No 1 Commando took part in, either on their own, or as part of a Combined Operations assault. They are in date order and form part of our overall history of No 1 Commando. No 1 Commando were part of 3 Commando Brigade during the Burma Campaign. Many of the documents we have for this period are related to more than one single commando unit and are listed jointly in the document 3 Commando Brigade Operations in Burma.

Click on the links for more detail about each.

Operation Chopper

1 Commando War Diaries

Transcripts taken from the War Diary for No 1 Commando covering specific periods. They are basic transcripts for private research and educational use only. Whilst we always endeavour to achieve accuracy, we acknowledge that there may be dates and/or entries missing, and other possible errors, The actual War Diaries can be found at the National Archives in Kew.

1 Commando, Documents

Documents and maps relevant to No 1 Commando. These include reports on specific actions, orders of the day, troop reports, newsletters, and other items. Some of these documents are transcripts taken from official records covering specific periods. They are basic transcripts for private research and educational use only.

1 Commando, Memorial Service

A transcript of a document detailing a Memorial Service for No 1 Commando Casualties at Myebon. The document from John Mewett,  transcribed by Elaine Southworth-Davies.
Source: National Archives  WO 218/81.
 

MYEBON 4th FEBRUARY 1945

Memorial Service for the Fallen and Wounded Officers and Men of No. 1 Commando during operations on Myebon Peninsula and the Kangaw Bridgehead, January 1945.
 

1. Hymn

“Let Saints on earth in concert sing”

1 Commando, Operation Bizerte Plan and Structure Dec'42

No. 1 Commando:  Operation Bizerte

Appendix 1:  December 1942

Authors:  Various

Copy of original document supplied by:  John Mewett

Transcribed by:  Jennie Barlow

Maps will be added later to this War DIary segment

The report is divided into the following headings:

1.         Intention

2.         Objects

3.         Plan

            (a)  Navy

            (b)  Army

4.         Execution of Plan

5.         Attainments of Objects

6.         Information

1 Commando, Troop reports Op Bizerte Dec 1942

No. 1 Commando:  Operation Bizerte

Appendix 1:  December 1942

Troop Commanders reports

Authors:  Various

Copy of original document supplied by:  John Mewett

Transcribed by:  Jennie Barlow

NA Document ….no Ref Number

TROOP COMMANDERS' REPORTS

Lt. D.H. Cowap (Capt. Morgan's Troop)

Bad landing; wireless set drowned and we had no W/T communication for the whole operation.  Left beach 0245 hrs. on D.1.

AIRD, William

Private William Aird was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Burma.

The death of Pte. William Aird, M.M. (1 Cdo.) of Edinburgh was announced in Commando Association newsletter 45 issued September 1967.

ANDERSON, Barrie Sherwill Norman

The cause of death of Trooper Barrie Anderson is not known to this archive.

At the time of his death where Trooper Anderson is buried was not yet liberated. This is  perhaps explained by the entry for Caserta War Cemetery in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) databse: "Some of those buried here died in the hospital, others as prisoners of war (there was a POW Hospital at Caserta) before the Allied invasion." 

From November 1942 No 1 Commando were in action against German and  Italian forces in North Africa after Operation Torch.

BAKER, Albert

Lance Sergeant Albert Baker D.C.M., died during operations at Kangaw.
 
2 years earlier he was awarded the DIstinguished Conduct Medal (Immediate)  for gallantry in North Africa whilst a Lance Corporal.
Recommendation

BARNES, Ernest

Bombardier Ernest Tag Barnes
Tag Barnes 1 Commando
Bombardier Ernest Barnes, known as 'Tag' and from Sheffield, was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma [1].
 
Recommendation
"On the 31st January 1945 at Hill 170 near Kangaw Bdr. Barnes was an NCO in No. 1 Platoon ordered to counter attack on the right flank. The leading section of his Platoon came under intense MG fire and grenades, the Officer and Platoon Sgt. being hit immediately.

BARNES, Norman Alfred George

Trooper Norman Barnes died of wounds in North Africa [1].  At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in operations at Bizerte, Tunisia.
 
Extract from the No 1 Commando War Diary 6-8 December 1942
6 Dec.1942 - Unit returned to TABARKA (under troop arrangements) from Operation
7 Dec.1942 - 1000 hrs, Church Service held in Market Hall in memory of officers and men killed on Operation; 1400 hrs, Arms and equipment check 

BEATTIE, James Simpson

Corporal James Beattie was awarded the MM in 1943 in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North Africa [1]. He later went to O.C.T.U. and on the 1st April 1944 he was commissioned Second Lieutenant [2].
 
In 1967 the then Chief Superintendent Beattie, Edinburgh City Police,  was awarded the Q.P.M. [3]. 
 
In 1978 he was appointed O.B.E. whilst Deputy Chief Constable, Lothian and Borders Police [4].
 
Sources

BEECH, James Frederick

Private James Beech,  HQ 3 Special Service (Commando) Bde., reported initially by the War Office to have died a prisoner of war in Japanese hands, died in Poona Hospital, India, a victim of infantile paralysis. [1+2]

On the 31st January 1945 he is listed as being wounded whilst with No 5 Commando. [3]

BENSLEY, James

James Bensley
Corporal James Bensley, a Royal Marines Reservist with the R.M.F.V.R. (Tyne), died [1] in a parachute training exercise at Poole, Dorset [2]. A former Gunner in No.1 Commando during WW2 [2], James Bensley had left the Army and was married with a child, residing at Isobella Street, Newcastle, and working as a clerk with the Ministry of Pensions [3]. A Coroner later recorded a verdict of accidental death [4].
 
Sources
[1] AFM ROH.

BLEAKLEY, Charles

Fusilier Charles Bleakley died by gunshot wound (instantaneous) at Bunarkaig, Achnacarry.  He was seen after death by Capt. J.E. Symondson RAMC, the Medical Officer at the Commando Basic Training Centre (CBTC). 
 

BUTLER, Ronald Herbert

Lance Sergeant Ronald Butler was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during the raid on St. Nazaire. He was one of the Commando contingent on board HMS Campbeltown.
 
The death of LSgt Butler MM of Rockland, All Saints, Norfolk, was announced in Commando Association newsletter 107 issued August 1998.
 
Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 37162, page 3493 
St Nazaire Society wesbite.

CANN, John Henry

John Henry “Aga” Cann, born c1908 son of George (Boarding House keeper) and Emma Cann of  St Josephs, Swansea. Married Cardiff 1936. Attested 5.7.1926 into the Welch Regt Regulars at Swansea for 7 years with the Colours and 5 years Reserve service. Age: 18 years 208 days. Trade: Tin worker.  Long Service and Good Conduct Medal awarded without gratuity under Army Order of 31 December 1945. (Source: Mark Collins)

Wounded in North Africa 8.11.1942 when serving as RSM of  No 1 Commando.

CARREL, Ian Vincent

Ian Vincent Carrel, Captain in No. 1 Commando, received a MiD in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma [1].  He was appointed C.B.E. on the 7th June 1974 whilst Senior Technical Adviser, Ministry of Defence [2].
 
The death of Major Ian Vincent Carrel, CBE. (1 Cdo) of Old Oxted, Surrey, was announced in Commando Association newsletter 66 issued March 1978.
 
Sources
[1] London Gazettes Supp.  37730, page 4698.

COLEMAN, Harold James

Troop Sergeant Major Harold Coleman died in Caernarvonshire and Anglesey Infirmary as a result of injuries received whilst rock climbing.
 
RSM Cann and three TSM's were amongst those in attendance at his funeral. 
(Source: National Archives WO 218/ 49,  No 1 Cdo War Diary Jan-Dec 1943.)
 

COWAP, Dalton Hayton

Captain Dalton Hayton Cowap MC, known as George [1], served in 4 troop, and was wounded during operations at Myebon in January 1945 [2].  In 1943 whilst a Lieutenant in No 1 Commando he had been awarded the M.C. in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North Africa [3].
 
On the 16th April 1947 he relinquished his commission and was granted the honorary rank of Captain [4].
 
Post war he lived in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe.) [1].
 

CROWE, James

Jim Crowe MM 1 Commando
Lance Sergeant James Crowe was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma.
 
Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 36994, page 1546.
 

DAVIDSON, Douglas Malcolm

Capt.D.M. Davidson MC
Captain Douglas Davidson MC died of wounds sustained on the 14th March whilst leading a patrol and being engaged by the enemy. The location for the entry recorded in the War Diary shows Sidi es Siah. (Source: No 1 Commando War Diary March 1943.)
 
He was awarded the MC for his gallantry in North Africa. (Source: London Gazette Supplement 35987, page 1846.)
 

DOCKERILL, Arthur Henry

Lance Sergeant Arthur Dockerill was awarded the DCM [1] for his gallantry during the raid at St Nazaire. He was part of a demolition team on board HMS Campbeltown led by Lieutenant Chant. [2]. 
 
Sources
[1] London Gazettes Supp. 37162, page 3493.
[2] National Archives file WO 373/46/270.
 

HARRIS, Douglas Ewart

DouglasEwartHarrisMC
Douglas Ewart Harris served in the ranks of No. 1 Commando. He was selected for Officer training and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the South Wales Borderers on 21 July 1944.
  • Awarded the Military Cross [1] in recognition of his gallant and distinguished service during operations in April 1945 with the 2/5th Bn. The Queen's Royal at Lake Comacchio, Italy [2]. He left the Army on 18 October 1950.
Sources
[1] London Gazette Supp. 37235, page 4268.

HUMPHREYS, James

Private James Humphreys died of wounds during operations in North Africa. He received a posthumous MiD for gallant and distinguished services in North Africa.

Sources
CWGC
London Gazette Supplement 36180 page 4227.
 

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.

KEERY, William James

Corporal William Keery GM
Corporal William James Keery G.M. served in No.1 Commando. He was one of the Police intakes into the Commandos.
 
Whilst serving as a Constable, aged 25yrs, in the Metropolitan Police he had been awarded the George Medal [1] for rescuing 7 persons trapped in a cellar at Queens Buildings Scovell Road at Lambeth, London, on 15 October 1940 [2].
 
Citation

LINES, Ronald James

Lance Corporal Ronald Lines 1 Commando
Lance Corporal Ronald Lines , 6 troop, died during operations at Kangaw. More information is in the book Commando Diary written by his friend Tag Barnes.
 
Sources
CWGC
Issue 9 of the Third Jungle Book [view].
[Images] His nieces Marjorie Oxby and Jan Redmond.
 

LLOYD, Leonard

Private Leonard Lloyd is buried in the UK. [1]

His name is recorded in the Programme for the Winchester Reunion of No 1 Commando . This entry lists his name under " Killed or died of wounds as a result of action on the occupied French coast" [2]

Additionally his name is listed on the Westminster Abbey Commando Roll of Honour database as killed in action. [3]

MALONEY, Daniel

Private Daniel Maloney 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.

MCNEIL, John

Former Corporal John McNeil (1 Cdo) was killed by an explosion at the Waunyclun Colliery, Trimsaran, S. Wales. (Source: Commando Association newsletter 35.)

MORGAN, Harold Rees

Captain Harold Rees Morgan 1 Commando
Captain Harold Morgan from Llanelly died [1] during operations at Bizerte Tunisia. He received a MiD for "gallant and distinguished services in North Africa." [2].
 
Extract from the Liverpool Evening Express - Tuesday 22 December 1942

MORRIS, Matthew Frank

Lance Sergeant Matthew Morris MM died during operations at Kangaw. He is mentioned in this report about the battle. [view]
 
LSgt. Morris was awarded the MM, and his later MiD,  in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North Africa. 
 
Sources

OLVER, Leslie Cyril

Private Leslie Olver was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Burma.
 
The death of Pte. (later Sgt.) Leslie Cyril Reginald Olver MM of Canterbury Kent was announced in Commando Association newsletter 109 issued September 1999.
 
Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 36994, page 1545.
 

REDMAN, Joseph

RSM Joseph Redman 1 Commando
Warrant Officer Class 1 Joseph Redman was appointed M.B. E. (Military Division) in the King's birthday honours list of June 1946 [1].  
 
On the 23rd September 1943 it was announced that the then Sgt. Redman had received a M.I.D., in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North Africa. [2]. 
 
Extract from the Biggleswade Chronicle - Friday 27 September 1946.

REED, Neville

Neville Reed was a Lance Sergeant in No 1 Commando.
 
Post war he was RSM of 22 Special Air Service Regiment in Malaya. [1] On the 28th May 1957 it was announced that he had received a MiD in recognition of distinguished services with 22 SAS in Malaya for the period 1st July to 31st December, 1956. [2] 
 
By 1958 he was RSM at the Gunnery School, R.A.C. Centre, Lulworth Camp, Wareham, Dorset. [3] 
 

SANDO, Thomas

Private Thomas Sando died in North Africa [1]. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in operations at Bizerte, Tunisia.
 

Extract from the Marylebone Mercury - Saturday 03 July 1943

Commando Dies Of Wounds:- Private Thomas Sando, Welch Regiment, of No. 1 Commando, is reported to have died of wounds in Tunisia. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Percy Sando. of 16 Rowan Road, Brentford, and late of Ealing Road, Brentford.[2]

SCANTLEBURY, John

TSM John 'Jack' Scantlebury MM
Troop Sergeant Major John Scantlebury, known as Jack, was awarded the M.M. in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in North Africa on the 23rd February 1943. This was during an enemy assault in force on the left flank of the Commando  when the then Corporal Scantlebury was the No.2 of a M.M.G. 
 

SCARAMANGA, George Ambrose

Lieutenant George Scaramanga M.C.
Whilst a Lieutenant in No. 1 Commando, George Scaramanga was awarded the M.C. [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North Africa during Operation Bizerte [2]  [more.....]
 
The death of "Capt. (later Rev.) George Ambrose Scaramanga, MC. (1 Cdo) of Chippenham, Wilts." was announced in Commando Association newsletter 87 issued September 1988.
 
Sources
[1] London Gazettes Supp. 35944, page 1300.

SHORT, Bert

Private Bert Short was awarded the Military Medal, announced in Gazettes on the 13th October 1939, for "gallant and distinguished service in recent operations."
 
Extract from Commando Association newsletter 35 issued September 1962 "Recently promoted W.O.1. and R.S.M. of No. 18 Coy. R.A.M.C. at Millbank Barracks, London, S.W.1, is ex Pte. Bert Short, M.M. of 1 Cdo."
 
Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 34709, page 6933.
Commando Association Newsletter 35.

SINCUP, Arnold William

Arnold Sincup MM 1 Commando
Lance Sergeant Arnold Sincup was awarded the DCM in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma. He is mentioned in this report about the battle at Kangaw. [view].
 
Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 37040, page 2079.
National Archives file WO 373/36/43.
 

SMITH, James

Jimmy Smith served as a Sergeant Major in No. 1 Commando. He died in 1983.
 
Extract from CA Newsletter 31 of Sept. 1960.
"CSM Jimmy Smith, known to most members of No. 1 Commando as 'De Sevia the magician', is still appearing at variety theatres in most of the large cities and towns in this country."
 

SOUTHWORTH, John Charles Hughes

CSM John Southworth MM 1 Commando

3rd July 1939 Enlisted in the TA South Wales Borderers (The Monmouthshire Regiment). 
28th April 1940 Volunteered for and was posted to No.9 Independent Company; 
10th November 1940 Posted to 'A' Coy., No.1 Special Service Bn., 
4th March 1941 Posted to No.1 Commando 4 troop.

Whilst Lance Sergeant of 4 troop John Southworth was awarded the MM for gallantry during operations at Sedjenane.

SWAINE, Ronald Oliver Carless

Lieut. Ronnie Swayne was awarded the MC in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during the raid on St. Nazaire.  He was part of the Commando contingent on board ML306. [1]

On the 26th June 1979 he was conferred with the honour of knighthood. [2]

In 1989 he was appointed Vice President of the Commando Association. [3]

THIRKELL-WHITE, Derek John Plantaganet

Captain Derek Thirkell-White died during operations with the King's Own Regiment at Leros having left the Commando. He had earlier served with the Middle East Commando (redesignated as 1 Special Service Regiment) in July 1942.
 
Sources
​War Office Casualty List 1402
ME Cdo Depot and 1 Special Service Regt. War Diary Nominal Roll of Officers July 4th  1942 ref. National Archives WO 218 / 159.
 

THURSBY, John Fortescue

Second Lieutenant John Thursby died after contracting Polio during his posting to the Far East with No.1 Commando.

In the  Troop Notes for 1 Cdo  Lt. Thursby was in 5 troop with Captain 'Dick' Turpin as their troop captain. Lieut. Thursby's death is mentioned in the "Third Jungle Book" issue No.8 date Sep 1945, in the No.5 Troop Notes section, page 26. - "The sudden passing of Lieut. Thursby was a great blow to the Troop we offer our sincerest condolences to his family on their great loss"

Sources
CWGC.

TREVOR, Kenneth Rowland Swetenham (Lt Col )

Officer Commanding No 1 Commando 1943 - 1945.
 
Ken Trevor joined No 1 Commando in 1941.  As Captain of 1 troop in 1942 he took part in a raid at St Cecily Plage  and the later Operation Torch landings. He received a Mention in Despatches (MiD) in N. Africa. He took over command of No 1 Commando from his cousin Tom Trevor when the Commando sailed to India in 1943. During the campaign in Burma he was awarded the DSO for gallant and distinguished services.
 

WALLIS, Reginald

Corporal Reginald Wallis died during operations at Kangaw. He received a MiD in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North Africa.
 
There is a photo that may be of him in the gallery HERE.
 

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