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 DCM (Immediate)  for gallantry in North Africa whilst a Lance Corporal.
 
Citation for DCM

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

KNOWLAND, Lt. George Arthur, VC

Grave of Lieut Knowland VC

Lieutenant George Arthur Knowland was killed during operations at Hill 170, Kangaw. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Prior to this he was a Sergeant in No 3 Commando and took part in their action at Termoli in 1943. He was commissioned on the 23rd June 1944 and then joined No 1 Commando in the Far East. 

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]

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