29 Commando Regiment RA

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'29 Commando Regiment RA'

The first Army Commandos were raised by a Gunner, Lt Col John Durnford-Slater RA in June 1940, following the defeat ending with the evacuation at Dunkirk, The Commandos struck at the German forces at a time when Britain was otherwise powerless. Raids were made on the coasts of Norway, France and the Mediterranean. By the time of the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944, the Commando forces were of a considerable size and had played a vital part on operations in all theatres of war.

148 ( Meiktila ) Battery

148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery Royal Artillery is a Commando-trained unit of specialist Naval Gunfire Forward Observers. Although part of 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, it conducts many operations separately from the rest of the regiment. Royal Artillery batteries are usually named after one of their battle honours; the Battle of Meiktila occurred in Burma in February/March 1945, with 148 Battery firing its 25-pounder guns in support of 255th Armoured Brigade. 


79 (Kirkee) Battery

The Battery converted to the Commando role on 15th May 1962. Two years later saw the Regiment based in Singapore and serving in Borneo and Malaya where it saw action in the jungle role. The early seventies saw the battery based in Malta until it returned to The Royal Citadel in 1974. The troubles in Northern Ireland saw the Battery deployed on four Operation BANNER tours. The Battery has also served as part of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus on two occasions, the last in 1995.

8 (Alma) Battery

Commando trained. Currently based in the Royal Citadel Plymouth the Battery is known as "Black Eight" because of their efforts at the Battle of Alma where the Battery fired more rounds than any other leaving the faces of the gunners black with powder stains. Black Eight is the second gun battery in 29 Cdo. Regiment and is also equipped with six 105mm Light Guns and three Observation Parties.

95 Commando (Light) Regt. RA

The origin of this unit was the 95th Amphibious Observation Regiment RA formed in the early 1950's, which was redesignated as 95th Commando Amphibious Observation Regiment RA in 1962. On the 18th March 1964 it was redesignated as 95 Commando Light Regiment RA. On the 1st May 1971 it was again redesignated as  95th Commando Forward Observer Unit RA and joined with 29 Commando Regiment RA.

AUSTIN, Reginald Charles

Sergeant Reginald Austin was awarded the Military Medal whilst attached to 'X' Company, 45 Commando RM, in Aden.
‘On the 13th October 1966, Sergeant Austin was in charge of a 105mm gun crew which was attached to ‘X’ Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines for an operation in the Wadi Taym area of Qutaibi Province of the South Arabian Federation.  ‘X’ Company’s position was on the very open and exposed rocky feature known as ‘Table Top’.

BROWN, Christopher Charles

Captain Christopher Brown, 29 Commando Regiment RA, was a Naval Gunfire Spotter attached to Special Forces during the Falklands War. He received a Mention in despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished service between 25 April to 15 June 1982 [1] [2].
  • 30 Sept 1987 promoted Major [3].
  • 30 June 1997 (Lieutenant Colonel) promoted Colonel [4].

CUTTING, Robert Steven

Gnr Robert Cutting 29 Commando

Gunner Robert Cutting, aged 18, from Blackley Manchester, was shot dead at 4am whilst on foot patrol at the junction of Lepper Street and Stratheden Street, in the New Lodge area of Belfast. This was a blue on blue incident.

A chronology of the Northern Ireland Conflict September- October 1972 entitled The Troubles issue 17 describes the tragic incident and states a Marine was also seriously injured after 2 patrols mistook each other for gunmen.


Gunner Gary Eccleston, Bty. Cmdr's radio operator, received a Mention in Despatches in recognition of service during the operations in the South Atlantic on the night of 11/12 June 1982.

FARRAGHER, Kieran Joseph

Warrant Officer Kieran Farragher, attached to the Special Air Service, died in a climbing accident in Botswana. He had joined the SAS in 1973 having previously served in 95 Commando and 29 Commando Regt RA.

Special Forces ROH website (+ image)
Commando Gunner website


Sergeant James Higginbotham died whilst posted to the USA. [1+2]


Extract from the Aberdeen Press and Journal - Monday 12 August 1963

A British Sergeant,  James Higgenbottom [see notes] , of the 79th Commando Battery, Royal Artillery, died in a fire at his quarters at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, at the weekend. He was one of more than 100 British soldiers taking part in exercise "Round Bow", an exchange of British and US artillery units." [2]


Lieutenant Colonel Michael Holroyd-Smith, Commanding Officer 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, was appointed O.B.E. (Military Division) in recognition of service within the operations in the South Atlantic during the Falklands War [1][2].
  • 30 June 1985 promoted Colonel [3].
  • 31 December 1990 promoted Brigadier [4].
[1] London Gazette 49134, page 12857.
[2] National Archives file WO373/188/411.

McCRACKEN, William Andrew

Captain William McCracken 29 Commando
Citation: "Captain William McCracken, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, was in command of an Artillery and Naval Gunfire Forward Observation Party grouped with B Company 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment during the period 13th-14th June 1982. During the attack on Mount Longdon in the early hours of 12th June Captain McCracken consistently brought down artillery and naval gunfire safely in very close proximity to his own troops allowing them to manoeuvre whilst still maintaining contact with the enemy.

O'FLAHERTY, Denis William Venables Patrick

Denis William Venables Patrick O'Flaherty
Brigadier O'Flaherty
Lieutenant Denis O'Flaherty, No. 3 Commando 6 troop, was appointed DSO in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in successful combined operations against the enemy at Vaagso and Maaloy on December 27th 1941 [1]. He additionally received a Mention in Despatches during this operation [1].
Lt. O'Flaherty was severely wounded during the operation, being shot in his eye, jaw, and neck, after which he was hospitalised for two years [2]

ODAMS, Richard

Lance Bombardier Richard Odams,  born in West Hartlepool Durham, died in a boating accident whilst serving with 8 Bty. 

Commando Gunner website
CVA Forum message in his name

PAGE, Jack

Staff Sergeant  Jack Page, BQMS to 8 Alama Bty., was awarded the B.E.M. (Military Division) on the 1st January 1973 [1].
He had served for 20 years across the globe with the Royal Artillery, including operations with 95 Commando (Light) R.A., from 1962 to 1971, and then 29 Commando Regiment R.A., on the reorganisation of the Commando Regiment. His service included Hong Kong, B.A.O.R., Singapore, Kuwait, Borneo, U.N., and Northern Ireland [2].

POWELL, Adrian Mark

Trooper Adrian Powell died in a road traffic collision whilst serving with the SAS. He had previously served with  7 and 148 Btys. of 29 Commando Regt. RA, and 7 RHA.  He died when the vehicle in which he was travelling overturned while on way to training exercises near Nairobi in Kenya.

Also killed in this collision was 24648153 SSgt. Martin Halls, SAS, formerly Royal Engineers.

SEATH, David Bernard

Captain David Seath died of a cardiac arrest whilst taking part in the 2016 London Marathon. He was a fire support team commander for 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, based in Plymouth.

David Seath completed two master's degrees at the University of Aberdeen before attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2009. He was commissioned Lieutenant on the 14th August 2010 with seniority from 11 February 2009. Captain Seath served in Afghanistan in 2012.


Lance Corporal Dean Shams, REME, died whilst serving with 29 Commando, 79 Kirkee Cdo Bty. Fitter section in Belize. He slipped and fell into one of the chutes at the falls near Baldy Beacon.  No one had seen him fall. He was missing for 8 days before the water level dropped and his body found trapped amongst rocks. There is a memorial plaque  for him  in 29 Workshops. Dean had been recently married and had been promoted to L/Cpl at the time of his death. 

SMITH, Kevin John

Gunner Kevin Smith, 79 Bty.,  died in a fall from the wall of Mosta magazine in Malta.

"Whilst the rest of the detachment waited for transport up to the main magazine Smudger decided to climb up, he nearly made it when he unfortunately slipped and fell about 100 feet." *

Commando Gunner website
* 29 Cdo Veteran via CVA Facebook page.

SMITH, Michael

Warrant Officer Michael Smith died from injuries sustained when a grenade was fired at the UK base in Sangin, Helmand Province. He had served in the military for almost 22 years and during that service had deployed on operations to Northern Ireland, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, some of them on more than one occasion, as well as on exercises to Brunei, Canada, Kenya, France and Norway.

SWAIN, Ivor William

Sgt Swain 29 Commando

Sergeant Ivor Swain died during operations in Northern Ireland.

Ivor Swain was a well respected Sgt in 8 Alma Commando Battery, 29 Commando RA. He was killed when his Land Rover patrol was called out to investigate a reported incident. They drove into a blacked out articulated lorry which had been deliberately parked across the road with a white stripe painted up the side so that it looked like the road itself.*

* James Walton, 95&29 Cdo.

THOMAS, John David

Gunner John Thomas, 145 (Maiwand) Commando Battery, RA, received the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct for his gallantry and determination in Brunei on the 28th December, 1962, in plunging into a flooded river and rescuing a comrade from drowning.
London Gazette Supp. 43007, page 4683.

TINNION, Bradley

Bombardier Bradley Tinnion, formerly 29 Commando RA, died whilst serving with the SAS having left the Commando in 1998.  He suffered fatal wounds when he was hit by machine gun fire as he helped rescue and evacuate six Army hostages out of the jungle in Sierra Leone. He received a posthumous MiD. [Award: London Gazettes Supp. 56168, page 4246.]

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