No 2 Commando

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'Operation Blackcock'

Sunday, August 15, 1943

Operation Blackcock was a British amphibious landing to take Scaletta on the north-east coast of Sicily. Planned by Lieutenant General Sir Miles Dempsey’s XIII Corps, of General Sir Bernard Montgomery’s 8th Army, the operation was designed as one of a pair of Allied operations to cut off the last elements of the German forces trying to fall back to their evacuation point at Messina in north-eastern Sicily.

2 Commando

The History

The first No.2 Commando was formed on the 22nd June 1940 for a parachuting role at Cambrai Barracks, Perham Down, near Tidworth, Hants. The Unit at the time consisted of four troops - 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D'.  Eventually 11 troops were raised. A nominal roll of 'C' and 'D' troops can be found in our documents album within the No 2 Commando gallery.

2 Commando Commanders

This history of No. 2 Commando was compiled at the request of The Commando Veterans Association, who wanted a record of the unit’s activities and first-hand recollections of its members as seen through the eyes of a No. 2 Commando veteran. There was a certain urgency about the request because this veteran, turned author, is old and just about one step away from the knacker’s yard. There is much to tell about the No. 2 Family and its Father, Charlie Newman.

Bob Bishop

Read more about each Commanding Officer below.

2 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. 

2 Commando Salerno Casualties

Type: Files
Author: No 2 Commando Officer
Year of Publishing: 2018
Keywords: salerno, casualties, 2 commando, avalanche, vietri, dragone hill, piegolette, piegolelle, the pimple, scaletta, sicily, italy

A document created by an officer of No 2 Commando with specifics relating to No 2 Commando casualties at Salerno, and locations of where they lay, or were first buried. It also includes details of three from the action at Scaletta, Sicily the previous month.

2 Commando, Glomfjord, Norway

Operation Musketoon

"It was on a day in late July, 1942 that the author noted the absence from the ranks of his troop of Capt. Graeme Black, Pte. Eric Curtis and Rfmn. Cyril Abram. At the same time, men of other troops recorded that Capt. Joe Houghton, Sgt. Richard O’Brien, L/Sgt. Bill Chudley, Pte. Reg Makeham, Cpl. John Fairclough, T.S.M. Miller Smith and Pte. Fred Trigg had also vanished. No member of No. 2 Commando had any inkling as to the significance of these disappearances, but as usual, no questions were asked.

2 Commando, Lake Comacchio

Operation Roast.

"Remote from what was to be known as the ‘Battle of Lake Comacchio’, this author did not have a clue as to what was happening to his friends in No. 2 Commando. He had been inside Germany for some time and way out of touch.

It seems that No. 2 Commando had been joined by No. 9 Commando and Nos. 40 and 43 R.M. Commando to implement the task of grabbing a spit of land which extended from Lake Comacchio to the Adriatic Sea, with further exploitation northwards envisaged in the minds of the ‘planners’.

2 Commando, Operations from Vis

"No. 2 Commando started to arrive at Komiza on the Yugoslavian island of Vis on January 16th, 1944. They were to operate on Yugoslav soil for the next six months. The Commando was still much-depleted as a result of the battering it had taken at Salerno, and almost half the unit remaining in Italy consisted of the replacement men and those ‘old hands’ who formed the training cadres.

2 Commando, Salerno Aftermath

"As the No. 2 Commando War Diary states, the remnants of the unit, following the Salerno campaign, were redeployed to Catania, Sicily. For once they were not lodged in their usual dusty field. By some accident they had been given a roof over their heads in the shape of a former Italian barracks.

2 Commando, St. Nazaire

Operation Chariot

"If any reader of this attempt to record the history of No. 2 Commando has gotten this far, he or she will have noted that the pride of place, on Page 1, has been given to the remembrance of the men of the Commando who died in the course of No. 2 Commando operations, including the men who did not return from St. Nazaire.

2 Commando, Vaagso

"The frustrations of 1941 dragged on almost to the end. It had not been a good year from the offensive-action viewpoint of the men of No. 2 Commando. They had done nothing to speak of and were upset at being unemployed. However, the Vaagso raiding force announced the end to this inertia, commencing warfare on December 27th, 1941, landing on Maaloy Island and overrunning the place in less than ten minutes.

A Raid on the Messina to Palermo railway

Location

Sicily
38° 1' 19.6896" N, 14° 11' 7.9656" E
Friday, August 29, 1941

On the night of 29th/30th August, 1941, a small party of Commandos, led by Lt. Dudley Schofield, landed from the submarine 'Triumph' of the 10th Submarine Flotilla (operating from Malta), and successfully demolished one and a half spans of a bridge carrying the main Messina to Palermo Railway.  

Log Book HMS Triumph 30 Aug.1941

Between 0049-0113 hrs HMS Triumph launched 9 canoes (with 13 saboteurs led by Lt.Schofield) off Torrente Furiano to destroy the railway bridge there (there was 1 single canoe and 4 towing canoes, 4 others with demolitions and stores).

ABRAM, Cyril

Rfn. Abram was one of the seven men of No. 2 Commando who were captured after Operation Musketoon, and later executed under Hitler's Commando Execution Order, at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Berlin, 1942.

This was a raid on an electricity generating station at Glomfjord in German occupied Norway. They were taken by submarine to a remote Fjord, completed a difficult overland route, approaching their target from the rear and successfully destroyed it. Seven were captured and later executed at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp under Hitler's infamous Commando Order. 

AMESBURY, Alfred Edmund

Corporal Alfred Amesbury, 3 Troop, was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy.

Source
London Gazettes Supp. 36349, page 519.
 
Notes
On the National Archives file WO/373/4/320 his rank is shown as Trooper
 

ANCHOR, John Robert

Acting Corporal John Anchor, 6 Troop, was awarded the MM for his gallantry during Operation Healing 2 at Spilje Albania.

The citation for his award is on our report on the Operation. [view report.]

The death of Cpl. John Robert Anchor MM, from Chelmsford, Essex, was announced in Commando Association newsletter 56 issued March 1973.

Medal Source
London Gazettes Supp. 36730, page 4570.
CVA Gallery.
 

ASHCROFT, Arthur

L/Cpl Ashcroft was wounded and taken POW at St Nazaire.

Posted 25/4/40 to 'X' Company 1st Liverpool Scottish before volunteering for the Independent Companies. He was attached to No 4 (Liverpool Scottish) Platoon of No 4 Independent Company based at the time in Paignton. Then joined No 2 Commando 5 troop on its formation in Feb.1941. He was injured and captured during Operation Chariot - St Nazaire on the 28/29th March 1942.

BANTING, Gareth Bernard (Reverend )

Padre of No 2 Commando. Captain Reverend Gareth Banting was killed in action at Sarande.

From the No 2 Commando War Diary " Revd. Banting takes party from 3 Tp. to bury Capt. Parsons, Lieut. Coyle, Gnr. Clarke, and Pte. Lyons. After burial he moved fwd. to bury German dead in the same posn., but is blown up on a mine. Stretcher party finds he has died of wounds - carried back to Sarande by M.O. before nightfall." 

BARE, Jack Stormont

From the No.2 Commando War Diary : "5th February 1944 Captain Jack Stormont Bare of No.2 Commando was buried in the afternoon in the British Naval Cemetery at Vis, the first British serviceman to be interred there for over 130 years. The body was brought from the billet draped in a White Ensign (a Union Jack not being available) by 6 brother Officers. A piper from the Scottish (No.5) troop played a lament and the body was placed on the deck of a schooner.
 

BARRY, John

Pte Barry died died of wounds inflicted during the action at Salerno.

We have a document in our Gallery that outlines these details. He died of wounds that he  "received at Dragone Hill, Salerno, on the 13th September 1943 " and that he "died at 67 General Hospital CMF".*

Click  here to view the document:  Casualties and Missing.

BELLRINGER, Roy

LSgt Bellringer served with 1 troop and took part in the raid at St Nazaire.  He was on board ML 446 and was evacuated back to the UK. In July 1942 he was part of the No 2 Commando Boxing Team. We have numerous photos in the gallery of him both before and after St Nazaire, and in an image of the boxing team.

He then left No 2 Commando to become an NCO Instructor at the Commando Depot, Achnacarry.  He was part of the PT Team alongside CSMI Frickleton and Sgt Bissell.*

BENNETT, Derick S.

Pte Bennett, 6 troop, was killed during the action at Salerno.

We have a document in our Gallery that outlines these details. He was killed in action  "on the 13th September 1943 at Dragone Hill, Salerno", and that he was originally buried by house at the top of the steps on the West side of Hill. Religious ceremony. Map ref. 606307." He was buried in a communal grave with Capt. Mason and LCpl Formoy.

BIRNEY, David Leslie

 Captain Birney, 2 troop, was killed during the raid at St Nazaire. He was one of the commando contingent on ML 447 and OIC of an assault group. The date of his death is confirmed by French authorities, and the CWGC, whose records show that he died of wounds. 
 
Born in India, David Birney later attended Trinity College graduating with a BA in 1938.

BLACK, Graeme Delamere

Capt. Black DSO, MC, was executed whilst a Prisoner of War. He was one of the seven Commandos of No. 2 Commando who were captured after Operation Musketoon, and later executed under Hitler's Commando Execution Order, at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Berlin, 1942.

He was awarded the MC in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in successful combined operations, against the enemy at Vaagso and Maaloy.

He was awarded the DSO in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field.

BLACKWELL, Alun Trevor

In October 1939 Alun Blackwell enlisted with the South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales Volunteers). When Independent Companies were raised he went with them as part of Scissorforce to Norway. He volunteered for the new No.2 Commando. Later he was handpicked from No.2 Commando for an SOE operation in Tunisa in 1941. 

BLISSETT, Harry Harold

Maj. Blissett 2 commando
Major Blissett served as a Captain in No 4 Independent Company and No 2 Commando. He was appointed Brigade Major in the 1st Special Service Bde in preparation for DDay.  In 1945 he received a MiD for "gallant and distinguished services in NW Europe."
(Source: London Gazettes Supp. 36994, page 1558.)
 

BLOWER, Alfred

Private Alfred Blower 2 Commando

Private Alfred Blower, 4 troop, died of wounds after the action at Salerno. [1]+[2]

We have a document in our Gallery that outlines these details. He died of wounds that he  "received at Dragone Hill, Salerno, on the 13th September 1943 " and that he "died at 67 General Hospital CMF". [2]+[see notes]

BONDY, Theodor

Driver Theodore Bondy BEM 2 Commando

Driver Theodor Bondy was awarded the BEM (Military Divison) in 1943 in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East. 

Sources
London Gazettes Supp 36209, page 4543
CVA Gallery No 2 Commando images
 

BRADLEY, Eric

Sgt Bradley was killed during the period when No 2 were a Para Commando unit.

He is not listed as a Commando on the CWGC database, however his name is on the Wesminster Abbey Commando Roll of Honour.

BRADLEY, Richard

LSgt Richard Bradley MM 2 Commando

Lance Sergeant Richard Bradley, 1 troop,  was awarded the MM for gallant and distinguished services in the field relating to his successful escape in October 1943 after being wounded and captured during the raid at St Nazaire in March 1942. He was one of the Commando contingent on board ML 457.

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