No 2 Commando

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, 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, 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.

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. 

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.

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 after 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.

* 67 British General Hospital was, at this time, located at Philippeville, Algeria.

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.

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