2 Commando Detachment 13 Sep'41 for 7 months
On 13 September 1941 Captain Godfrey Franks and a detachment of 25 Other Ranks left No.2 Commando and proceeded to Gibraltar from where they made several onward and return journeys between Gibraltar and Freetown, via Ghana and Lagos. Their role on board was primarily manning A.A. guns, the 14 pounder on the stern, 3 Bren guns on the top deck, and general ship maintenance and look out duties.
- 15th September embarked at Glasgow Docks on H.M.T. Ulster Monarch.
- 16th ship left Glasgow and arrived at Greenock and were joined by a group of 65 Officers and 299 Other ranks as passengers
- 17th ship left Greenock. No.2 Commando manning A.A. guns and joined convoy.
- 24th 1700hrs the Ulster Monarch, Queen Emma, Princes Beatrix and "S" with two destroyers as escort parted company with main convoy.
- 25th 0330hrs arrived at Gibraltar. No troops allowed to leave ship.
- 26th No troops allowed to leave ship.
- 29th 0100hrs ship put sea.
The dates above are from the Detachment War Diary signed by Captain Godfrey Franks OIC of No.2 Commando Detachment. Source National Archives WO/218/22 ref. C396407.
Extracts from the account by Fusilier Herbert Dixon
[found on Linked Content below].
"We did two or three runs from Gibraltar to Freetown and this consisted of taking top ranking forces, personnel and lots of air-force down to Freetown, to be flown across country to Egypt. At this time the Mediterranean was too hazardous and the sinking perhaps in the ratio of three out of four ships sunk on this venture."
"Later on in Gib, we went into dry dock for repairs. This consisted that after the ship came to dock, a large gate affair was closed around it, something like on a canal. Then the water was drained off, and as it subsided props were placed against the vessel to keep it in its right position. When the water had flowed back into the sea a large amount of fish was left. This was gathered up by the Spanish workers who came across the border every day to be employed by the authorities. We were given enough for our mess the rest they took home to their impoverished families."
"After coming out of dry dock the ship was placed along the Key behind the capital ship, HMS Malaya. Alongside us came Corvettes and an occasional submarine. Being tied up, to get ashore they had to come aboard us. We made quite a lot of friends and sometimes were invited into the mess."
Nominal Roll of Detachment No.2 Commando
71409 Capt. G.R. Franks
5335029 Pte. J. Agnew
3599697 Pte. S. Arnison
6019504 Pte. W. Ballard
6290340 Fus. H. Dixon
6207462 Pte. R. Downes
6019959 Pte. C. Drury
6019994 Pte. W. Ellwood
6467881 Fus. D. Formoy
3780553 Pte. E. Goulding
3781177 Pte. J. Jackson
2935294 Pte. J. Jacobs
5990155 Sgt. A. Lee
5344998 Pte. M. Matchwick
5336103 Pte. W. Mills
3655808 Sgt. P. Morland
834883 Rfn. D. McAnulty
3654604 Pte. J. McLean
2035474 Sgt. N. Palmer
2930945 Cpl. L. Perkins
6459118 Fus. J. Roberts
6147484 Pte. L. Rubin
6019864 L/Sgt. J. Skinner
5334138 Pte. L. Toombs
6971154 Rfn. V. White
2615718 Gdsm. S. Wright.
Detachment War Diary signed by Captain Godfrey Franks OIC of No.2 Commando Detachment. Source National Archives WO/218/22 ref. C396407.
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