30 Commando Assault Unit

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'30 Commando Assault Unit'

nb. The following history is from different named sources and should not be taken as the "Official" history. 

In Sep 1942, the Director of Naval Intelligence authorised the formation of the Special Intelligence Unit, composed of 33 (Royal Marines) Troop, 34 (Army) Troop, 35 (RAF) Troop and 36 (Royal Navy) Troop. The Special Intelligence Unit was later renamed 30 RN Commando (Special Engineering Unit), and was redesignated 30 Assault Unit in December 1943 **.

'30 Commando IX Group'

30 Commando Information Exploitation Group
30 Commando was formed in WW2 and serves today as the ‘eyes and ears’ of 3 Commando Brigade.
30 Commando is a diverse, ever-evolving unit, made up of the best and the brightest Britain has to offer. Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron deploys ahead of the main force for reconnaissance behind enemy lines. A team of Royal Marines Mountain Leaders in the main, they operate in small groups, providing the initial battle picture to 3 Commando Brigade.

'The Asti Seven 30AU'

Extract from Commando Association newsletter 85 issued September 1987

Peter Jemmet (30 Cdo) writes: -" The Asti Seven ".
These seven members of No. 2 Section, 30 Commando (Special Operations), parachuted into the Asti area of N.W. Italy, ending the war in Turin (1945). They were:-
  • Major Strachan,
  • Lieut. Paterson,
  • Sgt. Eddie Smith, MM.,
  • Sgt. John Fairey
  • Pte. Denman
  • Pte. Anderson
  • Pte. Dan Whitcombe.


Marine John Moir Alexander 40 Commando
40RM Commando
Marine John Alexander was reported missing presumed killed during operations at Dieppe. He has no known grave [1][1a].
Extract from the Dundee Courier
"Royal Marine Commando J. M. Alexander, 58 Mains Road, Dundee, has been reported missing whilst on combined operation.  Aged 21, he joined up three years ago. His brother William is in the Royal Navy" [2].
[1] CWGC.

BRADSHAW, Leslie Charles

Marine Les Bradshaw
40RM Commando
Marine Leslie Bradshaw, 10 Platoon, 'X' Coy, was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe. He later served in 30 Commando.
Operation Jubilee (Dieppe Area) 19th August 1942.

COATES, John Gordon

No 10 Commando
30 Commando Assault Unit
1942 Intelligence Officer No.10 (Inter Allied) Commando.
1943 Operations Officer 30 Commando AU Italy and Corsica
1944 Special Operations Executive.
Captain John Coates, attached SOE, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Field.
"Captain Coates was dropped by parachute into Hungary on September 13th, 1944 in command of a small group with a special mission. Through the arrest of one of his party he was captured and imprisoned.

COWAN, Kenneth

Marine Kenneth Cowan
30 Commando Assault Unit
Marine Kenneth Cowan, from Belfast, died in an accident.
Extract from the Belfast Telegraph Monday 29 January 1945
"Commando Killed. Commando Kenneth Cowan, Royal Marine Commandos, third son of Mr. and Mrs. Cowan, 12 Jellicoe Avenue, Belfast, killed in an accident in England. He had five years' service, including two in the Merchant Navy. Two brothers are in the Royal Navy. His father has 27 years' service in the R.N. and is still serving."

MORGAN, Albert Stuart

Albert Morgan 30 Commando
30 Commando Assault Unit
Marine (Acting Lance Corporal) Albert Morgan was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for good services in operations leading to the liberation of France. He enlisted from the Wallasey Constabulary and served with 30 Commando in the Mediterranean, and as a photographer in 'X' Troop on D Day. Post war he resumed his role as a Police Constable in Wallasey.


40RM Commando
Marine Frank O'Callaghan was killed [1] by a sniper while attached to 30 Commando AU during operations at Normandy. He had previously served with 40RM Commando [2].
[1] CWGC
[2] The book Attain by Surprise edited by David Nutting.

QUILL, Raymond Humphrey

30 Commando Assault Unit
Colonel Raymond Humphrey Quill was a veteran of World War One and a former Commanding Officer of 30 Assault Unit.
  • 28 March 1935 (Major) appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order [1].
  • 11 December 1945 (Lieutenant Colonel)(Acting Colonel) appointed D.S.O. in recognition of distiguished service during the War in Europe [2].

WOOLLEY, Arthur Rupert (Lt. Col)

30 Commando Assault Unit
Arthur Woolley joined the Royal Marines on 1 December 1939 and after his basic training was posted to the 5th Batallion Royal Marines Brigade.
  • Promoted Temporary Captain April 1940, Acting Temporary Major November 1941, and Second in Command of 5RM in June 1942.
  • After a brief spell as OC No.2 Landing Group Beach Unit he returned as Major (Second in Command) of 5RM which, by this time, had been redesignated as 45RM Commando. 

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