3 Commando

History of the Unit

3 Commando
Many of the original members of this Commando had served with the British Expeditionary force in France and had been evacuated from Dunkirk.
The Commando was formed in Plymouth on 23rd June 1940 under the command of Lt. Col. J.F. Durnford –Slater.
On the 24th October 1940 No 3 Commando and No 8 Commando were reorganised into the 4th Special Service Batallion. The Batallion HQ was at Brightlingsea. A further reorganisation back to the smaller individual Commando units was authorised on the 26th February 1941. This change was to be implemented by the 5th March 1941.

No.3 was the first Commando unit ever to see action with the raid on Guernsey,  Operation Ambassador, 14/15 July 1940 with 11 Independent Company.

Operation ‘Claymore ‘was next in the Lofoton Islands in March 1941.
Other 3 Commando Operations were:
Vaagso ‘Archery’ 27th December1941
Detachment supplied for the St Nazaire. Read more [Operation Chariot].
Dieppe 19th August 1942……Heavy losses sustained. [View Dieppe ROH].

As a result of the losses at Dieppe the Commando was rested for replenishment.

Next came Operation Husky, the Invasion of Sicily 10th July 1943 and Operation Devon at Termoli. The War Diary records that in July 1943 total strength was down to just over 250 and the Troops were reorganised into HQ and four other Troops. The then 2 Troop became a Heavy Weapons Troop

After the actions in Italy the Commando returned to the UK for the preparation for the landings in Normandy and D-Day.

One of the critical actions fought by No 3 after D-Day was at the river Orne and the capture of the Merville Battery to the flank of the landing beaches. The Battery was captured but at great loss to No 3 Commando.  A brief replenishment in the UK followed at Worthing and then the unit was back in action again as part of the British Liberation Army.

No3 were involved in the actions during the crossing of the river Maas, the clearing of the Maas Rhine Triangle, the capture of Osnabruck, the crossing the Weser (Operation Widgeon) and Aller rivers, and finally the crossing of the River Elbe.

In June 1945 No 3 Commando, along with No 6 Commando, were back in the UK preparing for the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland. No 4 Commando were still in Germany at Recklinghausen. At this time 233 OR's from No.4 Commando were posted to Nos. 3 and 6 Commandos, to bolster their numbers for the invasion, however Japan surrendered and the war ended.

The Commando was disbanded along with other Army Commando units in November 1945.

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