No 3 Commando

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3 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. 

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.

3 Commando replacements July 1944

No 3 Cdo War Diary 1st Jan - 31 Dec 1944 National Archives ref. WO218 / 65.



Captain John Alderson MC, OC 6 troop,  died during the fighting at Leese, Germany. He had rejoined No.3 Commando after being wounded in the knee at Amfreville during the Normandy landings. He was awarded the Military Cross "In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Normandy."

ALLEN, John Duncan

On the 9th July 1943 the then Sergeant John Duncan Allen was awarded the George Medal in recognition of conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner. This was awarded for "saving a life in a rock climbing accident in Gibraltar." [1]
He had previously received a MiD whilst a Lance Sergeant for "gallant and distinguished services in successful combined operations against the enemy at Vaagso and Maaloy." [2]

BANKS, Ronald Douglas

Private Ronald Banks, attached to Commando Group,  was awarded the M.M., in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field [1]. 
On the 3rd November 1946 he was commissioned 2/Lieutenant [2].
The death of Private (later Lieut.) R.D. Banks M.M., (3 Cdo.) of of Auckland, New Zealand, was announced in Commando Association newsletter 62 issued March 1976.

BARTHOLOMEW, Peter Ian (Lt Col)

Peter Ian Bartholomew No 3 Commando
Peter Ian Bartholomew served in No 12 Commando until their disbandment when he moved to No 3 Commando. He participated in the D Day landings as Captain of 2 troop.  On the Commando's return to NW Europe from the UK in 1945, he took command of No 3 Commando with the rank of Acting Lieutenant Colonel. 
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallant and distinguished service in North West Europe, the award being published in June 1945.
(Source: London Gazettes Supp. 37138, page 3231.)

BROWN, Robert, F.

Lance Corporal Robert F. Brown received a MiD in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field.
London Gazettes Supp. 377787, page 5606 & Supp. 39355, page 5284 (errata).

BUTLER, Brian Dear

Major Brian Butler MC was killed at Chateau d'Amfreville during severe mortaring of their HQ. He and five others were killed. Lt T.N. Skelly and three others wounded. He had previously been awarded the Military Cross whilst a T/Captain for "gallant and distinguished services in Italy".
No 3 Commando War Diary dated 11th June 1944.
London Gazettes publication date 25th January 1944; Supplement 36349; Page 518.


Guardsman Leslie 'Jock' Campbell, 3 troop, was killed during operations at Normandy on D Day [1]. The grave where he was first buried is shown in a film taken at Pegasus Bridge on the 28th July 1944 and now on the IWM website [view film]. [2].

CHAPMAN, Kenneth Harold

Private Kenneth Chapman was awarded the MM [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during operations at Termoli, Italy, between the 3rd and 6th October 1943 [2].
[1] London Gazettes Supp. 36349, page 519.
[2] National Archives file WO 373/4/313.


Pte Chillingworth died of wounds during operations at Normandy.

Enlisted 4th November 1940 and after volunteering for the Commandos, was posted to the Commando Depot  on the 12th October 1942, joining No 3 Commando on the 11th November 1942.
Source: Extract from service record in gallery entry.

CHURCHILL, John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming (Lt Col)

After a brief spell as 2i/c No 5 Commando, the then Major John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill (later affectionately known by some as Mad Jack) moved to 2i/c No 3 Commando. Shortly after Lt Col Newman was taken prisoner at St Nazaire in 1942, Major Churchill was promoted Lt Col. to replace him as OC No 2 Commando. Lt Col Churchill remained OC until he was also taken prisoner in 1944. 

An account by Bob Bishop No 2 Commando from his history of No 2:


Roy Clarke No 3 Commando
Pte. Clarke enlisted aged 18  with the Loyal Regiment on the 20th May 1943.  On the 21st Sept 1943 he was posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Loyal Regiment. From there on the 14th Feb 1944 he was posted to the Holding Commando. After his commando training he was attached to No 3 Commando with effect from 24th May 1944..

COAKER, Vernon

Troop Sergeant Major Vernon Coaker was killed during operations on D Day.

We have numerous photos in our gallery of him in both 3 and 4 troops and it is clear that he had served in the Commando since at least June 1942 (the first dated photo). Although we have only listed the two operations where we have confirmed references that he served, it is likely that he would have been with No 3 Commando on all their operations since at least June 1942.


Lance Corporal Thomas Colbert died during operations at Linne, Germany.
An entry in the War Diary states "1502 hrs; 10 shells (88mm) on Area LINNE from brg 40 degrees 749861  LCpl COLBERT wounded in 6 tp area when delivering mail - died on way to hospital."
No. 3 Cdo War Diary 8th Feb. 1945. National Archives file ref WO 218/83.

CORRY, Samuel David

Captain Corry was killed during operations at Dieppe.
He had also been Mentioned in Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in successful combined operations against the enemy at Vaagso and Maaloy.
(Source: LG Publication date: 31 March 1943; Supplement: 35510: Page: 1506.)


James Cunningham was awarded the DCM in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe. He held the rank of Driver at the time. [1]
We also have a note that he was serving with the Motor Transport Section in May 1944 of No 3 Commando. [2]
The death of James Cunningham from Stanion Northants  was announced in Commando Association newsletter 98 issued March 1994 where it showed his last rank as Sgt.

DAVISON, John Cyril

Corporal John Davison, No 3 Commando, was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Italy. [1] 

He was later selected for officer training.  Officer Cadet John Cyril Davison was commissioned to be 2nd Lt., with the East Lancashire Regiment on the 28th July 1944. New service no. 326323.

The death of Lieut. John Cyril (Jack) Davison MM, of Birkinhead, Wirral, was announced in Commando Association newsletter 78 issued March 1984. [2]

DENHAM, Joah Selwyn

Lieutenant Denham MM

Corporal Joah Selwyn Denham was awarded the MM [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during operations at Cape Spartivento, Italy, between 27 August and 5 September 1943 [2]

On the 30th August 1944 Cpl. Denham, M.M. was granted an Immediate Emergency Commission from the ranks in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant [3].

Post war his death was announced in Commando Association newsletter 106 issued March 1998. He is listed there as Capt. Joseph Selwyn Denham (1 Bde HQ. & 3 Cdo)  of Birchwood, Lincs.

EARL, Dennis Victor

Trooper Dennis Earl was captured during the fighting in Sicily.

Extract from the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 11 September 1943.

Commando Son Safe:- Only four days after hearing that their son, Trpr. Dennis Victor Earl, of the Commandos, was missing in Sicily, his parents Mr. and Mrs. Earl have received a card from him saying he is quite fit and uninjured in an Italian prisoner of war camp. Trpr. Earl was captured in the fighting in Sicily in the middle July. The youngest son of an ex-police sergeant, he was a member of the Bristol Police Force. 

EDWARDS, Reginald William

Brig. John Durnford-Slater records in his book Commando - Memoirs of a Fighting Commando in WW2 that CSM Edwards died of wounds.
2 months prior to his death in the UK, CSM Edwards and Tprs. Barnes, Bennett, Kingsley, O'Connell, and Roberts, had been reported missing when a patrol from 3 troop returned to Chateau d'Amfreville. The patrol had left  at 0130 hrs on the 27th June 1944  for the area of GDE Fme du Buisson returning 5 hours later with a prisoner. (Source: No 3 Cdo War Diary June 1944.)

FERGUSON, Bryan Gratney

The circumstances of the death of Pte Ferguson are not known.

At the time of his death No 3 Commando were back in the UK and billeted in Worthing. They were engaged in training for the invasion in June, and spent time away at other places such as CTC Dorlin for this.


Lance Corporal John Flynn, a radio operator, was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe on 19 August 1942 [1].

GILES, John Frederick

Captain John Giles, 3 troop, died during operations at Vaagso. He had served with No 3 Commando since their first raid on Guernsey.

John Giles received his first commission into the Gloucestershire Regiment and won the heavy-weight boxing championship of the Army Southern Command. He also played rugby for Clifton Rugby Football Club.

His brother 2/Lt. Bruce Giles also served in No 3 Commando and was at Vaagso.

GRAHAM, Thomas

Private Thomas Graham No 3 Commando
Private Thomas Graham served in the TA between 1927 and 1929. He enlisted into the regular Army on the 17th June 1929. On the 5th July 1940 he volunteered for, and after training was attached to, No 3 Commando serving in 4 troop.  He served with them until the 22nd May 1944.


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