40RM Commando

Formed at North Barracks, Deal on the 14th February 1942 as 'The RM Commando'.
In October 1942 it was redesignated briefly as 'A' RM Commando after a second RM Commando unit was formed. Shortly afterwards it was redesignated as No. 40 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines. This was the only Royal Marine Commando formed entirely from volunteers as with the Army Commandos.
 
The first Commanding Officer was Lt. Col. J.P. Phillipps RM [more....]. Second in Command was Major R.D. Houghton RM [more....]. 
 
It should be noted that when the call for volunteers for The Royal Marine Commando went out to all Royal Marine trained personnel, all ranks of the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders also became eligible to volunteer as they had been seconded by the Army to the 102nd Brigade RM since the end of 1940.
 
By the end of March 1942 The RM Commando had attained the full war establishment of 446 all ranks. On 5th April 1942 The RM Commando moved to Scotland where it was sub divided into 3 Groups with Commando HQ and 'X Company based at Shiel Bridge Lodge about 3 miles from Dorlin House. Elements from each Company spent time at the Commando Training Depot at Achnacarry.
 
It was during this period that an independent detachment was formed and designated as 'T' Company for a special mission. They completed their training at Achnacarry. They had been selected to be part of the crew of HMS Fidelity for raiding operations. In December 1942 HMS Fidelity was torpedoed, sinking with the loss of all the 53 Royal Marine Commandos and other crew on board. [more....]
 
Training continued and on the 18th May 1942 the Commando embarked at Greenock on HMLSI Princess Beatrix arriving at Ryde, Isle of Wight, a few days later.  From there they were billeted in homes at Shanklin, Sandown and Ventnor.
 
On the 19th August 1942 The RM Commando (it had not been redesignated as 40RM Commando as yet although most post war writers use the new title) took part in the disastrous Dieppe raid. The main force of Canadians suffered worst with over 3,000 casualties, over 900 of whom were killed. Out of the 370 strong force from the RM Commando, 24 all ranks were killed and 76 wounded. Their Commanding Officer was amongst the Fallen. [Dieppe Commando ROH].
 
Captain J.C. Manners [more....] was later promoted Acting Lieutenant Colonel and the new Commanding Officer. He remained as such until 3rd June 1944 when he was fatally wounded during Operation Flounced against the enemy held Dalmatian island of Brac.
 
On the 1st July 1944 Lt. Col. R.W. Sankey, D.S.C. was appointed Commanding Officer, and Major P.R. Matters the new second in command.
 
The Commando’s final action in WW2 was Operation Roast at Lake Comacchio, Italy in April 1945. Notable  actions in WW2 were Dieppe, St Benere, Termoli, Anzio, Dalmatian Islands, and Lake Comacchio.
 
From the 40RM Commando War Diary September 1945
This month was largely devoted to Admin owing to the amalgamation of 40 and 43 RM Cdos., the sending of drafts to other Bdes and to HOC, and preparations for the final disbandment of the Unit.
  • 12 September 1945 40RM Commando and 43RM Commando were officially amalgamated whilst based at Tichbourne House, Alresford.

24 September 1945 the above amalgamated Commando units were redesignated a short while before disbandment as 'The RM Commando (2 Commando Brigade)'


​A new beginning

In the Spring of 1946, 45RM Commando arrived in the Far East to strengthen the only remaining Commando Brigade, 3 Commando Brigade.  In October 1946, after the disbandment of Nos 1 and 5 Army Commando units  (merged as No.1/5 Commando), the Brigade was then redesignated as 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.

On 16 March 1947 the then 44 Commando of 3 Commando Brigade RM was redesignated as 40 Commando, Royal Marines.  The intention being to perpetuate a Commando, representative of the Dieppe raid and the Italian theatre of war, and to recognise their contribution to the Allied victory in Europe as with that of 45 Commando, combined with 42 Commando's contribution to Allied victory in the Far East.
 
Since then 40 Commando have served with distinction in many places including Palestine, Malaya, Cyprus, Suez, Brunei and Borneo and Ireland, the Falklands, and more recently Iraq and Afghanistan [more......].
 
Primary sources
40RM Commando War Diary.
The Light Blue Lanyard , author Maj. J.C. Beadle MBE, MC, RM [more....]..

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