Formed at Burley in the first week of August 1943 as No. 45 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines, from the disbanded 5th RM Battalion. Their first Commanding Officer was Lt. Col. N.C. Ries. There followed hard training with those unfit or unsuitable being removed to other duties. In September the Commando moved to billets at Ayr.
On formation there were five fighting Troops - 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D' and 'E' Troops. 'F' Troop was the Heavy Weapons Troop. 'H' Troop was the Headquarters troop which included Signals and Intelligence sections , Motor Transport and Administration.
On the 26th November 1943 the Commando moved to the Commando Depot [view] at Achnacarry for their Commando course.
From Achnacarry they returned for a brief period to Ayr for some leave. Then on the 19th January 1944 the Commando moved to the Combined Training Centre (CTC) at Dorling for additional advanced training. The Chief Instructor was Major W.N. Gray, RM [view], who was later to command the unit in France, Holland, and Germany.
During this time the Commando became part of No 1 Special Service Brigade under Brigadier Lord Lovat DSO, MC [view]. This Brigade consisted of No. 45RM Commando and three other Commando Units, all Army Commandos. No. 3 Commando, No. 4 Commando, and No. 6 Commando.
After about 2 weeks at CTC Dorling, the Commando moved to Eastbourne. During this period the training continued at a pace. Three troops, 'B' under Capt. N.G. Michel RM ; 'C' under Capt. J.N. Rushforth RM; and 'D' under Capt. A.A.B. Scott, RM, went to the Commando Mountain Warfare Training Centre at St Ives [more] to do cliff climbing and practice landings on rocks. 'E' troop under Capt. I.N.N. Beadle, RM, went to the Parachute Training School at Ringway and qualified as Parachutists.
On the 26th May 1944 at 0400hrs the Commando left Eastbourne by train for a Staging Camp at Southampton. Then on the 5th June 45RM Commando moved by troop carrying vehicles to Warsash where it embarked in five Landing Craft Infantry (small). At 1700 hrs the same day their craft slipped anchor and formed up in the Solent taking their place in the vast armada of craft that was shortly to cross the English Channel for Normandy.
No. 45 RM Commando, Royal Marines, landed on the 6th June 1944 with the rest of the 1st Special Service Brigade on Sword Beach and were involved in the fighting in France until the 7th September when the Brigade was returned to England to refit. Disembarking on the 8th September at Southampton, the Commando moved to the Commando Group Reception Camp at Petworth, and later to Eastney Barracks at Southsea, and then Bexhill.
On the 14th January 1945 the Commando embarked at Tilbury Docks for Ostende, arriving the following day. From there the Commando moved forward and was involved in the operations to capture Maasbracht and Brachterbeek. It was during the latter that Lance Corporal H.E. Harden, the RAMC medical orderly attached to 'A' troop of 45RM Commando, was awarded the Victoria Cross [read more].
Read the 1 Commando Brigade HQ War Diary, January - April 1945, for more detail about operational timelines [go to war diary].
The Commando was one of the three RM Commando Units not disbanded after the war. On 31 january 1946, at Chatham, 45 embarked on board the aircraft carrier HMS Rajah for the Far East arriving at Port Said on 11 February and Singapore on 1 March. They arrived at Kowloon on 7 March.*
It was redesignated as 45 Commando Royal Marines in March 1946.
The post-war years saw the Commando deployed on operations to Palestine, Suez, Malaya, Aden and Cyprus. The Commando finally returned to the UK in 1967 after 24 years operational service abroad and moved to its current base in Arbroath in 1971.
Since then they have been deployed in Northern Ireland, and, in 1982, the Commando took part in Operation Corporate, the recapture of the Falkland Islands. In 1991 the Commando deployed to Northern Iraq on a humanitarian assistance mission and in 1994 it was dispatched to reinforce the Kuwaiti border against renewed Iraqi aggression. More recently the Commando has been deployed on operations in Afghanistan.
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