47RM Commando

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'Battle for Port-en-Bessin'

Location

Port en Bessin
France
49° 20' 55.2804" N, 0° 45' 18.8676" W
Tuesday, June 6, 1944

Professor John Forfar took part in the BBC programme 'Destination D-Day: The Raw Recruits', and wrote this account of his commando's D-Day experiences as Medical Officer for 47RM Commando. He went on to write an excellent book about 47RM Commando called 'From Omaha to the Scheldt.

ARENSTEIN, Hans

Hans Arenstein 10 Commando

Hans Arenstein served under an alias of Harry Andrews. He was of the Jewish Faith and a member of 3 troop, also known as 'X' troop, of the inter allied commando.  He was attached to 47RM Commando at the time of his death.

nb. The date of death (10th) has been confirmed with the CWGC as being correct.

BRADLEY, Arthur John

Sergeant Arthur Bradley died during operations at Normandy.
 
On the 6th October 1942 it was announced that he had received a MiD, along with others, for "bravery, endurance and sustained devotion to duty in H.M. Ships Aurora, Avon Vale, Lance, Legion, Kingston, Penelope, and at Malta, during and after the passage of an important Convoy."  
 
Sources
CWGC
London Gazettes Supp. 35733, page4353.
 

BRENT, Gerald Harry

Gerry Brent ( birth name Gunter Harry Berendt)  served in No 47RM and No 6 Cdo. Being of the Jewish faith and having escaped to Britain from his home in Berlin in 1938, he was sent to Canada at the outbreak of war classed as an enemy alien. However in 1941 he opted, when given the choice, to return to the UK where upon arrival he was subsequently reinterred, this time on the Isle of Wight.

BRYCE, Cyril Kenneth

Corporal Cyril Bryce was awarded the MM for gallant and distinguished services in operations in North West Europe.

The death of Cpl. C. K. Bryce MM of Tamworth, Staffs. was announced in Commando Association newsletter 109 issued September 1999.

Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 36846, page 5809.
National Archives file WO 373/47/32.
 

CABLE, Albert Victor

Marine Albert Cable died during operations at Normandy. 

The date of his death tallies with that of a Fighting Patrol (raid) from his Commando to breach the enemy line beyond La Grande Ferme du Buisson and take prisoners. It set out at 0330hrs and was led by Lieut. O'Brien and acompanied by Lieut. Collet with 14 volunteers.  With the enemy alerted by the explosion of a mine a fire fight occurred resulting in casualties. 

COUSINS, Terence Frederick

Capt. Cousins 47RMCommando
Captain Terence Cousins died during operations at Normandy [1]. He received a posthumous MiD for his gallantry and leadership whilst attacking an enemy bunker at Port-en-Bessin during which he was killed [2]. There is a memorial at this location in his memory. 
 
Born in April 1922 Freddy Cousins entered the Corps in September 1940. On completion of training he was appointed to H.M.S Cumberland where he remained until 1943. He later joined the S.S. Group [3]. 
 
Sources

COX, Edward Cox (RM)

Cpl Cox enlisted in the Royal Marines on the 2nd Feb. 1943. He was posted 47RM Commando  on the 12th Nov 1943. He was wounded during the battle for Port-en-Bessin in June 1944. Post war he was discharged on the 24th July 1946

DAVIES, William Neville

Marine William Davies died during operations at Normandy.
 
He was part of a large fighting patrol of 4 troops and the heavy weapons troop sent against the enemy lines north east from La Grande Ferme commencing at 2115hrs on the 18th. It was hoped to be an in out raid to gather intelligence, capture prisoners, and weaken the enemies morale. Mne. Davies was killed during this raid.
 

DUKE, Andrew

Marine Andrew Duke 47 Commando
Marine Andrew Duke, from Belfast, died during operations at Walcheren. The date of his death coincides with the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
Belfast Telegraph - Saturday 25 November 1944 - via The Britsh Newspaper Archive.

DYKE, Frederick John

Corporal Frederick Dyke died during operations in Holland. At the time of his death his Commando took part in an unsuccessful attack on the German held small island of Kapelsche Veer which lies between the River Maas and the River Oudermaas.

ENGLAND, James Paterson

Troop Sergeant Major James England was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal [1] for gallantry, leadership and undaunted devotion to duty during the assault on the Island of Walcheren [2].
  • 1945 Mentioned in Despatches for outstanding service while operating with the Allied Armies in Italy [3].
Sources
[1] London Gazette 36947, page 997.
[2] National Archives file WO 373/47/42.
[3] London Gazette 36903, page 518.
 

EVANS, Cyril

Marine Cyril Evans died during operations in North West Europe. 
 
Notes
At the time of his death his Commando took part in an unsuccessful attack on the German held small island of Kapelsche Veer which lies between the River Maas and the River Oudermaas.
 

FAWCETT, Joseph

Marine Joseph Fawcett
Marine Joseph Fawcett died of wounds inflicted during the Westkapelle landings on D Day at Walcheren.  [1]+[2]
 
Due to weather conditions between the 2nd and 5th November casualties were not able to be evacuated and had to be retained ashore in crowded tented facilities. Eventually more than 70 were evacuated by one LCT on the 6th November, the journey to Ostend taking 10 hours due to the weather.  Mne Fawcett died during this journey. [2]
 

FLANNAGAN, Joe

Flannagan 47 Commando
Marine Joe Flannagan, 'X' troop, from Gateshead, died during operations at Walcheren. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
[Image] Newcastle Evening Chronicle - Tuesday 06 February 1945 © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of The British Library Board.
 
Notes

GADSDEN, Derek Roy

Marine Derek Gadsden was awarded the MM for gallant and distinguished services while operating with the Army in Normandy.

Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 36697, page 4218.
National Archives file WO 373/47/27.
 

GARDENER, Michael Chase

Lieutenant Michael Gardener died during the period his Commando were engaged in defending the main approach from North Holland to Antwerp by the River Maas near the damaged Keizersveer Bridge. He was leading a patrol that was ambushed by the river just North of Geertruidenberg. 
 

GREENHALGH, Samuel

Marine Samuel Greenhalgh died [1] during operations against the German held small island of Kapelsche Veer which lies between the River Maas and the River Oudermaas [2].
 
Account by the Medical Officer Captain John Forfar M.C.

GRIMSDELL, Maurice Herbert

Lance Corporal Maurice Grimsdell died during operations at Walcheren.
 
Notes
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. (Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

GUYMER, Arthur William

Marine Arthur Guymer died during operations in NW Europe.
 
Notes
At the time of his death his Commando were holding a long section of the front line along the River Maas in the vicinity of Oosterhout. A major enemy offensive through the Ardennes took place this day and his Commando, along with 3 troops of 48RM Commando which had been attached to it, formed part of the defence of the port at Antwerp. 
 

LANYON, Frederick Woodman

Marine Frederick Lanyon MM 47 Commando

Marine Frederick Lanyon was awarded the MM for gallantry, leadership and undaunted devotion to duty during the assault on the Island of Walcheren.

The death of Mne. Frederick Woodman Lanyon MM of Bodmin, Cornwall, was notified to members in Commando Association newsletter 119 issued September 2004.

Additional Source
London Gazettes Supp. 36947, page 998.
 

LAWTON, Edward Gerald

Lance Corporal Edward Lawton died during operations at Westkapelle, Walcheren. 
 
Notes
It is likely that he died of wounds as there was a military hospital close to Oostende New Communal Cemetery where some of the wounded, had been taken.
 

LONGDEN, Alan

Marine Alan Longden died during operations at Walcheren.
 
Notes
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. (Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

MACDONALD, William

Marine William Macdonald was awarded the MM for gallant and distinguished services while operating with the Army in Normandy.

Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 36697, page 4218.
National Archives file WO 373/47/29.

MAUD, Norman Smith

Marine Norman Maud died [1] during operations at  Sallenelles, Normandy [2].
 
He was one of 23 casualties treated at the regimental aid post for shrapnel or bullet wounds during their first four days at Sallenelles.  Mne. Tatton [more....] died of wounds, and Mne Maud who had been missing on patrol, was killed [2].
 

MCGREGOR, Duncan Ferguson

Marine Duncan McGregor died during operations at Walcheren. 
 
Notes
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. (Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

MORLEY, Colin Noel

Colour Sergeant Colin Morley died during operations at Normandy.
 
Whilst the Commando were heading along a country road in the direction of Putot-en-Auge  they encountered an enemy patrol and C/Sgt. Morley was shot and killed.  

NICHOLL, Francis

Lance Corporal Francis Nicholl died during operations at Walcheren. 
 
Notes
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. (Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

PACKER, Mark Charles

Sergeant Mark Packer was awarded the MM for gallantry, leadership and undaunted devotion to duty during the assault on the Island of Walcheren.

Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 36947, page 998 & Supp. 36992, page 1507 (errata).
National Archives file WO 373/ 47/48.
 

PARKER, Kenneth

Marine Kenneth Parker served with 47RM Commando during operations at Normandy on DDay, and subsequent operations throughout North West Europe. Post war he was active in the Royal Marines Association and became President of the R.M.A. Bristol branch. 

PATEY, Kenneth Gordon

Marine Kenneth Patey was shot and killed by a sniper during operations at Walcheren. 
 
He died when his Commando were at Zwanenburg, clearing the enemy from the last of a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.
 

PAYNE, Harry

Marine Harry Payne was killed during operations at Walcheren.
 
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.
 

PETTIT, Robert Alan

Marine Robert Pettit died during operations at Walcheren.
 
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.
 

PHILLIPS, Cecil Farndale


Acting Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Farndale Phillips was the Commanding Officer of No. 47 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines, during operations at Normandy and Walcheren.  Post war he commanded  3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines during operations in Malaya. 
 
  • 1 September 1923 appointed Probationary 2nd Lieutenant RM [*].
  • 1 September 1935 promoted Captain [*].
  • 1 August 1943 - 3 January 1945 Commanding Officer 47RM Commando [*].

PRY, Benjamin Charles Henry

Marine Benjamin Pry, Heavy Weapons Troop (HWT), died of wounds inflicted during operations against the German held small island of Kapelsche Veer which lies between the River Maas and the River Oudermaas.
 
The HWT had been acting as as stretcher bearers on this raid.  Marine Wildman is quoted in the book 'From Omaha to the Scheldt', that as he passed Mne Benny Pry who had been seriously injured, Mne Pry said to him " Mind where you're treading Fred, I think I've lost my feet." Mne. Pry was rescued but died from his wounds. 
 

PUDDICK, John Edward

Sergeant John Puddick died during operations at Walcheren. He was shot by a sniper whilst engaged in operations against enemy held batteries along the dunes west of Groot Valkenisse. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.
 

RACKHAM, Robert Frederick

Sergeant Robert Rackham died during operations at Walcheren.
 
Notes
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. (Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

RIPINER, Charles Stephen

Corporal Charles Ripiner died during operations at Walcheren.
 
Notes
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. (Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

ROBERTSON, George

Corporal George Robertson died [1] of wounds inflicted at Port-en Bessin, Normandy [2].  
 
The Medical Officer, Capt. Forfar M.C., described Cpl. Robertson as a "distinguished Scottish athlete."[2].
 
Sources
[1] CWGC.
[2] Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.

SPEAR, William James Clement

Company Sergeant Major William Spear, 'Q' troop, died [1] during operations at Walcheren. Whilst advancing with 2 sections of his troop to engage the enemy who were in a series of gun batteries along the dunes west of Klein Valkenisse, they encountered accurate enemy mortar fire resulting in his death and many others casualties [2].  
 

SPENCER, Paul

Captain Paul Spencer, the Adjutant of 47RM Commando, was appointed D.S.O. in recognition of his gallant and distinguished service during an assault on a gun battery at Walcheren on the 2nd November 1944.
 
Recommendation

THATCHER, Albert George May

Marine Albert Thatcher, 'B' troop, died of wounds he received during the allied landings at Westkapelle, Walcheren.
 
The 47 RM Commando Medical Officer, Captain John Forfar MC, describes the incident in which Mne. Thatcher received his fatal wounds in his book. He was on board LCT 18 when it was hit by a shell and he received shrapnel wounds. He was taken to a Beach Dressing Station but died the next day. [2]
 
Sources
[1] CWGC

TURNER, Anthony

Marine Anthony Turner died of wounds during operations at Walcheren. 
 
Notes
Due to weather conditions between the 2nd and 5th November casualties occuring during this time were not able to be evacuated and had to be retained ashore in crowded tented facilities.(Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

UNSWORTH, James

Corporal James Unsworth died during operations at Walcheren.
 
Notes
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. (Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

WEBB, Robert Edward

Sergeant Robert Webb died during operations at Walcheren.
 
Notes
He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. (Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)
 

WILLIAMS, Raymond

Marine Raymond Williams died [1] during operations against the German held small island of Kapelsche Veer which lies between the River Maas and the River Oudermaas [2].
 
Account by the Medical Officer Captain John Forfar M.C.

ZAMMIT, Robert

Marine Robert Zammit died of wounds inflicted during operations at Normandy. He was part of a large fighting patrol of 4 troops and the heavy weapons troop sent against the enemy lines north east from La Grande Ferme commencing at 2115hrs on the 18th June. It was hoped to be an in out raid to gather intelligence, capture prisoners, and weaken the enemies morale. Mne. Zammit was wounded suffering severe chest and spinal injuries from which he died months later. 

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