No 4 Independent Company

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4 Independent Company

In April 1940 HQ 55th (West Lancs) Division issued Divisonal Operation Order 5 authorising the formation of No.4 Independent Company.  At the time the 55th Divsion was a two Brigade Motor Division consisting of units from the 164th and 165th Brigades.
164 Brigade consisted of the 9th Bn. Kings Regiment, 1/4th Bn. and 2/4th Bn.  of the South Lancs. Regiment;
165 Brigade consisted of the 5th Bn. Kings Regiment, 1st Bn. and 2nd Bn. of the Liverpool Scottish Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.


Arthur Ashcroft
Arthur Ashcroft 2 Commando
Private Arthur Ashcroft, 5 Troop, was one of the Commando contingent on board HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot at St, Nazaire. He was wounded and taken prisoner of war after the raid.
  • 25 April 1940 posted to 'X' Company 1st Liverpool Scottish.
  • Volunteered  for the Independent Companies.
  • Attached to No 4 (Liverpool Scottish) Platoon of No 4 Independent Company based at the time in Paignton.
  • February 1941 joined No 2 Commando 5 troop on its formation.

BLISSETT, Harry Harold

Maj. Blissett 2 commando
Major Harry Harold Blissett served as a Captain in No 4 Independent Company and No 2 Commando. He was appointed Brigade Major in the 1st Special Service Bde in preparation for DDay.  In 1945 he received a MiD for gallant and distinguished services in NW Europe[1].
[1] London Gazettes Supp. 36994, page 1558.

BURKE, Edward

Sgt Edward 'Tiny' Burke BEM, 2 Commando

Edward 'Tiny' Burke enlisted into the 1st Bn Liverpool Scots TA (QOCH ) and volunteered for the Independent Companies. He was posted to No 4 Independent Company on the 23rd April 1940 and took part in the landings at Bodo Norway as part of Scissor Force. In February 1941 he joined the newly raised No 2 Commando and served as a Sergeant in 5 troop until it was disbanded at the end of the war.

COPLAND, William Oranmore

Major William Copland was second in command of No 2 Commando. He served with No 4 Independent Company and then with the newly formed No 2 Cdo. He took part in Operation Chariot and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his gallantry on the raid. He was taken prisoner and subsequently held at Oflag 9A/H at Spangenberg.

DAY, Stanley Ambrose

Capt Stanley Day MC 2 Commando
Captain Stanley Day, adjutant of No 2 Commando, was awarded the Military Cross in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during Operation Chariot, the raid on St. Nazaire. He was one of Lt. Col. Newman's HQ party on board MGB 314 and was taken prisoner after the raid. He was held at Oflag 9A/H at Spangenberg, Germany.
London Gazettes Supp. 37162, page 3493
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.

GWYNNE, John Edward Herbert

Private John Gwynne, 5 troop, died during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire [1]. He was one of the commando contingent on HMS Campbeltown and received a posthumous Mention in Despatches [2][3]
"Pte. Gwynne proved himself to be a courageous and determined soldier. His disregard for personal danger in the attack and his efforts to destroy enemy gun positions mounted in the roof of the Pumping station were outstanding.

HOLT, Frederick

Corporal Fred Holt 2 Commando

Corporal Frederick Holt, 5 troop, was one of the commando contingent on board HMS Campbeltown during the raid at St Nazaire in March 1942 [1]. He was initially reported missing in action until it was discovered he had been taken prisoner of war [2].  He was released from captivity in March 1945. Fred, who was from Wallasey in the Wirral, died in 1964 aged 49 [3]

HOOPER, Richard Henry

Capt Richard Hooper MC 2 Commando
Captain Richard Hooper was awarded the MC for his gallantry during operations at Scaletta Sicily on the 16th August 1943. He had previously taken part in operations at Vaagso and St Nazaire. During the latter raid he was in charge of an assault squad on ML 156, badly wounded, and evacuated back to the UK.
On the 21st September 1951 it was announced that Capt. (Hon. Maj.) R. H. Hooper, M.C. of the King's Regiment had been awarded the Efficiency Medal Territorial.


Troop Sergeant Major Kenneth McAllister spent several years of his childhood in America in the Southern states as his father worked in the Cotton trade. He was a fine amateur boxer. His occupation pre war was as a Cotton Clerk.


Private Thomas McCormack, 5 troop No 2 Commando, died of wounds after Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire. He was one of the commando contingent on HMS Campbeltown. He was part of Capt. Roy's Assault Team. During the raid Tom was wounded. He was taken prisoner but died of his wounds in a German Naval Hospital.

MOSS, Alan

Regimental Sergeant Major Alan Moss, HQ 2 Commando, was shot and killed during Operation Chariot, the raid at St. Nazaire. Embarking on motor launch ML267 he later received a posthumous Mention in Despatches. 
"During the Commando raid on St Nazaire on 28th March 1942 the motor launch in which RSM Moss was travelling was set on fire by enemy shore guns. The troops on board, many of whom were badly wounded, were forced to abandon ship.

PEACHEY, Frederick

Fred Peachey MM and bar
Lance Sergeant Frederick Peachey served with the Independent Companies and No 2 Commando. 
  • 28 March 1942 Pte. Peachey took part in Operation Chariot at St Nazaire. He was one the Commando contingent on board ML443.
  • 17 September 1943 Cpl. Peachey was awarded the Military Medal for "gallant and distinguished services during operations at Salerno". 
  • 17 April 1945 Acting Lance Sergeant Peachey was awarded a Bar to his Military Medal for "gallant and distinguished services in Italy". 

PROCTOR, John David

John David Proctor 2 Commando
Second Lieutenant John Proctor received his commission into the Camerons (1st Liverpool Scottish)  on the 10th February 1940. He later volunteered for the Independent Companies joining No 4 Ind.Coy. In February 1941 he joined No. 2 Commando as a Lieutenant in 5 troop.


Private Harold Roberts 2 Commando

Lance Corporal Harold Roberts, 5 Troop, was one of the commando contingent on board HMS Campbeltown during the raid at St Nazaire in March 1942. He was wounded and taken prisoner of war.

ROY, Donald William

Captain Donald Roy DSO
The then Private Donald William Roy (late Cadet, Fettes College Contgt., Jun. Div., O.T.C.). received his commission into the Liverpool Scots TA on the 17th June 1939. He was mobilised in August 1939 and posted to the 2nd Battalion. He volunteered for the Independent Companies and was posted to No 3 Platoon,  No 4 Independent Company. In May 1941 he and the rest of No 4 Ind. Coy sailed as part of Scissors Force to Norway (Operation Avonmouth).   When they returned he was posted to 'B' Coy. No 1 Special Service Bn.


2/Lt Tom Sherman
Lt Col Tom Sherman RMR
Tom Sherman volunteered for the Independent Companies and was posted to No.4 Ind. Coy.  He took part in Scissorforce, the North West Expeditionary Force in Norway, and after joining No. 2 Commando he attained the rank of TSM in 4 troop.  He took part in the Vaagso raid and St Nazaire. During the latter he was one of the Commando contingent on ML156.

WHEELAN, George Leslie

Private Leslie Wheelan 2 Commando

Private Les Wheelan, 5 Troop, was one of the commando contingent on board HMS Campbeltown during the raid at St Nazaire in March 1942. He was wounded and taken prisoner of war.  He spent some of his captivity at Stalag V111b.

George Leslie Wheelan, known as Les, was from Wallasey in the Wirral, and worked post war at the Owen Owen department store in Merseyside. He married Molly and they had 2 children, Lesley and Paul.  Les died of a heart attack in 1979 *. 

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