No 5 Commando

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3 Commando Brigade, Burma Operations


21° 54' 50.274" N, 95° 57' 22.4028" E
Saturday, January 1, 1944
The reports at the foot of this page relate to the operations of the Commando Units attached to 3 Commando Brigade that took place after the 1st January 1944.
Link of interest
There were a large number of casualties in the Burma Campaigns, both battle and illness.
Lieutenant Colonel R. Wigglesworth, M.B., B.S. Lond., Royal Army Medical Corps, wrote an excellent article titled

5 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. 

BEECH, James Frederick

Private James Beech,  HQ 3 Special Service (Commando) Bde., reported initially by the War Office to have died a prisoner of war in Japanese hands, died in Poona Hospital, India, a victim of infantile paralysis. [1+2]

On the 31st January 1945 he is listed as being wounded whilst with No 5 Commando. [3]

BRIGHT, Gerald, K.

Lance Sergeant Gerald Bright embarked on board HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire. He was taken prisoner after the raid and transported to Stalag 357 at Oerbke, Nr. Fallingbostel.

Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/11.
St Nazaire Society website.


BROWN, James

Private James Brown was awarded the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished services in the field relating to his successful escape in October 1943 after being captured during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire in March 1942 [1] He was one of the Commando contingent on board HMS Campbeltown [2].

BURTINSHAW, Robert James Glover

Lieutenant Robert Burtinshaw died during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire. He was one of the commando contingent on HMS Campbeltown and OIC of a demolition team. He received a posthumous MiD for his "gallant and distinguished services in action against the enemy during the raid."
London Gazettes Supp. 37162; Page: 3494 and Supp. 37629; Page: 3273 (errata).

CARR, Francis Arthur

Sergeant Francis Carr was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal [1] for his gallantry during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire. He was the senior NCO of a demolition party led by Lieut Burtinshaw on board HMS Campbeltown [2].
He also received a Mention in Despatches in recognition of distinguished services as a Royal Engineer in connection with operations in the field March-June, 1940.[3].

CHANT, Stuart Whitemore

Stuart Chant 5 Commando
On the 22nd October 1939 whilst in the Artists Rifles TA, the then Private (Cadet) Chant was granted an emergency commission as Second Lieutenant having attended the 163rd Officer Cadet Training Unit [1]. 
  • October 1940 volunteered for the Army Commandos; attached to No.5 Commando [2].

COLLINS, Michael Vincent

Mick Collins, 5 troop, met his good friend and Commando Pal, Geoff Hill, at the King's Royal Rifle Corps recruiting office as they were enlisting. They later volunteered for special service in the Commandos together, trained at Achnacarry together and were paired up as Commando Pals. They fought side by side in Burma where they were both WIA on 23 March 1944. Post WWII they remained in close friends and stayed in contact until Mick sadly died in February 1956.

EDWARDS, Denis Gold

Private Denis Edwards took part in Operation Charot, the raid at St Nazaire on 28 March 1942. Embarking on board HMS Campbeltown he was subsequently taken prisoner and transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, Poland.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/11.
St Nazaire Society website.

FERGUSON, James Mclntosh McLaren

Troop Sergeant Major James Ferguson was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Burma.
The death of TSM Ferguson MM (5 Cdo) of  Falmouth, Cornwall, was announced in Commando Association newsletter 102 issued March 1996.
London Gazettes Supp. 37040, page 2080.
National Archives file WO 373/36/72.

GIBSON, George MacDonald

Private George Gibson was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma.
His details are in Commando Association - Lost Legion List No. 5  ( those they had lost contact with). There they show his final rank as Corporal and his last known address as Perthshire.
London Gazettes Supp. 36574, page 2963.
National Archives file WO 373/32/117.

JAMES, Harry John

Signalman Harry John James died at Bridlington as a result of a bayonet wound. At the inquest the Coroner found that it was an accidental death, and the Board of Inquiry, presided over by Captain W.N. Cairns [more....], was closed after a second sitting on 14 Aug 1940. 

MANFORD, Francis Stanley

Captain Francis Manford
Captain Francis Stanley Manford served in No 5 Commando until 1942. He then left the Commando and joined Mission 204. From there he became an instructor to 77 Brigade – the Chindits.. In 1944 having now joined the S.O.E. he contracted Malaria whilst on leave in India and took his own life.  A handwritten letter from Colonel Gardiner to Mrs Manford states "I hasten to make it clear that in my opinion he was suffering from the effects of malaria and was not responsible for his actions at the time." 

MENDAY, Ronald Philip

Captain Ronald Menday 4 Commando
Ronald Philip Menday
Major Ronald Menday was second in command of No.4 Commando at Normandy on 'D' Day. Took command for a short period after Lt. Col. Dawson [more...] was wounded [1]
  • Commissioned Second Lieutenant May 1940 [2].
  • Received a MiD in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field [3].
  • Awarded the M.C. in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in NW Europe [4].

PETERS, David Robert

Maj David Peters MC and bar 2 Commando
Trooper David Robert Peters, a Cadet from the 102nd Officer Cadet Training Unit, was commissioned 2nd Lieut. on the 9th March 1940. [1]
He was attached to No 2 Commando from at least January 1943. [2]
On the 15th March 1945 it was announced that T/Captain Peters had been awarded the Military Cross in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field. [3]

ROBSON, Charles Edward

Private Charles Robson, No 5 Commando, and post war a member of the original Commando Association, was appointed M.B.E. (Civil Division) in the 2004 New Years Honours List for services to the community in Southwark [1].
He also renovated a Thames barge that he owned called “The Spirit of Mountbatten". He went on to win the Thames Barge boat race in it [2].
[1] London Gazette Supp 57155, page s21.


Pte Serrick was born in Nova Scotia. He was one of a group of young Canadians who were recruited into the Manchester Regiment by a Col R B Willis DSO - a retired officer in the Royal Canadian Regiment who had also served in 'The Manchesters'.  This group of Canadian volunteers became known as the 'Halifax Hundred'.

SHAW, David Mackenzie

Lt Col Shaw OC No 5 Commando
Commanding Officer No 5 Commando when they sailed to India in November 1943 until the 12th September 1944 when he relinquished his command to Lt Col Pollitt and rejoined his Regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
  • 1940 (Captain) (Acting Major) David Mackenzie Shaw was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry serving with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

SHEDDON, Richard Graham

In 1942 the then Lieutenant Richard Sheddon was awarded the M.C. in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during operations in Madagascar.
London Gazettes Supp. 35740, page 4431.
National Archives file WO 373/29/135.
Surname spelt as SHEDDON on N.A. file, and CA Newsletter 105; SHEDDEN on L.G. record.

SKEATES, Albert Charles

Lance Corporal Albert Skeates, 6 Troop, died late afternoon on the 1st November 1940 when hit by shrapnel from an exploding shell whilst walking along the Dover-Deal road.  He was given a military funeral at St. James' Cemetery in Dover at 15:00 on the 4th November. 
No 5 Commando War Diary.

SMALLEY, Christopher John

Christopher John Smalley 5 Commando
Lieutenant Christopher Smalley died during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire. Embarking on HMS Campbeltown he commanded a demolition party whose task it was to destroy the Dry Dock Installations. He received a posthumous Mention in Despatches for "gallant and distinguished services." 
"Disembarking from HMS Campbeltown he led his men under intense fire to their task, and, although the whole time under very heavy enemy pressure, he completed his task, totally destroying the Dock Installations.

STUART, Charles Robin McKenzie

Charles Robin Mckenzie Stuart MBE
Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Charles Robin McKenzie Stuart , No.5 Commando, was appointed M.B.E. (Military Division) in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Madagascar on June 1st 1942 [1] [2].
  • Promoted Major and Second in Command of No.5 Commando.
  • 31 July 1945 assumed command of No.5 Commando after Lt.Col. Pollitt was wounded during the battle at Hill 170 [3].
[1] London Gazette 36083, page 3086.

WOOD, Steven Patrick

Lieutenant Colonel (Temporary) Steven Wood was the first Commanding Officer of No 5 Commando when it was formed at Bridlington in July 1940 remaining in post until 8 November 1940 when he relinquished command [1]
Post war
  • Mentioned in Despatches for "gallant and distinguished services in Malaya during the period 1st January - 30th June 1949 serving with the R.T.R.  [2].
  • May 1953 promoted full Lieutenant Colonel [3].

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