No 5 Commando

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3 Commando Brigade, Burma Operations

Location

Myanmar
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

No 1 Commando

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]

BOLITHO, Raymond Gordon

Raymond Gordon Bolitho 5 Commando
No 5 Commando
Lieutenant Raymond Gordon Bolitho, 1 Troop, was wounded on 31 January 1945 during operations in Burma. He later received a Mention In Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Burma.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/8.
London Gazette 37425, page 382.
1 Cdo. War Diary of Hill 170 [see Linked Content below].

BRIGHT, Gerald, K.

No 5 Commando
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.

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

 

BROWN, James

No 5 Commando
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 28 March 1942. He was one of the Commando contingent on board HMS Campbeltown.
 

BURTINSHAW, Robert James Glover

No 5 Commando

Lieutenant Robert Burtinshaw died during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire 28 March 1942. He was Officer in Charge of a Demolition Team on HMS Campbeltown. He received a posthumous Mention in despatches for his "gallant and distinguished services in action against the enemy during the raid."

Sources
CWGC
London Gazette 37162, page 3494 and 37629 page 3273 (errata).
Storming St Nazaire, author James Dorrian.

CARR, Francis Arthur

No 5 Commando
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]. Taken prisoner after the raid he was transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, Poland [3].
 

CHANT, Stuart Whitemore

Stuart Chant 5 Commando
No 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].

COLE, H.J.T.

No 5 Commando

Former Driver H. J. T. Cole of No. 5 Commando, later a Sergeant in the Royal Australian Army, died in 1955. [Source: Commando Association newsletter 23].

COLLINS, Michael Vincent

No 5 Commando

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.

CRUTCHLEY, William

No 5 Commando
Troop Sergeant Major William Crutchley received a Mention in Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Burma.
 
Sources
London Gazette 37730, page 4702
Burma Star Association Membership Lists.
 

EDWARDS, Denis Gold

No 5 Commando
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.
 
Sources
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/11.
St Nazaire Society website.
 

FERGUSON, John MacKintosh McLaren

No 5 Commando
Troop Sergeant Major Ferguson was awarded the Military Medal [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during the battle for Hill 170, Kangaw, 31 January 1945 in which he was seriously wounded [2].
  • The death of "TSM John M.M. Ferguson MM (5 Cdo) of  Falmouth, Cornwall" was announced in Commando Association newsletter 102 issued March 1996.
Sources
[1] London Gazette 37040, page 2080.
[2] National Archives file WO373/36/72.

GIBSON, George MacDonald

No 5 Commando
Private George Gibson was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma [1][2].
Recommendation
Arakan
On 23 Mar 44 during 5 Commando's attack on Spur 383348 the Sub. Sec., of which Pte Gibson was a member, was caught in the valley by enfilade fire from a MMG in a position on the hillside.

HOWARD, Ronald, A.

No 5 Commando
Lance Corporal Ronald Howard was one of the commando contingent who embarked on board HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot, the raid at St. Nazaire on 28 March 1942. Initially reported as missing he was later found to have been taken prisoner and transported to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, Poland.
 
Sources
St. Nazaire Society website.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/43.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.

JAMES, Harry John

No 5 Commando
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. 
 

JOHNS, Philip

No 5 Commando
Sergeant Philip Johns received a Mention in Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Burma.
 
Sources
London Gazette 37730, page 4700.
Burma Star Association Membership List.
 

MANFORD, Francis Stanley

Captain Francis Manford
No 5 Commando
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." 
 
Sources
CWGC

McKERR, H.

No 5 Commando
Lance Sergeant H. McKerr was one of the commando contingent who embarked on HMS Campbeltown for Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire 28 March 1942.
Reported missing after the raid, found to have been taken prisoner and transported to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf, Poland.
 
Sources
St Nazaire Society website.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/43.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.
 

MENDAY, Ronald Philip

Captain Ronald Menday 4 Commando
Ronald Philip Menday
No 4 Commando
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
No 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]
 

POLLITT, Charles Jordan Bellingham

Lt Colonel Charles Pollitt
No 1 Commando
No 5 Commando
No 10 Independent Company
Charles Pollitt, then a Captain, embarked with No 10 Independent Company on their deployment to Freetown in April 1940.  At the end of the year after No 10 Independent Company was disbanded he volunteered for and was posted to the Holding and Training Wing at what was then STC Achnacarry. [1].
 

ROBSON, Charles Edward

Charles Robson 5 Commando
No 5 Commando
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 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].
Sources
[1] London Gazette 57155, page s21.
[2] Commando Association newsletter 118 of 2004.

SERRICK, Daniel

No 5 Commando

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
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.
Recommendation

SHEDDON, Richard Graham

No 5 Commando
In 1942 the then Lieutenant Richard Sheddon was awarded the M.C. in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during operations in Madagascar.
 
Sources
London Gazettes Supp. 35740, page 4431.
National Archives file WO 373/29/135.
 
Notes
Surname spelt as SHEDDON on N.A. file, and CA Newsletter 105; SHEDDEN on L.G. record.
 

SKEATES, Albert Charles

No 5 Commando
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. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
No 5 Commando War Diary.
 

SMALLEY, Christopher John

Christopher John Smalley 5 Commando
No 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." 
Recommendation
"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.

STOKES, George Stanley

No 5 Commando

Lance Corporal George Stokes died during Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire. He was one of the commando contingent on HMS Campbeltown and part of Lt Burtinshaw's demolition party.

Sources
CWGC.
St Nazaire Society website.

STUART, Charles Robin McKenzie

Charles Robin Mckenzie Stuart MBE
No 5 Commando
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].
Sources
[1] London Gazette 36083, page 3086.

WOOD, Steven Patrick

No 5 Commando
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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