No 7 Commando

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'Layforce'

Three UK based Army Commando units, Nos. 7, 8, and 11 Commandos, were initially combined within 'Force Z' for operations initially envisaged against Rhodes in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Other elements of the Force included a number of men from No.3 Commando and the Canoe section of No.8 (Guards) Commando.  They sailed from the Isle of Arran on the 31st January 1941, and arrived at Suez on the 7th March.

7 Commando

The first troops of this Commando formed up in several locations.  ‘A’ Troop in Gamblingay under Capt. Wylie R.E. while the H.Q. Staff came together in Billericay Essex. A small party of ‘B’ Troop formed in St. Albans and the remainder in Newmarket under Capt G March Phillips who was later to command No.62 Commando. After this scattered beginning all the various sections came together finally in Felixstowe at the end of July 1940. H.Q. being in a school in Station Rd Felixstowe.

7 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. 

ASHFORD-RUSSELL, Brian Harborough

No 7 Commando
Served in No. 7 Commando as a Lieutenant. Appointed M.B.E. (Military Division) in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy serving with the Intelligence Corps having left the Commando. 
 
On the Ist january 1968 he was appointed O.B.E. (Civil Division). 
 
The death of Major Brian Harborough Ashford-Russell OBE of Alresford, Hants., was announced in Commando Association newsletter 116 issued Feb. 2003.
 
Sources
MBE - London Gazettes Supp. 36850, page 5845.

ASTBURY, Albert Ernest

No 6 Commando
No 7 Commando
Sergeant Albert Astbury, No.6 Commando, died during operations in Germany [1]. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at the River Aller crossing. He had earlier served with No.7 Commando and was taken prisoner of war in 1941 [2][2a] but escaped in 1943 [3]. He then joined No.6 Commando.
Extract from the Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail Tuesday 24 April 1945.

BEASLEY, Frederick

No 7 Commando
Corporal Frederick Beasley was initially reported missing presumed prisoner of war. He was later presumed killed in action during operations in Crete as part of Layforce. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45.
 

BIRD, R.D.

No 7 Commando
Private Bird was reported missing 20 April 1941 which coincides with the time of the Bardia raid. Later found to have been taken prisoner.
 
Source
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives WO417/24.
Prisoners of War Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.
 

BURFORD, Norman Alan

No 7 Commando
Corporal Norman Burford was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Field [1]. This occurred during No.7 Commando's rearguard action on Crete. On 2 June 1941 he was reported missing; found to have been taken prisoner and later transported to Stalag 383 [2][2a].
 
Sources
[1] London Gazette 37616, page 3115.
[2] Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28.

CANTLEY, W.J.

No 7 Commando
Layforce

Corporal W.J. Cantley was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been taken prisoner and later transported overseas spending his captivity in Stalag 3A and to Stalag 344.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28 and WO417/34.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1 and WO392/11.

CLAY, Alfred

No 7 Commando

Bombardier Alfred Clay was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 383.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.
RA Attestation records.

COWIE, Aikman Duncan

No 7 Commando
Bombardier Aikman Cowie was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 4C.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.
RA Attestation records.
Records of Deaths in England and Wales / Dover, Kent
 

CRAMPTON, Jack Barraclough

Independent Companies and Special Service Battalions
'Layforce'
Lance Corporal Jack Barraclough, 3 Special Service Bn. died in Berlin as a prisoner of war. He had been reported missing, later found to have been taken prisoner in Crete on 2 June 1941. 
 
Sources
CWGC.
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/33.
 
Notes

CROSBIE, John

No 7 Commando
Private John Crosbie died during operations in Crete [1].
 
Extract from the Dumfries and Galloway Standard - Saturday 12 June 1943
"Dumfries Commando Dies Of Wounds :-  James Crosbie, 32 Shakespeare Street, Dumfries, has received intimation from the War Office that his son, Pte. John Crosbie, K.O.S.B., who was reported as wounded and missing while serving as a Commando in Crete two years ago, must now be presumed to have died of wounds." [2].
 

CRUICKSHANKS, John

No 7 Commando
Sapper John Cruickshanks was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 344 in Poland.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28 and WO417/32.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.
Obituaries in Commando Association newsletter 78 issued March 1984.
 
Notes

EDNEY, Frank Leslie

No 7 Commando
Private Frank Edney was reported missing 2 June 1941 during operations in Crete; found to have been taken prisoner and subsequently transported to Stalag 8B Lamsdorf Poland (renamed Stalag 344).
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28 and WO417/29.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1 and WO392/11.
 

ELSE, John

No 7 Commando
Sergeant John Else, No 7 Commando and Layforce, was accidentally killed whilst attached to No 1 Special Service Detachment.
 
Sources
CWGC.
British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45.
 

EVANS, T.W.

No 7 Commando
10 September 1943 escaped from captivity.
 
Sources
Prisoner of War - Escapers & evaders - MI9 report / National Archives WO208/3343 and WO208/5395.
Casualty Lists National Archives WO417/26.
 

FLYNN, John

No 3 Commando
Lance Corporal John Flynn, a radio operator, was awarded the MM in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe on 19 August 1942 [1].
 
Citation

FREEMAN, Frederick Edward, L.

No 7 Commando
Private Frederick Freeman was reported missing 2 June 1941 in Crete; found to have been taken prisoner and later transported to Stalag 4A.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/34.
Prisoners of War / National Archives file WO392/1.
Obituaries in Commando Association newsletter 108 issued March 1999.
Peterborough Register of Deaths.
 

FREEMAN, Thomas Louis

No 7 Commando
Service Record
5 March 1940 enlisted Suffolk Regiment.
11 June 1940 posted 2nd Bn The Cambridgeshire Regiment.
25 October 1940 attached No.7 Commando.
11 June 1940 3 Special Service Battalion.
8 April 1941  'A' Battalion Layforce.
20 April 1941 Cyrenaica, Middle East, Missing - Prisoner of War ( Bardia raid).
 
Sources
Service Record extract on CVA Forum.
Casualty Lists WO417/24 and 25.

GAYLARD, Albert Jack

No 7 Commando
Lance Corporal Albert Gaylard was reported missing in action 20 April 1941 during operations in Cyrenaica Libya, and later found to have been captured by the enemy [1][4]. He died during an air raid [2][3] whilst a prisoner of war in Camp PG78 Italy [4][5].
 
Sources
[1] Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/27.

GLYPTIS, G.

Independent Companies and Special Service Battalions
Layforce

Lance Corporal G. Glyptis was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 344 in Poland.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28 and WO417/96.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.

GOODSIR, Georges Albert Jacques

No 7 Commando
Lance Bombardier Georges Albert Jacques Goodsir was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 4C.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.
RA Attestation records.

Probate Records Oxford.

GREENWOOD, Stephen

No 7 Commando
Trooper Stephen Greenwood died whilst a prisoner of war after being captured at Crete, and transported to Germany. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag 3D near Berlin. He died during a forced march West whilst still a POW, when they were fired on by a Russian tank at Waganitz.
 
Sources
CWGC.
Prisoners of War 1939 - 45 / National Archives file WO392/1.
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/93.

HERD, J.

Independent Companies and Special Service Battalions
'Layforce'

Sapper J. Herd was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later imprisoned at Stalag 4B and at Stalag 4C.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28 and WO417/32.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11 and WO392/1.

HILDRETH, Sidney James

No 7 Commando
LCpl. Sidney Hildreth, formerly 7 Commando, was killed whilst attached to 'L' Detachment SAS.  He left the Commando to join the SAS on the 30th August 1941. He was fatally injured parachuting into the SAS first raid, Operation Squatter, an abortive attack against airfields at Tmimi and Gazala. 
 

IBBETSON, Reginald Thomas

No 7 Commando

Lance Bombardier Reginald Goodsir was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 357.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.
RA Attestation records.

JONES, Glyn Watkar

No 7 Commando

Gunner Glyn Jones was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 4C.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.
RA Attestation records.

NOLTING, F.G.

No 7 Commando

Sergeant F.G. Nolting was reported missing 2 June 1941 during operations in Crete; found to have been taken prisoner and subsequently transported to Stalag 4C, Wistritz bei Teplitz, Sudetenland (part of former Czechoslovakia). 

Sources
British Army Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/28.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.

PATERNOSTER, Harry

No 7 Commando
Private Harry Paternoster died of heatstroke.
 
Sources
CWGC.
War Diary A Bn,Layforce, file ref National Archives WO 218/168, Entry for the 6th April "The death from Heatstroke of 5827448 Pte Paternoster H. occurred in 13th General Hospital, Suez."
 

PREECE, B.L.

No 7 Commando

Gunner B.L. Preece was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 344.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/30.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.

RAESIDE, Bendon Walker

No 7 Commando
Sergenat Bendon Raeside was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 4B.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/33.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.

Royal Artillery Attestation Records.

REDWOOD, Albert C.

No 7 Commando
Sergeant Albert Redwood died [1] having left the Commando and joined Force 136, the S.O.E.  At the time of his death he was part of Operation Ramrose, team Fox at Myothit - Irrawaddy. 
 
Extract from a Force 136 battle casualty report about his death [2].

REED, Robert Middleton

No 7 Commando
Lance Sergeant Robert Reed was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 383.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.

RA Attestation records.

REEVES, Francis Samuel

No 7 Commando
Sapper Francis Reeves was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captued and later transported to Stalag 344 in Poland.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/28 and WO417/30.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.
Obituaries in Commando Association newsletter 117 issued September 2003.
 
Notes
  • Commando Association newsletter above list his unit as No.7 Commando.

REGAN, William

No 7 Commando
Gunner William Regan was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 4A.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/34.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.

Royal Artillery Attestations Records.

RICHARDS, Branson

No 7 Commando
Captain Branson Richards, a prisoner of war detained in Camp P.G. 29 at Veano, Piacenzo, Italy [1], was reported shot and killed whilst escaping captivity [2][3].
He received a posthumous Mention in Despatches [2][4]. 
 
Sources
[1] Prisoners of War / National Archives file WO392/21.

SEEKINGS, Albert Reginald

Albert Reginald Seekings 7 Commando and SAS
No 7 Commando
SAS
Albert Reginald Seekings served in No.7 Commando. Due to illness he did not take part in the Crete landings after which he joined 'L' Detachment SAS [1][2].
 
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Lance Sergeant, 'L' Detachment SAS, Middle East.
Recommendation

SEEKINGS, Robert William

Robert William Seekings 7 Commando and SAS
No 7 Commando
SAS
Private Robert Seekings, No. 7 Commando, was wounded 28 May 1941 during operations in Crete whilst his unit were designated as 'D' Battalion of Layforce [1]
Service History [2]
13 February 1938 enlisted at Ely into the T.A.*
3 September 1939 mobilised with the Cambridgeshire Regiment.
1940 volunteered for the Commandos.
1941 No.7 Commando designated as 'D' Bn., Layforce.
Served with Layforce in North Africa and Crete.

SIMPSON, A.C.

No 7 Commando

Lance Bombardier A.C. Simpson was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 4A.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/34.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.

SMITH, Ernest William

No 7 Commando
Lance Bombardier Ernest William Smith was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 4C.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/33.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.

Royal Artillery Attestation Records.

SMITH, George

No 7 Commando
Sergeant George Smith was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 383.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/30.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.

Royal Artillery Attestation Records.

SMITH, William Henry

No 7 Commando
Lance Bombardier William Henry Smith was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 344.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/29.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/11.
Royal Artillery Attestation Records.
 

STEINKE, R.F.

No 7 Commando

Corporal R.F. Steinke was reported missing 2 June 1941 during operations in Crete; found to have been taken prisoner and subsequently transported to Stalag 383 Hohenfels, Germany.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO417/33.
Prisoners of War 1715-1945 / National Archives file WO392/1.

THOW, Henry Beverley

No 7 Commando
Bombardier Henry Thow was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 8B (344) in Poland.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/34.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.

Royal Artillery Attestation Records.

WALSH, Percy John

No 7 Commando
Bombardier Percy Walsh was reported missing in Crete on 2 June 1941; found to have been captured and later transported to Stalag 4C.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives files WO417/28 and WO417/34.
POW Lists / National Archives file WO392/1.
Royal Artillery Attestation Records.
 

WESTWATER, Alexander

No 7 Commando
SAS
Sergeant Alexander Westwater DCM, formerly 7 Commando and SAS,  was killed in Italy after an explosion in what is described as a battle accident whilst serving with the Royal Artillery (AFHQ).
[Source: Royal Artillery Deaths 1939-1946, Form RH, stamped RA Record Office Field Branch]
 

WHITE, Harold

Harold White 7 Commando and SAS
No 7 Commando
SAS
Corporal Harold White was awarded the Military Medal for his gallantry whilst serving with 'L' Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade, having left the Commando after operations in Crete.
Recommendation
(by Lt. Col. A.D. Stirling, D.S.O.)

WYLIE, Kenneth Neil

No 7 Commando
Temporary Major Kenneth Wylie, B.A. was second in command of No.7 Commando. During operations on Crete he was placed in command replacing the sick Lt. Col. Colvin and was subsequently captured by the enemy [1]
  • He was transported to Germany and imprisoned at Oflag O9/AH at Spangenberg [2].

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