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.
No 8 Commando
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"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them."
History of the Unit
The Commando was formed on the 23rd June 1940 reaching full strength in September at Burnham on Crouch, Essex. Mostly made up of members of the various Guards Brigades, it became unofficially known as No 8 (Guards) Commando.
Gdsm. Bolland was serving with "L" Detachment, S.A.S. Bde., Special Air Service Regiment, A.A.C. at the time of his death, having previously served in No. 8 Commando. He was killed during Operation Squatter, a raid on Axis airfields at Tmimi and Gazala, West of Tobruk in Libya.
Cpl. Leslie Brown was killed when his jeep patrol was attacked whilst en route to harass the enemy in Southern Tunisia. He was serving with 1st SAS ('B' Sqn.) at the time of his death having left the Commandos. He had previously served in both No 8 Commando and 51ME Commando.
Private Francis Cawsey is believed to have been attached from No 8 Commando to Mission 204 at the time of his death.
Bombardier Edwin Couldrey was one of the Commandos from No 8 who were attached to the Special Service Detachments (1 & 2) and Military Mission 204 to the Far East.
The circumstances of his death are not known however in a last letter home he had written that he was "going native." ( Source: Stevenage at War )
Former Regimental Sergeant Major of No 8 Commando, he gave up his rank to join L Detachment SAS when 8 Commando was disbanded. He served as a Corporal and died a short time later of wounds during SAS operations near Benghazi.
[Sources: CA Newsletter 119, and numerous books referring to the SAS operations.]
Temp. Captain Philip Dunne, Special Service Bde. HQ., was awarded the MC for his gallantry during the Salerno Landings.
The full circumstances of the death of Tpr. Edsall are not known to this archive.
Major Hanbury-Tracy died at sea whilst No 8 Commando were part of Layforce.
Cpl Harrold drowned at sea. (Source: Data file for the Wesminster Abbey Commando Roll of Honour)
Specifics relating to his death are not known. However at the time of his death No 8 Commando were training in Scotland at areas such as Inverary and the Isle of Arran. A few under Lt. Roger Coutney were invoved in training in the use of Canoes and Folbots whilst on Arran.
Pte Leonard Lacey was killed whilst assigned from the Commando to Middle East Detachment 2, later redesignated 2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD 2), in Burma.
Cpl Maynard was killed during operations in Tobruk whilst part of a detachment from No 8 Commando assigned to the garrison. (Source : Layforce document)
He had been awarded the Royal Humane Society's Testimonial in Vellum, for Saving Life at Sea, on the 17th August, 1939. (Source: CWGC)
Pte. Miller was one of a contingent from Layforce (No 8 Commando) who were attached to Middle East Detachment 2, later known as 2nd Special Service Detachment or SSD2, for operations in the Far East.
Company Sergeant Major Arthur Richardson was one of a contingent from Layforce (No 8 Commando) who were attached to Middle East Detachment 2, later known as 2nd Special Service Detachment or SSD2, for operations in the Far East.
Trooper Lewis Scanes is believed to have been attached from No 8 Commando to Mission 204 at the time of his death.Sources CWGC Westminster Abbey Commando ROH database.
LSgt. Fred Senior was killed when his jeep patrol was attacked whilst en route to harass the enemy in Southern Tunisia. He was serving with 1st SAS ('B' Sqn.) at the time of his death having left the Commandos. He had previously served in both No 8 Commando and the Middle East Commando, and 'L' Detachment SAS.
Sgt. Stone was serving with "L" Detachment, S.A.S. Bde Special Air Service Regiment, A.A.C. at the time of his death, having previously served in No. 8 Commando.
(The following is from the Times obituary.)
LIEUTENANT David Sutherland and Royal Marine John Duggan were the only two to return from Operation “Anglo”, a raid on the Italian-occupied island of Rhodes by the Special Boat Service in September 1942. The SBS team was pursued relentlessly; it had attacked two airfields and destroyed aircraft positioned to support Rommel’s threatened advance on Cairo and to bomb supply convoys to beleaguered Malta.
The full circumstances of the death of Gnr. Wells are not known to this archive.