No 8 Commando
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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.
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.
- Awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during SAS operations at Nofilla Areodrome and Aghelia .
Corporal Kenneth Baker was killed in action during operations in Libya with Layforce.
British Army Casualties List / National Archives file WO 417/35.
4 Special Service Bn. was a very short lived title redesignation of Commando Units and was no longer in use at the time of his death. 'B' Bn Layforce was made up of men from No 8 Commando whose unit had been part of 4 Special Service Bn.
- 24 February 1942 awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East on 11 June 1941 [2a].
- 1 January 1963 (Warrant Officer 1) (RSM of 21 SAS) awarded British Empire Medal .
Corporal Leslie Brown died 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.
- Awarded the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East.
13 June 1970 appointed M.B.E. (Civil Division) whilst Chief Office Clerk, House of Commons Library .
Regimental Sergeant Major Anthony Drongin of No 8 Commando gave up his rank to join L Detachment SAS when 8 Commando was disbanded. He served as a Corporal and is reported to have died of wounds inflicted during SAS operations near Benghazi.
[Sources: CWGC, CA Newsletter 119, SAS and LRDG Roll of Honour 1941-1947.]
- 2 January 1924 enlisted Royal Tank Corps aged 18. Former trade 'Shop Assistant'. Residence 'Fisherton Salisbury Wiltshire' .
 Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archive files WO417/57, WO417/66, WO/417/100.
Lance Sergeant Thomas Headland died as a result of an accident during operations in Syria.
Casualty Lists 1939-45 / National Archives file WO 417/30.
Private Leonard Lacey died whilst assigned from the Commando to Middle East Detachment 2, later redesignated 2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD 2), in Burma.
- 17 August 1939 awarded the Royal Humane Society's Testimonial in Vellum, for Saving Life at Sea .
- The Westminster Abbey Commando Roll of Honour lists his Unit as No.8 Commando [notes].
Lance Sergeant Fred Senior died 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.
Sergeant Sidney 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.
- 1 January 1942 commissioned 2nd Lieutenant with the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry .
- 19 August 1946 granted honorary rank of Captain .
- 24 February 1942 (Lieutenant) (Temporary Captain) (SBS) Distinguished Service Order in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East [2a].
- 24 February 1942 Mentioned in Despatches in recognition of distinguished service in the Middle East .
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