No 8 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.

8 Commando

History of the Unit

8 Commando

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. 

8 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. 

BOLLAND, Stanley

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.

BROWN, Leslie Jock

Cpl. Leslie Brown 1st SAS

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. 

DRONGIN, Anthony

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.]

HARROLD, Edward Thomas Hornsby

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.

LEWES, John Steel

Lieut. Lewes  was serving with  "L" Detachment, S.A.S. Bde., Special Air Service Regiment, A.A.C. at the time of his death. His previous service in No. 8 Commando is mentioned in various books but nothing official confirming this has yet been found by this archive.  His name is recorded here in the hope that this can be clarified in the future. He was killed during operations against an airfield at Nofilia. 
 

MILLER, John

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.

SENIOR, Fred

Fred Senior 1st SAS

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.

SILLETT, Thomas John

Pte. Thomas Sillett died of illness (diptheria) whilst serving with 1st SAS, 'A' Sqn.  He had joined No 8 Commando in 1940 and embarked with them for the Middle East at the end of January 1941 as part of Layforce.  He later left the Commandos and joined 'L' Detachment SAS in June 1942.
 

SUTHERLAND, David (Lt Col)

(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. 

TERRY, John Leslie

LCpl Terry, 2 troop,  was killed by a locomotive during a night operations exercise. The Commando were based at Burnham on Crouch at the time.
Source: No 8 Commando War Diary entry 29th August 1940.  National Archives WO/218.
 

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