9 Commando

History of the Unit

Many original members of No.9 originated from No’s 6 & 7 independent companies coming together under the command of No.2 Special Service Battalion in the autumn of 1940.

C.O. was Lt Col John Maclean (Jack) Saegert, RE.

After the Commando reorganisation the unit was redesignated No.9 Commando and H.Q. was at Criccieth in North Wales.

The first operational raid by the Commando was on the nights of 22nd/23rd November 1941 Operation Sunstar on the French coast at Houlgate. A successful landing and evacuation was affected without loss.

After this raid Lt Col R Tod assumed command of the unit. 

In March 1942 a small contingent of Commandos from No.9 took part in the famous St.Nazaire raid in support of No 2 Commando.

No.9 Commando were then called on to reinforce the garrison in Gibraltar during the lead up to the Torch landings in North Africa .The unit remained in Gibraltar until March 1943 after which it returned to the UK for refitting. After being posted to the Mediterranean and arriving there in November 1943 No 9 were in action again on the islands of Tremiti and Pianosa.

Operation Partridge was next in December 1943 in the river Garigliano area. The Commando suffered heavy losses during the bitter fighting in the early months of 1944 at Monte Ornito and Anzio , before leaving the area mid March ’44 for Naples, and then onto Molfetta.  The next few months were spent rebuilding the Commando from replacements sent from the UK already Commando trained, and when there no more available, from volunteers from Regiments operating in North Africa and the Central Mediterranean . These then had to undergo their training from the Commando training group that had been formed in Italy.

Later operations by No 9 included 'Operation Darlington 11’ in May 1944, and Operation ‘Gradient’ in August 1944. This latter operation featured men on bicycles attacking a garrison. The garrison did not exist so a local telephone exchange was ransacked instead.

In the latter stages of the war No 9 operated in Greece and finally saw its last involvement at Commachio and Argenta in April 1945. The following year the Commando along with other Army Commando units was disbanded.

View:  Photos and history of the Marble Memorial at Mt. Ornito

View: Gallery images of No 9 Commando

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