WW2 Monthly History - April

There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some. Photo below depicts No 3 Commando officers at Limehouse during training there in the months preceding D Day.

19th April 1941 saw No 7 Commando involved in Operation Addition as part of Layforce ('A' Battalion) at Bardia. We have an account of Layforce.[view]

1st April 1942 saw the joint burial service permitted by the Germans for the casualties after Operation Chariot, the raid at St Nazaire. [view]

Photos of the burial party can be seen here [view]. 

A quite unique joint ceremony in a time of world war.

April 1942 also saw No 4 Commando take part in Operation Abercrombie, the raid on Hardelot. We have some interesting information on this raid posted in 2 messages on our forum  which can be viewed here [view 1] and here [view 2].

12/14 April 1943  saw the Northforce section of No 12 Commando taking part in Operation Carey in the Norwegian Fjords. No 12 Commando provided a small detachment for ‘Chariot’ the raid on St.Nazaire.

After this raid the Commando split into two, one half operating against the Norwegian Coast , ‘Northforce’, the remainder operating against the French coast in the Forfar operations. Men from No 12 also operated with the Small Scale Raiding Force (S.S.R.F.)  More photos and information about No 12 Commando are in our gallery [view 1] and our archive [view 2].

28/29th April 1943 saw a raid on Axis shipping in the harbour at Kopervik, Norway.

The raiders managed to sink several ships using limpet mines, but they were eventually captured. The raiders, a R.N.V.R. Lieutenant, two Petty Officers, three Seamen, from No 14 Commando [view] were assisted by a Sergeant from No 12 Commando.

They were all eventually taken to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where they were forced to march 30 miles a day on cobblestones testing german army boots. All but Mayor and Roe were later executed at Sachsenhausen.

Mayor and Roe were transferred to Belsen. Mayor was executed there. Roe died of Typhus there. 

Read more about the individuals and raid. [view]

April-July 1944 also saw continued operations in the Far East involving 3 Commando Brigade in the Silchar, Assam, region. The Bde included units from the SBS. The fighting in the campaign was tough and casualties high. Photos of some of the No 5 Commando graves from the Arakan campaign can be seen in our war graves album for Burma (Myanmar)  [view]. 

April 1945 saw operations continuing in North West Europe with major river crossings including the rivers Elbe and Aller. We have some good photos in our photo gallery, and the memories of some of those involved, including Cpl.Eric Taylor, 46RM Commando, about their experiences. [view Cpl. Taylor's account].

When checking the photo galleries of individual units involved, we recommend you also check our photo gallery of the Special Service Brigades to which they were attached. [view] 

April 1945  2 Commando Brigade with units from the SAS/SBS were involved in Operations Roast, Impact, and Impact Royal in the regions of Lake Commachio and the Argenta Gap, Italy. There were many Commando casualties and two of these men would later be awarded the Victoria Cross for their gallantry in separate incidents, Major Anders Lassen and Cpl Thomas Hunter.  

Read more about Major Lassen. [view] 

Read more about Corporal Hunter. [view] 

They are both buried at Argenta War Cemetery. [view]

April 1945, and only days to go before before VE day, casualties continued.

Trooper Stephen Greenwood, his No. 7 Commando long since disbanded, was a prisoner of war in Germany.  He was killed at Waganitz on the 30th April 1945 when they were fired on by a Russian tank whilst being force marched West away from the advancing Russian army.  

Our Gallery has more about Trooper Stephen Greenwood.  [view]. 

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