Commando Basic Training Centre

There may be additional content elsewhere such as in our Photo Gallery and Forum.

Displaying 1 - 35 of 35


Lance Sergeant Beaton served at Achnacarry.
Extract from Commando Association newsletter 45 issued Sept. 1967.
"L/Sgt. (later Drum Major) J. W. Beaton (C.B.T.C.) (now a member of the A.A. Road Staff in Inverness-shire) still pops round occasionally to the old domain at Achnacarry. Although the place has greatly changed and the old assault landing beach is overgrown with heather and bog myrtle a few landmarks remain, and the telegraph."


Lance Sergeant Roy Bellringer served with 1 troop and took part in the raid at St Nazaire.  He was on board ML 446 and was evacuated back to the UK. In July 1942 he was part of the No 2 Commando Boxing Team. We have numerous photos in the gallery of him both before and after St Nazaire, and in an image of the boxing team.

BISSELL, Stanley

Stan 'Sonnie' Bissell joined the Metropolitan Police on the 1st March 1926. In 1930 & 1934 he won silver medal at the British Empire Games middleweight freestyle wrestling events in Canada and London. He was then posted as self defence instructor at the Metropolitan Police Training Centre at Peel House. He attended the Army School of Physical Training to assist him in this new Police role.

DUNNING, James Edwin

Troop Sergeant Major Dunning
James Dunning 1992
James Dunning was one of the original volunteers for No. 4 Commando. Promoted Troop Sergeant Major he took part in the Lofoten Islands and Dieppe raids  before being commissioned Second Lieutenant on the 22nd May 1943. He then served as an instructor at the Commando Basic Training Centre. After recuperating from a spinal injury in a night parachute descent he was appointed Adjutant at the Commando Cliff Climbing Centre in St Ives.

GILCHRIST, Donald Johnston

Donald Gilchrist was serving as a Captain in the Cameronians when he volunteered for the Commandos. After acceptance he went to Achnacarry in February/March 1942 and successfully completed his Officer Training after which he was retained there as an Instructor. Achnacarry had just opened as the new Commando Depot, later renamed the Commando Basic Training Centre, and staff were needed to assist with the initial intakes. 

HARDEY, Ronald Graham Kennell

Capt RGK Hardey MC
Captain Ronald Hardey, 2 troop, was awarded the MC for his gallantry and leadership during operations on D Day at Normandy. (London Gazettes Supp. 36679, page 4046.)
In 1945 he served at the CBTC. He is shown in a photo entitled "Commando Basic Training Centre - Officers Mess - 1945." (CVA Gallery).

JOHNSON, Herbert

Lieutenant Herbert Johnson died of illness at the Military Hospital, Buchanan, Stirling at 3.45 am on the 17th March 1944. The Register of Deaths records the cause of death as "chronic interstitial nephritis".  His profession is shown as "(Detective Sergeant, Police Force) Lieutenant KOY Light Infantry (att. Commandos)". 

LEES, Brian

Capt Brian Lees 2 Commando and CBTC

Brian Lees served as a Lieutenant in No 2 Commando and is included in pictures in our gallery of the officers at Gibraltar in 1943. At some stage after that he is posted to the staff at the Commando Basic Training Centre and is included in a 1945 photo of the Officers there.

Post war he settled in the 50's in Illinois, America, and is referred to as Doctor Brian Lees in Commando Association Newsletter 26 of March 1958. His death was announced in a later newsletter which additionally showed the fact he had served in the CBTC (CA Newsletter 56).


Fusilier Bill Magennis served in the Pipe Band at Achnacarry.
Extract from Commando Association newsletter 40 issued March 1965
Now Pipe Major of the lst Bn. Black Watch (R.H.R.) of Canada and stationed at Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick is ex Fus. Bill Magennis who served in the Commando Pipe Band at Achnacarry.

MILNE, Alan John Mitchell

Lieutenant Alan John Mitchell Milne
Lieutenant Alan Milne served in No. 3 Commando, and on the staff of the Commando Basic Training Centre at Achnacarry.  He was blinded in the River Aller crossing, Germany, April 1945 [1].

Born at Marlow in 1922 and educated at the Dragon School, Oxford, and Uppingham. He enlisted in the Army immediately on leaving school in 1939 and served first in the Royal Artillery and then in the Commandos. It was when leading a bridgehead commando in Germany in the spring of 1945 that he was hit by a sniper's bullet which blinded him [2].

MURCUTT, Frederick George Halls

Frederick Murcutt was awarded the MC for his gallantry whilst a Lieutenant serving in Tunisia. He went on to serve with 2 Commando Brigade.
Captain Murcutt MC and Sgt Booth were the last demolition team on the training staff at the Commando Basic Training Centre. Post war they set up a boat hire company called 'The Green Beret Craft Operating Company Ltd." (Commando Association Newsletter 2 of 1946).
Additional Information and Sources:

MURPHY, Dennis Eric

Capt D.E. Murphy CBTC

Dennis Murphy was serving as a Guardsman in the 1st Bn of the Irish Guards in 1938 when he was awarded the Military Medal for his " conspicuous gallantry during an engagement with an armed band in the vicinity of Deir Bejjala o the 18th August 1938", Recommended by the Officer Commanding British Forces in Palestine and Trans-Jordan. A copy of his citation is in the National Archives  ref WO373/92/125.

OVENS, Patrick John

Lt PJ Ovens

Lieutenant Patrick Ovens served  for a period at the CBTC and is shown in a photo entitled "Commando Basic Training Centre - Officers Mess - 1945." 

He joined 46RM Commando shortly before it was disbanded.

Post war he served as a Captain with 41 Independent Commando RM in Korea being awarded the Military Cross in 1951 for " gallant and distinguished service".  [1]

PROCTOR, John David

John David Proctor 2 Commando
Second Lieutenant John Proctor received his commission into the Camerons (1st Liverpool Scottish)  on the 10th February 1940. He later volunteered for the Independent Companies joining No 4 Ind.Coy. In February 1941 he joined No. 2 Commando as a Lieutenant in 5 troop.

SAVILL, Gerald Peter

Capt G.P. Savill

Captain Gerald Savill served on the staff at the Commando Basic Training Centre. Post war he was a member of the Commando Association and is listed on their Lost Legion 10 pamphlet (members they had lost contact with), his last known address being Heswall, Cheshire.


CSMI Roy Smith, from Topsham, Devon, served at the Commando Basic Training Centre.
Commando Association newsletter 118 obituaries issued Feb 2004.


Lance Sergeant Leonard Suttling served as an instructor at Achnacarry in 1942/3, and was on the weapon training staff at the Holding Operational Commando at Wrexham in 1944/5.  Later promoted Company Sergeant Major.
Extract from Commando Association newsletter 61 of Sept 1975, ".........our blind comrade ex CSM Len Suttling of Grays, Essex. He. was L/Sgt. instructor in '42/'43 at Achnacarry, a Sgt. on the weapon training staff at HOC Wrexham '44/'45, and also went on the climbing course at St. Ives. "


Lt. DC 'Tommy' Thomas MC
Lieut. Thomas was from Maclear in the Transkei, South Africa. The South African Legion website records him as attached to the RM Commandos, 4th Special Service Bde., during the allied landings at Normandy, and that he recieved shrapnel wounds to his leg.
He was awarded the MC for "gallant and distinguished services in operations in North West Europe." (Source: London Gazettes Supp. 36846, page 5809, and Supp. 36895, page 417.)

THOMSON, Niall, G.

Niall Thomson CBTC
Lieutenant Niall Thomson served in No. 3 Commando and on the staff of the Commando Basic Training Centre, at Achnacarry.
Numerous entries in CA Newsletters including 94, 96, 100 and 105.
{Image] CVA Gallery.

TURNEY, William James

CSM Turney, CBTC

William James Turney enlisted as a Private into the 6th Beds and Herts Bn., TA on the 29th January 1940 and was quickly promoted Acting Lance Corporal.  He volunteered for the Independent Companies (Ind. Coy.)  and on the 26th April 1940 was attached to No 3 Ind. Coy. Having reverted to Private in order to get into the Ind. Coy. he was quickly promoted to Lance Corporal on the 1st May. On the 4th May he along with the whole of No 3 Ind. Coy. sailed with Scissors Force to join the expeditionary force in Norway (Operation Avonmouth).  

WALBRIDGE, Percival Norman

Captain Percival Walbridge served as a Weapons Training Officer at STC Lochailort and the Commando Basic Training Centre.
There is reference in the London Gazettes to his promotion on the 18th Jan. 1941 from a Warrant Officer class 2 at the Small Arms School to Lieutenant Somerset LI.
[Source: LG 11Feb 1941; Supp 35075; Page 891].

Ask questions / Add information

Use our Forum for research enquiries, or to add information or photos. [register now]
Your message will then be seen by our Research Group and the many knowledgeable members of our Forum. Read some frequently asked questions here [FAQ's].
All content is researched and administered by the Commando Veterans Archive.