'ME Cdo. Roll of Honour'

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them."

The history of 50, 51, and 52 Middle East Commandos is a complex one.  Between September and December 1941 decisions were being made to disband them and create a new Commando. Reformed in January 1942 as Squadrons of a new Middle East Commando operating primarily with the 8th Army in North Africa before being redsignated in April 1942 as the 1st Special Service Regiment.  Some died in captivity, or after being sent elsewhere on detachments. The details of how some met their death are not known to this archive.
Click on any name for more information.
 
The Fallen from the Middle East Commandos

50 Middle East Commando

 
Capt. G.C.G. TAYLOR.
2/Lieut. M.A.  SMITH
LSgt. R.  SHARMAN
Cpl.   J.H.  BATE
Cpl.   J. GREENWOOD
LCpl. A.G.  TAYLOR
Tpr. T.  BLACKBURN
Pte. E.W. DAWES
Tpr. L.F.  ENGLAND
Fus. H.L.  KNOTT
Tpr. A. LOCKINGTON
Pte. F.  LUMBRERA
Pte.  J.H. MATHER
Pte.  J.  McCORMICK
Pte. H.  PEMBERTON
Tpr. J.K.V. POLLARD
Tpr. G.E.  ROBINSON
Pte. F.B.  TUNSTALL

51 Middle East Commando

 
Capt. H.S.  FROST
LSgt. R.F.  SHIELDS
Pte. M. FISCHER
Pte. W.  OSTERMAN
LCpl. N. ROSENSTEIN
Pte. I.  ULRICH
Pte. P.L.G. VRONDI
Pte. S.  WAJNSZTEJN

52 Middle East Commando

 
LCpl. P.  KELLY
Pte. W.B.  BEAUMONT
Pte.  J.P.  FLOOD
LSgt. R.  HARRISON 
Tpr.  F.J.  HILL
Gdsm. G.  HOWARTH
Pte. B.  HUMPHREY
Tpr.  J.H.  NICHOLAS
Tpr. C.H.  STOTT
Tpr. L. THOMAS
Pte. J.  WHITELAW
Tpr. W.A.  WILLCOCKS

Layforce 'D' Battalion

 
LCpl. G.  MOYLES
Tpr.   J.  BROWN

 The following are listed on the CWGC database by Regiment only, however their names are either on the Westminster Abbey Commando ROH database as Layforce, or if with an asterisk, the Special Forces ROH website with unit as shown. This in itself is not sufficient to establish Commando service for the CWGC to amend their records. 

Lieut. M.J.  DUFFY *
Gdsm. T.T.  MAXWELL
Pte. O.  PARKINGTON
Pte. N.  THOMAS
We will remember them
 
and all ranks who served in the Commando and have since passed on in the passage of time, who are also remembered by their proud families and comrades.
 

Below is an A-Z view of the Roll of Honour with information about each of the Fallen. Displaying 1 - 44 of 44

BROWN, Jack

Trooper Jack Brown was shot and killed whilst a prisoner of war and attempting to escape.
 
On the 2nd February 1941 he was posted from the Yorkshire Hussars to the "Depot Commando Training and Holding Unit."  This Depot came into being mid December 1940 and was formally established at Geneifa beside the Great Bitter Lake under the command of Maj. D.W. Melville MC on the 25th January 1941. Its role to provide training and reinforcements for 50, 51, and 52 Commandos who were all deployed at the time, and also as a Holding Unit for Commandos.
 

DUFFY, Michael James

Lieutenant Michael Duffy died during operations in Libya with the Middle East Commando (redesignated as 1 Special Service Regiment).
 
Service details are LRDG 1942, Middle East Commando (A Squadron) (2Lt) 1942, KIA Libya with D Squadron 1 Special Service Regiment
 
Sources
CWGC.
War Diary Records of ME Cdo Depot and 1 SSR.
Special Forces ROH website.
 

FISCHER, M.

Pte. Fischer was killed during operations in Eritrea.
 
Asmara War Cemetery
The Italian stronghold of Keren was taken by Commonwealth forces at the end of March 1941 and the retreating Italian force pursued to Asmara, which was occupied on 1 April.   Asmara War Cemetery contains the graves of those killed in the latter stages of the East African campaign, or who died subsequently at the garrison stationed at Asmara. (Source: CWGC.)
 

FROST, Henry Shelmerdine

Captain Henry Frost died during operations in Eritrea when leading a patrol up a steep gulley running South from Beit Gabru to harass enemy positions. 
(Source: Account by Lt. Col. Cator in Middle East Commandos by Charles Messenger.)
 
Keren War Cemetery
Keren was the last Italian stronghold in Eritrea and the scene of the most decisive battle of the war in East Africa in February and March 1941. (Source:CWGC.)
 

GREENWOOD, Jack

Cpl. Greenwood died by drowning after taking part in operations on the island of Castelorizzo on the 28th February.  He was reported missing believed drowned attempting to escape.  His body was later found and identified.

Sources
CWGC
50 Me Cdo Casualty List 25th-28th Feb. 1941 in Crete (War Office Oct 1941) Ref. National Archives /WO361/124
The Middle East Commandos by Charles Messenger.
 

HARRISON, Ronnie

LSgt Harrison, 'C' Company,  was killed during operations in Eritrea to disrupt enemy communications between Kohr Kumar and Khor Abder.
[Source: Charles Messenger's book The Middle East Commandos.]
 
The CWGC list LSgt Harrison by Regiment only with no mention of Commando service
 
Khartoum Memorial

HILL, Francis John

Tpr. Hill died during the period of the evacuation of allied forces from Crete. Elements of Layforce were engaged in a rearguard action whilst the evacuation took place. He was attached to the Commando on the 13th January 1941.
 
Sources
Tank Museum archives re Cdo service

MATHER, James Henry

Pte James Mather 50ME Commando
Pte Mather was taken prisoner of war May 1941 in Crete, and died due to ill treatment whilst a prisoner shortly after his release in 1945 [1].
 
He had been imprisoned at Stalag 4C, a prisoner of war camp at Wistritz bei Teplitz, Sudetenland ( part of former Czechoslovakia).  His POW number being 12534. [2]
 

MAXWELL, Thomas Turnbull

Gdsm. Maxwell died whilst a prisoner of war.
 
The CWGC list him by his Regiment only. His name is however recorded on the Westminster Abbey Commando ROH as being a member of Layforce and dying as a Prisoner of War.  His name is therefore held on our ROH in the hope that further information establishing, or otherwise, any Commando service will come to light in the future.
 
Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery

PARKINGTON, Oswald

The full circumstances of the death of Pte. Parkington are not known to this archive. The date of his death coincides with that of the evacuation of allied forces from Crete. Elements of Layforce were engaged in a rearguard action whilst the evacuation took place. 
 

ROSENSTEIN, Natan

LCpl. Rosenstein , an Austrian of Jewish Faith, served in the Commando from November 1941 and died of illness in July 1942.  Although the service record shows 1 Special Service Regiment, there is some thought that he may have been with the SAS when he died. 
[Source of Commando service and cause of death: The SAS and LRDG ROH 1941-1947/ Service Record]
 

SHIELDS, Ronald Francis

Lance Sergeant Ronald Shields, ‘D’ Squadron, died from burns received from an accidentally ignited petrol drum thrown up on the beach by sea at El Rakham Bay.
 
Sources
CWGC
Middle East Depot Commando War Diary Jan to June 1942 entry for 10th May.
National Archives file WO 218/159.
 

TAYLOR, Graham Cecil Gordon

The full circumstances of the death of Captain Graham Taylor are not known to this archive. At the time of his death his Commando, as part of  Layforce, were engaged in a rearguard action on Crete.
 
As a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Bn. The Leicestershire Regiment, he had been awarded the MC for distinguished services rendered in the field in connection with operations in Palestine during the period 1st April to 30th July, 1939.
 
Sources
CWGC

THOMAS, Leslie

Tpr. Thomas was killed during the evacuation of allied forces from Crete. No 52 ME Commando (as part of 'D' Bn Layforce) were engaged in a rearguard action whilst the evacuation took place. 
(Sources: Tank Museum archives re Cdo service and cause of death)
 

THOMAS, Norman

Private Norman Thomas was reported as missing in action on Crete on the 2nd June 1941, however he had been taken prisoner. He died whilst a prisoner of war.
 
The CWGC and Casualty Records list him by his Regiment only. His name is however recorded on the Westminster Abbey Commando ROH as being a member of Layforce and dying as a Prisoner of War.  His name is therefore held on our ROH in the hope that further information establishing, or otherwise,  any Commando service will come to light in the future.
 
Notes

ULRICH, Itzchaz

Pte. Ulrich was killed during operations in Eritrea when on a patrol up a steep gulley running South from Beit Gabru to harass enemy positions. 
(Sources: Account by Lt.Col. Cator in Middle East Commandos by Charles Messenger)
 
Keren War Cemetery
Keren was the last Italian stronghold in Eritrea and the scene of the most decisive battle of the war in East Africa in February and March 1941. (Source: CWGC)
 

WAJNSZTEJN, Shmaryahu

Shmaryahu Wajnsztejn 51ME Commando
Pte. Wajnsztejn was killed during operations in Eritrea when on a patrol up a steep gulley running South from Beit Gabru to harass enemy positions. 
(Source: Account by Lt. Col. Cator in Middle East Commandos by Charles Messenger.)
 
Keren War Cemetery
Keren was the last Italian stronghold in Eritrea and the scene of the most decisive battle of the war in East Africa in February and March 1941. (Source: CWGC)
 

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