1 Commando, Documents

Documents and maps relevant to No 1 Commando. These include reports on specific actions, orders of the day, troop reports, newsletters, and other items. Some of these documents are transcripts taken from official records covering specific periods. They are basic transcripts for private research and educational use only. Whilst we always endeavour to achieve accuracy, we acknowledge that there may be dates and/or entries missing, and other possible errors, The actual documents can be found at the National Archives in Kew. The full and complete documents at Kew should be viewed by those wishing to reference/source war diary entries in any future publications to ensure historical accuracy. The UK National Archives website

After the Victoria Cross citation, the documents are listed in date order.

Ken and Tom Trevor No.1 Commando

Transcript of Forum Message from Simon Trevor
I am the son of the late Brigadier Kenneth Rowland Swetenham TREVOR CBE DSO who during WW11 was CO of No 1 Commando. His cousin Tom Trevor was known in the family as 'Joe' to differentiate him from his father who was also called 'Thomas'. [I believe that US Rangers records show Tom as 'Travis Trevor'.]

In the Commandos Lt Col Tom Trevor was called 'Senior' because of his rank and tall stature (6 foot 4 inches) and my father Ken Trevor (who was also a big man) was known as 'Junior'. My father who was in Ireland having travelled from West Africa at the beginning of the war received a message from Joe asking him to volunteer for 'special service' and if he managed to get permission he was to go to interview in Scotland.

Ken became a Captain in the Unit which was to be No 1 Commando. It was comprised from two units which had been in the Norway campaign and had been known as 1st Independant company Special Service. The OC was Colonel Wil Glendinning of the Welch Regiment and Joe Trevor was his second in command. My father was put in charge of No 1 Troop.

My father told me (and recorded in his memoirs) that there was some talk of parachute jumping and that the whole unit might become a parachute battalion. The Commandos wanted him because there was a possibility about there being an operation in West Africa or the Azores and they thought his experience with the Royal West African Frontier Force in Nigeria would be helpful.

In 1943 my father and Joe were warned that they were going to the Far East. One or two officers including Joe preferred to stay in Europe and fight the Germans and my father then took over command of No 1 Comando from his cousin Joe and led them at the Kangaw landings in Burma and at Hill 170 where my father recommended Lt Knowland for a posthumous VC. [The full details of this battle from my father's unpublished memoirs are now on the Burma Star website]

Prior to going to Burma a group photograph was taken in Winchester of all officers and men in No 1 Commando and the picture of Joe from this photo was used by 'The Daily Telegraph'/ 'The Times' in his Obituary.

Joe was the British liaison officer with the US Rangers on D-Day. He had trained with the Rangers in Scotland and was an expert at climbing. Joe was wounded in the head at Point du Hoc by a German sniper whilst walking alomg the beach giving encouragement to the US Rangers. To avoid sniper fire he took two short steps and three one long ones but unfortunately it didn't fool them and took a shot in his helmet which gave him a nasty head wound.

My father was on Operation Torch and had under his command three Troops of No 1 Commando and two American Troops of Rangers. My father was the first British Officer ever to have commanded US soldiers in the war and when they landed at Algiers to capture the 8 Gun Battery of De Lazaret on Cap Matifou he ordered his men to wear the 'Green Beret' - the first time it had been worn in Battle. As a result of the involvement with the American trops No 1 Commando adopted the Garand rifle until the end of the war. 
 

No 1 Commando Newsletter from India Feb 13th 1944

No. 1 Commando - News Letter

13th February 1944

 

Author:  Lieut. John S. Gilson

Copy of original document supplied by:  John Mewett

Transcribed by:  Jennie Barlow

 

In The Field

This, the second news-letter from INDIA and the fifth since the Commando left England, comes from the same camp described in our last letter of the 29th January.

We have been stationed here for three weeks;  and since we have gained a clearer view of conditions, some fuller description of the Commando's daily life might be in place.  Of what training we are doing, you will appreciate that we can say little, but you might like to hear of the sports that are played every evening.

Our Inter-Troop League in Hockey, soccer, basketball, volley-ball and soft-ball is underway and, if training permits, every troop plays at least one of these games each evening.  An athletic meeting will soon be held.

The Officers of 1 Commando have played the Officers of No. 5 Commando at hockey.

Boxing is becoming very popular;  Lieut. T.H. Bowman, our Boxing Officer, is arranging a boxing meeting with 5 Commando on the 18th February, and later on we hope to take part in a 3 S.S. Brigade meeting.

Passing to other forms of recreation, I may say that the four Commandos have arranged among themselves a tombola session to be held in the canteen on three nights of every week:  that a reading room has been opened, Padre having obtained some books to form a small library:  that one night 5 troop held a sing-song around a blazing fire, and that a native conjuror - magician has given two amusing performances.  You may be interested to hear that the Officers of the Unit were invited to the opening of the Sergeants' Mess, and on the 5th February the W.O.'s and Sergeants were invited to a party in the Officer's Mess.

As a footnote to this description, I may say, that cigarettes here are cheap: a packet of ten "Capstan" costs four pence.  Beer, however, costs rather more than it does in England:  for a pint bottle one is charged 2/3d.

So much for the present:  of the past, I can say now that a few days after our arrival we received a visit and had an encouraging talk from our former C.C.O. Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten:  of the future there is nothing more startling to tell than that on the 10th February, forty-five men from 6 Troop are going on forty-eight hours leave to an army rest camp in POONA and that it is hoped that the whole unit will spend 48 hours leave there before March 10th.

On Saturday, 6th February, with our Commanding Officer as judge, a Commando competition for the smartest tent and an inter-troop competition of the best troop lines was held.

Best in layout, cleanliness and improvements was 1 Troop, with H.Q. Troop a close second.  A tent in 3 troop called "Hobo's Rest" was found to be the smartest in the Unit.

Promotions and Appointments

As from 2nd February 1944:

To be Sergeant:

T/128368          L/Sgt. Kirkley A.

To be Corporals:

5830863           L/Cpl. Bate W.

5628253           L/Cpl. Thorpe J.

5676395           L/Cpl. Salter J.

5933005           L/Cpl. Wallis R.

14241719          L/Cpl. Tennick M.

3392348           L/Cpl. Irvine H.

 

As from 5th February 1944:

To be L/Cpls:

1534184           Gnr. Smith T.

14513163          Pte. Gamble G.

 

To be L/Sergeant:

3959214           Cpl. Mundy L.

3392797           Cpl. Waterhouse W.

1057916           Cpl. Perry A.

2614133           Cpl. Baker (D.C.M.) A.

 

To be L/Corporals:

3970601           Pte. Barrett J.

4192239           Fus. Wareham E.

2579764           Sgm. Berry L.

3915347           Pte. McDonald T.

1149363           Gnr. McCudden G.

2613937           Gdsm. Whittingham L.

4196440           Fus. Wales W.

 

As from 10th February 1944:

To be L/Corporals:

3963727           Pte. Rowlands W.

Inter-Troop Transfers

The following men have been posted to the Troops stated against their names:

5772993           Pte. Piggott H. (6 Tp) to 4 Troop

7690515           Pte. Marshall C. (3 Tp) to 2 Troop

3970740           Pte. Morgan J. (2 Tp) to 5 Troop

6215774           Pte. Williams D (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

4203417           Fus. Smethurst W. (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

3964661           Pte. Noden G. (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

3392797           L/Sgt. Waterhouse W. (4 Tp) to 5 Troop

5628253           Cpl. Thorpe J. (5 Tp) to 1 Troop

5933005           Cpl. Wallis R (4 Tp) to 6 Troop

4196440           Fus. Wales W. (6 Tp) to 5 Troop

3771698           Gnr. Olsen J. (1 Tp) to 2 Troop

5773066           Pte. Bilham A. (2 Tp) to 4 Troop

3976195           Pte. Jones W. (2 Tp) to 5 Troop

1641438           Gnr. Mullett L. (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

5383388           Pte. Nutley W. (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

T/128368          Sgt. Kirkley A. (6 Tp) to 3 Troop

1057916           L/Sgt. Perry A. (3 Tp) to 1 Troop

5676395           Cpl. Salter J. (5 Tp) to 4 Troop

2613937           L/Cpl. Whittingham L. (3 Tp) to 5 Troop

Queries

Reference second News Letter, 23 Dec 43, No. 1136783 Gunner Williams G. is very grateful for the news of his wife, Mrs. G. Williams of 26 Milburn Street, Crook, C. Durham and sends her the following message:

"Pleased with news.  Hope everything is O.K.  Keep smiling.  Am very well.

Gordon."

 

No 1 Commando Newsletter Feb 27th 1944

Author:  Anonymous;                                       

Copy of original document supplied by  John Mewett; Transcribed by Jennie Barlow.

"You may gather how very pleased I'm feeling now that there's this 'club' running for your benefit and mine too.  It sure makes me feel that there's someone in this lot who cares enough to let us wives know under what circumstances you are in."

This is an extract from an Airgraph received by one of our men from his wife in England.  I think it is a fitting opening to this news letter.  As a tribute, it speaks for itself:  may we add that we are all equally grateful for the work you are doing back home.

The Commando is still in the location described in the News Letter of 13th February.  The location hasn't changed but the weather is daily becoming warmer.  Between eleven in the morning and four in the afternoon it is now appreciably better than England in August.

As for recreation in Camp, on the evening of the 14th February we enjoyed a very fine show by an E.N.S.A. party consisting of seven girls and three men.  The Camp cinema continues to show a surprisingly good selection of old films.   A wireless set and two amplifiers provide some radio entertainment to the Camp;  we hope to improve on this soon.  A Brigade magazine entitled "The Third Jungle Book" in being published.  From this unit Lieut. J.R. Turpin is publishing advisor and Lieut. A.J. Davies is Art Director, on the publishing staff.  Finally on the 3rd and 4th March, "Commando Performance" the unit's Concert Party is celebrating its first birthday and giving a show.  I can't do better than give you the artists' names and quote from the programme, for we are very proud of this show.  They are:

            Lieut. Alan Davies         (More Caricatures)

            Q.M.S. Brown               (on the high C's)

            Sgt. Frank Payne

            L/Sgt. George Sutton

            Pte. Maurice Hook        (with his harmonica)

            Pte. Fitzgerald              (on sentry go)

            Gdsm. Jack Raymond   ("The Story Teller")

            Pte. "Taffy" Lewis         (The Welch Tenor)

            Pte. Freddie Witton       (and a piano)

and       Pte. Maxie Walters       ("Jankers Permitting")

The show is devised and produced by CSM. J. Smith.

To Bombay, Fus. Burden (H.Q.), Gnr. Bernini (3 Troop) and Rfn. Smith (4 Troop), went on the 23rd and 24th February to take part in a Greeting Film that is being made.  On the 11th and 12th of this month Pte. Garbutt (3 Troop) and Fus. Dawson (4 Troop) also went to Bombay for the same purpose.

The relatives of these men will be informed of the time and place where these films will be shown in the United Kingdom.

Every troop has by now had 48 hours leave in POONA.  POONA has several good cinemas and a swimming pool for H.M. Forces;  and while on leave the Troops lived in a very good rest camp.

While training permits, sport is carried on as usual.  Hockey, football and volleyball games are held, if possible in the evening.  The Sergeants won a hard game with the officers at hockey by the odd goal on the 25th.  On the afternoon of the 27th February the officers of No. 1 Commando played the officers of No. 42 Commando at football, the result of this hard-fought game was a draw.

To round off this description of our life during the last fortnight I would like to tell you of the boxing meeting held in POONA on the evening of Saturday 26th February.  You may remembers that we were to fight No. 5

Commando.  That meeting, "owing to the exigencies of the service" had to be cancelled and in its place a meeting was held with a team drawn partly from our friendly rivals 42 (RM) Commando and partly from Poona District.  There were 15 bouts each of three one and a half minute rounds.  They were fought in an open air stadium before a large crowd.  This was our team:

            Lieut. T.H. Bowman      No. 6 Troop

            Sgt. Jackson                   No. 4 Troop

            Pte. Prosser                  No. 2 Troop

            Gnr. O'Donnel              No. 5 Troop

            Rfn. Osbourne              No. 6 Troop

            L/Cpl. Ware

            Pte. Rudgely                 No. 6 Troop

            Pte. Wren                     Intelligence Section, Headquarters

            Pte. Talbot                    No. 6 Troop

            Pte. Crellin                    No. 1 Troop

            L/Cpl. Chapman           No. 4 Troop

            Pte. Thompson            No. 4 Troop

            Pte. Croxford               No. 3 Troop

            Pte. Curran                   No. 1 Troop

            Rfn. King                       No. 4 Troop

The contest was very keen and the result very close, for of the fifteen fights, 1 Commando won seven and Poona District eight. I think the show put up by everyone has put 1 Commando on the map out here.  1 Commando won a cup as winning team compared with the Marines. 

A stop press item of news is that on Sunday 27 Feb 44 the unit was inspected by General Sir Claude Auchinleck, G.O.C. India Command. Films were taken of this visit and of the visit of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten;  these may be shown in the U.K.

Promotions

            4194098           L/Bdr. Williams (Headquarters) to be Bdr.

            5676284           Pte. Reid, D. (Headquarters) to be L/Cpl.

1 Commando, Troop Organisation Nov'44

Type: Files
Author: John Mewett
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: Troop Organisation No 1 Commando 1944

War Diary entry for the Troop organisation of No 1 Commando Nov 1944.

 

National Adchives Document Reference WO218/81

Training Instructions ( Arakan ) October 1944

TRAINING INSTRUCTION NO. 3 COPY NO. 18 (ARAKAN) 22 OCT 44         

 

Copy of original document supplied by John Mewett

Transcribed by Elaine Southworth-Davies

 

N/A Document WO/218/63

During the next 10 weeks the Commando will be required to mount and carry out small raids on the enemy coast line.  These raiding parties will form a back-bone of well trained personnel for larger scale ops in the future.

TRAINING ORGANISATION

  1. All Tp Comdrs will train and prepare small raiding parties.  Only their best raiding party will be employed when the opportunity occurs.

It is suggested that Tps form 6 raiding parties per Tp.These will be composed of 1 Offr, 2 TMOs, 2 Bomber- Pistolmen, 2 Garrand Riflemen (This may be increased to 3 B.O.Rs at Tp Comdrs discretion;the Sec Offr being trained to lead in 3 groups).A Bren Gp or 2” Mortar Team may be attached and will, invariably, be attached with 2 Gps which are working together:the 2” Mortar to be used for smoke, H.E., and light signals to confuse the enemy.

The best organisation will be carefully studied and particular attention will be paid to weights and equipment.After trials, Tp Comdrs will submit their proposals.Tp Comdrs are reminded that the success of any raiding party depends largely on attention down to the very smallest detail. See Suggested Organisation shown in para 3.

TRAINING TASKS

  1. (a) Practice by day in route-finding and rapid movement as a preliminary.

 

(b)The night will be the usual time for training in order that movement and control may bebrought to a high standard.Battle drills will be studied and rehearsed.

(c)The following points will be studied and practiced:Stalking of sentries-capturing and securing a prisoner – small demolition work on bridges and guns-road mining and ‘booby trapping’-general knowledge of first aid and the carrying of a wounded comrade-searching of a village and contacting friendly agents-disembarkation and swimming through surf-the waterproofing and rapid cleaning of weapons-ambuscades-the use of field glasses and telescope.

(d)Sand Table:A largescale sand table is being prepared so that patrol sand table exercises, battle drills, movement, can be studied.

(e)Shooting:Ranges of various types are being made so that men will be well-exercised in their weapons.Tp Comdrs will make full use of these ranges.

(f)Support Troop:2 Tp will organise Troop patrol parties out of MMG personnel.The 3” Mortar Sec will be practiced in firing from S.L.Cs and if it can be arranged will occasionally man the 3” Mortars already mounted in M.Ls.

(g)Intelligence:Int personnel will be attached to Tps and will pay particular attention to observation-using the telescope or field glasses.

(h)Signals:Sigs will exercise under the Signal Offr and complete their post classification training.A new Sig Cadre will be started and the Signal Officer’s target will be to have a 400% reserve of trained signallers.

NO. 1 COMMANDO - BLOCK TRAINING PROGRAMME

For 4 days Ship-board Training

 

 

  1. HOURS OF WORK             (A period equals 45 minutes)

                        6 periods (inc. Boat Drill) per day.             Total ….24

  1. BLOCK PROGRAMME                                     Periods

A. Lectures to Troops6

B. Exercise8

C. Boat Drill6

D. Military Tag3

E. Spare1

24

A.            (i) Lectures to Tps  ( 1 period each)

 

Serial

Lecturer

Subject

Reference

Given to

1

Lt. Larcher

Jungle Lore

AITM 21

4 Corps Notes

2 Div Notes, etc.

All Tps

2

Lt. Dawson

“Words of Wisdom from the Front”

AITM 24

do.

3

Capt. Davies

Japanese in Battle

Enemy methods

Notes on Jap Army No.1

Battle Bulletin No.1

News from Theatres of War 12 & 15

do.

4

Lt. Nias

Arakan – Country and people.

-

do.

5

Trg. Offr.

Drill for occupation of Cdo Box

-

do.

6

Medical Offr

New Medical Pack

-

do.

(ii)

Lectures to selected personnel (NOT inc. in Block Programme)

7

Sig. Offr

Supply by Air

14th Army

316/8/CT

Officers, WOs & Sgts

8

I.O.

“Maplay” M.R. Code

3 S.S.Bde

G/14/5/21

All Officers

9

I.O.

“Unicode” M.R. Code & Syllabic Cipher

do.

do. (for transmission to Tps)

D

Military Trg

  1. Compass & Navigation
  2. Weapon Training
  3. “Deaf & Dumb” Alphabet
  4. Supply by Air (Serial 7)

Rifle Tps will do periods a, b, c.

Signal Sec “    “     “          b, c, d.

Intell. Sec.      “     “          b, c, d.

 

4/10/44                                                                                (J.H.S. TURNBULL)      Major.                                                                                                                                       Offr i/c Trg.  No. 1 Commando.

1 Commando Fighting Patrol Composition/Arms/Intercom

Type: Files
Author: John Mewett
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: 1 Commando Fighting Patrol 1944

Document  listing the composition in men and arms of a fighting patrol for No 1 Commando for November 1944 in Burma operations.

Document was sent to John Mewett  by Sgt. John Huntington 3 Troop N0 1 Commando