RN Commandos

Read a brief resume about the formation of the RN Commandos HERE

'RN Commando Roll of Honour'

The Fallen commemorated in perpetuity by the Commando Veterans Association

 
This list of names has been put together from various sources and represents whom we believe may have served and died whilst in the RN Commandos. Only  the 4 names highlighted below are listed as RN Commandos on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) database.  Copies of official documents evidencing service in a Commando are necessary before the CWGC will amend their records. If such details are held by you please contact us so we can provide them to the CWGC.
 
Able Seaman Reginald John William BAILEY
Petty Officer Thomas Devlin BRIGGS
Able Seaman Charles Edward CHAMBERLAIN
Petty Officer Eric Frank COVENEY
Able Seaman John David Ferguson CULLENS
Sub Lieutenant Alan DAVIS
Able Seaman Edward Christopher EDDY 
Able Seaman Roland ENEFER
Able Seaman George FAIRWEATHER
Able Seaman Robert William GOARD
Sub Lieutenant Frederick Howard GRIFFITHS
Able Seaman Robert HALL 
Leading Seaman Harry HALLOS
Able Seaman Jack Percy HAYWARD
Stoker Leonard Matthew HILLS
Able Seaman Douglas A. HONEYWOOD
Petty Officer James HOUGH
Able Seaman Henry Kent HUGMAN
Sub Lieutenant Edward Armstrong MACDONALD
Able Seaman George McGRANN
Able Seaman Edward MOONEY 
Able Seaman William John MURRAY
Able Seaman Desmond Gordon Anthony O'CONNOR
Able Seaman John Joseph O'NEILL
Leading Seaman Edward John PEASLEY
Able Seaman Fred POMFRET
Able Seaman John Kevin REED
Leading Seaman Alfred TIDDER
Able Seaman William R. TURNBULL
Lieutenant Henry Albert VENN
Able Seaman William McNaughton WELSH
Able Seaman John William WHITTINGTON
Able Seaman Sydney WOOD
 
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.
 
Source: The above Roll of Honour has been compiled from various sources including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, CVA website, and the Naval History and Special Forces ROH websites. We recognise there may possibly be some inaccuracies and/or omissions, and welcome any evidence leading to additional names, or corrections, in order that those who made the ultimate sacrifice are duly remembered. 
 

'RN Commando Nominal Roll'

A Nominal Roll for the Royal Navy Commandos. For historical & research purposes, we have tried to compile the names of all RN Commando volunteers. Details were obtained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Lists of Casualties,  the RN Commando War Diary,  papers from the National Archives, books, documents and various other sources of research carried out by fellow members of the CVA .

In preparing this list, we acknowledge that it is very likely there are omissions, therefore, this is not a definitive list by any means, nor is it meant to be an official list, but it is the best we can do in an attempt to record all ranks by name who were part of the RN Commando. Research continues. Please let us know of any errors, omissions etc. - we rely on others to let us know!

Everyone deserves to be remembered!

The RN Commando Nominal Roll is listed below in surname order.

RN Commando Nominal A-C

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for the RN Commando.

© Commando Veterans Archive 2016. All Rights Reserved. A lot of hard work has gone into producing this nominal roll in memory of all who served. Reproduction is only permitted if accompanied by the copyright marker and a clear acknowledgement to the Commando Veterans Archive.

(click on highlighted surnames for more information)

Surname
Forename
Rank
S/N
Service
Award
Unit
Adams Joseph Patrick L/S V 31229 RCNVR   W2
Addison Kenneth G A/S D/SSX 29363 R DSM E
Adkins A          
Ainsworth Jack          
Aitcheson   AS   RN   R
Akroyd Donald          
Albrechtson Francis Conrad AB V 61185 RCNVR   W1
Alderton Paul S/Lt   RNVR DSC F / H
Aldrin   Lt   RNVR DSC L
Alexander   Lt Cdr   RN   N
Allen J V AB V 49877 RCNVR   W1
Anderson A A Lt Cdr   RANVR   E
Andrew A J Lt   RNVR   L
Andrew D Keith S/Lt   RNVR   T
Angus Forrest  'Forrie' Lt 0-2340 RCNVR   W3
Archibald   Lt   RNVR   V
Armstrong C OD v 61150 RCNVR   W
Ashton F H Lt Cdr   RN    
Ashton James          
Atkin   S/Lt   RNVR   R
Aylett W AB   RN   F1
Bagnall A A Sgt   RM   C
Baldwin Robert L/S D/MDX 2177 RN MiD C
Ball J M AB   RN   F1
Ball J M AB   RN   N
Ball Jack A/S   RN   O3
Ballard A H Lt Cdr   RN DSC A
Ballard   A/S   RN   A
Barker G J S/Lt   RNVR   C
Barley D J S/Lt   RNVR   O
Barnes G A/S   RN   H
Barnes Ronald V AB V 47862 RCNVR   W2
Barr John S/Lt   RNVR MiD, CdG S
Barrett D G 'Spud' Lt   RNVR   H
Barry Kenneth G AS P/JX 388551 RN MiD R
Bartlett Sandy     RN   O, M
Bayly Patrick 'Uniacke' Lt Cdr   RN DSC** M
Beck Stanley AB D/SSX 2643 RN MiD F
Beckman K OD V 65150 RCNVR   W
Beere 'Taffy'     RN   H
Bell N Lt Cdr   RNVR   J
Bendall A R Lt   RNVR   R
Bendall D C Lt   RNVR   M
Bentham W Lt   RNVR   A, B
Bentley Jack 'Bangalore' Lt 0-6020 RCNVR   W
Bentley-Buckle Anthony William Lt   RN   G3
Berkeley-Portman   Lt       K
Berry Ernest Lt   RNVR DSC M
Best Harry PO C/JX 159393 RN DSM L
Betts   Lt   RNVR   J
Bevin D J S/Lt   RNVR   U
Bibby D T Lt   RNVR DSC C
Bielski A E M/Ship   RNVR   C
Bintner J A F S/Lt   RNVR   N
Birley Hugh S/Lt   RNVR   N3, L, D
Blackmore D S/Lt   RNVR   R
Blackwell Richard Lt   RNVR DSC K
Blackwell   S/Lt   RNVR   K
Blench Edward AS   RN   Q
Bloomer   S/Lt   RNVR   L
Boord Sidney J S Cdr   RN    
Bourne   PO   RN   N
Bowman J AB   RN   F1
Bramble Joe B Lt   RNVR   M
Bridgeland A R S/Lt   RNVR   R
Briggs L Lt   RNVR   M
Brind Clarence A/S D/JX 213610 RN MiD A
Brindle F S/Lt   RNVR   D
Brinkley Frank E Lt   RN DSC E
Brister   S/Lt   RNVR   M
Broadway H S/Lt   RNVR   E
Bromley Ray L/S   RN   N1
Brown A D S/Lt   RNVR   K
Brown G S/Lt   RNVR   F
Brown P Lt   RNVR   R
Brown   A/S   RN   N
Burden William AB V 43750 RCNVR   W2
Burgess Neville Arthur OS C/JX 354547 RN    
Burgess R G S/Lt   RNVR   E
Burke W          
Burns George AS   RN   H
Burse Reginald Clarence AB V 48280 RCNVR   W1
Burton A E PO   RN   C
Butler J B S/Lt   RNVR   J
Byer Cecil AB V 54476 RCNVR   W3
Byers H AB V34795 RCNVR   W3
Caler J AB V 46031 RCNVR   W3
Campbell Louis Oliver Lt 0-11800 RCNVR   W3
Campbell R H S/Lt   RNVR   J
Canning   Lt   RNVR   C
Cant M H Lt   RNVR   N
Carr John Robert          
Carver P Lt   RNVR   H
Casbourne James Clifton AB V 56832 RCNVR   W1
Casey P G S/Lt   RNVR   R
Cattell Albert AS   RN   G
Causden B S/Lt   RNVR   V
Causley J C Lt   RNVR   V
Celev J AB V 46031 RCNVR   W3
Chandler Arthur AS   RN   K, N
Chaplin Arnold David PO P/JX 156000 RN DSM M
Chilvers D H S/Lt   RNVR   T, S
Christie Charles Black Lt 0-13770 RCNVR   W2
Church J A Lt   RNVR   L
Clarke Henry PO   RN   E
Clarke J Lt Cdr   RNVR   L
Clarke T A F S/Lt   RNVR   J
Claughton Clifford S/Lt   RNVR   H
Clifford   A/S   RN   H, G
Cobham Anthony Lt   RN GC, MBE H
Cockshoot   S/Lt   RNVR   J
Coffey Pat     RN    
Collar Michael Lt   RN MiD F
Compston Sidney A/S D/JX 169001 RN DSM F1
Cook G AB   RN   F1
Cook Oswald S/Lt   RNVR DSC G
Cook William Dennis A/S C/JX 377978 RN DSM R
Coppock Robin S/Lt   RNVR DSC C
Cotton J S/Lt   RNVR   U
Couldrey S M S/Lt   RNVR   U
Cox J C S/Lt   RNVR   E
Crammond R M Lt   RNVR   Q
Crickmar L Lt   RNVR   N1
Cronikhite Winston F AB V 61557 RCNVR   W2
Cronin John Bernard Lt 0-16890 RCNVR   W3
Crough Raymond 'Mother' AB V 19467 RCNVR   W1
Crowhurst Kenneth Guy Lt 0-17120 RCNVR   W1
Crowther B S/Lt   RNVR   M
Cruickshanks George          
Crutwell   Lt   RNVR   C
Cullen J AB   RN   F1
Cunningham John Ritchie Lt 0-14270 RCNVR   W2
Curtis F A S/Lt   RNVR   D

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RN Commando Nominal D-G

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for the RN Commando.

© Commando Veterans Archive 2016. All Rights Reserved. A lot of hard work has gone into producing this nominal roll in memory of all who served. Reproduction is only permitted if accompanied by the copyright marker and a clear acknowledgement to the Commando Veterans Archive.

(click on highlighted surnames for more information)

Surname
Forename
Rank
S/N
Service
Award
Unit
D'Arcy Jack Orchard Lt Cdr   RNVR MiD R
Dalton Alan N G S/Lt   RNVR   P
David   Lt Cdr        
Davis Allan S/Lt   RNVR   O3
Davis Allan S/Lt   RNVR   O3
Davy / Davey Albert Charles L/S D/JX25236 RN DSM F
Day Charles William A/S C/JX379987 RN DSM R
Deacon T A S/Lt   RNVR   T, S
Demontigny Paul AB V 50928 RCNVR   W3
Deruchie L AB V 4365 RCNVR   W3
Dixon- Smith   Lt   RNVR   H
Dodd Oscar A W S/Lt   RNVR MiD M
Dodds O AB   RN   N
Donger Richard S/Lt   RNVR MiD CdG F
Dove Eric Tel   RN    
Dowle V AB   RN   N1
Downey Vincent Joseph AB V 57751 RCNVR   W2
Dowsett Derek S/Lt   RNVR   R
Dowsing   S/Lt       R
Draffen D B          
Draper Norman Ernest M/Ship   RNVR DSC,MiD G1
Duffin E AB   RN   F1
Dunbar A G Lt       C
Duncan   Cdr   RN   A, B
Dunn C C Lt   RNVR   T, S
Durham D Lt   RNVR   C
Eade   S/Lt   RNVR   G
Eddy Edward Christopher A/S D/JX303084 RN   Northney
Egginton D Lt Cdr   RNVR   J
Ellman Samuel E A S/Lt   SANF MiD M
Emery Donald A/S D/SSX29684 RN DSM F
Ensoll J S/Lt   RNVR   D
Epstein R S/Lt   RNVR   D
Evans D K Lt   RNVR   H
Evans Ray S/Lt   RNVR DSC  
Eyre G B Lt Cdr   RNVR   U
Fagence Jungle George A/S   RN   H
Fairley J S/Lt   RNVR   H
Fairs Alf         O
Farr B C S/Lt   RNVR   J
Farthing Benjamin Lt   RINVR MiD A
Faubert Paul Louis AB V 44355 RCNVR   W2
Faulks/Faults C AB   RN   F1
Fearn Stanley PO D/JX142689 RN DSM K
Fedder William Charles PO C/JX 140885 RN DSM J
Felgar   A/S   RN   P
Feltham W J PO   RN BEM D
Ferguson W Lt   RNVR   Q
Ferguson   Lt   RNVR   K
Finley Eric Gault Skip Lt 0-23710 RCNVR   W1
Fish T AB   RN   N
Fisher Micky          
Fison   Lt Cdr        
Flemming M AB V 42327 RCNVR   W3
Foreman Harry Coffin Lynas PO P/UDX 1241 RN DSM S
Forsyth John Edward L/S V 10963 RCNVR   W2
Foulger J AB   RN   N
Fox David AB   RN   O, F1
Fox John Lloyd Jack AB V 57307 RCNVR   W1
Fox-Brown A S/Lt   RNVR   N1, U
Franklin Richard Lt   RNVR DSC D
Freemantle Edmund S D Lt   RNVR DSC P
Frohock J Lt   RNVR   K
Gallagher P T S/Lt   RNVR   T, S
Gamblin Frederick James AB V 59716 RCNVR   W3
Gardiner R S/Lt   RNVR   E
Gascoiguea John          
Gaster Jack S/Lt   RNVR   J
Gear Eric PO   RN   Q
George T S/Lt   RNVR   V
Germaine A AB v 38689 RCNVR   W3
German George          
Gerrish H L S/Lt   RNVR   K
Gibson H          
Gibson M S/Lt   RNVR   V
Gilbert   AB   RN   N2
Gilbey Ernest F L/S C/JX 334144 RN MiD M
Giles Ron     RN   C
Gillings W          
Gladwell R E S/Lt   RNVR   U
Glennie   Lt   RNVR   S
Glover Joseph A/S C/JX 375393 RN MiD K
Goddard Henry John A/S C/JX 279669 RN DSM A
Godwin W R S/Lt       A, B
Goodale David F Lt   RN DSC,MiD E
Gooding Thomas Wiliam PO D/JX161420 RN DSM F1
Goodwin Dennis Charles AB V 62012 RCNVR   W2
Gordon D J S/Lt   RNVR   G
Gouge   S/Lt   RNVR   P
Graham   Lt   RNVR   M
Grainger   PO   RN MiD N2
Green E Lt   RNVR   G
Green Kenneth AS   RN   Q
Greenland P S/Lt   RN   A, B
Greenway A K B S/Lt   RNVR   P
Greenwood D AB V 61245 RCNVR   W3
Gregory Samuel L/S   RN   N1
Gregory-Smith William Frank Niemann Capt   RN DSC* DSO* T, S
Griffin   S/Lt   RNVR   C
Griffiths F S/Lt   RNVR   O
Gueritz Edward Findley Lt   RN DSC* F
Gurney E S/Lt   RNVR   U

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RN Commando Nominal H-N

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for the RN Commando.

© Commando Veterans Archive 2016. All Rights Reserved. A lot of hard work has gone into producing this nominal roll in memory of all who served. Reproduction is only permitted if accompanied by the copyright marker and a clear acknowledgement to the Commando Veterans Archive.

(click on highlighted surnames for more information)

Surname
Forename
Rank
S/N
Service
Award
Unit
Hall John Bell Sig   RN    
Hall Robert A/S P/JX 264076 RN   K
Hall Ronald Marshall PO P/JX149429 RN DSM K
Hallos Harry L/S D/JX 201772 RN   A
Hamilton J C C Lt   RN   M
Hampshire A Cecil Lt   RN   H
Hampson Harold George Lt O-30400 RCNVR   W2
Hannaford Edward H S/Lt   RNVR MiD E, Q
Harding C AB V 61890 RCNVR   W3
Hardy A H Lt   RNVR   L
Hargreaves Harry Lt   NK   NK
Harrington J AB V 16892 RCNVR   W3
Harris Geoffrey Coder P/JX 405338 RN DSM ,MiD  
Harris Ian Antrobus Lt   RANVR DSC N1
Harrison George A/S   RN   G1
Harvey J S S/Lt   RNVR   V
Harvey Ken PO   RN   E
Haslett   S/Lt   RNVR   C
Hatch Carr Lt O-31610 RCNVR   W2
Hatton Ken AS   RN   O3
Havers Arthur Cdr   RN OBE,DSO,MiD K
Hay R L/S V 45449 RCNVR   W3
Hayden F W Lt   RNVR   O
Haynes Micky Lt       H
Hazelwood F PO   RN   N2
Heal S C S/Lt   RNVR   U
Hearne F H Lt Cdr   RNVR   E
Hearne W A S/Lt   RNVR   M
Henderson Andrew AS   RN   G
Hewett Rn Lt   RNVR   J
Hildreth Clem AB V 64412 RCNVR   W1
Hill G S/Lt   RNVR   N3
Hill C R J 'Pusser' Lt   RNVR   H3
Hillman G C Sgt   RM   C
Hobman Ronald Tel P/JX 308549 RN MiD  
Hodges M W S/Lt   RCNVR   W
Hodgetts Paddy PO   RN   Q
Hodgson A B S/Lt   RNVR   A, B
Holland J          
Hollands Arthur PO   RN   M
Holmes   S/Lt   RNVR   C
Holwill Gordon PO   RN   A2
Hope Thomas Lt   RNVR DSC K
Hopkins J P I Lt   RNVR   V
Horel J AB V 45584 RCNVR   W3
Hort S H S/Lt   RNVR DSC H
Hough James PO D/SSX14392 RN   L
Howard John Thomas PO C/JX 110176 RN   F
Howard S Lt   RNVR   U
Howe   Lt   RNVR MiD C
Howell Thomas H E S/Lt   RNVR MiD J
Hudson   Cdr   RN   H
Hughes D AB   RN   N
Hunt Thomas A/S D/JX 304950 RN DSM F
Husband A P S/Lt   RNVR DSM L
Hutton Alexander AS   RN   J
Hutton F M Lt Cdr   RNVR   V
Jackson Earl AB V 44344 RCNVR   W3
Jackson Sandy          
Jamieson A Lt   RNVR   T, S
Jarrett George PO A2635 RCNVR   W1
Jarvis A S/Lt   RNVR   Q
Jenkins   Cdr       G
Johnson G          
Johnstone Richard John 'Dick' Lt Cdr O-37140 RCNVR   W
Jonas P L S/Lt   RNR   D
Jones E R R Lt   RNVR   O
Jones H G Lt   RNVR   F
Jones Hugh L PO   RN BEM J
Jones John Jack AB V 42208 RCNVR BEM W3
Jones John Lt   RNVR MiD C
Jones Robert L/S V 841 RCNVR MiD W3
Joyce John L/S A 4041 RCNVR   W1
Joyes W F AB V 17772 RCNVR   W3
Kennedy Douglas AB V 41864 RCNVR   W2
Kent Douglas Thomas Lt   RNVR DSC* C
Keys Kenneth S/Lt   RNVR DSC MiD S
Kidd G Sgt     MiD C
Killick Fred Lt   RNVR   L
Kimberley Harry A/S C/JX 169896 RN MiD H
King D C A S/Lt   RNVR MiD E
King J AB V 51758 RCNVR   W3
King       RN   G1
Kipling Sydney AB P/SSX 29029 RN MiD N2
Kitteridge E Lt   RNVR   E
Knight N AB V 54536 RCNVR   W1
Koch L AB V 51953 RCNVR   W3
Kroshewsky Daniel AB V 64415 RCNVR   W2
Laing E A M Lt   RNVR   C
Laird Hugh W L/S DLJX 150456 RN MiD , CdG S
Lamb G S/LT   RNVR   T
Lamb R L/S   RN MiD, CdG N1
Lambert B C Lt Cdr   RNVR   P
Lang B L S/Lt   RNVR   F
Lappage Ronald AB P/JX 388551 RN MiD Q
Lauder H S/Lt   RNVR   C
Lawrence A Lt   RNVR   O
Lawrence Ron Lt   RNVR    
Layton J A Lt   RNVR   S
Leake F H A Lt   RNVR   P
Leeke G Henry Lt   RNVR MiD H
Lefever G C Lt   RNVR MiD J
Legatt William Coder P/JX 227523 RN MiD  
Lennon   AS   RN   G1
Leroy R     RNVR   F
Letby J PO   RN   N1
Lewis   S/Lt   RNVR   P
Lightfoot Peter 'Patrick' AB   RN   N1
Lindsay J W Lt   RNVR   J
Lines T A Capt       C
Linlow G H E S/Lt   RNVR   H
Lock   S/Lt   RNVR   A, B
Lockwood-Bunce J A S/Lt   RNVR   E
Lomas J S/Lt   RNVR   D
Lomax H L S/Lt   RNVR   U
Lonsdale   PO   RN   N
Lord P S/Lt   RNVR   J
Lowery S AB   RN   N
Lowndes W E G Lt Cdr   RN   P
Lucas J C Lt   RNVR   G
Lucas J S S/Lt   RNVR   N3
Lucas 'Lofty' AS   RN   G
Luckin / Lukin J B Lt   RNVR   A, B
Luff Charles AB V 56817 RCNVR   W2
Macbeth John Kenneth 'Jack' Lt O-43440 RCNVR DSC W3
Macdonald A C Lt Cdr   RN   R
Macdonald Edward Armstrong S/ Lt   RNVR   A
Macdonald O C Lt Cdr   RANVR MiD G
Macdonald Willam Melville Lt Cdr O-44030 RCNVR   W
Macintyre Alfred AB V 55697 RCNVR   W2
Mackenzie D          
Mackland   AB   RN   N
Madden G AB V 24212 RCNVR   W3
Maloney G AB   RN   N1
Mannering Sidney AB   RN   H
Mantais L AB V 60982 RCNVR   W3
Marsh Johnny AS   RN   Q
Marshall   AB   RN   N
Martin T Lt   RNVR   G
Martin Thomas Lt   RN DSC G
Martin   S/Lt   RNVR   E
Matthais J K Lt   RNVR DSC L
Maylon Charles Frederick A/S C/JXD 167181 RN DSC H
Mcarthur D Lt Cdr   RNVR DSM, MiD G
Mcarthur J C S/Lt   RNVR   T
Mcauley F S P K Lt   RNZNVR   J
Mcauliffe George AS   RN   L
Mccann John A/S C/JX 351309 RN MiD F
Mcclune James Reginald PO C/SSX 2424 RN DSM, MiD L
Mcconnell A S/Lt   RNVR DSM C
Mcdewell J L/S   RN   F1
Mcdonald W AB   RN   F1
Mcfadden Michael A/S   RN   L
Mcgann J          
Mcgrann George A/S C/JX 407081 RN   A
Mchenry   AB   RN   N
Mcintosh J T S/LT   RNVR   N3
Mcintosh T AB   RN   F1
Mcintyre Douglas PO V 5747 RCNVR   W2
Mckinlay Ronald Harry George PO P/JX 245579 RN CGM P
Mclean   S/Lt   RNVR   P
Mclennan F J S/Lt   RNVR CGM  
Mcpherson J C S/Lt   RNVR DSC G
Middleton   Lt   RNVR DSC C
Millar R D S/LT   RNVR   D
Milne Eric G S PO C/JX 160081 RN MiD, CdG F1
Mitchell J E M Lt  Cdr   RNVR   P
Mitchell R B S/Lt   RNVR MiD , CdG D
Mitchell Robert N Tel NZ 4492 RN MiD  
Mitchell   Lt Cdr       T
Mitchell   AS   RN   G1
Moffatt Robert Sig D/JX 248258 RN MiD  
Moran Patrick L/S P/JX 170231 RN MiD S
Morel J AB V 45584 RCNVR MiD W3
Morgan Theo C Lt     MiD  
Morris Arthur Edward Art AB V 38938 RCNVR   W2
Moses G E Lt   RNVR   V
Murphy Donald AB V 2980 RCNVR   W3
Murphy William Robert L/S V 5392 RCNVR   W2
Murray Harold Tiny AB V 19196 RCNVR   W1
Nadin R Sig   RN    
Neal K J S/Lt   RNVR DSC F
Neavers C P Lt Cdr   RNVR   T
Needham R AB   RN   F1
Nelson Russell Charles AB V 38716 RCNVR   W2
Newby W AB   RN   F1
Newell William AB V 57709 RCNVR   W1
Newport John Alfred AB P/JX 38625 RN   S,T
Nicholl H R M Cdr   RN DSC G
Nix   S/Lt   RNVR   R
Norris   Cdr     DSC C
Norwood Roger Lt     DSC, MiD* K
Notley   Lt   RNVR DSM A, B

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RN Commando Nominal O-Y

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for the RN Commando.

© Commando Veterans Archive 2016. All Rights Reserved. A lot of hard work has gone into producing this nominal roll in memory of all who served. Reproduction is only permitted if accompanied by the copyright marker and a clear acknowledgement to the Commando Veterans Archive.

(click on highlighted surnames for more information)

Surname
Forename
Rank
S/N
Service
Award
Unit
O'Connor Desmond Gordon Anthony A/S P/JX 608040 RN MiD A2
O'Donnald P AB   RN   N
O'Hagan Denis James Patrick Lt Cdr O-56170 RCNVR GM* W
O'Rourke J A/S D/JX 392953 RN GM, DSM M
Oag Henry George PO P/SSX 20886 RN DSC E
Oakley Fred     RN   O
Oakley Kenneth A/S D/SSX32778 RN MiD F
Oakley   Lt   RNVR MiD D
Offless J AB V 37973 RCNVR   W2
Oliver J G S/Lt   RNVR   V
Osbaldstone   S/Lt   RNVR DSM F
Painter P V S/Lt   RNVR   C
Palmer John Lt   RNVR MiD K
Paradise   AB   RN   N
Parkin F AB   RN   N2
Parr Abraham Acton Tel P/JX 232311 RN DSM  
Parr   AB   RN   N
Parrish C S/Lt   RNVR MiD K
Parry D H S/Lt   RNVR   C
Parry J G S/Lt   RNVR   E
Parry L V S/Lt   RNVR   N1
Parsey C S/Lt   RNVR DSM K
Parsons Victor William AS C/JX 374660 RN DSM O
Pascall Maurice PO   RN DSC M1
Paul Stanley Tel C/JX 358108 RN MiD  
Payne W G Lt Cdr   SANF V   F
Payton Jack W/Op 647456 RAF    
Pearson T Lt Cdr   SANF DSC D
Peasley Edward John L/S P/JX 166792 RN MiD H
Peebles A P S/Lt   RNVR   Q
Pendlebury Arthur Art AB V 56436 RCNVR MiD W1
Perkins E H Lt   RNVR   R
Perkins R AB   RN   F1
Perrin Frederick Raymond PO P/JX 157866 RN DSM R
Perry Albert AB   RN   N1
Petty Arthur Henry AB V54229 RCNVR DSM W2
Phibbs David Lt   RNVR DSC, MiD A, Q
Phillips G Lt Cdr   RNVR DSC Q
Pirks Edward PO C/JX 136995 RN DSC, MiD H
Pittendrigh J L S/Lt   RNVR MiD C
Pittendrigh William Lt   RNVR DSC F
Pitts 'Tiny'          
Platjouw Joseph Joe L/S V 46327 RCNVR DSC W1
Pocock H PO   RN   N3
Pollock   S/Lt        
Portman Charles Berkley Lt   RNVR   K1
Potter-Irwin F D S/Lt   RNVR   U
Potts   AB   RN   N
Powell   AB   RN   N1
Power   Lt   RNVR   A, B
Preistley L S/Lt   RNVR   V
Prestidge Kenneth W/Op 1097069AC2 RAF    
Priddle Raymond C W Sig D/JX 340303 RN MiD  
Prior Redvers M Cdr   RN DSO,DSC* L
Pudney Arthur W A/S P/JX 323658 RN DSC, MiD K
Pugh P L S/Lt   RNVR   U
Quesnel Joseph Louis Robert Lucien AB V 39610 RCNVR MiD W3
Quinn William George Tel C/JX 361334 RN DSM  
Radford R D S/Lt   RNVR   L
Ramsker   AB   RN   N
Ransome Geoffrey Cdr     DSC F, J
Rayburn A Dudley Lt O-61310 RCNVR DSC W2
Raynor Hank          
Read John Jack AB V 45963 RCNVR   W1
Redshaw Maurice Vernon Lt Cdr       N, Q, V
Reid Charles N Lt   RNVR MiD E
Rennie F AB V 61476 RCNVR MiD W3
Richards George Collin PO D/JX 142919 RN DSM R
Richards R C S/Lt   RNVR   C3
Richmond Frederick Frank / Mick OS P/JX 425580 RN MID, CdG S
Roberts H E Lt   RNVR   E
Roberts   Lt   RNVR   D
Roberts   PO   RN MiD,CdG G1
Robinson Malcolm Tel   RN    
Romerile R AB   RN   N
Ross John Dayton Salty AB V 59089 RCNVR   W2
Ross P Lt   RNVR   D
Rowell Morris          
Rowse J W S/Lt   RNVR   O
Roy Joseph Felix AB V 58383 RCNVR   W2
Russell John B Lt   RN DSC** N
Saunders Edward George S A/S D/JX 237823 RN DSM F
Sauve L AB V 4520 RCNVR DSM W2
Savoury John PO/Tel   RN    
Scoltz   S/Lt   RNVR   P
Scott M B S/Lt   RNVR   G1
Scott-Wilson James Lt   RN DSC** F
Seaton Ray AB   RN   N
Seddon R AB   RN   N1
Seedy Harry Lt   RNVR DSC M
Seely Harry Lt Cdr   RNVR DSC M
Sellars J M     RNVR DSC D
Sergeant B Lt   RNVR   F
Shales Robert Irwin Bob S/Lt O-66130 RCNVR   W2
Sibley Jack AB   RN   N1
Simpson Frederick Fred A/S   RN DSM T
Sims Raymond Thomas Henry PO D/JX 133648 RN DSM K
Sinkins   Lt   RNVR   K
Skinner James Jimmy AB V 57957 RCNVR   W1
Slyfield Malcolm David A/S P/JX 325864 RN DSM A3
Smallman William Henry AB JX 380389 RN   O, F1
Smiley Delbert William Del L/S V 37293 RCNVR DSM W1
Smith A W S/Lt   RNVR   V
Smith C AB   RN   F1
Smith D P S/Lt   RNVR DSC G1
Smith Francic Sidney PO P/JX 95994 RN DSM A
Smith Haydon Dawson AB V 51476 RCNVR   W1
Smith Irving Big Smith PO A 1702 RCNVR   W3
Smith L W S/Lt   RNVR   M
Smith P M S/Lt   RNVR   E
Smith Robert Bob AB V 41800 RCNVR   W1
Smith   AB   RN   N2
Snelling P S/Lt   RNVR   J
Snow   LT   RNVR   P
Snowden John AB   RN   N
Sowden G AB   RN   N1
Speed James H S S/Lt   RNVR DSC R
Spencer C AB   RN   N
Stanley Wallace Victor PO C/JX 241463 RN DSM A
Stanton   AB   RN   N2
Stark M A S/Lt   RNVR DSC F
Steel Harold AB V 40651 RCNVR   W1
Stephens W R Lt   RNVR   J
Stephens   S/Lt   RNVR   D
Stevenson D A Pete A/S   RN   C
Stewart S A S/Lt   RNVR   U
Stewart   A/S   RN   G1
Still W J S S/Lt   RNVR   T
Stone Bernard Sig   RN    
Stone George AB V 59719 RCNVR   W1
Stoneforth Robert Bob     RN   M
Strafford E O Sgt   RM   C
Stubbs P W F Cdr   RN DSC N
Summers R W S/Lt   RNVR DSC J
Sutherland Donald Marshall Lt O-7 1250 RCNVR   W1
Sutherland J AB V 57957 RCNVR   W1
Swailes            
Swain A H S/Lt   RNVR   R
Sykes   AB   RN   N2
Symonds J Lt   RNVR   E
Tapley John Grahame PO D/JX 139148 RN DSM R
Taylor Terence Reginald Parry AB   RN   N
Taylor Thomas W A/S P/JX 201278 RN DSM ,MiD K
Telfer H Lt   RNVR MiD F
Thacker Archibald PO V 1434 RCNVR   W2
Therien Armand AB V 31372 RCNVR   W1
Thom K J          
Thomas W A AB   RN   N
Thomson R Cdr   RN   M
Thomson   S/Lt   RNVR   D, J
Thornbarrow   A/S   RN   N1
Threlfell J S/Lt   RNVR   C
Towers G A Lt Cdr   RNVR   S
Townends Leonard G Tel C/JX 425031 RN MiD  
Treson            
Trewin Donald Frederick AB V 57668 RCNVR   W2
Tuff C AB V 56817 RCNVR   W2
Turner David R A/S   RN   M
Turney W A S/Lt   RNVR   J
Turton Thomas J Lt   RNVR MiD N3
Underwood F PO   RN   N2
Urwin J S/Lt   RNVR   T
Usher John     RN   F
Vaillancourt Jacque Lt O-74790 RCNVR MiD W3
Varley Alex Lt   RNVR MiD N2
Vaughan K L S/Lt   RNVR MiD D
Veal Herbert V Lt   RNVR DSC K
Venn Henry Albert Lt   RNVR DSC M
Verity R G Lt   RNVR DSC K
Verran W S/Lt   RNVR   P
Vierson J A S/Lt   RNVR   Q
Vilneff George AB V 53046 RCNVR DSC W1
Vine-Jones Herbert Lt   RNVR MiD F
Wadsworth D G S/Lt   RNVR   O
Wake Roger Lt        
Walker George S/Lt   RNVR   R
Walker James Gray Lt O-75580 RCNVR   W
Walker W W R A/S P/JX 383763 RN DSM,MiD K
Wallace W B S/Lt   RNVR   N2
Wallbank Ron Sig   RN    
Walsh William D A/S C/SSX 27179 RN MiD F
Walton R I Lt     DSM C
Ward P A Lt   RNVR   N3
Ware H Tel   RN    
Warren Denis A LS V 39693 RCN   W1
Waterworth Alan A/S D/JX 363891 RN MiD, CdG F
Watkins Ivor Eugene Junior AB V 44071 RCNVR MiD, CdG W1
Watson Jim AS   RN   F
Watson William P A/S C/JX 397187 RN MID S
Watt Arthur Frederick AB V 56914 RCNVR   W2
Watts F E S/Lt   RNVR   E
Webster R AB   RN   N
Welsh D Lt     MiD H
Westerman L OD V 58750 RCNVR   W3
Western E R Lt   RNVR   K
Weston Norman Sig   RN    
Wheeler R G Lt   RNVR   J
White Joseph AB V 5019 RCNVR   W2
Whitehorn Derek S/Lt   RNVR   F
Whyte James          
Whyte R B S/Lt   RNVR   C
Wilders D W S/Lt   RNVR   D
Wilkins   PO   RN   H
Wilkinson   PO   RN   H
Williams H S/Lt   RNVR   N2
Williams Taffy PO   RN   Q
Willie Douglas B          
Willis S E 'Sis' S/Lt   RNVR DSC F
Wills H Lt   RNVR   S
Wilson A Lt Cdr   RNVR DSC C
Wilson J Lt   RNVR   F
Wing Charles A/S   RN   L
Winn George PO V 8098 RCNVR   W1
Wolton H M          
Wood Maurice A P Padre   RNVR DSC  
Woodall Cyril A/S   RN DSM O3
Woodall Earl Gerald AB V 15246 RCNVR DSM W2
Woodcock   MR        
Woodhouse R E S/Lt   RNVR   L
Woods William AS   RN   D
Woollard   Lt   RNVR   L
Worden Sidney A/S   RN   K
Worracker   AB   RN   N2
Wostenholme A AB   RN   N
Wright W AB V 67555 RCN   W1
Wyatt Jan PO   RN   H
Wyllie J R Lt   RNZVR   T3
Yelland J S/Lt   RNVR    
Young J Lt Cdr   RN   J, O
Yule   LS   RCN    

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A history of 'W' Commando

RN 'W2' Commando Juno beach
Bill Newell W Commando
Written by Bill NEWELL (Royal Canadian Beach Cdo - W1 Section) who died 5 March 2012 aged 87.
 

'W' Commando

The Commando was made up of volunteer members of the Royal Canadian Navy. In August of 1943 it was assigned overseas to HMS Armadillo at Ardentinney in the Clyde estuary of Scotland. The Commando unit was made up of 3 sub-units, W 1, W 2 and W 3 each with 25 ratings and leading seamen and 3 officers under the combined leadership of a Commanding Beach Master and an Assistant Beach Master. The Commando was set up to organise and control the flow of vehicles, men and supplies onto and through Juno Beach on D-Day and for several crucial weeks thereafter. Any congestion on the beach resulting in delays in the orderly supply of ammunition, vehicles. equipment, food, medical supplies, not to mention fresh troops, would have dire consequences for the progress of the war.

Training

HMS Armadillo was a relatively small and rugged Royal Navy Combined Operation base specializing in beach commando training. On arrival we were inducted into the code of requirements as trainees at the base. We were supplied with British Army uniforms and fatigues with badges to be sewn on and assigned to our sleeping quarters in Nissan huts. We were left to locate the heads (toilets) and mess hall but since we arrived late for supper we went without.

Our six month training period during that winter was very arduous. Quite apart from the frequent cold rains the temperatures hovered around freezing with snow on the hill tops. The general tenor of the training was best illustrated by the trainers often shouted learning point, 'If you're dumb enough to get yourself killed, we'd rather have it happen here than later in combat when others will be depending on you.? Learning to crawl under barbed wire with live machine-gun fire overhead was a salutary experience as was making our way through a detonating mine field on the long assault course. To describe it as stimulating is an understatement. I finished one exercise with a bullet hole through my backpack. There were many sessions of unarmed combat.

Our numerous three-day exercises in the rugged hills around Ardentinney were gruelling, cold and tough, but the experiences instilled a strong sense of survival in us, which was the purpose behind the training. Getting any sleep at night was a trial as we fashioned one-man tents with our ground sheets as best we could. We ate meagre amounts of food consisting of one K ration* for each day with a small block of sugar and one of chocolate which was hardly adequate considering the physical exertions involved. However, the experience made us appreciate the 'comforts' of our camp accommodations which, although basic, were luxurious in comparison. We were always pleased to get home from the hills. [* K rations were issued to American service personnel in the field. Unlike regular military rations they required minimal preparation using canned, pre-cooked or freeze-dried foods, powdered beverage mixes and concentrated food bars.]

The weapons and survival equipment we used in the training was old and worn and although it served the purpose it caused frequent accidents resulting in casualties which the instructors seemed to anticipate. We made many practice night landings from a well-worn Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM) and not once did the ramp operate properly... so it was over the top and down into frigid water. Many items of equipment and weapons were left on the bottom in the interest of surviving and as a result of these nocturnal exercises our sleeping hut was continually cluttered with clothes lines loaded with wet clothes.

We completed the course at Ardentinney in February 1944 and we were sent to HMS Lizard in Hove, on the south coast of England adjacent to Brighton. From there we were posted to various Canadian Army and Combined Operation bases throughout the south of England for specialty training. In the Hazelmere area we operated Sherman tanks and other mechanized equipment and dispatch riding on Harley-Davidsons (on the road) and Nortons off the road. Elsewhere we trained in sniper firing, chemical warfare, flame-throwing, detecting and disarming mines and booby traps, and demolition. We were issued with reading materials on aircraft recognition to study at night.

Part of the motorcycle course involved jumps in an area known as the Devil's Punchbowl. There were many accidents and minor injuries and the instructors seemed more concerned about the bikes than to the riders! The tank operating training was undertaken with enthusiasm and, as it turned out during the Normandy landings, it paid off in large measure in keeping the armoured traffic moving through the beachhead. Any serious congestion on the beaches would have severely restricted the deployment of fresh troops and their equipment as well as supplies of fuel, food and armaments to the advancing front line.

The soldiers of the Canadian Army regiments stationed at the bases where we received training did not welcome our presence because of the danger that our higher levels of discipline and fitness might be adopted by their own commanding officers. One such example was the requirement to 'double-up' anywhere outside our living quarters except while we were on leave. Also, whereas they would discard much of their mess hall food with complaints, we would often return for seconds because it was so much better than our rations on the British bases both in quantity and quality.

A short time later we moved to an army base in the Hindhead area for a ten day training course in chemical warfare and flame-throwing. After the cold winter months spent in Scotland the weather in the late spring of southern England was balmy in comparison. We put up four-man bell tents for our sleeping quarters in a valley below the main camp with outhouses and water troughs for washing. 45 gallon drums with classified contents were everywhere. The flame-throwing training used Bren-gun carriers against mock pillboxes which we were expected to encounter along the beaches of France. The fluid used was a new development which later became known as napalm. It would stick to whatever it hit up to a hundred yards and continue burning with a very hot flame.

Training with the mustard gas often used during WW1 was unpleasant and hazardous. It was dabbed on our hands and arms to illustrate what would happen if we failed to protect ourselves. Liquid mustard gas was also covertly sprayed on the wooden floor of the training lab with the result that several of us felt painful burns on our feet as the gas penetrated through the soles of our jack boots.

We discovered that exposure to the gas had the effect of desensitising our noses. Two of us had been accidentally sprayed with liquid gas on the backs of our fatigues and our necks. The burning pain was instant and painful causing us to run back to our camp to wash it off. By then it was late in the day so we went for a glass of bitters before supper in the canteen. It was full of soldiers and the air very warm and thick with smoke. We picked up our drinks at the bar and made our way through the crowd to a table in the far corner. We were oblivious to all of the coughing and spluttering going on around us and to the sudden preference people had for the outdoors. In no time we had the entire canteen to ourselves and shortly afterwards an MP wearing a respirator entered and ordered us to vacate the premises. Outside we encountered the patrons in resentful mood at having had their rest and relaxation so rudely interrupted. The incident did not endear us to our Canadian army colleagues. On returning to HMS Lizard we learned that W-1 unit was to be sent to HMS Volcano in the Cumbrian mountains of northwest England for a ten-day course on handling explosives, demolition, detecting mines and booby-traps. Much of the training was performed on beaches overlooking the Irish Sea from where we could see the Isle of Man on a clear day. We learned to load and detonate ‘Beehive’ anti-pillbox devices which fired a nickel ball through concrete up to two feet thick, and the application of cortex cord explosives used in removing anti-tank pillars as well as detecting concealed booby-traps.

On returning to HMS Lizard once again we were relocated to HMS Mastodon at Exbury, Hampshire where we were to provide security on the Rothschild estate. This had been requisitioned by the RN for the planning of Operation Neptune - the water-borne part of Operation Overlord. The comings and goings of many high-ranking personnel during this period was strictly classified. While not engaged on security patrols we continued training in the use of small arms and elsewhere on the nearby Beaulieu River others were training crews for the many types of landing craft to be used in the forthcoming invasion.

Many night hours were spent here watching for low flying German aircraft which were known to be dropping espionage agents in the area. One Junkers 188 was shot down and crashed on the front lawn of the estate. There were seven bodies pulled from the wreckage whereas this aircraft was known to have a crew of only five. Our searches for enemy agents in the surrounding country only turned up Land Army girls working in the fields. Early in May '44 we were moved to HMS Vectis, a holiday camp near Cowes on the Isle of Wight which had been requisitioned by the RN for use as a Combined Operations base. It was here that we waited for our assignment into action with the invasion, although at the time we knew nothing about when, where or what. I spent much of my time on the firing range practicing with my elderly Lewis air-cooled machine-gun. Above the target bank we could see many of the barrage balloons in the near distance as they drifted above all of the ships anchored in the channel. Each ship had two balloons with dangling cables as protection against dive bombers.

The required sequence of .303 cartridges loaded into the breech pan of the Lewis gun was one ball, one armour-piercing and one tracer. The tracer enabled the gunner to see where he was shooting. The down side to this sequence was that in constant rapid fire the barrel of the gun seriously overheated. To reduce the likelihood of this happening I occasionally had the pans loaded without tracers. The gun was heavy and had a tendency to pull upwards when firing, and for better control I preferred to lie down to fire the gun. In any position it was quite hard to control. One of our officers criticized my low firing position and wished to show me how to do it standing up. I removed the empty pan and loaded one with no tracers. The kick from the gun was much greater than he expected and he could neither control the upward drift or release the trigger. We stayed well out of his way and watched as one the barrage balloons succumbed to his uncontrollable fusillade by deflating and falling to the ship's deck with all of its cables. Much to his discomfort and our pleasure he handed back the gun and left the scene muttering obscenities as he strutted off.

Bomb Disposal at HMS Volcano

It was about a five hour ferry and train ride from our operational base at HMS Vectis on the Isle of Wight to London and a lot longer from there to the small community named Holmrook on the west coast of Cumberland (now Cumbria) some 300 miles further north. At the railway station we boarded two trucks which were there waiting for us and after a comparatively short ride we passed through the gates of an estate. The mansion house was similar to HMS Mastodon but considerably smaller.

We were W-1 Unit made up of twenty five men and three officers from Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando ‘W’ which was composed of three units - W-1, W-2, W-3, totalling 75 men and 11 officers. Since completing our basic Commando training at HMS Armadillo in Scotland, each unit had been sent to several different training centres for a wide variety of offensive and defensive instruction.

The men were assigned to two temporary out-buildings at the rear of the mansion and on a bank overlooking a fast-flowing river, and the officers were taken into the mansion. There was a small mess hall nearby and the meals were typical of that provided at most British bases, but still an improvement over that fed to us during our six months of basic training at HMS Armadillo in Scotland during the winter. After breakfast we were mustered on the small parade square with our weapons and told that we were to double down about a half mile to the beach for explosives training. The beach was secured off from the public and on a clear sunny day we could see the Isle of Man. On arriving at the beach we found three instructors waiting for us and we were broken into three groups of nine each. The instructors allowed us to handle various types of explosives such as forcite, cortex and cordite. He instructed us in detail as to the use of each type and the amount applied in each application.

There were 6 inch diameter wooden poles driven deep into the underwater beach at an angle towards the sea and which showed about two feet above the surface when the tide was out. We were taught how to cut these off underwater using a triple cord of cordtex with a blasting cap. Many of these posts were armed with an explosive which we were taught to disarm prior to cutting the pole off, but of course in our instance dummy explosives were used.

In the area directly behind the beach in long grass we were shown how to recognize the anti-personnel ‘S’ mines. They were vicious, hard-to-see and easily-tripped devices that had three tempered steel wires protruding about six inches above the sand holding a ball bearing amongst them. If any of the wires was jarred by a boot the ball bearing dropped down through a canister and detonated a firing pin, similar to a shot gun shell, which blew the canister into the air where it exploded about ten or twelve feet above ground, spraying some 200 lead pellets in a circle. The only effective action was to stand aside, let the 'S' mine eject into the air and then lie down over the hole it had created because the pellets sprayed outwards leaving an untouched space of about six feet in diameter in the centre... easier said than done!

There were various simulated concrete German defence structures such as gun emplacements on the beach for practicing the use of demolition devices. One of these devices was known as a 'beehive'. It was about the size of a large coffee can with three small steel bars about six inches long attached around it. Also attached was a length of cortex with a fuse cap inserted into the core of it. The objective was to fasten the device to the concrete wall by cord, if possible, and then light the fuse. In about twenty seconds the fuse detonated a charge which fired a white-hot nickel ball with the capacity to penetrate a concrete wall up to two feet thick and then ricochet around inside the bunker disabling or killing the gun crew.

We were also taught the skill of using the No. 36 hand grenade while at HMS Armadillo, from pulling the pin and holding the spring lever down until we knew where to throw the grenade. This was a dangerous practice to yourself and to others nearby if you were hit by enemy fire or inadvertently dropped the grenade it would explode. We also learned how to detect anti-tank land mines which required a weight of 1500 lbs to detonate them.

Back at the base there was a wooden building set off by itself which was used for training in the detection of booby traps. Such devices were hidden under simulated casualties lying on the floor, attached to furniture and anything else that could be moved. These were small hidden explosives which could be detonated by the slightest movement. The idea was, in the event that you occupied any facility which had previously been occupied by the enemy, to move very carefully and not move anything until the area had been checked and cleared.

The first enemy bunker which I occupied just behind the beach on Juno was a four foot deep excavation about twelve feet by ten feet with three feet of sand bags around all sides except the opening to get in and out. The two beds inside comprised twelve German army blankets.

The only booby trap I could find was a large picture of Betty Garble taking a milk bath!

Normandy

Two weeks later we were transported to Ryde where we boarded an LCI(L) to be taken across the channel to Juno Beach in Normandy where wee took over the positions of  'P' Commando, which had suffered a number of casualties. The sight of all the battle cruisers, destroyers, mine-sweepers, landing ships and landing craft was awesome. While there was still enemy shelling and dive-bombing of the landing area, the ground combat action had moved inland some distance behind the beach. There were increasing numbers of German prisoners being gathered on the beach and many of them had soiled field dressings on their wounds.

From that point on we were busy night and day guiding in landing craft and directing the steady flow of incoming troops as well as unloading tanks and other armoured equipment. We were also occupied carrying the wounded and escorting prisoners into empty landing ships to be taken to England. My weapon was always at my side ready for firing in the event of counter attacks and for firing at low flying enemy aircraft intent on strafing the beaches. The first day I found a vacant enemy bunker in the sand dunes behind the beach which was close enough for me to use for short naps during any lapse in the traffic. I was taken aback to find twelve German army blankets for a bed and a large picture pinned on the sand bags of Betty Grable taking a bath; I had stumbled into a luxury suite.

A short time later in the dark of night I was unloading Churchill Tanks from an LCT during shell fire from a 200mm railway cannon at Le Havre. I became trapped in the grates of the loading ramp injuring both legs and was taken to a nearby Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) station with a makeshift airfield and flown to a hospital in England. On recovering well enough to walk with a crutch I was sent back to Vectis and from there over to HMS Dolphin at Gosport for transport back to Normandy on a motor launch (ML). Arriving off the coast at Arromanches we could see shell fire behind the beaches so the young captain would not go in close to put me ashore. After a couple of shots of navy rum the cook offered to row me in the 8ft skiff carried by the launch. In the black of night we made it to the beach without being hit by a landing craft. It was likely the only rowboat landing made during the invasion!

While making my way from Gold Beach north to Juno I was recruited into driving a Sherman tank up to the combat lines. After two days of that I managed to find my unit on Juno Beach. In all we had spent 6 weeks on the beach and the operations were in good order. In addition the Mulberry Harbours and the capture of French ports provided other routes for the movement of men, machines and supplies and W Commando was returned to HMS Vectis where we were officially disbanded.

Shortly after we boarded RMS Queen Elizabeth at Southampton for the voyage to New York with three thousand American casualties and four thousand German POWs for company.

I left the unit with an everlasting deep sense of pride for having accomplished one of the most demanding military training schedules in existence at the time and having played a part in the difficult process of ensuring the success of the greatest amphibious invasion in history.

Bill Newell
 
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