Monthly WW2 Commando History

The following pages are a brief insight into Commando History listed monthly encompassing all of WW2. There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some. Touch/click photos and links for more information.

Work in progress...November, and December to follow

A History of the Commandos and their operations can be found at the beginning of this booklet on The Commando Association.

A Commando Operations timeline for some of their actions can be found here

Commando Actions 1940-1942

Commando Operations 1943

Commando Operations 1944-1945

WW2 Commando History - January

Commando History - January

There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some.

4th Jan ‘43  - Operations in the Djebel Azzag (Sedjinane) area  involving No 6 Commando. The Paras were involved in this area as well.  The following months would see two great battles in the region involving Allied Forces that would include No 1 Commando.

23rd Jan ’43 - Operation Cartoon - Lillebe Stord - No 12 Cdo (Northforce). Discover more here about No 12 Commando

20-26th Jan’44 - Operation Shingle - Anzio - HQ 2 Cdo Bde., No  9 Cdo and 43 Cdo.

12th Jan – 22nd Feb. ’44 - Crossing of the River Garigliano - 40 Cdo.

Dec ’44 - Jan’45 - Policing Salonika - No 9 Cdo.

Dec ’44 - Jan’45 - Operation Houndforce - Policing Corfu - 40  Cdo.

Dec ’44 - Jan’45 - Operation Floydforce -  Harrassing ops , Bileca area Yugoslavia - 43  Cdo.

24th Dec’44 - 15th Jan’45 – Defensive patrolling on the Lower Maas, N of Breda - 47 Cdo.

Jan’45 also saw 1 Cdo Bde consisting of Nos 3, 6, 45 and 46 Cdos, involved in operations across the Maas, patrolling the Linne area, with 41 Cdo patrolling the lower Maas. The casualties from these operations included Lance Corporal Henry Eric Harden, 45RM Commando,who would be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry. 

His citation can be found here on our Victoria Cross  page.

 

January 1945 also saw No 4 Commando involved in operations in Holland on the island of Schouwen accompanied by 1 troop of No 10 Commando.

In the early part of January 1945 3 Commando Brigade, Nos 1 , 5, 42 and 44 Cdos, ( with 1 troop of 10 Cdo)  were involved in operations in the Akyab region ( Burma) and the Myebon Peninsula. On the 22nd January operations began that would result  in the capture of Kangaw and Daingbon. On the 29thJanuary  the battle commenced for hill Pt. 170 in Kangaw,  the casualties from that included Lt George Knowland of No 1 Commando who would be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry.

His citation can be found here on our Victoria Cross  page.

WW2 Commando History - February

WW2 Commando History - February

There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some. 

February 1943 saw allied forces involved in ongoing fighting in North Africa after Operation Torch in Nov'42. No 1 Commando were involved in Operation Scorch at Serrat on the 7th and 8th, and later in the continued fighting at Sedjenane on the 26th -28th. Follow this link to read  'An account by Sgt John Southworth MM' of one part of that action.

February 1943 also saw No 6 Commando in action at what became known as the Battle for Steamroller Farm near Mejas-el-Bab, Tunisia. Already depleted through casualties to about 250 Commandos, they came up against a much larger German force which included tanks. No 6 Commando managed to halt the German advance at the Farm for a much needed 6 hours during which they suffered many casualties, killed, wounded, or missing. Later the Commando returned to bury their dead described in detail in by their CO Brigadier Mills Roberts in his excellent and highly recommended book Clash by Night.

February 1944 saw 40RM Commando being reinforced at the River Garigliano and Monte Ornito and Monte Faito area of Italy by HQ 2 Cdo Bde., No 9 Commando, 43RM Commando, and the Belgian troop of 10IA Commando. The subsequent ferocious fighting in the area saw many Commando casualties.

Amongst the fallen of No 9 Commando were second in command Major Francis Clark, the intel officer Capt McDougall-Porter, and their RSM Tom Beardmore. Post war No 9 Cdo Veterans placed a small memorial at the location which is still there to this day.  This link will take you to 'Photos of the graves of some of the Fallen' within our war graves albums for Italy. 

5th February 1944 The burial service for Captain Jack Stormont Bare of No.2 Commando took place in the afternoon at the British Naval Cemetery at Vis, the first British serviceman to be interred there for over 130 years. Read the No 2 Cdo War Diary entry about the original ceremony by clicking on his name above. In the photograph Lt Col Jack Churchill, CO of No 2 Commando at the time, plays his bagpipes alongside his brother Tom Churchill, at a memorial service beside the British plaque in July 1973. 

February 1945 saw continued operations in the Far East involving 3 Cdo Bde consisting of Nos 1 and 5 Army Commandos and 42 and 44RM Commandos, as well as the SBS. The fighting in the Arakan campaign was tough and casualties high. 3 Commando Brigade were commended by the CO of 15 Indian Corps to which the Brigade had been attached. 'Read the commendation.' 

Follow this link to view 'Photos of some of the Commando graves' from the Arakan campaign in our war graves album for Burma (Myanmar).

The end of February 1945 and the next few months saw 2 Commando Brigade involved in the patrolling and holding of the 5 Corps winter line along the River Reno in Italy, whilst 41RM Commando were involved in patrolling the Lower Maas.

Sgt John 'Jack'  CoxFebruary 1945 also saw the executions of those involved in Operation Checkmate, a Combined Operations raid grouped under the unit title of No 14 Commando. The raid was on Axis shipping in the harbour at Kopervik, Norway on the 29th April 1943.  

Amongst those executed was Sgt Victor John 'Jack' Cox, pictured here,  who had been attached from No 12 Commando.

Read on here to learn 'More about the raid and the men involved'.

WW2 Commando History - March

WW2 Commando History - March

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 for D Day

4th March 1941 saw No 3 and 4 Commandos involved in Operation Claymore, on the Lofoten Islands. The Force also included approx 50 Royal Engineers and a group from the Free Norwegian Forces. They were transported on board two converted ships, the Princess Beatrix and the Queen Emma, now loaded with LCA's or Landing Craft Assault vessels. Leaving from, and returning to Scapa Flow, they were escorted by 5 Royal Navy destroyers. Two of the Commandos were later photographed with a couple of souvenirs in a newspaper after returning from the raid - L/Cpl Ernie Brooks and Pte. Fred Brooking. That photo can be viewed HERE

28th March 1942 also saw No 2 Commando involved in Operation Chariot at St Nazaire, supported by small detachments varying in size from Nos 1,3,4, 5,9, and 12 Commandos. Five Victoria Crosses would later be awarded for gallantry on the raid. On Wednesday 1st April 1942 a ceremonial funeral was held to inter the dead from both sides, in a field at Escoublac, near to the German Naval HQ. The prisoners were invited by their captors to send a party to attend. Photos of the burial party can be seen HERE. We have an account of the raid on our site and it can be read HERE.

Much has been written about the raid but for the best accounts of before and after we recommend Storming St Nazaire by James Dorrian and St Nazaire Commando by Stuart Chant-Sempill. The gallantry of so many Commandos and Royal Navy personnel that day, many of whom would never return home, justify it being known as the "Greatest raid of all". 

March  1943 saw continued operations in North Africa involving No 1 Commando. The Northforce half of No 12 Commando were engaged in operations along the Norwegian coast and fjords.

March  1944 saw No 9 (Army) Commando along with 40 & 43RM Commandos take part in the Anzio landings. Amongst the many casualties was Private Robert Rose Urquhart of No 9 Commando. He recovered from his wounds at Anzio only to be killed the following year at Lake Comacchio. We have copies of 2 of his letters home, the first when injured and in hospital, and the second dated the 29th March 1945 having just rejoined No 9 Commando in Italy. He was killed in action 4 days later. Click HERE for more about Pte Urquhart and to read those and other letters.

During this time No 2 Commando were involved in Operation Detained 1 on the island of Solta (Yugoslavia), whilst 43RM Commando were involved on Hvar Island (Yugoslavia). 

March 1944 also saw continued operations in the Far East involving HQ 3 Cdo Bde and Nos 5 (Army) Commando and 44RM Commando, one particular being Operation Screwdriver. The fighting in the Arakan 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) HERE.

March 1945 saw 1 Commando Brigade involved in operations clearing the Rhine- Maas triangle, and the crossing of the Rhine and capture of Wesel, whilst 48RM Commando took over from 41RM Commando in patrolling lower Maas.

March 1945 was also the month that two former members of No 12 Commando were executed, Lt Ross Littlejohn MC and Cpl Joseph Crowley. 

Both were now members of 2SAS and were captured during an operation in Italy and then executed at Bolzano, Italy. After a War Crimes trial the two German SS officers involved were both convicted of this and other atrocities and murders, and sentenced to death which was carried out on the 26th July 1946. The picture shows Lt Littlejohn MC and Cpl Crowley whilst attached to No 12 Commando, along with Corporal Stanley Bolden MM who was killed in action in March 1945 also whilst attached to 2SAS. Click or touch the photo for more detail.

WW2 Commando History - April

WW2 Commando 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 a detailed history of Layforce that can be read HERE 

1st April 1942 saw the joint burial service permitted by the Germans for the casualties during Operation Chariot at St Nazaire. Photos of the burial party can be seen HERE

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 our forum  which can be viewed HERE

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.)  Click HERE for more photos and information about No 12 Commando. 

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 No 12 Commando, Sergeant Jack Cox, a RNVR Lieutenant, two Naval Petty Officers and three seaman, were grouped as 14 (Arctic) Commando. They were 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. More on the individuals and raid can be found HERE

April-July1944 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) HERE.

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 46RM Commando gallery from when they were in the area, and the memories of Cpl.Eric Taylor, 46RM Commando, about his experiences of the Elbe crossing are HERE

April 1945  2 Commando Brigade with units from the SAS/SBS were involved in Operations Roast, Pry, Impact, and Impact Royal in the regions of 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.

More about Major Lassen is HERE

More about Corporal Hunter is HERE

They are both buried at the Argenta Gap War Cemetery.

 

 
April 1945, with only days to go before before VE day, saw many casualties. Just one of those was Tpr. Stephen Greenwood of No 7 Commando. His Commando long since disbanded, Tpr Greenwood was a prisoner of war in Germany. On a march west whilst still a POW, he was killed on 30th April 1945 when they were fired on by a Russian tank at Waganitz. Photos and information about Trooper Greenwood are HERE

WW2 Commando History - May

WW2 Commando History - May

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.

26-31st May 1941 saw 'D' Bn of Layforce / 52ME Commando involved in the defence of Crete. Many were taken prisoner of war through no fault of their own, the ships leaving without them. We have a detailed history of Layforce that can be read HERE . We also have a gallery of photos of Prisoners of War from the later Dieppe and St Nazaire raids. That gallery can be viewed  HERE .

5th May 1942 No 5 Commando were taking part in Operation Ironclad at Diego Suarez, Madagascar. The total campaign lasted 6 months but the bulk of the special work of Combined Operations and the Commandos was concentrated into a few days in early May 1942. Some of the graves of the Fallen can be viewed  HERE . Click/touch the photo to view some No 5 Commandos a few months before in Jan'42.

15-18th May 1944  Hiltforce were taking part in the Tarbrush raids along the French coastline gathering intelligence in preparation for D Day. Leading one of these raids was Lieut. George Henry Lane , No 10(IA) Commando 3 troop, who was born on the 18th January 1915 as Dyuri Länyi. Born in Hungary but came to England in the 1930s. 3 troop also known as X troop consisted solely of German speaking refugees. They included different nationalities, primarily German and Austrians, but also Hungarians and Czechs. George Lane was awarded the Military Cross for his part in the commando “Tarbrush” raids on the Pas de Calais coast in May 1944,the citation commending his “tenacity of purpose in obtaining vital information”. He died on March 19, 2010, aged 95. His obituary can be read HERE .

22/23 May 1944 No 2 Army Commando and 43RM Commando, along with one troop from 40RM Commando were taking part in Operation Foothound on Miljet island. This was a large scale raid which is summed up with tongue in cheek by the unknown author of a document we have on No 2 Commando overseas. Follow this link, then follow the instructions to download, and scroll to page 5 of the document HERE .

Click/touch the photo to view a group from 43RM Cdo.

24th May 1944 No 9 Commando were involved in Operation Darlington 11 along the East coast of Italy.

27th May 1944 Issue 25 of the Daily Vis-a-Vis was issued to Commandos operating with the Central Mediteranean Force from the island of Vis giving an update on the progress of the war. To view that document click/touch HERE .

8th May 1945 VE day Victory in Europe day.  Read the message sent out by the C in C 21st Army Group Field Marshall Montgomery by clicking/touching HERE .

 

WW2 Commando History - June

WW2 Commando History - June

There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some. Touch/click photos for more information.

24th/25th June 1940 Operation Collar, a raid on the coast of France by men from the Independent Companies grouped together as No 11 Ind. Coy. and led by Major Ronnie Tod and accompanied by Lt Col. Dudley Clarke acting as an observer. Our gallery for the Independent Companies can be viewed HERE .

8th June 1941 Operation Exporter.

The original objective assigned to 'C' Bn of Layforce (11 Scottish Commando) was to land on two beaches to the north of the River Litani and one to the south, seize and hold the Qasmiye bridge over it until relieved by 21 Australian Infantry Brigade. Of the 406 men that landed 130 were killed or wounded in nearly 29 hours of fighting. The dead included the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Dick Pedder. We have an excellent gallery of photos of men from No 11 Commando that can be viewed HERE. A book by Ian McHarg provides some comprehensive background information on the battle and is available either as a hard copy,or, for a donation to Help for Heroes - as an ebook download from his website Litani River.

3rd June 1942 Operation Bristle, a raid on the French coast North of Plage St. Cecily by men from No 1 Commando. More can be read about this raid on our Forum HERE .

6th June 1944 as we all I am sure realise is the 70th Anniversary of the D Day landings. 

Thousands of British and Allied troops took part in these landings. The Commando Units involved were HQ Commando group, Nos. 1 and 4 Commando Brigades, and troops from No.10(IA) Commando. Much has been written in the past about the landings and we could not hope to cover it in this small piece. We have some of our Veterans and members over there for the 70th anniversary events. However many more will be at home unable to have made the journey, along with many relatives who lost family members during Operation Overlord. Our thoughts are with them all. Suffice to say that those Commandos who made that original journey and did not come home are remembered with honour. Some of their graves can be seen in our War Graves albums for France HERE .

June 1944 Let us not forget that Commando operations around the world were still taking place at this time. To name a few, No 5 Commando and 44RM Commando were involved in Operation Silchar in Assam. No. 2 Commando and 40 & 43RM Commandos were involved in Operation Flounced at Brac island, Yugoslavia. No 9 Commando were taking part in Operation Pipsqueak on the East coast of Italy. 

WW2 Commando History - July

WW2 Commando History - July

There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some. Touch/click photos for more information.

14th/15th July 1940 Operation Ambassador, a raid on the coast of Guernsey by men from the Independent Companies grouped together as No 11 Ind. Coy. and led by Major Ronnie Tod and also No 3 Commando.  Our gallery for the Independent Companies can be viewed HERE .

July 1941 saw 'B' Bn Layforce (No 8 Commando) in action in Tobruk and No 12 Commando in action at Ambleteuse, France. 

July 1943 Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. In addition to Commando units the Special Raiding Squadron (SRS) also participated. Whilst the SRS were engaged at Bagnara and Augusta and other areas, No 3 Commando's time in Sicily included one particular action at Agnone. On the 14th/15th July 1943 No.3 Commando were tasked with taking and holding a bridge at Punta dei Malati  until the arrival of the 50th Division. After capturing the bridge from the Italians and removing the demolitions they had laid, a counter attack by the Germans with support of tanks inflicted heavy casualties on No.3 Commando. Eventually they were ordered to withdraw but the bridge had been saved from demolition. General Montgomery later ordered that a stone be carved with “3 Commando Bridge” and this stone cemented into the Punta dei Malati bridge. An excellent account of the raid can be found here : 

Recollections of Sicily and Malati Bridge by Lieut.John Channon Erskine RE & No.3 Commando

One of the pillboxes still remains at the bridge and it can be viewed HERE.

The graves of some of the fallen from No 3 Cdo during this operation can be viewed on this link to our gallery for Syracuse War Cemetery

July 1944 saw the continued advance into NW Europe after D day with heavy fighting in many areas. Thousands of British and Allied troops took part in these landings. The Commando Units involved were HQ Commando Group, Nos. 1 and 4 Commando Brigades, and troops from No.10(IA) Commando. Much has been written in the past about the landings and we could not hope to cover it in this small piece. Our thoughts are with them all. Suffice to say that those Commandos who made that original journey and did not come home are remembered with honour. 

Some of their graves can be seen in our War Graves albums for France HERE .

On the 14th July 1944 a memorial service was held at Le Plein where Captain the Abbe Rene de Naurois addressed the men of No.1 Special Service Bde. On the 16th July 1944 a medal ceremony took place at L'Ecarde Quarry, Amfreville, where Field Marshall Montgomery issued gallantry medals to some Commandos. Photos of individual Commandos receiving awards at this ceremony can be found in their respective Commando Unit galleries.

Some photos can be found here  Normandy - Operation Overlord

 

July 1944 also saw Commando operations around the world.

No 5 Commando and 44RM Commando in Operation Silchar at Assam,

 

 

28/29th July No. 2 Commando at Spilje,  Albania (Operation Healing 2.)  

Some photos can be viewed here

 No 2 Commando in Albania

 

WW2 Commando History - August

WW2 Commando History - August

There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some. Touch/click photos for more information.

18/25 August 1941 Operation Gauntlet, a Combined Operations raid on the island of Spitsbergen with units from the Canadian and Free French along with the Britsih including the Special Service Brigade.  

14/15 August 1942 Operation Barricade, a group from the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF), also referred to as 62 Commando, attacked a radar post at Pointe de Saire near Barfleur, crossing the Channel using a MTB. 

19th August 1942 Operation Jubilee, the Combined Operations raid at Dieppe. This raid is well documented and resulted in heavy Allied losses. The Commando units involved were Nos 3,and 4 Army Commandos and 40RM Commando. Amongst those who accompanied the Commandos were some from the Ist Ranger Bn., United States Army, including Lieutenant Edward Loustalot who was amongst those killed in action. His photo can be seen here: HERE. We have a gallery album with information and photos about the US Rangers, including the diary of Leilyn Young which contains a great amount of detail of his journey to the UK, and his training and time with the Commandos : US Rangers gallery.

Amongst the many gallantry medals awarded was that of the Victoria Cross to Captain Patrick Anthony Porteous, No 4 Commando. His citation, along with those of all the Commando Victoria Cross recipients, can be found here in our Victoria Cross section.

 

A Nominal Roll of those from No 4 Commando who took part can be viewed HERE

A ROH for the Commando Fallen at Dieppe with links to any Gallery entries we have can be found HERE

The graves of some of the fallen during this operation can be viewed on this link to our gallery for Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery

August 1943 saw the continuation of the Forfar raids along the French coastline involving men from No 12 Commando, the SSRF, and the SBS.

On the 15/16th August 1943 No 2 Commando were involved in Operation Blackcock at Scaletta, Sicily. During this operation No 2 Cdo. Captain Dickie Hooper was awarded the Military Cross, "Captain Hooper led his troop, No.6, with great gallantry and determination in the street fighting in Scaletta village in the early morning of the 16th August 1943, which resulted after the Commando landing just North of this village. In this action with German troops, he was wounded in the shoulder by a rifle bullet. After his area of the village was cleared, he continued to lead his troop to its correct position, three miles further down the coast. Later the troop was ordered to march North on the road to Messina, Captain Hooper again leading until restrained by the medical authorities, and removed to the casualty clearing station."

Captain Hooper also took part in the Commando raids at Vaagso, and St Nazaire where he was badly wounded. (L.G.18.11.43) 

Amongst the casualties at Scaletta were Lieutenant John Jeffreys, Sergeant Anthony Patrick Duffy and Gunner Edward Cox. Images of all 3 men and many other of the No Commando Fallen throughout the war can be viewed here:

 No 2 Commando In Remembrance album

August 1944 saw the continued advance into NW Europe after D day with heavy fighting in many areas. Thousands of British and Allied troops took part in these landings. The Commando Units involved were HQ Commando Group, Nos. 1 and 4 Commando Brigades, and troops from No.10(IA) Commando. Much has been written in the past about the landings and we could not hope to cover it in this small piece. Our thoughts are with them all. Suffice to say that those Commandos who made that original journey and did not come home are remembered with honour. Some of their graves can be seen in our War Graves albums for France HERE .

On the 19/20th August 1944 units from No 1 Special Service Brigade (later renamed Commando Brigade) were involved in action crossing the River Dives, whilst No 4 Special Service Brigade were in action in the Dozule region of Normandy. The photo taken by L/Cpl Emmerson of No 1 Special Service Brigade depicts the ruins of a Church near Dozule. More of his many excellent photos can be found in our No 1 Special Service Brigade gallery album

Some photos of the Normandy invasion can be found here:

 Normandy - Operation Overlord

WW2 Commando History - September

WW2 Commando History - September

There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some. Touch/click photos for more information.

The above happy photo depicts Officers of No 2 Commando taken in Gibraltar mid 1943. Five of the 17 Officers in this photo would, just a few months later, be killed in action during the Salerno operations.

27/28 September 1941 Operation Choppers and Deepcut.

On the night of 28th Sep 1941 65 men of 5 Troop No1 Commando took part in a twin raid against the coast of Northern France, code named Operation Chopper and Deepcut. One raiding party landed at Luc sur Mer (Chopper) and took a number of casualties including two killed, Pte Elwyn Edwards and L/Cpl Cyril Evans. The other raiding party landed at St Vaast Bay (Deepcut) and ambushed a German cycle patrol.

September 1942 Operation Musketoon - a raid on an electricity generating station at Glomfjord in German occupied Norway. Ten Commandos from No 2 Commando and 2 Norwegian corporals working for the SOE took part in the raid. They were taken by submarine to a remote Fjord, completed a difficult overland route, approaching their target from the rear and successfully destroyed it. Seven were captured and later executed at Sachsenhausen Concentraion Camp under Hitler's infamous Commando Order.

Follow this link for Information about Operation Musketoon

Memorial to those interned at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and who perished there or elsewhere at the hands of their captors. Included are the Commandos and Naval personnel from Operation Checkmate, and the Commandos from Operation Musketoon.

 

September 1942  saw raids along the French coast by the SSRF including Operations Dryad, Hanford, and Aquatint. Click/touch this link to view our album of photos and information about the Small Scale Raiding Force

9th-18th September 1943  Operation Avalanche.

Amongst the Allied forces taking part were No 2 Army Commando and 41RM Commando. During the fighting in and around Salerno, the Commandos lost many good men. Amongst the Fallen was Henry Wellesley - 6th Duke of Wellington, Captain of 2 troop No 2 Commando.

A publication about the raid by Major H.H. Blissett can be read HERE

The graves of some of the fallen during this operation can be viewed on this link to our gallery for Salerno War Cemetery

September 1943 saw the continuation of the Forfar raids along the French coastline involving men from No 12 Commando, the SSRF, and the SBS. There were a number of Raids called Forfar raids - Forfar- Beer -Dog -How -Love-Item. During Forfar Item the men went into France by parachute and returned by MTB.

September 1944 was a busy period for the Central Mediterranean Force. No 9 Army Commando and 43RM Commando were involved in Foxforce operations around the Peloponnese peninsula of Southern Greece, including Athens. 43RM Commando would later participate in Operation Healing 3 at Solta, and Nos. 2 and 40 Commandos were fighting along the Sarande area of Albania in Operation Mercerised * (see below and also October's account).

Meanwhile in North West Europe the allied advance continued.

*Below is a transcript from the No 2 Commando War Diary relating to the first few days of Operation Mercerised:

23 Sept 44: Landed Sugar beach. Recce patrol met on beach. Conference on board LCI due to information received. German patrol had proceeded down the valley on Friday morning and very nearly surrounded Recce party. Beach was pounded with light mobile gun and neighbouring woods were raked with spandau fire, but on movement back Germans were caught by Partisans at head of valley. They killed or captured more than half of the 150 men in the patrol without loss to themselves. C.O. decided to occupy feature in centre of valley with Troops on either side of it. All positions were occupied by dawn. 4 Troop were then moved up to Point 586. Spitfires attacked Sarande. Rest of day spent diggin in.

24 Sept 44: Arrival of HQ No.2 SS Brigade under Brig. T.B.L. Churchill, MC. First day and night of rain. Corfu guns fired into Bay during afternoon. Partisan report received that 5 Germans had been killed in attack on Sarande yesterday. Patrol by 3 Troop down road towards Vermero, by 2 Troop to bridge at SHIAN, by 1 and 4 Troops towards Sarande.
2300 Demolition Party under Capt. Whitehouse, S.O.R.E., 2 SS Bde., blew crater in SHEN VASIL- SARANDE road at 315845

25 Sept 44:
0500 Arrival of Brig.Davey, Comd L.F.A. for brief visit. Shown over positions by C.O. More firing from Corfu guns.
1150 Venturas bombed S.E. of Delvine.
1450 Spitfires attempted to bomb bridge SHIAN without success.
Another night of rain. Patrol by 4 Troop reported enemy extremely active in Sarande area, but no enemy positions contacted. Engagement between Partisans and Germans at M.R.323828. 5 Troop reported considerable shell fire on position. Report from 3 Troops that Germans had taken to hills around Sarande. No civilians allowed in area. This patrol reached point 400 yards North of town of Sarande. Considerable M.T. activity on road and Naval activity in Sarande.

26 Sept 44:
0830 5 Troop returned from GHASHTE. 4 Troop reported Germans in occupation of METOG and LEKURES. Albanian militia with Italian uniform but unarmed reported in Sarande area - estimated 60 strong. 5 Troop reached VERMERO Church, then Eastwards down track to VERMERO ridge. Bumped small patrol but uncertain whether German or Partisan. Reached GJASHTE, threw H.E. Grenades but received no reaction. Fwd troops moved to Points 586 and 469. F.O.O. set up on latter. Telephone lines laid to link up these points with Brigade and Commando HQ.
1130 Brigadier and B.M. visited Commando HQ. Request to L.F.A. for bombing of DELVINE as soon as possible. Brigadier gave orders for a Troop (3 Troop) to be moved to area of SHIAN Bridge, to be followed by two more Troops and Commando fwd. HQ. Partisan diversion towards DELVINE arranged.
1510 Shelling of Commando valley from DELVINE. 4 Troop reported fire came from M.R. 345844. Informed 25 pounders would arrive BORSI approximately 1500 hours on the 27th.

27 Sept 44: Attempt by 3 Troop to bow up bridge failed. Demolition party lost contact with main body and unable to locate bridge. Lieut. ROE returned with demolition party to report. 3 Troop and Med. Det. left on ridge overlooking bridge and defended localities at VANE 337861. C.O. went out to recce positions and possibilities
1125 Report from 5 Troop of 5,000 ton ship lying off Corfu
1305 Shelling of Commando valley from German guns at 347843
1340 Counter battery work by R.S.R.
1500 C.O. reported by wireless on condition of 3 Troop.Shelling of bridge area good and would recce further forward with Os.C. 1 and 3 Troops
1900 Order received from B.M to send Patrols to Pt. 802 290883. Sections of 2 Troop detailed for this.
Rain during night

28 Sept 44: Sections from 2 Troop on Point 802 reported no enemy in area
1300 25 pounders reported in position SHEN VASIL
1708 5 Troop report enemy guns at 410878 and 395880firing at top of Commando valley
1900 Shelling of beach area
Rain during night.

29 Sept 44:
0900 C.O. told not to advance from present position except to move from Pt. 586 to Pt. 469
1200 Rain continuous for 16 hours stops at last - temporarily
1700Orders received to send out 2 Patrols of 3 Subalterns each to shoot up transport on main road

 

WW2 Commando History - October

WW2 Commando History - October

There are too many operations and/or notable dates to mention each and every one but here are some. .

23rd October 1942 was the date of the execution of the seven Commandos taken prisoner of war after Operation Musketoon. This operation was a raid on an electricity generating station at Glomfjord in German occupied Norway. Ten Commandos from No 2 Commando and 2 Norwegian corporals working for the SOE took part in the raid. They were taken by submarine to a remote Fjord, completed a difficult overland route, approaching their target from the rear and successfully destroyed it. Seven were captured and executed at Sachsenhausen Concentraion Camp under Hitler's infamous Commando Order. [click/touch the image below for more information]

Memorial to those interned at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and who perished there or elsewhere at the hands of their captors. Included are the Commandos and Naval personnel from Operation Checkmate, and the Commandos from Operation Musketoon. [click/touch the image  for more]

 

3rd/4th October 1942  Operation Basalt - a raid on the island of Sark by a small group from No 12 Commando and the SSRF . Click/touch this link to view our album of photos and information about the Small Scale Raiding Force

3rd October 1943  Operation Devon - Termoli. Amongst the Allied forces taking part were No 3 Army Commando, 40RM Commando, and the Special Raiding Squadron (SAS). They captured Termoli, thus unhinging the German defensive position along the river Bifurno. The enemy counter-attacked violently. For a time confusion reigned and the situation was critical, but the great steadiness of the Commando troops under Durnford-Slater, saved the town. An account of No 3 Cdo 6 troop action written by Jack Cox who served in 6 troop can be read HERE

October 1944 - the continuation of Operation Mercerised with operations in the Sarande and Delvine areas of Albania.

The force known as Houndforce consisted of Commandos from HQ 2 Cdo Bde., No 2 Commando, and 40RM Commando, assisted by units of the Special Raiding Squadron, Assyrian paratroopers under the command of Maj. Guy Hudson, along with Albanian partisans. This operation took place between the 22nd September and the 21st October.

On the 12th October 1944, 40RM Commando participated as part of Houndforce on the island of Corfu. They would return again in the New Year.

28th October 1944 - 43RM Commando participated in Operation Floxo at Dubrovnik.

31st October 1944 - In North West Europe the allies continued their advances with No 4 Commando preparing with units from 10(IA) Commando, and 41, 47, and 48RM Commandos for their assault on Walcheren the following day.