'41 Independent Commando RM'

In October 1942 the 8th RM Battalion was disbanded and those who volunteered for, and passed the training, formed a new 41RM Commando.  The Commando saw service in WW2 at Sicily and Salerno, Normandy and Walcheren, and the advance through Holland into West Germany. At the end of the war 41 RM Commando was disbanded.

In August 1950 a new 41 Independent Commando was formed at Bickleigh specifically for the war in Korea.  It was completely equipped by United States forces on its arrival in Japan and was commanded by Lieut. Col. D.B. Drysdale DSO, OBE, RM, [view] in the first instance, and later by Lieut. Col. F.N. Grant RM.

During its service in Korea the Commando carried out a number of successful amphibious raids on the Korean coastline, chiefly with the object of destroying the coastal communications. At the same time it succeeded in tying up large Communist forces in coastal defence. When the Chinese entered the war the Commando was attached to the 1st US Marine Division USMC, and it took part with this Division in the historic breakout from the Chosin Reservoir in December 1950.

Less than 18 months after it was formed this now famous Commando was disbanded on 22nd February 1952. Some of the men were transferred to the 3rd Commando Brigade in Malaya, ten officers and a hundred-and-thirty men returned home in the Empire Orwell *.

In 1957 it was awarded a United States Presidential Unit Citation for services with the 1st Division United States Marine Corps seven years earlier at the Chosin Reservoir,  North Korea.

In 1960 41 Commando RM was reformed and saw service in Northern Ireland and with the UN Forces in Cyprus until it was again disbanded in 1980.

The Commando Roll of Honour for Korea [View here]

View  Gallery images of RM Commandos post WW2

* Globe and Laurel, March-April 1952 edition.

'Parliamentary response about Commandos in Korea'

Extract from Hansards of part of a reply by to a Parliamentary question in the House of Commons on Royal Marine Commando Operations in Korea. 
HC Deb 13 December 1950 vol 482 cc1143-6.

Mr. Driberg asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will publish in HANSARD a summary account of the part so far played in the Korean campaign by the 41st Independent Commando, Royal Marines, including a statement on the present whereabouts and function of this unit and the number of casualties sustained.

Mr. Callaghan - "Yes, Sir. I am arranging for this to be done."

"Following is the table:

Mr. Driberg - "Without raising undue hopes, can my hon. Friend say whether the news announced last Friday afternoon, that a number of Marines who had been thought lost had, in fact, been rescued, may enable him to diminish somewhat the terribly long list of those missing which was published earlier the same day?

Mr. Callaghan  - "I am afraid not. No operational reports have yet been received about this fighting. I can say, however, that seven other ranks who were reported missing are now known to have been either wounded or killed. That is as far as I can go. "

"Following is the account:

41st Independent Commando R.M. (Lieut.- Colonel D. B. Drysdale, M.B.E., R.M.) arrived in Japan by air in early September as the result of a request from the American naval commander in the Far East for troops for special commando type operations against North Korea. Several Naval and Marine volunteers from the Far East Fleet joined up with the Commando on its arrival. The unit was completely equipped by the Americans whilst in Japan.
Within four days of their arrival in Japan a detachment of the Commando—1 officer and 14 other ranks—left to take part in an operation in the Inchon area. They left Japan on 10th September with a Special Operations company of the U.S. Army and took part in a beach reconnaisance on the night of 12/13th September to the south of Inchon. On 18th September the detachment landed at Inchon with the U.S. Special Operations company and subsequently took part in several successful operations in the Seoul area. The detachment returned to Japan on 2nd October.
The Commando then came under the command of the Commander Naval Forces Far East (Admiral Joy U.S.N.) and made three successful raids on the East Coast of Korea from U.S. ships.
The first raid took place on the night of lst/2nd October and was against enemy railway communications North East of Shako. Four officers and 63 other ranks were landed, including the commanding officer. A section of the embankment under the railway line was demolished and two tunnels were mined. During this raid minor opposition from poorly armed police was encountered. One Marine was killed [more...].
The second raid was on the night of 6th/7th October, when two troops of the Commando landed under the command of Major D. L. St. M. Aldridge, R.M., at Churonjang. A rail and road tunnel was blown up with two tons of explosive and completely blocked. One non-commissioned officer was killed during this raid [more...].
The third raid took place on the following night (7th/8th October) when the same two troops, who had landed the previous night, landed again. This raid was directed against a rail and road bridge and a tunnel and resulted in the bridge being blown and the tunnel partially blocked. Minor opposition was encountered and a tunnel guard shot. There were no casualties to the landing forces.
In these three raids from United States ships the greatest possible co-operation was given by the captains, officers and ships' companies of the ships concerned.
The Commando concentrated as a complete unit in Japan on 14th October, 1950, and carried out a period of training.
On 16th November the Commando left Japan to join the First Marine Division (U.S. Marine Corps) in the Chosin reservoir area. They had to fight their way up Hungnam-Hagaru Road and suffered fairly heavy casualties in the process; they have now been successful in fighting their way back to Hungnam: no operational reports have yet been received on the latest fighting.
The Commando is still serving with the First Marine Division. The casualties so far reported, including those mentioned above, are:
Killed in Action 1
Wounded in Action 2
Missing 1
Other ranks:
Killed in Action 12
Wounded in Action 33
Missing 26
The next-of-kin have been informed."

View the Commando ROH for Korea [HERE].

'Unit Citation 41 Ind. Cdo RM' image

Presentation of the United States of America Presidential Unit Citation for 41 Independent Commando RM at the American Embassy 1957. Photo courtesy of Bob Carr USMC via Glenn Eves.