11 Commando

History of the Unit

11 Commando

This Commando was formed on 23rd June 1940 in Galashiels

After formation it marched from Galashiels to Ayr and then on to the Isle of Arran for amphibious training.

The Commando sailed to the Middle East at the end of January 1941 its first task was Operation Exporter, the invasion of Vichy French Syria. No 11 Commando as ‘C’ Battalion Layforce landed against the French defences at the Litani River on 8th June. During this action No 11 lost its Commanding Officer Lt.Col R.R.N. Pedder along with about one quarter of its strength but the Commando acquitted itself admirably and was part of the success of this operation.

After garrison duties in cypress men from the Commando were involved in the now famous raid on the H.Q. of Rommel. In an attempt to kidnap the ‘Fox’ No 11’s new C.O. Lt.Col Geoffrey Keyes devised and put into operation the daring Operation Flipper raid. Parachuting 250 miles behind enemy lines and making their way to the H.Q.overland. Although the outcome was negative the bravery of the men on this operation was of the highest order and Lt Col Keyes was to receive a posthumous Victoria Cross for his part in it.

After this raid the Commando role was changing and No 11 along with Layforce was disbanded , due mainly to depleted manpower.

Read the Citation for the award of the Victoria Cross to Lt Col Keyes

View our Gallery images of No 11 Commando

Read a document submitted to us about Layforce

Click/touch No 11 Commando below for additional content, or follow the links below it to specific content entries.

11 Commando Nominal Roll

In 1946 the Army Council decided that the Army Commandos were to be disbanded and no provision was allowed or made for any depository or office which would have at least contained a complete Roster of Names of the men who served in the various units.

For historical & research purposes, we have tried to compile the names of all No.11 Commando volunteers which were obtained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Lists of Casualties, the No.11 Commando War Diary, papers from the National Archives and further research by members of the CVA and various other resources. 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 No.11 Commando.  Research continues

The No 11 Commando Nominal Roll is listed below in surname order

No11 Commando Nominal A-C

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 11 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. There is no other comprehensive nominal roll of Army Commandos in existence. 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)

Ablewhite C A Pte     Lincolnshire Regt
Adams Jack Pte 2758154   Black Watch (RHR)
Ainslie William Robson Milne L/Cpl 329331   2nd Dragoons R Scots Greys RAC
Aitken Robert        
Allkin R Pte      
Anderson John Clover Sgt      
Archibald Adam       Royal Scots
Arnold D        
Baillie Alexander Charles L/Cpl 2885492   Gordon Highlanders
Baird James Parlane 'Jimmy' Capt     Royal Army Medical Corps
Ballantyne Alexander A L/Cpl     QOCH
Banks Alistair Lt      
Barr Edward Cpl   MM Highland Light Infantry
Barrand Peter Charles L/Cpl     London Rifle Brigade
Barton J        
Beattie Alexander Cpl     Gordon Highlanders
Beavis   Pte      
Bell Denis L/Cpj     RAOC
Bertie James John William Cpl     A&SH
Best George Pte 2883741   Gordon Highlanders
Biddiscombe   L/Cpl      
Birch Denis John        
Birch Frederick Cpl      
Blackwell   Pte      
Blair David Arthur Capt 73177 MC. MBE Seaforth Highlanders
Bogle Jim Pte     Gordon Highlanders
Bookless   Pte      
Botherway A H J Cpl     Sherwood Forresters
Boulton David Bdr     Royal Artillery
Bradley Jack        
Brand George       Royal Scots
Brankin George        
Brittlebank John Bdr   DCM Royal Artillery
Brodie D Bdr      
Brown Edward 'Ted' Albert Cpl      
Brown Leslie (Jock) Cpl     Duke Of Cornwall LI
Bruce Charles Sgt     Black Watch
Bryan Gerald Jackson Lt 425189 MC Royal Engineers
Bryant J Lt     Royal Engineers
Bullock Howard Ernest Gnr 826260   Royal Artillery
Burgess Les Tpr 321601   Royal Dragoons
Burke Harry        
Burrows Charles William Gnr 872276   Royal Artillery
Burton Kenneth Harwood Sgt 404001   Royal Dragoons, RAC
Butler Howard H C Cpl   MM South Lancashire
Byrne John Vincent 'Jack' Sgt 2060658 DCM Gordon Highlanders
Calderwood William John 'Bill or Jock' Cpl     Cameron Highlanders
Campbell Colin 'Streaky' Tpr      
Campbell Robin Capt     Attached From No8 Cdo
Campbell William Pte     Seaforth Highlanders
Campbell William Pte 2763471   Black Watch RHR)
Campion T Whay L/Sgt   MM Sherwood Foresters
Canavan Hugh Pte     QOCH
Carr Richard Philip Capt 90121 MBE,MC Royal Artillery
Carter Tommy        
Carver J Sgt      
Cassidy J Pte     QOCH
Caton Geoffrey Bdr 1455205   RA/ME Cdo/L Det SAS/1SAS/      kia SRS
Chantrell William Pte 7379892   RAMC
Chell Thomas William Herbert Sgt      
Chevelier Harold Lt     Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Cheyne John 'Jock' Sgt     Gordon Highlanders
Chisholm James Alexander Sgt 2929812 MM QOCH
Clark   Cpl      
Clarke   Pte      
Cleverley   Sgt      
Clithero George E Cpl      
Cockett   Sgt      
Codd Lawrence Joseph Sgmn 2332748   R Signals
Cohen Aaron Harry 'Ike' Cpl 2760335   Black Watch RHR
Collins J H        
Connell   Pte      
Coode Donald Alastair Lt 91438   Royal Engineers
Cooke John L/Bdr     Royal Artillery
Cooke Royston 'Roy' Lt   MC Royal West Kent Regt
Corcoran   Sgt      
Coultard D E L/Cpl     2nd Dragoons R Scots Greys
Coulthread Denis L/Cpl 3061447   Royal Scots
Craig James Cross L/Cpl     Black Watch RHR
Cranfield Sam Lt     Royal Artillery
Crawford Walter Tpr     2nd Dragoons R Scots Greys
Crowe Wilfred R Capt      
Cunnell W Pte      

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No11 Commando Nominal D-H

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 11 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. There is no other comprehensive nominal roll of Army Commandos in existence. 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)

Danson Joss Tpr      
Dare G A Pte      
Davidson Alexander (12) L/Sgt 288612   Gordons/ME Cdo/SRS, kia 1SAS
Davidson Alexander (15) Pte      
Davidson R Capt      
Dawson Kenneth        
Dear Fred       Wiltshire Regiment
Deegan (Deigan) Matt Pte 2823443   Seaforth Highlanders
Dengel Harry Tpr     Rac
Dent Charles Tpr      
Devine Frank 'Darky' Pte     Seaforth Highlanders
Dibb Edgar Cpl 746439   Black Watch (Royal Highland Regt)
Dinsdale Henry Pte     York And Lancaster Regt
Dobbie   Pte      
Donnelly Peter Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Donohue Albert Reuben Sgt 907338   Royal Artillery
Douglas David        
Dove George Pte      
Dowse George L/Cpl     Northumberland Hussars, R Scots Greys
Dowson         Royal Scots Greys
Drummond David       Seaforth Highlanders
Duff D L/Cpl     Cameron Highlanders
Duffy Joseph Aloysius Pte     Seaforth Highlanders
Dunbar W Sgt   MM A&SH
Duncan G C T Lt     Black Watch RHR
Duncan George Ian Alistair Lt (T/Capt) 132481 MC&bar, MiD Black Watch RHR
Dunn George William Bdr     Royal Artillery
Dunnachie John Pte     QOCH
Duvivier Jeffrey 'Jeff' Sgt   MM Gordon Highlanders
Eardley Albert William L/Cpl 2072050   Royal Engineers
Edmiston George        
Elliot Jeff O Tpr     A&SH
Ellison Edward Sgt      
Emanuel   Pte      
Emms   Cpl      
Evans   Sgt     Welsh Guards
Evans Andy Cpl      
Fairweather David Calder Pte 2763524   Black Watch/ME Cdo/doas SBS
Farmiloe William Arthur Robin Capt     London Rifle Bde
Farrell T A        
Fielding Ted        
Findley Dave Piper      
Fitzwilliam   Lt      
Flewin Harry       Wiltshire Regiment
Foster   Dvr      
Fowler J Pte     QOCH
Fowler R       QOCH
Fraser Chris Sgt      
Fraser Thomas 'Tom' Coupar Tpr     QOCH
Fraser William Lt 132513 MC* Gordon Highlanders
Fraser William 'Jock' Pte 2820455   Seaforth Highlanders
Freeberry   Cpl      
Freke Ronald George 'Fred' L/Cpl 5572722   Wiltshire Regiment
Gallagher Denis Pte 2989639   A&SH
Garland Eric Francis Lt   MC* York And Lancaster Regt
Garraway William B Sgt      
Gemmell   Pte      
Gibbs William Gore Gnr 879745   Royal Artillery
Gibson J W Csm      
Girvan William Sgt      
Glennie Ian M Capt     Gordon Highlanders
Goode   Lt      
Goodgrove C L/Cpl     Sherwood Foresters
Gorman Joe Tpr     Sherwood Foresters
Gornall James 'Jim' Gnr 3856286 MM Royal Artillery
Gray   L/Cpl      
Greehaulgh Frank        
Greenless H S Kenneth Major     Cameronians
Gregory Jack Pte     Manchester Regt
Gregory L L/Cpl      
Greig Robert Cpl 2881454   Gordon Highlanders
Gunn David Pte 28222381   Seaforth Highlanders
Hall J L/Cpl     Cameronians
Hamilton Alexander Sig 2576082   Royal Corps Of Signals
Hamilton J Pte     QOCH
Hamilton Robert Scott Pte     Highland Light Infantry
Harland Edwin Pte 2882955   Gordon Highlanders
Harmer Reg Pte   DCM Wiltshire Regt
Harper A 'Foo' Sgmn 2579777   Royal Signals
Harris Sam        
Haselden Jock Capt      
Hastie   Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Hay Johnnie       London Scottish
Heath   Woii     Royal Artillery
Herd John 'Jock' Pte     Black Watch
Hibberson Ken L/Bdr     Royal Artillery
Hickford   Cpl      
Highland A George Capt     Seaforth Highlanders
Hill Charles Stewart Sgt     R Scots Fusiliers
Holmes Harry Tpr      
Holton Cyril Stanley Sgt     Liverpool Irish
Hoyle Geordie Sgt     Royal Scots Greys
Hughes Albert Edwin 'Tommy' L/Cpl     Wiltshire Regt
Hughes Malcolm Edward       Manchester Regiment
Hughes Tommy       Wiltshire Regt
Hurst Ben Pte 3715891   KORR (Lancaster)

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No11 Commando Nominal I-O

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 11 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. There is no other comprehensive nominal roll of Army Commandos in existence. 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)

Inglis Robert Maj     RAMC
Ingliss R Lt     A&SH
Innes J L/Cpl 2932101   QOCH
Irons A J L/Cpj      
Irons Terry Cpl      
Irvine T Pte      
Jackson   L/Cpl     RAMC
James C Dennis Fus      
Jennings Mark Tpr     RAC
Johnson William G Pte      
Johnson   Capt     Highland Light Infantry
Johnston Robert Cpl     QOCH
Johnstone Bill        
Jones Charles Ernest Tpr     Staffs Yeomanry; RAC
Jones Doug I Cpl      
Jones Ginger        
Jones Harold Cpl 550620   2nd Dragoons, R Scots Greys, RAC
Josling Francis 'Frank' Gnr     Royal Artillery
Judge F Pte     QOCH
Kaim Paddy        
Kearney Joseph 'Joe' Bdr     Royal Artillery
Kearney H Cpl      
Keith Douglas Pte     Gordon Highlanders
Kelly Tom 'Pat' Gnr     Royal Artillery
Kennedy Davie        
Kent Pat        
Keyes G C T Lt Col   VC. MC 2nd Dragoons, R Scots Greys, RAC
Killops Blondie        
Kilpatrick Jimmy        
King Ernest Taylor L/Cpl     Lincolnshire Regt
Kinghorn Robert Pte 2884403   Gordon Highlanders
Kirk D Pte     QOCH
Knight Dennis Lt      
Lamont         Highland Light Infantry
Lancaster Bill Lt      
Lang John L/Cpl 326577   2nd Dragoons R Scots Greys, RAC
Langton Tommy Lt      
Lappin Jimmy Tpr     QOCH
Lashmar Charles Wilson Capt   MBE  
Laverick   Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Lawson James Piper     Gordon Highlanders
Leggatt R 'Cocky' Cpl     QOCH
Lisle George        
Lister Richard Pte 3319075   Highland Light Infantry
Little John Pte     QOCH
Lock Charles Cpl     London Scottish
Lockhart   Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Lockyer/Lockier   Cpl      
Longmore A J Pte      
Low Laurie Sgt      
Lyle Doug ('Tich' Pte 2763368   Black Watch
Macarthur Joe        
Macarthur Robert L/Bdr 1455543   Royal Artillery
Macculloch J Sgt     Black Watch
Machen S        
Mackay A L/Cpl     QOCH
Mackay Hughie        
Mackay John S       Seaforth Highlanders
Mackintosh P Pte     QOCH
Macmillan   Rqms      
Macpherson Ronald Thomas Stewart Capt 90855 MC QOCH
Macquarrie Donald Maclean L/Cpl     Gordon Highlanders
Maher Pat        
Mann Walter        
Marklam John Wilson        
Marshall Walter L/Cpl 329260   Royal Scots Greys
Martin Dougie L/Cpl 2362945   Royal Signals
Martin J F        
Mayne R B 'Paddy' Lt   MiD RUR [att'd Cameronians]
McAdam L        
McArthur T Pte      
McAuley Michael L/Cpl     A&SH
McCormick R        
McCubbin Alec Pte      
McCubbin J Csm     Gordon Highlanders
McCulloch J Sgt     Black Watch RHR
McCunn Robin C Lt     Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
McDiarmid John 'Jock' Pte     Black Watch RHR
McDonald Edward Sgt     QOCH
McDonald Ian H Capt     QOCH
McDonald   L/Cpl      
McGill G Pte      
McGinn (or McGuinn) Cornelius  'Maggie' A/Sgt   MM Army Air Corps
McGonigal Eoin Christopher Lt     RUR [att'd Cameronians]
McGovern Peter Pte 900715   RA/AAC/2SAS executed
McGrory   Sgt      
McGuire John Cpl     QOCH
McKay John (DAISY) (DEAD Loss) Cpl 2822158   Seaforth Highlanders
McKay Robert Cpl 2928972   QOCH
Mckenzie A Jim Pte      
McKenzie Bill        
McKeown John Pte 2760779   Black Watch RHR
McLeod Alexander Pte 2822451   Seaforths/6Ind Coy/ME Cdo/ SBS/SRS/1SAS executed
McNinch William Matthew Cpl/LSgt     RAC/11Cdo/ME Cdo/1SAS/kia SRS
McSwiggan Daniel L/Cpl      
Mellows Charles H        
Menti Crali       The Wiltshire Regiment
Mgunn         Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Millar   Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Miller   Sgt      
Mitchell Len Cpl      
Mitchell Willie        
Mitchell A        
Monaghan G S Cpl     QOCH
More George R M H Capt   MC Royal Engineers
Moretto Tommy        
Morris William Pte     Black Watch
Morrison J D Pte      
Mullen James Cassidy Pte 3325329   Highland Light Infantry
Munro George Sgt 3323555   HLI/ME Cdo/1SAS/kia SBS
Munro Norman        
Murdoch Lindsay Thomas  'Tommy' Capt     10th Hussars
Murphy James Pte 2981807   A&SH
Murray Bob       Highland Light Infantry
Napier B C A 'Charles' Major     Gordon Highlanders
Ness Robert Tpr      
Newby Eric        
Nicol Charles 'Red or Charlie' Sgt     Gordon Highlanders
Nixon Malvern Pte     R Scots (The Royal Regt)
O'Hagen Terry L/Bdr     Royal Artillery
O'Sullivan William Martin Sgt     Lincolnshire
Oliphant Archibald Johnston L/Bdr     Royal Artillery
Orton John L/Cpl     Seaforth Highlanders

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No11 Commando Nominal P-Z

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 11 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. There is no other comprehensive nominal roll of Army Commandos in existence. 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)

Padbury John Cpl 320986   2nd Dragoons RScots Greys RAC
Parnacott Geoffrey Alfred Henry Lt     York And Lancs
Patrick George Pte     Sherwood Foresters
Paxton C H Pte     QOCH
Payne Bill        
Pedder Richard Robert 'Dick' Lt Col 31724   Highland Light Infantry
Peet I F        
Penner Joe Cpl      
Percival   Gnr     Royal Artillery
Phiminster J Pte     QOCH
Plunkett John Fus     R Inniskilling Fus
Pomford Douglas Cpl   MM* South Lancs
Pryde W L/Cpl     QOCH
Pryor   Lt      
Purse Jack L/Cpl 2987094   A&SH
Purvis Johnny Tpr      
Quarrie R G M Capt     West Yorks
Radcliff H        
Ramsay Bruce Major     QOCH
Ravenscroft Trevor Lt      
Read Freddy       Wiltshire Regt
Reid Archie Sgt     Royal Corps Signals
Reynolds Jack Csm     Highland Light Infantry
Richards Charles Geoffrey Lt 126476   Wiltshire Regt
Robb Leslie Pte     Wiltshire Regt
Robertson Andrew Gnr     Royal Artillery
Robinson Don Sgt      
Robinson L T        
Robinson T I Lt     Gordon Highlanders
Robson Fred        
Roft P W Pte      
Rooney Lawrence Pte 4334896   West Yorks
Rutherford Davie       QOCH
Ryan Paddy        
Sadler Fred Gnr      
Sceales James Stewart M. Capt 108213   A&SH
Scott Ernie        
Scott Jim        
Scott S Pte      
Scott Tom Cpl     QOCH
Selby Neil Lt      
Service   Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Severn Clive L/Cpl 5887258 MiD Northants Regt
Shanks   L/Cpl      
Shields R F L/Sgt     Coldstream Guards
Short Len Cpl     Highland Light Infantry
Sillars   Capt      
Simpson Andy Pte     Sherwood Forresters
Sinclair Archibald Roy Sgt 3326187   HLI/ME Cdo/SBS/L Det/2SAS kia
Smith Alec        
Smith John Lawson       Seaforth Highlanders
Smith John Rolland Sgt 2986958   A&SH
Smith Peter Gnr     Royal Artillery
Smith         Royal Scots Greys
Southall Jimmy Cpl 5252164   Royal Artillery
Spring Albert Edward Cpl      
Sproat J L/Cpj     QOCH
Sproule Noble Goulding 'Nobby' L/Cpl   MiD Manchesters [att'd Cameronians]
Stables Leslie L/Cpl     Royal Scots
Starling R F        
Startin R F        
Stevenson Thomas I Cpl     A&SH
Stockdale George        
Stocks Fred        
Storie James 'Jimmy' L/Cpl     Seaforth Highlanders
Stuart Jock        
Styles Alexander Mundie Sig 2584344   Royal Corps Signals
Summers Andy        
Sutherland   Lt     Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Swanson Jim        
Syme   Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Tait Duncan Robert 'Bob') L/Cpl   DCM, MM* Gordon Highlanders (LS)
Tanner E E Gnr 1684983   Royal Artillery
Taylor   Piper      
Tennyson   Sgt      
Terry Jack Sgt   DCM Royal Artillery
Tevendale Lewis Rsm   DCM Gordon Highlanders
Thomas   Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Thompson Royce Pte     A&SH
Thomson Bob        
Tideswell Norman        
Tie John James William Cpl     A&SH
Titterton Cyril Arthur L/Cpl 3604006   Borders Regt
Turner   Aqms      
Turner   Tpr      
Turton Leslie Tpr      
Valentine R Pte     Gordon Highlanders
Varly Harold        
Varney Frank E Pte     Sherwood Forresters
Waiter Roy       Wiltshire Regiment
Wallace Hugh Cpl     Royal Scots Fusiliers
Walters Reg        
Warburton Kenneth Pte     Seaforth Highlanders
White Frederick Henry Chalky L/Sgt   DCM, MM Loyals
Whiteford Ron        
Whitfield Frank C       Royal Scots Greys
Wilkinson Norman Tpr     Royal Scots Greys
Williams Frank       Royal Scots Greys
Williamson   Sgt      
Willis B Sgt     QOCH
Wills H B        
Wilson David Tpr      
Wilson   L/Cpl      
Wood Alec Cpl     QOCH
Wood Alfred Joseph Sgt     R Scots The R Regt attd QOCH
Wood R S       R Scots The R Regt att'd QOCH
Woodnutt Desmond Spr 1894107   Royal Engineers
Woods Noel        
Worrall Frank Gordon Sgt   MM Royal Artillery
Yardley   Dvr      
Younger Matt        

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11 Commando Operations


These are some  of the operations that No 11 Commando took part in, either on their own, or as part of a Combined Operations assault.  No 11 Commando became part of Layforce. 

Operation Exporter

Operation Flipper

PEDDER, Richard Robert Newsham (Lt Col)

Lieutenant Colonel
Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment)
Service number: 
Died : 
Monday, June 9, 1941
Killed in action or died of wounds
Roll of Honour: 

Lt Col. Pedder was commissioned as an officer on the 27th August 1924 and served with the Highland Light Infantry until the outbreak of WW2. 

Commanding Officer, No. 11 (Scottish) Commando, which later became "C" Battalion of Layforce, he was killed in action during the raid at Litani River, Syria.

Winston Churchill later wrote: " Their advance (referring to the Australians) was aided by a daring raid by No.11 Commando, which was landed from the sea behind the enemy lines. In this devoted stroke the Commando lost its leader Colonel Pedder, and all its other officers were either killed or wounded, together with nearly 120 other ranks, or a quarter of its total strength."

Photo of grave in Gallery: 

KEYES, Lt Col. Geoffrey Charles Tasker, VC

Lieutenant Colonel
Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons), Royal Armoured Corps
Service number: 
Died : 
Tuesday, November 18, 1941
Killed in action or died of wounds
Roll of Honour: 
Lt Col Keyes MC was  killed during the raid on Rommel's HQ.  He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
Formerly Captain of 2 troop, No 11 Commando, he was promoted Officer Commanding No 11 Commando after the death of Lt Col Pedder during the Litani River raid.  It was during this raid that the then Captain Keyes was awarded the Military Cross. 

Victoria Cross.

War Office, 19th June, 1942.

Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes commanded a detachment of a force which landed some 250 miles behind the enemy lines to attack Headquarters, Base Installations and Communications. From the outset Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes deliberately selected for himself the command of the detachment detailed to attack what was undoubtedly the most hazardous of these objectives—the residence and Headquarters of the General Officer Commanding the German forces in North Africa. This attack, even if initially successful, meant almost certain death for those who took part in it.

He led his detachment without guides, in dangerous and precipitous country and in pitch darkness, and maintained by his stolid determination and powers of leadership the morale of the detachment. He then found himself forced to modify his original plans in the light of fresh information elicited from neighbouring Arabs, and was left with only one officer and an N.C.O. with whom to break into General Rommel's residence and deal with the guards and Headquarters Staff.

At zero hour on the night of 17th-18th November, 1941, having despatched the covering party to block the approaches to the house, he himself with the two others crawled forward past the guards, through the surrounding fence and so up to the house itself. Without hesitation, he boldly led his party up to the front door, beat on the door and demanded entrance.

Unfortunately, when the door was opened, it was found impossible to overcome the sentry silently, and it was necessary to shoot him. The noise of the shot naturally aroused the inmates of the house and Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes, appreciating that speed was now of the utmost importance, posted the N.C.O. at the foot of the stairs to prevent interference from the floor above. Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes, who instinctively took the lead, emptied his revolver with great success into the first room and was followed by the other officer who threw a grenade. Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes with great daring then entered the second room on the ground floor but was shot almost immediately on flinging open the door and fell back into the passage mortally wounded. On being carried outside by his companions he died within a few minutes.

By his fearless disregard of the great dangers which he ran and of which he was fully aware, and by his magnificent leadership and outstanding gallantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes set an example of supreme self sacrifice and devotion to duty.

Award Sources
Victoria Cross: LG Publication date: 16 June 1942; Supplement: 35600; Page: 2699
Military Cross: LG Publication date: 17 October 1941; Supplement: 35316; Page: 6086
Follow this link to learn more about all the Commandos awarded the Victoria Cross