43RM Commando

Formed as No. 43 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines, on the 1st August 1943 and disbanded September 1945.

In World War 2, the Commando were involved in operations in Italy and on the Dalmatian Islands, including Brac, Hvar, and other enemy held islands. In April 1945 they fought in Operation Roast at Lake Comacchio and the Reno river.

Reformed on the 5th September 1961 until disbanded again mid-November 1968.

In 2012 a new 43 Commando RM was formed.  Officially 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, it is the largest in the Corps and is responsible for protecting the nation’s nuclear deterrent as well as taking the fight to modern-day pirates in specialist boarding teams.
 
[Historical note former units - Comacchio Company Royal Marines (1980–1983), Comacchio Group Royal Marines (1983–2001) and Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (2001-2012)
 

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43RM Cdo. Roll of Honour

Below is an A-Z view of the Roll of Honour with information about each of the Fallen. Displaying 1 - 45 of 45

BLAKE, John Philip

Capt Blake MC 43RM Commando
Captain John Blake MC  died [1] during operations against the enemy held island of Brac. He had earlier been awarded the MC [2] for leadership, gallantry and devotion to duty while serving with Royal Marine Commandos in the capture of Mt. Ornito, Italy on the 3 Feb. 1944 [3].
 

HANCOCK, Frank Holgate

Lieutenant Frank Hancock died during an air attack on Vis, their base of operations against enemy held Dalmatian Islands.
 
The 43RM Cdo. War Diary entry for 28th March 1944 states " Enemy aircraft attacked Vis town , and bombs also fell in Podselje . A direct hit was scored on the Cdo Orderly room,resulting in the death of Ty. Lt. F.H. Hancock and two marines."
 
Sources
CWGC
National Archives War Diary DEFE 2/49.
 
Notes

JEAL, Percy William

Marine Percy Jeal died during an air attack on Vis, their base of operations against enemy held Dalmatian Islands.
 
The 43RM Cdo. War Diary entry for 28th March 1944 states " Enemy aircraft attacked Vis town , and bombs also fell in Podselje . A direct hit was scored on the Cdo Orderly room,resulting in the death of Ty Lt. F.H. Hancock and two marines."
 
Sources
CWGC.
National Archives War Diary DEFE 2/49.
 
Notes

LASKEY, Cyril

Cyril Laskey 43 Commando
Corporal Cyril Laskey, 'A' Troop, died during operations at Lake Comacchio and Argenta, Italy.
 
Sources
CWGC.
'A' Troop image in Gallery.
Image: Christine Partington.
 

MCCAUGHEY, Henry

Corporal Henry McCaughey died during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy. He received a Mention in Despatches for "outstanding service while operating with the Allied Armies in Italy."
 
Sources
CWGC.
London Gazettes Supp. 36903, page 518.
 

NEVIN, James Davidson

Marine James Nevin died in service of illness.
 
James Davidson Nevin was born and brought up in Newburn in Northumberland and worked as a lorry driver for Walkers in Leamington on Tyne not long before the start of the war. On return to the UK from active service with 43RM Commando in Yugoslavia and Italy, Marine Nevin was diagnosed with cancer from which he died in November 1945. He received a full military funeral.
 
Sources
CWGC
His nephew Martin Routledge.
 

SAUNDERS, Samuel John Albert

Marine Samuel Saunders died during an air attack on Vis, their base of operations against enemy held Dalmatian Islands.
 
The 43RM Cdo. War Diary entry for 28th March 1944 states " Enemy aircraft attacked Vis town , and bombs also fell in Podselje . A direct hit was scored on the Cdo Orderly room resulting in the death of Ty Lt. F.H. Hancock and two marines."
 
Sources
CWGC.
National Archives War Diary DEFE 2/49.
 
Notes

SCHOOLEY, Ralph Gerald

Captain Ralph Schooley, 'B' troop, died during operations on the enemy held island of Brac, Yugoslavia. He received a Mention in Despatches for "outstanding service whilst operating with the Allied Armies in Italy."
 
Sources
CWGC.
London Gazettes Supp. 36903, page 518.
​Commando Subaltern at War, author Lt. W.G. Jenkins DSO.
 

SMITH, Roy Montague

Cpl. Roy M. Smith 43RM Commando
Corporal Roy Smith, 'A' troop, died in the blast from two enemy 88mm shells whilst leading his section during operations at Lake Comacchio and Argenta, Italy.
 
Roy Smith left school at about 14 and served an apprenticeship as a market gardener before joining the Royal Marines and the Commandos in 1943. Read some of his letters provided by his nephew in our gallery entry here Cpl. Roy Montague Smith.
 

TAYLOR, George

George Taylor 43 Commando
Marine George Taylor died during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy.
 
In a letter home L/Cpl. Roy Montague Smith*, 43RM Commando, wrote the following,
"George Taylor, one of the three of us, is finished, heard tonight that he was to have had the MM but he was killed so guess he will only be in despatches at least thats what it looks like to me. George did some very good work Tony, a fine chap, I'd had him with me since Ramsgate".
 

TUGWELL, Arthur

Corporal Arthur Tugwell died during operations in Italy. 
 
At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy. He received a Mention in Despatches for "outstanding service whilst operating with the Allied Armies in Italy."
 
Sources
CWGC.
London Gazettes Supp. 36903, page 518.
 

HUNTER, Cpl. Thomas Peck, VC

Rank: 
Corporal
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Marines
Service: 
Royal Navy
Service number: 
CH/X 110296
Honours & Awards: 
Died : 
Tuesday, April 3, 1945
Killed in action or died of wounds
Age: 
21
Roll of Honour: 
Operations: 
Corporal Hunter VC
Grave of Corporal Hunter VC

Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter died during operations at Lake Comacchio, Italy. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Citation

Admiralty Whitehall 12th June 1945.

In Italy during the advance by the Commando to its final objective, Corporal Hunter of "C" Troop was in charge of a Bren group of the leading sub section of the Commando. Having advanced to within 400 yards of the canal, he observed the enemy were holding a group of houses South of the canal. Realising that his Troop behind him were in the open, as the country there was completely devoid of cover, and that the enemy would cause heavy casualties as soon as they opened fire, Corporal Hunter seized the Bren gun and charged alone across two hundred yards of open ground. Three Spandaus from the houses, and at least six from the North bank of the canal opened fire and at the same time the enemy mortars started to fire at the Troop.

Corporal Hunter attracted most of the fire, and so determined was his charge and his firing from the hip that the enemy in the houses became demoralised. Showing complete disregard for the intense enemy fire, he ran through the houses, changing magazines as he ran, and alone cleared the houses. Six Germans surrendered to him and the remainder fled across a footbridge onto the North bank of the canal. The Troop dashing up behind Corporal Hunter now became the target for all the Spandaus on the North of the canal. Again, offering himself as a target, he lay in full view of the enemy on a heap of rubble and fired at the concrete pillboxes on the other side. He again drew most of the fire, but by now the greater part of the Troop had made for the safety of the houses. During this period he shouted encouragement to the remainder, and called only for more Bren magazines with which he could engage the Spandaus. Firing with great accuracy up to the last, Corporal Hunter was finally hit in the head by a burst of Spandau fire and killed instantly.

There can be no doubt that Corporal Hunter offered himself as a target in order to save his Troop, and only the speed of his movement prevented him being hit earlier. The skill and accuracy with which he used his Bren gun is proved by the way he demoralised the enemy, and later did definitely silence many of the Spandaus firing on his Troop as they crossed open ground, so much so that under his covering fire elements of the Troop made their final objective before he was killed.

Throughout the operation his magnificent courage, leadership and cheerfulness had been an inspiration to his comrades."

Photo of grave in Gallery: 
Yes

43RM Cdo. Officers Oct.'44

Extract from the Navy Lists

October 1944 Volume 2 Page 1103/4 (pages 259/260 on N.L.S. website page list)
 
Source: National Library of Scotland website.
 
Commanding Officer —  Lieut.-Col. I. F. Macalpine, B.W.
 
2nd in Command —  Act. Tempy. Maj. N. G. M. Munro.
 
Major —  Act. Tempy. Maj. A. I. G. Harding.
 
Captains 
Act. Capt. B. I. S. Gourlay.
 
Act. Tempy. Capts.
R. A. Lee.
J. C. D. Hudspeth, M.C.
D. B. Clark.
D. S. Barnett.
M. R. Nunns.
 
Adjutants 
Act. Tempy. Capt.
Lieut. J. R. Odendaal, B.E.M.
Lieut. R. N. Parkinson-Cumine.

Tempy. Lieuts.
R. Headey.
D. R. P. P. Cox.
J. B. Bolton.
F. W. Veness.
T. A. S. Taylor.
H. D. Liddell.
J. P. Stevens.
J. F. Morris.
W. E. Abbott.
C. Leatherbarrow.
N. Demuth.
M. A. McConville.
D. F. Esson.
I. A. G. Webster.
W. G. Jenkins.
 
Quartermaster 
Act. Tempy. Capt.  W.M. Harris  (Qr.-Mr.) (this is William Mark Harris)
 
Signal Officer Tempy. Lieut.
 
Intelligence Officer —  Act. Tempy. Capt. G. Frost.
 
Medical Officer —  Capt. G. E. Crowther, R.A.M.C.
 
Chaplain 
 
Sergeant Major —  Act. Sergt.  Major F. E. Catchpole.
 
Notes
Highlighted names contain more information.