WW2 Commandos

No 9 Cdo 3tp

The first call for volunteers for ‘Service of a hazardous nature’ was in the early months of 1940 and for the new Independent Companies.  Many of these men went onto action in Norway almost immediately with little training.  On their return Winston Churchill wanted his own Corps of ‘shock troops’ to start afresh.  Lt Col Dudley Clarke, who was then Military Assistant to the Chiefs of the Imperial General Staff, is generally credited with the initial outline plan of their formation. His plan was approved and the name agreed on. Thus the ‘Commandos’ were formed.

A majority of volunteers for the Independent Companies went onto join the newly raised Army Commandos.  Further volunteers came from all sections of the Field Army. 

It should be noted that at this time these early Commandos were all Army Commandos rather than Royal Marines.  A total of 12 Army Commando units were initially raised.

It was not until February 1942 that the first Royal Marine Commando unit was raised. Known as The Royal Marine Commando, then re designated as 'A' Commando, before being finally re designated  40RM Commando.

40 and the later 41RM Commando would be the only two RM Commando Units raised initially from volunteers as with their Army Commando counterparts. From August 1943 onwards a further six RM Commandos were raised from disbanded Royal Marines Bn's. 

A résumé of the Wartime Army Commandos by Brig. Peter Young DSO MC

"The thirty-eight Battle Honours awarded to the Army commandos serve as a Prologue to this brief history of their five years’ Active Service. Look at the list and you will see that they were not the most peaceable operations of the Second World War. But these were only the most famous of countless fights in which these units played their part.

A summary of the decorations awarded to officers and men of the Army Commandos gives some indication of their prowess. Eight won the Victoria Cross; thirty-seven the Distinguished Service Order, with, in addition, nine Bars to that award; one hundred and sixty-two Military Crosses, with thirteen Bars; thirty-two Distinguished Conduct Medals; and two-hundred and eighteen Military Medals. But only the most fortunate, the most outstanding, won these distinctions, chosen from a host whose devotion and bravery was not less marked for being unrewarded.

This unique record of the Army Commandos owed more than anything to the fact that every man was a volunteer. He was, moreover, a picked volunteer, selected by officers who trained him and led him in battle. Those who failed for one reason or another to measure up to the most exacting standards of training, discipline and conduct under fire, could be Returned to Unit without more ado. Not a few were. "

Read the full account here The Wartime Army Commandos by Brig Peter Young DSO MC

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'Wartime Army Commandos' by Brig. Peter Young DSO, MC

A résumé of the wartime Commandos by Brig. Peter Young DSO MC

The thirty-eight Battle Honours awarded to the Army commandos serve as a Prologue to this brief history of their five years’ Active Service. Look at the list and you will see that they were not the most peaceable operations of the Second World War. But these were only the most famous of countless fights in which these units played their part.

A summary of the decorations awarded to officers and men of the Army Commandos gives some indication of their prowess. Eight won the Victoria Cross; thirty-seven the Distinguished Service Order, with, in addition, nine Bars to that award; one hundred and sixty-two Military Crosses, with thirteen Bars; thirty-two Distinguished Conduct Medals; and two-hundred and eighteen Military Medals. But only the most fortunate, the most outstanding, won these distinctions, chosen from a host whose devotion and bravery was not less marked for being unrewarded.

This unique record of the Army Commandos owed more than anything to the fact that every man was a volunteer. He was, moreover, a picked volunteer, selected by officers who trained him and led him in battle. Those who failed for one reason or another to measure up to the most exacting standards of training, discipline and conduct under fire, could be Returned to Unit without more ado. Not a few were. This process of survival of the fittest became twofold. From 1942 onwards every new recruit had to pass through the Commando Depot at Achnacarry before he was posted to his unit. Nobody who survived it would question the practical severity of this ordeal in the days when Lieut-Colonel Charles Vaughan, O.B.E., at once exacting and benevolent, ruled in Lochiel’s place.

This was the background: the men who organised the Commandos were content with nothing short of perfection. From the first day they set about learning the tactics and techniques of war, and devising new ones; no detail was too insignificant. And yet, though no plan was too bold, mere foolhardiness was generally condemned. This attitude, evoking a certain spirit of emulation in the field army, helped in some measure to disperse the clouds of convention which afflicted our military thinking in 1939.

The Army Commandos were formed in June 1940, at a time when the British Empire no longer had a single ally in the field, and when the British Army had been compelled to quit the continent of Europe as a result of the disastrous campaigns in Norway and the Low Countries. While the germ of the idea had originated in the brain of Lieut-Colonel Dudley Clarke R.A., as early as 4th June, 1940, it was Winston Churchill himself who, not content with a purely passive defensive, actually ordered their formation. In a minute of 18th June, 1940, he wrote: “What are the ideas of C.-in-C., H.F., about Storm Troops? We have always set our faces against this idea, but the Germans certainly gained in the last war by adopting it, and this time it has been a leading cause of their victory. Their ought to be at least twenty thousand Storm Troops or ‘Leopards’ drawn from existing units, ready to spring at the throat of any small landings or descents. These officers and men should be armed with the latest equipment, tommy guns, grenades etc., and should be given great facilities in motor-cycles and armoured cars.” The first Commando raid took place only five days later.

Towards the end of June, 1940, the first of twelve Commandos came into being. Nos. 1 and 2 were formed a little later the same year from the Independent Companies raised from the Territorial units at a time of the Norwegian campaign. No 10 was raised among our allies, French, Polish, Norwegian, Belgian, Dutch, Yugoslav and - curiously enough – German; the remainder were raised from the field army. Comparatively few had seen active service in Norway or with the B.E.F., though here and there were more experienced soldiers: in H Troop of 3 Commando, for example, nearly every man was a reservist who had done his seven years with the Colours, and after being recalled in 1939 had fought with the 4th Division in the Dunkirk campaign.

At first each Commando consisted of ten troops, each of fifty men, but this somewhat unwieldy organisation was altered early in 1941 to six troops of sixty-five, a great improvement.

Hilary St. George Saunders has told the story of the Commandos in his book The Green Beret, and it is not possible here to describe their many raids and campaigns in any great detail. The exploits of individuals, and the countless minor raids performed, striking though they were, must for the most part be sought elsewhere.

The battle honour Norway, 1941, belongs to Nos. 3 and 4 Commandos for the raid on the Lofoten Islands (4th March) – which, though bloodless, struck a telling blow at the German war economy – and in some measure to Nos. 6 and 12, who were also engaged in raids on Norway. The most important of the Norwegian operations was the well planned attack on Vaagso (27th December, 1941), a classic example of a raid. The military force, under Lieut. Colonel J.F. Durnford-Slater, R.A., consisted of his own Commando, No. 3, and a strong detachment from No. 2. The German garrison was destroyed and 102 prisoners taken – the first time in the war that any quantity of German soldiers had been captured; a cast defence battery was blown up; about 18,000 tons of shipping and countless fish oil factories destroyed – at a cost of twenty killed and fifty-seven wounded.

In February, 1941, Lieut. Colonel R.E., Laycock had sailed for the Middle East with Nos. 7, 8 and 11 Commandos – Layforce. Their first raid, on Bardia (19th April) had disappointing results. Then in May Nos. 7 and 8 and a composite Commando were sent to reinforce the garrison in Crete and to cover its withdrawal in the face of German airborne troops. By a prolonged and desperate rearguard action they gained time for the main evacuation at Sphakia, though not without heavy loss.

No. 11, a Scottish Commando, greatly distinguished itself at the passage of the Litani River, Syria. An Australian force, advancing from Palestine, was held up by strong French Colonial detachments, but the Commando, landing from the sea, turned the position, capturing many guns.

A detachment of No. 8 Commando went all through the first siege of Tobruk, sharing the dangers and hardships of the garrison, and raiding the Italian lines with great success.

The celebrated raid on Rommel’s Headquarters (17th November, 1941) was carried out by a party from No. 11 Commando. In this operation Lieut. Colonel Geoffrey Keyes won the Victoria Cross.

By this time Nos. 7, 8 and 11 Commando had suffered so many casualties that Layforce was disbanded, its commander returning to England to command the Special Service Brigade.

During February, 1942, the first of two Volunteer Royal Marine Commando Units came into being and was known as No. 40 Commando, No. 41 Commando was formed in October the same year.

The raid on St. Nazaire (28th March, 1942), the greatest and most desperate of all, was the work of No. 2 Commando and demolition parties from 1, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 12 Commandos. The great dry dock, the Forme Ecluse, the only one on the Atlantic seaboard capable of holding the Tirpitz, was put out of action for the rest of the war, and the German battleship was compelled to remain in Norwegian waters until the R.A.F. capsized her near Tromso in September, 1944. In this action Lieut. Colonel A.C. Newman (2 Commando) and Sergeant Thomas Durrant (1 Commando) won the Victoria Cross.

No. 5 Commando had its baptism of fire in the invasion of Madagascar (May, 1942), and was at the capture of Diego Suarez and the seizure of Tamatave.

Two Army Commandos took part in the great raid on Dieppe (19th Aug, 1942), their targets being the coastal defence batteries. The landing craft of No. 3 Commando ran into a German convoy, and was scattered during the night, but two small parties landed. One was overwhelmed, but the other engaged the Berneval battery for some hours. At Varengeville No. 4 Commando, under Lord Lovat, M.C., carried out a classic operation of war, completely annihilating the battery and its garrison after a well-planned and dashing assault. In this action Captain P.A. Porteous, R.A., won the Victoria Cross.

Nos. 1 and 6 Commandos, after taking part in Operation “Torch”, the landings in North Africa (November, 1942) served throughout the Tunisia campaign as part of the field army “from Fort Duperre in Algiers to the White House at Douar, the Green Hill near Sedjenane, and the green plain of Goubellat…” learning, “to apply the lore of Achnacarry in a bitter land of rain and rocks…” and proving that Commandos, though raised for seaborne landings, could turn their hands to anything. Their Corps Commander, addressing them at the end, said: “You have done jobs normally done by parachutists, infantry and Commandos. You have carried out raids, long-range patrols, protracted periods of defence – a role for which you were not designed – and have done further landings.” The men of 1 and 6 Commandos returned to England, veterans.

No. 3 Commando next saw service in the Sicily landings, destroying an Italian coastal defence battery covering the beach at Cassibile on the night of 10th July, 1943, and landing again only four days later to capture the Ponte de Malati, near Lentini. By preventing the demolition of this vital bridge the Commando enabled the 50th Division to advance and relieve the paratroopers who had landed simultaneously at Primosole. After this operation General Dempsey, no mean judge, said, “The men of No. 3 are the finest body of soldiers I have seen anywhere,” while General Montgomery gave orders that the Ponte dei Malati should be renamed “No. 3 Commando Bridge”. The first landing in Italy, a series of reconnaissance raids around Bova Marina, were carried out in August, and since some sixty men were there over a week before the invasion, No. 3 could boast that it was the first British unit to get a foothold on the Continent after Dunkirk!

The battle honour Salerno (September, 1943), was won by No. 2 Commando, under Lieut.-Colonel Jack Churchill, though at heavy cost. On one occasion, in a triumphant night attack, the unit took 136 German prisoners, more at that date than the whole Division to which they were attached had captured. Salerno was a desperate business-at one time the Royal Navy was put at fifteen minutes’ notice to re-embark the troops. In the chaos and confusion of those grievous days No. 2 Commando was a tower of strength.

On 3rd October a British force, including No. 3 Commando, now only about 150 strong, landed and 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.

With the invasion of Normandy looming ahead, the Commandos were increased, until, with the addition of RM Commandos, they consisted of four Brigades, each of four Commandos:

Nos. 1 and 4 Bdes operated in North West Europe; 
No. 2 Bde in Italy and Yugoslavia; and 
No. 3 Bde in Burma

The 1st Commando Brigade (Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 45 RM., and the French troops of No. 10) came under the command of No. 6 Airborne Division throughout the Normandy campaign. Landing on the left of the British sector on D-Day, No. 4 Commando captured Ouistreham with great dash, while the rest of the Brigade succeeded in relieving the airborne troops who had captured the vital Benouville Bridge by a coup de main during the previous night. During the week that followed, the Brigade, under Lord Lovat, successfully defended the Amfreville Heights, from which the Germans hoped, in vain, to enfilade the British bridgehead. During the rest of the campaign the Brigade, commanded after Lord Lovat was wounded (12th June) by Brigadier D. Mills-Roberts, D.S.O., M.C., added to its laurels, particularly by the difficult night march which took the heights of Angoville (19th August), when three Commandos advanced in single file up a railway line, passed unseen through the German front line, and, as dawn broke, over-ran their second. The same technique, impossible to any but the most seasoned troops, was again employed in the advance to the Seine.

After a brief spell in England, the Brigade went out to Holland and found itself holding a stretch of the River Maas. During this period Lance-Corporal H.E. Harden, R.A.M.C., attached to 45 R.M. Commando won the Victoria Cross. No. 3 Commando had some sharp fighting at Linne, but the Brigade’s next large-scale operation was the passage of the Rhine at Wesel. Intensive training and detailed planning were the key to this remarkable success, which cost the brigade less than a hundred casualties. The next obstacle tackled by the 1st Commando Brigade was the River Weser, where it was employed to reinforce a small bridgehead previously established. The passage of the Aller led to heavy fighting in woods beyond. No. 3 Commando and Brigade Headquarters were counter-attacked by the 2nd Marine Fusilier Battalion, who fought bravely, but were eventually routed when No. 6 Commando charged. The hunting horns sounded and, led by Lieut.-Colonel A.D. Lewis, they “went forward through the trees and at a fast double with bayonets fixed”. Few will argue with the historian of the Commandos who wrote: “The 1st Commando Brigade had shown themselves to be among the most expert soldiers the war had produced”.

The Second Commando Brigade, which included the Polish and Belgian troops of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, fought from 1943 to 1945 in Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece. It was commanded first by Brigadier T.B.L. Churchill, M.C., and later by Brigadier R.J.F. Tod, D.S.O.

No 9 Commando first saw action when it raided German positions on the lower reaches of the Garigliano in December, 1943. There followed the Anzio landing (26th January, 1944) in which the Commandos met with little opposition. But when a few days later the Brigade was put in again to take Monte Ornito it was another story. Here they lost eleven officers, and one hundred and seventy-two other ranks, but the capture of the key to the defences of the River Garigliano was a notable achievement, and the Corps Commander, General McCreery, was loud in his praise of the “courage, enterprise and endurance” of the Commandos. In March the Brigade went ashore once again at Anzio, fighting this time in the infantry role, but displaying the usual aggression.

Meanwhile, a force, including No. 2 Commando, was operating on the Dalmation Coast with its Headquarters on the island of Vis (December, 1943-October, 1944). No. 2 was commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Jack Churchill and his policy was, needless to say, to attack as often as possible.

One of the most successful of Churchill’s raids destroyed the German garrison of the island of Solta (17th March, 1944), an operation which has been described as “a model of it’s kind”. Later the brigade occupied the Greek island of Kithera (September) and captured Corfu (October) before returning to Italy in February, 1945. On the night of 1st April the Commandos struggled across Lake Comacchio. Weeks of drought had lowered the water in the lagoon and for hours the men heaved and dragged their landing craft through the stinking, glutinous mud. Despite the inevitable confusion, the operation was a marked success. Corporal T.P Hunter, 43 R.M. Commando, won the Victoria Cross. The German losses included nine hundred and forty-six prisoners. This was followed by the capture of four islands in the middle of the lake, when Major Lassen, M.C., a Danish Commando, at the cost of his own life, won the Victoria Cross-the first foreigner ever to receive this decoration.

In the battle for the Agenta Gap the Commandos surprised the bridge at Menate. This battle was the beginning of the end for the Germans in Italy.

The 3rd Commando Brigade (1, 5, 42 and 44 (R.M) Commandos) was unfortunate in that it saw little action until the last Arakan campaign (January, 1945). But when its turn came it responded nobly, in fighting of a ferocity to appal the most hardened veteran. Under Brigadier C.R. Hardy, D.S.O. (who later rose to be a Commandant-General of the Royal Marines) the brigade occupied Akyab; followed up with the three-day battle for Myebon, where it destroyed a Japanese cavalry regiment, and then, pushing far up the Daingbong Chaung in its landing craft, settled astride the enemy communications at Kangaw. The Japanese counter-attacked with relentless determination (1st February), attacking en masse and enduring casualties in a way utterly strange to soldiers accustomed to more modern methods of European warfare. The battle raged all day, and at the end the vital Hill 170 remained in British hands. Here Lieutenant George A Knowland (No. 1 Commando-formerly a Sergeant in No. 3) won the Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallantry. The Commander of 15th India Corps published a Special Order of the Day praising the brigade’s reputation “for indifference to personal danger, for ruthless pursuit of success, and for resourceful determination in adversity”. “The Battle of Kangaw”, he wrote, “has been the decisive battle of the whole Arakan campaign and that it was won was due very largely to your magnificent courage on Hill 170.”

The 4th Commando Brigade, originally composed of entirely Royal Marine units, under Brigadier B.W. Leicester, D.S.O., included during the last winter of the war No. 4 Commando. This Brigade’s great exploit was the capture of Walcheren, and in this operation No. 4, under Lieut.-Colonel R.W.P. Dawson, captured the greater port of Flushing, showing once more all the dash and skill which won them the renown at Varengeville and Ouistreham.

It is often supposed that Commando units disdained such routine matters as administration. Nothing could be further from the truth. Commando Brigades were notably fortunate in their administrative staff, who, whether in the planning of raids or the sustaining of long campaigns, displayed remarkable imagination and perseverance. Moreover, in a Commando everyone came under starter’s orders. Quartermasters, Clerks or Storemen, were always ready to make their place in the firing line when occasions offered-and it frequently did!

This is not a place to discuss the overall contribution of the Commandos to the allied war effort. Suffice it to say that the few raids on Norway in 1941 were enough to induce Hitler and his Staff to increase the garrison of that country, so that at the surrender it numbered no less than 300,000 men. Had these forces been deployed in Normandy or in Russia in 1944, the war might have gone very differently, and at least could have dragged on for several months longer.

It is recorded that a certain Yugoslav, the widow Tomasic, once asked a Commando soldier why it was necessary for the Germans to come all the way from Berlin, and the English all the way from London to blow down her garden wall. Looking back after the lapse of twenty-one years one sees that this comment was not altogether unjustified. Yet these years of struggle and self-sacrifice were not in vain, nor is the Commando idea, the Commando spirit, the Commando heritage one which any nation can afford to either reject or to despise.

“They performed whatsoever their King commanded.”

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Commando Battle Honours

Battle Honours report from Commando Association newsletter 26 March 1958


"It is with great pride and pleasure that we are now able to report a successful conclusion to our enquiries, commenced over two years ago, about the possibility of the Association being granted Battle Honours. As the result of preliminary correspondence with the War Office, we received news in March, 1957, to say that approval had been given by Her Majesty the Queen for the award of Battle Honours to commemorate the services of the Commandos in the Second World War, and that, as a special case, claims could be submitted on behalf of the Commando Association.

The work was mainly organised, and claims compiled, by the General Secretary, and was co-ordinated under and during the term as President of Colonel A. C. Newman, V.C., O.B.E., T.D., D.L. After consultation with Brigade Commanders and Commanding Officers, our application was duly completed, and in October last an official notification appeared in the Press to the effect that thirty-eight Battle Honours had been awarded to the Association. The awards have since been confirmed, and appeared in List No. 11 of Battle Honours notified in Army Order 113 of 1957.

In the words of our President, Lt. Colonel J, M. T. F. Churchill, D.S.O., M.C., in his letter to all C.O s and O.C.A. Branches in October last, we hope that all members will feel satisfied with the Battle Honours we have been awarded, and that the relations of those killed in action will find in their proud and resounding names some consolation for their own tragic loss."

Here then are our Battle Honours for the war of 1939-45.

Vaagso! Norway 1941, Litani River, Syria 1941, North Africa 1941/3, North West Europe 1942, Djebel Choucha, Sedjenane 1, Dieppe, St Nazaire, Steamroller Farm Tunisia, Landing in Sicily, Pusuit to Messina, Sicily 1943, Landing at Porto San Venere, Termoli, Salerno, Monte Ornito, Anzio, Valli di Comacchio, Argenta Gap, Italy 1943/5, Greece 1944/5, Crete, Madagascar, Adriatic, Middle East 1941, 1942, & 1944, Normandy landings, North West Europe 1944/5, Dives Crossing, Flushing, Westkapelle, Rhine, Leese, Aller, Alethangyaw, Myebon, Kangaw, Burma 1943-5.

View our Gallery images here of the Laying up of the Commando Association Battle Honours Flag at Westminster Abbey on 1st May 1971

 

 

1 Commando

History of the Unit

1 Commando

Formed 13th June 1940 with personnel from No's 6 & 8 Independent Companies as No 11 Independent Company. Redesignated No1 Commando 14th June 1940 and disbanded on 27th July 1940 and became part of No1 Special Service Battalion. It was reformed as No1 Commando 5th March 1941 in Dartmouth.

Early Raids included 27/28 August 1941 on the French coast, and  2-7 April 1942 Bayonne ….Operation Myrmidon (Aborted).  Sgt Tom Durrant was one of those selected from No 1 Commando to participate with No 2 Commando in the raid on the dry dock at St Nazaire.  He was killed in action and later awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry.

 No1 Commando was then withdrawn from raiding to prepare for the North African operations and landings ‘Operation Torch’. November 1942, during Operation torch, No 1 Commando were the first unit in history to wear the green beret in battle.

Several operations were undertaken by the Commando in North Africa before fighting as part of the line and then returning to the UK for refitting and re-equipping.

In Nov 1943 the unit sailed for the Far East and jungle training in India. 

From Sept 1944, as part of the inaugural 3 Commando Brigade, No1 Commando saw six months of active service in Burma and fought in The Arakan at Akyab and Myebon culminating in the battle of Hill 170 at Kangaw. It was one of the most intense battles of the whole Burma campaign. It was during this campaign that the Victoria Cross was awarded to Lt G.Knowland for this gallantry.

Some additional detail about their movements can be found in this link to the history of 42 RM Commando with whom they sailed to the Far East.

In March 1945 the unit was withdrawn to India for replacements and further training.  No1 Commando then embarked for further active service with the ‘Zipper landings in Malaya. Due to cessation of hostilities the unit was redirected to Hong Kong where it carried out policing operations before being merged with No 5 Commando to form 1/5 Commando. 

The Commando was finally disbanded in February 1947


View our Gallery here Gallery images of No 1 Commando

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1 Cdo. Roll of Honour

Commemorated in perpetuity by the Commando Veterans Association

 
click on any name for more information
 
The Fallen from 1 Commando
Capt. J.M. BRADFORD
Capt. Sir. J.H. CROFT
Capt. D.M. DAVIDSON
Capt. H.R. MORGAN
Lieut. W.E. HALSE-HEARNE
Lieut. G.A. KNOWLAND
Lieut. A.A. PALMER
2/Lieut. J.F. THURSBY
WO2 CSM. H.J. COLEMAN
Sgt. T.F. DURRANT
Sgt. R.G. LANDER
Sgt. M.F. MORRIS
LSgt. W.R. ALDRIDGE
LSgt. A. BAKER
LSgt. C. CAMBLIN
LSgt. R.J. EVANS
LSgt. J.J. HORGAN
LSgt. F. LEWIS
LSgt. R.W. SEYS
Cpl. T.J. BENNION
Cpl. C.G. GOODWIN
Cpl. H. JONES
Cpl. F. LLEWELLYN
Cpl. R. WALLIS
LCpl. H.V. BAKER
LCpl. L.H.P. DRISCOLL
LCpl. J. DUMIGAN
LCpl. C.D. EVANS
LCpl. I. JONES
LCpl. T.H. KLONOWSKI
LCpl. R.J. LINES
LCpl. E.J. LLOYD
LCpl. S.J. LOAKES
LCpl. G.M. ROGERS
LCpl. H.G. RUSHTON
LCpl. S.C. WESTCOTT
LCpl. J.A. YOUNG
Pte. J.F. BEECH
Pte. D. BENTLEY
Pte. J.W. BOYCE
Pte. W.J. COMAN
Pte. T.A. DAVIES
Pte. V.G. DAVIES
Pte. H.G. DEARDEN
Pte. W. DUFFY
Pte. G.O. EATON
Pte. J. FITZSIMMONS
Pte. H.A. GEORGE
Pte. F.W.T. GROVES
Pte. R. HARVEY
Pte. J. HUMPHREYS
Pte. T. JONES
Pte. L. LLOYD
Pte. R.A. LOOKER
Pte. P. LUCAS
Pte. A.G. MARTIN
Pte. W.H. PHILLIPS
Pte. A. PLLU
Pte. G. REID
Pte. W.D. RITCHIE
Pte. J.T. RUDMAN
Pte. T. SANDO
Pte. G. SLAVIN
Pte. C. SUMMERHAYES
Pte. A. SUTHERLAND
Pte. C. TAYLOR
Pte. E.C. TOMBLIN
Pte. I.H. TUCKER
Pte. R.E. WATTS
Pte. E.W. WEAVER
Pte. E.G.W. WEBBER
Pte. J. WHELAN
Pte. F. WILLIAMS
Gnr. G.H. BAKER
Gnr. S.A. BALL
Gnr. G. BARTER
Gnr. J.G.A. BEANEY
Gnr. F.H. CLAY
Gnr. G. DICKSON
Gnr. L.P. GRAVES
Gnr. G.A. HITCHCOCK
Fus. J.M. ALEXANDER
Fus. A.A. ANDREWS
Fus. C. BLEAKLEY
Fus. S. CRAIG
Fus. E. EDWARDS
Fus. C.W. POWELL
Fus. W.R. TAYLOR
Fus. S.G.D. WEEKES
Fus. G.C. WILSON
Tpr. B.S.N. ANDERSON
Tpr. A.J. ANSELL
Tpr. H.H. BAGOT
Tpr. N.A.G. BARNES
Spr. J. HAMILTON

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.
 

1 Commando, Memorial Service

A transcript of a document detailing a Memorial Service for No 1 Commando Casualties at Myebon. The document from John Mewett,  transcribed by Elaine Southworth-Davies.
Source: National Archives  WO 218/81.
 

MYEBON 4th FEBRUARY 1945

Memorial Service for the Fallen and Wounded Officers and Men of No. 1 Commando during operations on Myebon Peninsula and the Kangaw Bridgehead, January 1945.
 

1. Hymn

“Let Saints on earth in concert sing”
 

2. LESSON

Wisdom of Solomon 3
 

3. ROLL OF HONOUR

Read by the Commanding Officer
(Lt. Colonel K.R.S. Trevor)
 
No. 12 Troop
3596431 Cpl. J. A. YOUNG
No. 3 Troop
5933108 Sgt. R. J. LANDER                                               3191706 L/Cpl. M. DEARDEN
6982426 L/Cpl. J. DUMIGAN                                            1453333   J.G A. BEANEY
983057 Gnr. L .P. GRAVES                                                5384112 Pte. R. A. LOOKER
No. 4 Troop
Lieut. G. A. KNOWLAND                                                   14241761 Cpl. H. BAKER
7942336 L/Cpl. A. PLLU                                                    14604377 L/Cpl. E. J. LLOYD
7366356 L/Cpl. H.G. RUSHTON                                       5828291 Pte. J. BOYCE
2185354 Pte. J. FITZSIMMONS                                         5621153 Pte. I. N. TUCKER
No. 5 Troop
6143891 Gnr.G. M. BAKER
No. 6 Troop
Lieut. A. A. PALMER                                                            1905889 Sgt. M. F. MORRIS (MM)
2614133 L/Sgt. A BAKER (DCM)                                        2073288 L/SGT.M. B. JONES
5933005 L/Sgt. R. WALLIS                                                  6482243 L/Cpl. G. C. WILSON
3964660 L/Cpl. J. R. LINES                                                 14241839 Pte. R. E. WATTS
14604353 Fus. A. A. ANDREWS                                         6206246 Gnr. F. H. CLAY
Headquarters (Signals)
5735209 Pte. W. J. COMAN
 

4.   LESSON

1 Corinthians,    15.
 

5.  SHORT ADDRESS

By Rev, A. B. COLLISHAW, B.A.  Ch.  D.
 

6. PRAYER

 

7. HYMN

“The Church’s one foundation”
 

8.  LAST POST AND REVEILLE

 

9.  ROLL OF WOUNDED

Read by Troop Leaders
 
No. 12 Troop
14241783 Cpl. T. G. BENNION                                        3915316 Pte. J. WOOD
3974792 Pte. D. W. Cross                                                5052724 Pte. W. G. WARD
No. 3 Troop
Lieut. F. H. CREWE
7690515 Pte. C. R. MARSHALL                                        5510944 Pte. H. A. WARE
11259984 Gnr. A. A. DAVEY                                            14207309  Pte. F. EVERITT            
4195436 L/Cpl. W. JONES                                                14603190 L/Cpl. W. S. SMITH      
6015678 Gnr. L. E. SMITH                                                3915335 Pte. C. JAMES
4033985 L/Sgt. H. W. ROBERTS                                      4698646 Cpl. J. W. HOBBS
5437882 Pte. D. SWEENEY                                              1500881  Fus. W. MCFALL
851702 Gnr. G. W. JENKINS                                             2083611 Gnr. F. V. ABBS
13046330 Pte. A, P, GRANT                                             5826616 Pte. H. G. RUFFELL
No. 4 Troop
Capt. D.H. COWAP (MC)
5825564 L/Sgt. L. E. DUNNETT                                        5933908 L/Sgt. A. JACKSON
5826893 L/Sgt. W. A. LING                                               4196617 Cpl. R. GOODLASS
6970370 Cpl. A. G. THOMPSON                                      3249930 L/Cpl.J. E. AITKEN
14327805 Gnr.A. MADDOX                                             2063437 Gnr. F. G. PALMER
6300127 Pte. A. J. WILLIAMS                                           3863684 Pte.T. HEHIR                    
5830879 Pte. A. W. LOVESAY                                          14416348Pte. T.N. BUCHANAN
799237 Pte. J. W. GARDNER                                            3973636 Pte. A. PAWSON
14627308 Pte. E. T. ALLEN
No. 5 Troop
Capt. H. J. SYMONDS
1606430 Gnr. J. O’DONNELL                                            866743 Gnr. H. COUNCELL           
3713113 Pte. G. JUDGE                                                     6298707 Pte. L. T. STEFFENSON
2579764 L/Cpl. H. BERRY                                                 1432055 Gnr. T. C. WILSON
3976195 Pte. W. D. JONES                                                828326 BSM J. J. DOWNEY           
3392797 L/Sgt. W. WATERHOUSE                                   5186819 Gnr. A. G. MULHOLLAND
6215749 Pte. S. SIMMONDS                                            3194769 Pte. W. AIRD
2062315 Gnr. J. A. QUINCEY                                            3962766 Pte. J. C. LEAVER
3970740 Pte. J. C. MORGAN                                            14353401 Pte. J. A. YANDELL
2048203 Pte. E. J. LONGMAN
No. 6 Troop
5055844 L/Cpl. G.D. PYM                                                 14241724 Pte. G. WOOLARD
6298002 Pte. K. VINCENT                                                 5933209 Pte. W. T. SEWELL
852223 Bdr. A. E. RUSDALE                                              6215774 Pte. D. W. WILLIAMS
14590409 Pte. H. MURPHY                                              14604392 Fus. W. R. TAYLOR       
4748087 Cpl. E. BARNES                                                  1732198 L/Cpl. C. HOTHERSALL  
4801882 Fus. C.J. MERCER                                               14421501 Pte. S. BURGESS          
4032499 L/Cpl G. L. STANLEY                                          1650807 Gnr. F. G. ANDREWS
14604367  Pte. S. CUNNINGHAM                                    5383388 Pte. W. NUTLEY              
6103121 L/Cpl. J. E. A. MAYNARD                                    11268888 Gnr. S, R, RUDGLEY
3393053 Pte, D. MALONEY                                               3718320 Gnr. M. PHILLIPSON
Headquarters
6104720 Pte. F. WILLIAMS                                               14241845 L/Bdr. E. BIDDESCOMBE
7366507 Sgt. G. L. NORLEY                                              6471335 Fus. W. H. IRVING
 

10.   PRAYER

 

11. BLESSING

 

1 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.1 Commando volunteers which were obtained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Lists of Casualties, the No1 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 1 Commando.  Research continues. 

The No 1 Commando Nominal Roll is listed below in surname order

No 1 Commando Nominal A - C

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 1 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)

SURNAME
FORENAME
RANK
S/N
AWARD
REGIMENT
Abbott
L W
Sgt
 
 
R Artillery
Abbs
F V
Gnr
2083611
 
R Artillery
Acott
L J
Pte
 
 
 
Adams
S W
Pte
 
 
 
Adcock
Wallace
Sgt
 
 
 
Addlesee
George W
Pte
 
 
 
Agnew
Patrick
Fus
 
 
 
Aird
William
Pte
3194769
MM
KOSB
Aitken
J E
Rfn
3249930
 
Cameronian
Alderman
I J R  'Jake'
Pte
3970594
 
Welch
Aldridge
William
Cpl
 
 
 
Alexander
C H
Tpr
 
 
 
Alexander
John
Fus
 
 
 
Allen
Edward
Pte
14627308
MM
SWB
Allen
R M
Pte
 
 
 
Allison
R G
Pte
 
 
 
Allsopp
Thomas John
Pte
 
 
 
Allum
Frank Edmund
Gnr
914187
 
R.Artillery
Ambrose
A W
LBdr
 
 
 
Anderson
Barrie Sherwell Norman
Tpr
 
 
 
Anderson
W
Cpl
 
 
 
Anderton
Albert
Pte
 
 
 
Andrews
Alfred Archley
Fus
 
 
 
Andrews
F G
Gnr
1650807
 
R Artillery
Andrews
Ronald
Gnr
11408604
 
R Artillery
Annetts
G H
Cpl
 
 
 
Ansell
Arthur James
Tpr
 
 
 
Anslow
T
Fus
 
 
 
Anstee
G W
Pte
3711803
 
RAOC
Armstrong
M
Gnr
896030
 
R Artillery
Ashworth
James K  'Jim'
Pte
 
 
 
Austin
S R
Pte
 
 
 
Bacon
Albert William
Pte
6098328
 
QRR
Bagot
Henry Hunter
Tpr
 
 
 
Bailey
Herbert
Pte
 
 
 
Bailey
T J
Fus
 
 
 
Baker
A
Fus
14670424
 
R W F
Baker
Albert
LSgt
2614133
DCM
Grenadier Gds
Baker
Cyril
Sgt
 
 
 
Baker
George Horace
Gnr
 
 
 
Baker
Herbert Valentine
Cpl
 
 
 
Baldock
E
LCpl
 
 
 
Bale
John
Pte
 
 
 
Ball
I C
Pte
4104950
 
Hereford
Ball
P W
Pte
6482286
 
R Fusiliers
Ball
Sydney Alonso
Gnr
 
 
 
Banks
S A
Pte
 
 
 
Barden
E
Pte
 
 
 
Barnes
Ernest
Bdr
4748087
MM
R Artillery
Barnes
Norman Alfred George
Tpr
 
 
 
Barnes
Sidney
LCpl
 
 
 
Barnett
Arthur G
Sgt
 
 
 
Barrett
J F
Pte
3970601
 
Welch
Barringer
Ronald
Gnr
936054
 
R Artillery
Barron
F C
Cpl
 
 
 
Barter
George
Gnr
 
 
 
Bartlett
Brian V
Tpr
 
 
 
Barton
William
LSgt
 
 
 
Bate
William
LSgt
 
 
 
Bayliss
J E
Lt
 
 
E Surrey
Beadle
J
Pte
 
 
 
Beale
A
Dvr
 
 
 
Beaney
John George Arthur
Gnr
 
 
 
Bear
Dennis
Sgt
14402581
 
KRRC
Bearne
Robert Stanley
LSgt
14604358
 
R Fusiliers
Beattie
James Simpson
Cpl
14241854
MM
R Scots
Beatty
Brian H
Pte
 
 
 
Beckwith
George
Pte
 
 
 
Beech
James Frederick
Pte
14404860
 
 
R Sussex
Beicher
S J
Lt
 
 
 
Bell
Edward
Cpl
 
 
 
Belston
F
Gnr
4077753
 
R Artillery
Bennett
Kenneth Raymond
Pte
 
 
 
Bennett
Richard Albury
Capt
 
 
Ox & Bucks Li
Bennion
Thomas James
Cpl
14241783
 
 
Bensley
J
Gnr
 
 
 
Bentley
C
Fus
 
 
 
Bentley
Donald
Pte
 
 
 
Bernini
Henry
Gnr
 
 
 
Berry
Edgar
Pte
 
 
 
Berry
J A
Pte
 
 
 
Berry
L
Pte
 
 
 
Berry
William Sidney
Fus
 
 
 
Betty
Arthur John
Pte
 
 
 
Beveridge
Alexander
Gnr
 
 
 
Biddiscombe
Edward
LBdr
14241845
 
 
Biddwell
E G
Pte
 
 
 
Billham
Albert George
Pte
5773066
 
Norfolk Regt
Birkett
M E
Pte
 
 
 
Birt
George
Pte
 
 
 
Biscoe
John Seymour
Major
 
 
 
Bishop
R C
Pte
5627758
 
Devonshire
Blair
Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Blake
Frederick
TSM
 
 
 
Blake
Patrick V
Pte
 
 
 
Blakemore
A
Pte
3912083
 
Welch
Blakemore
Reginald John
Pte
 
 
 
Bleakley
Charles
Fus
 
 
 
Boardman
E
Pte
 
 
 
Bolch
T
Gnr
 
 
 
Bolton
 
 
 
 
 
Booth
W  'Bill'
Pte
 
 
 
Bosley
Robert Thrisk
 
 
 
 
Botfield
John
Cpl
 
 
 
Bowden
Cedric
Cpl
 
 
 
Bowen
 Gwynfor 'Gwyn'
 
 
 
Welch Regt
Bower
Norman
Pte
 
 
 
Bowler
D W
Lt
 
 
N/Hants
Bowler
W V
Gnr
 
 
 
Bowman
T H
Lt
 
 
 
Boyack
A E
 
 
 
 
Boyce
James Wesley
Pte
 
 
 
Boyes
E
Pte
 
 
 
Boyes
Robert Paul
CSM
14241789
 
RNF
Brace
Maurice
 
 
 
RWR
Bradford
John Meller
Capt
 
 
 
Bradford
Victor
Cpl
 
 
 
Brake
Fred
CSM
 
 
 
Brennan
S
Pte
 
 
 
Brennen
M E
Gnr
 
 
 
Bright
John
CSM
 
 
 
Britnell
Harry
LCpl
 
 
 
Brookes
Raymond
Pte
 
 
 
Brown
Bruce
Pte
 
 
 
Brown
C C
CSMI
 
 
Aptc
Brown
C G  'Topper'
CSM
 
 
 
Brown
Henry
SQMS
 
MBE
 
Brown
I M
Pte
 
 
 
Brown
J
Gnr
 
 
 
Brown
J L
Gnr
 
 
 
Brown
Jim
Pte
 
 
 
Brown
Glynford George
 
 
 
RWR
Brown
Ronald
Fus
 
 
 
Brown
William H
Gnr
 
 
 
Browne
Victor T
Pte
 
 
 
Bruntnell
Keith T
Cpl
 
 
 
Buchanan
T
Pte
14416348
 
 
Buckland
D N
LCpl
 
 
 
Buckley
Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Bunston
M E
Pte
 
 
 
Bunt
J
Pte
14241788
MiD
DCLI
Bunt
R M
Pte
 
 
 
Burden
 
Fus
 
 
 
Burgess
S
Pte
14421501
 
 
Burke
P O
Pte
 
 
 
Burnham
J
Sgt
 
 
 
Burns
Norman
Cpl
 
 
 
Bush
Frederick Arthur
LCpl
 
 
 
Butler
Ronald Herbert
LSgt
5774300
MM
R Norfolk
Buxton
J
LCpl
 
 
 
Byrne
Patrick Joseph
Sgt
2719257
MM
Irish Gds
Caine
T Arthur
Sgt
 
 
 
Caldicott
A
Pte
 
 
 
Callaghan
J
LCpl
 
 
 
Camblin
Cecil
LSgt
 
 
 
Canman
F
Pte
5624887
 
R Fusiliers
Cann
John Henry
RSM
 
 
 
Cannon
F
Pte
 
 
 
Capstick
N
LCpl
 
 
 
Carrel
Ian V
Major
 
CBE
 
Carrot
E G
Pte
7381707
 
RAMC
Carrott
George
LCpl
 
 
 
Carter
A
Pte
 
 
 
Carter
N
Pte
 
 
 
Casbolt
James
Sgt
 
 
 
Casey
L
Gnr
 
 
 
Cassey
Norman Walter
LCpl
 
 
 
Cawse
Raymond S W
Cpl
 
 
 
Chamberlain
W
LSgt
5953153
 
Cambridge
Chambers
J
Fus
 
 
 
Chapman
Arthur
Cpl
 
 
 
Chappell
Des
LSgt
4193350
 
R Welch Fus
Clancy
W
Pte
3654743
 
S Lancs
Clark
 
 
 
 
 
Clarke
James
Pte
 
 
 
Clarke
Michael Charles
Capt (Rev)
152807
 
RACD
Clay
Fred Henry
Gnr
 
 
 
Cleary
John
Pte
 
 
 
Clegg
John
Pte
 
 
 
Cobb
Robert F
Sgt
5826029
 
R Suffolk
Cobley
Ronald
LCpl
 
 
 
Cocksey
R
Pte
 
 
 
Coker
James Thomas
Pte
 
MM
 
Colbert
George
Gnr
 
 
 
Cole
R   'Crasher'
Pte
 
 
 
Coleman
C Jack
Major
 
OBE
 
Coleman
Harold James
TSM
 
 
 
Coleman
R
Sgt
 
 
 
Collishaw
Arthur
Capt (Rev)
 
 
RACD
Coman
William Joseph
Pte
5735209
 
Devons
Constable
E E
Pte
 
 
 
Cook
William   'Tadgie'
Sgt
 
 
 
Cooper
C
Pte
 
 
 
Cooper
L F
Fus
 
 
 
Corbridge
H
Cpl
 
 
 
Cornall
L
Gnr
 
 
 
Corrigan
James
Pte
 
 
Leicestershire
Corry
J
Capt
 
 
 
Cossey
W S
Pte
 
 
 
Cotton-Minchin
Douglas James Maurice
Major
 
 
 
Coulling
Bertram
LSgt
 
 
 
Councell
Harry P
LSgt
866743
 
R Artillery
Cowap
Dalton Hayton
Capt
 
MC
 
Cox
A
Pte
6921440
 
Rifle Bde
Cox
Peter
Sgt
 
 
 
Coxsey
G H
Gnr
3770169
 
R Artillery
Coy
A T
Pte
 
 
 
Craig
Norman
L/Cpl
 
 
 
Craig
Samuel
Fus
 
 
 
Craven
John
Capt
 
 
 
Creed
E C
Pte
 
 
 
Crellin
P S
Pte
 
 
 
Crewe
Frank Harold
Lt
 
 
 
Croft
James Herbert
Capt
 
 
 
Cross
D W
Pte
3974792
 
 
Crow
Jim
 
 
 
Gordons
Crowe
James A
LSgt
313358
MM
Seaforths
Croxford
 
Pte
 
 
 
Cruscoe
J
Pte
 
 
 
Cunningham
Steve
 
 
 
 
Curran
Richard
Pte
 
 
 

Back to top

No 1 Commando Nominal D - H

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 1 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)

SURNAME
FORENAME
RANK
S/N
AWARD
REGIMENT
Dakin
N
Gnr
3653477
 
R Artillery
Dale
J
Pte
4131320
 
Cheshire
Dallaway
E
Pte
 
 
 
Daniels
James Reginald D
Pte
 
 
 
Davey
A A
Gnr
11259984
 
R Artillery
Davidson
Douglas Malcolm
Capt
 
MC
 
Davies
Alan John
Lt
224659
 
S. Staffs
 
Davies
Donald
Capt
 
 
 
Davies
G H
Gnr
1566701
 
R Artillery
Davies
James Henry
Major
96385
 
KSLI
Davies
John William Henry
Cpl
 
 
 
Davies
Thomas Alfred
Pte
 
 
 
Davies
Verdun George
Pte
 
 
 
Davies
Victor Oliver
 
 
 
 
Davies
W
Fus
 
 
 
Davison
Frank Felix
Capt
177896
 
R Ulster
Davy
A A
Gnr
11259984
 
R Artillery
Dawson
Ernest M
Capt
 
 
 
Dawson
John Joseph Yelverton
Capt (Dr)
 
OBE, MC
 
Deadman
G
Pte
 
 
 
Dearden
Henry Graham
Pte
 
 
 
Degville
H
Fus
 
 
 
Delaney
C J
Rfn
 
 
 
Dempsey
W
Gnr
1816260
 
R Artillery
Dennison
D L
Lt
 
 
R Artillery
Devereux
F
Pte
14986379
 
Glosters
Dickinson
Joseph
Lcpl
 
 
 
Dickson
George
Gnr
 
 
 
Dockerill
Arthur Henry 'Dock'
LSgt
 
DCM
 
Dodd
J
Pte
14446310
 
Seaforth Hldrs
Dodd
R A
Pte
 
 
 
Doran
W
Pte
 
 
 
Doughty
William
Cpl
 
 
 
Dousfield
R
Lcpl
 
 
R A M C
Dovey
A Peter
Pte
 
BEM
 
Downey
John Joseph
BSM
828326
MM
R Artillery
Doyle
James
Pte
 
 
 
Doyle
Terry
 
 
 
 
Doyle
Thomas J
Gnr
 
 
 
Drake
Arthur
Rev
 
 
 
Drake
F
Pte
 
 
 
Drew
F T
Pte
 
 
 
Driscoll
Leonard Henry Pritchard
L/Cpl
3964051
 
Welch
Drury
Cyril
Gnr
 
 
 
Duddin
R O
Pte
 
 
 
Duffy
William
Pte
 
 
 
Dulson
Eddy
Cpl
 
 
 
Dumigan
James
L/Cpl
 
 
 
Dunnett
Leslie
L/Sgt
5825564
 
 
Dunston
M W
Pte
5739276
 
Devonshire
Durrant
Thomas Frank
Sgt
1877047
VC
RE
Dyson
James R
Pte
 
 
 
Earl
Arthur  'Duke'
Pte
 
 
 
Eaton
George Oliver
Pte
 
 
 
Eddolls
D
Pte
5188908
 
Glosters
Edgson
R
Bdr
 
 
 
Edmans
Joe J
CSM
 
 
 
Edwards
Edward Keymer
Sgt
7609613
 
R E M E
Edwards
Elwyn
Fus
 
 
 
Edwards
J H
Cpl
 
 
 
Ellerman
 
Pte
 
 
 
Ellis
Charles
Bdr
 
 
 
Ellis
Frank
Fus
 
 
 
Emblow
A E
Gnr
 
 
 
Empett
G
Gnr
 
 
 
Evans
C G
Cpl
 
MM
 
Evans
Cyrill Denman
LCpl
 
 
 
Evans
Michael E
Cpl
 
 
 
Evans
R Graham
Lcpl
 
 
 
Evans
Ronald John
LSgt
 
 
 
Evans
Sydney
Sgt
 
 
 
Everitt
F
Pte
14207309
 
Glosters
Evers
Frederick
Fus
 
 
 
Evill
A R
Lt Col
 
 
 
Ewen
Joe
TSM
 
 
 
Farmer
F J
Pte
 
 
 
Farmer
Idris Lawerence
Pte
 
 
 
Farmer
Sidney A
Pte
 
 
 
Farr
Horace S
Cpl
 
 
 
Farrington
Albert
Pte
 
 
 
Farthing
Benjamin
Sgt
 
 
 
Faulkner
C
Pte
3597030
 
Border
Fearns
James
LCpl
 
 
 
Felmingham
J
Fus
 
 
 
Fernie
Leslie
LSgt
 
 
 
Ferry
Frank
 
 
 
 
Fielder
 
Pte
5725823
 
Kings Regt
Finn
W
Gnr
 
 
 
Fitzgerald
Edward 'Eddie' James
Pte
3773098
 
Kings Regt
Fitzsimmons
James
Pte
 
 
 
Fleming
Robert
CSMI
 
 
 
Fleming
S
Cpl
 
 
 
Flockton
 
 
 
 
 
Flood
A
Pte
1776460
 
Buffs
Flynn
W A
Pte
 
 
 
Fogg
William E
Pte
 
 
 
Ford
Toby
 
 
 
 
Forward
W A
Pte
 
 
 
Fotheringham
D
Pte
 
 
 
French
P G
Sgt
 
 
 
Fry
Edwin
Pte
3967735
 
Welch
Gamble
George
Pte
 
 
 
Garbutt
C W J
Pte
5392133
 
Ox & Bucks Li
Garbutt
 
Pte
 
 
 
Gardiner
M T
Fus
 
 
 
Gardiner
Ronald James
Sgt
 
 
 
Gardner
J W
Gnr
799237
 
R Artillery
Gardner
J W
Capt
 
MBE
 
Garner - Jones
John
Major
 
MC
Welch Regt
Garwood
E C
Pte
 
 
 
George
Herbert Alexander
Pte
 
 
 
Gibson
J
Rfn
 
 
 
Gibson
J S
Lt
 
 
R Signals
Gibson
Thomas
Sgt
 
 
 
Gillies
Andrew
LCpl
 
 
 
Gillies
Robert J M
Lt
 
 
Manchester
Gillin
W D 'Bill'
Pte
 
 
 
Giltrow
Frederick John George
Gnr
6015643
 
R Artillery
Gladwell
R C  'Gladys'
Gnr
948853
 
R Artillery
Glendinning
Will
Lt Col
 
 
 
Gooch
R H E
Pte
 
 
 
Goodall
R P
Pte
 
 
 
Goodenough
Gordon Leonard
Cpl
 
 
 
Gooding
Norman Alexander
Pte
 
 
 
Goodlass
Robert
Sgt
4196617
 
 
Goodrich
Brian
Lt
 
 
 
Goodwin
Charles Gordon
Cpl
 
 
 
Gordon-Hemming
Tom
Capt
 
 
 
Gouch
F C
Pte
 
 
 
Graham
H
Cpl
 
 
 
Grant
A P
Pte
 
 
 
Grant
James
Sgt
 
 
 
Graves
Lesley Peter
Gnr
 
 
 
Gray
Reginald Arthur
Pte
 
 
 
Green
G
Pte
 
 
 
Green
L W
Pte
 
 
 
Greenslade
Leslie James
Pte
5679389
 
Somerset L I
Gregory
R D
Pte
551964
 
H L I
Gretton
E
Gnr
11256741
 
R Artillery
Griffiths
H
Pte
 
 
 
Griffiths
S
Pte
 
 
 
Griffiths
W
Dvr
 
 
 
Grimes
H H
Cpl
 
 
 
Groves
B
Pte
 
 
 
Groves
Fernley William Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Guild
W
Lcpl
 
 
 
Gwilliams
T H
Pte
 
 
 
Hackett
P
Sgt
 
 
 
Hale
Bernard
 
 
 
 
Halfpenny
Alfred Royden
LSgt
 
 
 
Hall
F T
Fus
 
 
 
Hall
J A
Sgt
 
 
 
Hall
Thomas
Pte
4076248
 
SWB
Hall
Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Halse-Hearne
William Edward
Lt
 
 
 
Hamblin
 
Pte
 
 
 
Hamilton
J A
Gnr
 
 
 
Hamilton
James
Spr
 
 
 
Hansell
L J
Pte
 
 
 
Hansen
P O
Pte
6298338
 
Buffs
Hargreaves
Ronald
Pte
 
 
 
Harmer
F W A
Pte
 
 
 
Harper
William G
 
 
 
 
Harper-Gow
L M  'Max'
Major
 
 
 
Harris
Douglas Ewart
Capt
 
MC
 
Harris
James  'Scottie'
Pte
 
 
 
Harris
R H
Pte
3387247
 
East Lancs
Harris
S H
Pte
14531754
 
S Staffs
Harrison
J
Sgt
 
 
 
Harrison
Lesley Francis
LCpl
 
 
 
Harrison
Peter
Cpl
 
 
 
Hartland
A
Pte
 
 
 
Hartland
R
Pte
 
 
 
Hartley
J E
LCpl
 
 
 
Harvey
G C
LCpl
 
 
 
Harvey
Reginald
Pte
 
 
 
Hatch
D
Fus
 
 
 
Hathorn
Arthur  'Toby'
Sgt
 
 
 
Hawkins
Alan J
LCpl
 
 
 
Hawkins
Richard H. 'Dick'
Pte
 
 
Glosters
Haworth
Frank
Sgt
 
 
 
Hayes
A R
Sgt
 
 
 
Hayman
A
Pte
 
 
 
Hayman
J H
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Haynes
J M
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Haywood
H J
Pte
 
 
 
Hazelwood
Arthur Richard
Sqms
 
 
 
Heard
L
Cpl
 
 
 
Hearne
R S
Cpl
14604358
 
R Fusiliers
Heckle
W H
Rfn
14551425
 
QOCH
Hehir
Thomas Joseph 'Ginge'
Pte
3863684
 
Lancashire
Hemming
T Gordon
Capt
 
 
 
Hemmings
R
Pte
 
 
 
Hencher
E V  'Dick'
Cfn
 
 
 
Henders
Ronald W
Pte
 
 
 
Henderson
A
LCpl
 
 
 
Hennessy
William
Pte
 
 
 
Henry
Bernard
Pte
 
 
 
Heseldon
Ronald
Sgt
 
 
 
Hewett
A D
Pte
 
 
 
Hewlett
Sydney
TSM
 
 
 
Hick
D
Fus
 
 
 
Hickson
D
Pte
 
 
 
Hickson
Jim
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Hide
Frank
Sgt
 
 
 
Higham
Walter
Gnr
14526092
 
R Artillery
Higham
Richard John 'Jack'
 
 
 
 
Hill
A W
QMS
 
 
 
Hill
Charles
Pte
 
 
 
Hillier
John Maurice
Sgt
5697597
 
Somerset Li
Hinkins
Alfred
LCpl
 
 
 
Hirst
James Richard
Pte
6028552
 
Suffolk
Hitchcock
George Albert
Gnr
 
 
 
Hobbs
F
Cpl
1509981
 
R Welch Fusiliers
Hobbs
James William
Cpl
4698646
 
 
Hodges
C A  'Tony'
 
 
 
 
Hodgson
 
Rfn
 
 
 
Hogg
James G
Dvr
1949130
 
R Engineers
Holley
Idris
Gnr
 
 
 
Holliday
David J
TSM
 
 
 
Holloway
Arthur
Pte
 
 
 
Holm
A
Pte
 
 
 
Holme
A T
Gnr
 
 
 
Holmes
Jack
Sgt
 
 
 
Holroyd
Derek W
Fus
 
 
 
Holtom
Roy
LSgt
 
 
 
Hook
Maurice
Cpl
 
 
 
Hopkins
A
Pte
3628330
 
Devonshire
Hopkins
P O
Pte
 
 
 
Hopkins
W A
Pte
999063
 
Worc Regt
Horgan
James John
LSgt
 
 
 
Horner
A
LCpl
 
 
 
Horner
Arthur A
Pte
 
 
 
Horton
John
Sgt
 
 
 
Hothersall
Chris
Sgt
1732198
 
 
Hothersall
E
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Howells
Allan
Pte
 
 
 
Howells
Roy
Bdr
 
 
 
Howse
A R Kenneth
Cpl
 
 
 
Hubbard
N
Rqms
 
 
 
Huckle
R
Gnr
 
 
 
Hudson
David E  'Soapy'
Rfn
7021488
 
R Ulster Fusilier
Hughes
C
Dvr
 
 
 
Hughes
Edward
Pte
 
 
 
Hughes
Frederick
Pte
 
 
 
Humphries
James
Pte
 
 
 
Hunt
Griffyth George
Lt Col
79531
MBE
SWB
Hunt
H A
Pte
5678952
 
Somerset Li
Hunt
Norman
LCpl
 
 
 
Huntington
John
Sgt
 
 
 
Hustwick
C J
Sgt
 
 
 
Hutchins
Stanley
Pte
 
 
 
Hutton
Edward
Pte
 
 
 

Back to top

No 1 Commando Nominal I - O

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 1 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)

SURNAME
FORENAME
RANK
S/N
AWARD
REGIMENT
Irvine
Harold James
Cpl
3392348
 
 
Irving
W H
Fus
6471335
 
 
Jackson
Archie
Gnr
 
 
 
Jackson
Arthur 'Happy'
Sgt
5933908
 
 
Jackson
Robert
Pte
 
 
 
Jacobs
C R
Pte
 
 
 
Jacobs
J G
LCpl
 
 
 
Jaggers
L C
Sgt
4201335
 
 
Jahn
William
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
James
Bryn
Pte
 
 
 
James
C
Pte
3915335
 
SWB
James
D. 'Jimmy'
Cpl
 
 
 
James
David George
LCpl
 
 
 
Jefferies
 
LCpl
 
 
 
Jenkins
Albert John Jack
Pte
 
 
 
Jenkins
Frederick
Pte
 
 
 
Jenkins
G W
Gnr
851702
 
R Artillery
Jenkins
Vic
 
 
 
 
Jenner
T D
Pte
14423908
 
R Berkshire
Johnson
R
Pte
 
 
 
Jones
A
Gnr
 
 
 
Jones
C E
Pte
 
 
 
Jones
D C
LSgt
 
 
 
Jones
E
Pte
 
 
 
Jones
Gwynne I
Sgt
 
 
 
Jones
Hubert B  'Jonah'
Sgt
 
 
 
Jones
Idris
LCpl
4196737
 
R Welch Fusiliers
Jones
Ivor
LCpl
 
 
 
Jones
J G
Capt
 
 
 
Jones
J W
LSgt
 
 
 
Jones
Jock
Cpl
 
 
 
Jones
P G
Cpl
 
 
 
Jones
Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Jones
W
LCpl
4195436
 
 
Jones
William
Pte
 
 
 
Jones
William
Cpl
 
 
 
Jones
WD
Pte
3976195
 
 
Jones
William J L
Cpl
 
 
 
Jones
William Robert
Gnr
 
 
 
Judge
G
Pte
3713113
 
Somerset L I
Judson
J G
Fus
14987398
 
R Welch Fusiliers
Julier
G A
Pte
6146177
 
East Surrey
Kane
G J
Rfn
 
 
 
Keery
William
Cpl
 
 
 
Kelly
Jack
Rfn
 
 
 
Kelly
John W
Rfn
 
 
 
Kemsley
 
RQMS
6687605
 
Beds & Herts
Kenny
R
Pte
14804038
 
Manchester
Kerrigan
J
Gnr
 
 
 
Kerry Gm
William James L
Cpl
 
 
 
Kiaer
E A
Lt
130209
 
R Fusiliers
Killick
Frederick
Gnr
 
 
 
Killick
Frederick S
Gnr
14370676
 
R Artillery
Kinally
Peter Robert
Pte
 
 
 
King
W
Rfn
 
 
 
King Gm
Alfred William
Sgt
5774460
 
R Norfolk
Kirkham
T P
Pte
 
 
 
Kirkley
A W
Cpl
 
 
 
Klonowski
Theophilus Henry
LCpl
 
 
 
Knight
R H
Pte
 
 
 
Knowland
George Arthur
Lt
 
VC
 
Lacey
V
Pte
 
 
 
Lamb
Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Lander
Raymond Frederick
Sgt
 
 
 
Lane
David James
Pte
 
 
 
Lansley
D H
Pte
5511965
 
Highland L I
Larcher
J G
Lt
 
MC
 
Larkham
Harry
CSM
 
 
 
Latham
Charles
LCpl
 
 
 
Latham
G
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Lawerence
Basil George
Sgt
 
 
 
Laycock
B H
Cpl
7594888
 
R E M E
Lear
A H
Pte
 
 
 
Leaton
G G
Cpl
 
 
 
Leaver
John C.
Pte
3962766
 
 
Lee
W
Gnr
 
 
 
Lefevre
Jack
Pte
 
 
 
Legg
Alan John
Capt
65912
 
R Scots
Lennon
Edward 'Eddie'  J
Cpl
 
 
 
Leonard
J  'Paddy'
Pte
 
 
 
Levine
Harry
Tpr
 
 
 
Levings
John W
Cpl
 
 
 
Lewis
Frank
LSgt
 
 
 
Lewis
G
Pte
 
 
 
Lewis
G
Pte
 
 
 
Lewis
G E
Lt
 
 
 
Lewis
H
LSgt
 
 
 
Lewis
R
Gnr
 
 
 
Lines
Ronald James  'Danny'
Pte
3964660
 
Welch Regiment
Ling
William
Sgt/WO
5826893
 
Suffolk
Linham
Eric William
 
 
 
 
Littleton
W
LCpl
5254471
 
Worcester
Livesey
Charles 'Lofty'
Pte
3974747
 
Welch
Llewellyn
Frederick
Cpl
 
 
 
Lloyd
Edmund John
LCpl
 
 
 
Lloyd
Leonard
Pte
 
 
 
Lloyd
 
Lt
 
 
 
Loakes
Stanley John
LCpl
 
 
 
Locke
S B
Pte
 
 
 
Logan
Alex  'Sandy'
Lcpl
14317297
 
Black Watch
Loines
F
Pte
 
 
 
Long
Daniel E
Pte
6479299
 
Essex
Long
James Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Longman
E J
Pte
2048203
 
 
Longson
Joe
Fus
 
 
Lancashire Fusiliers
Looker
Ronald Arnold
Pte
 
 
 
Lovesay/Lovesey
Arthur William
Pte
5830879
 
Cambridgeshire
Lowing
A W D
Pte
 
 
 
Lowman
J
Pte
 
 
 
Lowman
J V
Pte
 
 
 
Lowry
A
Fus
 
 
 
Lucas
Percy C
Pte
 
 
 
Luff
Patrick Joseph
Pte
 
 
 
Macandrew
Colin
Capt
 
 
 
Macfarlane
 
Lt
 
 
 
Mackechnie
John
 
 
 
 
Mackenzie
Hugh
Pte
 
 
 
Mackenzie
Neil
Pte
 
 
 
Mackey
David
Rfn
 
 
 
Maclennan
D L F
Capt
 
 
Seaforth Hldrs
Macrae
W R F
Pte
 
 
 
Macwhinnie
Gordon M
Capt
 
 
R A C
Maddaford
B
Gnr
 
 
 
Maddox
A R
Gnr
14327805
 
R Artillery
Maines
Hugh
Cpl
 
 
 
Makin
G E
Pte
 
 
 
Maloney
Daniel
Pte
3393053
 
East Lancs
Malt
Peter
LSgt
 
 
 
Mann
A R
Cpl
 
 
 
Mann
Robert
Rfn
 
 
 
Mares
T F
Capt
 
 
 
Marshall
Charles R
Pte
7690515
 
Lincolnshire
Martin
D L
Sgt
 
 
 
Massey
Leonard
Sgt
 
 
 
Massey
Walter
Sgt
 
 
 
Matthias
Austen
Sgt
 
 
 
Maycock
Ernest
Pte
 
 
 
Mayers
Richard
Pte
 
 
 
Mayhew
 
Sgt/WO
 
 
 
Maynard
D V
LCpl
 
 
 
Maynard
J E A
Pte
6103121
 
Queens Royal
Mcconnell
C
Fus
 
 
 
Mccudden
G
Bdr
 
 
 
Mcdonald
Thomas Joseph
Pte
3915347
 
SWB
Mcdonald
W J
Pte
7370184
 
R A M C
Mcfall
W
Fus
 
 
 
Mcginnis
William
Pte
 
 
American
Mcgrath
C R
Rfn
14466402
 
R Ulster Rifles
Mcguire
T John
Pte
 
 
 
Mckenzie
N F
Pte
14503447
 
Kings Regt
Mckerrigan
W
LCpl
 
 
 
Mclean
Angus
Dvr
 
 
 
Mcmullan
G
Sgt
 
 
 
Mcmurchie
J
Pte
2991485
 
R Scots Fusilier
Mcneil
John
Cpl
 
 
 
Mcnelly
 
 
 
 
 
Mcsweeney
C B  'Pat'
Pte
6096749
 
Queens Royal
Mellish
John
Cpl
 
 
 
Mellor
N
Pte
 
 
 
Mercer
C J
Fus
4801882
 
R W F
Meredith
Bernard  'Taffy'
Capt
 
 
 
Mewett
Robert
Pte
 
 
 
Milford
A
Pte
4036279
 
Herefordshire
Milford
R
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Milford
R
Gnr
 
 
 
Millar
R
Pte
4194166
 
K O S B
Miller
A
Pte
 
 
 
Miller
R
Pte
3188157
 
K O S B
Mills
Arthur
Pte
 
 
 
Mills
I S
Pte
 
 
 
Milne
Ian C G
Lt
 
 
 
Minnett
R J
Pte
 
 
 
Moat
Desmond Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Moeller
H H
Pte
13805587
 
Pioneer Corp
Moffatt
A
Pte
920407
 
K S L I
Moore
E
Pte
 
 
 
Moore
L J
Gnr
 
 
 
Mordecai-Jones
Ion Herbert
Capt
 
 
 
Morgan
C
Pte
14519522
 
A A C
Morgan
G H
Sgt
 
 
 
Morgan
Harold Rees
Capt
 
 
 
Morgan
J C
Pte
3970740
 
Welch
Morgan
J W G
Cpl
 
 
 
Morgan
Joseph
Pte
 
 
 
Morgan
W H
Pte
 
 
 
Morni
Claude
Capt
 
 
 
Morrell
Harry H
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Morris
B
Fus
 
 
 
Morris
Matthew Frank  'Mush'
Sgt
 
MM
 
Mould
Robert Derek
L/Sgt
 
 
 
Muies
Laurence
Pte
 
 
 
Muldoon Mc
E H
Capt
 
 
Gen List
Mulholland
A S
Gnr
5186519
 
R Artillery
Mulholland
William
TSM
 
 
 
Mullett
Leslie Charles
Cpl
 
 
 
Mundy
Leonard
Sgt
 
 
 
Munro
Benjamin
Pte
 
 
 
Murphy
C
Pte
2828376
 
 
Murphy
Henry
LCpl
14590409
 
 
Naylor
F
Pte
 
 
 
Neish
D A 'Dougie'
Sgt
 
 
 
Neish
David
Sgt
 
 
 
Nergeard
A A
LCpl
 
 
 
Newal
R
Gnr
1137798
 
R Artillery
Newlands
R
Pte
14804511
 
Welch
Newman
Alan
Pte
 
 
 
Newnham
R A
Pte
 
 
 
Newport
F W F
Pte
14526333
 
Buffs
Nias
 
Capt
 
 
 
Nicholas
Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Nicholls
Cecil Ray
Pte
 
 
 
Nightingale
Ronald
LCpl
5730599
 
Dorsetshire
Nixon
R J
Pte
13118778
 
Pioneer Corp
Nixon
S
Pte
14601363
 
Suffolk
Noden
George
Pte
 
 
 
Norton
J T
Rfn
6853522
 
KRRC
Notley
G L
Sgt
 
MM
 
Nutley
W
Pte
5383388
 
Beds & Herts
Oakley
J A
Pte
 
 
 
O'Dell
William Henry
Pte
 
 
 
O'Donnell
J
Gnr
 
 
 
O'Gorman
Desmond
Pte
 
 
 
Olson
J
Gnr
3771698
 
R Artillery
Olver
L C
Pte
 
MM
 
O'Mahoney
J
Pte
3782972
 
Kings Regt
O'Mahony
J O
Pte
 
 
 
O'Marah
Andrew J 'Mick'
TSM
 
 
 
Orford
J W
Pte
 
 
 
Osbourne
Henry George
Rfn
 
 
 
Osbourne
 
Rfn
 
 
 
O'Shea
John Peter
Cpl
5676113
 
Sherwood Foresters
Owen
 
Lt
 
 
 

Back to top

No 1 Commando Nominal P - Z

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 1 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)

SURNAME
FORENAME
RANK
S/N
AWARD
REGIMENT
Palmer
Anthony Ashford
Lt
 
 
 
Palmer
F G
Gnr
2063437
 
R Artillery
Parker-Smith
Brian
Pte
 
 
 
Parrott
Ronald D
Pte
 
 
 
Parry
Gordon
Pte
 
 
 
Parson
Sam
LCpl
 
 
 
Paterson
John
 
 
 
 
Patterson
L V
LCpl
5627019
 
Devonshire
Pawson
Antony
Pte
3973636
 
Welch
Pawson
S
LCpl
 
 
 
Payne
Francis E
Sgt
 
 
 
Peachey
Allan S
Pte
 
 
 
Pearce
Eric Paul
Pte
 
 
 
Pearson
F
Fus
 
 
 
Peckham
A D
Capt
 
 
Buffs
Perkins
F
Pte
 
 
 
Perkins
G R
Sgt
 
 
R Artillery
Perrin
Peter
Pte
 
 
 
Perry
Alfred
Cpl
 
 
 
Perry
R H
Cpl
 
 
 
Peters
R J M
Lt
 
 
KRRC
Petty
F H Brine
Capt
 
 
 
Phillips
Wilfred Harold
Pte
 
 
 
Phillipson
Matthew
Gnr
3718320
 
R Artillery
Philp
Michael E
Maj
 
 
 
Pigott
Herbert R
Pte
 
 
 
Pilling
Harry
CSM
 
 
 
Pirie
J
Lt
 
 
 RE
Pirie
Thomas
 
 
 
 
Pitman
H
 
 
 
 
Pllu
Andrew J  'Mick'
Pte
 
 
 
Pollitt
Charles Jordan Bellingham
Capt
37725
OBE, MC
Border
Pollock
J A (Doc)
Capt
 
 
RAMC
Porter
A H
Cpl
 
 
 
Powell
Bernard Joseph
RSM
 
 
 
Powell
Christopher William
Fus
 
 
 
Powell
Reginald J H 'Pongo'
TSM
 
 
 
Poyntz
E W
Cpl
 
 
 
Preston
A N  'Bob'
Capt
 
 
 
Preston
Thomas Davis
Fus
 
 
 
Price
Arthur Livsey
Pte
 
 
 
Price
David
Fus
 
 
 
Price
Jack
Cpl
 
 
 
Pritchard
A
Pte
 
 
 
Proctor
W H
Pte
 
 
 
Prosser
Aubrey
Pte
 
 
 
Pugh
B G
Maj
 
 
R W F
Putt
Richard J K
Pte
 
 
 
Pym
G D
LCpl
5055844
 
 
Quelch
E W
Pte
57724402
 
R Norfolk
Quick
Derek Reginald
TSM
14003051
 
London Scottish
Quincey
John A
Gnr
2062315
 
R Artillery
Rabbitt
Eric William
Gnr
 
MM
 
Rackley
Ronald B
Pte
 
 
 
Rafferty
R G
Pte
5192138
 
Glosters
Ralph
Vic
Sgt
 
 
 
Rankin
James
Bugler
 
 
 
Ransome
W C
Rfn
6921406
 
Rifle Bde
Raymond
Jack
Gdsm
 
 
 
Reardon
Terence Patrick
Pte
 
 
 
Reay
F J A 'Frank'
Pte
 
 
 
Redman
Joseph
RSM
5950322
MBE
Beds & Herts
Redpath
J
Pte
 
 
 
Reed
Neville
Sgt
 
MBE
 
Regan
John L  'Tim'
Sgt
 
 
 
Reid
Ernest E
Cpl
 
 
 
Reid
F David
CSgt
 
 
 
Reid
George
Pte
 
 
 
Reppion
J M
Cpl
 
 
 
Reuben
 
Sgt
 
 
 
Rhue
M
Pte
2933929
 
QOCH
Richardson
J C H
Pte
 
 
 
Rideout
S H
Gnr
1645892
 
R Artillery
Rigg
Stephen
Gnr
 
 
 
Ritchie
William Dunbar
Pte
 
 
 
Roast
Stanley A
LBdr
 
MM
 
Roberts
H
Pte
4201753
 
R Welch
Roberts
H W
Cpl
4033985
 
KSLI
Roberts
R G (RON)
Pte
 
 
 
Roberts
Ron
Pte
 
 
 
Roberts
Tudor
Pte
 
 
 
Roberts
William Henry Edward
Sgt
 
 
 
Robertson
F
Fus
3131175
 
R Scots Fusiliers
Robson
P F
Pte
 
 
 
Robson
Richard
Pte
 
 
 
Roche
W B
Pte
 
 
 
Roderick
Ellerman
 
 
 
 
Rodney
John 'Baron'
Lt
 
 
 
Rogers
George Montague
LCpl
 
 
 
Rowlands
Bernard
 
 
 
R Welch
Rowlands
T G M
Pte
3963256
 
R Welch
Rowlands
Verdun
 
 
 
R Welch
Rudgeley
Stanley
LSgt
 
 
 
Rudman
James Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Ruff
F W
Pte
 
 
 
Ruff
R J
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Ruffell
H G
Pte
5826616
 
 
Rusdale
Alfred Ernest
 
 
 
 
Rushton
Harold George
LCpl
 
 
 
Rust
W S
Rfn
 
 
 
Salisbury
Glyn
Cpl
4191846
 
R Welch
Salter
J A
Sgt
5676395
 
Somerset L I
Salter
R W V
Pte
 
 
 
Sando
Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Saunders
J I N C  'Ian'
Capt
 
 
 
Savage
Clifford
Bdr
 
 
 
Scally
Austin
Pte
 
 
R Welch
Scanlon
 
Sgt
 
 
 
Scantlebury
Jack
TSM
6096409
MM
Middx
Scaramanga
George Ambrosios
Capt
 
MC
 
Scarborough
J W
LBdr
1509446
 
R Artillery
Schneiderman
S H
Pte
14586858
 
Queens Royal
Scott
Walter
Pte
 
 
 
Scully
J
Pte
3195760
 
KOSB
Searle
R
Gnr
11412891
 
R Artillery
Segger
P R
Pte
6216530
 
Middlesex
Selby
D B
Sgt
 
 
 
Semple
Roy W
Capt
 
 
 
Sergeant
Harry
Lt
 
 
 
Sewell
William
Pte
 
 
 
Seys
Robert William
LSgt
 
 
 
Sharkey
C
Fus
 
 
 
Sharman
Sidney
 
 
 
 
Shaw
Bob
 
 
 
 
Shaw
C H
Sgt
 
 
 
Shaw
E
Pte
2978417
 
A&SH
Shaw
E W
Pte
14572777
 
Essex
Shaw
George Robert
Lt
 
 
 
Shaw
Joseph
Cpl
 
 
 
Shaw
S
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Shea
John
Gnr
 
 
 
Sheffield
Henry James
 
 
 
 
Shepherd
J  'Phil'
TSM
 
 
 
Shepherd
R
Pte
 
 
 
Shields
Jack
Cpl
 
 
 
Shipp
L W
Sgt
 
 
 
Shorrock
Harry
Pte
 
 
 
Short
R
LCpl
 
MM
 
Sim
B
Pte
3055448
 
R Scots
Simmonds
S
Pte
6215749
 
Middlesex
Simmonds
William
Pte
 
 
 
Simms
 
LSgt
 
 
 
Simpson
John
Pte
 
 
 
Simpson
William Lockhart Main
Lt
 
 
R Scots
Sincup
A W
LSgt
4035009
DCM
KSLI
Skuse
 
Lt
 
 
 
Slavin
Gerrard
Pte
 
 
 
Smart
Robert
Fus
1501036
 
R Welch Fus
Smead
Frank W
Pte
 
 
 
Smedley
C A
Pte
 
 
 
Smethurst
Joseph
Fus
 
 
 
Smith
Albert (CURLY)
Pte
 
 
 
Smith
H
Pte
14540471
 
Pioneer Corp
Smith
Ivor Clarence
Sgt
 
 
SWB
Smith
J E
Rfn
6853803
 
KRRC
Smith
Jimmy
TSM
 
 
 
Smith
Joseph John
Sgt
 
 
 
Smith
L.E.
Gnr
6015678
 
 
Smith
Luke
 
 
 
 
Smith
M
Pte
4546900
 
W Yorks
Smith
Percy C
Sgt
 
 
 
Smith
Roy
Pte
 
 
 
Smith
Sidney W
LSgt
 
 
 
Smith
Trevor G M
Gnr
1534184
 
R Artillery
Smith
William
Bugler
 
 
 
Smith
WS
LCpl
14603190
 
 
Smithson
Roy
Sgt
 
 
 
Somery
J
Pte
7896145
 
West Yorks
Sooby
John Goulton
Maj
 
 
 
Southworth
J C H
CSM
 
MM
 
Speakman
J
LCpl
 
 
 
Spiers
Percy
Pte
 
 
 
Squire
A J
Gnr
2061794
 
R Artillery
Stack
John A
Maj
 
 
 
Stailey
G
Gnr
1792078
 
R Artillery
Stanley
Geoffrey L
Cpl
 
 
 
Starling
George Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Stead
W
Fus
 
 
 
Steffensen
Laurite
LCpl
 
 
 
Stevens
George William John
Rfn
14542349
 
KRRC
Stevens
L J
Gnr
1514318
 
R Artillery
Stevens
 
 
 
 
 
Stevenson
Norman
Tpr
 
 
 
Stevenson
Victor
 
 
 
 
Stewart
F K
Pte
 
 
 
Stewart
J C H
Fus
 
MM
 
Stone
Frank J
Pte
14632669
 
Durham L I
Stone
Peter George
LCpl
 
 
 
Stradwick
G W J
Lt
 
 
 
Strain
John
 
 
 
 
Sudlow
J
Pte
 
 
 
Summerhayes
Charles
Pte
 
 
 
Surtees
W R 'Rob'
Tpr
 
 
 
Sutherland
Alexander
Pte
 
 
 
Sutton
George
LSgt
 
 
 
Swayne
Sir, Ronald Oliver Carless
 
94975
 
Herefordshire
Sweeney
Daniel
LCpl
5437882
 
DCLI
Swift
E J
Pte
6406789
 
R Sussex
Symonds
H John
Major
 
 
 
Symondson
John E
Dvr
 
 
 
Taberner
Joseph
Lt
 
 
 
Talbot
 
Pte
 
 
 
Tanner
James
Gnr
 
 
 
Tasker
Norman
 
 
 
 
Taylor
Bertram James
Sgt
921147
 
R Artillery
Taylor
Clifford
Pte
 
 
 
Taylor
J
Pte
3391174
 
Border
Taylor
William Ronald
Fus
 
 
 
Teager
Reg
Cpl
 
 
 
Templeman
W
Pte
 
 
 
Tennick
Maurice William
LCpl
14241719
 
KOSB
Thirkell-White
Derek John Plantagenet
Capt
 
 
 
Thomas
Jack M
LSgt
 
 
 
Thomas
Thomas Edward
Gnr
 
 
 
Thomas
Walter 'Roy'
Pte
 
 
 
Thompson
A G
Cpl
6970370
 
 
Thompson
J
Gnr
14408516
 
R Artillery
Thompson
Malcolm
Pte
 
 
 
Thomson
J D
LCpl
14241720
 
KOSB
Thornthwaite
N
Pte
 
 
 
Thornton
William Thomas Bill
Gnr
3654035
 
R Artillery
Thorpe
J
Cpl
5628253
 
Devonshire
Thursby
Jon Fortescue
2/Lt
 
 
 
Timmins
Peter
Pte
 
 
 
Tincombe
W G
Pte
14610123
 
Somerset L I
Toft
Albert 'Curly'
LBdr
 
 
 
Tomblin
Edward Charles
Pte
 
 
 
Tomlin
Raymond
Pte
 
 
 
Tonner
James
Gnr
 
 
 
Towill
Peter
Capt
 
 
 
Trevor
Kenneth R S
Brig
 
DSO
 
Trevor
Thomas Hoult
Lt Col
53563
 
Welch
Tucker
Ivan Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Tuffy
William
LCpl
 
 
 
Tuppin
J R
Capt
 
 
KOYLI
Turnbull
J H S
Lt Col
 
MC*
 
Turner
Alan
Cpl
 
 
 
Turner
N
Gnr
1553582
 
R Artillery
Turpin
J R  'Dick'
Capt
 
 
 
Turrill
R D
Cpl
6216802
 
Middlesex
Turvey
Aubrey John
Pte
 
 
 
Tuzzio
Anthony Ashford
Pte
 
 
 
Venn
Len
Pte
4077222
 
SWB
Vernalls
Eric William
 
 
 
 
Vickers
John
Pte
 
 
 
Vincent
Kenneth
Ssgt
 
 
 
Wade
Matt
Gnr
876563
 
R Artillery
Wakefield
Raymond
Pte
 
 
 
Waldron
V  'Wally'
LSgt
 
 
 
Wales
W
Fus
4196440
 
R Welch Fusiliers
Walker
Alfred Henry  'Sandy'
Sgt
4189381
 
R Welch Fusiliers
Wallis
Reginald
Cpl
 
 
 
Walters
Maxie
Pte
 
 
 
Ward
WG
Pte
5052724
 
 
Ware
Henry A
Sgt
5510944
 
 
Wareham
E G
LSSgt
 
 
 
Wassell
R P
Lt
 
 
Beds & Herts
Waterhouse
W
Sgt
3392797
 
East Lancs
Watkins
C
Pte
 
 
 
Watson
Bob
Cpl
 
 
 
Watson
Jack
Pte
 
 
 
Watts
G C
Pte
5774418
 
R Norfolk
Watts
Reggie W
Pte
 
 
 
Watts
Robert Edward
Cpl
 
 
 
Weaver
Edward Walter
Pte
 
 
 
Webb
Douglas
Gnr
 
 
 
Webb
George H
Pte
 
MM
 
Webb
H T
Pte
6482293
 
R Fusiliers
Webber
Ernest George William
Pte
 
 
 
Weekes
Sydney George Doulas
Fus
 
 
 
Weight
Donald E
LBdr
2055627
 
R Artillery
West
Stanley
LCpl
 
 
 
Westcott
Samuel Charles
LCpl
 
 
 
Westley
S C  'George'
TSM
 
 
 
Wheeler
G R
Lt
 
 
 
Whelan
J
Pte
3783303
 
Kings Regt
Whelan
Jack
Pte
 
 
 
Whisker
Fred
Pte
 
 
 
White
R D
Pte
83994
 
Black Watch
Whitefield
B E
Pte
 
 
 
Whiteman
R H
Pte
4077052
 
SWB
Whitestone
Richard Harry
Pte
 
 
 
Whittingham
L
LCpl
 
 
Guards
Wight
N E W
Capt
 
 
R Signals
Wiles
Geoffrey C
RQMS
 
 
 
Wilkin
E R
 
14989201
 
Gen Service Corps
Wilkins
 
Sgt
 
 
 
Williams
D W
Pte
6215774
 
Middlesex
Williams
Frank
Pte
 
 
 
Williams
Fred ( Blondi)
Pte
6104720
 
Queens Royal
Williams
George Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Williams
I
Cpl
3909922
 
SWB
Williams
J
Gnr
1509660
 
R Artillery
Williams
J H
Pte
5511336
 
Hampshire
Williams
Jack
Pte
 
 
 
Williams
John
Cpl
 
 
 
Williams
John Arthur
Pte
 
MM
 
Williams
K M
Pte
4105160
 
Herefordshire
Williams
Ken
Cpl
 
 
 
Williams
L
 
 
 
 
Williams
Mervyn
Bdr
 
 
 
Williams
P
Pte
 
 
 
Williams
P
Pte
 
 
 
Williams
Robert
LCpl
 
 
 
Williams
Thomas Ivor
Sgt
 
MM
 
Williams
William Edward 'Chas'
LCpl
 
 
 
Williamson
Ronnie A
Capt
 
 
Gordons
Wilson
Graham Charles
Fus
 
 
 
Wilson
Jack
Pte
 
 
 
Wilson
James Joseph 'Spud'
Fus
6979516
 
R.Inniskilling Fus.
Wilson
L T
Pte
 
 
 
Wilson
Robert Matthew
LCpl
 
 
 
Wilson
T C
Gnr
1432055
 
R Artillery
Winch
Harry A J
Cpl
4373433
 
Green Howards
Windebank
Patrick E
Pte
14764470
 
Queens Royal
Witchard
William J
Pte
 
 
 
Witchard
William James
Pte
5123982
 
SWB
Withers
George
Pte
 
 
 
Withey
A J
LSgt
5775478
 
R Norfolk
Witton
Freddie
Pte
 
 
 
Wogel
Raymond Albert
Fus
4192949
 
R W F
Wood
Gerald
 
 
 
 
Wood
Jack
Cpl
 
 
 
Wood
J
Pte
3915316
 
 
Woodcock
Bernard E
Maj
 
 
 
Woodham
Cyril  'Chuck'
 
 
 
 
Wooding
Joseph Henry
LSgt
 
 
 
Woodroffe
Derek W
Lt
 
 
A&SH
Woodyatt
Raymond
Fus
 
 
 
Wookey
Leonard
LCpl
 
 
 
Woollard
George
Pte
 
 
 
Wren
C
Pte
2766013
 
Black Watch
Wren
Stanley  W 'Stan'
Pte
6351482
 
R West Kent
Wren
 
Pte
 
 
 
Wringe
Walter William
Pte
 
 
 
Yandell
James
Sgt
14353401
 
Glosters
Yeoman
Albert Henry
RQMS
 
 
 
Young
George William Arthur
Cpl
 
 
 
Young
James Alfred
LCpl
 
 
 
Young
Robert C
Tpr
 
 
 
Young
Ronald Herbert
Sgt
 
 
 

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1 Commando Operations

These are the main operations that No 1 Commando took part in, either on their own, or as part of a Combined Operations assault. They are in date order and form part of our overall history of No 1 Commando. No 1 Commando were part of 3 Commando Brigade during the Burma Campaign. Many of the documents we have for this period are related to more than one single commando unit and are listed jointly in the document 3 Commando Brigade Operations in Burma.

Click on the links for more detail about each.

Operation Chopper

Operation Myrmidon

Operation Bizerte

Operation Chariot

Operation Bristle

Operation Torch

Operation Bean

Battle of Hill 170

More on 3 Commando Brigade Operations in Burma

Operation Bottle

1 Commando War Diaries

Transcripts taken from the War Diary for No 1 Commando covering specific periods. They are basic transcripts for private research and educational use only. Whilst we always endeavour to achieve accuracy, we acknowledge that there may be dates and/or entries missing, and other possible errors, The actual War Diaries can be found at the National Archives in Kew. The full and complete War Diaries at Kew should be viewed by those wishing to reference/source war diary entries in any future publications to ensure historical accuracy. 

The UK National Archives website

No 1 Commando War Diary January 1945

                                          No. 1 Commando War Diary for January 1945

Author:  Lt.Col. K.R.S. Trevor, Cheshire Regiment  Commanding, No. 1 Commando

Copy of original document supplied by:  John Mewett

Transcribed by:  Jennie Barlow

Kept true to original presentation with abbreviations etc.

 

Teknaf

 

01.01.45:

                Commando packing operational equipment and stores, and attending

                lectures on future Operations.

                 Special pack rations were issued.

                 Operation Order No. 1 and Adm. Instr. were issued (see Appx. 1 and 2).

                 16 I.A.M.C. Stretcher bearers, Det.of Tank Recce Unit,

                  R.M. Beach Unit and R.A. FOO Party were temporarily

                  attached to the Commando.

 

02.01.45

             0600:  Reveille.

            News received of the award of the MC to Capt. J.G. Jones (Welch Regt)

            and the MM to L/Sgt. Crow and Pt.Olver all of No. 3 Troop, for distinguished

            service during Ops in Maungdaw area in November .44.

0900:  All troops paraded and commenced moving by march route to the

            Jetty.  Here L.C.Ms and L.C.Ps moved personnel to six minesweepers at

           anchor in the River Naf.

1400:  All ships moved slowly out of the river to form up in mouth of river.

 

At Sea

18.30:  All craft stopped and anchored off St. Martins Island for the night.

03.01.45

04.45:  Convoy commenced to move towards R.V. with supporting craft off FOUL POINT.

11.15:  Commando transferred to 10 L.C.As. and 2 L.C.Ms.

Akyab Island

13.05:  Commando landed on AKYAB ISLAND on Beach Map Ref 756650

              (Maps Akyab 1 & 2 1/2500) and concentrated.  Landing unopposed.

              Admin. Party remained on shore collecting extra ammunition

               and ration dropped by men as they landed.

1310:   C.O. received instructions from Brigadier to move forthwith to

             KAUNDAGA 8060.

1320:  Commando moved off.  All attached Tps except FOO Party and

             stretcher bearers left unit of beach.

16.10:  Commando reached KAUNDAGA where C.O.

              decided to establish Adm. Base.

              Commando then moved onto  KAWADI8358.

17.30:  Commando concentrated area KAWADIL and bivouacked night.    

              No enemy contacted during day or night. Brigade ordered no patrolling.

 

04.01.45

               Unit at KAWADIL all day.  Checks of stores and ammunition were made.

10.00:     F.O.O. Party left the Commando to rejoin the Artillery.

12.30:     C.O. & I.O. attended conference at Brigade H.Q.

14.30:     Conference of Dept. Offrs. of HQ. and Troop Commanders to

                             discuss future Ops.

05.01.45

Unit still at KAWADIL.

08.30:   C.O. & I.O. attended conference at Bde. H.Q. ref future Ops an moves

             During the day B.I.C. and Unit Intelligence personnel searched the area

             for information from localinhabitants. 

             Several suspects were handed over to Bde. HQ.

06.01.45

09.30:  Commando left KAWADIL area by march route for new location

             at  FAKIR POINT884529, where Commando HQ. was established.

12.00:  Commando billeted in three houses in area 885528. 

              Rest of day spent clearing houses and areas

              and making Adm. arrangements.

1700:     C.O. & I.O. attended conference at Bde HQ re future Ops.

               Bedding Rolls commenced to arrive in L.C.T. from TEKNAF.

07.01.45

              Commando still in area FAKIR POINT 885528.

1000:     Bde. Comd. (Brig. C.R. Hardy DSO) visited Commando HQ.

1500:     Int. Sgt. visited all Troops and outlined Burma War Situation.

1600:     The I.O. visited all units in the Area & Div. HQ, also 'V' Force HQ.

1730:     2nd in Command held conference with Troop Commanders re.

               Adm. Arrangements and future training.

 

08.01.45

1000:     C.O. & 2 i/c visited KAUNDAGA.

1200:      C.O. attended conference at Bde. HQ. re future Ops.

1430:     A.T.E.W.T. was held for all officers in Area FAKIR POINT on Beach defences.

                Adm. HQ. at KAUNDAGA closed down and moved to join main body.

                Special order of the day by Maj. Gen. G.N. Wood (Comd 25 Ind Div)

                 was received (see Appendix 3). 

                Personnel attended bathing parades in the harbour.

                 IAMC Stretcher Bearers left to rejoin M.D.S.

09.01.45

09.15:      C.O. held conference with Tp Cmd and

                 HQ Department offrs. re future ops.

                 1 OR left for 28 days leave in U.K.

                  M.O. held skin inspection.

                  Move postponed for 24 hrs.

10.01.45

                 Spent day in preparation for future ops.

11.01.45

1010:       Commando moved to B.O.A.C. jetty AKYAB.

1215:       Embarked in LCAs.

1300:        Transferred to LCI in harbour.

1445:        Weighed anchor and sailed.

Myebon

12.01.45

0630:      Commando still in LCI approaching MYEBON peninsula.

0915:       Commando transferred to LCAs.

1010:       Commando landed on MYEBON peninsula on beach Ma Ref.

                 BURMA 84 1" 435375 in two flights.  C.O. and I.O. went off to contact the

                 Brigadier.

1110:        1 & 4 Troops under command of Major J.M. Davies moved to hills

                   424383 and 424486, 3 & 6 Troops to island 4336.

1120:        HQ and 5 Troop moved 431374.

1202:        Patrol of 1 Offr & 20 ORs of 5 Troop moved to area 424376.

1300:        Troops in position - nothing to report - NES.

1407:        All Troops except 1 & 4 ordered to concentrate at

                 Commando HQ 431374.

1425:       C.O. and I.O. went to Bde.

1450:        C.O. returned with orders for move for 1 & 4 Troops to 403418.

                  Remainder of Commando to TIGER NORTH 425385.

1540:         Commando less 1 & 4 Troops arrived 425385.  Dispositions for

                    night:  1 & 4 Troops 419402 under command of Major J.H. Davies.  6

                    Troop & mortars under command of Major J.H.S. Turnbull, MC at 425393.

13.01.45

0720:          Orders sent to Major J.H. Davies to patrol to 415412 and be

                    prepared to cover paddy WEST of VIOLET. 

                    6 Troop & mortars ordered to remain present posn. 

                     Main HQ 3 & 5 Troops moved to 421395.

0750:           H.Q. 3 & 5 Troops moved off.

0915:          H.Q. 3 & 5 Troops halted at 419401.

0920:         Enemy guns firing from NORTH slope of hill 425434.  Fire being

                   directed upon MYEBON village.

1000:        H.Q. 3 & 5 Troops linked up with Nos. 1 & 4 Troops.

1040:       Order received from Bde. to concentrate area 427397 prior to

                  attack on ONION 424418.

1043:        C.O. held O Gp at 420398 to give orders to move to concentration area.

1110:        H.Q. and Troops move off to concentration area.

1145:        C.O. went to Bde.

1305:        O Gp.

1330:        Leading Troops moved off for ONION.

1440:       3, 4 & 6 Troops reached area 424410.  No. 1 & 5 Troops, mortars

                  and Commando HQ 424409.

1500:       No. 6 Troop advanced on to ONION 424418, followed by 3 Troop.

1615:       ONION occupied.  1 Jap killed.  Own cas nil.

1700:        Disposition for night - 3, 4 & 6 Troops area feature 423423. 

                  Commando HQ 1 & 5 Troops and  423418.

2000:        Mortars defensive task Tk junc 424427.

14.01.45

0830:    Commando moved off for WORTHINGTON 425425.

0900:    1 LO to meet 44(RM) Commando at village 424411 to act as guide

               to ONION.

0940:    Commando concentrated at WORTHINGTON.

1000:   Brig. arrived.

1200:   Patrol of 1 Sec 4 Troop with IO to recce approaches to Hill

              432441.

1430:   Patrol returned having seen no enemy but found many signs of

             recent occupation by the enemy, including freshly dug posns.

1500:   CO & IO attending conference at Bde HQ at WORTHINGTON

              425435.

1600:   2 patrols from 4 Ytoop to 428439 and 431433 left unit area.  Bde

             Tec HQ move up to WORTHINGTON.

1710:   Patrol to 428439 returned nothing to report.

1715:   Patrol to 431433 returned nothing to report.

1730:   O Gp at Commando H.Q.

1850:   Patrol from 5 Troop to Pt 163 Map Ref 428442.

2200:   Patrol of 5 Troop returned nothing to report.

Lieutenants G.A. Knowland, F.H. Crewe & G.W. Stradwick were posted to

this Commando and joined Adm. HQ party for night.

15.01.45

0630:   Commando left for forming up place 432432.

0745:   Commando arrived at forming up place.

0800:   O Gp held.

0830:   Shelling of feature 432441 by HMISloop commenced.

0920:   Commando moved forward for attack on feature 432441.

1000:   5 Troop crossed the start line anti tank ditch 432435.

1010:   4 Troop crossed the anti tank ditch.

1020:   5 Troop contacted enemy in area 432439.

1026:   4 Troop engaged in area 432437.  Own cas Pte. Coman killed,

            Capt. D.H. Cowap, MC wounded.  Lt. R.W. Semple assumes comd 4

             Troop.

1031:   6 Troop move up to support 5 Troop.

1117:   1 tank moved up onto hill to support left flank of 5 Troop.

1120:   1 Troop moved up behind 4 Troop in support.

1130:   5 Troop plus 1 tank cleared hill 431441.  1 Dead Jap found - own

             cas 4 ORs wounded.

1145:   Tank overturned on slope 433442.

1155:   Patrols clearing NORTHERN slopes of feature from 432441.

1200:   Commando concentrated and HQ established area 432441.  O Gp

             held at Commando HQ.

1400:   3 Troop left to patrol 432447.

1508:   3 Troop in posn 43247 asked for permission to proceed to village

             NATTHETKE 433450.

1545:   3 Troop ordered to proceed to NATTHETKE 433450.

1700:   3 Troop searched NATTHETKE 433450 and returned to 432447

             digging in for the night.

1730:   O Gp held at Commando HQ.

16.01.45

0730:   Commando still on hill 432441.  1 Troop ordered to move to

              427457.

0915:   3 Troop patrolled to 426437.

0950:   1 Troop contact 3 Troop NATTHETKE.

1030:   1 Troop arrived 426456 and remained.

1330:   1 Troop patrolled along chaung 430457 - 1 Jap killed and

              contacted 3/2 Ghurkas and 5 Commando at KANTHA bridge 418451.

1400:   1 Troop patrolled chaung EASTWARDS to 440457.  Sampans

              observed 429456.

1430:   CO ordered ambush to laid on sampans same night.

1535:   3 Troop ordered to re-inforce 1 Troop with 1 Platoon to take the

              place of 1 Troops ambush party.

1630:   CO and IO attended O Gp at Bde.

1730:   1 Troops patrol left posn for ambush.

2230:   Ambush party returned to 1 Troop posns,

 

17.01.45

0835:   3 Troop recce for possible embarkation beaches for LCAs area

              435447 to 435453.

1000:   CO & IO attended conference at Bde. HQ with Capt. A.R. Evill and

             Lt. J.G.L. Larcher.

1020:   All troops ordered towithdraw 500 yds SOUTH of KANTHA chaung

             for air strike at 1100 hours.  NORTH of Chaung.

1100:   1 Troop moved to NATTHETKE.

12.30:  1 Offr & 10 ORs of 6 Troop warned to be prepared to move for

               patrol same night.

               Lt. J.G.L. Larcher gave out the orders.

13.50:  Recce patrols left Commando HQ for EASY beach 425376.  Major

            J.H.S. Turnbull, MC, Capt. A.R. Evill, Lt. D. Nias, Lt. J.G.L. Larcher and 10

             ORs.

1500:   C.O. went to Pt. 163 427442.  Patrol from 3 Troop left

             NATTHETKE for area 434457.

1540:   1 Troop returned to the posn at 426457.

1645:   3 Troop patrol returned.  OP est in Troop posns. to observe

              BRANDY ONE IS. 456460.

              Lt. B.W.F. Goodrich (RA) and 7 ORs joined the unit and were posted to

              Troops.

18.01.45

             Unit still on Hill 432441.

1430:   Recce party returned (Major J.H.S. Turnbull, MC, Lt. D. Nias).

1530:   Major J.H.S. Turnbull, MC, left HQ to recce new Commando area.

19.01.45

             Unit still on Hill 432441.

1130:   All were warned to move.

1200:   Lt. J.G.L. Larcher and patrol returned - nothing to report.

1540:   C.O. left for Bde for conference.

20.01.45

             Unit still on Hill 431441.

0930:   HQ 4,5,6 Troops & mortars left posn for new area 433384.

1030:   1 Troop left 426457 for 433384.

1045:   3 Troop left NATTHETKE for 433384.

1145:   HQ 4,5,6 Troops and mortars arrived 433384 and made bivouac.

1245:   1 & 3 Troops joined rest of Commando.

1730:   CO, IO and SO to conference at Bde.

21.01.45

0800:   Commando O Gp.

             Nos. 1 & 2 Troops were amalgamated and renamed No. 12 Troop

             under the command of Capt. J.S. Biscoe.  Rest of morning spent on

             preparation for ops at KANGAW.

1400:   Burmese guide (ex Burmese policeman from KANGAW area)

             attached to Commando.

1545:   Commando moved from location to EASY beach 425376.

1700:   Commando embarked LCAs.

1800:   Transferred to HMI Sloop 'NARBADA' with Bde. HQ.  Vessel

             extremely crowded.  Anchored for night 2 miles SE of MYEBON peninsula.

22.01.45

06.30:  Sloop moving up the THEGYAN river.

08.30:  Anchored south of island 5434.

1000:   Commando disembarked onto 16 LCAs.

1045:   LCAs proceeded up DAING BON CHAUNG.

1245:   Air strike by Mitchels on Pt.170 5149.

Kangaw

22.01.45

1308:   Commando landed on GEORGE beach 505481 and concentrated.

1330:   Commando moved off to Hill 170 in the following order:-  6 Troop 3

             Troop 4 Troop HQ 5 Troop.   12 Troop with mortars in posn 509481.

1417:   6 Troop started moving onto Hill 170 from SOUTH.

1435:   6 Troop came under fire from enemy on NORTH end of Hill.  1 OR

             slightly wounded.

1500:   HQ established 519492, 5 Troop moving up on WEST of feature

             came under fire at 512498 and 5 ORs were wounded.

1530:   12 Troop joined HQ from beach.

1648:   3 Troop passing through 6 Troop to clear enemy from NORTH of

            feature encountered heavy opposition and were ordered to withdraw and

            dig in for the night.  Casualties suffered - killed L/Cpl. Dumigan (R. Innis.

             Fus.), missing believed killed Gnr. Graves (RA), wounded 6 ORs.  L/Sgt.

             Baker DCM (6 Troop) killed.

1730:   Enemy shelled the beach area.

1900:   Platoon of 5 Troop withdrawn from 512498 and ordered to remain

             as standing patrol at 513494.  Commando dug in for night.  Dispositions

             for night - 5 Troop less 1 Platoon, 6 Troop less 1 Platoon.  1 Platoon 6

             Troop, 3 Troop, 4 Troop and Tac HQ in posn along top of Hill from 514495

              to 515492.  Main HQ and 12 Troop at 514492.  5 Commando on SOUTH

               of Hill 170.

23.01.45

0001:   Enemy attacked 5 & 6 Troops posns (515495), with force

             estimated from 20 - 25 strong with LMCs and grenades.  Enemy

             were driven off by grenades but continued assaults up to 0345 hrs. without

             success.

0100:   Enemy attacked Standing Patrol (Pl. 5 Troop) but were driven off

             leaving three dead.  Total enemy casualties during night - 9 bodies

             including 1 Offr counted.  Own cas - killed Gnr. Clay - wounded Capt. H.J.

              Symonds and 9 ORs (5 Troop).  Casualties evacuated to 61 ADS.  Lt.

              E.M. Dawson took over comd 5 Troop.

0900:   Arty registered on NORTH end of feature preparatory to attack by

             4 Troop.

0930:   Arty preparation.

1000:   4 Troop moved on to feature which was completely occupied by

             1040 hrs. without opposition.  Commando continued digging in during th day.

1745:   Bridgehead shelled by Japs - no cas in Commando.  Booby traps

            were laid by own Troops between 4 & 5 Troop posns.

24.01.45

06.30:  Mortars stand by to put down smoke on enemy occupied features

             (Sq.5150) to cover evacuation of cas from 44 (RM) Commando.

1000:   Mortars 'Stand Down'.

1100:   44 (RM) Commando took up posns on feature between 4 & 5

            Troops.  Maj. Gen. Wood Comd. 25 Ind Div visited Tac HQ.

1120:   O Gp at Command HQ.

1630:   A number of trees on feature were blown down with explosive to

             avoid tree bursts from enemy shelling.  Enemy shelling bridgehead

             spasmodically throughout the day - no cas in Commando.

2300:   Small party of enemy dispersed from 4 Troop area by grenades.

25.01.45

              The Adm party (Capt. J.W. Gardner) moved from beachhead and now

              established at 513494.

1300:   O Gp at Commando HQ.  Enemy continued periodical shelling of

             bridgehead - no cas in 1 Commando.

26.01.45

0630:   Heavy shelling of Hill 170 by enemy arty - no cas.

0930:   O Gp at Commando HQ.

1000:   Hill 170 again shelled by enemy - one tree burst over 3 Troop posn

             caused 3 cas.

1100:   Body of Gnr Graves previously reported missing believed killed

            found near 4 Troop posn and buried at 514496.

1600:   Patrol of 1 Offr & 6 ORs left hill 170 for HILL (527487).

1900:   Hill 170 shelled by enemy.  Own cas 1 OR wounded.  Spasmodic

            shelling of bridgehead by enemy continued throughout the day.  Numbers

            of promotions and appointments being made to bring Commando up to full

             NCO strength.

27.01.45

0630:   Enemy shelled Hill 170 - no cas.

0700:   No. 12 Troop patrol returned.

0800:   O Gp at Commando HQ re ops in KAGAW area 28 Jan 45.

1000:   Enemy shelled Hill 170 and bridgehead area - no cas.

1730:   Enemy shelled Hill 170 - no cas.

28.01.45

0830:   3" mortars of 3 Commando Bde (less 5 Commando) concentrated

            under command of No. 12 Troop and five Brens on tripods sighted in 4

           Troop posns for diversionary fire on enemy held feature in Sq. 5150.

1000:   Mortars and Brens opened fire on features Sq. 5150.  One large

             fire started, thought to be oil in area 508500.  One enemy MMG area

             508510 silenced.  Enemy shelled 4 Troop posn - own cas 1 OR wounded.

1730:   Four large calibre shells burst near 12 Troop posns - no cas.

1830:   Enemy again shelled Hill 170 - no cas.

29.01.45

0630:   Enemy again shelled Hill 170 - no cas.  Spasmodic shelling by

             enemy during the afternoon until dusk.

 

30.01.45

               Enemy shelling Hill 170 during the day.

15.30:  Warning order issued to Troops to be ready to move out of posns by 1100 hrs 31 Jan 45

              on relief by 7/16  Punjab Regt.    

31.01.45

0545:   Enemy commenced shelling Hill 170 and concentrated their fire on 4 Troop posns.

0615:   Small parties of enemy area 512495 WEST of Hil 170 fired on by

             own Troops and cas inflicted.

0630:   Enemy attacked 4 Troop posn in great strength.  Fighting

            continued throughout the day.

 

 

 

 

 

No 1 Commando War Diary February 1945

                                      No. 1 Commando War Diary for February 1945

Authors:  Lt.Col. K.R.S. Trevor, Cheshire Regiment

Commanding, No. 1 Commando and

Major J.H.S. Turnbull, MC, Gordon Highlanders

Copy of original document supplied by:  John Mewett

Transcribed by:  Jennie Barlow

 

 

Kangaw

01.02.45   Unit at Hill 170 (MR.515493 BURMA 1", Sheet 12)

0900:        After attack by PUNJABS feature reported clear of enemy.

0900-      Unit preparing for move.  Identification and burial of own dead

1300:       Under direction of Major J.H.S. TURNBULL, MC at MR.51396. 

                 Capt. A.B. COLLISHAW (Padre) of 5 Commando read Burial Service.

1030:       5 Commando took over 1 Commando positions.

1300:       Unit evacuated Hill 170 and marched to beach

                 MR.512484 on NGASINBON CHAUNG.

1330:       Embarked on L.C.Ms and moved to DAINGBON CHAUNG.

1410:      Transhipped to L.C.L. about ½ mile down DAINGBON CHAUNG. 

                 42 and 5 Commandos also on L.C.L.

1700:      Anchored off EASY BEACH, MYEBON PENINSULA, MR.4237 (1/25000 MYEBON).

1730:      First troops landed by Alligators owing to difficulty in negotiating mud; 

                further disembarkation postponed, until high tide.

2100:     L.C.I. moved inshore.

2115-     Unit disembarked and proceeded by transport

                and march route to

2130:     MR.439392.

2230:     Arrived Camp.  Hot meal for troops.  Bedrolls and blankets issued.

Myebon Pen

02.02.45 Unit at MR.439392.  Troops settling in. 

                Issue of canteen stores and limited issue of personal kit.

                An order of the day by Lt.Col. K.R.S. TREVOR was published.

03.02.45

0930:    Major J.H. DAVIES left for TEKNAF and CHITTAGONG to obtain canteen stores, etc. 

             Capt. I.V. CARREL left for TEKNAF on admin duties.

1050:    The unit was addressed by the Bde Comd (Brig. C.R. HARDY, DSO). 

              Special order of the day by Gen. G.N. Wood, OBE, MC, Comd 25 Ind Div received. 

              Special Corps Order by Lt.Gen. A.F.P. CHRISTISON, KBE, CB, MC,

              Comd 15 Ind Corps.

04.02.45

1100:    Memorial Service held in memory of the personnel of the Commando

              who were killed in action at MYEBON and KANGAW.

Myebon

05.02.45

0830:    Unit paraded and marched off for area Bde. H.Q. at 436384

              to join remainder of Bde units.

0930:    Address to whole Bde by Comd 25 Ind Div (Maj-Gen. G.N. WOODS)

1000:    Unit returned to camp.

1530:    Capt. I.V. CARREL (Adjt) arrived in camp from TEKNAF.

06.02.45

               Unit in same posn.

07.02.45

                 Commando reorganised into H.Q., Mortar Platoon,

                 and four fighting Troops in consequence of depletion

                 in strength due to recent actions. A number of promotions and appointments

                  were made to bring the Commando up to strength in N.C.Os.

1030:        Lt. J.K. PATERSON and one NCO left for TEKNAF to obtain Signal Stores.

08.02.45

                 Unit in same posn.

1100:       Major J.H. DAVIES returned to camp from CHITTAGONG.

09.02.45  Lt. A.J. DAVIES (Bde H.Q.) posted to this unit

                 and assumed the appointment of I.O.

1400:       Lt. E.M. DAWSON proceeded to 2nd Bn Black Watch

                 for posting and S.O.S. this unit.

                 Lt. D. NIAS took over command of No. 5 Troop.

1500:      Six B.O.Rs proceeded to DEOLALI to return to parent unit.

Teknaf   Fire reported to have broken out in 44 Cdo lines at TEKNAF. 

                Quickly spread to 42 Cdo lines and unit bashas in this area had

                 to be demolished in order to check progress of fire. 

                Fire was got under control by 1600 hrs.

Myebon

1700:     Officers' farewell dinner to O.C. (Lt-Col. K.R.S. TREVOR). 

               Address to unit by Lt-Col. K.R.S. TREVOR on leaving unit for duty in U.K.

10.02.45

1030:    Lt-Col. K.R.S. TREVOR left MYEBON by 'plane and ceased

              the appointment of Commanding Officer,

              No. 1 Commando.  A large number of unit personnel

               were on the airstrip to see his departure.

              Major J.H.S. TURNBULL, MC. temporarily assumed command of unit.

              Party of ex-sick and wounded personnel rejoined unit from hospital.

1400:    Troop Commanders' conference re training programme.

11.02.45 

               Small advance party of 1 Officer and 3 B.O.Rs moved to AKYAB.

              Verbal order issued for move of unit to AKYAB.

              Lt. J.K. PATERSON returned to AKYAB from TEKNAF with Signal Stores.

              Troops' sing-song during evening.

12.02.45

0930:    Unit stores packed, moved by tpt to jetty, and loaded on to I.W.T. Ferryboats.

1100:    Orders received that unit would commence embarking at 1600 hrs today

              (Original intention that unit should move tomorrow, 13 Feb 45).

1500:    Troops moved from bivouac area by march route to jetty, MYEBON, MR.437402.

               On completion of embarkation, the Ferry boats moved out into

               the chaung and weighed anchor for the night.

At Sea

13.02.45

0615:    Ferry boats moved down chaung to open sea. 

             Course was SOUTH from MYEBON down WEST coast off large unnamed island

             SOUTH of MYEBON PENINSULA, then N.W. across HUNTER'S BAY

             and NORTH along coast of EAST BARONGA ISLAND

             through SINBAIK and KWEDE rivers to AKYAB.

Akyab

1340:    Docked at jetty, AKYAB, MR.896537.

1350:    Disembarkation commenced.

1630-    Unit conveyed by tpt to KAUNGDAGA, NR.804606.  Troop areas

1800      Allotted Orderly Room and communication with Bde established.

14.02.45

0900:    Troops engaged in building shelters.

1130:    Unit Routine Orders issued.  Drinking water point established in unit Admin area. 

              30 x range established 100 yds NORTH of camp. 

              Location and direction of fire reported to Bde.

1400-    Unit inoculated against small-pox.

1530

15.02.45 

                 Lt. J.K.PATERSON (Signal Officer) left unit on repatriation to U.K.

                for long service overseas. 

                 Interior Economy and building of bivouacs.  Evening party to Cinema.

16.02.4 

               Training Programme for 16 and 17 Feb issued.

0900-    Drill Parade under R.S.M.  Nos. 5 & 3 Tps on Firing Range. 

              Nos. 1000  5 & 6 Tps on bathing and football. 

              No. 4 Tp preparing to move to TEKNAF to act as Bde (Rear Details) loading party. 

              Evening party to Cinema.  Unit canteen opened.

17.02.45

0630:    No. 4 Troop left camp en route to TEKNAF together with one Troop of 42 Cdo.

0900-    C.O's Parade and R.S.Ms Drill.  Two B.O.Rs left unit for 28 days leave in UK.

1000-    Unit Pay Parade.  Kit Issues.

1130     Interior Economy.  Evening party to Cinema.

18.02.45

              Interior Economy and preparation for Deputy-Comd's visit.

19.02.45

0930:    Issue of Training Programme for week ending 24 Feb 45. 

              Unit paraded on Football Ground.

0945:    Col. P. YOUNG, DSO, MC, Deputy Comd, 3 Cdo Bde inspected the unit.

1045:    Camp area inspected by Deputy Comd.

1430:    H.Q. Troop on Firing Range.

              Psychiatrist visited the unit.

              Commando entertained by the "Roosters Concert Party".

20.02.45

              Troops on training as per Training Programme.

              Evening party to see ENSA Show starring "FRANCES DAY".

21.02.45

              Normal routine and training.  Fire broke out in scrub around camp area.

22.02.45

               Fire pickets detailed to watch fire - fire reported to S.O.1.

1000:    Five men per Troop attended lecture at Bde H.Q. by A.L.O. and Sq/Ldr Adams

              on R.A.F.support for the Army.

1630:    Football Match - 42 (RM) Cdo ..... 2 - 1 Cdo ..... 0.

              Cinema parties restricted to Wednesdays and Saturdays.

23.02.45

              Normal routine and training.

1400:    Unit Pay Parade.

1630:    Organised games.  Football Match 1 Cdo v 42 Cdo.  Result 2-3.

               Evening party to BESA Show at Bde HQ.

24.02.45

0900:    Adjutant's Parade.

1000-    H.Q. Troop on Range for Shooting Competition.

1200     ALAN HUMPHRIES, Press Reporter, visited unit and interviewed chosen personnel

             of the Commando on their experiences in the recent fighting. 

             Order of the Day by Lt-Gen. CHRISTISON, Comd 15 Ind Corps, was received . 

             Copy of letter written to Comd 25 Ind Div from

             Gen. Sir Oliver W.H. LEESE, Bart., KCB, DSO, ADC,

             C-in-C Allied Land Forces, S.E.A.C. was received.

25.02.45

            Church Services held in unit Canteen.  No. 3 Tp as loading party

             for 15 Ind Corps HQ. 

             Rev. E. CROWLEY (R.C. Padre) was attached to this unit.

 

26.02.45

             Issue of Training Programme for week ending 3 Mar 45. 

              Kt. J.R. TURPIN rejoined this unit from U.K. 

              Guard of honour selected for visit of Lt-Gen CHRISTISON.

27.02.45

0900:    Swimming trials at chaung 7767 to select team for Swimming Gala.

1305:    The Comd 15 Ind Corps (Lt-Gen A.F.P. CHRISTISON, KBE, CB, MC)

              visited the Commando to thank all ranks for their part

               in the recent operations, and he gave a very interesting talk

               about the war situation in the ARAKAN.

28.02.45

1200:    Capt. D. NIAS together with other unit Officers of the Bde

              moved to the unit's new location.

1500-    Swimming Gala.

1630     Evening party to Cinema.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

1 Commando, Documents

Documents and maps relevant to No 1 Commando. These include reports on specific actions, orders of the day, troop reports, newsletters, and other items. Some of these documents are transcripts taken from official records covering specific periods. They are basic transcripts for private research and educational use only. Whilst we always endeavour to achieve accuracy, we acknowledge that there may be dates and/or entries missing, and other possible errors, The actual documents can be found at the National Archives in Kew. The full and complete documents at Kew should be viewed by those wishing to reference/source war diary entries in any future publications to ensure historical accuracy. The UK National Archives website

After the Victoria Cross citation, the documents are listed in date order.

No 1 Commando Newsletter from India Feb 13th 1944

No. 1 Commando - News Letter

13th February 1944

 

Author:  Lieut. John S. Gilson

Copy of original document supplied by:  John Mewett

Transcribed by:  Jennie Barlow

 

In The Field

This, the second news-letter from INDIA and the fifth since the Commando left England, comes from the same camp described in our last letter of the 29th January.

We have been stationed here for three weeks;  and since we have gained a clearer view of conditions, some fuller description of the Commando's daily life might be in place.  Of what training we are doing, you will appreciate that we can say little, but you might like to hear of the sports that are played every evening.

Our Inter-Troop League in Hockey, soccer, basketball, volley-ball and soft-ball is underway and, if training permits, every troop plays at least one of these games each evening.  An athletic meeting will soon be held.

The Officers of 1 Commando have played the Officers of No. 5 Commando at hockey.

Boxing is becoming very popular;  Lieut. T.H. Bowman, our Boxing Officer, is arranging a boxing meeting with 5 Commando on the 18th February, and later on we hope to take part in a 3 S.S. Brigade meeting.

Passing to other forms of recreation, I may say that the four Commandos have arranged among themselves a tombola session to be held in the canteen on three nights of every week:  that a reading room has been opened, Padre having obtained some books to form a small library:  that one night 5 troop held a sing-song around a blazing fire, and that a native conjuror - magician has given two amusing performances.  You may be interested to hear that the Officers of the Unit were invited to the opening of the Sergeants' Mess, and on the 5th February the W.O.'s and Sergeants were invited to a party in the Officer's Mess.

As a footnote to this description, I may say, that cigarettes here are cheap: a packet of ten "Capstan" costs four pence.  Beer, however, costs rather more than it does in England:  for a pint bottle one is charged 2/3d.

So much for the present:  of the past, I can say now that a few days after our arrival we received a visit and had an encouraging talk from our former C.C.O. Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten:  of the future there is nothing more startling to tell than that on the 10th February, forty-five men from 6 Troop are going on forty-eight hours leave to an army rest camp in POONA and that it is hoped that the whole unit will spend 48 hours leave there before March 10th.

On Saturday, 6th February, with our Commanding Officer as judge, a Commando competition for the smartest tent and an inter-troop competition of the best troop lines was held.

Best in layout, cleanliness and improvements was 1 Troop, with H.Q. Troop a close second.  A tent in 3 troop called "Hobo's Rest" was found to be the smartest in the Unit.

Promotions and Appointments

As from 2nd February 1944:

To be Sergeant:

T/128368          L/Sgt. Kirkley A.

To be Corporals:

5830863           L/Cpl. Bate W.

5628253           L/Cpl. Thorpe J.

5676395           L/Cpl. Salter J.

5933005           L/Cpl. Wallis R.

14241719          L/Cpl. Tennick M.

3392348           L/Cpl. Irvine H.

 

As from 5th February 1944:

To be L/Cpls:

1534184           Gnr. Smith T.

14513163          Pte. Gamble G.

 

To be L/Sergeant:

3959214           Cpl. Mundy L.

3392797           Cpl. Waterhouse W.

1057916           Cpl. Perry A.

2614133           Cpl. Baker (D.C.M.) A.

 

To be L/Corporals:

3970601           Pte. Barrett J.

4192239           Fus. Wareham E.

2579764           Sgm. Berry L.

3915347           Pte. McDonald T.

1149363           Gnr. McCudden G.

2613937           Gdsm. Whittingham L.

4196440           Fus. Wales W.

 

As from 10th February 1944:

To be L/Corporals:

3963727           Pte. Rowlands W.

Inter-Troop Transfers

The following men have been posted to the Troops stated against their names:

5772993           Pte. Piggott H. (6 Tp) to 4 Troop

7690515           Pte. Marshall C. (3 Tp) to 2 Troop

3970740           Pte. Morgan J. (2 Tp) to 5 Troop

6215774           Pte. Williams D (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

4203417           Fus. Smethurst W. (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

3964661           Pte. Noden G. (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

3392797           L/Sgt. Waterhouse W. (4 Tp) to 5 Troop

5628253           Cpl. Thorpe J. (5 Tp) to 1 Troop

5933005           Cpl. Wallis R (4 Tp) to 6 Troop

4196440           Fus. Wales W. (6 Tp) to 5 Troop

3771698           Gnr. Olsen J. (1 Tp) to 2 Troop

5773066           Pte. Bilham A. (2 Tp) to 4 Troop

3976195           Pte. Jones W. (2 Tp) to 5 Troop

1641438           Gnr. Mullett L. (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

5383388           Pte. Nutley W. (2 Tp) to 6 Troop

T/128368          Sgt. Kirkley A. (6 Tp) to 3 Troop

1057916           L/Sgt. Perry A. (3 Tp) to 1 Troop

5676395           Cpl. Salter J. (5 Tp) to 4 Troop

2613937           L/Cpl. Whittingham L. (3 Tp) to 5 Troop

Queries

Reference second News Letter, 23 Dec 43, No. 1136783 Gunner Williams G. is very grateful for the news of his wife, Mrs. G. Williams of 26 Milburn Street, Crook, C. Durham and sends her the following message:

"Pleased with news.  Hope everything is O.K.  Keep smiling.  Am very well.

Gordon."

 

No 1 Commando Newsletter Feb 27th 1944

Author:  Anonymous;                                       

Copy of original document supplied by  John Mewett; Transcribed by Jennie Barlow.

"You may gather how very pleased I'm feeling now that there's this 'club' running for your benefit and mine too.  It sure makes me feel that there's someone in this lot who cares enough to let us wives know under what circumstances you are in."

This is an extract from an Airgraph received by one of our men from his wife in England.  I think it is a fitting opening to this news letter.  As a tribute, it speaks for itself:  may we add that we are all equally grateful for the work you are doing back home.

The Commando is still in the location described in the News Letter of 13th February.  The location hasn't changed but the weather is daily becoming warmer.  Between eleven in the morning and four in the afternoon it is now appreciably better than England in August.

As for recreation in Camp, on the evening of the 14th February we enjoyed a very fine show by an E.N.S.A. party consisting of seven girls and three men.  The Camp cinema continues to show a surprisingly good selection of old films.   A wireless set and two amplifiers provide some radio entertainment to the Camp;  we hope to improve on this soon.  A Brigade magazine entitled "The Third Jungle Book" in being published.  From this unit Lieut. J.R. Turpin is publishing advisor and Lieut. A.J. Davies is Art Director, on the publishing staff.  Finally on the 3rd and 4th March, "Commando Performance" the unit's Concert Party is celebrating its first birthday and giving a show.  I can't do better than give you the artists' names and quote from the programme, for we are very proud of this show.  They are:

            Lieut. Alan Davies         (More Caricatures)

            Q.M.S. Brown               (on the high C's)

            Sgt. Frank Payne

            L/Sgt. George Sutton

            Pte. Maurice Hook        (with his harmonica)

            Pte. Fitzgerald              (on sentry go)

            Gdsm. Jack Raymond   ("The Story Teller")

            Pte. "Taffy" Lewis         (The Welch Tenor)

            Pte. Freddie Witton       (and a piano)

and       Pte. Maxie Walters       ("Jankers Permitting")

The show is devised and produced by CSM. J. Smith.

To Bombay, Fus. Burden (H.Q.), Gnr. Bernini (3 Troop) and Rfn. Smith (4 Troop), went on the 23rd and 24th February to take part in a Greeting Film that is being made.  On the 11th and 12th of this month Pte. Garbutt (3 Troop) and Fus. Dawson (4 Troop) also went to Bombay for the same purpose.

The relatives of these men will be informed of the time and place where these films will be shown in the United Kingdom.

Every troop has by now had 48 hours leave in POONA.  POONA has several good cinemas and a swimming pool for H.M. Forces;  and while on leave the Troops lived in a very good rest camp.

While training permits, sport is carried on as usual.  Hockey, football and volleyball games are held, if possible in the evening.  The Sergeants won a hard game with the officers at hockey by the odd goal on the 25th.  On the afternoon of the 27th February the officers of No. 1 Commando played the officers of No. 42 Commando at football, the result of this hard-fought game was a draw.

To round off this description of our life during the last fortnight I would like to tell you of the boxing meeting held in POONA on the evening of Saturday 26th February.  You may remembers that we were to fight No. 5

Commando.  That meeting, "owing to the exigencies of the service" had to be cancelled and in its place a meeting was held with a team drawn partly from our friendly rivals 42 (RM) Commando and partly from Poona District.  There were 15 bouts each of three one and a half minute rounds.  They were fought in an open air stadium before a large crowd.  This was our team:

            Lieut. T.H. Bowman      No. 6 Troop

            Sgt. Jackson                   No. 4 Troop

            Pte. Prosser                  No. 2 Troop

            Gnr. O'Donnel              No. 5 Troop

            Rfn. Osbourne              No. 6 Troop

            L/Cpl. Ware

            Pte. Rudgely                 No. 6 Troop

            Pte. Wren                     Intelligence Section, Headquarters

            Pte. Talbot                    No. 6 Troop

            Pte. Crellin                    No. 1 Troop

            L/Cpl. Chapman           No. 4 Troop

            Pte. Thompson            No. 4 Troop

            Pte. Croxford               No. 3 Troop

            Pte. Curran                   No. 1 Troop

            Rfn. King                       No. 4 Troop

The contest was very keen and the result very close, for of the fifteen fights, 1 Commando won seven and Poona District eight. I think the show put up by everyone has put 1 Commando on the map out here.  1 Commando won a cup as winning team compared with the Marines. 

A stop press item of news is that on Sunday 27 Feb 44 the unit was inspected by General Sir Claude Auchinleck, G.O.C. India Command. Films were taken of this visit and of the visit of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten;  these may be shown in the U.K.

Promotions

            4194098           L/Bdr. Williams (Headquarters) to be Bdr.

            5676284           Pte. Reid, D. (Headquarters) to be L/Cpl.

1 Commando, Troop Organisation Nov'44

Type: Files
Author: John Mewett
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: Troop Organisation No 1 Commando 1944

War Diary entry for the Troop organisation of No 1 Commando Nov 1944.

 

National Adchives Document Reference WO218/81

Training Instructions ( Arakan ) October 1944

TRAINING INSTRUCTION NO. 3 COPY NO. 18 (ARAKAN) 22 OCT 44         

 

Copy of original document supplied by John Mewett

Transcribed by Elaine Southworth-Davies

 

N/A Document WO/218/63

During the next 10 weeks the Commando will be required to mount and carry out small raids on the enemy coast line.  These raiding parties will form a back-bone of well trained personnel for larger scale ops in the future.

TRAINING ORGANISATION

  1. All Tp Comdrs will train and prepare small raiding parties.  Only their best raiding party will be employed when the opportunity occurs.

It is suggested that Tps form 6 raiding parties per Tp.These will be composed of 1 Offr, 2 TMOs, 2 Bomber- Pistolmen, 2 Garrand Riflemen (This may be increased to 3 B.O.Rs at Tp Comdrs discretion;the Sec Offr being trained to lead in 3 groups).A Bren Gp or 2” Mortar Team may be attached and will, invariably, be attached with 2 Gps which are working together:the 2” Mortar to be used for smoke, H.E., and light signals to confuse the enemy.

The best organisation will be carefully studied and particular attention will be paid to weights and equipment.After trials, Tp Comdrs will submit their proposals.Tp Comdrs are reminded that the success of any raiding party depends largely on attention down to the very smallest detail. See Suggested Organisation shown in para 3.

TRAINING TASKS

  1. (a) Practice by day in route-finding and rapid movement as a preliminary.

 

(b)The night will be the usual time for training in order that movement and control may bebrought to a high standard.Battle drills will be studied and rehearsed.

(c)The following points will be studied and practiced:Stalking of sentries-capturing and securing a prisoner – small demolition work on bridges and guns-road mining and ‘booby trapping’-general knowledge of first aid and the carrying of a wounded comrade-searching of a village and contacting friendly agents-disembarkation and swimming through surf-the waterproofing and rapid cleaning of weapons-ambuscades-the use of field glasses and telescope.

(d)Sand Table:A largescale sand table is being prepared so that patrol sand table exercises, battle drills, movement, can be studied.

(e)Shooting:Ranges of various types are being made so that men will be well-exercised in their weapons.Tp Comdrs will make full use of these ranges.

(f)Support Troop:2 Tp will organise Troop patrol parties out of MMG personnel.The 3” Mortar Sec will be practiced in firing from S.L.Cs and if it can be arranged will occasionally man the 3” Mortars already mounted in M.Ls.

(g)Intelligence:Int personnel will be attached to Tps and will pay particular attention to observation-using the telescope or field glasses.

(h)Signals:Sigs will exercise under the Signal Offr and complete their post classification training.A new Sig Cadre will be started and the Signal Officer’s target will be to have a 400% reserve of trained signallers.

NO. 1 COMMANDO - BLOCK TRAINING PROGRAMME

For 4 days Ship-board Training

 

 

  1. HOURS OF WORK             (A period equals 45 minutes)

                        6 periods (inc. Boat Drill) per day.             Total ….24

  1. BLOCK PROGRAMME                                     Periods

A. Lectures to Troops6

B. Exercise8

C. Boat Drill6

D. Military Tag3

E. Spare1

24

A.            (i) Lectures to Tps  ( 1 period each)

 

Serial

Lecturer

Subject

Reference

Given to

1

Lt. Larcher

Jungle Lore

AITM 21

4 Corps Notes

2 Div Notes, etc.

All Tps

2

Lt. Dawson

“Words of Wisdom from the Front”

AITM 24

do.

3

Capt. Davies

Japanese in Battle

Enemy methods

Notes on Jap Army No.1

Battle Bulletin No.1

News from Theatres of War 12 & 15

do.

4

Lt. Nias

Arakan – Country and people.

-

do.

5

Trg. Offr.

Drill for occupation of Cdo Box

-

do.

6

Medical Offr

New Medical Pack

-

do.

(ii)

Lectures to selected personnel (NOT inc. in Block Programme)

7

Sig. Offr

Supply by Air

14th Army

316/8/CT

Officers, WOs & Sgts

8

I.O.

“Maplay” M.R. Code

3 S.S.Bde

G/14/5/21

All Officers

9

I.O.

“Unicode” M.R. Code & Syllabic Cipher

do.

do. (for transmission to Tps)

D

Military Trg

  1. Compass & Navigation
  2. Weapon Training
  3. “Deaf & Dumb” Alphabet
  4. Supply by Air (Serial 7)

Rifle Tps will do periods a, b, c.

Signal Sec “    “     “          b, c, d.

Intell. Sec.      “     “          b, c, d.

 

4/10/44                                                                                (J.H.S. TURNBULL)      Major.                                                                                                                                       Offr i/c Trg.  No. 1 Commando.

1 Commando Fighting Patrol Composition/Arms/Intercom

Type: Files
Author: John Mewett
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: 1 Commando Fighting Patrol 1944

Document  listing the composition in men and arms of a fighting patrol for No 1 Commando for November 1944 in Burma operations.

Document was sent to John Mewett  by Sgt. John Huntington 3 Troop N0 1 Commando

KNOWLAND, Lt. George Arthur, VC

Rank: 
Lieutenant
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Norfolk Regiment
Service: 
Army
Service number: 
323566 & 578261
Honours & Awards: 
Died : 
Wednesday, January 31, 1945
Killed in action or died of wounds
Age: 
22
Cemetery/Memorial: 
Roll of Honour: 
Grave of Lieut Knowland VC

Lieutenant George Arthur Knowland was killed during operations at Hill 170, Kangaw. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Prior to this he was a Sergeant in No 3 Commando and took part in their action at Termoli in 1943. He was commissioned on the 23rd June 1944 and then joined No 1 Commando in the Far East. 

Reference to this, and to his leadership qualities,  is made here in a Testament to George Knowland by Jack Cox No 12 & 3 Cdo.
[Additional Source : LG Supplement 36673, page 3992, publication date 25th Aug 44.]
 

Citation for the Victoria Cross

War Office, I2th April 1945.

In Burma on 31st January, 1945, near Kangaw, Lieutenant Knowland was commanding the forward platoon of a Troop positioned on the extreme North of a hill which was subjected to very heavy and repeated enemy attacks throughout the whole day. Before the first attack started, Lieutenant Knowland's platoon was heavily mortared and machine gunned, yet he moved about among his men keeping them alert and encouraging them, though under fire himself at the time. When the enemy, some 300 strong in all, made their first assault they concentrated all their efforts on his platoon of 24 men, but, in spite of the ferocity of the attack, he moved about from trench to trench distributing ammunition, and firing his rifle and throwing grenades at the enemy, often from completely exposed positions.

Later, when the crew of one of his forward Bren Guns had all been wounded, he sent back to Troop Headquarters for another crew and ran forward to man the gun himself until they arrived. The enemy was then less than 10 yards from him in dead ground down the hill, so, in order to get a better field of fire, he stood on top of the trench, firing the light machine gun from his hip, and successfully keeping them at a distance until a Medical Orderly had dressed and evacuated the wounded men behind him. The new Bren team also became casualties on the way up, and Lieutenant Knowland continued to fire the gun until another team took over.

Later, when a fresh attack came in, he took over a 2 in. Mortar and in spite of heavy fire and the closeness of the enemy, he stood up in the open to face them, firing the mortar from his hip and killing six of them with his first bomb. When all bombs were expended he went back through heavy grenade, mortar and machine gun fire to get more, which he fired in the same way from the open in front of his platoon positions. When those bombs were finished, he went back to his own trench, and still standing up fired his rifle at them. Being hard pressed and with enemy closing in on him from only 10 yards away, he had no time to re-charge his magazine. Snatching up the Tommy gun of a casualty, he sprayed the enemy and was mortally wounded stemming this assault, though not before he had killed and wounded many of the enemy.

Such was the inspiration of his magnificent heroism, that, though fourteen out of twenty four of his platoon became casualties at an early stage, and six of his positions were over-run by the enemy, his men held on through twelve hours of continuous and fierce fighting until reinforcements arrived. If this Northern end of the hill had fallen, the rest of the hill would have been endangered, the beach-head dominated by the enemy, and other units farther inland cut off from their source of supplies. As it was, the final successful counter-attack was later launched from the vital ground which Lieutenant Knowland had taken such a gallant part in holding.

Photo of grave in Gallery: 
Yes

KNOWLAND, George Arthur, Lieut. VC announcement in Gazettes

Type: Files
Author: John Mewett
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: Lt G A Knowland VC Citation

The London Gazette citation for the award of the Victoria Cross to Lt George Knowland of No 1 Commando 4 Troop

Hill 170 Kangaw Burma January 1945

Follow this link to learn more of about all the Commandos awarded the Victoria Cross

KNOWLAND, George Arthur, Lieut, VC. A testament by Jack Cox.

A Letter to Harry Winch, No. 1 Commando, No. 2 Troop; from Jack Cox, 12 & 3 concerning Lt. Knowland in the Battle for Termoli.

Source: This letter was given to John Mewett by Harry Winch No 1 Commando (2 Troop) for general dissemination in tribute of Lt George Knowland VC who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action on Hill 170 Kangaw Burma January 31st 1945. Transcribed from original by Elaine Southworth-Davies


Date of letter 21 October 2005

Dear Harry,

Thank you for the package re Nobby Knowland.  To express my appreciation for the trouble you have gone to - words fail me. “Absolutely brilliant” springs to mind, but seems inadequate for what I feel deep down.The following will perhaps tell you why I hold this man’s memory in such high esteem, and why I value your package greatly.Nobby I only ever knew as a battlefield commando comrade.  He was my first commando N.C.O. leader in battle when it was at its most desperate and ferocious. This was Termoli in Italy, October 1943 which turned out to be the most horrendous of my own war.

With Lieutenant George Knowland of No. 1 Commando in mind, on receipt of your excellent package, I thought it would be appropriate to tell you a little about the battle for Termoli, where his leadership made such an impression on me.

I was then 18 years of age – having joined up at 16 years, lying about my age, and ever since the Termoli battle, I’ve felt indebted to Nobby and his superb commando leadership at a time when at Termoli, it did seem that we of 3 Commando were about to be wiped out completely.  But more about that later.

After the disbandment of No. 12 Commando, 26 of us from our Troop were sent out to Sicily in the summer of 1943 to join No. 3 Commando.

We arrived soon after they had been in action at “Agnone” in Sicily, where they captured a bridge behind enemy lines and held it against far superior German forces.  Montgomery, being chuffed at this, ordered the title “3 Commando Bridge” to be engraved in the stone-work of the structure.  (Still there in 1948, doubtless no longer).

In their Sicily campaign No. 3 achieved great things, but at dreadful cost in terms of casualties; when we arrived as a contingent from No. 12, 3 Commando were well down in numbers to below half their original strength of 450 men.

Accordingly, 3 Commando, to maintain operational viability, re-organised so that we had just three fighting Troops, as opposed to the usual commando six fighting Troops.

Invasion of Italy was next task ahead.   For this 3 Commando were “brigaded” with the 1st.  SAS (re-named as S.R.S. – Special Raiding Squadron, their founder, David Stirling having been captured by the Germans), and No. 40 Royal Marine Commando, the newly formed commando brigade to be commanded by Colonel Durford-Slater, the Commanding Officer at that time of No. 3 Commando.  Our second l/c Major Bungy Young took over command of No. 3.

Page 2

The first action was a landing on the “toe” of Italy from the Mediterranean coast against Italian Troops.  This was a doddle, for once they put up a showy fire fight with their fast firing Braeder machine-guns, and we returned the fire with interest, they caved in rather easily.Termoli came next from the Adriatic coast.  By then we of 3 Commando numbered less than 160 men and for that operation was commanded by our Adjutant, Captain Komrower, Bungy, our acting C.O. being hospital with malaria and yellow jaundice.The landing took place during the night at 1 a.m. 3 Commando were first to land followed by the SAS and the Marine Commandos. We literally caught a Garrison of the elite German ‘Herman Goering Paratroopers’ napping, but once they were aware we were on their doorstep, they put up fierce resistance.By midday, however, Jerry had had it - our brigade capturing the town, the deep water port there, also about 70 German paratroopers as prisoners, who were taken on board one of the craft that conveyed us for the landing.

Of the several “mini-actions” our sub-section took part in that day, one in particular gives an insight into Nobby Knowland’s leadership in battle.

Our sub-section was sent to the outskirts of the town adjacent to the open country-side to deal with a pocket of German resistance.  The terrain only allowed us a frontal attack, with the enemy putting up a hail of rifle fire in our direction.

Nobby quickly assessed the situation, sent our Bren-gunner out to the flank where he spotted a good firing point, telling him to “keep the bastards heads down.”  Once the Bren opened up, we advanced with our frontal attack, firing as we went, and not losing a man, to come across about a dozen dead German paratroopers, with three still alive whom we took prisoner.At first it looked a dodgy task, the terrain not favourable to a covered approach - in the event it turned out to be a successful “fire and movement” effort, which seemed all over in no time at all.

Nobby knew instinctively the best way to tackle that situation, achieving success with very few words and no fuss - commando leadership at its best.

If my description of that incident makes it all sound easy, it was far from that, but the reason we achieved maximum efficiency in that frontal attack, was down to Nobby’s unhesitating command of the circumstances facing us.

The overall strategy of the Termoli operation was for the 8th. Army to get through to us on land, to re-inforce our capture of this important deep water port.  Trouble was, heavy rains caused the Biferno River, between us and the 8th. Army, to flood sweeping away pontoon bridges; when the rain stopped, Luftwaffe planes appeared in the skies to bomb the fresh pontoons put across the river.

 

Page 3

Some of the 8th.  Army in the form of an infantry unit, a few anti-tank guns, also a few Sherman tanks (I saw three) managed to get across the river before pontoons were either swept away or bombed to join us at Termoli.

We were told that a Panzer Division had been spotted advancing in our direction and to prepare for a counter-attack.

3 Commando were sent about 1 ½ miles outside the town to take up defensive positions on a wooded ridge of low growing Olive trees, which had a commanding view to our front.  Wooded areas of course are good protection against tanks, whose crews are always fearful that a stout branch fallen to the ground would get into their tracks and remove the track from the bogey wheels, so making them immobile and sitting ducks for enemy guns.

Our three Troops of 3 Commando lined that ridge, with a Troop of SAS on our right flank and some 8th. Army infantry off to our left.

The first night on the ridge was extremely cold when it rained.  We had a bit of shelling, but not much, and the night passed without much incident.

Come the dawn and the welcome hot sun, we were straffed by low flying Luftwaffe planes, with a furrow of machine gun fire too close for comfort to my slit-trench.  The aircraft then swooped off to bomb Termoli town.

Immediately after that, we had a clear view of the advancing Panzer Division, from the height of our ridge, with tanks and infantry in abundance.   A dawn attack was imminent

We were then attacked non-stop for the rest of that day, which only eased as darkness fell.   For what has to be a brief account of that lengthy battle, suffice to mention a few of the following instances.

German artillery - extremely accurate, so they knew where we were, stonked our positions for the whole of that day with unremitting shell fire, trees were being blown in the air,  the cry of “stretcher-bearers” could be heard indicating someone had caught it, the whole ridge stunk of cordite -  it could be fairly described as a hell on earth.

 

There were three separate German infantry attacks up the slopes towards our ridge, with much blowing of German whistles, I recall, causing us to be busy with rifles and Bren.  All three attacks were successfully repulsed.

Our Bren-gunner, Jack Leach, was firing at enemy tanks with some effect, as in some instances, the tanks stopped as the result.  In one particular occasion I witnessed, I saw the tank actually back-off   which amazed me at the time.

Difficulty was, Jack was fast running out of ammunition, and started  ‘cadging’  our spare ammo in the form of 50 rounds bandaliers we all carried with us on operations  -  later found many of us short of ammunition.

Page 4

During that day, two anti-tank crews set up their guns near to our slit-trench positions. I could see them plainly from my slit-trench.

When the battle had reached one of its many heights, I happen to see some activity by the gun crews, thinking they were about to take on enemy tanks.   

To my surprise, they were in fact removing the firing pieces from their guns, and did not so much as retreat, as I witnessed, they actually “fled!”  to the rear, departing our ridge in great haste.

I shouted to Nobby, above all the noise, that the anti-tank crews had cleared off and I still remember his response to this day - “I had noticed, I think we’ll go forward about 20 yards near the edge of this wood, these shells will then fall behind us.”

I’ve reflected often since that incident, that it could well have been Nobby’s instinctive way of showing his contempt for the anti-tank crew’s actions, symbolised by our 20 yard or so, very “mini-advance”.   I’m sure in my own mind that was the case. Nobby was nobody’s fool, and his actions always spoke louder than words.It was another example of Nobby being the sub-section Sergeant and commando leader, to be with when the going got tough. The type of man one never ever forgets.

By this time the infantry on our left had been forced back towards Termoli town, also the SAS Troop on our right had been forced back by an infantry attack - from our slit-trenches our sub-section were close enough to give the SAS some covering fire as they fell back, but could do nothing else in the circumstances.

A look at an excerpt from Colonel Durnford-Slater’s post-war book “Commando,” tells us the state of play about then:-

 

          “THE FIGHTING RAGED.     No. 3 COMMANDO STILL OUT IN

          FRONT WERE GIVING, DURING THE GERMAN COUNTER-ATTACK,

          WHAT WAS PROBABLY THEIR FINEST PERFORMANCE OF THE WAR.

          HAMMERED BY TANKS, POUNDED BY GUNS, ATTACKED BY

          INFANTRY AND LEFT EXPOSED AND BLEEDING ON THEIR FLANKS,

          BY THE RETREAT OF ANOTHER UNIT, THEY DID NOT BUDGE

          FROM THEIR POSITIONS ……………………..”

 

When darkness fell, the shelling stopped, presumably because the German infantry were now close to our positions.  They seemed to be puffing their cigarettes in the dark to cause a red glow in the darkness - at least it gave us an idea as to where their positions were.

Then German machine-gun fire came at our positions immediately to our rear - it convinced me at the time that we were no doubt surrounded by the enemy and isolated from the main body of our troops.                                          

Page 5

Nobby’s calm rather low key voice then ordered to we of his sub-section, “Watch for enemy at the rear, shoot enemy on sight.”  We found ourselves returning the enemy fire at the German gun flashes showing well in the darkness.

The order was then passed round to cease-fire and to conserve what ammunition we had left.   Several haystacks were on fire over to the left of the ridge in a farmyard, illuminating the scene in that area.Two enemy tanks were stationary there, with their 88 millimetre guns pointing ominously and directly along our ridge. In our sight we saw German tank crews with mess tins having food.  It reminded me at the time we had not eaten for the 36 hours we had been manning that ridge.

We were left with our thoughts as we stayed in our slit-trenches, still watching our front. I was sure in my own mind that come the dawn the Germans would just see to the task of wiping out No. 3 Commando - with our ammunition being so low, we would not be able to fight back for very long.

I was personally convinced that I was staring my own death in the face.  At that stage of the war I was a “follower” of our commando NCOs and Officer commando leaders (myself not yet an NCO whose role was to lead) and whatever my commando leader did, I would do also.

I knew Nobby Knowland sufficiently by then to know he would never surrender.  His leadership in battle had created in me a great loyalty to him, and I realised that as long as he continued the fight to the enemy, I would want to be with him. I only hoped I would be up to it if and when the time came.

My emotional thoughts then on that ridge, at that time, was for my family and the effect it would have on them to be told I had been killed in action. I said my prayers for them in that respect.

But as it turned out - we were not to be killed off. Captain Dobson of 3 Commando discovered that we were only surrounded on three sides, he and his batman left the ridge on the side the Germans were absent and reported back to Termoli.   Bungy Young’s book “Storm From the Sea” describes what went on:-

 

          “DURING THE NIGHT DONALD HOPSON AND HIS BATMAN,

          SUCCEEDED IN MAKING HIS WAY BACK TO TERMOLI.

          HE EXPLAINED THAT 3 COMMANDO WAS SURROUNDED ON

          THREE SIDES BY THE ENEMY AT FIFTY AND A HUNDRED

          YARDS.  IT WAS EVIDENT THAT UNLESS THEY WERE

          WITHDRAWN BEFORE DAWN THEY WOULD INEVITABLY BE

          ANNIHILATED.  JOHN DURNFORD-SLATER SENT HIM

          BACK WITH ORDERS FOR THE COMMANDO TO WITHDRAW

          INTO RESERVE AT TERMOLI.  HE REACHED THEM AT

          ONE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING.  THREE-QUARTERS

          OF AN HOUR LATER THE COMMANDO FILTERED BACK TO

          THE REAR OF THE RIDGE POSITION AND FORMED UP IN

          FILE.     DONALD HOPSON LED THEM BACK CROSS-COUNTRY

          ………….. THE COMMANDO HAD NO AMMUNITION FOR THE

          MORTARS AND VERY LITTLE FOR THE BREN.    AT 3.30  

        TIRED BUT IN GOOD SPIRITS, THEY REACHED THE TOWN….”

Page 6  

To complete the story of Termoli - 3 Commando’s stubborn resistance on that ridge played an important part in delaying the Panzer Division’s intent of re-capturing Termoli town and the deep water port  - allowing Royal Engineers time at the Biferno Rover to finally secure a pontoon bridge across, enabling the main bulk of the 8th. Army to surmount that River obstacle.

It further allowed the time for an extra British infantry Brigade to land at night from the sea at Termoli.

With these re-inforcements, together with R.A.F. planes appearing in the skies to fire rockets at the enemy tanks, the German Panzer Division was forced into full retreat.  The battle for Termoli was then won, and an important advance by the British Army achieved including the gain of a deep water port.

3 Commando’s casualties from their 36 hour defence of that ridge were surprisingly light. Two were killed, six missing (almost certainly blown to bits by the shelling) and twenty-eight wounded.  An indication of how 3 Commando knew how to properly dig-in.

Nobby’s leadership of our sub-section throughout that battle cannot be described in one sentence. He did have this aura of great strength, mentally and physically.  He showed in combat that he could “think on his feet” with few words and plenty of action -  indicated previously, for example, by our ‘frontal attack’ and the ‘mini-advance on the ridge when Anti-tank crews cleared off. 

He was most certainly focussed at all times with purpose on the main objectives in war - to defeat the enemy come what may. He always seemed to know what to do, despite shot and shell at its most furious.

Nobby Knowland as I knew him then was a man blessed with a large slice of natural humility - also did seem to have a touch of the invincibility about him.  

As an 18 year old at that time, I admired him greatly.  With him as my sub-section Sergeant   -   despite the horrendous nature of that battle, he made me feel secure.

He put, for me, into true perspective war at the sharp end, which greatly assisted me in the future battles I faced from the Normandy D-Day landings, when I was a newly promoted NCO, and subsequently through our European campaign.

By then of course, Nobby had been commissioned as Lieutenant George Knowland and sent out to Burma to join No. 1 Commando in their fight against the Japanese. It was some seven months later that he was to be killed in action and to be awarded the ‘Victoria Cross’.

I’ve since acknowledged the privilege it was to have served under the direct leadership of a man such as he, to whom I’ve always felt indebted for the example he gave as a commando leader at Termoli.

 

Page 7

In post-war years, whenever I have stayed at the Union Jack Club I’ve made a point of unfailingly looking up Nobby’s name on the wall listing all the winners of the ‘Victoria Cross’ and with my memories of him at Termoli, just to say a silent, “Thanks Nobby”.Thank you Harry once again for the superb package you sent me which I value immensely. It has prompted me to write this “epistle length” letter in return.   I won’t apologise for that, for I’ve just written as I felt, with some emotion I suppose, especially at this poignant time of the Commando Association’s ‘Stand-down’. I do hope that you find it of interest.

My best regards to your good lady Pam, look after yourselves - there aren’t many of us left

Yours Sincerely

Jack Cox -  12 & 3 Commandos.    

Additional info:                

As indicated in the above, Bungy Young our then acting C.O. was in hospital at the time of Termoli, but clearly in touch with what was going on, because he left his hospital bed and travelled somehow to Termoli in a Jeep, where the acting Brigade Commander Durnford-Slater made him ‘Brigade Major’ at Termoli - the reason Bungy was not with us on the ridge it being considered he was still not fully recovered from his illness

P.S         

You and I have only met in very recent times and despite the occasional bollocking you have given me, I’ve always enjoyed your company   -   if we had lived nearer to each other, I would have made a point of seeing more of both you and Pam.   I always know a good man when I meet one.  I’m sorry I cannot make the visit to Nobby’s Croydon School, but as I explained, certain domestic obligations have prevented it.   

 All the best Harry,    might see you sometime.

DURRANT, Sgt. Thomas Frank, VC

Rank: 
Sergeant
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Engineers
Service: 
Army
Service number: 
1874047
Honours & Awards: 
Died : 
Saturday, March 28, 1942
Killed in action or died of wounds
Age: 
23
Roll of Honour: 
Operations: 

Sgt Durrant was killed during operations at St Nazaire. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. 

War Office 19th June 1945

For great gallantry, skill and devotion to duty when in charge of a Lewis gun in H.M. Motor Launch 306 in the St. Nazaire raid on the 28th March, 1942. 

Motor Launch 306 came under heavy fire while proceeding up the River Loire towards the port. Sergeant Durrant, in his position abaft the bridge, where he had no cover or protection, engaged enemy gun positions and searchlights on shore. During this engagement he was severely wounded in the arm but refused to leave his gun.

The Motor Launch subsequently went down the river and was attacked by a German destroyer at 50-60 yards range, and often closer. In this action Sergeant Durrant continued to fire at the destroyer's bridge with the greatest coolness and with complete disregard of the enemy's fire. The Motor Launch was illuminated by the enemy searchlight and Sergeant Durrant drew on himself the individual attention of the enemy guns, and was again wounded, in many places.

Despite these further wounds he stayed in his exposed position, still firing his gun, although after a time only able to support himself by holding on to the gun mounting. After a running fight, the Commander of the German destroyer called on the Motor Launch to surrender. Sergeant Durrant's answer was a further burst of fire at the destroyer's bridge. Although now very weak he went on firing, using drums of ammunition as fast as they could be replaced.

A renewed attack by the enemy vessel eventually silenced the fire of the Motor Launch but Sergeant Durrant refused to give up until the destroyer came alongside, grappled the Motor Launch and took prisoner those who remained alive.

Sergeant Durrant's gallant fight was commended by the German officers on boarding the Motor Launch.


View more images of Sgt Durrant VC in our gallery HERE


Read more about Sergeant Thomas Frank Durrant in the document below titled Recommended by the Enemy.


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Photo of grave in Gallery: 
Yes

DURRANT VC, Recommended by the Enemy

Type: Booklet
Author: Robert John Mewett
Year of Publishing: 2016
Keywords: durrant, vc, Victoria cross, commando, chariot, st nazaire

An  article about Sergeant Thomas Frank Durrant VC, No 1 Commando, which was published in the Victoria Cross Society Journal in March 2005. ©RJMewett.

Follow this link to learn more about all the Commandos awarded the Victoria Cross

TREVOR, Thomas Hoult (Lt Col)

Known as: 
Senior
Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Regiment/Corps: 
Welch Regiment
Service: 
Army
Service number: 
53563
Born: 
Tuesday, October 10, 1911
Thomas Trevor was 2i/c of No 2 Independent Company when they sailed as part of Scissor Force (Operation Avonmouth) to take part in the Combined Operations raid on Norway. After this, with the disbandment of the Independent Companies, he joined the newly raised No 1 Commando.
 
After a brief spell of 3 months as CO of No 6 Commando during the aborted raid on Bayonne, Lt Col Trevor then took command of No 1 Commando during the Operation Torch landings in N.Africa. It was during this period that he began his association with the newly raised US Ranger units, contingents of whom were operating with No 1 Commando. During the Tunisian campaign he was awarded a military OBE.
 
On return to the UK, he left No 1 Commando to become Combined Operations HQ Staff Liaison Officer with the US Rangers. He was officially attached to the US Army and was with the Rangers when they landed at Omaha Beach on D Day during which he was wounded. (See notification HERE)
 
More can be read on this Forum Message posted by his nephew.
 
Post war he continued his military service serving in Greece, Korea, and Malaya.
 
Sources:
OBE: LG Publication date: 21 September 1943; Supplement: 3618; Page: 4213
 

TREVOR, Kenneth Rowland Swetenham (Lt Col )

Known as: 
Junior
Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Cheshire Regiment
Service: 
Army
Service number: 
63586
Born: 
Wednesday, April 15, 1914
Died : 
Monday, February 10, 2003
Officer Commanding No 1 Commando 1943 - 1945.
 
Ken Trevor joined No 1 Commando in 1941.  As Captain of 1 troop in 1942 he took part in a raid at St Cecily Plage  and the later Operation Torch landings. He received a Mention in Despatches in N. Africa. He took over command of No 1 Commando from his cousin Tom Trevor when the Commando sailed to India in 1943. During the campaign in Burma he was awarded the DSO for gallant and distinguished services.
 
More can be read on this Forum Message posted by his son:
 
Post war he received an OBE for gallant and distinguished services in Korea, and a  further Mention in Despatches whilst commanding the Cheshire Regiment in Malaya in 1958. He retired from military service as Brigadier in 1966.
 
Henry Brown OBE, Secretary of the Commando Association wrote this in their Newsletter 116.
"The Brigadier, a greatly esteemed officer and very fair disciplinarian, took over command of No.l Commando in 1943 from his cousin, Lieut. Colonel Tom Trevor, O.B.E., and will long be remembered for his constant caring thought and understanding during No.1 Commando's time in India, and especially later in 1944/45 during fierce action against enemy forces in the Burmese campaign, particlarly during the battle of Hill 170 at Kangaw after which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. Association members will be aware of the Brigadier's very keen interest in our affairs and activities, especially during his three terms as our President, and will agree that in the passing of Ken Trevor, as he was affectionately known, the Association has lost one of its most important stalwart supporters."
A Memorial Service for him was held on Sunday 14th September at Chester Cathedral.
 
Brig. Trevor was President of the Commando Association during the periods 1965/6, 1985/6 and 1989/90.
 
Sources:
DSO: LG Publication date: 17 April 1945; Supplement: 37040; Page: 2079
MiD (North Africa) : LG Publication date: 21 September 1943; Supplement: 36180; Page: 4226
MiD (Malaya 1958): LG  Publication date: 24 April 1959; Supplement: 41692; Page: 2764
CBE: LG Publication date: 5 June 1964; Supplement: 43343; Page: 4942
OBE (Military Divn) (Korea): LG Publication date: 29 April 1952; Supplement 39528; Page 2307 
 

2 Commando

The History

The first No.2 Commando was formed on the 22nd June 1940 for a parachuting role at Cambrai Barracks, Perham Down, near Tidworth, Hants. The Unit at the time consisted of four troops - 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D'.  Eventually 11 troops were raised. A nominal roll of 'C' and 'D' troops can be found in our documents album within the No 2 Commando gallery.

In November 1940 the unit would be redesignated as 11 Special Air Service Battalion. They were the airborne part of the Commando "Special Service" units, and had no connection to the SAS later raised by David Stirling They would be renamed 1st Parachute Battalion in September 1941.

During February 1941 a new No. 2 Commando was raised at Paignton by Lt.Col. Augustus Charles Newman. It was formed from men who had volunteered for the Independent Companies and the 1st Special Service Battalion 'B' Company.

Many of the entries below commencing with the Commanders are from a narrative of No. 2 Commando history written by Bob Bishop and dedicated to John and Daisy Wright of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire in memory of their son, Pte. Dennis Wright, who at the age of 18 was the youngest member of No. 2 Commando to fall in battle, September 13th, 1943.  New content has been added over the years since.


View our Gallery images of No 2 Commando

Click/touch No 2 Commando below for additional content, or follow the links below it to specific content entries.

2 Cdo. Roll of Honour

Commemorated in perpetuity by the Commando Veterans Association

 
click on any name for more information
 
The Fallen from 2 Commando
Major T.D. LAWRIE
Capt. G.B. BANTING
Capt. J.S. BARE
Capt. D.L. BIRNEY
Capt. G.D. BLACK
Capt. R.F. BROOME
Capt. E.S. HODGSON
Capt. J.B.  JOHNSON - HOUGHTON
Capt. S.L. JENKINS
Capt. F.S. MASON
Capt. G.A. PARSONS
Capt. THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON
Capt. P. WHITEHOUSE
Lieut. A.T. BRUNSWICK
Lieut. J.A. COYLE
Lieut. J.D. JEFFREYS
Lieut. M. JENKINS
Lieut. C.W. LEA
Lieut. B.A.J. O'MEARA
Lieut. T.G. PEYTON
Lieut. J.D. ROSLING
Lieut. J.E. VANDERWERVE
Lieut. P. WALTON
RSM.  A. MOSS
Sgt. S.D. BAMPTON **
Sgt. E. BRADLEY
Sgt. A.P. DUFFY
Sgt. L.F. ELDRIDGE
Sgt. L.E. GARLAND
Sgt. S. HEMPSTEAD
Sgt. M. SMITH
Sgt. J.E. MOORES
Sgt. N.A. SMALLBONE
Sgt. G. TAYLOR
LSgt. C.W. BLATTNER
LSgt. R. BUCKBY
LSgt. N.M. CAMPBELL
LSgt. R.S. DAVIES
LSgt. W. GIBSON
LSgt. P. HARKNESS
LSgt. M. HARRISON
LSgt. A. HOWARTH
LSgt. J. JACKSON
LSgt. L. RUBIN
LSgt. L.W. WOODS
Cpl. J.E. CAMERON
Cpl. H.J. CARTER
Cpl. C.E. COX
Cpl. R.J. DAVIES
Cpl. N.L. FISHER
Cpl. H. GEE
Cpl. C.E. HARRONS
Cpl. W.A. SPAUL
Cpl. R.M. TOMSETT
Cpl. W. WATT
Bdr. P. McDOUGALL
LCpl. H.B. ALLAN
LCpl. J. BRIGHTY
LCpl. H.R. BRISCOE
LCpl. E.J. BRYAN
LCpl. G. CARRICK
LCpl. J. COUGHLAN
LCpl. J. DONALDSON
LCpl. D.N. FORMOY
LCpl. H.F. FOWLER
LCpl. A.E. GARRATT
LCpl. W. HAY
LCpl. W.B. HEATHER 
LCpl. E.A. HIGGINBOTTOM
LCpl. G.H. HUDSON
LCpl. H.F. HUGHES 
LCpl. J.E. HUNTER
LCpl. H. MATHER
LCpl. C.A. PARKER
LCpl. K.A. PATERSON
LCpl. E.Z. ROSENSTEIN
LCpl. P. SHARP
LCpl. A.W. SHEMMONDS 
LCpl. J. SMITH
LCpl. J.A. STEWART
LBdr. W. CHUDLEY
LBdr. G.J. DEAKER
LBdr. D. KING
Pte. M.D. AIRD
Pte. J. BARRY
Pte. D.S. BENNETT
Pte. A. BLOWER
Pte. L.G. BOWMAN
Pte. S.J. CONNOR
Pte. R.O. CRAIG
Pte. H.P. CUNNINGHAM
Pte. E.G. CURTIS
Pte. A.F. DAY
Pte. T. DIAMOND
Pte. C.H. DRURY
Pte. F.H. GRAY
Pte. J.E. GWYNNE
Pte. J. JACKSON
Pte. F. KELLY
Pte. M. KILLEEN
Pte. F.J. LYONS
Pte. R. MAKEHAM
Pte. J. MAYLOTT
Pte. T. McCORMACK
Pte. A.W. NEAL
Pte. F.E. PHELAN
Pte. A.W.T. PORTER
Pte. F. RADCLIFFE
Pte. A.E. SHERWIN
Pte. F.H. TRIGG
Pte. J.Y. VEITCH
Pte. K.C. WILSON
Pte. D.R. WRIGHT
Gnr. P. BOON
Gnr. C. BURNS
Gnr. A.J. CLARKE
Gnr. E. COX
Gnr. E.J. HUGHES
Gnr. I. IMRIE
Gnr. E.P. KELLY
Gnr. D.M. MILLER
Gnr. N.J. MITCHELL
Gnr. H. STONE
Rfn. C.H. ABRAM
Rfn. N.J. BENNER
Rfn. R.E. BURNS
Rfn. A.R. CRIPPS
Rfn. N.P. GOULD
Rfn. G. HULME
Rfn. W.J. NEVILLE
Rfn. T.Y. ROACH
Rfn. W.J. TARRANT
Rfn. A. WESTWOOD
Fus. G. CHEETHAM
Fus. W.F. DAVIES
Fus. L.G. GOSS
Fus. A.J. LUCY
Fus. H.A. PANNING
Fus. R.S. WOODMAN
Gdsm. W.E. GROSE
Gdsm. F. HAYES
Gdsm. J.F. LEWIS
Gdsm. R.J. PASH
Gdsm. S. ROBINSON
Gdsm. G.W. WALTON
Tpr. N. BUNN
Dvr. R. EVANS
Dvr. R. SCHOLEM

We will Remember them

and of 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.
 
Notes:
** also seen referred to with the surname BRAMPTON.
 
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2 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.2 Commando volunteers which were obtained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Lists of Casualties, the No.2 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.2 Commando.  Research continues. 

The No 2 Commando Nominal Roll is listed below in surname order.

No 2 Commando Nominal A - C

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 2 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)

SURNAME
FORENAME
RANK
S/N
AWARD
REGIMENT
Abbey
Philip Robert A
LCpl
6296572
 
The Buffs
Abram
Cyril Henry
Rfn
6922005
 
Rifle Bde
Acreman
J E
Gnr
 
 
RA
Adams
C
 
 
 
 
Adamson
 
Lt
 
 
 
Agnew
J
Pte
5335029
 
R Berkshire 
Aiden
P M St J
Cpl
 
 
 
Ainslie
Leslie, 'wee' or 'titch'
Pte
2826201
 
Seaforth Hldrs
Ainslie
Walter
Gnr
898494
 
Royal Artillery
​Aird
Gerald
Pte
4613225
 
 
Aird
Michael Derrick
Pte
3772603
 
Kings Regt
Albutt
Frank
Pte
 
 
 
Alden
P
 
 
 
 
Aldersea
S
 
 
 
 
Aldred
Jack
LSgt
1892433
 
RE
Allan
Hugh Bryan
L/cpl
14000107
 
Royal Scots
Allbutt
H
Pte
5127298
 
R Warwicks
Allen
Kenneth George
2/Lt
240429
 
Sherwood For
Allen
Reginald John
 
 
 
Beds & Herts
Allnutt
Cyril W
Pte
2878481
 
Gordons
Allott
Edward
Lcpl
 
 
Pioneer Corps
Amesbury
Alfred Edmund
Cpl
4536995
MM
W. Yorks/Recce Corps
Amos
R
Lsgt
5343009
 
R Berks
Anchor
John Robert
Lsgt
2616491
MM
Grenadier Gds
Anderton
Harold
Gdsm
2620580
 
Grenadier Gds
Andrew
K D
Pte
6350065
 
QORWK
Andrews
B
Pte
 
 
 
Armitage
J H
Pte
​poss 4546729
 
West Yorks 
Armstrong
Jeff, H.
Pte
 
 
 
Arnison
Stanley Frazer 'Stan'
Pte
3599697
 
Border Regt
Arnold
Frank
Cpl
5932921
 
Suffolk Regt
Arnold
J
 
 
 
 
Ashcroft
Arthur
Lcpl
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Ashcroft
T
Pte
​3959697
 
Welch Regt
Ashton
Eric
 
 
 
 
Ashton
Ernest
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery (LAA)
Ashton
James
Pte
4613228
 
 
Ashton
R G
Cpl
 
 
 
Ashton
W
Pte
 
 
 
Aspey
William 'Bill' or  'La'
Lcpl
2930678
 
Liverpool Scots
Asquith
William
Pte
4546321
 
West Yorks
Attwood
R G
Fus
6479169
 
R Fusiliers
Attwood
S G
Gdsm
2617679
 
Grenadier Gds
Aukett
Norman J
Cpl
 
 
 
Auld
Luke
Pte
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Austin
James Herbert
Bdr
2083573
 
R Artillery
Austwick
John 'Jack'
Lcpl
5989253
 
Beds & Herts
Bacon
 
 
 
 
 
Bailey
Charles
Sgt
 
 
 
Bailey
Norman
Lcpl
 
 
Kings Regt
Bailey
W
 
 
 
 
Baker
R
 
 
 
 
Baldock
R
 
 
 
 
Baldwin
Wallace Amos
Spr
 
 
R Engineers
Ballard
Sidney Robert James
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Ballard
William (bill) Joseph
Lsgt
6019504
 
Essex 
Bampton
Stephen Dorcas
Sgt
6349577
 
QORWK
Bancroft
Dilwyn
Lsgt
 
 
Guards
Banks
Frederick Charles Stan
Lcpl
3863503
 
Loyal 
Banks
Harry
 
 
 
 
Banting
Gareth Bernard
Capt
159706
 
RACD
Banting
J
 
 
 
 
Barber
John
Pte
5779882
 
R Norfolk 
Bare
Jack Stormont
Capt
88169
 
Artist Rifles
Barker
William Edward
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Barling
Mike
Capt
 
 
RAMC
Barlow
Arthur Leslie
Pte
 
 
 
Barlow
E J
Sgt
 
 
 
Barlow
Jack
Lcpl
6482241
MBE,BEM, CPM
R Fusiliers
Barmby
Geoffrey
Lcpl
 
 
 
Barnard
Frederick Charles
Lsgt
 
 
 
Barnard
N
 
 
 
 
Barnes
H
Lt
 
 
 
Barnes
M
 
 
 
 
Barnes
Wiliiam Walter
Sgt
 
MID
 
Barnett
L
 
 
 
 
Barron
Robbie
Sgt
2877689
MBE
Gordon Hldr
Barry
John
Pte
3663903
 
South Lancs 
Barton
Bernard James
Maj
134120
DSO, MC
44 Recce Corp 
Basire
M Peter
Lcpl
 
 
 
Bass
J
Pte
 
 
 
Bateman
L
Pte
 
 
 
Bates
Les
Tpr
 
 
 
Bavister
Robert John 'Bob'
Capt
100219
 
SWB
Bayliss
Leonard
Sgt
6467968
 
Royal Fusiliers
Beard
 
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Beardsall
William
Cpl
6918677
 
Rifle Bde
Beardsell
John Clifford
Cpl
 
 
 
Beck
A
 
 
 
 
Beckett
Paul Henry
Pte
4747367
 
Yorks & Lancs
Beeden
Walter Reginald
Sig
2325052
 
R Signals
Belcher
Edward
Pte
 
 
 
Bell
Reginald William
Fus
 
 
 
Bell
William
Lcpl
 
 
 
Bellamy
Frank
Gnr
.1580169
 
R Artilery
Bellamy
G
Pte
 
 
 
Bellamy
R W
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Bellringer
Roy 'Ting-A-Ling'
Lsgt
5342397
 
R Berkshire 
Bells
J
 
 
 
 
Benn
Robin
Capt
138116
OBE
RA 91 Laa
Benner
Norman Joseph
Rfn
6920786
 
Rifle Bde
Bennett
A J
Lt
124713
 
Lincolnshire 
Bennett
A S
Lt
249968
 
R Artillery
Bennett
Derrick S
Pte
6351281
 
QORWK 
Bennett
Frederick 'Fred'
Pte
3655156
 
South Lancs
Bennett
Gordon
Sig
 
 
R Signals
Bennett
John Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Benson
D
Lcpl
 
 
 
Benson
 
Lcpl
 
 
 
Berry
J
 
 
 
 
Berry
R D
Pte
 
 
 
Birney
David Leslie
Capt
75991
 
Rifle Bde
Bishop
Ivor
WO1
 
 
 
Bishop
J
Lcpl
 
 
 
Bishop
Robert Frederick
Lcpl/Lt
346135
MC, MiD*
R Norfolk
Black
Graeme Delemere
Capt
106240
DSO,MC
South Lancs 
Blackmore
 
Pte
 
 
 
Blackwell
F
 
 
 
 
Blackwell
Alun Trevor
Lcpl
3655742
DCM
S Lancs
Blanchard
C J
Lt
197443
 
 
Blandford
Thomas Alexander
Capt
 
 
 
Blattner
Charles William
Sgt
3063224
 
Royal Scots
Blaze
J W
Bdr
 
 
R Artillery
Bleach
William E J
Pte
 
 
Krrc
Blewett
Frederick Charles
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Blewitt
M
Gdm
 
 
 
Blissett
Harry Harold
Maj
90331
 
Kings Regt
Blower
Alfred
Pte
3772259
 
Kings Regt
Blunt
B M
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Blythe
William
Lcpl
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Boardman
Arthur 'Boy'
Sgt
 
 
 
Boast
R J
Pte
 
 
 
Bondy
Theodor
Dvr
PAL/30441
BEM
Rasc
Boon
Peter
Gnr
5183803
 
R.Artillery
Boone
R
 
 
 
 
Bottomley
S
Pte
 
 
 
Boulton
Cyril, B.
Gnr
14285384
 
R. Artillery
Bowers
C
 
 
 
 
Bowers
G
 
 
 
 
Bowman
Lionel George
Pte
5956867
 
Beds & Herts
Bowring
T
Pte
 
 
 
Boyce
A
Lsgt
 
 
 
Boyd
Micky
Pte
3130045
 
R Scots Fus
Boyer
D
 
 
 
 
Bradburn
F
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Bradley
Eric
Sgt
3770135
 
Kings Regt
Bradley
Richard
Lsgt
5344190
MM
R Berkshire 
Brafman
C
Pte
PAL/10958
 
RAOC
Bramley
T A
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Brigden
Frederick James
Pte
 
 
 
Brighty
John
L/cpl
3973527
 
Welch 
Brinkley
J
 
 
 
 
Brinkley
R
Pte
6104149
 
Queens Royal 
Briscoe
Harold R
L/cpl
T/264673
 
RASC
Brookes
A
 
 
 
 
Brooks
T A
Pte
 
 
 
Broome
Richard Frank 'Dickie'
Capt
85468
 
South Lancs 1/4
Brown
C
Pte
2936249
 
Camerons
Brown
D
 
 
 
 
Brown
E F
Sgt
 
 
 
Brown
I
Pte
736249
 
 
Brown
Lewis
Sgt
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Brown
W
Cpl
 
 
 
Brown
Robert Hall
Lsgt
2879761
MM
London Scottish
Browning
James Stanley
Pte
 
 
 
Bruce
Alexander
Lcpl
144937
 
RASC
Bruce
James
Sgt
5989540
 
Beds & Herts 
Bruce
Kenneth
Tsm
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Brunswick
Arthur Trotter
Lt
172379
 
Durham Li
Bryan
Edward Joseph
L/cpl
3775300
 
Kings Regt
Bryan
Sidney Eric
Sgt
 
 
 
Buckby
J
 
 
 
 
Buckby
Raymond F
Lsgt
.1505833
 
R Artillery
Buckmaster
Eric
Pte
T264339
 
RASC
Buckmaster
Stanley Owen
Dvr
 
 
 
Bullen
Christopher Vincent Kit
Lt
251068
 
RA 52 Laa
Bullock
 
Sgt
 
 
 
Bunn
Norman
Tpr
7893626
 
RAC
Burchall
T
 
 
 
 
Burke
Edward 'Tiny'
Sgt
2929845
BEM
Liverpool Scots
Burley
C W
Pte
 
 
 
Burn
Michael Clive Micky
Capt
74087
MC
KRRC
Burns
Charles
Gnr
.1612571
 
R Artillery
Burns
J
 
 
 
 
Burns
J V
Lcpl
 
 
 
Burns
Ronald Edward David
Lcpl
6895664
 
KRRC
Burridge
E
 
 
 
 
Burridge
N
Pte
 
 
 
Bursztein
 
Dvr
 
 
 
Burtinshaw
Robert James Glover
Lt
89395
MiD
Cheshire 
Bushe
Paddy
Rfn
 
 
 
Butcher
Jesse
Sgt
 
 
 
Cadden
Maurice C
Cpl
3864587
 
Cheshire 
Calkin
Ron
 
 
 
 
Callaghan
Dennis
Lcpl
 
 
 
Callow
Ronald
Lbdr
 
 
R Artillery
Cambridge
R G
Pte
 
 
 
Cameron
John Ewen
Cpl
410258
 
Lovats Scouts
Campbell
Norman Murray Priggen
Lsgt
5958258
 
Beds & Herts
Campling
Frederick George 'Joe'
Rfn
6853905
 
KRRC
Candlin
James Daniel Danny
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Cant
Evelyn Arthur George
Cpl (later Lt)
343757
 
Essex
Cant
W
 
 
 
 
Capp
William
Cpl
 
 
 
Capstick
N
Pte
 
 
 
Carlisle
Thomas Alexander
Pte
 
 
 
Carpenter
John
Pte
 
 
 
Carr
Frederick T
Bdr
 
 
R Artillery
Carrick
George
L/cpl
14241652
 
Lancs Fusiliers
Carrol
K
 
 
 
 
Carrol
P
 
 
 
 
Carroll
J
Pte
6469540
 
Royal Fusiliers
Carter
Hugh John
Cpl
4078193
 
Monmouthshire 
Caslin
P G
Fus
 
 
 
Caswell
William James
Gnr
2059600
 
R Artillery
Caveney
John
Fus
3134031
 
Royal Scots Fus
Chadwick
E
Dvr
 
 
RASC
Chadwick
John R O
Pte
 
 
 
Challington
William Albert
Sgt
3515161
DCM
QOCH
Chant
Doug
Pte
 
 
 
Chant
L
Pte
5110274
 
R Warwickshire 
Chapman
William
Pte
 
 
 
Charlesworth
Arthur F.
Lcpl
 
 
 
Cheetham
Gerald
Fus
6482292
 
RF (COF L)
Cheetham
Jack
Cpl
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Chesters
William
Cpl
 
 
 
Chudley
William Henry Albert
Lbdr
882221
 
R.Artillery
Church
Francis John
Cpl
 
 
 
Church
J
 
 
 
 
Churchill
John Malcolm Thorpe Jack
Lt Col
34657
MC,DSO*
Manchester
Clancy
S J
Fus
 
 
 
Clark
James
Gnr
402083
MM
R Artillery
Clark-Darby
P F R
Pte
 
 
 
Clarke
Alfred John Douglas
Gnr
902982
 
R Artillery
Clarke
H
 
 
 
 
Clarke
J
 
 
MM
 
Clarkson
George F
Lcpl
 
 
 
Cleary
Paddy
Pte
 
 
 
Clements
Albert Edward
Pte
 
 
 
Clements
Percy Priestley
Sgt
 
MC,DCM, MM
Leicestershire 
Clery
R V
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Clibborn
William
Maj
 
 
 
Clifford
Oswald
Pte
 
 
 
Coates
Edward
Pte
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Cobelli
Dominic
Lsgt
 
 
 
Cobley
Victor Charles
 
14241816
BEM
 
Cochrane
James Geoffrey
Dvr
 
 
 
Cockine
M
 
 
 
 
Codd
Charles John
Dvr
 
 
 
Codd
Lawrence Joseph
Sgm
2332748
 
R Signals
Coleman
C L W
Lsgt
 
 
 
Coleman
Lloyd
Pte
14241610  Police
 
 
Coleman
R
Pte
 
 
 
Colkin
Ronald Arthur
Lcpl
 
 
 
Collins
D A
 
 
 
 
Collins
Edward
Cpl
 
 
 
Collins
Ronald George
Gnr
 
 
 
Connor
Stanley J
Pte
T 328227
 
RASC
Cook
Ken
Pte
14241818  Police
 
RAC
Cookson
Charles
Cpl
 
 
 
Cooper
George
Pte
14241819  Police
 
Notts&Derby
Cooper
Dudley Edward
Fus
14241655
MM
Lancs Fusiliers
Copland
William Oranmore 'Bill'
Maj
50169
DSO
South Lancs 
Corke
Denis A David
Pte
 
 
 
Coughlan
John
L/cpl
3781807
 
Kings
Coulson
John Richard
Cpl
14241656  Police
 
RAC
Coulthard
Arnold C
Pte
 
 
 
Courtney
T
Pte
 
 
 
Couts
K
 
 
 
 
Coutts
K F T
Cpl
 
 
 
Cowell
A A H Bert
Cpl
 
 
 
Cox
Cecil Ernest Roberts
Cpl
14241734
 
RAC
Cox
Edward
Gnr
.1779575
 
R Artillery
Cox
Hugh Wilfred
Pte
 
 
 
Cox
R R
Pte
 
 
 
Coy
Reginald
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Coyle
J
 
 
 
 
Coyle
James Albert
Lt
255387
 
R.Artillery
Coyne
H
Cpl
929128
 
RASC
Craggs
Francis W
Lbdr
 
 
R Artillery
Craig
J
Pte
14241657 Police
 
Black Watch
Craig
Robert
Pte
 
 
 
Craig
Robinson Ostle
Pte
14241791
 
KOSB
Crane
Syd
Lcpl
 
 
 
Crayne
S
 
 
 
 
Cree
L . 'Jock'
Gnr
.1837879
 
R Artillery
Crippin
Ronald
RQMS
S/136147
BEM
RASC
Cripps
Arthur Raymond
Rfn
11420547
 
R Ulster Rifles
Cross
 
Pte
 
 
 
Crowe
Edward
Pte
 
 
 
Cudby
J
 
 
 
 
Cullum
T
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Cunningham
Henry Peter
Pte
2781746
 
Kings
Cunningham
J
Cpl
3525713
MM
 
Cunningham
William 'Joseph'
Sgt
3521614
 
Manchester 
Curness
Charles
Pte
 
 
 
Currie
John Robert
Sig
2578032
 
R Signals
Currie
M C
Pte
 
 
 
Curtis
Eric Gordon
Pte
6349613
 
QORWK 
Curtis
Reg
Pte
2615427
 
Gren Guards 
11th SAS

Back to top

No 2 Commando Nominal D - H

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 2 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)

SURNAME
FORENAME
RANK
S/N
AWARD
REGIMENT
Dahl
L
Pte
 
 
 
Dalby
A R
Pte
14288596
 
Herts
Daniel
Robert Henry 'Bob'
Bdr
1132799
 
R Artillery
David
G P
Pte
14241820
 
RAC
David
D W
Fus
6482296
 
R Fusiliers
Davidson
Andrew
Major
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Davidson
Douglas Oscar
Tpr
14241622
 
 
Davidson
W
 
 
 
 
Davidson
Ronald
Pte
3775164
 
Kings
Davies
A H W
Lcpl
14241793  Police
 
KRRC
Davies
James Emlyn
Pte
6297210
 
Buffs East Kent 
Davies
L
Pte
14241658 Police
 
Lancs Fus
Davies
Raymond Spencer
Lsgt
5780063
 
R Norfolk
Davies
Ronald John
Cpl
7014421
 
R Ulster Rifles
Davies
Taffy
 
 
 
 
Davies
W
 
 
 
 
Davies
Wyndlam Francs
Fus
6482247
 
R Fus (COF L)
Davis
G E P
Lt
18704
 
Recce Corp
Dawson
Herbert Horace
Pte
 
 
 
Dawson
John W
LSgt
6465567
 
R Fus
Dawson
W
 
 
 
 
Day
Arthur Frank
Pte
6350696
 
QORWK
Day
Stanley Ambrose
Capt
70873
MC
R Signals
De Nobriga
Derek John
Sgt
6896540
DCM
KRRC
Deaker
George James
L/bdr
6201681
 
R Artillery
Deane-Drummond
Anthony
Lt
 
DSO,MC*
R Signals
Deary
Patrick Gabriel
Fus
3854234
 
R Fusliers
Deighan
Bernard John 'Paddy'
Sgt
 
 
 
Deighton
Jack Yorkie C
Pte
 
 
 
Dempsey
J R
Pte
 
 
 
Denison
Mallinson Charles 'Bung'
Maj
145047
MiD
R Fusiliers
Denny
George
Pte
6029743
 
Essex
Dent
Henry James
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Dettmer
Charles H
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Devaney
George
Pte
 
 
Kings
Devaney
J
 
 
 
 
Diamond
C
 
 
 
 
Diamond
Thomas A
Pte
3779240
 
Kings
Dickenson
E
Lcpl
5630880
 
Devonshire
Dickenson
J
 
 
 
 
Dinham
W G 'Wally'
TSM
109291
 
RASC
Ditmar
G
 
 
 
 
Dixon
Herbert 'Bert' or 'Herbie'
Fus
6290340
 
Buffs
Dobie
R
Sgt
 
 
 
Dodson
John Thomas Frederick 'Doddy'
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Doherty
James Laurence
Pte
 
 
 
Dolphine
 
Pte
 
 
 
Donaldson
John 'Jock'
L/cpl
2884838
 
Gordon Hldrs
Done
W
Pte
 
 
 
Donovan
Patrick 'Paddy'
Pte
5626300
 
Royal Sussex
Douglas
Edward 'Ted'
Lsgt
292793
MM
Liverpool Scots
Douglas
William
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Downes
Reg
Pte
6207462
 
Middlesex
Dransfield
George David
Dvr
T92276
MM
RASC
Drever
W
 
 
 
 
Driver
Frank
Gnr
.1431687
 
R Artillery
Drury
Charles Henry
Pte
6019959
 
Essex
Dudlaston
Jack
Pte
3779202
 
Kings
Duffy
Anthony Patrick
Sgt
37732988
 
Kings
Duncan
George
Lt
 
 
 
Eaglestone
L F
Tpr
 
 
 
Eagley
R E
Lt
212252
 
R Sussex
Easthaugh
Colin
Maj
220396
 
Manchester
Eaton
Frank 
Cpl
5950653
 
R Warwicks
Eckman
William
Pte
 
 
 
Edge
John
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Edwards
Bernard
Lbdr
 
 
R Artillery
Edwards
Frederick Stanley James
Pte
 
 
 
Edwards
James Henry
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Edwards
L
 
 
 
 
Edwards
Phillip G Swan
Pte
 
 
 
Ekins
A
Lcpl
5336245
 
R Berkshire
Elder
J
 
 
 
 
Eldridge
Leonard Frederick
Sgt
6461633
 
R Fus (COF L)
Eley
Ronald Ginger
Pte
5781361
 
R Norfolk
Ellingsworth
C
Cpl
 
 
 
Elliot
Alfred John
Pte
3773017
MiD
Kings
Ellwood
William Cyril 'Bill'
Csm
6019994
DCM
Essex
Erdman
 
Pte
 
 
 
Etches
W
 
 
 
 
Etheridge
C S Jack
Cpl
 
 
 
Evans
Frank
Pte
5017636
 
Sherwood For
Evans
P G
Pte
 
 
 
Evans
Ralph John
Dvr
T175282
 
RASC
Evans
William Frederick
Pte
 
 
 
Everett
T
 
 
 
 
Everitt
Tom / Tommy
Sgt
 
 
RAMC
Ewens
George
Sgt
6460277
 
R Fusiliers
Fahy
J
 
 
 
 
Fairclough
John
Sgt
2619513
MM
Grenadier Gds
Fairey
John
 
 
 
 
Farebrother
Patrick
Pte
 
 
 
Farnell
M J
Lt
201330
 
Northumberland 
Farrer
H
Pte
 
 
 
Farrar
Patrick George Michael Hugh 'Gash'
Pte
6025733
 
Essex
Faure
R
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Featherstone
G J
Pte
4436814
 
Durham LI
Featherstone
Maurice
Cpl
6469566
 
R Fusiliers
Felton
G M
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Ferguson
J
 
 
 
 
Ferriss
George
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Field
Norman
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Field
William Frederick
Lcpl
 
 
 
Finch
Nicky
Cpl
6012717
 
Essex
Finch
V
 
 
 
 
Finnigan
John
Cpl
 
 
 
Finnigan
W
 
 
 
 
Fisher
Joseph
Pte
 
 
 
Fisher
Norman Lucas
Cpl
6896443
 
KRRC
Fitchett
John (jack)
 
 
 
 
Fitton
Doug
Pte
3192224
 
KOSB
Fitzgerald
Gerald
Cpl
5338021
 
R Berkshire 
Fletcher
C
Pte
 
 
 
Fletcher
G
 
 
 
 
Foale
V P
Rfn
 
 
 
Formoy
Donald Neville
Lcpl
6467881
 
R Fus (COF L)
Forrester
Donald
Spr
2076993
 
R. Engineers
Fowler
HF
LCpl
 
 
 
Fowler
J V
 
 
 
R Artillery
Fox
John
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Fox
L
 
 
 
 
Foy
L T
Fus
14209732
 
 
Francis
C J
Lt
304749
 
R Signals
Franks
Godfrey R
Lt col
 
 
Rifle Bde
Fraser
Howard Osborne
Cpl
 
 
 
Fraser
W
Pte
 
 
 
Freeman
B
Lsgt
 
 
 
Freeman
P W
Lt
229204
 
R Signals
Fround
George
Pte
 
 
 
Fryer
Benjamin W
Lcpl
2931435
 
Liverpool Scots
Fuchs
Franz R
Dvr
 
 
 
Fuller
Denis C
Sgt
 
 
 
Fuller
J C
Pte
 
 
 
Furnell
N J
Capt
 
 
 
Fursse
Reginald
Sgt
 
 
 
Fyfe 'Jock' LCpl     R Sigs 
Fynn
Francis West Ted
Lt col
109827
MC, Bx STAR
London Scottish
Gallagher
John
Lcpl
5765318
 
R Norfolk
Gallaher
R
 
 
 
 
Gallington
T
Pte
 
 
 
Gamby
Albert Henry W
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Gardener
Bill
Rfn
 
 
 
Gardener
J
Pte
3596436
 
Border
Gardiner C Rfn      
Garfield
Mike
 
 
 
 
Garland
Lindsay Ernest Albert
Sgt/TSM
6012353
 
Essex
Garrat
H
 
 
 
 
Garratt
Arthur Ernest
L/cpl
5338655
 
R Berkshire
Gee
Harold
Cpl
3864592
 
Loyal  (N Lancs)
Gelder
John Willis
Lbdr
1606731.
MM
R Artillery
George H Gnr 1473819   R Artillery
George
Neil
Lbdr
 
 
R Artillery
George R. Gnr 1433262   R. Artillery
Gibson
Thomas
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Gibson
William
LSgt
 
 
Gordons
Gilkes J.W. Pte-4tp      
Gill
Richard
Rfn
6846123
MM
Cameronians
Gillian
W
Lcpl
 
 
 
Goff
Charlie
Pte
 
 
 
Goldie
Thomas
Lsgt
 
 
 
Goldthorpe
A
Pte
3056437
 
R Scots
Gooby
 
Lt
 
 
 
Goode
Frank C
Rfn
7016236
 
R Ulster Rifle
Goodwin
H W H
Lcpl
 
 
 
Gopshill R. F. Gnr      
Gordon
John (jock)
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Gosling
B
Lt
193406
 
R Artillery
Goss
G
 
 
 
 
Gould
H
 
 
 
 
Goulding
E
Pte
3780553
 
Kings
Graham
George
Gnr
14277231
 
R Artillery
Graham
T
Gnr
1807943
 
R Artillery
Graham
T S
Dvr
 
 
RASC
Grant
J
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Graves
E
Pte- 4tp
 
 
KOYLI
Gray
Frank Herbert
Pte
14235476
 
Hampshire
Gray
Hugh Andrew
Fus
3185419
 
R Fusiliers
Gray
John Herbert
Pte
 
 
 
Green
Ernest
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Green
Frederick William
Fus
 
 
 
Green S Rfn 7015368   R. Ulster Rifles
Green
W F
Lbdr
6204868
 
R Artillery
Greenan
W
Fus
 
 
 
Greenfield
Edward G C
Pte
 
 
 
Greer
Samuel
Rfn
 
 
 
Grief
E
 
 
 
 
Grief
George
Lcpl
 
 
 
Griffiths
Owen Edwards
Fus
 
 
 
Grimwade
S W
Pte
 
 
 
Grose
William Ernest Bob
Gdm
2617390
 
Gren Gds
Groves Eric Richard Clifford Cpl T/183555 MM RASC
Groves
Peter W
Cpl
 
 
 
Groves W Pte 6029358   Essex Regt
Gwynne
John Edward Hebert
Pte
2929834
MiD
QOCH
Hackett
John
Pte
 
 
 
Hackman
Stanley
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Haig
R
Pte
 
 
 
Haigh
W
Lsgt
 
 
 
Haines
George Ernest
Tsm
6141513
DCM
East Surrey
Hales
G Scouse
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Hallgarth
Thomas R W
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Hallows
P
 
 
 
 
Hamilton
R
Cpl
 
 
S Lancs PofW Vol
Hammond
 
Tsm
 
 
 
Hannon Gerry Pte     batman to Maj Copland
Hannon
L/cpl
3654970
 
S Lancs PofW Vol
Hanstock
George Alfred
Pte
5781568
 
R Norfolk
Harbert
Harold
Cpl
5337734
 
R Berkshire
Harding
James Edward
 
 
 
 
Harding
Phillip
Pte
 
 
 
Harding
Victor
Pte
5189003
MM
Gloucestershire 
Harkness
Peter
Lsgt
2879689
 
Gordon Hldrs
Harper
Thomas Harold Lawrence
Lcpl
14453904
 
QOCH
Harrington
Jack Lonsdale
Lcpl
7014698
MM
R Ulster Rifles
Harrison
Joseph
Pte
 
 
 
Harrison
Maurice
Lsgt
6896247
 
KRRC
Harrons
Charles Edward
Cpl
5337958
 
R Berkshire Regt
Harvey
J
Pte
 
 
 
Hausmann
Fritz Sigmund
Dvr
PAL/1344
DCM
Rasc
Havin
Ginger
 
 
 
 
Hawkes
Eric John
Fus
 
 
 
Hawkins
F
Cpl
5885298
 
Northamptonshire 
Hay
E G
Lt
 
 
RASC
Hay
William
L/cpl
325315
 
RAC
Hayes
Arthur
Pte
 
 
 
Hayes
Frank
Gdm
2615360
 
Grenadier Gds
Hayes
Graham
Capt
129354
MC
Borders
Hayle
A
 
 
 
 
Healey
Frank
Pte
3136018
 
R Scots Fus
Heard
Thomas R W
Cfn
 
 
REME
Heath
W
Pte
 
 
 
Heather
William Bernard
L/cpl
6400817
 
R Sussex
Heaton
Harry
Sgt
3655790
 
2/4 S Lancs
Heery
John
Lsgt
1839465
 
R Engineers
Heesom
H
 
 
 
 
Heilds
 
Lcpl
 
 
 
Hemming
T Gordon
Capt
77094
 
SWB
Hempstead
Stanley
Sgt
6014969
 
Essex Regt
Henderson
Alexander Ponton
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Henderson
John Patrick Leo
Maj
117132
MC
RE/ 2SS Bde
Hendry
Bernard J
Lcpl
5337785
MM
R Berkshire
Hesketh
W
Pte
 
 
 
Hewitt
Edward
Tsm
6013031
 
Essex
Hewitt
Gordon
Pte
 
 
 
Hickman
Stanley N
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Hields
Alan George
Cpl
 
 
R Artillery
Higginbottom
Edwin Alexander
L/cpl
6145277
 
East Surrey
Higgins
 
Pte
 
 
 
Hill
Frederick
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Hinds
E
 
 
 
 
Hines
E A
Sgt
 
 
 
Hiscock
G S
Sgt
 
 
 
Hodgson
Eric Stewart (bertie)
Capt
75234
 
Beds & Herts
Hoggett
William
Lcpl
2326631
DCM
R Signals
Holden
Stanley John
Tpr
 
 
 
Holland
S
Pte
5603586
 
Wiltshire 
Holland
E A
Sgt
 
 
 
Holland
William Anthony Dutch
Pte
3602596
MiD
Border
Holmes
F L
Lsgt
 
 
 
Holt
Fred
Cpl
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Homer
Leslie (leo)
Lcpl
2930668
 
Liverpool Scots
Honey
Peter
Pte
2930015
MM
Liverpool Scots
Hooper
G
Cpl
2023893
 
R Engineers
Hooper
William F
Cpl
 
 
 
Hooper
Richard Henry Dickie
Capt
70956/ 79066
MC
Kings /5
Hope
J
Pte
6024341
 
Essex
Hoper
Peter John
Cpl
 
 
 
Hopkins
R
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Hopwood
Howell Gaston Lloyd Hoppy
Lt
79651
MiD
Essex
Horland
Peter Douglas
Csm
3655808
DCM
S Lancs
Horscraft
Frank
Lcpl
 
 
 
Hosey
T R W
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Houghton
Joseph Blundell
Capt
130206
MC
QOCH
Howard
H D
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Howard
John Dennis
Lcpl
7375194
MM
RAMC
Howarth
Arnold Arnie
Lcpl
3448514
BEM,MiD
Gren Gds
Hudson
George Herbert
Lcpl
 
 
KRRC
Hughes
C
 
 
 
 
Hughes
Edward Joseph
Gnr
14204254
 
R Artillery
Hughes
Henry Finn
L/cpl
7590916
 
REME
Hughes
Norman James
Rfn
 
 
 
Hughes
William
Pte
 
 
QOCH
Hulme
George
Rfn
3247242
 
Cameronians
Hulme
J
 
 
 
 
Humble
William Mclean
Sgt
2940188
MM
QOCH
Hunter
John Edmund
L/cpl
6968214
 
Rifle Bde (Prince Consorts Own)
Hurst
Ernie
Pte
 
 
QOCH
Hustwick
James Martin
Pte
6352953
 
RWest Kents
Hutton
George Francis
Tsm
6012900
DCM, MiD
Essex
Hutton
Tom Reay
Dvr
 
 
 

Back to top

No 2 Commando Nominal I - O

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 2 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)

SURNAME
FORENAME
RANK
S/N
AWARD
REGIMENT
Ickes
W
 
 
 
 
Ingram
A
 
 
 
 
Irvine
Alexander
Pte
 
 
 
Irvine
B
 
 
 
 
Irvine
D
Cpl
4743417
MM
Yorks & Lancs
Irwin
S C
Lt
126519
 
Rifle Bde
Jackman
E
Sgt
 
 
 
Jackman
H
 
 
 
 
Jackson
Robert Kenyon (jacko)
Dvr
 
 
Rasc
Jackson
Alan
Dvr
 
 
Rasc
Jackson
Joseph
Pte
3655268
 
South Lancs 
Jackson
Joseph
Lsgt
3781177
DCM
Kings Regt
Jackson
Reginald Henry Cyril
Pte
 
 
 
Jackson
William Henry
 
 
 
 
Jacobs
Harry
Sgt
2935294
 
QOCH
Jakeman
K
 
 
 
 
James
A
Lcpl
 
 
Ramc
James
Clifford Viztelly
Lt
174099
MC
Royal Signals
Jarvis
Jack
Rfn
7014212
 
R Ulster Rifle
Jauncey
L G
Pte
 
 
 
Jay
F
 
 
 
 
Jeffreys
John Darrell
Lt
95277
 
KOSB
Jenkins
Morgan
Lt
157336
 
Welch Regt
Jenkins
Samuel Leslie
Capt
88225
 
SWB
Jenkins
W
 
 
 
 
Jermyn
John Bennett Paddy
Capt
187409
 
R Artillery
Jesson
Ronald Richard Cecil
Rfn
 
 
 
Jeyes
F
 
 
 
 
John
Roy
Dvr
 
 
Rasc
Johns
T J
Lcpl
 
 
 
Johnson
 
Dvr
 
 
 
Johnson
 
Dvr
 
 
 
Johnson -Houghton
see entry for Houghton
Capt
 
MC
 
Johnston
Lionel Robson
Fus
14329144
 
Lancs Fus
Jones
G L
Sgt
 
 
 
Jones
Glyn
Cpl
 
 
 
Jones
Harold
Cpl
 
 
 
Jones
L A
Spr
 
 
R Engineers
Jones
O
 
 
 
 
Jones
T
 
 
 
 
Jones
W G
Pte
 
 
 
Jones
Colin
Sgt
2931662
MM
QOCH
Jupp
Clifford N
Capt
176804
 
RA 100 Laa
Jupp
J W
Pte
 
 
 
Justice
Leonard D
Pte
5336367
 
R Berkshire 
Kallaway
L T
Dvr
T/175413
 
Rasc
Kay
J
Cpl
3660155
 
South Lancs 
Kayes
 
Lcpl
 
 
 
Keenan
Stanley D (taff)
Pte
 
 
 
Keep
Raymond Walter
Maj
187000
MC
West Yorks 
Keith
A
Rfn
 
 
 
Kelf
R
 
 
 
 
Kelly
Desmond
Pte
 
BEM
 
Kelly
Edward Norman
Tsm/Lt
6920929
 
 
Kelly
Ernest Patrick
Gnr
1490890
 
R Artillery
Kelly
Francis
Pte
4467369
 
Border Regt
Kenyon
Robert
 
 
 
 
Key
J
Cpl
 
 
 
Killeen
Martin
Pte
404846
 
Beds & Herts
Kilpatrick
A
 
 
 
 
King
David
L/bdr
1445271
 
R Artillery
King
L R
Rfn
 
 
 
King
Norman
Cpl
 
 
 
Kirkhope
William Adam
Cpl
7662003
DCM
R Signals
Kirton
E
Pte
 
MiD
 
Knowles
Johnny
Sgt
2931831
 
QOCH
Knowles
William H G
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Knox
 
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Lambkin
Sidney James
Fus
 
 
 
Langford
K
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Latto
Jack
Lcpl
 
 
 
Laundon
Richard
Lsgt
 
 
 
Lavin
Joe
Pte
 
 
 
Lawley
Arthur William Albert
 
3952374 
MM
S Wales Borderers
Lawrie
Thomas Dick
Maj
47603
 
Royal Scots
Lawson
William Henry
Pte
6401966
 
R Sussex
Lea
Charles William
Lt
65769
GM
R.Engineers
Ledger
E H
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Lee
Arthur
Lt
5990155
 
Beds & Herts
Lee
E
Pte
 
 
 
Lee
G
 
 
 
 
Lee
 
Tsm
 
 
 
Lees
Brian
Capt
 
 
Ramc
Letts
 
Pte
 
 
 
Levy
I
Pte
 
 
 
Lewis
John Frederick
Gdm
217158
 
GrenadierGds
Lewis
S
Lcpl
 
 
 
Lima
Cyril
Cpl
2929831
 
Liverpool Scots
Lloyd
H Charlie (taff)
Gdm
 
 
 
Love
F G H
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Lownden
 
Lt
 
 
 
Lowson
Robert
Sgt
 
MM
Liverpool Scots
Lucock
J
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery (lpost war RA Sgt. Minden Barracks Malaya )
Lucy
Albert James
Fus
6461459
 
R Fus (COF L)
Luffman
C (nick)
Cpl
 
 
 
Lumm
Harry Dennis
Pte
5956829
 
Beds & Herts
Lyon
B
 
 
 
 
Lyons
Frederick James
Pte
6469624
 
QRRWS
Mabbott
C
Pte
 
 
 
Mabey
Reginald Stanley
Pte
 
 
 
Maccreedy
Hugh Francis
Fus
 
 
 
MacCullum
Laurence Eric
Major
129561
MC, MiD
Manchester 
Macdonald
W (mac)
Fus
 
 
 
Mackay
Peter John
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Mackechnie
A
 
 
 
 
Mackechnie
George
Sig
 
 
R Signals
Macklen
Charles
Sgt
 
 
 
Maclean
Alexander Robert
Tsm
6465533
 
Royal Fusiliers
Maclere
A
 
 
 
 
Madeley
S
Pte
 
 
 
Madley
S
 
 
 
 
Makeham
Reginald Henry
Pte
841059
 
Gordon Hldrs
Manderville
 
Pte
 
 
 
Mandeville
 
 
 
 
 
Mann
G (yorkie)
Pte
 
 
 
Mann
R
 
RFN
 
 
Mann
Robert
Rfn
 
 
 
Marlin
Ernest Victor
Pte
 
 
 
Marshall
A E
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Mason
F
 
 
 
 
Mason
Frank Stanley
Lt
149207
 
Recc Corp Rac
Mason
K
 
 
 
 
Mason
Robert H
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Mason
Ronald
Pte
 
 
 
Mason
Tom
Pte
 
 
 
Matchell
 
Lt
 
 
 
Matchwick
Maurice Gordon
Lcpl
5344998
 
R Berkshire 
Mather
Ernie
Pte
 
 
 
Mather
Fred N
Wo1
 
 
Rac
Mather
Harry
L/cpl
3656822
 
South Lancs 
Mattison
William
Fus
6458012
 
Royal Fusiliers
Mavin
John
Pte
 
 
 
Maylott
Jesse
Pte
3654748
 
South Lancs Regt
McAllister
Kenneth
Tsm
2929412
 
LiverpoolScots
McAnulty
D
Rfn
834883
 
R Artillery
McCallum
J
 
 
 
 
McClair
Alex R
Capt
 
 
 
McClar
A
Lsgt
 
 
 
McClean
A
Sgt
 
 
 
McClusky
George Anthony
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
McCormack
J
 
 
 
 
McCormack
Thomas
Pte
2930404
 
QOCH
McDonald
J
 
 
 
 
McDonnell
J
Pte
6469199
 
Royal Fusiliers
McDonough
John
Pte
 
 
 
McDougall
Peter
Bdr
1527887
 
R Artillery
McGarrity
John
Lcpl
2929120
 
LiverpoolScots
McGee
Edward
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
McGinley
Pete
Bdr
 
BEM
R Artilery
McGuire
T H
Sgt
 
 
 
McIrvine
D M
Cpl
4745417
MM
Yorks & Lancs
McIver
Alex J
Capt
 
 
Ramc
McKechnie
Harold
Pte
 
 
 
McKenzie
A
Pte
 
 
 
McLean
John
Sgt
3654604
 
Pow Vol
McMenamin
James Hugh
Lt
UDF64394V
MC
Transvaal Scottish SA
McNiven
H
Pte
1472548
 
 
McWilliams
Lionel (doc)
Major
100995
MC
Ramc
Meaney
P
 
 
 
 
Merry
Jack
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Mewse
A
 
 
 
 
Miles
Sidney J
Pte
 
 
 
Mill
J
 
 
 
 
Miller
E G
Lcpl
 
 
 
Miller
J E
Bdr
 
 
 
Miller
J L
Pte
 
 
 
Miller
S B
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Miller
Steve Ossie
 
 
 
 
Miller
T S
Csm
 
 
Coldstreams
Miller
V W
Lcpl
 
 
 
Miller
Victor
 
5835397
 
R Norfolk Regt
Mills
William
Pte
5336103
 
R Berkshire 
Milne
Robert
Gnr
2567490
MiD
R Artillery
Milner
Ernie
Sgt
3775340
 
South Lancs 
Mitchell
Norman John
Gnr
5440660
 
R Artillery
Mitchell
Ronald England
Capt
79658
MBE
Herts Regt
Mitchell
W
Pte
 
 
 
Moffat
Cocky
Pte
 
 
 
Molkenthin
Alfred Joseph
Pte
 
 
 
Molkenthin
P E T
 
 
 
 
Mollison
I
 
 
 
 
Mollison
J M
Lt
245312
 
KRRC
Monaghan
A
Pte
 
 
 
Moody
John Jack
Rfn
 
 
 
Moore-Brown
C K S
Lt
 
 
R Fus (COF L)
Moores
Jack Ernest
Sgt
5767479
 
R Norfolk Regt
Morgan
Francis C
Lcpl
6468099
MM
Royal Fusiliers
Morgan
G
 
 
 
 
Morgan
J E
Lt
149826
 
S W B
Morgan
R
 
 
 
 
Morgan
Richard Fuller
Capt
105100
MID
South Lancs 
Morgan
G C
Pte
 
 
 
Morland
Peter Douglas
Tsm
3655808
DCM
South Lancs 
Morley
S
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Morris
Herbert John
Sig
 
 
R Signals
Morris
J
 
 
 
 
Morris
Luke
Lcpl
7014390
MM
London Irish
Mort
Alexander
Tsm
3656780
 
South Lancs 
Moss
Alan
Rsm
2930992
MID
QOCH
Moulsdale
B
 
 
 
 
Mulcahy
Thomas Joseph
Lbdr
1517069
MM
R Artillery
Murdoch
Sid
Pte
 
 
LiverpoolScots
Murphy
John
 
 
 
 
Murphy
Laurence Kevin (paddy)
Lsgt
5338001
MID
 
Murray
J
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Myers
John (jerry)
Capt
253959
 
Hampshire 
Myram
Albert Edward Mick
Sgt
 
MM
Somerset Li
Nagel
Peter
Lcpl
PAL/115
 
Rasc
Neal
Alfred William
Pte
7349551
 
Ramc
Neighbour
Ronald
Rfn
 
 
 
Neighley
Jimmy
 
 
 
 
Neil
W
 
 
 
 
Neilly
Stanley J
Cpl
 
 
 
Neville
W
 
 
 
 
Newell
James
Pte
5504742
 
Hampshire 
Newman
Augustus Charles
Lt col
33927
VC, DSO
Essex Regt
Niblo
J
 
 
 
 
Nichol
Joseph Edward Chancellor Joe
Capt
179442
MC
R Artillery
Nicholl
J
 
 
 
 
Nicholls
J
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Norey
H Pete
Fus
 
 
 
Norman
William
Rsm
 
 
 
Norton
Jimmy
 
 
 
 
O'Brien
Richard
Sgt
5340890
DCM , MM
R Berkshire 
O'Donnell
L
Cpl
6896669
 
KRRC
O'Hare
Bernard Joseph
Wo/lt
6976912
 
Royal Irish Fus
O'Meara
Barry Aden Joseph
Lt
151674
 
RAC
O'Neill
John
Pte
1651089
 
Sherwood Forresters
O'Rourke
E P
Pte
 
 
 
Offord
Michael
Pte
 
 
 
Oldridge
L
L/sgt
6451333
 
Royal Fusiliers
Oliver
C
 
 
 
 
Osborne
H
 
 
 
 
Oughtred
Neil
Capt
70524
 
Lincolnshire 

Back to top

No 2 Commando Nominal P - Z

Commando Veterans Archive Nominal Roll for No 2 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)

SURNAME
FORENAME
RANK
S/N
AWARD
REGIMENT
Paddy
L A
Capt
140076
 
R Artillery
Pallett
A
 
 
 
 
Palmer
Fred
Tsm
 
 
 
Palmer
N
Sgt
2035474
 
R Engineers
Panning
Henry Albert
Fus
14318966
 
R Fus (COF L)
Parker
Charles Alfred
L/cpl
5950711
 
Beds & Herts
Parkes
F
 
 
 
 
Parkes
James Patrick
Pte
 
 
 
Parsons
George Alexander
Capt
162020
MC
Somerset Li
Parsons
George
Cpl
 
 
Fusiliers
Parsons
Cecil Douglas
Lsgt
5952876
 
Beds & Herts
Parsons
Sid
 
 
 
 
Parsons
Thomas F
Lsgt
 
 
 
Pash
Reginald Jack
Gdsm
2621407
 
Grenadier Gds
Pasternak
R
Dvr
PAL/31628
 
Rasc
Paton
David
Capt
 
 
Ramc
Patterson
G R
Lt
 
 
 
Paterson
Kenneth Albert
L/cpl
5442424
 
Duke Cornwall 
Payne
Roy 'Jack'
Gdsm
2616354
 
Grenadier Gds
Peachey
Frederick
L/sgt
3654154
MM*
South Lancs 
Peacock
Arthur
Sgt
4965863
 
Essex Regt
Peck
J
Pte
 
 
 
Pender
Pat
LCpl
3656262
 
South Lancs
Penfold
Frederick Arthur
Fus
 
 
 
Pentelow
A
Cpl
 
 
 
Perkins
Leonard
Tsm
2930945
MM ,MiD
Liverpool Scots
Peters
David Robert
Major
124427
MC
R T R
Peters
Frank J. 'Pete'
Rfn
 
 
London Irish
Peters
Fred
Pte
 
 
London Irish
Pettit
Ernest Henry
Bdr
 
 
R Artillery
Peyton
Thomas Grenville Pitt
Lt
112912
 
KRRC
Phelan
Francis Edward
Pte
6351455
 
QORWK
Phelan
J
 
 
 
 
Phelan
M
 
 
 
 
Phillips
L
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Phillips
T A
Lcpl
 
 
 
Picket
George
Cfn
 
 
REME
Pierth
 
 
PAL/
 
RASC
Pirth
B
 
 
 
 
Pittard
Simon Rood
Lcpl
 
 
 
Pitter
L
Pte
 
 
 
Pitter
Toby
Sgt
 
 
 
Plummer
Norman James
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Pollock
John
Pte
 
 
 
Porter
Alfred William Thomas
Pte
14713795
 
East Lancs Regt
Powell
A Les
Gnr
929812
 
R Artillery
Pratley
Sidney Thomas
Sgt
 
 
 
Pratt
Victor
Cpl
5781708
 
R Norfolk Regt
Prescott
James F Anthony
Tsm
 
 
London Scottish
Preston
D
Maj
 
 
 
Preston
J
 
 
 
 
Priest
Charles George
Tsm
 
 
 
Prince
Stanley
Pte
 
 
 
Pritchard
William Henry
Lt
76488
MC MID
R Engineers
Proctor
John D
Lt (later Maj)
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Radcliffe
Frederick
Pte
3772039
 
Kings Regt
Ralph
Victor
Pte
 
 
 
Randall
Donald Charles Don
Sgt
2929382
DCM
Cameron Hldrs
Rawlinson
Jack
Gnr
11270315
 
R Artillery
Read
Victor Herbert
Pte
 
 
 
Reed
C
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Rennie
Jim
Sgt
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Reynier
Peter
 
 
 
 
Richman
Harry R
Pte
354582
 
Essex Regt
Riggott
J
Bdr
 
 
R Artillery
Riley
B J
Bdr
1695115
 
R Artillery
Roach
Thomas Ypres
Rfn
6849064
 
Krrc
Roberts
Harold Aggs
Lcpl
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Roberts
J
Fus
6459118
 
Royal Fusiliers
Roberts
T
 
 
 
 
Robins
G
Pte
5952268
 
Suffolk Regt
Robinson
Sydney
Gdm
2619196
 
Grenadier Gds
Rochford
Desmond
Sgt
 
 
Black Watch
Rodd
S W
Sgt
 
 
 
Roderick
John Morgan
Lt
94409
MC
Essex Regt
Roe
Harold Reginald
Cpl
5346498
 
R Berkshire 
Roe
John Windsor
Major
71049
 
R Artillery
Rogers
Joseph Gerard Anthony
Lsgt
2933493
MM
Liverpool Scots
Rogerson
James J
Spr
 
 
R Engineers
Rollo
Harold
Cpl
 
 
 
Rolph
Norman
Pte
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Rosenstein
Ernest Zeno
Lcpl
PAL/1115
 
RASC
Rosling
John Douglas
Lt
74664
 
Welch Regt
Ross
W
Pte
XO37972
 
 
Rousell
A
Lsgt
 
 
 
Rowe
A
Lsgt
3773996
 
Kings Regt
Rowe
H
Pte
 
 
Manchester 
Rowland
John
Lsgt
 
 
 
Roy
Donald William
Capt
88495
DSO
Cameron Hldrs
Royle
Victor
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Rubin
Leonard
Lsgt
6147484
 
East Surrey 
Rudge
William Francis 'Tan'
Sgt
3654948
DCM
1/4 Bn South Lancs 
Rudland
J
 
 
 
 
Ruffell
H G W
Sgt
 
 
 
Rumble
F
Fus
 
 
 
Ruston
Roy (smokey)
Dvr
 
 
 
Rutter
Jack Walter
Lcpl
 
 
 
Ryder
George
Cpl
 
 
 
Salisbury
D
 
 
 
 
Salmon
Dennis
Rfn
 
 
 
Sanderson
K
 
 
 
 
Sansom
George
Pte
5888422
 
 
Sarginson
Edward William
Sgt
 
 
 
Saunders
Alfred Frederick
Pte
2066437
 
R Engineers
Sawkins
Thomas James
CSM
6014018 & 343031 (OCTU)
 
Essex
Sawyer
A F
Gnr
1447691
 
RA (Coast)
Schofield
Dudley R
Lt
 
DSO
 
Schofield
G
Pte
 
 
 
Scholem
Robert
Dvr
PAL/30212
 
RASC
Schreiber
Herbert
Pte
13809326
 
Pioneer Corp
Scott
B J
Pte
 
 
 
Scully
Louis Len
Lcpl
 
 
 
Scutt
Steve
Lcpl
 
 
 
Seabrook
R G
Pte
 
 
 
Searle
Francis A.
Sgt
881586
 
RA (Field)
Searle
J H
Pte
 
 
 
Searson
Alfred Clarence
Lsgt
6403917
MM
R Sussex Regt
Searson
T
 
 
 
 
Seaton
Alexander F (sandy)
WO1
T/1054316
 
RASC
Selby
P C
Fus
 
 
 
Selley
 
 
 
 
 
Selsby
P C
Fus
 
 
 
Seymour
H
Pte
6350471
 
The Buffs
Shankland
George
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sharp
Peter
Pte
3059646
 
QOCH
Shaw
Alan
Pte
 
 
 
Shaw
L (titch)
Pte
4547160
 
Yorks & Lancs
Sheard
Enoch
Cpl
3655822
 
S Lancs Regt
Shears
Harry G
Pte
 
 
 
Sheehan
Christopher
Cpl
 
 
R Ulster Rifles 
Shemmonds
Anthony Wilson
L/cpl
6351892
 
QORWK 
Sherman
Thomas
TSM
 
OBE
Kings Regt
Sherman
R
Pte
 
 
 
Sherwin
Albert Edward George
Pte
6351428
 
QORWK
Shine
R
Pte
 
 
 
Shipley
Stanley George
Sgt
5568215
 
Wiltshire Regt
Shore
G
Gnr
1590006
 
RA (Coast)
Simister
Charles Arnold
Cpl
7363858
MM
RAMC
Simmonson
N
 
 
 
 
Simons
M
Lcpl
 
 
 
Simpson
Charles J
Cpl
 
 
 
Simpson
L
 
 
 
 
Simpson
N
Lcpl
2879531
 
Gordon Hldrs
Simpson
Thomas
Pte
 
 
 
Simpson
Harold Leonard
Lcpl
2879581
MID
Gordon Hldrs
Sims
Richard William
Sgt
2033171
MM
Somerset Li
Sinnott
Edward
Lcpl
3654059
 
PoW Volunteer
Skilling
S
Pte
 
 
 
Skinner
Jack Noel
Cpl
6019864
MBE
Essex Regt
Slater
Harold 'Joe'
Cpl
3654571
 
S Lancs PoW Vol
Slaughter
A
Pte
 
 
 
Slaughter
Dennis Harry (Todd)
Sgt
1054779
 
REME
Smallbone
Nelson Arthur Michel
Sgt
6467394
MiD
R Fus (COF L)
Smart
Herbert
Cpl
 
 
 
Smith
Alfred Frederick
Sgt
 
 
 
Smith
Benjamin Ralph
Pte
 
 
 
Smith
C
 
 
 
 
Smith
G
Fus
 
 
 
Smith
Henry James (jim)
Lsgt
 
 
 
Smith
James
Lcpl
3654054
 
S Lancs 
Smith
Jimmy
Sgt
3655831
 
S Lancs PoW Vol
Smith
L
Rfn
 
 
 
Smith
L
Fus
 
 
 
Smith
Miller
Sgt
2657063
 
Coldstream Gd
Smith
Peter
Cfn
 
 
Reme
Smith
R
Pte
6288645
 
Recce Corps (The Buffs)
Smith
S R (solly)
Sgt
 
 
 
Smith
Thomas J
Lsgt
3655831
MM
S Lancs Regt
Snowling
G W
Lcpl
 
 
 
Sowerbutts
E Gordon
Lcpl
2930775
 
Liverpool Scots
Sowerbutts
N
 
 
 
 
Spalding
W
 
 
 
 
Spall
C W
Dvr
193292
 
RASC
Spaul
William Albert
Cpl
6088619
 
QRRWS
Spearman
Reg
 
 
 
R Artillery
Spearman
T A
Gnr
1442953
 
RA (HAA)
Spinks
Edward George
Sgt
6482324
 
R Fus (COF L)
Spragg
Roy P.
Pte
6353598
 
QORWK
Sprall
G W
Lt
312661
 
Queens Royal 
Stafford
F
 
 
 
 
Standen
T E
Pte
 
 
 
Standley
Robert James
Pte
6104499
 
Queens Royal
Stanley
George V
Sgt
1892424
 
RE
Stanley
T
 
 
 
 
Stanton
W
Pte
 
 
 
Stanton
 
2 lt
 
 
 
Steele
D
 
 
 
 
Steele
Ronald
Sgt
2334308
 
R Signals
Stephens
William Howard
Cpl
 
 
 
Stern
John Henrick
Bdr
1123647 & 349226 (OCTU)
 
RA (Field)
Stevens
Andrew John
Pte
 
 
 
Stevens
Adrian John
Lcpl
6213205
 
Middx Regt
Stevens
WH
LCpl
2621414
 
Grenadier Gds
Stevenson
J S C J
Pte
 
 
 
Stevenson
Stanley
Cpl
6460557
 
Royal Fusiliers
Stewart
J A
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Stewart
John Alexander
Lcpl
2931169
 
Liverpool Scots
Stewart
John Rattray Chalmers
Capt
92023
MID
Kings Regt
Stilwell
Michael William
Major
P/149313
CBE, MC
Coldstream Gd
Stitt
W
Bdr
 
 
R Artillery
Stockie
G
Pte
 
 
 
Stokes
Walter
Fus
4196049
 
RWF
Stone
Henry
Gnr
3392730
 
R Artillery
Stott
C F M
Pte
 
 
 
Straker
R
Fus
4271883
 
RNorthumberland Fusiliers
Straughier
Forrest Mitchinson Longstaff
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Stretton
Albert
Gdsm
2612604
 
Grenadier Gds
Stuart
W
Gnr
1426856
 
RA (HAA)
Stubbs
G A
Pte
3654706
 
S Lancs PoW Vol
Stutchbury
John Forbes
Capt
182409
MiD
Gordons
Sudbury
V C W
Lt
73157
 
Sherwood For
Sugden
Eric C.
Pte
7356938
 
RAMC
Sullivan
E
Pte
 
 
 
Sumner
Frank
Csm
 
 
Liverpool Scots
Suthers
Jimmy P.
Gnr
6287961
 
RA (HAA)
Svet
Zvi
Pte
 
 
(Interpreter)
Swallow
Ronald Thomas
Sgt
 
 
 
Swayne
R
 
 
 
 
Swayze
Bill
Cpl
 
 
 
Tarkinton
E
 
 
 
 
Tarrant
William John
Rfn
6921429
 
Rifle Bde
Taylor
Gerald
Sgt
7598084
 
RAOC
Taylor
Horace
Cpl
5047398
 
K S L I
Taylor
Lawrence (larry)
Capt
89029
 
Liverpool Scots
Taylor
Stanley
Lsgt
2927159
 
Cameron Hldrs
Taylor
Stanley John
Capt
 
 
 
Telford
James Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Terry
Anthony F A J
Maj
 
MC
 
Thomas
D I Royden
Capt
 
 
RACD
Thomas
Dewi Alun (tommy)
Capt
148494
OBE
R Artillery
Thomas
Donald
Lbdr
 
 
R Artillery
Thomas
S
Pte
 
 
 
Thompson
Kenneth
Cpl
 
 
 
Thompson
Robert
Pte
6014360
MID
Essex Regt
Thrift
Frank
Lcpl
6459241
 
Royal Fusiliers
Tombs
Tommy
Pte
 
 
 
Tomlinson
Richard M
Csm
840175
MM
R Artillery
Tomsett
Reginald Maurice
Cpl
6896917
 
KRRC
Toombs
L
Cpl
5334138
 
R Berkshire 
Torkington
Wallace
Lcpl
 
 
 
Travill
Cecil Alexander
Pte
 
 
 
Trigg
Frederick Harry
Pte
6399046
MM
Sussex Regt
Trueman
Dennis
Pte
 
 
 
Tuck
 
Pte
 
 
 
Tucker
E
 
 
 
 
Turner
Larry
Capt
63622
 
KRRC
Turney
William James
Csm
5951593
 
Beds & Herts
Turpin
A
Pte
 
 
 
Turpin
Dick
Lcpl
 
 
 
Turpin
John
L/sgt
 
 
 
Tuson
Raymond Charles
Gdm
 
 
Grenadier Gds
Twiddy
Arthur Thomas  'Doug'
Gnr
1541778
 
Royal Artillery
Tynan
Sydney
Lcpl
 
 
 
Upson
J
 
 
 
 
Upton
N
 
 
 
 
Vanderwerve
John Edward
Lt
117921
 
Kings Regt/ 9
Vango
George
Lbdr
 
 
R Artillery
Vatcher-dow
Peter
 
143880122
 
 
Vaughan
D W
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Vaughan
R B
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Veitch
John Young
Pte
3188895
 
Royal Scots
Veitch
W
 
 
 
 
Verri
Alexander
Cpl
5337321
MM
R Berkshire
Vick
F G
Cpl
 
 
 
Vingoe
S
 
 
 
 
Wainwright
W
Pte
 
 
Yorks & Lancs 
Waite
William, R
Fus
 
 
 
Wake
E G
Lt
 
 
Buffs
Wakefield
Edward Roger
Capt
138709
 
Special Svc Bde
Waldron
F
Gnr
 
 
RA (Field)
Walker
Alan
Capt
 
 
Beds & Herts
Walker
J.F.
Cpl
3771765
 
Kings Regt
Walker
G
Cpl
6350209
 
QORWK
Walker
R S
Cpl             (later OCTU)
 
 
Pioneer Corps
Walker
S
 
 
 
 
Walker
T G A
Lt
91956
 
Herts Regt
Walkinshaw
A.D.
Pte
 
 
RA (HAA)
Wallace
D
Lsgt
 
 
 
Wallace
J
Cpl
7016105
 
R. Ulster Rifles
Walsh
T
Sgt
 
 
 
Walters
 
Lt
 
 
 
Walton
George William
Gdm
2618526
 
Grenadier Gds
Walton
Philip
Lt
104117
 
Beds & Herts
Walton
W
Pte
 
 
S. Staffs Regt
Wanstall
Sydney D
Pte
 
 
 
Warburton
H
Pte
 
 
Recce Corps
Ward
Cyril
LSgt
 
 
Loyal Regt
Ward
H P N
Pte
 
 
 
Ward
J W
Rfn
 
 
 
Ward
V
Gnr
 
 
R. Artillery
Wardle
M
 
 
 
 
Wardle
Arthur
Sgt 2Cdo later Capt 3Cdo
3459543
MC
Lancs Fusiliers
Warne
R.P
Gnr
 
 
 
Watson
Robert
Cpl
5989899
 
Beds & Herts
Watson
William Humphries 'Tiger'
Lt
189409
MC
Blackwatch
Watt
William
Cpl
6460971
 
R Fus (COF L)
Watts
Stanley
Tpr
365294
 
RHG
Weaver
D
Pte
7392008
 
RAMC
Weaver
William Charles
Lcpl
 
 
RAMC
Webb
John
Sgt
7377410
MM
RAMC
Webb
Michael Hinton
Capt
242138
MC*
Transvaal Scottish
Webster
Douglas (dink)
Sgt
 
 
R. Norfolk Regt
Welbeck
 
LSgt
 
 
 
Welburn
T
LSgt
 
 
W. Yorks Regt
Welch
F
Pte
 
 
RASC
Wellesley
Henry Valerian George
Capt/Duke of Wellington
56864
 
DWR
Wellings
C
Pte
 
 
Border Regt
Wellington
H
 
 
 
 
Wells
L
 
 
 
 
Wells
Leonard
 
 
 
Hampshire Regt
Wells
Stanley  D. 'Bomber'
Pte
 
 
 
Wells
Terence Morris 
Pte
5950877
 
Beds & Herts
Wesley
E A W
Capt
 
MC
 
Westlake
Peter, D.
Rfn
 7016551
 
R. Ulster Rifles
Weston
W.F.
Gnr
 
 
 
Westwood
Albert
Rfn
6898157
 
KRRC
Wham
John Howie
Lcpl
7377410
MM
RAMC
Wheeler
George Russell
Cpl
6899186
MM
R Sussex Regt
Whelan
Leslie George
Pte
2930965
 
Cameron Hldrs
White
John William 'Jack'
Bdr
883001
 
R Artillery
White
Jack Walker
Bdr
 
 
R Artillery
White
John Edward
Sgt
2620077
MM
Grenadier Gds
White
V C W
Rfn
6971154
 
 
Whitehouse
Peter Beckwith
Capt
100423
 
R.Engineers
Whitfield
Guy Faulkener
Capt
143475
MC
KSLI / Recce Corp RAC
Whittaker
W
Lcpl
3654665
 
South Lancs
Whittingham
Ernest Edgar (dick)
Pte
 
 
 
Wickson
Lionel Charles
Sgt
5950750
MM
Beds & Herts
Wightman
C.L.
Dvr
 
 
RASC
Wightman
Norman
Cpl
 
 
 
Wilcox
A.G.
Pte
 
 
 
Wilcox
Richard 'Dick'
LCpl
2931468
 
QOCH Liv Scots
Wild
C
Gnr
 
 
R. Artillery
Wild
Jack
Piper
 
 
 
Wilde
J
LCpl
3655016
 
South Lancs
Wilkes
Frederick
Pte
2931680
 
Liverpool Scots
Wilkins
Lewis M
Lt
140113
 
RASC
Wilkinson
Cyril
Pte
2929839
 
QOCH
Willett
Stanley W.  'Billy'
Pte
6094960
 
QRR
Williams
C
Gnr
 
 
RA
Williams
C.H.
Dvr
 
 
RASC
Williams
W
Fus
 
 
 
Wills
A.J.
Pte
 
 
 
Wilson
 
Fus
 
 
 
Wilson
A
Pte
 
 
 
Wilson
Gerry
Pte
2929369
 
Liverpool Scots
Wilson
Kenneth Charles
Pte
6297934
 
Middlesex Regt
Wilson
Lawrence Henry
Pte
 
 
 
Winter
Frederick
Pte
 
 
 
Winter
 
Cpl
 
 
 
Wood
G
Rfn
 
 
 
Wood
H.W.
Pte
3909924
 
SWB
Wood
R
Pte
 
 
 
Woodiwiss
Arthur Frank Buster
Cpl
5343292
MM
Queens Royal 
Woodman
Robert Salonicka
Fus
6467448
 
R Fus (COF L)
Woods
Leslie William
Lsgt
5777911
 
R Norfolk Regt
Woods
Anthony H. 
Cpl
5781196
 
R Signals
Woolford
E
Pte
 
 
RAMC
Woolley
S
Pte
6353299
 
QORWK
Woolley
William, A.
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery (Coast)
Wray
 
LCpl
 
 
Loyals
Wright
C
Pte
 
 
DCLI
Wright
C.E.
Gnr
 
 
R. Artillery
Wright
Dennis Raymond
Pte
5127463
 
RWarwickshire 
Wright
E
Pte
 
 
 
Wright
J
Dvr
 
 
RASC
Wright
J.H.
LCpl
2335243
 
R. Signals
Wright
S
Gdm
2615718
 
Grenadier Gds
Wright
William Leonard
Pte
 
 
 
Wynne
Hugo
Sgt
 
 
QOCH/Liv.Scots
Yoles
P
 
 
 
 
York
George
Gnr
 
 
 
Young
Arthur
Lcpl
2880180
MiD
Gordons
Young
L
Dvr
 
 
 
Young
M
 
 
 
 
Younger
A
 
 
 
 
Youngman
Frederick
Gnr
 
 
R Artillery
Zavaroni
Cesare
Pte
 
 
 
Zvet
Zvi
 
 
 
2 Cdo Interpreter

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2 Commando Commanders

Commanding Officers of No 2 Commando

This history of No. 2 Commando was compiled at the request of The Commando Veterans Association, who wanted a record of the unit’s activities and first-hand recollections of its members as seen through the eyes of a No. 2 Commando veteran. There was a certain urgency about the request because this veteran, turned author, is old and just about one step away from the knacker’s yard. There is much to tell about the No. 2 Family and its Father, Charlie Newman.

Bob Bishop

Read more about each Commanding Officer below.


Continue reading our history of No 2 Commando here  'Some of the Men'.


NEWMAN, Lt Col. Augustus Charles, VC

Known as: 
Colonel Charles, Charlie
Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Regiment/Corps: 
Essex Regiment
Service: 
Army
Born: 
Friday, August 19, 1904
Died : 
Wednesday, April 26, 1972
Operations: 

Lt. Colonel Newman was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry whilst Military Force Commander of Operation Chariot, St. Nazaire.

An account by Bob Bishop No 2 Commando from his history of No 2:

"As soon as the name Colonel Newman is invoked, the reaction is always ST. NAZAIRE! But, there was more to Charlie than his epic leadership as Military Force Commander at that battle of March 28th, 1942. If one wants to know about the exact dates of when Charlie left his role in No. 3 Independent Company, or when he arrived or left Paignton, Weymouth, Dumfries, Lockerbie or Ayr, and perhaps details of his pre-war Territorial Army service, ample information on these events can be obtained from the many books written by ‘historians’ who somehow catalogued such data without ever knowing Charlie.

This author likes to reminisce about the Colonel’s tremendous work in recruiting, training and forging a fighting unit that he could lead into battle anytime and at anyplace. Charlie managed to keep his troops at a razor-sharp level of efficiency despite the winter of discontent and impatience of 1940 and the year of frustration that followed it in 1941. Under a lesser leader morale would have surely gone to pot, but Charlie, by clever use of novel training programmes which he dreamed up, managed by sheer force of personality to actually improve the ‘readiness’ condition of the Commando, day by day.

It sticks in my mind that during the days that followed the raid on St. Nazaire, my friends and myself never did any talking about that event. When new replacements arrived to rebuild the Commando and wanted to know about what happened there, they never answered by anything other than non-committal remarks. However, when this or that was debated, Charlie’s views as we had known them were always offered as solutions to differences of opinions. Colonel Jack Churchill arrived to fill Charlie’s spot as C.O. The Commando welcomed ‘Mad Jack’ as its new leader and over the space of the next two and a half years he became a magnificent Commander. But in those days it seemed only a temporary arrangement. Maybe we thought that Charlie would somehow show up and take over again.

There are a couple of memories that this author has of Charlie that cannot be found in any book. A boxing tournament had been arranged between No. 2 Commando and a local artillery unit stationed near Ayr. Before the first bout commenced, the artillery C.O. entered the hall and took his ringside seat amid some mutterings from his own men to the effect of ‘officers always getting the best seats’. Then Charlie made his entrance and difference could be compared to codfish versus caviar. The entire Commando rose up and belted out this verse:

Clap hands! - Here comes Charlie!
Clap hands! - GOOD OLD CHARLIE!
Clap hands! - Here’s OUR CHARLIE now!!

The Colonel grinned, and turned with his hands clasped above his head in the prize-fighter manner to acknowledge what he knew was a genuine expression of admiration from his boys. The artillery lads looked on in disbelief. They just could not understand how we respected and admired our Charlie.

The most important memory in my military life is the saga of events concerning my attempts to volunteer for Commando service with Col. Newman. It began with myself, then 17, feeling somewhat in a useless situation within the confines of Britannia Barracks, Norwich. A Notice had been posted on the board which declared that: ‘All ranks may apply at the company office to be interviewed at a date to be arranged for the purpose of volunteering for Commando service’. This was an instruction from the all-highest, the Army Council, and I foolishly thought that no one could circumvent that and they would have to let me volunteer … Silly me! I should have known that the Army Council instruction would be dismissed as rubbish by our exalted Company Sergeant Major Cooper. This author, then so naïve, rushed to the company office eager to have his name put on the Commando volunteer list. C.S.M. Cooper gave me his usual friendly glower and greeted me with a jocular ‘What do you bloody want?’ My response was that I wished to volunteer for the Commandos. I think I added ‘Sir’ at the end of my request just to mollify the old rotter. C.S.M. Cooper carefully considered my request for all of two seconds then gave me his decision with his famous roar and snarl combination, ‘OUT!’. Then he asked me a very pertinent question, ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’. Without waiting for a response from me to this friendly inquiry he stabbed at the door direction with a finger and yelled ‘OUT!’ once more. He was in fine voice that day and as I trudged down the company office steps I thought that the word impasse really was a French description of our Sgt. Major. There was no way, it seemed, to get around such an immovable object. But my utter dejection was short-lived. Lady Luck arrived and intervened on my behalf. That delightful lady arranged for C.S.M. Cooper to be the victim of a tragic motorcycle accident the very next night and Sgt. Major Cooper was as dead as a mackerel. The way was clear and Cpl. Friston, the company clerk, added my name to the list of volunteers with no argument.

Charlie arrived at Britannia Barracks shortly after all this happened and it should be recorded as to how he was helped in his recruiting endeavours. Charlie had to find a room for himself in town and was not offered the hospitality of the officers’ mess. He had to conduct his interviews within the luxurious confines of the men’s canteen. This author recalls that Charlie evaluated him from across the billiard table. I think he had to rummage for my papers between two itinerant red-balls. But I arrived one day thereafter to take my place in his command and it was all so very worthwhile.

One day in early 1942 we were practicing manhandling some rather heavy equipment up the cliffs at the Heads-of-Ayr. Charlie called out to me, ‘Move that rope grapple to the left, SON!” That form of family address personified Charlie’s relationship with all his boys.

Our Charlie passed away April 26th, 1972. He was 68."

NEWMAN, Lt Col. Augustus Charles, Citation for VC

Type: Files
Author: John Mewett
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: Lt Col A C Newman VC No 2 Commando St Nazaire Raid

The Citation for the award of the Victoria Cross to Lt Col A.C. Newman The Essex Regt No 2 Commando and Commander of the land forces St Nazaire raid 27/28th March 1942.

Follow this link to learn more about all the Commandos awarded the Victoria Cross

CHURCHILL, John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming (Lt Col)

Known as: 
Mad Jack
Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Regiment/Corps: 
Manchester Regiment
Service: 
Army
Born: 
Sunday, September 16, 1906
Died : 
Friday, March 8, 1996

After a brief spell as 2i/c No 5 Commando, the then Major Churchill moved to 2i/c No 3 Commando. Shortly after Lt Col Newman was taken prisoner at St Nazaire in 1942, Major Churchill was promoted Lt Col. to replace him as OC No 2 Commando. Lt Col Churchill remained OC until he was also taken prisoner in 1944. 


An account by Bob Bishop No 2 Commando from his history of No 2:

"It has been over sixty-three years since this author served under the command of Jack, but to this day it is impossible to think of the man without prefacing my reverie with some kind of exclamation such as: Whew! or My God! and I have to stop thinking about this larger-than-life character or else I wouldn’t get anything done during the day or sometimes, night. Jack will always be with me because he will be part of my life; something that will last and never fade.

Unlike so many of the men he commanded, Jack came from a pretty well-heeled Oxfordshire family. Following his formal education at the Dragon School, Oxford and King William’s College, Isle of Man, then RMC Sandhurst, he obtained a regular army commission in the Manchester Regiment in 1926. His career in the peacetime army came to a screeching halt ten years later when Jack and his C.O. agreed to disagree and Jack resigned his commission.

Jack was recalled to the army at the outbreak of war, served with distinction at Dunkirk and got himself an M.C. After which, he was one of the very first volunteers for the newly-formed Commandos. Jack found himself assigned as Major, and second-in-command of No. 3 Commando. The author wonders about that time. The thought of having three diverse personalities and future Commando legends – John Durnford Slater, Peter Young and Jack Churchill – all under the same roof is frightening! However, it all worked out well – J.D.S. was kicked upstairs, promoted to Brigadier, Peter Young eventually got control of No. 3 Commando, and Jack Churchill was shifted over to No. 2 Commando replacing Lt. Col. Charlie Newman, who had been lost at St. Nazaire.

The ‘coming’ of Jack to No. 2 Commando in April 1942 and his subsequent campaign exploits are related elsewhere. In this narrative, the author confines himself to relating his memories of Jack and endeavors to try to convey some truths that need to be recorded and questions that need to be asked now, or they will never see daylight.

This author finds himself somewhat dismayed by various reports that have surfaced from time-to-time which infer that Jack Churchill was a sort of ‘publicity seeker’. For those who have that opinion, I ask them to consider this:

Where is there a book written by Jack Churchill concerning No. 2 Commando depicting himself in a starring role?

Jack has never written anything about his life and times, or caused them to be recounted by some ghost-writer. Thankfully no officer who served in No. 2 Commando has ever caused publication of a book to join the many which were authorized by Jack’s brother-colonels in other Commando units and several accounts written by lieutenants on upwards. The author makes this point, not in criticism of these many published scribes, but to illustrate that Jack certainly had a personal story of unexcelled heroism to tell, but was too darn modest to cash in on it.

There is that matter of a decoration. At Salerno Jack and his runner had operated far out ahead of the Commando and entered the enemy-held village of Pigoletti, whereupon Jack descended on each German sentry post or weapons pit, made its occupants prisoner and delivered them group by group to be guarded by the waiting runner. When the count was made it amounted to 42 prisoners Jack had taken. He even made the German mortar crews carry out their own mortars. The prisoners with all their weapons were then handed over to the leading Commando troop when it finally caught up with Jack. For this audacious feat of arms Col. Jack was recommended for the Victoria Cross, which was in due course watered down to a D.S.O. WHY? The award of the V.C. had certainly been made as a result of actions concerning far-lesser valour.

The qualities of leadership displayed by Jack’s fellow Commando colonels, Lt. Cols. Durnford Slater, Peter Young, Derek Mills-Roberts, Lord Lovat and Ronnie Tod, were all recognized by their promotion to the rank of Brigadier. They were all grand leaders who deserved such recognition. BUT Jack was not promoted. In fact, we have to sadly note that in 1948 he had been demoted to the rank of major engaged in the thankless task of keeping Arabs and Jews from each others throats in the Palestine mandate. It is thought that Jack had fully deserved the promotion which was awarded to his peers, but somehow denied to him. WHY? again.

It is said by many fanciful writers that Jack went into action in No. 2 Commando ‘resplendent with bow and arrows’. Where? The author participated in everyone of the Colonel’s operations in No. 2 and only saw our Jack adorned with claymore, bagpipes, an American M-1 carbine, sometimes a 45 automatic, haversack, helmet with large S.S. badge, and map case. Wasn’t that enough?

Jack much admired the discipline and enthusiasm of the average German soldier. He once stated ‘that was what made them such wonderful soldiers’. He compared such qualities rather favourably with those who inhabited our ‘mass-produced army’. He always advocated more realistic training for the ordinary British soldier although he fully realized that it would be impossible to put the whole army through Achnacarry.

Jack, the man, was hard, if not impossible, to get to know. He lacked a certain rapport with his brother-officers and certainly never got close to the rank and file boys in the same way as Charlie Newman. But, then again, Charlie Newman’s fatherly attitude was a tough act to follow and Jack Churchill’s pale, steely-blue eyes were fixed on the prosecution of the war and nothing else.

Our ‘Mad Jack’ once gave himself to prose, writing that:

"No Prince or Lord has tomb so proud
As he whose flag becomes his shroud"

Lt. Col. Jack Churchill, D.S.O., M.C., a.k.a. ‘Mad Jack’ passed on, March 8, 1996. He was 89."

Obituary for Colonel Chrchill DSO MC by Henry Brown OBE

Officer Commanding No. 2 Commando from April 1942 until, his capture in 1944. Affectionately known by his Commandos as "Mad Jack". He died on Friday 8th March 1996. 

Henry Brown OBE, National Secretary of the Commando Association contributed the following obituary published in the Commando Association Newsletter 103 dated Sept 1996:

"Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill DSO MC.
The National Press obituary notices outlined in great detail the sterling qualities of Colonel Jack, describing him rightly as probably the most dramatically impressive Commando leader of the Second World War. One could go to great lengths in describing his charm and countless attributes, and doubtless, all comrades privileged to know him closely, especially those in No.2 Commando, know how daring and fearless he was certainly a man born to lead' Not surprisingly, he soldiered on after the war and in spite of his many varied interests and activities he always took a very close interest in our Association and we look back with much pleasure on his two periods, 1957-8 and 1968-70, as our President. For his dear widow Rosamund, we correct the following inaccuracies in the Daily Telegraph obituary notice. Colonel Jack, always particular about being correctly dressed, did not transfer to the Seaforth Highlanders until after the war. Neither did he rush up any beaches "dressed only in a kilt", nor was he born in Surrey, but Sri Lanka. The passing of these two great wartime Commando leaders* has certainly left gaps in our Commando family we can never hope to fill."

* In the same issue Henry wrote about the passing of Lord Lovat

FYNN, Francis West (Lt Col)

Known as: 
Ted
Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Service: 
Army
Born: 
Thursday, July 9, 1908

Commanding Officer No 2 Commando from June 1944 after Lt Col Churchill was taken prisoner of war


Below is an account by Bob Bishop No 2 Commando from his history of No 2:
 
"Colonel Fynn was known to all as ‘Ted’, why it is not known, he arrived with that designation and everyone used that name thereafter. He was the third Commanding Officer to be at the helm of No. 2 Commando, inheriting the job right after we had lost ‘Mad Jack’ on June 6th, 1944.

A difficult man to describe - perhaps he was not as fatherly as Lt Col Newman, more like an uncle I suppose, and not as autocratic as Jack Churchill. His style was more ‘laid back’ and easier in the manner of many South Africans, but when you looked at Ted you knew that he had ‘seen’ life. Although this author is second-to-none in his admiration of ‘Mad Jack’ and considered him to be the ‘bravest of the brave’, after two and a half years of serving under his command Ted was regarded with an expression of some relief. This quiet man who had taken over, we all knew, was going to be o.k. It was as though someone had said “It’s time to lighten-up a little, boys!”.

In October, 1942, at Lerwick in the Shetlands, Ted became the titular head of ‘Fynn Force’, a group of Commandos formed with the purpose of making life uncomfortable for the Germans in Norway. Ted led attacks on objectives in Southern Norway. The first assault was on Stord Island where Ted blew up a pyrites mine at Lillebo. A highly successful raid, Ted managed to get this job done with the loss of only one Commando K.I.A. Other operations followed. Ted said nothing of this background when he joined No. 2 and went on to lead the Commando in action at Himare, Albania July ’44 and Sarande, Albania October ’44. Shortly after these operations, the author was seconded to S.O.E. and that was the last he saw of Ted.

Ted won the M.C. in 1942 and was also awarded the Bronze Star (U.S.A.) for his leadership of No. 2 Commando at Lake Comacchio 1945.

The author would like to relate an episode from Ted’s tenure with No. 2. Ted had gotten himself married in Bari, Italy, with a good attendance at the ceremony by officers and others. The morning after the wedding night he was asked by someone, “How did the night go?” Ted then said, “Well, do you remember what Charlie Newman said when he was awarded the Victoria Cross?” The enquirer replied, “What did Charlie say?” Ted then smiled and uttered the historic words:

"I GOT IT FOR THE WHOLE COMMANDO."

2 Commando, Some of the Men

There is a worn-out cliché which goes as: "They came from all walks of life". It is descriptive and fits, so we will use it one more time because it certainly describes the pre-service backgrounds of the people who took their places in the ranks of No. 2 Commando. They were an interesting assortment and what follows is some insight as to how their lives unfolded and sometimes terminated.

nb. click/touch the names for additional info

L/Sgt. Joseph Jackson

Joe was a former Isle of Man taxi-driver who was an old hand from the Independent Company days and was there from the beginning of the Commando. Joe won the D.C.M. and almost made it to the end of the war, K.I.A. 27 February, 1945, Age 39, at Lake Comacchio, Italy.

 


Pte. Dennis Wright

Dennis was a student from Birmingham, although judging by his age probably schoolboy would have been more accurate. This lad fought in the battle of Dragone Hill in the Salerno landing and was K.I.A. 13 September, 1943. Dennis was 18.

 


L/Sgt. Frederick Peachey 

Fred came from Warrington, Lancs, and was an early member of No. 2. He was at Vaagso and later was seriously wounded at St. Nazaire. He fought in Sicily followed by the Salerno landing where he was wounded again and received an M.M. for his courage.

Fred continued his campaign in Yugoslavia and Albania operations and was wounded a third time in the Argenta Gap, Italy, battle where he won a bar to his M.M. After the war, Fred resumed life as a Lorry Driver and passed on at the age of 63. A quiet man.


L/Cpl. John Phelan

Johnny was educated at an expensive finishing school in Belgium. He came from a family that operated a flourishing restaurant business in London. Johnny was in the campaigns in Sicily, Italy, Yugoslavia and Albania. He was commissioned from the ranks as a Lieutenant in 1945. The thing that the author remembers most about Johnny is that he got on our nerves relating about yummy hot roast beef sandwiches at his family restaurant while we were in the process of consuming our usual meal of corned-beef and hard-tack biscuits.


Capt. The Duke Of Wellington

The 6th Duke of Wellington could have had a very comfortable war had he chosen to be the functional head of his own regiment, The Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regt. Instead, the Duke sealed his own fate when he arrived at 2 Wellington Square, the 2 Commando H.Q. in Ayr, May 1942. This rather chubby, unpretentious and likeable man turned out to be a great Commando Troop Leader who knew that leading from the very front of his troop was the only place to be. The Duke was K.I.A. 16 September, 1943 at Pigoletti in the Salerno beachhead. He was 31. It must have been in our minds when some Sgt. remarked that our Duke had paid a higher price than his illustrious ancestor. The ‘Iron Duke’ rests in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Our Duke is buried alongside many other men of No. 2 Commando in Salerno War Cemetery.

 


Sgt. Jack Moores

Jack enlisted in the regular army in 1929. He was a fugitive from hard economic times and very much admired the idea of eating on a regular basis and the luxury of having a roof over his head. He arrived in Ayr from Achnacarry in May 1942 and enquired if this author was also from the Royal Norfolk Regt. He then stated that the author’s name was the same as his first R.S.M. in 1929 who had a five-year old son. So, the author stuck out his hand and said “It’s been a long time, Jack!” We became firm friends for the remainder of Jack’s life. The campaigns that followed our stay in Ayr proved that Jack was a fine leader of men who was much-admired for his steadiness in any situation. Our friendship was broken when Jack was severely wounded and died after reaching his objective – a fortified ridge at Himare, Albania. The date was 29 July, 1944. His age was recorded as 37 (going on 42). We all missed this fine old soldier.


L/Cpl. W. Cant

Police Constable Cant arrived from Achnacarry in May, 1942 as part of the wonderful Police Intake who had no previous military training prior to attending Col. Charlie Vaughan’s school. Our ‘cops’ settled in very fast and not one of them had any problem becoming valued Commando soldiers. Everyone addressed Bill Cant as ‘P.C.’ thereafter. The boys from the London Police used to tease ‘P.C.’ about being from a rural Essex constabulary, with references to the famous case of two runaway chickens when they had to ask ‘The Yard’ for help. ‘P.C.’ fought well and became an obvious leader in seven ‘No. 2’ operations resulting in him receiving his Lieutenants ‘pips’ in 1944. ‘P.C.’ survived the war and presumably went back to the still-unsolved chicken case in Essex.

 


Lieut. Thomas Peyton

Tommy Peyton had been with No. 2 Commando for only a few short months when he embarked for the voyage to the Loire River and the port of St. Nazaire. Somewhere in the holocaust that followed on the night of 28 March, 1942, Tommy earned the distinction of being the youngest officer of No. 2 Commando to fall in battle. He was 20 years old.

 


Pte. Alfred Neal

Alfred Neal was a medical orderly with the assault troops of No. 2 Commando, who landed at St. Nazaire on the night of 28 March, 1942. Alfred’s attempts to help wounded Commandos from very exposed positions on the docks resulted in his receiving fatal wounds. Alfred was from Norwich – this author’s hometown. Pte. Neal was 24.

 


Captain Joseph Houghton MC

Known to everyone by the surname of Houghton, his actual family surname was Johnson - Houghton. The family tended to simply use the shortened version Houghton. 

Joe Houghton was educated at Marlborough College and later employed at the African Manganese Company in Sauda, Norway.

He was mobilised with the Honourable Artillery Company in 1939 and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 29th April 1940. After volunteering for special service he was posted to No.4 Independent Company. In May 1940 he sailed to Norway with No.4 and other Independent Companies as part of Operation Scissorforce. In October 1940 as part of the restructuring of the Ind. Coys. he was posted to B Coy. No.1 SS Bn and a few weeks later to the newly formed No.2 Commando.

On the 28th March 1942 Joe participated in Operation Chariot - the raid on the port of St Nazaire. He was in charge of the Protection party for a demolition team on board ML443. This was one of the few ML's to make it back after the raid. It was later that year that Joe took part in what would be his final raid with No.2 Commando. This was the raid on the Glomfjord hydro-electric plant in Norway codenamed Operation Musketoon. During this raid he was wounded, and along wth 6 other members of the raiding party, was taken prisoner of war. They were later transferred to Germany. On the 23rd October 1942 at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp all seven of the Commandos taken prisoner during the raid were executed.

Captain Joseph Blundell Johnson - Houghton was posthumously awarded the Military Cross and he is remembered with honour at the Brookwood Memorial. He was 31.

 


L/Sgt. Charles Blattner

Charlie Blattner came from Edinburgh and was unmarried. That was all we knew about him. He was among the most modest of men and would always help anyone, regardless of the consequences to himself. Charlie missed St. Nazaire because he had been loaned to Achnacarry to help out before Col. Vaughan’s grand opening of the Commando Depot. The author remembers a conversation with Charlie the evening before No. 2 was attacked on Sept. 13th at Dragone Hill, Salerno. Our appreciation of the situation was that a mixed force of panzer-grenadiers and paratroopers was getting ready to hit us in the morning, perhaps numbering nearly 2,000. We had heard the unmistakable rumble and roar of tank engines or self-propelled guns. I remarked to Charlie that it looked as though we would be in for a rough time in the coming hours. Charlie responded with a smile, “But think of those ‘puir’ German lads! How would you like to attack 160 dug-in Commandos?” Attack they did and when the battle was over we found Charlie at 45 years, the oldest member of No. 2 Commando, K.I.A. in the war.

P.S. The author has a message for Charlie which is - I wish you had an ‘email address’ because I want you to know that whenever I hear the tune of glory ‘Scotland the Brave’, I think of you.


Capt. Gareth Banting

The Rev. Banting took holy orders after graduation from Cambridge. He became the much-liked Chaplain of No. 2 Commando and served in all their campaigns of 1943-1944. After the battle at Sarande, Albania, the Chaplain was attending to the burial of Commandos and German soldiers when he detonated an anti-personnel mine in a freak accident. Rev. Banting died while being carried to an aid post, 10 October, 1944, aged 32.

 


Pte. Bernard Edwards

When the author was a kid in school he was told that the City of Nottingham was famous as being the home of ‘Players’ cigarettes and Raleigh Industries. I know now that it is also famous as being the home of one of the group of unsung heroes – the Privates of No. 2 Commando. Bernie typifies the men who went from end to end in all the No. 2 Commando campaigns, carrying the heaviest loads of any ranking which were heavy on ammunition and other equipment, but very light on food and other creature comforts for himself. This soldier was wounded in Sicily and recovered to fight again in Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania and Corfu. He received no promotions or decorations. Bernie survived the war to share the rest of his life with his devoted wife, Pat, and children Dave and Di. He made the pilgrim’s way to the Memorial at Spean Bridge with Pat and Di in 1996. After Bernie passed on in 2002, Di remembered her father in every possible way, including attending the 2005 Stand-Down Ceremony of the old Commando Association at Portsmouth. Bernard Edwards and his fellow Privates were the indispensible element of the Commando.


The men of No. 2 Commando were indeed a quiet group of men who worked very well together. They said very little concerning their pre-war backgrounds. The Sergeant who was in civil life a floor-walker in a department store was always on very good terms with the bookie (sorry, I mean turf-accountant) and the scion of a wealthy family with huge land holdings and business companies was quite at home commanding his group of men which included men from such diverse backgrounds as a gardener and part-time grave digger, a Lloyds Bank management trainee, a former office-boy, a rather elderly building contractor, professional soldiers, a solicitor, labourers, an elementary school-teacher, a couple of lorry drivers and a former communist party worker. The list of pre-war vocations could go on ad infinitum.

Some time statistics will tell a story or be informative, the author has thought of a few:

The average age of the soldiers of No. 2 Commando was 23. The youngest member of the unit to fall in battle was aged 18 and, at the other end of the scale, the eldest man to be K.I.A. was aged 45.

The volunteer soldiers of the Commando came from 54 different Regiments of the Line and from all the Corps of the army with the exception of the Corps of Military Police. Somehow, strangely enough, the lack of C.M.P. representation was not a cause of great concern or sorrow to the troops.

The South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales Own) supplied the largest contingent of the volunteers, with the Royal Artillery coming in second place.

The origins of the 2 Commando boys lay in many far-flung lands. As the author’s memory goes they were from England, Wales, Scotland, Canada, Southern Rhodesia, Palestine, Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland plus a couple of lads who were refugees and thus, stateless.

Only one soldier of the Commando had seen service in World War I. That was Major Bill Copeland who was awarded a D.S.O. for his role at St. Nazaire.

Only one officer had been with the B.E.F. at Dunkirk. That was Mad Jack Churchill himself. The author muses that if the B.E.F. had all consisted of men of the calibre of Mad Jack, history would now be describing Dunkirk as an attack instead of an evacuation.

About 30 percent of No. 2 were graduates of Achnacarry. This percentage dwindled as No. 2 was forced to replace its losses in 1943, 1944 and 1945 with volunteers recruited from Gibraltar and also the 5th and 8th Army in Italy. Alumni of Col. Charlie Vaughan’s finishing school were inclined to be a trifle ‘snobby’ about their training background. As the news of the ardours of Achnacarry became public domain, the Achnacarry boys were possibly even more insufferable.

What always united the men was their supreme, sincere regard for the family of No. 2 and their collective desire to stay put in its ranks. According to what information this author can assemble, about 72 men (all ranks) were ‘Returned to Unit’ for one reason or another. Although any man was free to do so, only a handful of the men decided to leave the Commando of their own volition. They were never allowed to return.

These have been an odd collection of thoughts of this, now 83 years gone, author who can only now say that it was good to be one of THE MEN.

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.

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2 Commando, Vaagso

Evacuating the wounded from Vaagso

"The frustrations of 1941 dragged on almost to the end. It had not been a good year from the offensive-action viewpoint of the men of No. 2 Commando. They had done nothing to speak of and were upset at being unemployed. However, the Vaagso raiding force announced the end to this inertia, commencing warfare on December 27th, 1941, landing on Maaloy Island and overrunning the place in less than ten minutes.

The Vaagso operation was a No. 3 Commando affair. Lt. Colonel John Durnford Slater took along all his boys numbering close to 500, all ranks, and No. 2 Commando got into business by providing two troops – about 127 men, all ranks – as part of the raiding force.

This author was not invited to this party. He was ‘miffed’, as were about 323 other members of 2 Commando from Lt. Colonel Newman on down who also had received no invitations. Inasmuch as these writings are supposed to be ‘as seen through the author’s eyes’, I cannot describe the raid happenings because I was not there.

The History of No. 2 Commando will include their participation alongside No. 3 Commando in this successful raid. There had been 20 Commandos K.I.A. and 57 wounded, mostly No. 3 men. The author and the rest of the still-unemployed men settled down once again to the process known as ‘waiting your turn’."

(nb. This report was originally written for the No 2 Commando history section by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo. and therefore relates primarily to their role)

2 Commando, St. Nazaire

Operation Chariot

"If any reader of this attempt to record the history of No. 2 Commando has gotten this far, he or she will have noted that the pride of place, on Page 1, has been given to the remembrance of the men of the Commando who died in the course of No. 2 Commando operations, including the men who did not return from St. Nazaire.

It now becomes a duty of this author to allow a similar pride of place in this account of St. Nazaire to the men of our brother Commando units who participated in the raid and remain alongside the Fallen of No. 2 Commando. It is with pride and a deep sense of comradeship that the author records those names. (click on the link below).

The Roll of Honour of Commandos who died during Operation Chariot.

To the other members of our brother Commando units who also fought alongside No. 2 Commando and who suffered wounds or capture, the author, some sixty-five years after the fact, offers his belated, sincere thanks.

The Nominal Roll of Commandos who took part in Operation Chariot.

In the lovely town of Ayr in Scotland, during the early weeks of 1942, the No. 2 officers and men were engaged in their normal training routines centered around our seat of power which was Number Two, Wellington Square, our H.Q. Absent from that location was Lt. Col. Newman, the C.O. Our Charlie was off somewhere and was gone for quite extended periods of time. Sgt. Blattner observed to this author that he thought ‘it a bit weird!’ He noted that Mrs. Newman had been seen that day, so the Colonel was obviously not on leave, and concluded that maybe, just maybe, something might be coming up. Meanwhile, the second-in-command, Major Bill Copland, continued to control the Commando giving no clues as to the reason for the absence of Charlie Newman. As it was, Bill Copland did not know anything more than we did, although he continued to act on some rather unusual requests relayed from Charlie who was ‘somewhere’ down South.

At the usual morning ‘roll-calls’, however, we could not fail to notice that five or six places in more than one troop were now ‘gaps’ in the ranks. The missing men had been sent off to various parts of the country and, reaching such unspecified destinations, were doubtless puzzled as to why they were being instructed in the technical matters of dry-dock pumping equipment, power-hoist motors and general dock and maritime installations. However, security was tight and the boys obeyed the Commando Commandment: ‘Thou shalt not run thy mouth in idle rumours’.

All our wonderings ceased when Capt. Mike Barling, our medical officer, was joined by a second doctor, Capt. Dave Paton. We knew then that we were not being given two ‘M.O.s’ for nothing. Something was in the wind for sure! The same day well over half the Commando was given instructions to report with full kits, which were to be turned into the unit storage shed. Some of the men who were not so instructed did not like being left out of the proceedings, resenting the slight – especially the ‘old hands’ who muttered about seniority or something.

The old cross-channel ship ‘Princess Josephine Charlotte’ conveyed the lucky participants-to-be from Ayr to Falmouth. Everyone’s morale was sky-high, the food was good, duty-free cigarettes abounded, and all was right in the Commando world, as we knew we were at last on our way to somewhere to actually do something!

The boys of No. 2 soon resumed training following disembarking from the ‘P.J.C.’. Nothing very much was different from the usual regimen of long, forced marches in daylight and darkness, weapons drills, and the usual emphasis on maintaining top physical condition. On March 18th Lt. Col. Newman finally outlined the details of the forthcoming operation to the assembled Commando. Charlie gave a remarkably clear and concise presentation of the overall objective, together with detailed descriptions of what the various tasks groups were expected to perform. It was amazing how the Colonel had condensed the 80 page operational order that he had received down to an easily-understood situation talk.  He concluded his informative duties with a question: ‘What do you think of that?’ He was answered by a roar of approval that shook the closed room where we had been assembled.

The briefing that the Colonel had conducted had not included the mention of the location of the objective, which resulted in ‘head-scratching’ from past geography lessons. Was it to be Cherboug? L’Orient? Brest? or, maybe, Le Havre? It was not until almost the eve of sailing on March 26th that the Commando knew that it had a one-night engagement booked for St. Nazaire.

If this author remembers correctly, it was on the minds of several of the men that many more officers were showing up at Falmouth. Indeed, there were 25 familiar faces of No. 2 Commando officers now present among us. As there were about 215 members of the Commando remaining in Ayr, and the total ‘table of organization’ was 26 officers – Who was minding the store? Someone suggested that the Padre was calling-the-role at the morning parades up there! Even Major Bill Copland, who had been in charge at Ayr, arrived and smiled his usual greetings. The mystery of ‘so many officers’ deepened when someone pointed out that there also were 15 more officers – the ‘guest-workers’ from the other Commando units. We were now looking at a total of 40 officers! Mathematics was quickly brought into play! The equation of 220 Commando other ranks divided by 40 Commando officers revealed the astonishing ratio of 5.5 – One officer for every five and a half men!

This author still wonders why so many officers were among us in those days. A Commando officer always was the man who led from the front. He was the most eager of the eager-beavers, but also very difficult to replace and train to the level of Commando expertise required. It is thought, looking backwards to those days in March 1942, that quite possibly some of the officers who were there could easily have been substituted for by the experienced sergeants and corporals who had been left behind ‘crying in their beer’ in Ayr. However, all this was conjecture on the part of the Commando men. The force assembled was what it was, the dice had been rolled, and that was that.

On March 19th, the Colonel told the men that Mountbatten, (Admiral Lord Louis), had informed him a few days previously that ‘We are writing you off!’ and that he was confident that the Commando force could get in and do the job, BUT ‘we cannot hold much hope of you getting out again’. He also passed on Mountbatten’s comment to the men which was to the effect that ‘any man could volunteer out of the forthcoming operation should he wish to do so’. Charlie, however, had been wasting his time in passing on Lord Louis’ offer. Everyone stayed put, satisfied in their work, and of course, laboring under that strange delusion – their own immortality.

Time in Falmouth passed. On the evening of March 25th, the Commandos boarded their motor-launches and passed into the care of the Royal Navy. For security reasons, everyone was ‘ordered below’ and thus passed the night and the following morning somewhat grumpily, ‘below decks’. At 2:00 p.m., March 26th, the motor-launches, together with the other vessels in the little convoy, sailed out of Falmouth harbor and set a course for St. Nazaire. Our motor-launch was just like the other 15, thirteen of which were carrying Commandos. It had a wooden hull and wooden decks and carried some light anti-aircraft armament. On its deck, aft, there were two large steel drums containing petrol. One of the men pointed out sagely, ‘those things will set us all up in a fireball if anything hits them’, and Cpl. A.H. Smith, acting in the role of a ‘counter-sage’, observed that we would hardly be able to make the return trip without refueling. Thereafter, we looked at the 500 gallon tanks with something akin to affection.

The naval force with its Commando passengers sailed on, first in its daytime cruising formation, and then to the night alignment until just after 8:00 p.m. on March 27th, when the force maneuvered into attack order about seventy miles off St. Nazaire. The disposition of the Commandos was that the attack (sacrifice) destroyer, H.M.S. Campbeltown, had on board 80 Commandos. Charlie Newman and his Commando group were in the motor gun boat (also of wooden construction like the motor launches), and 185 Commandos were being carried in motor launches. This was the ‘order-of-battle’ as the force entered the estuary of the River Loire.

Up ahead of the ships something was happening that did not fit the plan which had included a sharp, diversionary bombing attack on certain areas of St. Nazaire. There was no mass of searchlights with their beams of light crisscrossing in the sky. None of the 88 mm and 40 mm guns were pouring streams of shells upwards. These absent things we noted with some concern. Other benefits of the air-raid would have been many German soldiers and sailors, not employed on the guns, seeking safety in air-raid shelters. As it happened, the desultory far-off bombing that had occurred, put the German defenders on a high alert and they were ready with their searchlights and A-A guns which they depressed to low-angle use. Amazingly enough to the men aboard the M.L.s we were not subject to hostile fire until 1:22 a.m., about eight minutes before the Campbeltown was scheduled to ram itself into the caisson of the Normandie dock at 1:30 a.m.

The battle that was joined at 1:22 a.m. would last about four hours on shore in St. Nazaire and just a little longer in the estuary of the River Loire. The most important objective of the operation, the immobilization of the Normandie dock, was completed some hours later at about 9:30 a.m., when the huge charge of explosive encased in the bows of H.M.S. Campbeltown, detonated, lifting the caisson from its base. In general, the demolition groups who had wrecked or blown-up the ancillary machinery which operated the caisson, were drawn from the men of the other Commandos. The protection groups for these guest-workers were, in the main, the men of No. 2 Commando, who also had supplied the troops forming the assault parties.

Apart from the Commandos who had disembarked from the Campbeltown, the other No. 2 troops attempting to land from the motor-launches experienced severe difficulties. Illuminated in the glare of searchlights, they were subjected to a virtual storm of gunfire from the German defenders on shore. Many of the launches with their navy crews and Commandos were destroyed. Few of the M.L.s managed to land their troops. Most were destroyed when their intrepid sailor crews did everything that they could to fulfill their tasks.

This author did not see this incident, but it is said that Colonel Charlie Newman, on arrival at the theoretical re-embarkation point with his group of survivors from the previous fighting, remarked that ‘there goes our transportation home!’ He was, of course, regarding the burning hulks of the M.L.s in the river when he made that appraisal. It follows that Charlie and friends then attempted to escape to the countryside beyond the confines of St. Nazaire by fighting their way through the old town. The attempt to prolong the fight and evade captivity failed as they ran out of ammunition and were slowed down by the increasing numbers of wounded in their midst. Only five men from the Commando force succeeded in eluding the cordon of German soldiers who had just about entirely sealed off the streets and exits from the town. Cpl. Wheeler, L/Cpl. Douglas, L/Cpl. Howarth, L/Cpl. Sims and Pte. Harding all, somehow, managed to trek all the way through France and Spain to Gibraltar, from whence they were repatriated back to Britain and No. 2 Commando.

It is pretty much fair to say that if a Commando landed at St. Nazaire he was either K.I.A. or made captive. Those survivors of the raid were almost exclusively from the men of the M.L.s in the River Loire who somehow survived their ordeal in what seemed at the time to be a ‘river on fire’. Of the Commandos who had entered the Estuary some seven hours previously, 64 had been K.I.A. and 156 were being led into captivity. Among these, now prisoners-of-war, were over 80 men who were wounded in action. The Royal Navy casualties were even higher, as twice as many sailors had participated in the raid as there were soldiers present. 105 Navy men were K.I.A. and 106 were taken prisoner. Of the 18 motor launches that had entered the river on the night of March 27-28, 1942, only four eventually made their battered and bruised way back to Falmouth. Overall, out of a total of 611 Commandos and sailors committed, 403 would not return.

The comrades of the Commandos, the sailors of the Royal Navy, more than upheld the highest traditions of the Senior Service. If across the passage of time this author could convey a message to the Navy’s illustrious Admiral Horatio Nelson, it would read something like: ‘At St. Nazaire your descendants also fought in wooden ships, and they had hearts of oak, brave and true.’

Some ‘aftermaths’ of St. Nazaire are recalled. Among these are, Capt. Mike Barling returning to Ayr to find himself as not only the unit’s Medical Officer, but also, the senior rank present in No. 2 Commando.

Pte. Fred Peachey was in hospital at Devonport trying to recover from a serious wound that he received in the River Loire. Did this later-to-be Sgt. Peachey have any premonition that this was only the first wound he was to suffer? Fred was to be wounded again at Salerno and, for the third time, at Lake Comacchio.

Lieut. Joe Houghton was not very far away from Fred in the same hospital. It is as well that this super officer did not know that in less than seven months hence he would be executed near Berlin by some thugs carrying out Hitler’s commando execution order.

L/Cpl. Ivor Bishop, who had just seen R.S.M. Alan Moss make heroic efforts to save fellow Commandos and lose his life as a result, could have no inkling that he, Ivor, would be promoted so fast that he would be the new No. 2 Commando R.S.M. in far-off Yugoslavia two years hence.

Then there was the time about a month of so after the raid. The author was returning to his billet in Ayr, and Mabel, his wonderful, kind landlady, rushed out to meet him, tears rolling down her face, proclaiming: ‘Wicky is safe! Wicky is safe!’ L/Sgt. Lionel Wickson, who had shared this billet with us prior to leaving for St. Nazaire, had notified her through the Red Cross that he was a P.O.W., alive and well.

Somewhere, someone coined the phrase: ‘The Greatest Raid of All’, and since that time, those words have been used to describe the mainly No. 2 Commando operation at St. Nazaire. Whoever came up with that accolade? I don’t know who, but I certainly wish that he had not done so as it implies a sort of second-rate status to the many other actions that have been fought with equal bravery and losses in men by the other Commandos. This author has the opinion that no one Commando had any monopoly on efficiency, skills, or in the severity of the actions in which they fought. This author would have been proud to have served in any one of them!"

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.

Is this defencless port the place
That once I came to wreck?
Is nothing manned at my approach,
And no one armed on deck?

No, nothing now’s afloat to sink,
Nor on the shore invade
These by the coach are teachers.
These in the boat want trade.

And over old unhappy things
Pacific Ledgers mount,
Deals must have duplicates, and lives,
That had no copies count,
And children come with flowers
To place where teachers bid,
Who never heard of Goering,
Or ask what Goebbels did . . .

O glittering wings, so suddenly
high in the vacant blue,
Stay, till to-day dies normally,
And normal nights ensue!

Never again the premature,
Never again the pain.
And a rose for those who went in first,
And where they fall remain.

Michael Burn 1997

2 Commando, Glomfjord, Norway

Units: 

Operation Musketoon

"It was on a day in late July, 1942 that the author noted the absence from the ranks of his troop of Capt. Graeme Black, Pte. Eric Curtis and Rfmn. Cyril Abram. At the same time, men of other troops recorded that Capt. Joe Houghton, Sgt. Richard O’Brien, L/Sgt. Bill Chudley, Pte. Reg Makeham, Cpl. John Fairclough, T.S.M. Miller Smith and Pte. Fred Trigg had also vanished. No member of No. 2 Commando had any inkling as to the significance of these disappearances, but as usual, no questions were asked.

The author and everyone else in No. 2 had no news of this operation, or the fate of the men who participated in it until long after No. 2 Commando had been disbanded. Indeed, it was not until the proceedings of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials unfolded that they learned about the raid and the criminal imprisonment and execution of seven of our comrades in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Only Pt. Fred Trigg, Sgt. Dick O’Brien and Cpl. Jack Fairclough had evaded capture by escaping to Sweden. These three men had later returned to service in No. 2 Commando and Pte. Fred Trigg was later killed in Italy in 1944.

A splendid, accurate account of this operation is contained in the pages of the book ‘Mustketoon’, written by Stephen Schofield, first published in 1962. This author commends this book to others, considering it to be, in his opinion, the best-recorded account of any Commando operation to have been published.

The leader of the Glomfjord raid, Capt. Graeme Black, was from Dresden, Ontario, Canada. He was the only Canadian to serve in No. 2 Commando. Capt. Black had been twice wounded at Vaagso and received the M.C. for his gallantry in the field. He became the leader of the 10-men group from No. 2 who landed from a submarine and made their way to their objective – the large hydro-electric power station at Glomfjord. The destruction they caused was hugely out-of-proportion to the small number of men involved in the operation. During the attempted escape, Capt. Black and six others were captured and later executed.

In 2004 my Canadian wife, Janet, and I communicated Capt. Black’s story to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch President at Dresden, Ontario, thinking that on the upcoming November 11th Remembrance Day they would make known Capt. Black’s heroic deeds in his home town. It is to my everlasting disappointment that the Legion decided not to mark his courageous passing. He has never been forgotten by this author who first served with him at the age of 18 and who has always been honoured to have known him."

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.


Read more about the raid and the raiders here in our WW2 Commando Actions section.


2 Commando, Sicily

Operation Husky.

"On the 22nd July 1943, No. 2 Commando arrived in Sicily. They had come from Gibraltar, calling at Algiers, Bone, Phillipville, Tunis and Valleta, in Malta, along the way. This author and ten others had been temporarily detached from the Commando a few months previously to attend to some S.S. Brigade unrelated business in North Africa. We rejoined the Commando on board ship in Valetta harbour and got acquainted with some new faces that had volunteered to join us from the Gibraltar garrison. Some of these ‘newly-minted’ Commandos come to mind. They had left their N.C.O.’s stripes on the ‘rock’ as an entry fee required to become ‘members’ - Pte. Bill Woolley, Pte. Des Rochford and Pte. Albert Myram who would win an M.M. for himself on the last day of fighting in Sicily.

The campaign in Sicily was not very noteworthy to 2 Commando. We resided in the dirty and mosquito-infested olive groves between Augusta and Catania and did nothing too much in the way of plying our trade until August 15th. Up until that date No. 3 Commando had done the ‘heavy-lifting’ in Sicily and Lt. Col. John Durnford- Slater was probably a most-satisfied commander. For some reason or other, at the same time, our Colonel Jack was not the most-contented of men.

No. 2 Commando came off the unemployed list on the night of August 15th, landing at Scaletta – a small coastal town well behind the supposed German lines, about 15 miles or so south of Messina. Our landing was a bit off the intended spot, but no matter, as we soon were engaged with the luckless tail-end of the German rearguard who were heading at top speed towards their evacuation point at Messina. The enemy vehicle drivers and their troop passengers didn’t have much of a chance and the fight was over in short order. The following morning it became apparent that several soldiers of the German rearguard had ‘holed-up’ in houses and other buildings in Scaletta. Some rather-bitter street fighting followed on the morning of August 16th, resulting in casualties on both sides. 

No. 2 killed in action or died of wounds

They were buried alongside many more of their comrades from No. 3 Commando at Catania War Cemetery.

Following the conclusion of the fight at Scaletta, ‘Mad Jack’ and a few officers piled into a vehicle (the author cannot remember if it was a captured ‘Kubelwagen’ or an automobile). They headed for Messina at high speed brushing off other ‘eager-beavers’ who tried to join them. Arriving in Messina, Jack discovered, much to his chagrin, that the Americans had gotten there first during the previous night. Reflecting now on that day, it seems stupid to have put any value on who had entered Messina ahead of anyone else. The bragging rights really belonged to all the British, Canadian and American soldiers who rejoiced at being alive on that day the campaign in Sicily ended."

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.


Read more about Operation Husky here in our WW2 Commando Actions section.

2 Commando, Salerno

Operation Avalanche.

"The 379 page book ‘Operation Avalanche’ by authors Des Hickey and Gus Smith details the Salerno battle as compiled from lots of painstaking research and interviews with several veterans of that nasty battle. After reading the book and casting my memory back to that time, Sept. 9th to Sept. 17th, 1943, this author found the book entertaining reading, although, he was unable, for the most part, to reconcile his remembrances with the printed words of Gus and Des. The author was a non-erudite 19 year old at Salerno, rather an unimportant member of No. 2 Commando, but he was there, and come to think of it, Gus and Des, he imagines you hadn’t been born at that time.

As this author saw it, the landing on the beach at Vietri, which was a little suburb of Salerno, at 3:30 a.m. Sept. 9th, was an absolute breeze! The ramp of the L.C.A. went down and his Troop, No. 4, made a comfortable, dry landing. Not a spot of water on our boots. Needless to say, the boys were not at all unhappy to find that there was no ‘welcoming’ party awaiting our arrival - indeed, no signs of any angry men in grey hanging around. Meanwhile, ‘Mad Jack’ at the head of his troops passed through us in a cloud of dust and speedily captured a battery of German field artillery guns which could have fired on the invasion ships from their positions on the hills about the beach. The author and his friends passed the next four hours doing nothing but watching and waiting, until the next crisis arose. We ran out of ‘smokes’! It should be explained that Colonel Churchill never allowed us to be slowed down by carrying the heavy back-packs containing our reserve ammunition, spare clothing and personal stuff such as food and cigarettes. The overwhelming criteria in ‘Mad Jack’s’ modus-operendi was speed and then more speed to close with the enemy. He reasoned there was always plenty of time for us to get our heavy packs later.

The German Army boys could never be accused of being slow to react to a situation, and somehow they mustered enough mortar crews in the hills above the beach which started plastering the area with their bombs. A few M.G. 42 machine guns also started to sweep the sands from time to time. The landing craft crews did not like this atmosphere at all and refused to stay for our lads who were waiting to unload our packs. The faint-hearted sailors shot off from the beach taking with them our reserve ammunition and the other items of our gear – including that essential life-support item, our cigarettes! Nelson would have had that miserable lot keel-hauled! Furthermore, when they fled back to their ships they caused considerable consternation by spreading the story that Vietri was in enemy hands. This nonsense was, of course, untrue. The Vietri beach was only occupied by a gloomy bunch of Capt. Tom Hemming’s boys who were watching their means of survival fade into the distance.

Our little group (still smokeless) was then detailed to get up to the coast road, which any enemy reinforcements from the North would have to use, and take up a blocking position astride the highway. We marched up the scrub-covered hill until we came to a road and started to site our bren gun position. At that moment we heard a tremendous roar and were showered with debris from an explosion. The Germans had managed to place and detonate a large cratering charge in the middle of the road. After the dust had settled a bit we observed two German sappers who had done the deed leaving the scene. These two soldiers never lived to receive congratulations on job well done from their superiors! Tpr. Gordon David, an ex-cop, brought both of them down with two well-placed shots. We buried them in the crater that they had made.

All through that night and the following morning we heard the rattle of automatic weapons and the thump of grenades as the troops of No. 2 patrolled the hills and two small hill villages above our heads. They and the boys from our companions, No. 41 R.M. Commando, prevented infiltration by the enemy, maintained strongpoints on strategic features and took prisoners. One report reached us which told of Capt. John Henderson taking on and knocking out a PZKW Mk.4 Tank with that crude PIAT mortar weapon. Also there was an account of Sgt. William Rudge with Pte. C.E. Smith taking on a patrol of five panzer-grenadiers, killing all of them and returning with their weapons and identity discs. Although we were taking steady casualties from these activities there was no cause for alarm as we were supposed to have been relieved by a 46th Division battalion after 48 hours. More wishful thinking!

The morning of the 11th is noteworthy for three events. First, ‘Mad Jack’ had announced in a very quiet voice – one could barely hear him – that he ‘thought the Commando had been efficient in its operations’. The second event was the arrival of our large backpacks (thoroughly looted), dumped on the beach. The third event was the contact on the left flank of the Commando with our old friends, the U.S. Rangers. The Rangers’ young officer said to the author by way of presenting his credentials ‘I was at Achnacarry’. Charlie Vaughan would have liked to hear his school being used to establish bona-fides. Then this likeable soldier just about emptied his, and the pockets of his seven men, of packs of cigarettes and gave them to us. He said for us not to worry as ‘they had stacks of butts back there’!

In the evening of Sept. 12th, we moved into the village of Dragone and onto the slopes of the hill behind the little place. The author thought it strange that so many of the Commando were being concentrated at this one place. Maybe there were 150 to 160 men there, the actual number is not given in the 2 Commando War Diary because no actual count was ever taken. The sounds throughout the night were unmistakable – transport, tank engines, even voices of German paratroopers, panzer-grenadiers and nebelwerfer crews. The men of 2 Commando readied their weapons and waited as did the Marines of No. 41 Commando close by us. The ensuing battle which commenced by a saturation coverage of our positions by the nebelwerfer rockets started just before 6:00 a.m., was later described by Lt. Col. Churchill in one sentence: ‘There had been a terrible battle at Dragone’. For ‘Mad Jack’ to use those somber few words to tell of what happened gives one some idea of the severity of the action. Even our leader, ‘the bravest of the brave’, was stunned by the horror of that morning of Sept. 13th. This author has decided not to revisit that hill by recounting a blow-by-blow description of the battle, but instead to remember the friends that were lost, and to recall his joy at seeing the faces of some of his comrades who had somehow endured the horror of that morning and survived.

The battle of Dragone claimed the lives of 

In addition, 53 members of No. 2 Commando were wounded in the struggle for Dragone Hill, Sept. 13th, 1943. 

Pte. John Barry of Yorkshire, age 22, and Pte Alfred Blower of Liverpool, age 25 died of their wounds.

The author would like to share an incident concerning the battle at Dragone with others. It came during the counter-attack made by the Commando. A group of four men, including two walking-wounded, found themselves in a narrow cobbled alley which passed for the main street of the hamlet and saw two German paratroopers, with weapons slung across their backs, attempting to carry a wounded comrade to safety. The No. 2 boys knew that they were paratroopers because of the bulbous trousers and distinctive, rimless helmets. The paratroopers turned and found themselves looking at our four with weapons pointing in their direction. The N.C.O. leading our group said: ‘No firing lads!’ and motioned with his arm for the Germans to keep going and get their wounded man out of there. One paratrooper raised his arm in acknowledgement and they vanished around the corner of the alley. It seemed to this author that, at that moment, humanity had arrived to reassert itself in his world.

The day after Dragone, No. 2 Commando was moved into Salerno for rest and refit. The author and the others had been ‘on the go’ since the night of the landing five days previous and had not been allowed to get any sleeping time in, other than snatched ‘cat naps’. We rested, washed ourselves, and tried to remove some of the filth from our uniforms. Once again, that Commando curiosity, nothing was said about the previous day’s battle. Our Colonel Jack was very busy reassigning people to new responsibilities. T.S.M. Richard Tomlinson offered congratulations to ‘Mad Jack’ – it was the Colonel’s 37th birthday. Jack looked puzzled and replied, ‘Birthday? Yes, Hmph!’, and passed on. He had been summoned to a conference at Brigade H.Q. as there was an area of trouble elsewhere in the beachhead that required his whole attention. On his way out, ‘Mad Jack’ said to no one in particular, ‘Get ready to move at a moment’s notice!’

The Commando duly moved to Mercatello, about three miles east of Salerno. Our friends, 41 R.M. Commando, had also moved at the same time. On arrival, we were informed that a serious situation had developed in the valley below Pigoletti during the previous night and he (the Brigadier) wanted the Commandos to ‘sweep’ the area and clean out the enemy forces.

The ‘sweep’ was performed with Commando elan. Our boys, with the 41 lads alongside, went up the valley in the dark, all yelling ‘COMMANDO!’ at the top of their voices. Jack led the way, far ahead, and as is related elsewhere, took 42 prisoners virtually by himself. A short distance away, Capt. Tom Hemming, accompanied only by his runner, Pte. Bill Davidson, also grabbed nearly 40 prisoners. Having completed the requested ‘sweep’, the Commando returned to its start line bringing with them a total of about 150 German soldiers that they had taken prisoner. However, this was not the end. The Commando, as a result of a change of plan, were ordered to retrace their steps and occupy the same areas once again. The weary men of No. 2 and 41 returned to Pigoletti and a feature known as ‘The Pimple’.

During the course of the next two days the Commandos held their positions with their losses steadily mounting. Capt. The Duke of Wellington and his T.S.M. Lindsay Garland both were lost leading an attack on Sept. 16th, as was Pte. Joseph Jackson from Warrington. Many more army and marine Commandos were among the fallen before the two Commando units were finally relieved on the evening of Sept. 18th. The battle for Salerno had been won and the men of No. 2 Commando who had come through it all could now await their removal to Sicily where they would recruit and rebuild once again.

Here we look at statistics once again: No. 2 Commando and No. 41 R.M. Commando together had 367 killed, wounded or missing out of the 738 who had landed in the Salerno operation. Not one Commando was taken prisoner by the enemy.

The men of No. 2 Commando will never forget their comrades of No. 41 R.M. Commando. To these warriors of 64 years ago, the author wishes to record his belated appreciation and say that it was an honour to have taken the field alongside you!"

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.

2 Commando, Salerno Aftermath

"As the No. 2 Commando War Diary states, the remnants of the unit, following the Salerno campaign, were redeployed to Catania, Sicily. For once they were not lodged in their usual dusty field. By some accident they had been given a roof over their heads in the shape of a former Italian barracks.

These happenings were unknown to the author who had been placed aboard a hospital ship and was on his way from Salerno to Tripoli in North Africa. The ship’s medical people quickly removed the shrapnel from both of my legs and efficiently stopped any incipient blood-poisoning. Both legs were clean, but very stiff when the ship docked in Tripoli harbour. Then it was off to the nearby Army General Hospital.

It was natural that the author’s mind was occupied by wondering what was happening to the Commando, and the plans that needed to be worked on concerning the return to No. 2 Commando. Meanwhile, much time was taken up by swimming in Tripoli harbour to strengthen my legs so that I could undergo the long trek back to the ‘family’!

Getting back to one’s unit from hospital was no easy task. In those days, as soon as one was discharged from hospital, any ‘other rank’ was simply put in a ‘transit camp’ and was subject thereafter to be drafted to any regiment that needed replacements. At that time, this author was definitely an ‘other rank’ – his commission was to come later in his career. So, upon receipt of his hospital discharge, and declining a kind offer of transport to the transit camp, he set a course westward heading along the desert road bound for the Libya-Tunisia border on what he remembers as the first stage of his journey ‘home’. What followed was walking, riding on farmers’ trailers pulled by tractors, riding in an ore hopper car on a narrow-gauge railway, sneaking into a covered R.A.S.C. lorry which only travelled about ten miles. But, ten miles was ten miles! And Ben Gardene, Souse, Sfax, came and went and the author found himself looking out at the blue Mediterranean from the Bizerte waterfront. Sicily and Italy seemed so far away. He had by his estimate, walked about a hundred and ten miles so far in addition to the distance covered by the various forms of transport.

The author’s contemplations were interrupted by an American M.P. in a jeep calling out something like, ‘How are ya!’ This good soul was from a U.S. Army Air Corps base nearby and he listened to my story of wanting to get back to my Commando unit. At his invitation to ‘hop-in’ I obliged and then was given over to the care of some of his friends who were crew members of a C-47 (Dakota) transport group. A clean U.S. set of overalls was provided for me, together with washing and shaving gear – plus cigarettes! At 6:00 p.m. that evening I was escorted to a mess-tent and served a meal of steak and canned potatoes, followed by canned fruit-cocktail! The next morning a pilot of the group awakened me and observed that ‘you sure were tired!’ After breakfast we boarded the C-47 and had a nice flight to Catania, Sicily. After enquiries were made at the R.A.F. transit office, it was established that No. 2 Commando was right there in Catania – I WAS HOME!

The Commando that this author had rejoined was very busy. Officers were off on recruiting trips as the number of available men had shrunk to 125 – all ranks. Other Officers had gone on travels to far-off places trying to locate our boys who had been wounded at Salerno, but had since been stuck in transit camps. Capt. Sam Jenkins swooped on a camp near Bone, Algeria, and snatched four of our boys from the clutches of the paper-waving, protesting ‘desk-warrior’ who ran the place, and added insult to injury by recruiting an Officer who looked like a ‘likely lad’ to Sam on his way out of the camp gate.

Our Colonel Jack, meanwhile, had signed up Major Ted Fynn to be 2i/c in place of Dick Lawrie, and having done this, decided to resume ‘training the hell’ out of us. A novel innovation comes to mind. Mount Etna is very close to Catania and Mad Jack decided to take advantage of its near proximity. Our leader ordained that No. 2 Commando would, that night, climb the volcano and would line the rim of its crater by First Light of the next morning. We duly climbed the slopes until we reached the summit. In the dawn’s early light, we found ourselves peering down into the crater. It was kind of weird, but – ‘ours was not to reason why!’

Sometime in early November, we packed up and went by L.C.I.s to Taranto, Italy and thence by train to Molfetta – a town on Italy’s east coast. At Molfetta many volunteers arrived from the 8th Army – Lieuts. Coyle and Parsons among them. Pte. Eric Buckmaster, who had been in the Commando for a long time, was joined by Pte. Stanley Buckmaster, his brother, who volunteered to join us.

Christmas 1943 came and went, and it was – next stop Yugoslavia in January 1944."

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.

2 Commando, Operations from Vis

"No. 2 Commando started to arrive at Komiza on the Yugoslavian island of Vis on January 16th, 1944. They were to operate on Yugoslav soil for the next six months. The Commando was still much-depleted as a result of the battering it had taken at Salerno, and almost half the unit remaining in Italy consisted of the replacement men and those ‘old hands’ who formed the training cadres.

During the coming months a wide variety of activities would unfold involving: conventional assaults on fixed positions with the classic bayonet charge; pirate-style boarding parties going after any German supply ship that floated; quick in-and-out raids on isolated enemy garrisons; long reconnaissance patrols; manning coast-watching positions in assorted locations; as construction workers helping to build an airstrip; operating the ‘stir-up-trouble’ type of fighting patrols; mental disturbing of enemy troops by our German-speaking boys suddenly arriving with loud-hailers in the middle of the night; and cleaning up after the thoroughly-upset Germans had their Luftwaffe bomb us in retaliation for our endeavours which they did not appreciate. Even if one was a Commando connoisseur, there was something for everyone.

The situation facing the Commando seemed to be a rather simple one. The partisan forces under their leader, Marshal Tito, were being hard pressed nearby on the mainland of Yugoslavia. ‘Mad Jack’ and his troops had been given the task of reducing the pressure by drawing off large numbers of the German 118th Mountain Division. This process of ‘drawing off’ did not take Jack very long to implement. On January 26th, which was ten days after his arrival, he somehow managed to assemble enough decrepit vessels to transport three troops of No. 2 to attack the German garrison near Milna on Hvar. After thoroughly shooting up the place, we returned to Vis with prisoners, who appreciated greatly that their captors were British and not partisans. Not being one who would change a winning system, Colonel Jack twice returned to Hvar and twice repeated the process within five days. The author remembers on the return trip of the last one of these ventures he remarked to T.S.M. Peter Morland that the rickety schooner we were sailing couldn’t possible last another trip.

There was not long to wait before we were at it again. On February 4th Capt. Jack Bare took a troop to attack the garrison at Hvar Town, where unfortunately Jack Bare from Watford, age 29, was killed. The action on Hvar was concurrent with another action by No. 2 Commando, termed as an ‘Officers Reconnaissance’ by our Colonel. This was taking place on Solta and employed the services of Lieut. McMenamin, Capt. S.L. Jenkins with L/Cpl Wright and Dvr. Robert Scholem, who was one of No. 2 Commando’s Germans. This party had been observing the enemy garrison at Grohote which had been earmarked for a ‘visit’ in March on Jack’s calendar. Before this group returned from their work they encountered a large German patrol who opened fire, inflicting mortal wounds on the leader, Capt. Samuel Jenkins, age 29, a former Welsh Rugby international from Carmarthen. Dvr. Scholem made his way back to the safety of a partisan hideout after travelling for over thirty hours on a broken ankle without food or water. It is sad for this author to relate that after all this, poor Bob Scholem was to be K.I.A. in Italy one month before the war ended, age 21.

Meanwhile, ‘Mad Jack’ had added a new dimension to the lives of his boys - PIRACY! Lieut. Michael Stilwell led the first of what was to be many boarding parties and swarmed aboard a German chartered schooner taking 17 enemy soldiers prisoner, after what Pte. Jakeman later described as only a ‘third-class’ fight. These sojourns became very popular with the personnel of No. 2. The Royal Navy had on board their boats the wonderful commodity known as FOOD! The boarding parties ate away most happily while they cruised searching for their next floating victims.

The tenure of No. 2 Commando reached its high point with a textbook operation against the 110 man enemy garrison at a village called Grohote  (see Operation Detained 1). It happened on this author’s 20th birthday on March 19th, 1944. About two thirds of No. 2 had arrived to form a horseshoe formation about the village awaiting the order from Jack to move in. I was talking to my friend, Lieut. Jim Coyle about birthdays in general and he gave me the usual ‘Happy Birthday’ spiel. We then attended to the business at hand – 102 prisoners were taken and six of the German defenders were killed. It was most orderly. We sent the prisoners away and told them to pack their personal belongings which they did. We then found a garrison muster-roll belonging to the German officer in charge, and called the roll. As each Hans, Ludwig, Gunther and several Johans answered their names, we realized that we had captured the lot and no one had got away. Perfect! Jack eyed the scene benignly and led us back to our embarkation point. Our only casualty that day was Cpl. Cecil Cox from Sussex, age 24, who died of wounds received in the assault.

The Island of Vis became positively overcrowded by May 1944. Aside from the native partisans, the remainder of No. 2 Commando had long since arrived to be joined by the Marines of No. 40 and No. 43 Commandos and by elements of Artillery and the Highland Light Infantry Regiments. Several of these organizations sought to be included in the ongoing operations, but Colonel Jack was not too sympathetic to any such requests. He was said to have made some observation concerning ‘Too many Cooks’ etc.

About this time our Jack banished to Italy T/Captain Barton MC who had operated some weeks before on Brac on patrol, shot and killed the local German Commandant before returning to Vis with five prisoners. It seemed that he had conducted this business in civilian attire and this had been announced in the UK Press, so if captured Lieut. Barton would have been shot. Jack, who had recommended Lieut Barton for the DSO, could not be moved on the matter.

The major operation ‘to draw-off pressure on the partisans’ was in the works at the planning stage and it called for a major operation by all of No. 43 Commando with reinforcements from No. 40 Commando and partisan forces of up to 2000 men ( see Operation Flounced ). The force was to be commanded by Lt. Col. Jack Churchill. The planned attack, which was to be on a feature known as Point 622 and other adjacent mountain-top fortified German strongpoints, started on June 2nd and finished with a nasty conclusion three days later. This author, along with other members of No. 2 had no part in the operation. Jack was there only in a command function. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong it seemed. The end of the battle found Jack and Lt. Col. ‘Pops’ Manners of 40 R.M. Commando, who had been mortally wounded, alone on the top of Point 622 with Jack playing his bagpipes in defiance of the German counter-attack until he was knocked out and, upon regaining consciousness, found himself to be a prisoner. No. 2 Commando mounted an abortive attempt from Vis trying to rescue the Colonel. It was not successful and lost 20 of its personnel in the process.

On June 23rd, No. 2 Commando, under its new commander, Lt. Col. F. W. Fynn, went to the airstrip where they marched past Marshal Tito in review, and afterwards, listened to some very nice things that he said concerning us. Soon after this parade we loaded up and disembarked in Monopoli, Italy, where the Commando went into its usual 4-star, dusty-field bivouac.

As life went on for the men of 2 Commando, many strange things were happening in the life of their former leader, now a captive of the enemy. After his transportation to Germany, Mad Jack was lodged in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the same hell-hole in which the Glomfjord raiders had been executed! Our former Colonel was handcuffed and chained to the floor for the first month. Then, the idiot guards removed the ‘cuffs’ and Jack departed for the Baltic coast where he hoped to get aboard a neutral Swedish ship and thus escape. Jack walked almost to the port of Rostock where he was recaptured. Following his removal to a more remote camp in Austria, Jack once again decided that ‘enough is enough’ and left his latest prison – leaving no forwarding address. Living off the land our intrepid former leader set off for his intended destination, Verona, Italy, some 150 miles away. He crossed the Alps on a badly swollen ankle and to his delight ran into an American armoured column shortly thereafter. It is said, but not confirmed, as Jack rode off on a tank to safety, he was sad that he did not have his bagpipes with him to mark the splendour of the moment."

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.

2 Commando, Spilje, Albania

Commandos at Spilje carrying the wounded

Operation Healing 11

"2 Commando had returned to Italy from its six month sojourn in Yugoslavia and were encamped near Monopoli on the east coast of Italy. For the most part, the month of July 1944 was occupied by the ever-present problem of keeping the unit up-to-strength. Even by counting every nose we had, it seemed that as often as we recruited, we could not find anywhere near the numbers of volunteers we required. Our total of men available stubbornly stuck at about 250 – all ranks. Several of the officers and men passed the time by qualifying as parachutists at the nearby R.A.F. No. 4 P.T.S.

On the night of July 28th/29th, 1944, under the command of Lt. Col. Ted Fynn, No. 2 Commando landed at Spilje, Albania. It was a sort of a ‘First’. No British soldier had ever campaigned in Albania before, it was confided to this author. Having landed and surveyed the place, it was easy to understand why it had not been included in the ‘must visit’ agenda of older soldiers.

An approach march of four miles from the point-of-landing was made by the 250 men of No. 2 through very difficult terrain and we arrived at the objective, a high ridge overlooking a village known as Himare. On the top of this ridge was a very strong German fortified position. As the Commando sorted itself out, and in general aligned its troops for the forthcoming dawn assault, our every movement was announced by the incessant barking of obviously pro-German dogs. This author has always considered himself an admirer of the canine species, but on that night he remembers he wished these particular critters in hell! Although the Germans on top of the ridge used their technique of searching-fire with their MG. 42 machine guns every time their furry friends ‘fingered’ (or pawed) us, we had no losses, and the attack started right on schedule.

The slopes of the ridge were steep and the German defenders had established excellent fields of fire. Progress by the Commando was slow as many barbed-wire obstacles were encountered and anti-personnel ‘S’ mines seemed to be going off all over the hillside. This author had, at that time, estimated that shortly after 10:00 a.m. about 100 of the enemy had been knocked out by the Commandos. Col. Ted Fynn ordered a withdrawal as a strict time limit had been laid in the operation orders. So No. 2 disengaged and returned to the embarkation point. Casualties to the Commando were noted as 20 K.I.A. and 61 wounded. It had been a rather nasty fight and some 40 of the German defenders were left on the ridge refusing to surrender. These luckless men were descended on by an entire partisan brigade shortly afterwards and were wiped out to a man.

Before this author left the ridge-top, he knew that his old friend Sgt. Jack Moores was among the fallen and made a mental promise to himself to pay a visit sometime in the future to Jack’s family in Cambridge. Capt. Michael Stilwell had also been wounded severely in the assault, and the author remembers giving instructions for this officer’s evacuation. The battle was over."

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.


Read more about this raid in our Commando Actions section here  Operation Healing 11.


2 Commando, Interlude

"In between the operation that had been undertaken at Spilje and the operation that was to come at Sarande (both in Albania), life went on much the same in that field near Monopoli, except that No. 2 Commando had been joined in its encampment by the men of No. 9 Commando and No. 43 R.M. Commando. At the time we wondered if this number of Commandos, numbering close to 800 men – a ‘horde’ by Commando standards – was the forerunner of ‘something big’. But none of the usual ‘pre-op’ signs which any Commando knew so well were present and we settled down figuring that the No. 9 and No. 43 boys just needed a home for a spell. Sgt. Doug Webster and two others from No. 2 returned from Albania, where they had been cut-off during our withdrawal from Spilje and had lived with the partisans for a few days.

One day in late August, the author was told to report to Col. Fynn. It seemed unusual, and it was to be the beginning of another change of direction in my Commando service. He advised me that he would like me to go down to Taranto the next day and ‘talk to someone’ he knew rather well. He further stated that this personage (still un-named) would have a chat with me at the Bologna Hotel. The Colonel asked me if I wanted to go, to which I replied, ‘Of course, SIR!’  The interview was over.

I wondered that night why the Colonel had ‘asked’ me to do something instead of just telling me what to do. The next day transport was supplied and conveyed me to the hotel at Taranto. Someone in R.A.F. uniform met me at the front entrance of the building and guided me inside. There was no office interview. A tall figure rose from an armchair in the lobby, eyed me, then stuck out his hand exclaiming, ‘Dodds-Parker! – Grenadier Guards!’ The figure had on his shoulders the insignia of a full Colonel. No time was wasted. He glanced at a single sheet of paper and then inquired, ‘Would you like to go to N.W. Europe and do something?’ I responded to this question by asking if I would be able to return to No. 2 Commando. He replied ‘Yes you will be carried on their strength until you return’. There was a brief pause and he concluded the interview by saying, ‘Go back to the Commando and talk to Colonel Fynn, be ready to move in 48 hours!’

The author returned to Monopoli and used the remainder of the day to go to Bari Hospital and visit Capt. Michael Stilwell who was making his recovery from his Spilje-raid wounds. I said ‘Goodbye’ to him then and wished him a speedy recovery. The next day I left and two days later I landed in Naples – the first step on a journey which was to terminate in Eindhoven, Holland."

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.

2 Commando, Sarande, Albania

Signallers from No 2 Commando at Sarande

Operation Mercerised

"No. 2 Commando landed once again in Albania. Sept. 22 1944 was the date, almost two months after they had conducted their raid at Spilje. This time their objective was to be the capture of the Albanian town of Sarande, a port through which German army units (which had been involved in the occupation of Corfu and mainland Greece) were now withdrawing. No. 2 Commando operations began with their landing at a beach about six miles north of Sarande. It soon became apparent that the only road that No. 2 could use to approach their attack positions at Sarande was covered by in excess of 20 artillery positions which quickly went into action against the leading troops.

At about the same time as the attack force of No. 2 had become stalled, Col. Fynn received another piece of ‘cheerful’ information. It seems that ‘intelligence’ had determined that the German defenders of Sarande numbered 200 soldiers. What Colonel Ted was later advised was that (oops!) we dropped a zero, please read 2000 Germans in the place, instead of 200! Non-plussed, Ted asked for more help which duly arrived on Sept. 24th in the form of the veteran fighters of No. 40 R.M. Commando.

The now combined force of No. 2 and No. 40 Commandos battled on through atrocious terrain and monsoon-type weather conditions. The town of Sarande fell after a bitterly-contested battle on the afternoon of October 9th, 1944. After the fall of Sarande, the German garrison of Corfu had no place to go and some white flags were seen from just across the strait. About three troops of No. 2 Commando and No. 40 went over to Corfu in mid-November and took the surrender of the island’s German garrison. After a brief sojourn, No. 2 returned to Italy.

Because this author had been sent off on other business from No. 2 Commando prior to the operation at Sarande, the events describing this engagement were obtained from his perusal of the 2 Commando War Diary. It is sadly noted that the reading of that document included the names of: 

who had fallen in the battle for Sarande."

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.


Read more in our Commando Actions section here Operation Mercerised.

2 Commando, Lake Comacchio

No 2 Commando Heavy Weapons Troop at Comacchio

Operation Roast.

"Remote from what was to be known as the ‘Battle of Lake Comacchio’, this author did not have a clue as to what was happening to his friends in No. 2 Commando. He had been inside Germany for some time and way out of touch.

It seems that No. 2 Commando had been joined by No. 9 Commando and Nos. 40 and 43 R.M. Commando to implement the task of grabbing a spit of land which extended from Lake Comacchio to the Adriatic Sea, with further exploitation northwards envisaged in the minds of the ‘planners’.

What transpired is that No. 2 jumped off as scheduled at 7:00 p.m. on April 1st, 1945 and lugged and tugged and humped their boats across the few inches of water topping a layer of oozy slime that comprised Lake Comacchio. It was not until 5:00 a.m. the next morning that they landed on the opposite shore, approached the enemy from the rear and engaged in an attack on everything in a German uniform. The ensuing operations by all the Commando units present resulted in all their ‘specified’ objectives being achieved, with the whole enemy forces south of Porto Garibaldi being captured or destroyed.

As there were many casualties noted after the day of April 17th, 1945, it seems that the fighting went on until a little beyond that date, after which No. 2 Commando retired to its former assembly area at Ravenna. The German forces in Italy and Austria surrendered on May 2nd, 1945 and No. 2 Commando had fired its last shot.

A very long time after the Lake Comacchio battle had gone into history as a ‘Battle Honour’ for the Commandos, this author must make the names of No. 2 Commando ‘fallen’ part of the Commando history.  

No 2 Commando Roll of Honour

Looking backwards to those times, this author wonders about what times of sorrow must have been the lot of the families of those men who had fallen within days of the war’s ending. How muted their celebrations of V.E. Day must have been! "

nb. The above  account is part of the overall history of No 2 Commando by Bob Bishop No 2 Cdo.

2 Commando, Postscript

"Soon after the cessation of hostilities in 1945, those in high places who had long advocated for the abolition of the Army Commandos, had their day. We went back to our various parent regiments, quietly, as always, obeying the last order.

This author became a former, relatively unimportant, member of the Commandos, who to be perfectly honest, was indulging in the human tendency of feeling a bit sorry for himself. I recall that what jolted me back into reality was thinking about the closing of the Commando Depot at Achnacarry. My miserable mood was surely nothing justified compared to what ‘the powers that be’ had done to Colonel Vaughan’s wonderful establishment.

Charlie Vaughan had lived through the horrors of the trenches in 1914-1918, but he had no ‘tunnel’ vision. He did not let his concept of war remain in that past conflict. Instead, he created a facility to train men for battle, achieving standards unprecedented in the history of the British Army. There is an old saying which goes: ‘Nobody ever told you life was fair!’ Those words certainly describe the ‘reward’ that Charlie received for his endeavours.

Four and a half years after the disbandment of No. 2 Commando this author found himself playing another relatively unimportant part in the Korean War. This time there were no green berets in the ranks alongside him. He felt lonely.

Acknowledgement

The author wishes to record his appreciation of the hard work and patience of his wife, Janet, in the ‘rush’ production of this narrative. Janet understands the subject well and is a willing historian of all things ‘commando’. She is a member of the Royal British Legion and an associate member of the Commando Veterans Association."

BOB BISHOP (No 2 Commando)
CANADA
AUGUST, 2007


​Read on from the links below 


A document about 2 Commando Overseas

2 COMMANDO OVERSEAS  April 13th 1943 - May 8th 1945

An account from a booklet written by an unknown member of No 2 Commando detailing the period April 13th 1943 to 8th May 1945 Gourock – Ravenna.
From the collection of Lance Sergeant Joe Rogers MM.

 

A False start

Everybody knew we were going overseas.  But at least we were going to get seven days embarkation leave before we went, and it was a crowded leave train that pulled out of Ayr station on that Friday night.  It was to say the least of it rather a blow to be woken up at one o’clock in the morning with the news that the train had been turned about and that we were to return to the sleeping landlords and ladies we had left but four hours earlier.

Six days later, April 13th 1943, Gourock seemed no less dismal than Ayr, and it was no real relief to be assembled in an overcrowded hold while the Colonel told us that the Commando was about to spend three months on the Rock of Gibraltar – because everyone knew that the Second Front would open ‘any day now’!

The Rock

Gibraltar was enjoying a ‘Levant’ when the Dunottar Castle steamed in after an uneventful trip.  The main Billet was to be Alameda Barracks with its Nissen Huts and the protective screen of cannon which had repelled the French during Rooke’s heroic defence in 18;;.  There were knowing looks when it was heard that the Officers were to be guests of a Pioneer Company in the appropriately chosen Nunnery.  By way of Commando training the only natural amenity offered by the Rock was climbing.  An assault course built by the Independent Company, striven over, competed over and sworn over, seemed the only alternative to the local sport of burrowing and tunnelling or a continuous round of bathing in sandy/Catalan bays.  Later, this monotony was varied by the use of two obsolete LCMs to convey as many men as they could possibly be made to carry on a round trip of the Rock, and to land them on a machine gun-swept beach for the assault on an imaginary power station.  ‘Exercise Seaweed’, as it was dubbed, was immensely popular with its instigators at least.  Two unfortunate troops had to repeat it seven times in almost as many days for the benefit of the great and their greater guests.

Sport

Normal entertainment on the Rock palled all too rapidly.  The Football team were knocked out of the Prince of Wales Cup before they got very far.  The Commando and Independent Company entered a combined side in the Cricket League, but only came into the limelight when Sgt Prescott and Pte Coulthard set up an all-time Rock record for a first wicket stand.  Batting against a team of Sappers they scored 150 odd before being separated.  Another all-rock victory was gained by the Unit with 100% in the Saluting competition.  Water Polo and 6 a-side Hockey were indulged in, but without conspicuous success.  Derby day however coincided with Payday, and this was too much for a subaltern inspired by the Sport of Kings.  A vast blackboard was erected in one corner of the square and as the Pay queue dwindled in the other corner the crowd around the ‘Bookie’ grew.  Runners and riders with their prices were chalked up by the Troop Sergeant Major, the inspired subaltern took the bets, and the Troop Commander’s Batman, remembering his days as a barrow-boy in the East End of London, shouted the odds.  The Troop Commander himself had an excellent alibi, and a non-plussed RSM found himself unable to deal with the technical illegalities.  Those concerned, on the contrary, gained a measure of fame from a notice in the pages of ‘The Rock’.

Vacancies for leave to Spain were all too few, but those who went came back with bulls cars and other parts of bulls, to encourage a practical demonstration in the mess.  Sides were taken, the initiated took the floor, and chaos reigned.

‘Rock-happiness’, a virulent disease, had taken its grip.  The ‘Off-the-Rock Society’ was formed, and exercise ‘Nuts!’ was the first of their many activities.

In the theatrical world the Commando made its mark upon the Rock with Lt Frank Mason’s very successful production of the first ‘Green Berets’ show, starting a Crazy Gang tradition which was to be followed with similar success elsewhere.  For entertainment also a far-seeing Welfare Association produced Vivien Leigh, Beatrice Lillie and Leslie Henson.  The latter, after a dinner at which Lieutenant Commander Tommy Woodruffe had proved to Col Jack that the Fleet could be lit up to order, is known to his undying shame to have recorded in his diary ‘….had an evening with some very tame Commandos’!

The Navy combined with the local defences to provide a fitting climax to the end of the North African Campaign, in Exercise ‘Gehenna’, when every blunderbuss on the Fortress hurled HE into the sky for three minutes, while Winston Churchill sat on the highest Rock to witness the proceedings.

At Last!

Sanity was preserved by the arrival just three months after we had reached the Rock of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who, in a rousing speech, told us that 3 Commando and the two Marine Commandos had left something for us to do in Sicily.  And with some still firmly believing that this was just a cloak to hide our intended assault on the Coast of France or ‘The Grapes’ in Ayr, the Prince Charles and Princess Beatrix took the Commando with what could be packed into a large valise to Syracuse, and then late at night to Augusta.

Brucoli, where we were destined to stay for most of the Sicilian campaign, brought heat and flies and dysentery, and an initial loathing of the Italian race.  The Commando exercises which preceded the Scaletta operation were distinguished by the Colonel’s new invention for hurling arrows into the air (it was made from a Besa tripod) and by his first use of the Mad Minute, practically demonstrated.  Neither invention got beyond the training stage, though it would have been good to see them used in battle.

Scaletta

The Scaletta operation itself was an anti-climax.  To the whole Commando assembled aboard the Prince Charles, Major-General Leese led off with a fearsome pep-talk whose main theme seemed to be that the immediate future might well be bloodier than Saint Nazaire’.  Lack of information, and the frantic haste of planning and preparation, did nothing to lessen the fearful expectancy.  And so when the Navy dropped us at the wrong place and at the wrong time, we were pleasantly surprised to be able, after a short mortar engagement, to march triumphantly into Messina.  A rather hollow success.

Salerno

After another period in the orange groves, this time outside Catania, where malaria was added to the distress of dysentery, the Commando was moved across the breadth of Sicily to some more pleasant groves outside Palermo.  Life here was still further improved by the American 5-in-1 ration; and for the first time since coming abroad there were no complaints about the food.

Being attached to the 5th Army however had its disadvantages, as was agreed when a Negro lorry driver informed a party of men of the exact details of the coming operation at Salerno.  His forecast turned out to be more detailed than our scanty briefing when it came.

With the Rangers, who gave us a grand reception, in two LSI and ourselves in a third, and 41 RM Commando in LCIs we made the sea passage mostly in daylight.  Except for one small air attack it was uneventful.  The three Churchills (Col Jack, Col Tom and Capt Randolph) were conspicuous by their presence.  The last named demonstrated a masterly command of the Italian language in translating a message from General Eisenhower, though it is possible that he might already have seen the English original!  Not even he, however, could explain the truth about the Italian surrender announced at 9pm that evening.  The guesses were many, and the betting was high.

Battle

The second wave were not unduly surprised to hear that the initial assault had gone in without any opposition on the beaches.  But they were rudely shaken by the mortar barrage that met them as they neared the shore in broad daylight.  However the primary objectives were taken with comparative ease;  though opposition was encountered on the high ground above Marina, and the I.O. killed by an 88mm, when ordered to threaten Salerno.  The Marines were holding the La Molina pass covering the main road into the town, but they had been counter-attacked repeatedly and suffered many casualties.  The situation there was precarious and we had been moved over to relieve them when a final and almost successful counter-attack was put in.  We were pushed back from the crest of the hill, but managed to dig in on the reverse slope.  A barrage was put down ahead of us by a regiment of 25 pounders, a cruiser, and the monitor Roberts and we were able to retake the hill.

The Infantry relieved us in due course and we regrouped in the now captured Salerno town.  After a short rest the depleted Commando moved out of the town under mortar fire in MT.  The convoy eventually reached a leafy valley, where the CO gave orders for a ‘beat’ in six columns, making as much noise as possible to flush the game!  No attack on Jericho could have been more successful, because nearly 150 Boche were put in the bag before daybreak, for the loss of one man wounded.

The subsequent attack was not so pleasant, and 1 and 2 Troops were badly mauled (all the Officers and the Sgt Major were casualties in 2 Troop) before being brought within the perimeter of the village of Piegolelle, where the CO organised an all-round defence.  Two nights later, to the strains of an occasional tune from Mad Jack’s pipes, the Commando was finally relieved and retired to the Salerno beaches.  The short period here was notable for an amazing tribute in a speech to the whole unit by Major General McCreery, then commanding 10 Corps.

Re-Org

An LSI sufficed to carry us back to Sicily, and by stages to Catania.  The Brigade was reformed and rumours were rife.  All the prophets proved false, and 3 Commando sailed Blightywards while we were destined for Taranto.  We made Taranto harbour in the rain, and suffered initiation to the miseries of the Italian State Railways in a freezing journey to Molfetta.

From Molfetta the first recruiting boards went out, and here later the first cadre courses were formed.  Infective Hepatitis or Jaundice spoiled the Christmas festivities for some, but the remainder were able to enjoy the second Green Berets show, and to show Italy the meaning of Whoopee!

The opening weeks of 1944 saw an exodus of two troops at a time to the monastery of San Michele.  The area proved a natural Italian Achnacarry, with climbing on the snow-clad slopes of Monte Vulture to remind some of Ben Nevis.

Meanwhile the Commando had been left to the tender mercies of a succession of remarkably similar organisations known in turn by the obviously progressive titles as Forces 133, 266 and 399.  For all the veil of secrecy which cloaked their activities, our connection with them was soon to have patent results, and with the New Year cognac still a powerful memory advanced elements of the Commando were whisked away to join a minute recce party under the CO on the Island of Vis.

Dalmatia

The Jugoslav partisans gave us a phenomenal welcome.  With the Germans barely 12 miles away across the water, and their last remaining Island threatened, there is no doubt that they were glad to see us.  Indeed the shots that sang across our bows from riflemen ashore were but indicative of their pleasure.  Full street lighting was on;  organised parties of men met the ships and formed a guard of honour and conveyed the baggage to billets which had been cleaned by organised parties of women; organised choirs of men and women sang partisan songs while we waited;  a brass band struggled with National Anthems and addresses were read from the steps of ‘Navy House’.

The set-up for Commando tactics was ideal.  Recce parties and wireless stations on the German-held Islands were maintained almost continuously during the first few weeks.  While the rest of the Commando and the first intakes were still in Italy going through the San Michele mill, Colonel Jack led two daring, if not typical, raids on the Islands of Hvar and Brac.  In a raid he had himself planned for 2 Troop Captain Bare was unluckily wounded and died while being carried back to the boat by the German prisoners he had secured.  He was given a funeral with the full military honours of three nations in the British Cemetery where the sailors of George III had been buried years before.

By the end of February the whole Commando was divided between the two small harbours of Vis and Komiza and the house on the central plain which Farmer Captain Walker had christened Duck’s Plash.  Lieutenant B J Barton MC, on his own initiative, carried out two very successful small-scale 2-man raids, which earned him the DSO and the nickname Barton of Brac.

Solta

The first and most fruitful combined operations was planned as an attack on the garrison of the Island of Solta.  The Navy were to land the Commando and a detachment of Rangers, with a few Italian 47/32 pack guns and an RAF link set in a small cove on the South side of the island.  The whole party was then to cross the Island under cover of darkness and surround the town of Grohote if possible in complete silence.  At first light the fighter bombers were to strafe the town and then the heavy weapons were to pummel it into submission.  The raid was an outstanding example of close co-operation of all forces.  A remarkable feature was the number of Officers who had spent 24 hours or more with Jugoslav partisans in their hideout on the Island prior to the final briefing, and by reconnaissance close to the enemy positions in daylight had provided a thorough picture of the task in hand.  The Navy did the right thing by landing us in the right place at the right time, the RAF established perfect communication and gave us an air-circus exhibition of precision bombing, while PWB rose to the occasion and provided a loud-speaker to call for surrender which actually did work!  The presence of Admiral Sir Walter Cowan was an inspiration sufficient in itself to secure the success of the operation.  The entire garrison of over 100 was killed or captured, and for two days the Germans on the mainland knew nothing of what had happened.  Then they sent over a rowing boat, and finding no Huns they took a couple of unsuspecting females who could only tell them that the English came and the Germans went.

Results

The German reply came in the form of three air raids on the Island – concentrated but comparatively ineffective as regards material damage done.  ‘Flaps’ and threats of seaborne and airborne landings abounded.  The Island was fortified and prepared for defence.  Parachute divisions and gliders were reported on the coast.  Siebel ferries of unimagined proportions became the subject of lurid Intelligence reports.

More Sport

But in the hours of daylight, life continued as normal.  The game of Rugby football was introduced to the inhabitants of Dalmatia, who apparently considered it rather a brutal form of sport.  Soccer matches were arranged, culminating in the tournament to celebrate May Day.  Everything went according to plan with the very painful exception of the fact that the Partisans lost in the final to SS Bde.  Further return matches were at once projected, but nothing could compensate them for having lost their game on their ground on their day.

Boarding Parties

Schooner hunting soon became the rage.  The Royal Naval complement included MGBs, MLs and Vospers and under the inspired leadership of Lt Comd Tom Fuller they carried boarding parties from the Commando on nightly tours between the Islands and the enemy coast.  The object was to sink or capture the unsuspecting schooners which by night were bringing supplies to the now beleaguered German garrisons.  One of the captured craft contained Danish butter in sufficient quantities to keep Navy House and other places supplied for at least a month.  There was an additional spice of excitement in the occasional brushes with U boats and aircraft which these trips produced.

The ceremony of handing over the first of these schooners to the Partisans was conducted by a visiting Admiral taken completely off his guard.  He had to remain rather long at the salute while the flags were being changed, because with both flags at half mast there was a technical hitch only solved eventually by a man who climbed the rigging to release them.

Miljet

The raid on Mljet will be remembered for many reasons.  For the scale on which it was projected (a Solta six times over) for the success with which the landing was effected;  for the damage it was to have inflicted on the sizeable garrison;  for the enormous amount of sweat and effort expended;  for the perfect summer weather and the driving wind and rain;  for the grandeur and the superfluity of the mountains;  and for the rumour which still persists that someone saw a German.  All the same the RSR fired a good many rounds of 75mm at the Hun, and the propaganda set broadcasting from the Sea Hawk drew enemy mortar fire from somewhere, the RAF scored near misses on a good many crags, and it was quite nice to be back in Vis.

Brac II

Shortly after Mljet the first party of Officers went back to the mainland on a Parachute course at Brindisi; but in the meantime a spot of bother occurred in Jugoslavia.  Tito’s HQ had been attacked and the Marshal himself nearly captured.  A large Partisan force was directly threatened and a diversion somewhere was vital.  Appeals were made to the British, and a large scale attack was planned on the German garrison of Brac.  Col Jack was acting Brigadier, and with 40 and 43 Commandos as the spearhead he led the attack.  His resulting capture and the death in action of Col Manners cast a gloom over the whole island.  An attempt to rescue Col Jack proved abortive.

Tito

It was particularly sad that Col Jack Churchill was not able to be present at the presentation of the Commando to Marshal Tito.  This ceremony, performed at 1030 on June 23, was accompanied by a really full scale diversion by the 25 pdrs of the 111 Fd Regt and by the 3.7s of the AA Gunners.  The Marshal, escorted by an entourage of Tommy Gunners, appeared to be entirely in his element.  He addressed the Unit, and his speech, when translated, was found to be duly appreciative and highly complimentary.

VIPs

His was the first of a number of inspections which characterised the closing days on Vis.  Brigadier Davey commanding Land Forces Adriatic saw the Commando and gave a hint that they would be seeing more of him.  The GOC SS Group paid us a visit, inspected the Unit, breakfasted with the Officers and gave a lecture on Commando activities in France.  Admiral Cowan – Commando Cowan – left the Island after inspecting our Guard of honour and receiving our cheers.

Still more Sport

A demolition course of considerable scope was run on the little neighbouring Island of Bisevo where the Partisans had made a prison Camp for the many Germans who kept rolling in.  Football, swimming, soft-ball, basket-ball – all kinds of sport filled the summer days between raids.  A 3rd edition of the ‘Green Berets’ ran to 16 performances in various parts of the Island.

Spilje

But the CO had been called to Italy for conferences, and it became evident that we were destined for other fields.  After a tremendous farewell party in the Officers Mess, with Partisan bands outdoing each other and suitable interruptions by the Commando piper, we at length embarked in LCIs and an ancient Adriatic steamer for Italy.  We reached Monopoli camp on July 16th, and almost immediately started training with the HLI for operation Healing II.  This operation, which was minutely planned with models and photographs and pages of paper, was a harassing task designed to destroy the German garrison of Himara near the town of Spilje in Albania.  The garrison which was guarding that sector of the main supply route to the south, proved a very tough proposition.  When we landed on July 29th and formed up under cover of darkness for a dawn attack on their positions they did not seem unduly surprised to see us, and despite the support of heavy naval gunfire and RAF fighter bombers and the guns of the RSR, they could only be dislodged by the determined frontal attacks of the Commando and the HLI.  Even then they hit back in no uncertain fashion, and the attacks went on all day.  In the end the time factor forced us to withdraw, but not before the town of Spilje had been entered and the German forces so disorganised and depleted that it was a comparatively simple matter for the Partisans to nab the rest next day.  Sgt Webster, Gnr Pallett and Dvr John were cut off during the battle when the latter was wounded and the force returned without them.  Two attempts had been made to bring them out in the week which followed, but no success achieved, when they were evacuated by Force 399 through their Liaison service with the Partisans who had been sheltering them.

Italian Summer

Casualties at Spilje had been fairly high, and the beginning of August saw most of the Commando on leave in Rome and other high spots.  A visit from Col Charles Vaughan who inspected the unit and told us much about the future, France, England, the present, the ‘Humming Bomb’ and ourselves, was a feature of the month.  The promotion of Major Fynn to Lt Colonel, and his confirmation as CO was the occasion of a magnificent party in the Grotto at Polignano when most of the Uniform and practically all the fairest of the fair sex in South Eastern Italy assembled to wine sup and dance.  As incidentals to this operation the local Italian population were shanghaied into such rowing boats as they could find, with their musical talent amongst them, and amid a shower of mortar flares and Verey Lights, they sang their way into the Grotto from the sea.  A motor convoy on the neighbouring road is reported to have halted for half an hour fearing a fresh invasion.  Other ‘attractions’ included a Jugoslav partisan choir, the Pipes, and a succession of Eightsome Reels.

In September the CO was married at Saint Augustine’s Church in Bari, Padre Banting officiating.  A guard of honour outside the church was formed by Troop Commanders and Warrant Officers with Fighting Knives as befitted so important an occasion.  But the Commando touch was added by Captain Parsons who had organised a smoke screen belching Verey Lights and flares, and a particularly explosive Jeep to convey the couple to the reception.  The Jeep didn’t make the grade (again by arrangement) and the entry of the ‘horseless carriage’ towed by a second guard of honour and led by the Pipes, provided an excellent start to an excellent party.

Sarande

But even while the festivities were going on, planning was proceeding apace.  LFA, we discovered, had quite a big Staff, and they were certainly not devoid of ideas.  Operation after operation was mooted, planned and scrapped, and finally after three false starts began the ‘fifty-hour operation’ of Sarande.

We arrived at the chosen beach on the Albanian coast a few miles North of Corfu, to find that our recce party under Capt Alec Parsons had been attacked by the Germans and nearly put in the bag.  To cap this, shortly after daylight it started to rain and to the troops in KD with the lightest possible equipment, who were forced for their own protection to hold positions at about 2000 feet, the rain was a decided nuisance.  We had been sent over to ‘harass’ the hun for the necessary period of 24 hours, in lieu of some other specific operation which had to be cancelled.  So harass the hun it was.  And for fifteen days we patrolled and strafed and recced in the craggy mountains and the waterlogged plain, all the time holding the valley in which our beachhead lay by manning positions on the flanking mountains.  There was no water on the mountains, nor any food, and even when mules had been provided to do some of the arduous carrying, several of these died under the strain and the men had to take over their loads.  Gradually a Brigade Force was built up under Brigadier Churchill, consisting of ourselves and 40 RM Commando, 150 Assyrian Levies, and elements of Royal Artillery and the RSR; and all the time offensive patrolling went on, and most of the time it rained.  There were many casualties from exposure in the first few days, and despite the surprisingly good morale quite a few men had not recovered in time for the battle.  Rain and the sharp rocks in particular played havoc with men’s feet.

However, on the 7th and 8th October we began to move up for an attack on the garrison of Sarande, carrying up the ammunition and stores required over the mountain tracks.  At 0245 on October 9th the leading Troops began to advance and by 1015 our final objective, a Battery of captured British 25 pdr guns on a fortress hill, was secured.  The Royal Marines, in a magnificent battle, cleared Sarande and the job was virtually done.

We withdrew by sea to our original beach and, amid a confusion of orders and counter-orders from Italy, the CO led a party to Corfu to clean up the Germans who remained.  This party received a magnificent welcome from the populace, many of whom spoke English, and the work of reconnaissance was somewhat hindered by the need for Ceremonial and receiving the honours paid.  Lt Eastaugh, halted by a crowd in a village, had to listen to a speech in modern Greek in which he was assured that his party were ‘not men but angels, sent from Heaven to protect us’.

Bitetto

Brigadier Churchill took his leave of the Commando on Oct 16 and the next day we returned to Monopoli and another spell of leave.  In November, the camp at Monopoli showing signs of reverting to the marsh it must originally have been, we moved to billets in Bitetto.  Reorganisation started in earnest.  A speech to the Commando by Major-General R E Laycock after he had inspected us, seemed to indicate that operations of a different kind were ahead of us.  Innumerable courses were laid on, intake troops were recruited and trained, and Christmas Horses, Mules and the proximity of Bari, were the only things that should have interfered with training.

A New Year

By the beginning of 1945 it was evident that something was afoot.  Mountain warfare training in the snow seemed to be the order of the day, and with two troops at a time ‘battling’ in the hills at Gravina, and later a 2 day Bde Exercise at Minervino, it seemed logical that our farewell to LFA at the conclusion of this feverish spell should be the prelude to our move to the flat, flat plains of Ravenna.

Here we came under command of 5 Corps and, arriving on February 18th, went into the line with 12 Lancers on the 21st.  After ten days we returned to Ravenna, were in the line from March 4th to the 11th, and again from the 19th to the 22nd.  During these periods there was a good deal of patrolling to be done, and we suffered a number of casualties from shell and mortar fire, and from the vast numbers of mines both own and enemy with which this much contested sector was littered.

The Spit

In the interim between the second and third spells in the line, and in the last week of the month training was carried out at a feverish pace with Fantails and Stormboats, in which new craft it was intended that we should carry out our share of operation ‘Roast’.  This remarkable operation to clear the Germans off the Spit of land between Lake Comacchio and the Adriatic, and thus secure the right flank for the big attack which was to follow, was carried out by the whole Brigade and won honours for all units taking part.  From our own point of view even now there is that about the success of the operation which savours of the miraculous.  No brief account can do justice to the story.  Let it be said merely that everything that could have gone wrong in the early stages had been foreseen and provided for; all those things did go wrong, and the snags had to be overcome by independent or concerted effort; as, for example, the little detail of having to walk half the way knee deep in soft mud and waist deep in water.  We reached the beaches six hours late, without our anti-tank guns without our reserve ammunition, with a minimum of medical supplies.  The initial assault was done by a Troop and Commando HQ together, the only flights able to reach the right place by daylight.  Instead of one troop as had been arranged, two and a half troops had to land on 9 Commando’s beachhead, leaving a very depleted force to take the main objectives.  Yet within four hours of landing these objectives had been secured by whirlwind tactics, and the troops with 9 had fought their way through from the south to join us.

When, on the evening of the third day after landing, the Brigade, having carried out its task of clearing the Spit, was relieved by 24 Guards Brigade, we had accounted for about 250 Germans in wounded and PW alone, and had secured large quantities of guns and equipment.

The battle of the Dykes

After a few days rest we were moved up with 43 RM Commando and Bde HQ to the town of Conselice, from where we were destined to carry out our last action in Italy.  This was briefly the task of making good the left flank of the thrust through the Argenta gap, by the not-so-simple expedient of fighting our way up the four dykes which contain the river Reno and the canals which run immediately alongside it.  To the left a large stretch of floodland robbed us of the power of manoeuvre and immediately to the right was our boundary with the main effort.

The principal snag was the difficulty of lateral communication.  There was no information as to which of the four dykes held the main strength of the enemy, and once a part of our force was committed to one of the dykes as a line of advance it was virtually on its own.  To reinforce against opposition encountered or to exploit success on a particular dyke was a slow business.  Troops were decidedly under strength after the days in the line and the matter of the Spit, and until the capture of a heavily defended lateral bridge improved communications, individual troops must have found it a decidedly chancy business.

The supply problem too was acute; finally a jeep-track was made by the simple expedient of driving through the undergrowth, but much of the difficulty still remained.  And the better the results of the fighting, the worse was the problem of supply.

Finally, after a very sticky period in which troops had to hold on to their gains in face of heavy fire and attempted counter-attacks, 43 Commando broke through with the tanks, and almost at once we were leap-frogged through again to take up the chase.

Short of Molinella, when the situation in our flanks was entirely obscure, and the German situation obviously chaotic, we were halted for a couple of days during which we patrolled in all directions, taking prisoners and drinking pre-war Vermouth dug out of hiding for the occasion by the Italian Partisans.

The end

We were taken back to Ravenna for a rest, and immediately reorganised into three troops and a recce section to meet the commitments which were designed to follow.  Then, amid talk of further special training for the crossing of the Po, on a sudden we found the Po was crossed, and the end in Italy had come.

April 13th 1943 – May 8th 1945 ; Gourock – Ravenna

Brigadier, what now ?

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No 2 Commando Casualties from April 1943

Casualties record from an account in a booklet called No 2 Commando Overseas written by an unknown member of No 2 Commando detailing the period April 13th 1943 to 8th May 1945 Gourock – Ravenna. Original booklet from the collection of L/Sgt Joe Rogers MM, No 2 Cdo 5 troop [transcribed by Di Edwards]

                                                     CASUALTIES

 

             OFFICERS

                 ORs

Operation

Killed

Missing

Wounded

Killed

Missing

Wounded

Scaletta-Messina

1

-

2

3

-

14

Salerno

7

-

4

26

9

110

Dalmatia

2

1

6

2

14

33

Spilje

-

-

4

6

1

47

Sarande

3

-

3

3

-

25

Line Duties

1

-

3

10

3

28

Comacchio

-

-

1

3

-

25

Argenta Gap

-

-

3

4

-

26

Total

14

1

26

57

27

308

Total Officers  :  41

Total ORs  :  392

 

Embarked with unit 13 Apr 43 and remaining with unit until VE Day 1945  :  3 Officers,  161 ORs

No 2 Commando decorations and awards from April 1943

Decorations and awards record from an account in a booklet called No 2 Commando Overseas written by an unknown member of No 2 Commando detailing the period April 13th 1943 to 8th May 1945 Gourock – Ravenna. Original booklet from the collection of L/Sgt Joe Rogers MM, No 2 Cdo 5 troop [transcribed by Di Edwards]

BAR TO DSO
Lt Col J M T F Churchill MC  DSO
 
DSO
Lt Col J M T F Churchill MC
Lt B J Barton MC
 
BAR TO MC
Capt M H Webb MC
 
MC
Capt J P L Henderson
Lt G A Parsons
Capt R H Hooper
Capt L E MacCallum
Capt M W Stilwell
Capt D R Peters
Capt L F McWilliams RAMC
Capt R W Keep
Capt J E G Nicholl
Capt G F Whitfield
Capt C. James *
 
DCM
Sgt Rudge W F
Sgt Ellwood W
Dvr Hausman
CSM Morland P D
CSM Hutton G F
Cpl Jackson J
LCpl Hoggett W *
MM
Sgt O’Brien R DCM
Cpl Peachey F
Cpl Humble W
Cpl Simister C A
L/Cpl Webb J
Sgt White J E
Sgt Myram A E
L/Bdr Gelder J W
L/Bdr Mulcahy T J
Cpl Anchor J
L/Sgt Rogers J G
Drv Dransfield G D
L/Cpl Howard G
L/Sgt Smith T
Sgt Perkins L
Rfn Gill R
Pte Hendry B J
Fus Gray A
Gnr Clark J
CSM Tomlinson
Fus Cooper D
 
MID
CSM G F Hutton DCM
Pte Kirton E
Sgt Smallbone N
Sgt Barnes W
L/Sgt Murphy L
Sgt L Perkins MM
Capt MacCallum L E

* Not on original list. Added as they served with 2 Commando Brigade Signals.

BUCKMASTER, Eric, Memories of No 2 Commando

Eric Buckmaster, 2 Commando
Over the last few years Eric Buckmaster, No 2 Commando, has been a wonderful help to this Archive by providing information in response to our many questions, not only about those who served with him in No 2 Commando 5 troop, but also in providing other more general information about events and places.
 
Eric served alongside his brother Stanley Buckmaster in 5 troop. Here are some extracts from a few of his responses.
 

Joining No 2 Commando 5 troop

"The majority of the key members of 5 Troop came from Liverpool, Birkenhead, and Warrington. It was known as the Scottish Troop, because initially it had a large contingent of Liverpool Scottish, plus members of other Scottish Regiments.
 
Although I am a Cockney from the East End of London, I got into 5 Troop because I was part of the intake trained to replace those lost at St Nazaire, Mid 1942. The RSM asked for all Scotsmen to step forward. There were only 6 men in that intake who qualified, but he wanted 7 so he asked for a volunteer, and that is how I got in.
 
After Salerno when again we needed replacements, my younger Brother Stanley joined us, he had been through the North Africa Campaign, and stayed with me in 5 Troop for the remainder of the War."
 

No 2 Commando cap badge.

"When 2 Commando was first formed the Tam O' Shanter was our Unit headgear. When I joined them mid 1942 after St Nazaire, that is what I wore initially. However the CO had adopted the Fighting Knife as a standard hat badge, and we had shoulder flashes which were the Fighting Knife with SS on either side of it. We were issued the Flashes, but the hat badges were not at that time on issue, they had to be made by ourselves.
 
I joined 2 Commando very late one night in Boscombe, Bournemouth. When I got to my billet I was met by one of the lads from HQ Troop, who showed me to my room, gave me my Tam O'Shanter, and also gave me a teaspoon and said you can make your hat badge out of that. We had to file the fighting knife badge out of the teaspoon with a nail file. We sewed them on to our hats with a loop of cotton round the handle, and another loop under the haft. Some time later they actually issued the hat badges as a general supply for 2 Commando." 
 

Driving Trains and Mining in Ayr

"As part of our Training whilst in Ayr, some of us were sent to drive trains, some of us were sent down coal mines. I was sent down the Auchencruive Pit in Ayrshire which ran some 2 miles under the sea. A long part of the tunnel was no more than 4’ 6” high due to the presence of a long seam of hard “ Whin Stone ”. How men were able to traverse that each day before starting work I don’t know."

Exercise on board HMS Keren.

"There is a photo headed No 2 Boys on HMS Keren. This was an excercise that we went through in November 1942. We embarked at Greenock on to one of the Island's Ferry's - Macbraynes of the Highlands - and sailed among the Islands in the mouth of the Clyde. We disembarked at " Tighnabruiach ".
 
No 2 Cdo on HMS KerenWe then marched over the hills to the bottom end of Loch Fyne, where boats picked us up and put us on board HMS Keren. Later that day we embarked on Landing Craft operated by Americans and were landed at the top end of Loch Fyne for a night exercise. This was carried out. 
 
However, the American's came to collect us afterwards too late, and the tide ran out of the Loch and their landing craft were stranded high and dry. It's not too warm up there in November, and we spent our time moving about trying to ignore the cold until daylight and the return of the tide. Some few managed to light small fires to try to keep warm.
 
We finally got back to the Keren in time for breakfast, and some rest.

During the following night the weather was a little rough, and one of the ship's boats which had been tied alongside, broke loose and at high tide was beached high on the rocks at the side of the Loch. Captain Dickie Broome and about a dozen of us were detailed off to go to help the sailors get their boat off the rocks and refloated. They were using baulks of timber and pulleys lashed around large nearby trees. but the keel of their boat was very firmly lodged in the rocks. From information printed on the side of the boat it weighed some 10 Tons.

My earlier RASC training came in useful. We made enquiries about the nearest Transport Unit , and Capt. Dickie Broome and I were shipped about a mile up the Loch and we borrowed 6 jacks of the type that were used to lift the Army 5 ton trucks. With these properly placed we were able to get the boat lifted until the Keel was high enough to clear the rocks and the baulks of timber could be placed under it. Much to my disappointment, we never did see the Boat finally refloated.  Just at the crucial time, the Commando contingent were called back to the Keren in order to be shipped back to Ayr.

Sorry to have told you the tale of the old 'Iron Pot '. My reason for mentioning the Keren Photo, is that the No 1 man in the picture, front row left is Joe Slater, and the No 3 man is Ernie Hurst, both 5 Troop."
 

No 2 Commando on board HMT Dunnottar Castle to Gibraltar.

"I was most pleased to receive your note and the lovely photograph of the old boat. I was amazed to learn that she had continued in service as a Cruise Ship until 2004. It appeared relatively old to us in 1943, although there was nothing of the Cruise Liner about it when we were on board.

It was set out in Mess Deck Areas at different levels. Officers,& Sgts & WOs. were housed separately. Each dwelling area for Other Ranks, had some 20 very sturdy fixed wooden tables, with forms. Men were allocated to given mess tables which had a limited number of steel/iron dishes and kitchen utensils. Each table would hold about 20 men ( 10 per side). We slept in sailing ship type hammocks, which had to be slung above or around the Mess Tables. Some few had mattresses for any floor spaces. Everything had to be taken down and stowed away in side bins for the Captain's rounds each day. The impression of it has always stayed with me. It was like living in a 'Greasy Spoon' .

Two men from each mess table were responsible each day for going to the Stores below decks, to draw the food for the day. Vegetables had to be peeled etc. Then it was taken down to the Galley where they cooked the parts of the meal that needed to be cooked. Then you had to get your own trays back, and the two men on duty each day had to make sure that each man got his share, and then had to wash up their tables and dishes & utensils. Cleaning cloths & soap were almost non existant.

Can you imagine the contrast for volunteer rather spoiled soldiers, who had lived in civilian billets for some time, with Landladies who made the porridge for breakfast or provided meals during the day when required !

Officers & NCOs had waiters, men who volunteered for the task and probably found it a cushy number.

With so many men needing Facilities !!!, the loos were timber platforms along the whole of each side of the Ship, with appropriate holes cut out for the seats. They projected out over the sea, and one always felt a bit precarious. You had to climb up on to them, and if you looked down you could see the water rushing by below. There was some screening but not much privacy.

We embarked one lunch time, and set out from the Clyde during the evening, sailing past the North of Ireland. A huge Convoy of some 40 ships, a very motley collection of boats, with three Destroyers in attendance.

It took us nearly 6 weeks to get to Gibraltar, I imagine because we were following diversionary routes planned or plotted to avoid submarines. At one stage it was said that we had almost reached the Coast of America. How true this was I don't know.
 
One thing I do remember is that on the first night out, quite a number of people were a little upset by the motion of the ship, and the Galley served up Tripe for the evening meal. Some just didn't want it. I was very lucky, in that the sea motion did not affect me very much and I was hungry. I got about three men's portions of Tripe and slung my hammock that night very replete.

There was all sorts of stuff stacked around the Decks, but there were some spaces and weather permitting we trotted around in the spaces available, and or climbed the ship's lifting derricks for exercise."
 

Food Rations

"This is not a moan, but an observation, in our experience Commando soldiers did not often fare over well when it came to feeding. This was partly due to the inadequacies of the British army specifications on food, and partly due to lack of experience. Jimmy Smith confided to me one day that he had managed to burn the Tea !

Wherever you did not have a Cookhouse or Catering Section, you were dependant upon what was issued to your Unit or Section. The Containers were not synonymous with each other. A tin of beans might be shared between 6 men. A tin of bacon between 10 men, a tin of sausages between 8 men. The tins would be boiled up in a Dixie, and issued hot when thought to be ready. They had to be opened, and then matched with the numbers of men for each tin. Someone invariably went short of something.

On the Island of Vis, where we were dependant upon Boats getting over, we were often very hungry. On one occasion we captured two German Schooners full of various kinds of produce, intended for their Island Garrisons, Flour , pickles, tubs of fresh butter. We lived well for a week or two. Most of the Flour was given to the Partisans, and a baker made them bread, but they preferred the dry tack biscuits that we were given, and they used to come and ask us to swap with them, which we were happy to do.

It used to be said that in the American Army they had 7 ½ men to back up each member of the front line troops. With the British Army it was 2 ½ men. What ever may be the truth of it, on the matter of Food Rations they were better organised than us .
 
For a short period in Sicily, we were attached to the American 5th Army, to lead them in at Salerno. We were put on to American style rations. They had boxes of what were known as 5 in 1 Rations. Each box was allocated to 5 Men. It contained 5 packets of breakfast cereal, 5 pouches of preserved milk , 5 packets of biscuits, 5 little packets of cigarettes, 5 chocolate bars, 5 fruit juice. It was 5 of everything needed for the day. Also the combinations within the boxes were variable, so that you could have a different mix on different days. To some of us it was heaven, but after only a few weeks some people were complaining that they wanted to get back on to proper British food. !!!."
 

Operation Healing Two - Spilje, Albania

Details on the photo below of 5 troop.

 "The man from the left is my brother Stanley, so 5 Troop were involved here although I cannot immediately remember the names and faces of the other lads present.

I must be somewhere around that group, because Stanley was No 2 on my Bren Gun, and he’s carrying his rifle in that picture.

We were moving down towards the Harbour, so that our Landing Craft could come round from our up coast landing spot, to pick us up more easily.

Spilje is the place where each Troop was given a different location to attack . Ours was a steep hill with German slit trenches all across the top. We came ashore in the early hours of the morning and moved in some distance across country, and then we just sat and waited for dawn. The Germans must have been rather Jittery because all the time they were firing tracer bullets on fixed lines.

When it started to get light, we climbed through some barbed wire, and then ran up that hill so fast that we literally overan the German positions and Capt Turner was reduced to calling “ Come back Five ”. That became a subsequent “Battle Cry ” for 5 Troop,  “ Come Back Five ”.

No 2 Commando did take casualties during the operation.

"The Germans were more concerned to know if we were Partisans or Englander. The Partisans did not usually treat them very well.  A few of them who had tried to run away had been shot.

With regard to the prisoners themselves in this picture, it was common practice to make them carry the heavy stuff that we had toted into battle. Any spare mortar bombs, our Bren Jackets and anything else that could be safely loaded on to them.  There were no Partisans with us at this time. The Bren Jacket was in itself a heavy garment and with it 8 bren magazines, each Mag. contained 28 x .303 rounds of ammunition.

In addition the No.1 man carried his Colt 45, plus the weight of 50 rounds for that. The Nos. 2 & 3 in the Bren Team, in addition to the Bren Jacket and their 8 Magazines of .303, carried their Rifles, Bayonnets and 100 rounds of .303 ammunition for that. In clips and bandoliers which you can see in the Picture.

Some Troop members would be carrying the 2’’ Mortar, its Base plus supply of Bombs, and the 'Piat Man' would be similarly loaded.

You can understand why, after the exertion of the activity, and certainly in the warmer weather it was felt appropriate to make the Prisoners carry the load.

In the Infantry Troops we thought we had our share of the weight to be carried, but spare a thought for the members of the Heavy Weapons Troop, who carried 3’’ Mortars, Base Plates, & Tripods, plus enough bombs for a battle, and Vickers Machine Guns, and loaded ammunition cylinders."

Communication and Cigarettes

"Unless one was say in the Orderly Room, and perhaps had access to a typewriter, all letters would have been hand written. Letters posted home were always censored by each Troop CO.  There was an Army Newspaper called the ‘8th Army News’, but afterwards this became ‘ The Crusader ’. I imagine because both the 1st & 8th Armies were engaged in the action at that time.

In case you do not know, the Vs… referred to were our Weekly free issue of 50 cigarettes. The name was “ Victory Vs ”. They came from the NAAFI, but did not arrive every week, some times they were up to a month late.

When we first joined the 8th Army they were called ‘Cape to Cairo’ the label pictured a Camel, and it was said that’s where they came from ‘the Camel’. But as we proceeded through Sicily & Italy the name changed. ( I didn’t smoke, so was not much affected by the quality )."

Preparations for Japan

We arrived home late June, early July 1945, and I was sent down to St Ives in Cornwall, to attend a “ Surf Landing Boating Course ” at the Commando School for Boating and Cliff Climbing.

The Japanese War was still in progress and we were being regrouped to be sent Far East.

It was said that there were not many natural Harbours available out there and we had to be prepared to make Surf Landings. It seems that opposite the town of St. Ives, the beaches develop the highest level of surf around the UK. When the Local fishermen were coming in because rough weather was expected, we would set out. We used Canadian Dory’s which are sharp at both ends ( shades of Moby Dick ). Eight men rowing and one man with a sweep to steer.

The drill was to row into the shore keeping the Boat at strict right Angles to the shore. When we reached the actual surf, the rowers turned about face and adopted a rowing out stance. And held on. The surf would pick the boat up and carry it in. If we did it right the boat would ride in on a high wave and be deposited squarely on the beach. If the angle was slightly out the boat and rowers ended up in a heap under water, with the boat up around your ears.

Another factor was the very thick sea mists that can occur down there even on August Bank Holiday and before. We spent hours learning to steer by compass out at sea in very thick mist, with visibility nil."

Sevice after the War

"After the war Jack Payne, my brother Stanley, and I,  all enlisted in the London (TA) 10th Battalion Parachute Regiment, and spent 6 years jumping out of aeroplanes and balloons. I may have mentioned that we had done an initial Parachute Course on our return from Yugoslavia, at a place named Gioia del Colle, which means Happiness on the Hill.

We were in number 3 Company, Based at Dagenham Essex. Jack Payne persuaded us to make up a Company Boxing Team, and we won the Inter Company Trophy, 5 years running, so they gave it to us and set up another Trophy."


Many thanks to Eric for sharing his memories with us. Now aged 95, Eric is still an active member of the London Branch and a regular at many of our events.

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DIXON, Herbert, Memories of No 2 Commando

Type: Personal Papers
Author: Herbert Dixon No 2 Cdo, Tim Huelin
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: Herbert Dixon, No 2 Commando

Herbert 'Herbie' Dixon wrote this document aged 75.  It includes more than just his military service and is well worth reading. Our thanks to his grandson Tim Huelin for allowing us permission to reproduce on our website

DIXON, Herbert

Known as: 
Bert, Herbie
Rank: 
Fusilier
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)
Service: 
Army
Service number: 
6290340
Born: 
Friday, August 11, 1916

Click/touch the image above to view more photos.

Click/touch the link below to read his wartime memories.

SAWYER, Alfred, Memories of No 2 Commando

Type: Personal Papers
Author: Alfred Sawyer No 2 Cdo., Ian Sawyer
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: 2 commando, alf sawyer, sicily, italy, yugoslavia, brac, greece

The attached file contains the personal memories of Alf Sawyer relating to his military service in No 2 Commando. Provided courtesy of his son Ian Sawyer

SAWYER, Alfred Frederick Edward

Rank: 
Private
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Hampshire Regiment
Service: 
Army
Service number: 
1447691
Died : 
Saturday, December 19, 2009

Read below the wartime memories of Private Sawyer No 2 Commando.

Yugoslavia revisited by Veterans

Written by Henry Brown OBE, Secretary of the Commando Association and first published in Commando Association newsletter 57 of September 1973. Image from our archive [view here] depicts Colonel Jack Churchill and his brother General Tom Churchill during the visit. 
 
Whilst I shall endeavour to convey to members, especially all those ex No. 2 Cornmando Brigade, something of the atmosphere and success of this pilgrimage, I confess I have the feeling that my comments will prove quite inadequate, but here goes !
 
Gatwick Airport on Friday morning, July 20th 1973, saw the commencement of this sentimental journey, when a party totalling 40 members of 2 Cdo Bde and their wives, plus Mr. Ken Shaw of the Queen's Royal Reg ., and Mr. George Mason of the 111 Fd. Regt. R.A., and led by their former Brigade Commander, Major General T. B. L. Churchill, C.B, C.B.E., M.C., flew off by Aviogenex 134A jet to Split where, on arrival, the party was given a most cordial welcome in the V.I.P. lounge by officials of SUBNOR (Yugoslav Veterans Organisation) and Tourist representatives. This was to prove a fitting prelude to the ever increasing expressions of kindness and friendship which every member of the party experienced during this truly memorable pilgrimage-come-holiday.

After being introduced to our courier, Mr. Bogdan Cvahte (soon to be affectionately referred to as 'Robbie'), the party immediately sampled the excellence of the arrangements made on our behalf when we boarded for the sea voyage to Vis, not a steamer taking four hours, but the Tourist Company's hydrofoil, which quickly and safely transported us to Komisa, with one short stop on the island of Hvar. As only a small number of the party could be accommodated in the only hotel on the island, the majority were soon being introduced to their hosts in private houses, an arrangement which proved most satisfactory. Everyone came together at meal times in the very pleasant surroundings of the Hotel Bisevo where, in addition to a very satisfactory varied menu, there was an English breakfast for all who desired this.
 
Our first morning consisted of a coach tour, in a coach specially transported to the island from Split for our benefit, of the Island of Vis and, after about six attempts to get round one very difficult corner by the quay at Komisa, we were on our way. Passing through Podhumlje, the former location of the field hospital, we were soon climbing the hills towards the area of Tito's caves and had in fact to cornplete the last steep stretch on foot. Retracing our steps, we boarded the coach and our next stop was at the house formerly used by General Churchill as his Brigade Headquarters.
 
On then for a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial commemorating the Yugoslav Forces, followed by a similar cerermony at a memorial commemorating fallen R.A.F. Pilots, this stands on the hill overlooking the former airstrip, now cornpletely covered by very healthy looking vines. Continuing along the narrow mountainous, though now well surfaced road, we soon came upon the magnificent view of the harbour and town of Vis, and what amounted to our best view of Fort George, as the fort is still in a restricted area, and consequently no visit was possible to this old Troop H.Q. Whilst in the town, the party greatly enjoyed a reception given by the Mayor of Vis at the Town Hall, and a visit to a very fine museum in which many relics of the war are displayed - photographs too proved most interesting and especially those of Marshal Tito inspecting No. 2 Cdo on the airstrip and a group of Partisans and Commandos in which Jimmy Hustwick (one of our party) was immediately identified.
 
The party then returned to Komisa for lunch, and the remainder of that day, and the following day, Sunday, were taken up with swimming and sunbathing by most of the party. Others took this opportunity to have a real good look around Komisa taking pictures, of course, of buildings  (little changed in thirty years) used as Officers' and Sergeants' Messes, Troop H.Q.'s, etc.
 
Monday, the 23rd, was taken up by a visit to the nearby island of Bisevo. Unfortunately, the sea was just too rough for entry by boat into the famous 'Blue Grotto', but not to be outdone, the strong swimmers, courageously led by General Churchill, dived overboard for what looked quite a perilous swim into the famous cave---their eventual return to the boats proving a very exciting episode. Moving then to a nearby sandy beach, the party quickly sought cooling refreshment before entering a large barn like building on the beach for a fish picnic, cooked nearby on an open fire. Liquid refreshment was in good supply and, needless to say, this picnic developed into a very jolly occasion, accompanied by rousing partisan songs. Shortly after this the party had the honour of being joined by the British Ambassador and Mrs. Dugald Stewart, together with the Military Attache, Colonel B. A. M. (Tony) Pielow, and they returned with us that evening to Komisa for a very enjoyable reception at the town's most important outside restaurant and dance centre.
 
Making a very early start on Tuesday, the 24th July, approxim