Holding Operational Commando

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BAILEY, Arthur Charles

1 Special Service (Commando) Brigade

Gunner Arthur Bailey was found dead on Westhampnett Lane Chichester, a road leading to Goodwood.  Ambulance men at the scene found that he had fractured his skull and it was later ascertained that he had fallen from a lorry in which he was a passenger.

CHARLTON, Thomas Albert

Holding Operational Commando

Private Thomas Albert Charlton served in the Holding Operational Commando (HOC).  Post war he served as a Lieutenant in the Federation of Malaya Police Force.  Police Lieutenant Charlton was awarded the George Medal on the 24th April 1951 for his gallantry whilst serving in the Malay Police.
He was later killed in action during a bandit ambush in South Johor on the 5th May 1954.
Citation for the George Medal

CRESSWELL, Thomas Anthony

Holding Operational Commando

Private Thomas Cresswell died overseas and is buried in Germany.  The headstone at his grave states, "First on the rope. A beloved son. Died in life saving attempt." 

CWGC main entry and headstone file.
The CWGC entry records his secondary unit as "Formerly Holding Operational Commando. 

FREEMAN, John Haughton

Major John Freeman SAUDF
48RM Commando
Major John Freeman, S.A.U.D.F. was attached to 48RM Commando HQ during the Normany invasion [1]. He received a Mention in Despatches for good services while operating with the Army in NW Europe [2].
October 1944 Holding Operational Commando [3].
12 February 1946 apppointed M.B.E. (Military Division) [4].
[1] The Story of 48RM Commando (published 1946).
[2] London Gazette 37023, page 1895 published 10 April 1945.

MACALPINE, Ian Ferguson

Lieutenant Colonel Ian Ferguson Macalpine
No 6 Commando
Private Ian Ferguson Macalpine was commissioned Lieutenant on 22 June 1940  [1].
  • 18 August 1942 promoted War Substantive Major [2].
  • 18 August 1942 promoted Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, OC No.6 Commando [2].
  • November 1942 (Operation Torch North Africa) hospitalised with heart problems during the battle for Green Hill [3].


Commando Basic Training Centre
Fusilier Bill Magennis served in the Pipe Band at Achnacarry.
Extract from Commando Association newsletter 40 issued March 1965
Now Pipe Major of the lst Bn. Black Watch (R.H.R.) of Canada and stationed at Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick is ex Fus. Bill Magennis who served in the Commando Pipe Band at Achnacarry.

MCGONIGAL, Ambrose Joseph

Ambrose McGonigal MC
No 12 Commando
Lieutenant Ambrose McGonigal was awarded the M.C. [1] for distinguished service during a raid on the enemy held island of Sark on the night of the 27th December 1943. This was a reconnaissance operation to obtain certain information and if possible capture a prisoner. Very soon after landing the raiding party inadvertently entered a minefield and the resultant explosions killed one member of the party and badly injured a second. Whilst evacuating from the minefield a further 4 mines exploded killing the already injured man, and wounding Lt. McGonigal and 2 others.

SILLITOE, Frederick Roy

42 Cdo. RM
Lieutenant Frederick Sillitoe was serving at the RM Holding Commando in April 1945 [1].
  • 1956 (Captain) (42 Commando RM) Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in operations at Suez between October and December [2].

TERRY, Bernard

Private Bernard Terry was killed in a car accident in the UK.

CWGC Grave Registration Report Form shows "Holding Op. Cmd."
Westminster Abbey Commando ROH database gives cause of death. National Archives DEFE/2/843.

WOOLLEY, Arthur Rupert (Lt. Col)

30 Commando Assault Unit
Arthur Woolley joined the Royal Marines on 1 December 1939 and after his basic training was posted to the 5th Batallion Royal Marines Brigade.
  • Promoted Temporary Captain April 1940, Acting Temporary Major November 1941, and Second in Command of 5RM in June 1942.
  • After a brief spell as OC No.2 Landing Group Beach Unit he returned as Major (Second in Command) of 5RM which, by this time, had been redesignated as 45RM Commando. 

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