Commando Training

'Commando School RM'

After the war ended and Achnacarry closed, those Royal Marines selected for specialised Commando training attended the Commando School initially located at Towyn in Wales, then relocated in 1947 to Bickleigh in Plymouth. In 1954 it was moved to the ITC Lympstone.

'History and Training 1940 -1945'

Introduction

The following pages, compiled by the Commando Veterans Archive and published on the 10th February 2014, are designed to give the reader an insight into Commando history and training, and of the close association that has developed since then, between serving Commandos, Veterans, and their families, in the many areas such as Lochaber where they trained in WW2, and the places where they train nowadays. This section also includes an hour long film made about their WW2 training.

A list of courses at CTC Inveraray

Courses for the Special Service Brigade.

The No 1 Combined Training Centre (CTC) at Inverary was located on the banks of Loch Fyne. The Naval Shore Base, HMS Quebec,  was also based at this location.
 
Training courses  took place here for units from both British and Allied Forces.  The list below represent only those allocated to the Special Service Brigade and related units. 
Source: National Archives DEFE2/1317
 

Location

Inveraray Scotland
United Kingdom
56° 13' 54.3288" N, 5° 4' 31.476" W

A reunion of the CMWTC at St Ives

This is an account of a Commando Mountain Warfare Training Centre reunion held at St Ives on the 24-26th September 1993 as outlined in Commando Association Newsletter 98 of March 1994.
 
"This Reunion, held over the weekend 24th-26th September, was an unqualified success, and, congratulations are due to the hard work put in by Slim Sutherland, Jim Smith, Peter Dietz, Mike Banks, Ken Broom, Jack Hunter and C/Sgt. Tony Boyle (currently serving with RM Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre) were well rewarded.

All Arms Commando Course - video

This video, in the form of a power point presentation,  is 25 minutes long and contains a good deal of information from the history of Commando Training to the present day All Arms Commando Course. It wil benefit all who are contemplating applying for the course, or who simply want to know more about what is required of candidates.
 

BAXTER, Richard Fraser

Captain Baxter served in 45RM Commando and during 1945-6 on the staff of the CMWTC.
 
Post war he was ordained Reverend. He was appointed OBE in the 1964 New Years Honours List "for public services in Nyasaland."
(Sources: CA Newsletters 38 and 98, and London Gazettes Supp 43200, page 23.)
 

BELLRINGER, Roy

LSgt Bellringer served with 1 troop and took part in the raid at St Nazaire.  He was on board ML 446 and was evacuated back to the UK. In July 1942 he was part of the No 2 Commando Boxing Team. We have numerous photos in the gallery of him both before and after St Nazaire, and in an image of the boxing team.

He then left No 2 Commando to become an NCO Instructor at the Commando Depot, Achnacarry.  He was part of the PT Team alongside CSMI Frickleton and Sgt Bissell.*

BISSELL, SSgt. Transcript of a speech.

Type: Personal Papers
Author: SSgt Stan 'Sonnie' Bissell BEM
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: commando training

Stanley Bissell joined the Metropolitan Police on the 1st March 1926. In 1930 & 1934 he won silver medal at the British Empire Games middleweight freestyle wrestling events in Canada and London. He was then posted as self defence instructor at the Metropolitan Police Training Centre at Peel House. He attended the Army School of Physical Training to assist him in this new Police role.

BISSELL, Stanley

Stanley Bissell joined the Metropolitan Police on the 1st March 1926. In 1930 & 1934 he won silver medal at the British Empire Games middleweight freestyle wrestling events in Canada and London. He was then posted as self defence instructor at the Metropolitan Police Training Centre at Peel House. He attended the Army School of Physical Training to assist him in this new Police role.

FRICKLETON, Alex

CSMI Frickleton was the head of the Physical Training Team of Sgt's Bissell and Bellringer at the Commando Depot, Achnacarry.

In his book It had to be Tough, the author James Dunning describes CSMI Frickleton's role and adds that he was " a splendid warrant officer."

Donald Gilchrist in his book Castle Commando describes him as " a small compact bundle of muscles with a head of closely cropped curls and a well developed sense of humour."

GILCHRIST, Donald Johnston

Donald Gilchrist was serving as a Captain in the Cameronians when he volunteered for the Commandos. After acceptance he went to Achnacarry in February/March 1942 and successfully completed his Officer Training after which he was retained there as an Instructor. Achnacarry had just opened as the new Commando Depot, later renamed the Commando Basic Training Centre, and staff were needed to assist with the initial intakes. 
 

LEES, Brian

Capt Brian Lees 2 Commando and CBTC

Brian Lees served as a Lieutenant in No 2 Commando and is included in pictures in our gallery of the officers at Gibraltar in 1943. At some stage after that he is posted to the staff at the Commando Basic Training Centre and is included in a 1945 photo of the Officers there.

Post war he settled in the 50's in Illinois, America, and is referred to as Doctor Brian Lees in Commando Association Newsletter 26 of March 1958. His death was announced in a later newsletter which additionally showed the fact he had served in the CBTC (CA Newsletter 56).
 

MURPHY, Dennis Eric

Capt D.E. Murphy CBTC

Dennis Murphy was serving as a Guardsman in the 1st Bn of the Irish Guards in 1938 when he was awarded the Military Medal for his " conspicuous gallantry during an engagement with an armed band in the vicinity of Deir Bejjala o the 18th August 1938", Recommended by the Officer Commanding British Forces in Palestine and Trans-Jordan. A copy of his citation is in the National Archives  ref WO373/92/125.

OVENS, Patrick John

Lt PJ Ovens

Lieut. Ovens served at the CBTC and is shown in a photo entitled "Commando Basic Training Centre - Officers Mess - 1945." He joined 46RM Commando shortly before it was disbanded.

Post war he served as a Captain with 41 Independent Commando in Korea being awarded the Military Cross in 1951 for " gallant and distinguished service".  Appointed  OBE in 1968 when a Lieutenant Colonel, he remained in service and in 1974  became Commandant General Royal Marines.

PROCTOR, John David

John David Proctor 2 Commando
Commissioned into the Camerons (1st Liverpool Scottish)  on the 10th February 1940,  2/Lt Proctor first volunteered for the Independent Companies joining No 4 Ind.Coy. In February 1941 he was a Lieutenant in 5 troop, No 2 Commando
 

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