No 11 Commando

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'Layforce'

Three UK based Army Commando units, Nos. 7, 8, and 11 Commandos, were initially combined within 'Force Z' for operations initially envisaged against Rhodes in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Other elements of the Force included a number of men from No.3 Commando and the Canoe section of No.8 (Guards) Commando.  They sailed from the Isle of Arran on the 31st January 1941, and arrived at Suez on the 7th March.

'Operation Flipper'

Friday, November 14, 1941

Location

Beda Littoria
Libya
32° 45' 59.0004" N, 21° 44' 30.0012" E

The raiding party landed 14 November. The attack on Rommel's HQ by units from Layforce took place 17 November. The raiding party included a group from No 11 Commando (see What Links Here above) led by Lt Col Keyes supported by others, including two from No 7 Cdo who had escaped from Crete, Sgt Fred Birch (No 7 Cdo & 51ME Cdo) and Cpl John Kerr (No 7 Cdo & 51ME Commando)

11 Commando

11 Commando

This Commando was formed on 23rd June 1940 in Galashiels. After formation it marched from Galashiels to Ayr and then on to the Isle of Arran for amphibious training.

11 Commando Nominal Roll

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

ABLEWHITE, C.A.

No 11 Commando
'Layforce'
Private Abelwhite was wounded on 9 June 1941 during operations at the Litani River in Syria [1]. Wounded a second time on 15 December 1941 during operations in the Western Desert [2].
 
Sources
[1] Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/27.

ADAMS, Jack

Jack Adams 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds
Private Jack Adams died during operations at Litani River.
 
Sources
CWGC.
[Image] The War Illustrated magazine.
 

BARRAND, Peter Charles

No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds
Lance Corporal Peter Barrand was reported missing presumed killed in action during operations in the Western Desert [1][2]. He is believed to have drowned off the coast of Libya after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ [3].
 
Sources
[1] CWGC.

BLAIR, David Arthur

Captain David Blair 11 Commando © NMS/2012 courtesy of National Museum Scotland
No 11 Commando
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Military Cross (MC)
Captain David Blair was the O.C. No. 11 Commando 6 troop. 
 
  • Appointed M.B.E. (Military Division) 7th April 1944 [1].
Recommendation

BOGLE, James

James Bogle 11 Commando
No 11 Commando

Private James Bogle was reported missing 24 November 1941 after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ, later found to be a prisoner of war. After his release in 1945 he served two years in Germany in the Scottish Rifles*.

BROWN, Leslie Jock

Cpl. Leslie Brown 1st SAS
'Layforce'
SAS
Killed in action or died of wounds

Corporal Leslie Brown had previously served in the Commandos before joining 'B' Squadron of the 1st Special Air Service. He died when his jeep patrol was attacked whilst en route to harass the enemy in Southern Tunisia.

BRUCE, Charles

No 11 Commando

Sergeant Charles Bruce, from Brechin, Angus, was reported missing 24 November 1941 after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ, later found to be a prisoner of war at Camp 59 in Italy from which he managed to escape back to allied lines after the Italian Armistice. Post war member of the Commando Association last residing in Australia.

BRYAN, Gerald Jackson

Captain Gerald Bryan 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO)
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Military Cross (MC)
Lieutenant Gerald Jackson Bryan, RE, was awarded the Military Cross [1] for his gallantry during Operation Exporter, the battle of Litani River [view].

BYRNE, John Vincent

John Vincent Byrne DCM
No 11 Commando
SAS
No 6 Commando
Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
3 May 1940 wounded at Dunkirk France serving as a Private with 1st Bn. Gordon Highlanders, British Expeditionary Force [1].
Attached to and served with No.11 Commando 8 Troop (Layforce) until disbanded [5][7]. 
Joined 'L' Detachment Special Air Service 1941 attaining rank of Corporal [2][3][3a]

CARR, Richard Philip

No 11 Commando
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Military Cross (MC)
Captain Richard Carr, 1 troop, was attached to the Commandos from the Royal Artillery. He was taken prisoner of war early in 1942 and, despite several escape attempts, remained in captivity for the remainder of the war. POW Camps Oflag 5 and Oflag 79.

CHEYNE, John

Jock Cheyne 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds
Sergeant John Cheyne, 8 troop, was posted to 'L' Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade, on the 28th August 1941.

CLARK, P.

No 11 Commando

Private Clark was wounded 9 June 1941 during operations in Syria.

Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/27.
 

DAVIDSON, Alexander

No 11 Commando
SAS
Killed in action or died of wounds
Lance Sergeant Alexander Davidson was killed in action serving with 1 SAS having left the Commando. He had previously been attached to No.11 Commando since August 1940. He also served in the ME Commando and 1SSR.
 
Sources
CWGC.

DEAN, L.W.

No 11 Commando
Rifleman Dean was wounded 9 June 1941 during operations in Syria.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/27.
 

DOVE, George

George Dove 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
'Layforce'
Private George Dove was wounded on 9 June 1941 during operations at the Litani River in Syria.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/27.

[Image] CVA Gallery.

DUFFY, Joseph Aloysius

No 11 Commando
SAS
Died on war service

Private Joseph Duffy joined L Detachment, SAS, from No 11 Commando on the 28th August 1941 and was accidentally killed in training due to a parachute failure, along with his friend and fellow Seaforth Highlander, Private Kenneth Warburton. Location given as East side of the Great Bitter Lake. The pair became the Regiment's first casualties.​ 

FRASER, Thomas Coupar

Pte. Thomas Fraser 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds
Private Thomas Fraser, 10 Troop, died during operations in the Western Desert. He had been one of the raiding party of Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ.
 
Sources
CWGC.
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/54.
Photo of 10 Troop in Gallery.
 

GORNALL, James

No 11 Commando
Military Medal (MM)
Gunner James Gornall, 3 troop, was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field [1]. He took part in Operation Exporter at Litani River and was captured after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ. for which he would later be awarded the M.M. Imprisoned initially at Gavi Camp in Italy and later at Stalag 4 C.

GUNN, David

No 11 Commando
Military Medal (MM)
Private David Gunn was awarded the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished service in Libya January 1943 whilst serving with the Long Range Desert Group after leaving the Commando [1][1a]. 
Recommendation

HARMER, Reginald

Reg Harmer 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
Corporal Reginald Harmer served in No. 11 Commando until it was disbanded. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished service on the 12th July 1943 with the 2nd Wiltshire Regiment during operations near Solarino, Sicily [2].
 
Sources

JOHNSTON, Robert

Corporal Robert Johnston 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
Died on active service
Corporal Robert Johnston died of  exhaustion and malaria whilst assigned from the Commando to Middle East Detachment 2, later redesignated 2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD 2), in Burma.
 
Some additional detail can be found on this link to a message on our Forum.
 

KEARNEY, Joseph Francis

No 11 Commando
Gunner Joe Kearney was attached to No.11 Commando 1 Troop from the 57th (Newfoundland) Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery. He was reported missing 24 November 1941 after Operation Flipper in the Western Desert, later found to be a prisoner of war. Post war member of the Commando Association residing in Newfoundland.

KEITH, Douglas

No 11 Commando
SAS
Died on war service
Private Douglas Keith, formerly 11 Commando,  was posted to 'L' Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade, on the 28th August 1941, and was taken prisoner after Operation Squatter.  He died whilst being transported on the Italian prison ship SS Sebastiano Venier, after it was was torpedoed by a British submarine.
 

LAING, J.

No 11 Commando

Private Laing was reported wounded and missing 9 June 1941, and later a prisoner of war, during operations in Syria. In 1942 a further report stated he was now not a prisoner of war.

Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives files WO417/27 and WO417/37. 
 

LAPPIN, James

Jimmy Lappin 11 Commando and SAS
No 11 Commando
Mentioned in Despatches
10 Troop of No.11 Commando. 
Took part in the Rommel raid (Operation Flipper)*.
'A' Squadron Middle East Commando.
Special Air Service.
Mentioned in Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Field.
 
Sources
London Gazette 37310, page 5099.

LOCK, Charles

No 11 Commando

Corporal Charles Lock was reported missing 24 November 1941 after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ, later found to be a prisoner of war. 

Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives files WO417/36 and WO417/37.
Prisoners of War Records / National Archives files WO392/1, WO392/11, and WO392/21.
Commando Association newsletter 84.

MACQUARRIE, Donald Maclean

Donald Macquarrie 11 Commando
Original grave of Donald Macquarrie
No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds

Lance Corporal Donald MacQuarrie, 8 troop, died of wounds in the Middle East. He had been reported wounded in the Middle East on 24 November 1941 after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ. 

Sources

CWGC.
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/35, WO417/41, WO417/48, WO417/50, and WO417/56.

MCADAM, Leslie

No 11 Commando
Sergeant Leslie McAdam was reported missing 24th November 1941 after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ, later found to be a prisoner of war from the 21st November.
Post war member of the Commando Association with whom they lost contact last known to be residing Higher Blackley in Manchester.
 
Sources

MCGONIGAL, Eoin Christopher

No 11 Commando
SAS
Killed in action or died of wounds
Lieutenant Eoin McGonigal, formerly 7 troop of No.11 Commando, was posted to 'L' Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade, on the 15th August 1941. He died during Operation Squatter targetting airfields at Timimi, west of Tobruk. 
 
Sources
CWGC.

MORE, George Robert Melville Harvey

George More 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
Military Cross (MC)
Bar to the Military Cross
Temporary Captain George More was awarded the Military Cross for gallant and distinguished service during Operation Exporter at Litani River on 9/10 June 1941 [1][1a].
  • January 1944 operating with the SOE in Serbia's Kopaonik Mountains [2].
  • 1945 awarded a bar to his Military Cross for distinguished service [3][3a].

MUNRO, George

No 11 Commando
50ME Commando
SBS
Killed in action or died of wounds
Sergeant George Munro, a veteran of the Litani River raid, died during operations with the S.B.S., on the island of Samos after leaving the Commando.
Postings
Sep   1940 - volunteered for 11 Cdo.
Mar  1941- arrive Middle East - 'C' Bn Layforce
Aug  1941- 11 Cdo absorbed into ME Cdo

NAPIER, Bevil Charles Alan

No 11 Commando
Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Military Cross (MC)
Major Bevil Charles Alan Napier was attached to the Commandos from the Gordon Highlanders. He was promoted Lieutenant on 1 January 1941.
  • August 1943  (Temporary Major) awarded the Military Cross for "gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East."  (London Gazette 35077 and 36146.)

NICOL, Charles

Charles Nicol 11 Commando
No 11 Commando

Sergeant Charles Nicol was reported missing 24 November 1941 after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ, later found to be a prisoner of war. 

Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/35 and WO417/95.
Prisoners of War Records / National Archives files WO392/1, WO392/11, and WO392/21.
[Image] CVA Gallery image of 8 Troop No.11 Commando.

NIXON, Malvern

No 11 Commando
SAS
Killed in action or died of wounds
Private Malvern Nixon died when his jeep patrol was attacked whilst en route to harass the enemy in Southern Tunisia. He was serving with 1st SAS  ('B' Sqn.) at the time of his death having left the Commandos.

PAXTON, Charles Henry

No 11 Commando

Private Charles Paxton, 10 Troop, was reported missing on 24 November 1941 after Operation Flipper, the raid on Rommel's HQ in Libya, and later found to be a prisoner of war.

Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/36.
Prisoners of War / National Archives files WO392/1, WO392/11, and WO392/21.
Photo of 10 Troop in Gallery.

PEDDER, Richard Robert Newsham (Lt Col)

No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Pedder was commissioned as an officer on the 27th August 1924 and served with the Highland Light Infantry until the outbreak of WW2.
As Commanding Officer, No. 11 (Scottish) Commando, which later became "C" Battalion of Layforce, he was killed in action during the raid at Litani River, Syria.
 

POMFORD, Douglas

No 11 Commando
SBS
Military Medal (MM)
Bar to the Military Medal
Corporal Douglas Pomford joined the S.B.S. from No. 11 Commando. He was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the field [1].
 

ROBERTSON, Andrew

No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds

Gunner Andrew Robertson died of wounds received during operations at Litani River.

Sources
CWGC.
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/27.

Notes
Ramleh War Cemetery was used "by various Commonwealth hospitals posted in turn to the area for varying periods." (Source: CWGC).

ROFT, Peter W.

No 11 Commando

Private Peter Roft was wounded on 9 June 1941 during operations at the Litani River in Syria. Post war member of the Commando Association from Brechin, Angus.
 
Sources
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/27.
Obituaries in Commando Association newsletter 85.

RYAN, E.

No 11 Commando
Private Ryan, 'C' Bn., Layforce, was wounded 9 June 1941 during operations in Syria. 
 
Source
Casualty lists National Archives file WO417/27.
Notes
No. 11 Commando formed 'C' Battalion of Layforce.
 

SCEALES, James Stewart Macewan

No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds

Captain Sceales had served as Officer Commanding 7 troop whilst attached to the Commando before rejoining his Regiment. 
Promoted Major he was reported wounded in 1944 during operations in Italy. On 12 May 1944 it was further reported that he was dangerously ill [1]

SCOTT, Thomas Fields

Cpl Tom Scott GM
No 11 Commando
George Medal (GM)
Corporal Thomas Scott served in 11 Commando 10 troop. [1]
 
In October 1945 it was announced that he had been awarded the George Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field. [2] There is an SOE file held in his name at the National Archives. [3].
 

SEVERN, Clive

LCpl. Severn SBS
No 11 Commando
SBS
Mentioned in Despatches
Killed in action or died of wounds
Lance Corporal Clive Severn died at sea. He received a posthumous MiD "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East. [Source: London Gazettes Supp. 36065, page 2870.]
 

SMITH, Peter

No 11 Commando
Died on war service

Gunner Peter Smith, from Glencraig in Fife, was reported missing in 1942 (full date not reported) during operations in the Middle East , later found to be a prisoner of war [1][1a].  He was subsequently killed as a result of aerial bombardment [2][2a].

TAIT, Duncan Robert

Duncan Robert Tait 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
SAS
Military Medal (MM)
Bar to the Military Medal
Lance Corporal Bob Tait, No.11 Commando 8 Troop [image in gallery], attached to Layforce, was awarded the Military Medal [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished conduct during operations at Litani River, Syria, 9/10 June 1941 [2].
 

TERRY, Jack

Sgt Jack Terry DCM 11 Commando
No 11 Commando
SAS
Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
Sergeant Jack Terry was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal [1] in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during the Rommel raid in the Middle East. It was during this raid that his commanding officer Lt. Col. Geoffrey Keyes was killed. Sgt. Terry made good his escape and later joined the Special Air Service.

TEVENDALE, Lewis Legertwood Legg

No 11 Commando
Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
Warrant Officer Class 1 R.S.M. Lewis Tevendale was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal [1] in recognition of his initiative and daring during the battle of Litani River on the 9-10 June 1941 when he assumed command of a detachment after all of its officers had been killed [2].
 

WALLACE, Hugh

No 11 Commando
Killed in action or died of wounds
Corporal Hugh Wallace was reported missing presumed killed in action at sea on 5 December 1941.
 
Sources
CWGC.
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/35 and WO417/52.
 

WARBURTON, Kenneth

No 11 Commando
SAS
Died on war service
Private Kenneth Warburton died in training as a result of parachute failure whilst attached to 'L' Detachment SAS. He had previously served in 11 Commando 6 troop.  Also killed was his friend and fellow Seaforth

WILSON, John Marshall Prentice

No 11 Commando
Died on war service
Corporal John Wilson, No.11 Commando, was wounded 9 June 1941 during operations at Litani River, Syria [1]. He died in Iraq 21 March 1945, rank Private, unit Black Watch [2].
His Commando had been disbanded and the cause of death is not known to this archive.
 
Sources

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