Special Service Detachment

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8 Commando

8 Commando

The Commando was formed on the 23rd June 1940 reaching full strength in September at Burnham on Crouch, Essex. Mostly made up of members of the various Guards Brigades, it became unofficially known as No 8 (Guards) Commando. 

BALLANTYNE, Alexander A.

Lance Corporal
2934334
No 11 Commando
Special Service Detachment 2
Queens Own Cameron Highlanders
Lance Corporal Alexander Ballantyne was wounded 9 June 1941 during operations with No.11 Commando at Litani River, Syria. After recovering he was assigned from the Commando to Middle East Detachment 2, later redesignated 2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD 2) and was killed in Burma. He has no known grave. Son of Matthew C. and Margaret C. Ballantyne, of Edinburgh.
 

CAWSEY, Francis William

Private
5499203
No 8 Commando
Somerset Light Infantry
Killed in action or died of wounds
Private Francis Cawsey was first reported missing 29 April 1942 during operations in Burma, later corrected to missing presumed killed in action on or shortly after 13 May 1942. He is believed to have been attached from No 8 C

COULDREY, Edwin Robert

Bombardier
830703
No 8 Commando
Royal Artillery
Killed in action or died of wounds
Bombardier Edwin Couldrey, Special Service Detachment*, was reported missing 18 August 1942, later confirmed as having died, during operations in Burma. Royal Artillery Casualty Cards record his death as a battle casualty. He has no known grave.
 
Sources
CWGC.

ELSE, John

Sergeant
5624579
No 7 Commando
Devonshire Regiment
Died on war service
Sergeant John Else was accidentally killed in India.
 
Sources
CWGC.
Casualty Lists / National Archives file WO417/59.
 
Notes

FLAHERTY, Robert Henry

Trooper
409352
No 8 Commando
52ME Commando
Special Service Detachment 2
Dragoons
Post war member of the Burma Star Association and the Commando Association residing in California, USA.
 
Sources
Addendum to Obituaries in Commando Association newsletter 89 (1989).
Burma Star Association Membership application form.
 

GILLINGHAM, Reginald John

Company Quartermaster Sergeant
543209
'Layforce'
Royal Armoured Corps
Company Quartermaster Sergeant Reginald Gillingham was reported missing presumed died during operations in Burma on 19 June 1942, his secondary unit recorded as 'B' Bn., Layforce on each of the casualty listings. He has no known grave. Son of Herbert James Gillingham and Lydia Gillingham; husband of Ida Martha Gillingham, of Ramsgate, Kent.  [1][2].

HANCOCK, Harry

Private
4748143
'Layforce'
Middle East Commando
British Military Mission 204
York and Lancaster Regiment
Killed in action or died of wounds
Private Harry Hancock, 'C' Bn Layforce, was reported missing 9 June 1941 during operations at Litani River, Syria, later reported no longer missing. He went onto serve with the Middle East Commandos before being posted to Burma with the Special Service Detachment where he was again reported missing on 13 August 1942, later confirmed as killed in action.

JOHNSTON, Robert

Known as: 
Jock
Corporal Robert Johnston 11 Commando
Corporal
2931826
No 11 Commando
Queens Own Cameron Highlanders
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. He has no known grave.
  • 9 June 1941 (Private) wounded during Operation Exporter at Litani River, Syria.

LACEY, Leonard Frank

Private
5669104
No 8 Commando
'Layforce'
British Military Mission 204
Somerset Light Infantry
Died on active service
Private Leonard Lacey died whilst a prisoner of war. He had been posted from the Commando to Middle East Detachment 2, later redesignated 2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD 2), in Burma. He has no known grave. Son of Edward James Lacey and Louise Rose Lacey.
 
Sources
CWGC.

LOCKINGTON, Arthur

Trooper
324447
50ME Commando
British Military Mission 204
Royal Armoured Corps
Died on war service
Trooper Arthur Lockington, assigned from the Commando to Middle East Detachment 2, later redesignated 2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD 2), died in Burma. He has no known grave.
 
Sources
CWGC.

MATTHEWMAN, John Stewart

Sergeant
No 7 Commando
Layforce
Special Service Detachment 1

Post war member of the Commando Association and the Burma Star Association residing in Boston, Lincolnshire.

Sources
Commando Association Newsletter 101 issued September 1995.
Burma Star Association Membership no. M/483/54.
 

MILMAN, John Alexander Ralph

Lt. Colonel John Alexander Ralph Milman
Major (Temporary Lieutenant Colonel)
58191
52ME Commando
British Military Mission 204
Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment)
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Mentioned in Despatches
Lieutenant Colonel John Milman, Commander, 1 Special Service Detachment, 204 Military Mission, was appointed O.B.E. (Military Division) in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Burma [1][2].
Recommendation

MORGAN, Thomas

Private
4977740
Special Service Detachment 2
Sherwood Forresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
Killed in action or died of wounds
Private Thomas Morgan, Special Service Detachment 2*, was reported missing in Burma, later presumed killed in action aproximately 30 June 1942. He has no known grave. Son of Peter and Catherine Morgan, of Scholes, Wigan, Lancashire.
 
Sources
CWGC.

NICHOLLS, Frank Raymond Jocelyn

Captain
71042
No 7 Commando
'Layforce'
Special Service Detachment 1
Royal Artillery
Mentioned in Despatches
Killed in action or died of wounds
Captain Frank Nicholls, No 7 Commando and Layforce, died whilst attached to No 1 Special Service Detachment. He has no known grave. Son of Mrs. A. M. Connell, of West Brompton, London.

RICHARDSON, Arthur

WO2 Company Sergeant Major
5381845
No 8 Commando
Royal Armoured Corps
Killed in action or died of wounds
Company Sergeant Major Arthur Richardson was reported missing presumed killed in action during operations in Burma. He is believed to have been one of a contingent from Layforce who were attached to Middle East Detachment 2, later known as 2nd Special Service Detachment or SSD2, for operations in the Far East.
 
Sources

SCANES, Lewis Ralph

Trooper
321274
No 8 Commando
1st Royal Dragoons Royal Armoured Corps
Died on war service
Trooper Lewis Scanes was reported missing presumed died during operations in Burma on or shortly after 19 June 1942, his secondary unit shown simply as "Commando" on each of the casualty listings [1][2].
  • The Westminster Abbey Commando Roll of Honour lists his Unit as No.8 Commando [3][notes]
Sources

SEYMOUR, William Napier

William Seymour 52 Middle East Commando
Major
56896
52ME Commando
'Layforce'
Scots Guards
Mentioned in Despatches
Adjutant of 52 Middle East Commando in Sudan and Ethiopia, and Adjutant 'D' Bn. Layforce, although did not participate at Crete due to an injury. Later joined Middle East contingents to the Far East to be part of Mission 204. On arrival at the Bush Warfare School at Maymo his contingent was detached and redesignated Special Service Detachment 1.

SMITH, William James

Trooper
7909151
'Layforce'
Royal Armoured Corps
Killed in action or died of wounds
Trooper William Smith was reported missing August 1942 during operations in Burma, later presumed killed in action on or shortly after 31 August 1942. He was attached to the Special Service Detachment and has no known grave. 
Son of William Henry and Ada Emily Smith, of Enfield, Middlesex.
Service in Burma

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