Special Service (Commando) Group, Brigade, and Brigade Signals

Special Service Brigades were renamed Commando Brigades at the end of 1944. 
Brig Derek Mills Roberts, Major General Robert Grice Sturges, Lord Lovat

In 1940 there were twelve Army Commando Units raised within a single Special Service Brigade. For a short period of time the newly formed commando units were grouped into five Special Service Battalions and an HQ under the command of Brigadier J.C. Haydon.  The idea of Bn's was quickly dropped and the Army Commandos reverted to individual units within the Special Service Brigade. Signallers were a troop of the Brigade HQ and divided into Sections within it, along with other groups. In 1942 two Royal Marine Commando units were raised.

In August 1943 the number of Commandos was expanded with the introduction of additional RM Commando units, and the single Special Service Brigade was increased to four, each having different Commando units operating within it.

The four new Special Service Brigades operated within a new Special Service Group commanded by Major General Robert Grice Sturges, who can be seen in the above photo with Lord Lovat and Brig. Derek Mills-Roberts.

Commando Signallers were then attached to each of the four Special Service Brigades. It should be noted that Signallers would be attached to where they were needed and this meant that on occasions RM Cdo. Signallers would operate with Army Commandos and vice versa.

The initial plan was for the RM Commandos and Army Commandos to each form their own Special Service Brigades, with the Royal Marines forming 3 and 4 Special Service Brigades which would each have a Headquarters formed from the HQ of 102 and 101 RM Brigades respectively. However it was quickly decided that as the already existing 40 and 41 RM Commandos were operating well in the Central Mediterranean Force alongside their Army commando counterparts, there was a benefit to mixing them and so this was done. These were the Units of the Special Service Brigades in June 1944

North West Europe
No.1 Special Service Brigade
1 Special Service Brigade Headquarters
No.3 Commando (Army)
No.4 Commando (Army)
No.6 Commando (Army)
No.45 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines.
1 and 8 troops (French) and other elements from No.10 (Inter Allied) Commando 
Elements from 1 RM Engineer Commando
North West Europe
No.4 Special Service Brigade
No.4 Special Service Brigade Headquarters.
No.41 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines
No.46 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines
No.47 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines
No.48 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines
Elements from 1 RM Engineer Commando
Italy, Yugoslavia, and the Central Mediterranean area 
No.2 Special Service Brigade
No.2 Special Service Brigade Headquarters
No.2 Commando (Army)
No.9 Commando (Army)
No.40 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines
No.43 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines
The Far East - Burma.
No.3 Special Service Brigade
No.3 Special Service Brigade Headquarters
No.1 Commando (Army)
No.5 Commando (Army
No.42 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines
No.44 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines
3 Section 1 RM Engineer Commando
Discover more about 3 Commando Brigade operations in Burma [more.....].
By November 1944 there had been a change with No.4 Commando ( with French ) moving to 4 Brigade, and No.46 RM Commando would go on to join 1 Brigade. Additionaly the term Special Service Brigade was changed to Commando Brigade. 
Officers and men from other units were often temporarily attached for specific operations to the Brigades either for their skills or knowledge, or to provide artillery support.

More can be read about 3 Commando Brigade in copies of the Third Jungle Book issued at the time they were overseas. We have several copies in this archive including Issue 9 which has a Roll of Honour for each Commando within the Brigade and a history of each of the Units that were part of the Brigade. You can find them on the link to their operations above.

CVA Gallery images can be viewed here: Special Service Brigade Gallery

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