5 Commando Commanders

WOOD, Steven Patrick

Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Unit/Base: 
5 Commando
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Tank Regiment
Service: 
Army
Number: 
45005
Lieutenant Colonel (Temporary) Steven Wood was the first Commanding Officer of No 5 Commando when it was formed at Bridlington in July 1940 remaining in post until 8 November 1940 when he relinquished command [1]
Post war
  • Mentioned in Despatches for "gallant and distinguished services in Malaya during the period 1st January - 30th June 1949 serving with the R.T.R.  [2].
  • May 1953 promoted full Lieutenant Colonel [3].
  • 1957 appointed O.B.E. in the  New Years Honours List [4].
Sources
[1] No 5 Cdo War Diary + linked content below.
[2] London Gazette 38782, page 5906.
[3] London Gazette 39847, page 2566.
[4] London Gazette 40960, page 7.
 

SHAW, David Mackenzie

Known as: 
Squaredeal
Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Unit/Base: 
5 Commando
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Inniskillings Fusiliers
Service: 
Army
Number: 
44209
Lt Col Shaw OC No 5 Commando
Commanding Officer No 5 Commando when they sailed to India in November 1943 until the 12th September 1944 when he relinquished his command to Lt Col Pollitt and rejoined his Regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
 
  • 1940 (Captain) (Acting Major) David Mackenzie Shaw was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry serving with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Recommendation
Plouvain, France 1940. Throughout the period May 12th- 31st Captain Shaw displayed exceptional courage, determination, and power of leadership while commanding a company and set a very fine example to those under him. On May 23rd his Company was holding a wide sector near Plouvain. During the night he was heavily attacked and a part of his position was lost. He at once led his very small available reserve, and unhesitatingly counter attacked a much superior force. Several of his men were hit at once, but Captain Shaw and the handful of men now with him closed with the enemy, and inflicted sufficient losses with grenade and rifle fire to check the enemy's advance and restore the position. Though cut off for a considerable time, Captain Shaw, through skilful use of grenades, succeeded in breaking through the enemy, who had surrounded him, and rejoined his Company. His very gallant action enabled his Company to carry out its task to the end. (National Archives file WO373/16.)
 
  • 1945 (Lieutenant Colonel) (Temporary) awarded the Distinguished Service Order serving with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers for "gallant and distinguished services in Italy." ( London Gazette 37310, page 5099.)
Recommendation
At Argenta on 17 April 45 when in command of his battalion with a squadron of tanks under command, Lt-Col Shaw's conduct of the battle was remarkable. Although initially directed in a NW direction, he appreciated that by a flanking movement to the SW he would be in position to seal off any enemy still in the Argenta gap and to cover the main thrust of the Division in a NW direction. At the time, Lt-Col Shaw carried out this movement, a strong German counter attack with tanks was being mounted against a very vulnerable part of the Division. With complete disregard of personal safety, Lt-Col Shaw personally established his Bttn on the bank NW of Argenta, and repulsed what was known to be a divisional effort by the Germans to restore their Argenta position. The magnificent fighting spirit which his battalion displayed on this occasion and again when he led them to the Condotto Motte was very largely due to the inspiring leadership and courage displayed by Lt-Col Shaw [National Archives file WO373/14/5.]
 
Post war
  • Mentioned in Despatches for " gallant and distinguished services in Malaya during the period 1st January - 30th June 1949." (London Gazette 38782, page 5907.)
  • 10th April 1951 promoted full Lieutenant Colonel (London Gazette 39197, page 1993.)
  • October 1957 granted the honorary rank of Colonel. (London Gazette 41211, page 6261.)
 

POLLITT, Charles Jordan Bellingham

Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Unit/Base: 
10 Independent Company
1 Commando
5 Commando
Regiment/Corps: 
Border Regiment
Service: 
Army
Number: 
37725
Lt Colonel Charles Pollitt
Charles Pollitt, then a Captain, embarked with No 10 Independent Company on their deployment to Freetown in April 1940.  At the end of the year after No 10 Independent Company was disbanded he volunteered for and was posted to the Holding and Training Wing at what was then STC Achnacarry. [1]. From there he joined No 1 Commando taking part in Operation Torch, North Africa, and in December 1942 Operation Bizerte where they landed on a beach some 60 miles East of Tabarka[2]. Awarded the Military Cross "for gallant and distinguished services in North Africa"[3],  he later embarked with No 1 Commando for operations in the Far East.
  • 11 September 1944, the then Major Pollitt MC left No 1 Commando to take command of No 5 Commando from Lieutenant Colonel Shaw [view].
  • Major Pollitt was subsequently temporarily promoted Lieutenant Colonel.
  • 31 January 1945 wounded in the knee during the last engagement at the Battle for Hill 170 [view] and relinquished command of No 5 to the 2i/c Major Robin Stuart. [4].
  • ​10 January 1946 publication of a MiD for "gallant and distinguished services in the Field." [5].
  • June 1946 appointed OBE. [6].
  • 7 March 1947 relinquished his commission on the grounds of disability and was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel. [7].
Sources
3. London Gazette 36018, page 2208.
5. London Gazette 37425, page 380.
6. London Gazette 37595, page 2730.
7. London Gazette 37899, page 1115.
[Image] His daughter, Jenny Welsh.
 

STUART, Charles Robin McKenzie

Known as: 
Robin
Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Unit/Base: 
5 Commando
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Artillery
Service: 
Army
Number: 
71029
Charles Robin Mckenzie Stuart MBE
Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Charles Robin McKenzie Stuart , No.5 Commando, was appointed M.B.E. (Military Division) in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Madagascar on June 1st 1942 [1] [2].
  • Promoted Major and Second in Command of No.5 Commando.
  • 31 July 1945 assumed command of No.5 Commando after Lt.Col. Pollitt was wounded during the battle at Hill 170 [3].
Sources
[1] London Gazette 36083, page 3086.
[2] National Archives file WO373/79/278.
[3] National Archives file WO218/81 see Linked Content below].