43RM Commando

Formed from the disbanded 2nd RM Battalion as No. 43 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines, on the 1st August 1943 under the command of Acting Lieut. Colonel R.W.B. Simonds. Not all however would become Commandos. Converting the one hundred man companies of 2RM to sixty man troops of 43RM  meant many would not. Those who did not join the Commando were moved to other duties primarily in Combined Operations as  Landing Craft crew. Soon afterwards 43RM moved to Achnacarry for their Commando training at the CBTC. Once completed 43RM moved to Ramsgate.
 
In November 1943 they embarked for Algiers. The Commando now consisted of five fighting troops each 65 strong, four commanded by a Captain, one by a Major, and each with its own Troop HQ consisting of a Troop Commander, Troop Sergeant Major, a signaller, a RAMC orderly, the 2" mortar group and the PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti Tank) group. They were supported by a Heavy Weapons Troop of four 3" Mortars and four Vickers Medium Machine Guns.
 
Early January 1944 they embarked for Naples and moved to the village of Vico Equense. They were now part of No.2 Special Service Brigade commanded by Brigadier Tom Churchill. This Brigade consisted of Nos 2 and 9 Commandos (both Army) and Nos.40 and 43 RM Commandos. 
 
On 22 January 1944 43RM were part of the major allied offensive at Anzio. This was the beginning of a series of operational deployments in WW2. From the the action at the Garigliano River, Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, to the Jugoslav Dalmatian Islands based operations from Vis, including Brac, Hvar, and other enemy held islands. In April 1945 their last action would be Operation Roast at Lake Comacchio and the Reno River.  It was here that Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter [more....] of 43RM Commando would be postumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
 
After the war ended dispersion quickly followed.  43RM was disbanded in September 1945. Some went to occupation duties in Germany. Others to No.45 or 46RM Commandos. Those who had been in longest were due for early demobilisation.
 
Recommended reading
Nothing Much to Lose, author Lt. Michael McConville, 43RM Commando (which includes a history of 2RM).
Commando Subaltern at War, Author Lt. W.G. Jenkins, DSO, 43RM Commando.
 
Later Commanding Officers
October 1944 Lieut. Colonel I. F. Macalpine (Black Watch) subsequently invalided out.
November 1944 Lieut. Colonel Ian H. Riches.
 
Reformed on the 5th September 1961 until disbanded again mid-November 1968.
In 2012 a new 43 Commando RM was formed.  Officially 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, it is the largest in the Corps and is responsible for protecting the nation’s nuclear deterrent as well as taking the fight to modern-day pirates in specialist boarding teams.
 
[Historical note former units - Comacchio Company Royal Marines (1980–1983), Comacchio Group Royal Marines (1983–2001) and Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (2001-2012).

View our Gallery images of 43RM Commando

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43RM Cdo. Roll of Honour

Below is an A-Z view of the Roll of Honour with information about each of the Fallen. Displaying 1 - 47 of 47

ABRAHAMS, Robert Sydney

43RM Commando

Sergeant Robert Abrahams was reported missing presumed killed during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy.

Sources
CWGC
Registers of Reports of Deaths  - Naval Ratings  / National Archives file ADM 104/127.

BLAKE, John Philip

Capt Blake MC 43RM Commando
43RM Commando
Captain John Blake MC died [1] during operations against the enemy held island of Brac. He had earlier been awarded the Military Cross [2] for leadership, gallantry and devotion to duty while serving with Royal Marine Commandos in the capture of Mt. Ornito, Italy on the 3 Feb. 1944 [3].
 

BROOKES, James Alfred

43RM Commando
Marine James Brookes died during a raid on the Island of Brac, Yugoslavia. Initially buried with others on Brac near Nerezische, their remains were later reinterred in a collective grave at Belgrade War Cemetery.

Those buried with him are Marines Hopper, Pickering and Tarrant of 40RM Commando, and Marines Cooper, Hurst, Ivens, and Williamson of 43RM Commando.

CAMPBELL, John

43RM Commando

Marine John Campbell died during operations at Lake Comacchio, Italy.

Sources
CWGC.
Registers Of Reports Of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM104/128.

COOPER, William George Albert

43RM Commando

Marine William Cooper died during a raid on the Island of Brac, Yugoslavia. Initially buried with others on Brac near Nerezische, their remains were later reinterred in a collective grave at Belgrade War Cemetery.
Those buried with him are Marines Hopper, Pickering and Tarrant of 40RM Commando, and Marines Brookes, Hurst, Ivens, and Williamson of 43RM Commando.

DALY, Edward Stewart

43RM Commando

Marine Edward Stewart Daly died by accidental drowning.

Sources
[1] CWGC.
[2] Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/129.

Notes
Source at [2] shows forename only as Stewart. Place of death shown as India. 43RM Commando never operated in that theatre of war. 
 

FOWLER, Harry

43RM Commando

Marine Harry Fowler died during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy.

Sources
CWGC.
CWGC Graves Registration Form.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/130.
 

GARSON, Andrew

43RM Commando

Marine Andrew Garson died in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in operations at Lake Comacchio and Argenta.

Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/131.

GOODRICH, Kenneth John

43RM Commando

Marine Kenneth Goodrich died during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in operations at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito. He has no known grave.

Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/131.

GOSLING, John Jones

43RM Commando

Lance Corporal John Gosling died during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in operations at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito. He has no known grave.

Sources
[1] CWGC.
[2] Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/131.

GREGORY, Donald

43RM Commando

Marine Donald Gregory died during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in operations at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy.

Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/131.

HANCOCK, Frank Holgate

43RM Commando
Lieutenant Frank Hancock died during an air attack on Vis, their base of operations against enemy held Dalmatian Islands.
 
The 43RM Cdo. War Diary entry for 28th March 1944 states " Enemy aircraft attacked Vis town , and bombs also fell in Podselje . A direct hit was scored on the Cdo Orderly room,resulting in the death of Ty. Lt. F.H. Hancock and two marines."
 
Sources
CWGC
National Archives War Diary DEFE 2/49.
 
Notes

HEY, Richard

43RM Commando

Marine Richard Hey died in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in operations at Lake Comacchio and Argenta.

Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/132.

HURST, Cecil

43RM Commando

Marine Cecil Hurst died during a raid on the Island of Brac, Yugoslavia. Initially buried with others on Brac near Nerezische, their remains were later reinterred in a collective grave at Belgrade War Cemetery.
Those buried with him are Marines Hopper, Pickering and Tarrant of 40RM Commando, and Marines Brookes, Cooper, Ivens, and Williamson of 43RM Commando.

IVENS, Frederick Charles

43RM Commando

Marine Frederick Ivens died during a raid on the Island of Brac, Yugoslavia. Initially buried with others on Brac near Nerezische, their remains were later reinterred in a collective grave at Belgrade War Cemetery.
Those buried with him are Marines Hopper, Pickering and Tarrant of 40RM Commando, and Marines Brookes, Cooper, Hurst, and Williamson of 43RM Commando.

JEAL, Percy William

43RM Commando
Marine Percy Jeal died during an air attack on Vis, their base of operations against enemy held Dalmatian Islands.
 
The 43RM Cdo. War Diary entry for 28th March 1944 states " Enemy aircraft attacked Vis town , and bombs also fell in Podselje . A direct hit was scored on the Cdo Orderly room,resulting in the death of Ty Lt. F.H. Hancock and two marines."
 
Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM104/132.

LASKEY, Cyril

Cyril Laskey 43 Commando
43RM Commando
Corporal Cyril Laskey, 'A' Troop, died during operations at Lake Comacchio and Argenta, Italy.
 
Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/133.
'A' Troop image in Gallery.
Image: Christine Partington.
 

MCCAUGHEY, Henry

43RM Commando
Corporal Henry McCaughey was reported missing presumed died. He has no known grave. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy. He received a Mention in Despatches for "outstanding service while operating with the Allied Armies in Italy."
 
Sources
CWGC.
London Gazette 36903, page 518.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/133.
 

MCVEIGH, Charles

Marine Charles McVeigh
43RM Commando

Marine Charles McVeigh died during operations on the enemy held island of Miljet, Yugoslavia.

Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/134.
[Image] From a booklet titled South Mount Vernon Roll of Honour published on the Scottish War Memorials Project website credited to Anne Robertson, Mearns History Society.
 

NEVIN, James Davidson

43RM Commando
Marine James Nevin died of illness at the Military E.M.S. Hospital, Shotley Bridge, Co. Durham [1][2].
 
James Davidson Nevin was born and brought up in Newburn in Northumberland and worked as a lorry driver for Walkers in Leamington on Tyne not long before the start of the war. On return to the UK from active service with 43RM Commando in Yugoslavia and Italy, Marine Nevin was diagnosed with cancer from which he died in November 1945. He received a full military funeral [3].
 
Sources

OLIPHANT, Albert Maxtone

43RM Commando
Marine Albert Oliphant from Dundee died during operations at Lake Comacchio, Italy.
 
Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives files ADM 104/135.
Obituary announcement in the Dundee Courier and Advertiser published 11 April 1945.
City of Dundee Roll of Honour World War II – 1939 to 1945.
 

PROCTOR, Bert

43RM Commando

Corporal Bert Proctor died at the 59th General Hospital in Italy after an accidental gunshot wound to the left side of his neck.

Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives files ADM 104/135.

SAUNDERS, Samuel John Albert

43RM Commando
Marine Samuel Saunders died during an air attack on Vis, their base of operations against enemy held Dalmatian Islands.
 
The 43RM Cdo. War Diary entry for 28th March 1944 states " Enemy aircraft attacked Vis town , and bombs also fell in Podselje . A direct hit was scored on the Cdo Orderly room resulting in the death of Ty Lt. F.H. Hancock and two marines."
 
Sources
CWGC.
National Archives War Diary DEFE 2/49.
 
Notes

SCHOOLEY, Ralph Gerald

43RM Commando
Captain Ralph Schooley, 'B' troop, died during operations on the enemy held island of Brac, Yugoslavia. He received a Mention in Despatches for "outstanding service whilst operating with the Allied Armies in Italy."
 
Sources
CWGC.
London Gazette 36903, page 518.
​Commando Subaltern at War, author Lt. W.G. Jenkins DSO.
 

SMITH, Roy Montague

Cpl. Roy M. Smith 43RM Commando
43RM Commando
Corporal Roy Smith, 'A' troop, died in the blast from two enemy 88mm shells whilst leading his section during operations at Lake Comacchio and Argenta, Italy.
 
Roy Smith left school at about 14 and served an apprenticeship as a market gardener before joining the Royal Marines and the Commandos in 1943. Read some of his letters provided by his nephew in our gallery entry here Cpl. Roy Montague Smith.
 
Sources

TAYLOR, George

George Taylor 43 Commando
43RM Commando
Marine George Taylor died during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy.
 
In a letter home L/Cpl. Roy Montague Smith*, 43RM Commando, wrote the following,
"George Taylor, one of the three of us, is finished, heard tonight that he was to have had the MM but he was killed so guess he will only be in despatches at least thats what it looks like to me. George did some very good work Tony, a fine chap, I'd had him with me since Ramsgate".
 

TUGWELL, Arthur

43RM Commando
Corporal Arthur Tugwell died during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy. He received a Mention in Despatches for "outstanding service whilst operating with the Allied Armies in Italy."
 
Sources
CWGC.
Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM104/138.
London Gazette 36903, page 518.
 

WILLIAMSON, Fred

43RM Commando

Marine Fred Williamson died during a raid on the Island of Brac, Yugoslavia. Initially buried with others on Brac near Nerezische, their remains were later reinterred in a collective grave at Belgrade War Cemetery.
Those buried with him are Marines Hopper, Pickering and Tarrant of 40RM Commando, and Marines Brookes, Cooper, Hurst, and Ivens of 43RM Commando.

HUNTER, Cpl. Thomas Peck, VC

Rank: 
Corporal
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Marines
Service: 
Royal Navy
Number: 
CH/X 110296
Honours & Awards: 
Born: 
Saturday, October 6, 1923
Died : 
Tuesday, April 3, 1945
Killed in action or died of wounds
Age: 
21
Operations: 
Corporal Hunter VC
Grave of Corporal Hunter VC

Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter died during operations at Lake Comacchio, Italy. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Citation
Admiralty Whitehall 12th June 1945.

In Italy during the advance by the Commando to its final objective, Corporal Hunter of "C" Troop was in charge of a Bren group of the leading sub section of the Commando. Having advanced to within 400 yards of the canal, he observed the enemy were holding a group of houses South of the canal. Realising that his Troop behind him were in the open, as the country there was completely devoid of cover, and that the enemy would cause heavy casualties as soon as they opened fire, Corporal Hunter seized the Bren gun and charged alone across two hundred yards of open ground. Three Spandaus from the houses, and at least six from the North bank of the canal opened fire and at the same time the enemy mortars started to fire at the Troop.

Corporal Hunter attracted most of the fire, and so determined was his charge and his firing from the hip that the enemy in the houses became demoralised. Showing complete disregard for the intense enemy fire, he ran through the houses, changing magazines as he ran, and alone cleared the houses. Six Germans surrendered to him and the remainder fled across a footbridge onto the North bank of the canal. The Troop dashing up behind Corporal Hunter now became the target for all the Spandaus on the North of the canal. Again, offering himself as a target, he lay in full view of the enemy on a heap of rubble and fired at the concrete pillboxes on the other side. He again drew most of the fire, but by now the greater part of the Troop had made for the safety of the houses. During this period he shouted encouragement to the remainder, and called only for more Bren magazines with which he could engage the Spandaus. Firing with great accuracy up to the last, Corporal Hunter was finally hit in the head by a burst of Spandau fire and killed instantly.

There can be no doubt that Corporal Hunter offered himself as a target in order to save his Troop, and only the speed of his movement prevented him being hit earlier. The skill and accuracy with which he used his Bren gun is proved by the way he demoralised the enemy, and later did definitely silence many of the Spandaus firing on his Troop as they crossed open ground, so much so that under his covering fire elements of the Troop made their final objective before he was killed.

Throughout the operation his magnificent courage, leadership and cheerfulness had been an inspiration to his comrades."

Sources
CWGC.

London Gazette 37127, page 3087.
Registers Of Reports Of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM104/132.

Primary Roll of Honour: 
Photo of grave in Gallery: 
Yes

43RM Commando Commanders

Lieutenant Colonel R.W.B. Simonds RM.
Lieutenant Colonel I.H.Riches RM.
 

SIMMONDS, R.W.B.

Rank: 
Lieutenant Colonel
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Marines
Service: 
Royal Navy

Lieutenant Colonel R.W.B. Simmonds, Officer Commanding 2nd Battalion Royal Marines since 1942, was appointed Commanding Officer 43RM Commando on its formation in August 1943. He remained as such until September 1944.

Sources
Navy Lists.
Nothing Much to Lose, author Michael McConville.
 

RICHES, Ian Hurry

Rank: 
Major General
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Marines
Service: 
Royal Navy
Born: 
Sunday, September 27, 1908
Died : 
Monday, December 23, 1996
Acting Lieutenant Colonel Ian Hurry Riches, G.S.O.1 Special Service Group, was appointed Officer Commanding 43RM Commando in November 1944 [1][1a] .
10 July 1945 appointed Companion of the Distinguished Service Order outstanding courage, determination and devotion to duty in operations during the campaign in Italy [2].
1st January 1959 (Major General) appointed C.B. (Military Division) [3].
11 June 1960 (Major General)  appointed K.C.B. (Military Divsion) [4].
1959-62 Commandant- General, Royal Marines [5].
1964-68 Regional Director of Civil Defence [5].
1967-68 Representative Colonel Commandant [5].
 
Sources
[1] Navy Lists - Quarterly, Oct. 1944, Vol.2.
[1a] Nothing Much to Lose, author Michael McConville (Lieut. 43RM Commando).
[2] London Gazette 37170, page 3562.
[3] London Gazette 41589, page 2.
[4] London Gazette 42051, page 3974.
[5] Royal Marines Historical website.
 

43RM Cdo. Officers Oct.'44

Extract from the Navy Lists

October 1944 Volume 2 Page 1103/4 (pages 259/260 on N.L.S. website page list)
 
Source: National Library of Scotland website.
 
Commanding Officer —  Lieut.-Col. I. F. Macalpine, B.W.
 
2nd in Command —  Act. Tempy. Maj. N. G. M. Munro.
 
Major —  Act. Tempy. Maj. A. I. G. Harding.
 
 
Act. Tempy. Capts.
Adjutants 
Act. Tempy. Capt.
Lieut. J. R. Odendaal, B.E.M.
Lieut. R. N. Parkinson-Cumine.

Tempy. Lieuts.
R. Headey.
D. R. P. P. Cox.
J. B. Bolton.
F. W. Veness.
T. A. S. Taylor.
H. D. Liddell.
J. P. Stevens.
J. F. Morris.
W. E. Abbott.
C. Leatherbarrow.
N. Demuth.
M. A. McConville.
D. F. Esson.
I. A. G. Webster.
W. G. Jenkins.
 
Quartermaster 
Act. Tempy. Capt.  W.M. Harris  (Qr.-Mr.) (this is William Mark Harris)
 
Signal Officer Tempy. Lieut.
 
Intelligence Officer —  Act. Tempy. Capt. G. Frost.
 
Medical Officer —  Capt. G. E. Crowther, R.A.M.C.
 
Chaplain 
 
 
Notes
Highlighted names contain more information.