Anyone know which RM/Commando

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by RangeStew, May 7, 2009.

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  1. Anyone know which RM/Commando unit would have been at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth in 1947-48 and would they have had an E Company ?

    edited to add: 42 Commando ?
  2. I think you'll find that the majority of the commando units spent most of their time abroad for a "few" years after the war (3 [SS] Cdo Bde was based abroad until 1971). It was quiet in '67 apparently! Happy reading.


    1946 – Marines from HM Ships occupy
    Penang. 42 & 44 Commandos occupy
    Hong Kong.
    1947 – Reorganisation of the Corps – RM
    Divisions become functional Groups.
    1948 – RM Commandos cover the withdrawal
    from Palestine and deployed in the
    Suez Canal Zone. RM Forces Volunteer
    Reserve formed.
    1949 – 45 Commando in Egyt and Aqaba.
    3 Commando Brigade moves to Hong
    Kong. Closure of Chatham Group.
    1950 – 3 Commando Brigade moved to
    Malaya. 41 Independent Commando
    formed for operations in Korea. Chatham
    Barracks closed. RM Divisional Bands
    integrated with the RN School of Music to
    form the Royal Marines School of Music.
    COMMANDOS 1942–97
    Special Service (SS)/Commando Group
    Origin and titles:
    Before 15 August 1943, when Commandos were not detached to field commands, they were under
    command of a single SS Brigade. SS Group under command of General Sturgess (GOC SS Group) was
    formed to take over this single Brigade’s responsibilities with four new SS Brigades. The Group’s HQ was
    opened on 15 August 1943, at the RM Division’s HQ at Milford–on–Sea (nr Lymington), with the Divisional
    staff and some army personnel forming the SS Group’s Headquarters. In November 1944 the titles of this
    Group and its Brigades were changed from SS — which was associated in the public’s mind with Nazi
    Storm Troops — to Commando, although some weeks passed before all the units overseas used these
    new titles (see RMRO 11 December 1944). In August 1945 the suffix ‘(Light)’ was added to these titles on
    the reorganisation of Army War Establishments.1 The Group was commanded by General Wildman–
    Lushington (May 1945) and by 1946 by General Campbell Hardy.2
    Examples of Orders of battle:
    September 1943 — 1st SS Bde, 3 Special Service and 4 SS Brigades, Holding Operational Commando at
    Wrexham, 2nd Echelon (RM personnel) and 43 RM Cdo (other units which would form 2SS Bde were
    under army commands in the Middle East), 30th Assault Unit, Commando Basic Training Centre at
    Achnacarry, Commando Mountain Warfare Training Centre at St Ives, the RM Engineer Commando, Small
    Scale Raiding Force (COPPs, SBS, RMPBD, etc.) Field Provost and Administrative Sections.3 The Field
    Security Section and the Postal Unit of the Division had been transferred to the Group.
    April 1946 — Commando Training Unit RM, Commando Holding Unit RM, Commando basic Training Unit
    RM (for recruit), Commando Mountain Warfare Training Centre RM at St Ives, Commando Group 2nd
    Echelon, service Sections including Repair Section; and a nucleus for re–forming 41 RM or another
    Locations etc:
    After moving from Milford–on–Sea, the Group HQ had several bases in the London area, including Hatch
    End (Middlesex) in September 1943. In the summer of 1944 it was in Petworth (Sussex); on 15 March
    1946 the Group’s staff merged with HQ Training Group Wales to form a new Commando Group HQ at
    Towyn, North Wales.4
    Tactical HQ:
    Commanded by the Group’s Deputy Commander (an army brigadier) and formed for planning with General
    Eisenhower’s staff, this HQ landed in France on 7 June 1944, and remained in NW Europe until mid–
    Administration in World War II:
    The group’s GOC kept in touch with his COs by visits and frequently by private correspondence.6
    When commando training moved from North Wales to Bickleigh (in RM’s Plymouth Group) in 1947, the HQ
    was in Plymouth and closed on 8 August 1947.7
    Commando Training Centres since 1947
    The training of commandos continued at Bickleigh until 1954 under the staff of the Commando School and then
    under a cadre of 42 RM Commando except when this Commando was re–mobilised. In 1960 all commando training
    was concentrated at Lympstone (at one time known as Exton) in Devon. By 1969 it was part of the Training Group
    RM.8 On 24 August 1970 Lympstone was redesignated the Commando Training Centre, its name in 1997 as CTC
    RM Barracks.
    In 1997 the Centre ran 30–week courses for commando training. It trains some 60 officers each year in the
    Officers’ Training Wing; about 400 NCOs pass each year through various courses in the NCOs Training Wing. The
    Infantry Support Wing trained officers and men as instructors in specialist equipment. About 500 students attended
    courses for signalers and clerks in the Signals and Clerks Training Wing.
    In the 1990s CTC was a Brigadier’s command with some 900 instructors and other staff. (For history of the CTC
    Barracks see RM Bases, Depots and Training Establishments.)
    HQ Commando Forces RM
    After world War II the Major General RM Plymouth commanded all Commandos in the UK when these units were not
    detached to army or navy commands. On 31 October 1969 Plymouth Group was redesignated Commando Forces;
    and when 3 Commando Bde returned to the UK, it came into this command. In 1980 the Bde HQ and all operational
    Commando Units formed part of Commando Forces. The HQ provided personnel for the HQ of the reinforced 3 Cdo
    Bde and for General Moore’s Division in the Falklands operation ‘Corporate’. It remained based in Plymouth during
    the late 1980s and early–1990s. In April/June 1991 deployed to Iraq for operation ‘Haven’.
    In March 1993 this Headquarters was closed and its functions taken over by personnel of HQRM as from 1 April
    Memorable date for HQ Cdo Forces was 14 June recapture of the Falkland Islands (in 1982).
    1st SS/Commando Brigade
    General history:
    Formed in November 1943, CO army Brig the Lord Lovat, DSO, MC, with 3, 4, 6 Army and 45 RM
    Commandos, its ordinal ‘1st’ signifying its association with officers and men from the Brigade of Guards
    who served in the 1st Cdo Brigade. Landed in Normandy and after 83 days was withdrawn to the UK from
    France. Although intended to move to the Far East, it returned to Europe in January 1945 with 3 (Army), 6
    (Army), 45 RM and 46 RM Commandos under command. The Brigade was in action in penetrating the
    Siegfried line, crossing the rivers Rhine, Weser, Aller and Elbe. Early in May 1945 the Brigade was on the
    Baltic coast and later returned to the UK to be disbanded early in 1946.9
    2 SS/Commando Brigade
    General History:
    Formed from the Commandos in Italy on 23 October 194310, CO army Brig T. B. L. Churchill with 2 (Army),
    9 (Army), 40 RM and 43 RM Commandos. Units of this Brigade served in Italy, the Dalmatian Islands,
    Albania and Greece. The staff of its HQ provided a Brigade base at Molfetta (southern Italy) and Tactical
    HQs for operations with units detached to other formations. During the summer of 1944 they formed the
    garrison HQ on Vis with several thousand Allied troops to administer; the main HQ landed on Vis 5 March
    1944 and returned to Italy on 13 August. It planned operations that autumn and sent a Tactical HQ to
    Albania.11 In the spring of 1945 the HQ moved to Ravenna and elements worked with the Brigade’s
    Commandos, which were all detached to Army commands during operations in April and May. Sailed for
    UK on 19 June. 43 RM Cdo absorbed into 40 RM Cdo as The RM Cdo of 2 Cdo Bde and 2 (Army) melded
    with 9 (Army) Cdo as The Army Commando of 2 Cdo Bde, disbanded in September.12
    3 SS/Commando Brigade — see also sub–units 1981 etc
    Origin and titles:
    Formed 1 September 1943 at Dorchester with personnel of 102 RM Brigade HQ,13 CO Brig Nonweiler until
    26 November 1944, Brig Campbell Hardy December 1944 to October 1945. Title changes as for SS Group
    but by October 194614 the Commandos were all RM units, with some army personnel serving in the
    The Brigade passed to the operational command of C–in–C India on 23 November 194315 and
    remained overseas until 1971.
    Examples of Orders of Battle:
    In August 1943 the RM Office had expected 3 Command Bde to include 42, 43 and 44 RM Cdos.
    January 1945 — 1 (Army), 5(Army), 42 RM and 44 RM, Brigade Signals Troop, LAD Type A (for vehicle
    maintenance) with ‘C’ Squadron 19th Lancers of Indian Army.
    January 1946 — combined 1/5 (Army) Commando, 42 RM Cdo and 44 RM Cdo, with some Army subunits
    October 1946 — 42 RM Cdo, 44 RM Cdo and 45 RM Cdo, with some Army subunits attached.
    April 1961 — 40 RM Cdo and 45 RM Cdo with some army subunits attached.
    During the decades since 1961 various Commandos have been detached to other commands from time to
    time but when not detached: all RM Commandos were under the Brigade’s command.
    April 1982 — see appendix 2.
    December 1997 — 40 Cdo RM, 42 Cdo RM, 45 Cdo RM, RM Stonehouse (barracks staff and instructors
    HQ Plymouth Garrison MR), 29 Cdo Rgt RA, 20 Cdo Bty RA, Cdo Logistic Rgt RM, 59 Independent Cdo
    Sqn RE, HQ & Signals Sqn RM, Patrol Troop and 539 Assault Sqn RM.
    The Brigade became a part of the Rapid Reaction Force created in June 1995 as a reserve for possible
    operations in Yugoslavia. And in 1997 became a part of the UK Rapid Reaction Force.
    HQ locations and principal operations of World War II and in 1946 & 1947:
    Canterbury (Kent) in late summer of 1943; 12 December, Egypt;9–21 January 1944 at sea; February 1944
    Poona (India); elements of this HQ remained in India; 17 March to 19 April at Maungdaw; early summer
    became Area Command Silchar (Surma Valley); 13 August arrived Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka); early
    October Teknaf; November Maungdaw; December Teknaf; January 1945 Myebon and Kangaw, Tactical
    HQ in Motor Launch, main HQ aboard HMIS Narbada; February Akyabb and later Myebon; 16 March
    sailed for Madras (India); spring in Poona and later Kharakvasa; 12 September arrived Hong Kong.17 The
    internal security duties which the Brigade’s units carried out in the next two years included: the prevention
    of smuggling and illegal exports; raiding opium dens; patrols against armed robbers; and other police
    Tactical HQ 1944:
    February/March Cox’s Bazaar and aboard LCH 261 for Alethangyaw operations.
    Formation of RM Brigade:
    In 1945–6 most long–service RMs were naval gunnery rates, and 720 Marines (mostly ‘HOs’) were drafted
    to Hong Kong to replace army commandos in the spring of 1946. Six RM Commandos were to be formed
    but this was cut by the end of 1946 to three in the Far East; 40 Commando RM (formerly ‘44’), 42
    Commando RM and later joined by 45 commando RM.18
    HQ locations and principal events 1946–80:
    1946 to 17 May 1947 in Hong Kong; June 1947 to August 1949 in Malta (during these years elements of
    this HQ went to the Canal Zone (Egypt) from January to April 1948); August 1949 to 23 May 1950 Brigade
    reinforcing Honk Kong garrison; June 1950 to March 1952 in Malaya, taking responsibility for military
    operations with police from August 1950; March 1952 to May 1953 in Malta (on 29 November 1952 the
    Duke of Edinburgh presented colours to 40 RM, 42 RM and 45 RM); May 1953 to August 1954 in the
    Canal Zone, Egypt (some elements stayed until September 1954); August 1954 to April 1961 in Malta
    except for operational tours (Cyprus in September 1955 to August 1956, ‘Suez’ operation November 1956,
    Tripoli exercise April 1957 and other HQ exercises); April 1961 to 1971 based on Singapore with three
    tours by HQ in Sarawak (July 1963 to October 1963, April to January 1964, January to March 1965); by
    late 1971 established at Plymouth where this HQ continued to be based; deployed as HQ in Norway
    January to March 1979 and again in 1980.19
    HQ locations and principal events 1981–97:
    Based at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth and mobilised for the Falkland Islands operation ‘Corporate’
    from 2 April 1982 when merged with HQ Commando Forces RM, landed East Falkland 20 May, fought
    various successful actions (see Chapter 11) and returned to Plymouth after 11 July 1982. Deployed to
    northern Iraq for operation ‘Haven’ in April 1991 returning to Plymouth May/June 1991.
    The Brigade commander’s pennant was navy blue with inverted red dagger.20
    4 SS/Commando Brigade
    General history:
    In August 1943 the RM Office had expected 4 Commando Bde to include 45, 46 and 47 RM Cdos, but
    formed in UK September 1943, CO Brig B. W. Leicester with 10 (Inter–Allied) Cdo, 41 RM Cdo, 46 RM Cdo
    and 47 RM Cdo with HQ staff from 101 RM Bde. Raised 48 RM Commando on approval dated 1 February
    1944. The Brigade HQ was in France and NW Europe from June 1944 until the winter of 1945. while at
    Ostend in October its HQ was the planning authority for the Walcheren landings and at this time 46 RM
    Cdo was replaced by 4 (Army) Cdo. During the winter of 1944–5 this HQ had responsibilities from time to
    time for sectors of the Allied line in Holland but Commandos were sometimes detached to other
    commands, as when 41 RM Cdo and 48 RM Cdo were under command of 116 RM Brigade, the remainder
    of the Brigade under its HQ formed a mobile reserve of 41 RM Cdo, 46 RM Cdo and elements of 10(I–A)
    Cdo, located south–west of Rotterdam. On 22 April the last of its raids was made by units under command.
    In late May 1945 the Brigade moved to Minden (Germany), where it was reinforced by drafts from 1
    Commando Brigade in preparation for service in the Far East, but returned to the UK and was disbanded in
    December 1945.2
    40 RM Commando/40 Commando RM
    Origin and titles:
    Formed at Deal with ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘X’ Companies in February 1942 as The RM Commando, it was briefly
    known as ‘A’ RM Commando (12–18 October 1942) before being designated 40 RM Commando.3 In
    August 1945 retitled 40 RM Commando (Light) until personnel disbanded but 44 RM Cdo in Hong Kong
    was later redesignated 40 Commando RM. On the original formation in 1942 the personnel were mainly
    volunteers from RM battalions , with an officer and 80 men of 8th Argylls; a USMC officer and two other
    ranks in the summer of 1942 were the first of several American Marines to serve with 40 RM Cdo.4
    Principal operations in World War II:
    After training in Scotland and Portsmouth Dockyard preparatory to the proposed raid on Dieppe, operation
    ‘Rutter’, embarked twice for this raid before it was cancelled. When it was remounted as ‘Jubilee’ (see
    chapter 4), the Commando landed at Dieppe on 19 August. Returned to the Isle of Wight, where the
    Commando had been based since 28 June; in October trained in Weymouth before going to Irvine
    (Scotland) in January 1943 and two weeks at Achnacarry in April; reorganised into Troops before sailing
    for Sicily early in June after landing rehearsals on the Clyde. On 10 July landed at Cape Passaro; many of
    ‘B’ Troop killed on 1 August when the Commando was aboard an LSI as a floating reserve; 8 September
    spearheaded 231 Brigade’s landing at St Venere, withstood counterattacks and advanced to Pizzo; 3
    October landed Termoli (see chapter 7); 14 January to 21 February 1944 supported 56 (London) Division
    in crossing Garigliano river, later raiding behind enemy lines; 2–23 March patrolled and held sectors of
    Anzio Beachhead, making one major incursion with 9 (Army) Cdo into enemy defences. Landed Vis on 5
    May; provided boarding parties and raided Komiza 23–4 May, Brac 3–4 June (see chapter 7), Mljet 6–13
    July. August/September in Malta, reinforced by seven officers and 160 other ranks; 21 September returned
    to Italy; 24 September landed in Albania to capture Sarande with 2 (Army) Cdo on 9 October; advanced
    elements in Corfu on 13 October to garrison and administer the island until 9 November; but ‘A’ and ‘X’
    Troops remained till 1 January 1945; main body at Turi (nr Salerno) until returned to Corfu 9 January 1945
    to 27 February. During 22–31 March held a sector of line south of Comacchio; 1–2 April operation ‘Roast’
    at Comacchio (see chapter 7); 11–13 April operation ‘Impact’ to cross Menate Canal; 16 April, after
    casualties, formed into three Troops at Ravenna; guards for prison camps etc. until June when sailed for
    On return to UK 40 RM Cdo was based at Basingstoke (Hampshire); as of 12 September 40 RM Cdo
    absorbed men of 43 RM Cdo and became The RM Cdo of 2 Commando Brigade. (On 24 September the
    Army Commando in 2 Cdo Brigade was formed by 2 and 9 (Army) Cdos at Alresford, nr Colchester.) The
    men of 40 RM Cdo were posted to Wrexham for demobilisation or to Towyn before the Commando
    disbanded, early in October 1945. It was re–formed in Hong Kong in the summer of 1947 by redesignating
    44 RM Cdo as 40 Commando RM.
    Operations 1945–80:
    May 1948 in Haifa during the Arab–Israeli battles, and last unit to leave on 30 June; moved from Malta to
    Cyprus on 1 November 1948 with 3 Bde RM; August 1949 to May 1952 patrolled over 300 sq. miles of
    Malaya from the Thai border to Pangkor Island on west coast, mainly in Kedah and Perak, an officer and
    five other ranks killed in these actions. On 1 July 1952 in Malta; February 1953 to October 1954 in Canal
    Zone (Egypt) guarding installations and on desert exercises; based on Malta 1954–62 and deployed in
    Cyprus 1855 to 1958 against EOKA guerrillas; ‘Suez’ operation 6–14 November 1956; returned to Malta,
    exercises, operations in Cyprus till 1958 and spring of 1959. Based on Singapore May 1962 until October
    1971 with tours in South East Asia — December 1962 to January 1963 in Brunei and Sarawak; April to
    July and October 1963 to February 1964 in Sarawak; July to December 1964 at Tawau; May 1965 in
    Johore; July to November 1965 in Serian; May to September 1966 in Simmangeang Barracks (Borneo)
    and elements in Brunei; later moved to various barracks in Singapore until 30 October 1971, with a tour of
    duty in Hong Kong in September 1970; based on Seaton Barracks (Plymouth) from late 1971. Spearhead
    battalion to Cyprus on 17 July to 16 September 1974; tours in Northern Ireland 14 June to 18 October
    1972, 16 June to 16 October 1973, 16 August to 15 December 1976; from 5 March 1979 for four months;
    and during part of 1980 in London Derry
  3. Forgot to say E company (or Troop as they were during the war) would be 41 Commando ( then 40 A-C, 41 E-G, 42 K-M, 45 X-Z). Disbanded '46-50, reformed as 41 (Ind)Commando at Bickleigh Barracks, Plymouth for service in Korea. Disbanded again '52-'60 and again finally in '81.

  4. Many thanks.
  5. Hi,
    I can confirm it was 42 Commando, my father was in and went. They were based at Stonehouse Barracks in Plymouth.
    After Palestine they went to Korea.
    Back then most Marines went to the Sea Service (Blue Beret) but he went AWOL to go to his fathers funeral when they were in training so in his absence he was volunteered to go to the Commando School @ Limpstone.
    Big Easy
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