In 1940, the Army formed "independent companies". These units were reformed as battalion sized "commandos". It was intended that the British Army Commandos would be small, highly mobile raiding and reconnaissance forces. Commandos were not intended to remain in field operations for more than 36 hours and carried all they needed. Army Commandos were all volunteers selected from existing soldiers still in Britain.
The Royal Navy also controlled Royal Navy Beach Parties, based on teams formed to control the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. These were later known simply as RN Commandos, and they did not see action until they successfully fought for control of the landing beaches as in the disastrous Dieppe Raid of August 19, 1942. The RN Commandos, including Commando "W" from the Royal Canadian Navy, saw action on D-Day.
The Special Operations Executive formed commando units from British personnel and Europeans from German-occupied countries. Perhaps the best-known SOE unit was Norwegian Independent Company 1, which — among other operations — damaged the Norwegian heavy water facility in Norway, in 1941.
In 1942, the Royal Navy’s 9 Royal Marine infantry battalions were reorganized as commandos, numbered from 40 to 48. They joined the Army Commandos in combined Commando Brigades.
On October 18, 1942 Hitler issued his Commando Order requiring that British or Allied soldiers participating in Commando operations should be "annihilated to the last man", even if in uniform, escaping, or surrendering — contrary to the the Geneva Convention.
During the war the Army Commandos spawned several other famous units such as the Special Air Service, the Special Boat Service and the Parachute Regiment. The Army Commandos themselves were never regimented and were disbanded at the end of the war while the Royal Marine Commandos continued, though in smaller numbers and with much reorganisation.
The single brigade of Commandos, 3 Commando Brigade, is part of the Royal Marines; this includes 3 Royal Marine Commandos roughly of battalion size, one Royal Artillery Commando Regiment, one Royal Engineers Commando Regiment, and a Commando Logistic Regiment consisting of Royal Marine and Royal Navy personnel. 1 Battalion The Rifles joined the Brigade on 1 April 2008.
Commando Gunner Regroup
Royal Marines Association
RMA Central Office,
Portsmouth Hants PO2 8ER
Phone: 023 9265 1519
Fax: 023 9254 7207
Royal Marines Museum
Southsea Hampshire PO4 9PX
Phone: 023 9281 9385
Fax: 023 9283 8420
Memories of Commando
(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)
Commando Brigade Air Squadron in 1973
Written by Neil MacQuarrie
I served with 3 Cdo BAS from July 1973 until Mar 1977. Fantastic Unit with great spirit and professionalism and the very best guys you could ever wish to meet. I was the Flt Art at 40 Cdo Dieppe Flight from Sept 1973 until Aug 1974 at Coypool and Bickleigh Barracks, and then from Aug 1974 until Mar 1977 the Flt Art of Salerno Flt 41 Cdo Air Tp based in Malta. I loved every minute of my time with 3 Cdo BAS especially the sea time on carriers etc and deployments all over the world. Royals are the best soldiers in the world.
Commando Brigade Air Squadron, in 1969
Written by John Hyde
My first flight in a large fixed wing Ac from Brize Norton to Singapore-Feb 1969. Watching the sun rise whilst somewhere over the Indian Ocean on route to Gan. Very memorable.
Commando Regiment, in 1983
Written by Dicky Parker
Getting the green one and kicking there buts
Commando Brigade Ordnance Field Park, Rowcroft Lines Singapore in 1966
Written by Keith Lovett(Butch)
Climbing on top of a water tower 70ft up to try and get the world cup final on radio at Rowcroft Lines on Bras Bashar Rd I think thats how you spell it
waking up in Boogis St, no watch no wallet and doing a runner from the taxis when arriving back at barracks the taxi driver knew what was going to happen when we told him to go in the back way 4 marines running in different direction through the rows of huts until we got to J6Left and met up again.
having a run ashore and finish up going to dances at BMH in Alexandria and not having a clue how we got home
Royal Marine Commando, 41 Commando Bickleigh Camp in 1965
Written by Ian Campbell..was John H. Campbell in the Corps
Does anyone remember the "Circus" that went round the "WHOLE OF THE U.K." showing the flag, basing ourselves in various "Crab Air" bases, and of course Barry Buddin camp near Arbroath, now that was living in style..EH ? Or, what about the bootie who " Shot Up " a motorist from the back of an R/L with a belt of blanks out of a G.P.M.G... Bring back the memories ?? Thats what keeps me insane.