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 Combined Operations - 170 webpages, 2,000 photos, 250,000 visits and 7 million hits each year. The definitive Combined Ops website.

Please 'like' the Combined Operations Command memorial on Facebook in appreciation of  Allied veterans of WW2.  News and Information at the bottom of this and every webpage including Walcheren 70th anniversary commemorative events.

A-Z INDEX ~

This A to Z Index lists every page on the website in alphabetical order. All vessels and shore bases are listed without their HMS designations and all codenames of raids and landings without their usual 'operation' designation. Numerical page names appear first.

 

A B C D E F G H  I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
Links Numerical
1st Combined Operation
in 1759!
Wolfe's assault on the Abraham heights near Quebec was a classic Combined Operation which contained many of the elements used in amphibious landings in WW2. The story is included here in the way of an introduction to the subject of Combined Operations and as an illustration of the effective use of some basic principles.
1 Commando This is a brief history of No 1 Commando from formation in July 1940 to disbandment in Jan 1947 following a period of merger with No 5 Commando, as 1/5 Commando, while operating in the Far East. They saw action in northern France, North Africa and Burma.
4 Commando A brief history of No 4 Commando from its formation in 4 March 1941 to disbandment in July 1945 including: 4 March 1941 - Lofoten Islands, Norway; The Canary Islands; 27 December 1941 - Vaagso, Norway  (Operation Archery); 23 March 1942 - St Nazaire; 21/22 April 1942 - Hardelot (Operation Abercromby); 19/8/42 Dieppe; June 6th 1944 Overlord and Nov 1 to 8 1944 Walcheren.
5 Commando This is a brief history of No 5 Commando from formation in July 1940 to disbandment in January 1947 including Hardelot and Merlimont - August 1941, St Nazaire - 28th March 1942, Madagascar - May 1942, India and Burma - December 1943 on.
9 Commando This is a brief account of the history of No 9 Commando from its formation in the summer of 1940 to disbandment in 1946. It was most heavily involved in operations around the coasts of Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece.
9th LCT Flotilla
(The Lost Flotilla)
In mid October 1944 the terrible fate of the 9th LCT (Landing Craft Tank) Flotilla was sealed as its craft sailed beyond Lands End in the tow of merchant ships. It was part of Convoy OS92/KMS66 bound for the Mediterranean en route to the Far East. There had been warnings of bad weather but rules and procedures  were in place to protect the safety of the craft in these circumstances. However, despite the safeguards over 50 men were lost as 6 craft foundered. How did the tragedy happen and was it avoidable?
45 Royal Marine Commando (1) This account of 45 Royal Marine Commando  (45 RM Commando) concentrates on the amphibious landings on the beaches of Normandy and the immediate aftermath. Front lines were often unclear and transient as troops on both sides moved around the contested area. This is graphically illustrated in the detailed descriptions of the many actions 45 Commando was involved in.
45 Royal Marine Commando (2) This account of 45 Royal Marine Commando  (45 RM Commando) concentrates on the amphibious landings on the beaches of North Africa and Sicily and the immediate aftermath.
516 Combined Ops Squadron 516 Combined Operations Squadron provided air support for Combined Operations training exercises in amphibious landings. As the landing craft approached the training beaches to discharge their troops, elements from the squadron would lay smoke and/or strafe the area to simulate the conditions the troops would encounter on enemy held shores. The Squadron also helped to calibrate the radar of the newly commissioned Fighter Direction Tenders. Much of the training and the squadron were located in the west of Scotland.
516 Comb'd Ops Sqd
-
A pilot remembers
New Zealander Douglas Shears served with 516 Combined Operations Squadron from 17/7/44 to late Dec 44. These often humorous anecdotes are based upon an exchange of letters between Doug and Phillip C Jones in the mid 90s when Phill was researching the squadron.
524 LCA Flotilla

524 LCA Flotilla took part in the landings on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Some larger landing craft made their own way across the English Channel to Normandy while others were carried on large mother ships and lowered into the water from davits when close to their destination. LCS(M)s were manned by Royal Marines and their primary task was to assist in the establishment of beachheads for the oncoming waves of regular troops about to land. Until the beaches and their environs were cleared of the enemy the Royal Marines were exposed to heavy fire.

574 Field Security Section
Special Service Brigade
These are the recollections of Sgt Jack Lawrence of the 574 Field Security Section; Special Service Brigade as compiled by Chris Frost. They are supplemented by his own father's memories of wartime service, his father's papers, unit war diaries and information gathered from published accounts of the Burma campaign. For the part of his career relevant to 3 Special Service Brigade, Chris's father, Captain Austin Thomas Dillon Frost (Tom), served in 574 Field Security Section (574 FSS) as an intelligence officer.
814 Landing Craft Flotilla 814 HM Landing Craft Vehicle (Personnel) Flotilla [814 HMLCV(P)] took part in the D-Day landings. Royal Marine Roy Nelson was on board LCV(P) 1155 which was hoisted aboard a Landing Ship Tank (LST) for the journey across the English Channel to the beaches of Normandy. These are Roy's recollections.
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Anklet
(Operation)
Operation Anklet, the second Lofoten Islands raid, was a diversion in support of a larger action at Vaagso further south on the Norwegian coast. There was no opposition to the landing, but a near miss from a German bomber convinced the planners that in future operations of this kind, air cover would be provided as a matter of routine.
Aquatint
(Operation)
This page is about Operation Aquatint a Small Scale Raiding Force's (SSRF) operation which took place on part of 'Omaha' beach, which, unbeknown to anyone at the time, would witness the largest amphibious invasion force in history just 21 months later on June 6 1944.
Archery
(Operation)
Operation Archery, the raid on Vaagso and Maaloy, broke new ground with the provision of air cover as an integral part of the raid in the initial planning process. The planners had learned from the 2nd Lofoten raid that the lack of air cover could put similar missions in jeopardy.
Assault Convoy G6 In the fog of war the fate of individual soldiers, sailors and airmen can sadly sometimes be ambiguous. However, as this story shows, even after the passage of the best part of 60 years, careful detective work can reveal an unexpected truth.
Avalanche
(Operation)
The Italians capitulated just as the Allies left Sicily for mainland Italy. Operation Avalanche, the landings at Salerno, were no pushover however, and this page gives a short account of the actions as far as Rome.
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Bardia
(North Africa)
This land/naval raid took place on the 19th/20th April 1941at a time of rapid changes in the fortunes of war - usually in favour of the Axis forces. The objective was to disrupt enemy lines of communication and inflict as much damage as possible on their installations and equipment.
Biting
(Operation)
In February 1942 men of the newly formed British 1st Airborne Division went into action for the first time in an operation codenamed Operation Biting. In one of the most daring raids of the war they seized, and brought back to England, vital components from a German 'Wurzburg' radar installation.
Books There are over 200 books listed on our 'Combined Operations Books' page which can be purchased on-line via the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE) search banner which checks the shelves of thousands of book shops world-wide. Type in or copy and paste the title of your choice or use the keyword box for book suggestions. There's no obligation to buy, no registration and no passwords.
 Brassard
(Operation)
Operation Brassard gives an account of the role of the Royal Naval Beach Commandos in the invasion of Elba. They suffered heavy losses during initial landings in the bay of Golfo di Campo but the island was captured.
Bruneval
(France)
In February 1942 men of the newly formed British 1st Airborne Division went into action for the first time in an operation codenamed Operation Biting. In one of the most daring raids of the war they seized, and brought back to England, vital components from a German 'Wurzburg' radar installation.
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Catapult
(Operation)
Operation Catapult aimed to secure the immobilisation of the French Naval Fleet lest it should fall into German hands. Although not a Combined Operation this naval action is included in this website because it provides useful background to British concerns about Vichy French military resources and foreign held territories. These concerns subsequently resulted in actions involving Combined Operations such as those in North Africa (Torch) and the Litani River.
Chariot
(Operation)
Operation Chariot was an audacious Combined Operation raid on the port of St Nazaire in German occupied France. Packed with tons of high explosives a destroyer was rammed into the gates of the only dry dock capable of servicing the German battleship Tirpitz. Such was the damage that the dry dock was rendered unusable for the remainder of the war.
Churchill's Signal to Mountbatten A nation's gratitude to Combined Operations. Churchill had maintained a close interest and involvement in the preparations and appreciated the enormity and complexity of the task. On June 12 1944, just 6 days after D-Day, he stood on the beaches of Normandy. On return to London that evening he sent a signal to Mountbatten who had been in charge of Combined Operations during the crucial formative period and training years.
Claymore
(Operation)
Operation Claymore was the 1st Lofoten Islands raid off the Norwegian coast just north of the Arctic Circle. It achieved a good measure of destruction of German ships and fish factory oil and it gave free passage to the UK to over 300 Norwegian volunteers and a few Germans and Quislings. It was, however, most notable for giving a great boost to flagging morale within the ranks of the Commandos and later the country as news of the raid was made public.
Coastal Command Coastal Command's Anti-Submarine patrols on the flanks of Combined Operations. In 1945, the author,  Dr Salmon was posted, as a Flt. Lt. first pilot, to join Tiger Force.
Cockleshell Heroes This raid codenamed Operation Frankton involved the submarine HMS Tuna and 10 men from the Royal Marines and 5 canoes (Cockles). The targets were merchant ships lying in Bordeaux harbour - ships that were successfully breaking the Allied blockade particularly between Japan and Germany.
COHQ - Memories of a Secretary Joyce Pitchford, nee Rogers, was employed in Combined Operations Headquarters (COHQ) in WW2.  She worked with both Keyes and Mountbatten before moving to the War Cabinet after the main work of Combined Operations was over following the D-Day landings.
Combined Operations Post WW2 - Suez The development of machines of war and their deployment continued in the post war years. Operation Musketeer was the first British Combined Operation to use helicopters in support of an amphibious landing.
Combined Operations Explained After you've read this page you should know why Churchill set up the Combined Operations Command, the duties and responsibilities he bestowed upon it and some of its achievements.
Combined Operations Explained (Advanced) History is punctuated with stories of amphibious campaigns arguably going back to the Phoenicians and earlier. All have one thing in common - the need for seamen to transport soldiers to fight and, in modern times, airmen to drop parachutists, smoke screens and bombs and to provide air cover in support of the ground troops and ships.
Commando
No 1
A brief history of No 1 Commando from formation in July 1940 to disbandment in Jan 1947 following a period of merger with No 5 Commando as 1/5 Commando while operating in the Far East. They saw action in northern France, North Africa and Burma.
Commando
No 4
A brief history of No 4 Commando from its formation in 4 Mar 1941 to disbandment in July 1945 including: 4 Mar 1941 - Lofoten Islands, Norway; The Canary Islands; 27 Dec 1941 - Vaagso, Norway  (Operation Archery); 23 Mar 1942 - St Nazaire; 21/22 Apr 1942 - Hardelot (Operation Abercromby); 19/8/42 Dieppe; Jun 6th 1944 Overlord and Nov 1 to 8 1944 Walcheren.
Commando
No 5
A brief history of No 5 Commando from formation in July 1940 to disbandment in January 1947 including Hardelot and Merlimont - Aug 1941, St Nazaire - 28th Mar 1942, Madagascar - May 1942, India and Burma - Dec 1943 on.
Commando
No 9
A brief account of the history of No 9 Commando from its formation in the summer of 1940 to disbandment in 1946. It was most heavily involved in operations around the coasts of Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece.
Commando
No 11 (Scottish)
This detailed account from the formation of the Commando in July 1940 through recruitment and training and the periods of disappointment and frustration to the Litani River and Rommel HQ raids in Jun and Nov 1941. It includes many personal reminiscences and quotes from the men who were there, a large bibliography and a list of the fallen and associated war cemeteries.
Commando
W
W Commando were Canada's Beach Commandos. They were specially trained Commandos set up to create and maintain order on Normandy's Juno Beach during the landings. Such was the uncertainty of what they would find that they trained for all conceivable contingencies from protection against chemical warfare and clearing obstacles to driving Sherman tanks! However, their main task was to keep the traffic of men, machines and supplies flowing through the beach area.
Commando
45 Royal Marine
This account of the early years of 45 Royal Marine Commando concentrates on the amphibious landings on the beaches of Normandy and the immediate aftermath. It draws heavily on the official publication 'The Story of 45 Royal Marine Commando' written by the 45's officers and published privately for members of the unit and their relatives.
Contact Us The website's communications page.
COPPs Combined Operations Pilotage Parties - their members referred to as COPPists. They risked their lives to gather information about proposed landing beaches and in-shore waters usually under the noses of enemy coastal defences including land and sea patrols.
COPRA Contrary to popular belief HMS Copra was not a Royal Navy ship. It was a Royal Navy shore base for the maintenance of personnel records and the calculation of  pay, ratings and allowances for RN personnel attached to Combined Operations. COPRA stands for Combined Operations Personnel Records & Accounts.
Corkscrew
(Operation)
Operation Corkscrew, the assault on the small Italian island of Pantelleria in June 1943, was partly operational and partly experimental. It would be a useful toe-hold for the planned invasion of Sicily and Italy and it would serve to test the effectiveness of  large scale bombing of strong entrenched enemy defensive positions prior to the landing of troops.
D      [Back to Top]
D-Day
60th Anniversary
Photographs of veterans relaxing in their back yards, standing to attention on the beaches of Normandy or visiting other areas of conflict.
D-Day
Assault Convoy G6

In the fog of war the fate of individual soldiers, sailors and airmen can sadly sometimes be ambiguous. However, as this story shows, even after the passage of the best part of 60 years, careful detective work can reveal an unexpected truth.

Dieppe Originally conceived in April 1942 by Combined Operations Headquarters (C.O.H.Q.), and subsequently code named "Operation Rutter", the Allies planned to conduct a major division size raid on a German held port on the French channel coast and to hold it for the duration of at least two tides. They would effect the greatest amount of destruction of enemy facilities and defences before withdrawing. The raid was very costly for Canadian forces but valuable lessons were learned in planning future operations including D-Day.
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Elba Operation Brassard gives an account of the role of the Royal Naval Beach Commandos in the invasion of Elba. They suffered heavy losses during initial landings in the bay of Golfo di Campo but the island was captured.
Empire Battleaxe This is the story of Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) HMS Empire Battleaxe from two very different perspectives - the navy and the Marines. Royal Marine Corporals Norman Sam Moss, PO/X107607 and William Robert Jones, CH/X113254, served in Combined Operations in WW2 as coxswains in 537 LCA Flotilla on  Empire Battleaxe.
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 FDTs 13, 216
& 217
Fighter Direction Tenders were, in effect, floating command and control centres which bristled with antenna and aerials for radar, communications and intelligence gathering purposes. They were the eyes and ears for the large scale invasion forces off the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944. There were 3 Fighter Direction Tenders designated FDT 13, 216 & 217 and this is their story.
FDT 216 This page is based on the diary of Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) Leslie Armitage. It covers his service on board Fighter Direction Tender (FDT) 216 off the American beaches of Utah and Omaha over a 10 day period from June 5 1944.
Flipper
(Operation)
Operation Flipper - the  story of the raid on Rommel's HQ in the Libyan desert. The small raiding party achieved total surprise but due to poor intelligence there never was a chance of killing or capturing the General - he was in Rome at the time and, in any event, he'd never stayed in the property. Lt Col Geoffrey Keyes was posthumously awarded the Commandos first VC for his role in the action.
Forthcoming
Events
If you're organising an event likely to interest visitors to this website please provide us with a text, website URL, images/photos etc and we'll add the details to this page - free. 'Contact Us' in the links banner above and use the 'Information for Website' option you'll find there.
Frankton
(Operation
)
The story of the Cockleshell Heroes. The operation involved the submarine HMS Tuna and 10 men from the Royal Marines and 5 canoes (Cockles). The targets were merchant ships lying in Bordeaux harbour - ships that were successfully breaking the Allied blockade particularly between Japan and Germany.
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Glomfjiord Operation Musketoon was a daring raid on an electricity generating station at Glomfjord in German occupied Norway just north of the Arctic Circle - a station that provided the electricity for a nearby aluminium plant. There were 2 Officers, 8 Commandos from No 2 Commando and 2 Norwegian corporals working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
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HDML 1301 This account of the role of Harbour Defence Motor Launch HDML 1301 in Operation Brassard will be of greatest interest to researchers or those with a special interest in the subject. It provides a valuable insight into the complex and detailed planning which preceded all raids and landings. It was prepared by David Carter whose father, Lt F L Carter, RNVR was killed in the action.
Hitler's Secret Commando Order As a result of an unfortunate incident on the island of Sark a number of German soldiers were shot with their hands tied behind their backs. This apparent execution by a Commando raiding party incensed Hitler who shortly afterward issued his infamous Commando Order.
Hitler's Western Front Order On the 3rd of November 1943, and in anticipation of an invasion in the west, Hitler issued a directive to move troops and tanks from the eastern front to the west where the greater threat existed.
HQ Ships In WW2 Headquarters Ships and HQ Assault ships shared the task of implementing detailed plans for large scale amphibious landings on enemy held beaches. They also monitored the progress of these plans and adjusted them in the light of experience and unforeseen circumstances. In modern parlance they were floating Command and Control Centres with enormous capacity to communicate with aircraft, ships, shore establishments and units operating in the battlegrounds.
Husky Operation Husky - the Invasion of Sicily, was the start of the Allies assault on German occupied Europe. Churchill described Sicily and Italy as the soft underbelly of Europe but there were many hard fought battles before the job island was cleared. [Land] US 7th Army British 8th Army [Sea] 2760 ships of the RN and US Navy [Air] ?
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Insignia
(history of)
A copy of an article entitled 'The Combined Operations Badge, 1942-1946' by Terry Carney based on research carried out at the National Archive, Kew, London. Includes many drawings of early design ideas.
Insignia
(in use)
Old photos of veterans, tattooed arm, ship's funnel, scaled model of craft, Christmas card, Commando certificate etc - all clearly show the ubiquitous Combined Operations Insignia in use. If you have any examples you're happy to share, please send them in with a brief note for possible addition to this page.
Insignia
(specimens)
There are over 50 images of Combined Operations Insignia from the early 1940s to the present day including some from overseas. Lieut D A Grant, who suggested the design, could not have known how its use would spread around the world and how it would endure over the decades to the present day.
Inveraray
in Wartime
In the early to mid 1940s the small Scottish town of Inveraray was host to an estimated quarter of a million men undergoing Combined Operations training in amphibious landing techniques on the shores of Loch Fyne. These are the personal recollections of these times compiled by three local residents.
Ironclad
(operation)
This brief account of Operation Ironclad, the invasion of Madagascar, is taken from the viewpoint of a member of No 5 Commando. Combined Operations Command was not the principal player in this operation against the Vichy French regime - more of an assistant. The total campaign lasted 6 months but the bulk of the special work of Combined Operations and the Commandos was concentrated into a few days in early May 1942.
Italy The Italians capitulated just as the Allies left Sicily for mainland Italy. Operation Avalanche, the landings at Salerno, were no pushover however, and this page gives a short account of the actions as far as Rome.
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Jubilee
(Operation)
Originally conceived in April 1942 by Combined Operations Headquarters (C.O.H.Q.), and subsequently code named "Operation Rutter", the Allies planned to conduct a major division size raid on a German held port on the French channel coast and to hold it for the duration of at least two tides. They would effect the greatest amount of destruction of enemy facilities and defences before withdrawing. The raid was very costly for Canadian forces but valuable lessons were learned in planning future operations including D-Day.
K      [Back to Top]
Keyes
(Roger)
On this page there is a  short biography of Roger Keyes who served as Director of Combined Operations from July 1940 to October 1941. Reorganistion of the Command resulted in the old friend of Churchill's stepping down because he could not accept the new position of Combined Operations Adviser to the Chiefs of Staff - a position which in his view had much less status and power.
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Landing Craft Assault Landing Craft Assault (LCA).  These small troop carrying craft were usually carried on mother ships to the landing beaches and lowered into the water with their crew of 4 and up to 36 fully armed troops on board. This first hand account includes a landing early on D-Day morning when death and destruction were constant companions.
Landing Craft
Canadian View
A comprehensive, often humorous account of life on a Landing Craft in the UK, Africa, and Europe from the perspective of a young Canadian volunteer. Lloyd Evans packed more experience of life into just a few years than most young people today pack into a lifetime. Although there were times of rest and relaxation always present was the next unknown mission with moments of great danger.
Landing Craft
Flack
Landing Craft Flack bristled with gun turrets to provide anti aircraft cover for other vessels off enemy held landing beaches. On first seeing his craft the author mistook her for local bomb damage! A light-hearted and humorous style belies the very dangerous situations he found himself in and the death and destruction he witnessed.
Landing Craft
Handover
Rare photographs of newly completed Landing Craft Assault (LCAs) being handed over to the Royal Navy by builders Elliotts of Reading, Berkshire, England. It is believed the photographs were taken in September 1944.
Landing Craft
Rocket (USA)
These personal recollections of Lt Commander Carr concentrate on US Landing Craft Tank (Rocket) operations in Normandy and Southern France in the summer of 1944. His story starts with a fascinating account of his vessel's unique role on the day Japan attacked the US Navy in Pearl Harbour in 1941. We'd welcome any photos of USLCT(R)s to add to this page.
Landing Craft
Support Sqdn
Support landing craft in the form of LCGs, LCFs and LCRs (guns, flack and rockets) provided fire power to soften up entrenched enemy positions on and near the beaches in advance of troop landings. This account provides an insight into the establishment of a support flotilla and its deployment.
 LBK 6 His Majesty's Landing Barge Kitchen 6 (HMLBK 6) provided hot food off the Normandy beaches and continued in Navy use into the 21st century. On the LBK web page it is seen departing Portsmouth Naval Base at 13.30 hours on May 10th 2007 under tow of a marine tug out of Itchen. Read on to find out what happened next.
LCF 7

Landing Craft Flak (LCF) provided cover against enemy air attack during landings. They were armed with many rapid fire anti-aircraft guns of different types. These are the recollections of a marine as his craft saw service in North Africa, Pantellaria, Sicily and Italy.

LCI 502 USS LCI(L) 502 carried 196 Officers and men of the Durham Light Infantry to Gold Beach on the wild and windy morning of June 6th 1944. This account is based on the writings and recollections of John P Cummer and information from the craft's Deck Log.
LCT 318 This is the story of one Landing Craft Tank seen through the eyes of the craft's electrician. It saw action off Dieppe, North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Normandy. After such an illustrious wartime service the end came from an unexpected source. This Mk3 HMLCT 318 was built by Teesside Bridge and Engineering Company and launched on February 14th 1942.
LCT (4) 749 HM Landing Craft Tank 749 - HMLCT(4) 749 was involved in the first assault wave onto Gold Beach on the morning of D-Day. It was part of the 28th LCT Flotilla ‘D’ LCT Squadron. Its cargo included specially adapted tanks (known as Hobart's Funnies) for the clearance of beach obstacles in advance of troop landings. This was hazardous work undertaken before enemy resistance in the area of the landing beaches had been cleared.
LCT 795 This is the story of HMLCT 795 from early training to D-Day and beyond seen through the eyes of the craft's electrician. From the hazardous work off Normandy, where experiences shared bonded the crew together, to an unexpected event that dispersed them without ceremony. The author never met any of them again.
 LCT 821 On D-Day Signalman Eric J. Loseby served with His Majesty's Landing Craft Tank 821 of the 42nd Flotilla of ‘I’ Squadron Landing Craft. This is his story. From training and over-wintering in the cold waters around Scotland's northern shores to undertaking running repairs while stranded on a Normandy beach, there were many hardships and dangers. The common purpose of these non specialised landing craft was to transport the Allied armies, their weapons, equipment and supplies across the English Channel.
LCT 861 HM Landing Craft Tank (HMLCT 861) was a unit of the 38th Flotilla of Assault Group S3 Support Squadron. Their task on D-Day was to support the first assault wave by providing withering fire onto enemy targets on or near to the landing beaches and thereafter to discharge their cargo of tanks and men onto the beaches.
LCT 979 HMLCT 979 saw action on the Normandy beaches but took on a much more hazardous task a few months later against the island fortress of Walcheren. Against the odds they survived, battered but not broken.
LCT 980 HMLCT 980 was one of hundreds of similar vessels that saw action on the Normandy beaches in June 1944 and again at Walcheren in Holland in Nov 1944. It gives a good description of the vessel, its specifications, life onboard after the action was over including an ignominious end on the Thames.
 LCT 1171 His Majesty's Landing Craft Tank,  HMLCT 1171. In August 1942, at the tender age of 18, Austin Prosser joined the RN as an ordinary seaman at H.M.S. Raleigh. He was commissioned a midshipman in December 1942. Apart from a short time patrolling on the Torpoint ferry he spent the next four years in Combined Operations. He joined the Navy broke and left it owing them money!
 LCT 2304 D-Day on Landing Craft Tank 2304. Two views of the same events from the perspectives of a British Navy landing craft crew and their 'cargo' of US Army soldiers.
LCT 2331 D-Day on Landing Craft Tank 2331. Two views of the same events from the perspectives of a British Navy landing craft crew and their 'cargo' of US Army soldiers.
LCT
(General)
A general overview of the role of landing craft off the 5 landing beaches of Normandy. Includes many of the above plus Landing Craft Tank (Armoured) [LCT(A)], Landing Craft Tank (High Explosives) [LCT (HE)], Landing Craft Tank (Rocket) [LCT(R)], Landing Craft Assault Mortars [LCA(HR)]. Also includes individual harrowing stories.
LCT
Squadron
This is an incisive and often amusing account of a Landing Craft Tank Squadron from early training in the harsh, cold winter of 1943/44 in the Moray Firth in Scotland to the hazardous landings on the Normandy beaches on D-Day June 6 1944. It's told by the late Lieutenant Commander of the squadron, MOW Miller, RN, later Commander.

LCV (P)  2118

LCV(P) 1228 [Landing Craft Vehicle (Personnel)] was a relatively small flat bottomed boat whose main function in WW2 was to deliver assault troops onto enemy held shores. Collectively there were many hundreds of these craft but, even so, they were just a small blip in the great sweep of events beginning June 6th 1944.
Links Links to sites of possible interest - service records, replacement medals, veterans support, National Archive, Imperial War Museum etc.
Litani River The raid on the Litani River raid was a courageous attempt to capture a key bridge from the Vichy French, in the then Palestine, before they could blow it up in the face of advancing Australian forces. The fortunes of war, for some Commandos, found them captives and then captors in the spread of just a few hours! [Land] C Battalion (ex 11 Commando). [Sea] HMS Glengyle.
Lofoten Raid
(First)
Operation Claymore was the 1st Lofoten Islands raid off the Norwegian coast just north of the Arctic Circle. It achieved a good measure of destruction of German ships and fish factory oil and it gave free passage to the UK to over 300 Norwegian volunteers and a few Germans and Quislings. It was, however, most notable for giving a great boost to flagging morale within the ranks of the Commandos and later the country as news of the raid was made public.
Lofoten Raid
(Second)
Operation Anklet, the second Lofoten Islands raid, was a diversion in support of a larger action at Vaagso further south on the Norwegian coast. There was no opposition to the landing, but a near miss from a German bomber convinced the planners that in future operations of this kind, air cover would be provided as a matter of routine.
LST
HMS Misoa
Taken from the shallow waters of Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo in South America, Misoa saw service off  N Africa, Pantellaria, Sicily, Italy and Normandy. These are the wartime memories of a young Royal Navy seaman who served on her. Although his ship didn't have the sleek lines and style of a cruiser, it came through many actions relatively unscathed.
LST (2) 427

A Photo Gallery of 49 rare photographs of 427 in action off Sicily, Italy and Normandy. The photographs were taken by Temporary Acting Lieutenant Commander W.G.E. Rawlinson RNVR who commanded 427 during 1943- 45.

LST  28
(USA)
USS LST 28, an LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship, was laid down on 8/12/42 at Dravo Corp, Pittsburgh, PA. It was launched on 19/4/43 and commissioned US LST 28 on 19/6/43. During World War II she was assigned to the European Theatre.
M      [Back to Top]
Madagascar This brief account of Operation Ironclad, the invasion of Madagascar, is taken from the viewpoint of a member of No 5 Commando. Combined Operations Command was not the principal player in this operation against the Vichy French regime - more of an assistant. The total campaign lasted 6 months but the bulk of the special work of Combined Operations and the Commandos was concentrated into a few days in early May 1942.
Members
(List)
Members through subscription or a significant contribution to website content are listed here - names in alphabetical order with links to associated articles, where appropriate.
Membership
(About)

You can become a member in one of two ways - by contributing article(s) to the website or by taking out an annual membership. Both forms of assistance are needed and welcomed - the former to ensure that the site content grows and improves and the latter to pay the bills.

Memorials
(Existing)
Memorials, Monuments and Plaques bearing the Combined Operations Insignia. We honour the memory and celebrate the achievements of those who served under the Combined Operations Command in WW2 by listing here all forms of public recognition anywhere in the world.
Memorial to
Combined Ops
A single click to the Combined Operations Memorial sub-web where you'll find all you need to know including the latest photos, dedication ceremony, memorial fund and an impressive painting called "Combined Operations - A Normandy Beachhead."
Memorial
Donations
On this page we explain how you can donate to the Combined Operations Memorial Appeal, no matter where you live. Donations of any size are welcome by credit card, debit card, cheque or postal order.
Mers el Kabir Operation Catapult aimed to secure the immobilisation of the French Naval Fleet lest it should fall into German hands. Although not a Combined Operation this naval action is included in this website because it provides useful background to British concerns about Vichy French military resources and foreign held territories. These concerns subsequently resulted in actions involving Combined Operations such as those in North Africa (Torch) and the Litani River.
Misoa (LST) Taken from the shallow waters of Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo in South America, Misoa saw service off  N Africa, Pantellaria, Sicily, Italy and Normandy. These are the wartime memories of a young Royal Navy seaman who served on her. Although his ship didn't have the sleek lines and style of a cruiser, it came through many actions relatively unscathed.
Mountbatten Lord Louis Mountbatten was Combined Operations Adviser from 17/10/41 to 17/3/42  and Chief of Combined Operations from 18/3/42 to 10/43.  Despite his youth and relative inexperience he gained the respect and co-operation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Mulberry Harbours The Allies needed secure sheltered harbour facilities within days of the Normandy landings to supply their advancing forces until ports like Cherbourg were captured. How did they erect two harbours, each the size of Dover, in just a few days in wartime, when Dover took 7 years to construct in peacetime? It was a civil engineering project of immense size and complexity.
Musketoon Operation Musketoon was a daring raid on an electricity generating station at Glomfjord in German occupied Norway not far away from the Arctic Circle - a station that provided the electricity for a nearby aluminium plant. The unit chosen for the mission comprised 2 Officers, 8 Commandos from No 2 Commando and 2 Norwegian corporals working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
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Navigational Aids for Beach Landings Navigational aids helped landing craft locate their target beaches especially at night. Accurate navigation was vital to all amphibious Combined Operations otherwise well researched and rehearsed plans would disintegrate into chaos with potentially disastrous consequences.
Neptune (Operation) The assault phase of Operation Overlord on D-Day.
Notice Board
Ops & Units
Questions from visitors about Combined Operations and Units.
Notice Board
Veterans
Questions from visitors about Veterans
Notice Board
Other
Questions from visitors of a general nature.
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Overlord
(Operation)
Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings of June 1944, was the beginning of the end for Hitler and his army in Europe. The German forces were under increasing pressure from all sides and the great effort by Allied forces proved decisive. Many hard battles, now etched in the collective memory of the nation, were fought along the route to the German heartland.
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Pantellaria Operation Corkscrew, the assault on the small Italian island of Pantelleria in June 1943, was partly operational and partly experimental. It would be a useful toe-hold for the planned invasion of Sicily and Italy and it would serve to test the effectiveness of  large scale bombing of strong entrenched enemy defensive positions prior to the landing of troops.
PLUTO - 1 From research and development to the laying of the pipeline. The Pipeline Under the Ocean (PLUTO) was designed to supply petrol from storage tanks in southern England to the advancing Allied armies in France in the months following D-Day. This page tells the story of the planning, development, testing and installation of the pipelines and of their contribution to the war effort.
PLUTO - 2

This page chronicles one firm's involvement in the top secret project to manufacture the equipment for the production of the pipeline. Pipeline Under the Ocean (PLUTO) was designed to supply petrol from storage tanks in southern England to the Allied armies in France in the months following D-Day.

PLUTO - 3 The recovery of the PLUTO pipeline was the mother of all salvage operations! - dangerous, arduous and huge! There were 21 pipelines stretching across the English Channel and after two years almost 800 miles were recovered for recycling.
PLUTO - 4 PLUTO, the WW2 Pipe Line Under The Ocean, had a sizeable network of storage tanks, pumping stations and pipelines in southern England to ensure an adequate supply of fuel could be pumped to the Allied armies as they advanced across occupied mainland Europe and into Germany. This is an account of one tiny part of that network in Fawley as remembered by a local resident, then a young boy.
Poetry 1) 5 Poems about Normandy. 2) The Commando Memorial
Pykrete Pykrete? Ice ships in the Rockies? The improbable but true story of a top secret WW2 project to build ships from a mixture of ice and sawdust. Project Habbakuk! Behold ye among the heathen, and regard and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told to you. So reads a biblical quotation from the book of Habakkuk ... a name adopted by the top secret project to build ice ships.
Pyke Geoffrey A short account of the life and times of Geoffrey Nathaniel Pyke, variously described as a genius, an eccentric and less flattering names. However it is beyond question that he was a one man think tank who had the 'ear' of Churchill.
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Radar
Seaborne
Fighter Direction Tenders were, in effect, floating command and control centres which bristled with antenna and aerials for radar, communications and intelligence gathering purposes. They were the eyes and ears for the large scale invasion forces off the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944. There were 3 Fighter Direction Tenders designated FDT 13, 216 & 217 and this is their story.
RAF Air/Sea Rescue For a select few serving in the RAF Air Sea Rescue Service, D Day was to find them undertaking an important, top secret task which would improve the chances of survival of thousands of servicemen. It was so secret that they did not know what they were involved in until they were in position off the Normandy beaches.
Re-enactors
3 Commando
This page provides information about a military re-enactment group based in Ayrshire in the south of Scotland. It has an educational bias in addition to re-enactment (living history) events and displays.
Re-enactors
SMRS
 Scottish Military Re-enactment Society based in the Lothians near Edinburgh.
Rommel's HQ Operation Flipper - the  story of the raid on Rommel's HQ in the Libyan desert. The small raiding party achieved total surprise but due to poor intelligence there never was a chance of killing or capturing the General - he was in Rome at the time and, in any event, he'd never stayed in the property. Lt Col Geoffrey Keyes was posthumously awarded the Commandos first VC for his role in the action.
RN Commandos The Royal Naval Commandos were also informally known as the Beach Commandos. Their primary task was to control the movement of men, vehicles and supplies through the landing beaches during major amphibious landings. The avoidance of bottlenecks and delays gave them a pivotal role in the supply chain.
Roll of Honour The Combined Operations Roll of Honour is dedicated to the memory of all those who died in combat or training while serving the Allied cause under the Combined Operations Command in WW2. See associated page "THEY ALSO SERVED".
Royal Air Servicing Commando The RAF Servicing Commando maintained and repaired Allied aircraft often close to the front line. In addition to the normal engineering skills they had to be capable of defending themselves if attacked.
Royal Air Servicing Commando Unit 3201 An often light hearted account of hazardous duties illustrated with cartoon images drawn by the author.
Royal Observer
Corp
The Royal Observer Corp provided vital early identification of approaching enemy ships and planes for Allied gunners. Their aim was to reduce Allied aircraft losses to so called 'friendly fire' by providing high quality aircraft recognition information. In essence they answered the question "friend or foe?"
Royal Ulsterman An ex English Channel Ferry used to carry tanks, lorries, men and equipment directly onto the beaches. Saw action off North Africa, Pantellaria, Sicily, Italy and Normandy.
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Salerno The Italians capitulated just as the Allies left Sicily for mainland Italy. Operation Avalanche, the landings at Salerno, were no pushover however, and this page gives a short account of the actions as far as Rome.
Saunders HMS Saunders was the naval base of the Middle East Combined Training Centre on the Egypt's Little Bitter Lake. It was commissioned in March 1941 under the name of HMS Stag (Division K). Its purpose was to train RN personnel in the operation of landing craft and together with the troops of many Allied nations, to practice amphibious landings prior to operations against the enemy in the Mediterranean.
Search  Search the website for specific words.
Sicily Operation Husky - the Invasion of Sicily, was the start of the Allies assault on German occupied Europe. Churchill described Sicily and Italy as the soft underbelly of Europe but there were many hard fought battles before the job island was clared. [Land] US 7th Army British 8th Army [Sea] 2760 ships of the RN and US Navy [Air] ?
 SSRF This page details the activities of the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF) during the early 1940s. They specialised in "pinprick" raids on the coast of Northern France and the Channel Islands which were designed to have a demoralising effect on the German troops as well as more generally tying up enemy resources that would otherwise be used on other fronts.
St Nazaire Operation Chariot was an audacious Combined Operation raid on the port of St Nazaire in German occupied France. Packed with tons of high explosives a destroyer was rammed into the gates of the only dry dock capable of servicing the German battleship Tirpitz. Such was the damage that the dry dock was rendered unusable for the remainder of the war.
Starkey
(Operation)
Operation Starkey was the invasion that never was. The war years are littered with stories of deception designed to confuse the enemy or to make then believe something that was no more than a figment of the planners' imaginations!  Systematic bombing of selected targets over several weeks in late August and early September 1943 and an invasion armada of empty ships were the key elements.
Suez The development of machines of war and their deployment continued in the post war years. Operation Musketeer was the first British Combined Operation to use helicopters in support of an amphibious landing.
                  T      [Back to Top]A-Z INDEX
Table of Contents List of website pages, photos and files.
They Also
Served
Remembering those who served the Allied cause under the Combined Operations Command in WW2 and who were fortunate enough to return from the field of conflict. They also did their duty.
Thruster HMLST(1) Thruster was built by Harland and Wolf, Belfast, Northern Ireland and launched on September 24th 1942. She later took part in the invasions of Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Southern France. The photographs on this page are a rare record of those times when the taking of such photos was banned.
Tiger
(Operation)
Operation Tiger was a pre D-Day training exercise in Lyme Bay which was to culminate in landings on Slapton Sands. It was a disaster for the American forces involved. For many years little information about the debacle was publicly known since those involved in the exercise and its aftermath were sworn to secrecy on pain of court martial.
Torch
(Operation)
Operation Torch - the invasion of North Africa. Churchill and his military advisers where concerned to remove the Vichy French authorities from the territories they controlled on the North African coast before they fell into German hands. Torch was an American led operation under Eisenhower with substantial UK support.
Training Centre
Middle East
The Combined Training Centre (CTC) Middle East at Kabret, on the Egypt's Little Bitter Lake, was the first Combined Operations Training Establishment located outside the United Kingdom. Its purpose was to train RN personnel in the operation of landing craft and together with the troops of many Allied nations, to practice amphibious landings prior to operations against the enemy in the Mediterranean.
Training - Canadian Perspective This account of Combined Operations training for the 1st Canadian Corps is presented in two parts; the first are the personal recollections of a Canadian war artist Lt W A Ogilvie. The second is a report gleaned from official records.
Training
(Small Landing Craft)
This is the story of one Canadian volunteer's training in small landing craft operations. Thousands of landing craft of many different kinds, together with a well trained force of Navy personnel to operate them, were essential for any major seaborne landing against entrenched enemy positions. In short, without them there would have been no D-Day.
Training
Establishments
There were dozens of Combined Operations Training Establishments in WW2 which were primarily concerned with preparing allied forces for the amphibious invasion of North Africa and mainland Europe. The crews of landing craft involved, the soldiers they carried and the RAF in support all required training singly and jointly as a unified force. It was an enormous undertaking involving hundreds of thousands of service personnel.
Training
No 1 CTC
(Inveraray)
The great contribution of the No 1 Combined Training Centre to the war effort is a matter of public record. Its key role was to train service personnel in the latest techniques of amphibious warfare. Around 250,000 personnel passed through the portals of the training centre from 1940 to 1944. At any one time up to 15,000 service personnel were billeted in the area - the impact on the small community of 500 can only be imagined!
Training
Castle Toward

HMS Brontosaurus, Castle Toward, Dunoon, Argyll was the No 2 Combined Training Centre informally known as CTC Castle Toward (pronounced as in coward). It trained officers and crews to operate major landing craft in preparation for amphibious landings including those on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

Training (Signals)
Middle East
Signals Training in the Middle East was undertaken at HMS Saunders a Royal Navy shore base which formed part of  The Combined Training Centre (CTC) Middle East at Kabret on Egypt's Little Bitter Lake. It was the first Combined Operations Training Establishment located outside the United Kingdom.
Training - Post WW2 A photographic record of Combined Operations manoeuvres at Ekernforde in Schleswick Holstein in northern Germany in early 1948.
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US Ranger to
UK Commando
How ones man's war was changed by a late night in a Belfast city pub! The personal reminiscences of an aspirant US Ranger who became a British Commando.
USS LCI 502 USS LCI(L) 502 carried 196 Officers and men of the Durham Light Infantry to Gold Beach on the wild and windy morning of June 6th 1944. This account is based on the writings and recollections of John P Cummer and information from the craft's Deck Log.
USS LST 28 USS LST 28, an LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship, was laid down on 8/12/42 at Dravo Corp, Pittsburgh, PA. It was launched on 19/4/43 and commissioned US LST 28 on 19/6/43. During World War II she was assigned to the European Theater.
US LCT(R) These personal recollections of Lt Commander Carr concentrate on US Landing Craft Tank (Rocket) operations in Normandy and Southern France in the summer of 1944. His story starts with a fascinating account of his vessel's unique role on the day Japan attacked the US Navy in Pearl Harbour in 1941. We'd welcome any photos of USLCT(R)s to add to this page.
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Vaagso Operation Archery, the raid on Vaagso and Maaloy, broke new ground with the provision of air cover as an integral part of the raid in the initial planning process. The planners had learned from the 2nd Lofoten raid that the lack of air cover could put similar missions in jeopardy.
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Walcheren Operation Infatuate, the codename for the invasion of the Dutch Island of Walcheren, was a major amphibious Combined Operation against heavily fortified and entrenched German positions. The island stood at the mouth of the River Scheldt and blocked Allied access to the captured port of Antwerp some 80 kilometres inland.
Walcheren
Childhood Memories
Jan Wigard was just 6 years old when the Germans arrived in his home town of Middelberg on the Island of Walcheren in May of 1940. It would be over 4 years before the island was liberated.
W Commando W Commando were Canada's Beach Commandos. They were specially trained Commandos set up to create and maintain order on Normandy's Juno Beach during the landings. Such was the uncertainty of what they would find that they trained for all conceivable contingencies from protection against chemical warfare and clearing obstacles to driving Sherman tanks! However, their main task was to keep the traffic of men, machines and supplies flowing through the beach area.
Website Accounts Membership subscriptions accounted for on this page offset the cost of running the website. The list of members includes those who have subscribed and/or made a significant contribution to the website. At the discretion of the web manager surplus funds may be transferred to the Combined Operations Memorial Fund or donated to deserving forces' charities. All membership subscriptions, donations and expenditure are accounted for on this page.
Website Background Find out why a chance meeting between a local resident of Fife on the east coast of Scotland and a young university student researching early radar, led to the creation of this website.
Website Terms of Use Includes information on copyright.
Writers & Researchers Volunteers to help research and/or write pages for the website are needed. You don't need  to be a journalist and no special qualifications or training are required but an interest in the subject would be an advantage. Visit this link to find out what's involved.
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Young Visitors A special welcome for younger visitors to the website. Visit this page to find out what your grandparents' generation did for you while serving their country in Combined Operations in the early 1940s.

There are over 200 books listed on our 'Combined Operations Books' page which can be purchased on-line via the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE) search banner which checks the shelves of thousands of book shops world-wide. Type in or copy and paste the title of your choice or use the keyword box for book suggestions. There's no obligation to buy, no registration and no passwords. Just click on the book icon opposite to take you to the ABE banner.

News & Information

Battle of the Scheldt / Operation Infatuate / Walcheren.

70th Anniversary Commemorative Events - 2014

The Zealand Liberation Museum in Nieuwdorp, South Beveland is organising remembrance events for 2014. They are pleased to publish preliminary information of planned remembrance events for veterans involved in this important battle and their families and friends. Revisions to the plans will be posted here when received from the organisers. 25th October (English). 25th October (Dutch). 1st November (English). 1st November (Dutch).

Please 'like' the Combined Operations Command memorial  Facebook page in appreciation of our WW2 veterans. See the 'slide shows' of the dedication ceremony and the construction of the memorial plus the 'On this day in 194?' feature where major events are featured on their anniversary dates. 

WW2 Combined Operations Handbook. This handbook was prepared for Combined Operations in the Far East. It illustrates the depth and complexity of the planning process necessary to ensure that the 3 services worked together as a unified force.

Legion d’Honneur Applications. In conjunction with events to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy landings, the Government of France has advised the Ministry of Defence that it wishes to award the Legion d’Honneur to all surviving veterans; not only of the landings, but also the wider Battle for Normandy; the Invasion of Provence (Operation Dragoon); the Liberation of Paris and the Liberation of France.

Any veterans, not only troops that landed, but also Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel who operated in support of the landings may apply. Click here for application form and further information from the MOD.

 

Find Books of Interest.  Search for Books direct from our Books page. Don't have the name of a book in mind? Just type in a keyword to get a list of possibilities... and if you want to purchase you can do so on line through the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). 5% commission goes into the memorial fund.

 

Newsletter. The latest occasional newsletter can now be read here.

Free WW1 Teaching Resource. Newspaper cuttings in the form of a 13 page booklet (26 sides) with published accounts of aspects of the war during 1914 to 1919. Available to schools, universities, libraries and accredited education establishments.  Pdf version or
www.historic-newspapers.co.uk/ for printed version.

Follow in the footsteps of the Commandos. Exclusive guided tour of the places in Tunisia with advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Steve Hamilton of Western Desert Battlefield Tours.

 

 

Thames River Cruiser FARMAR. Do you know what this craft did in WW2? If so you may have information to help a restoration project. More information on our Notice Board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gazelle Helicopter Squadron Display Team. The Gazelle Squadron is a unique team of ex-British Military Gazelle helicopters in their original military colours and with their original military registrations. The core team includes four Gazelles, one from each service; The Royal Navy, The Royal Marines, The Army Air Corps and The Royal Air Force. A fifth Gazelle in Royal Marines colours will provide intimate support for the team. Their crest includes the Combined Operations badge. The last, and possibly, only time the badge was seen on an aircraft was in the early mid 40s. A photo of the Hurricane concerned is included in the 516 Squadron webpage.
 

 

 

Legasee Film Archive. As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee is looking for veterans from any conflict who would like to have their stories filmed for posterity. Films are now available on line.

New to Combined Ops? Visit Combined Operations Explained for an easy introduction to the subject.

 

 

Remember a Veteran. Add names to our Roll of Honour and They Also Served pages and read the Combined Operations prayer.

 

 

Print too small or large? Easy solution when browsing. I) PC. To increase hold down Ctrl and shift and press +. To decrease hold down Ctrl and press -. 2) MAC. To increase Command + and to decrease Command -.

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