WW2 land, sea and air forces of the Allied Nations planning, training and operating together as a unified force on amphibious raids and landings against the enemy.

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Bruneval Raid

112th MP CO AVN

Cockleshell Heroes

4 Commando Brigade (RM)

Petworth, West Sussex

42 Commando

Infatuate Photos

Operation Archery - Vaagso

Operation Ironclad - Madagascar

4 Commando RM Signal Troop

No 6 Commando Algiers Nov 42

Operation Archery Veterans

Frank Cameron RM Commando?

Paras June 5th 1944


No 6 Commando

No 4 Commando Roll of Honour

59th GHQ Troop Royal Engineers

2 Commando - Photos

No 2 Commando, D Company


LCT 1025 on D-Day

R M of 601 Flotilla Normandy 1944

No 4 Commando - Dieppe

Op Compass North Africa

HMLCT 2226

607 LCM Flotilla, Normandy 1944

Operation Zipper

HMLCI(S) 508

HMLCI(S) 535

Czechoslovak Commandos

LCM 131 & 668 Flotillas



COPP 6 - Peter Manning

Parry Copp

COHQ Nov 1942 Photo Mystery

10 Copp - Book Publication

Hayling Island

Major Jack Crane – COPP 1

Canadian Commandos

105 Wing RAF

Volunteers required for the Legasee War Veteran's Project

SSRF & COPPS - Harry Goulding

Small Sccale Raiding Force

COPP 8 / PO Gascoigne

45 RM Commando

45 RM Commando

Landing Craft in Albanian Waters

LCM 650 Flotilla

US 746th Tank Battalion

COPPs - Lt/Capt Robert James (Bob) Taylor

Combined Operations Conundrum

Granville Raid 9th March 1945

Cherbourg 'Cockleshell' Operation

LCF (4) 31

650 LCT Flotilla

Uniform Identification

LCT 1315

Landing Craft Flotillas 263 & 801.

Landing Craft Flak (LCFs) at Walcheren.

HMS Monch

Landing Craft Gun [LCG (L) 2] - Gold Beach

Lofoten Raid - Operation Claymore

LBE 29

RN Beach Party, Kabret

Landing Craft Gun

654 LCM(3) Flotilla.

591 LCA Flotilla

591 LCA Flotilla

Dear Mr. Slee,

I found some old papers relating to my father's war service recently and they led me to your website, combinedops.com. I thought I’d send you the crew roster and photo I found.

My father was S/Lt. S C Smythe of LCA1101 and he is sitting on the far left of the photo, I’m afraid I can’t put names to any of the others.

I hope you find it interesting and feel free to use them as you please.

Yours Sincerely

Hastings Smythe

If you can name anyone in the photo or have information about 591 LCA Flotilla, please let me know. Perhaps in time, the story of the flotilla's activities on Gold beach will be told. Thank you. Geoff Slee

654 LCM(3) Flotilla.

Hi Geoff , I wonder if you can help me directly or perhaps point me in the right direction. I've been searching, without success so far, for information on the 654 LCM (3) Flotilla. My interest arose from a photograph of the landing craft crews (see opposite) taken in October 1944. My father is at the very top on the right hand side.

Since I can find no information about the photo, I'm wondering if the craft of 654 LCM Flotilla were, perhaps, not deployed on active service. If anyone has information on the Flotilla, or recognises the photo, please get in touch with me through the e-mail link below.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely

Val Lancaster

Landing Craft Gun 18 (LCG 18). My father, William Fredrick Yells, served on LCG18. I wondered if anyone has information about my dad or LCG18. Thank you.
Kind regards,
RN Beach Party, Kabret. Hi all, Just wanted to know the colours on the sun-helmet insignia worn by RN beach party in combined training camp Kabret. If you can help, please click on the e-mail icon opposite. Thank you in anticipation.



LBE 29. Hi Geoff, Amongst some of the possessions of veteran James Dalling, I found these French franc notes that were signed on D Day by the crew of LBE 29, on which Jim served. There is a possibility that the families of some of these veterans may recognise their names/signatures, and I'd be delighted to hear from them to exchange information, photos etc.

As you might expect, Jim's health is not as good as it once was, but I'm hoping to take him to The National Memorial Arboretum, later this year, to see the Combined Ops memorial.

Best wishes

Steve Hempsall

Lofoten Raid - Operation Claymore. Hi Geoff, I am looking to see if you have any knowledge of any persons who were from the Lofoten Raid in 1941 who came to England with the British after Operation Claymore. I also wonder if any of your members or visitors may be able to help. We are looking to recreate a list of 314 people. We have made some good progress. Steven Dalfest
45 RM Commando. This, and other photos I've seen of 45 RM Commando, show what appears to be half a troop with only forty or so in the picture. I wonder if they are officers and NCOs only. 45 RMC was, at the outset, 450 men strong, so each troop would amount to about 90.

In the photo, perhaps taken in 1943, there are at least 4 officers I know of. However, one of them was not 45 RMC as far as I recall, but he was 'with them' as my father explained. He has a lighter tie than the other three, and a cap. The ones I recognise are from A and E troops of 45 RMC and one from Royal Artillery.

If anyone can shed any light on the occasion this photo was taken, or if they recognise anyone in it, I'd be very grateful if they would let me know. Thank you in anticipation.

Yours sincerely,

David Beadle

LCG (L)  2 - Gold Beach, Normandy. Ref ‘Landing Craft Support Squadron’. Part of the memoirs of CERA, Robert Wallace-Sims, posted on this site includes this extract; After D-day we spent the next three days throwing 4 ½ inch shells at unseen targets, Army Forward Observation Officers positioned inland giving us instructions. D plus 5 arrived and LCG (L)2, in which I was billeted, was ordered to close the shore and attempt to draw the fire of an enemy shore battery which had defied the efforts of the RAF to destroy it. With not a little trepidation we weighed anchor and proceeded inshore firing in the general direction of the battery. There was no response from the enemy until we made a 180 degree turn to avoid beaching. As we headed away from the cliffs our guns were now unable to bear on the enemy position. There were then three explosions, the first lifted our stern out of the water, the second was a 15" salvo from HMS Warspite, and the third saw the end of the battery as eight 15" HE shells hit their target. I was afterwards told that this battery was mobile, on railway lines and normally ran into a tunnel at the first hint of danger.
I would be grateful if anyone could identify the approximate position of LCG (L) 2 when she fired at the railway gun. I hope to travel to Normandy next year and would like to visit the area that my father was in.
Thank you,
Howard Wallace-Sims
HMS Monch. My father, Lt John Norgett RNVR (Jack to everyone) was at HMS Quebec from 09/08/1942 to 29/08/1943 on landing craft training. His papers were transferred to HMS COPRA on 30/08/1943 for landing craft duty. During his period at HMS Quebec he was photographed at HMS Monch with LCV 880 in the background. Were LCAs converted to minesweeping craft at HMS Monch?

I’d really like to know.

Christopher Walton

[ There's some information here http://combinedops.com/Training%20EST%20UK.htm#HMS%20MONCH. ]

Landing Craft Flak (LCFs) at Walcheren. My late father served as a Royal Marine during WWII, joining up in 1942 at Chatham in Kent. After finishing his basic training, he volunteered for Combined Ops and was subsequently posted to LCF 29. In June 1944, he set sail from Poole in Dorset to take part in the Normandy Invasion. Their destination was Juno beach in support of the Canadian Forces. They arrived there at approximately 06.30 hours and set about the task of taking out shore defences and supplying air defence at the same time. At the end of the day, they were sent out to form what dad referred to as a 'trout line'. While there, they assisted in the shooting down of a Junkers JU 88 that was trying to bomb a hospital ship.

In October/November of 1944, while still on LCF 29, they were sent to Walcheren in Holland. For some reason my dad would talk for ever about Normandy but had very little to say about Walcheren. The last time I saw my dad alive, I sat holding his hand (he was dying of cancer). I said to him "Dad, were you at Walcheren?" He opened his eyes looked at me and said "yes I was". The look on his face told me I needed to find out more. I have read accounts of what happed to the LCFs that were sent there but have not been able to find out any hard facts. That night, my dad sadly passed away. A few weeks after his death I was contacted by a chap who served on LCF 29 (Jim Grant), but all he would say about Walcheren was "we lost some good lads there and your dad knew most of them".

My dad suffered very badly with his nerves all the time I knew him, and I remember my grandmother saying "your dad was never right when he came home from the war". I am just beginning to understand why he suffered so much. If anyone has information about the deployment of Landing Craft Flak (LCFs) during Operation Infatuate (Walcheren), or knows where I might find it, please let me know. I'll be very grateful.

Thank you.

Gary Radford.
Landing Craft Flotillas 263 & 801. I am trying to piece together my late father's ( Jack Skidmore ) service history during WW2 between Dec. 1942 and Sept 1946. Navy Command have provided me with details of his Service Record but I'm trying to put some meat on the bones that they have supplied.

After initial training he was assigned to 801 Flotilla as  Stoker Class 2 on July 1 1943 and then Stoker Class 1 on December 14 1943. He was then posted to HMS Copra - Largs from March 11 1944 and had two postings to LCI's - 300 and 169 from May 1 to May 25 and June 1  to June 3 respectively. Both these ships were part of 263 Flotilla and Navy Command confirm that from September 10 1944 to May 8 1945 he was posted to 263 Flotilla serving on various LCI  for varying periods of time. The longest periods were served on board LCI 378 from October 17 1944 to November 14 1944 and on LCI 181 from February 11 1945 to April 17 1945.

If you or anyone can provide me with more information regarding Flotillas 801 and 263 during the time of my father's postings this would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Paul Skidmore.

Paul, the Admiralty's so called Green Files may contain some information of interest. They're held at the National Archive at Kew and can be accessed by personal callers or 'paid for' researchers. These files are in Group ADM, Class 210 and Piece ?. I have seen Piece 8 which covers the D-Day landings. Photo of one file cover opposite plus a typical page of information. The NMA website is at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ [Geoff]

LCT 1315. If anyone has news, information or photos of the crew of LCT 1315, the craft itself or the flotilla in which it served, Arthur Hensher would love to hear from you.

Lt Peter Harmer and Lt Arthur Hensher commissioned LCT 1315 at Alloa in Scotland and sailed to Southampton in Feb 1944 for training. With the start of Operation Overlord, they journeyed overnight to Juno beach and the small French town of Courcelles to deliver 9 Sherman tanks of the 7th Armoured Division on D-Day +1. During one of LCT 1315's trips they carried Aero Engines to one of the beaches and dried out overnight. In the morning a LCT of their Flotilla snagged a mine with its Kedge anchor and sadly all their crew were killed in the ensuing explosion. LCT 1315 was only yards away and Arthur Hensher had the unenviable task of identifying the crew.

LCT 1315 did a total of 15 Channel crossings when she was badly damaged in a collision with Trinity House Vessel, 'Patricia.' LCT 1315 returned to Portsmouth for repairs and in the subsequent enquiry her crew was cleared of all blame since the Patricia was deemed to be the overtaking vessel with responsibility to undertake the manoeuvre safely.

The damage was repaired and LCT 1315 was given a tropical refit in Aberdeen in preparation for action in the Far East. The craft and crew returned to the south coast of England (Falmouth) before travelling through the Mediterranean to Port Said in Egypt on their way to the Japanese conflict. However, with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered and LCT 1315 was paid off and handed over to the Indian Navy at HMS Saunders on the bitter lakes. Her crew returned home.

LCT 1315 Crew members were: Captain Lieutenant Peter Harmer; 1st Lietenant Sub Lieutenant Arthur Hensher; Leading Seaman John McNulty Coxwain; Ordinary Seaman Charles Lincoln; Ordinary Seaman Simms; Leading Seaman Learmouth Wireman; Leading Motor Mechanic (??); Leading Stoker Evans; Ordinary Signalman McLennan; Ordinary Seaman Brenchley (?). The Reverend Sub Lieutenant McTavis, from Newfoundland, joined us for the voyage to the Mediterranean.

Please e-mail Arthur's brother, Alan, who will pass on any information received.

Uniform Identification. Can anyone please help me to identify my great grandfather's uniform? I'm told there may be an Edinburgh connection. Regiment and approximate date would be very helpful. Thank you. Christine Stewart.

[Christine, Your grandfather's next of kin can apply for a copy of his service record. For more information just click on the FAQ link in the page banner above and scroll down until you find the Veterans UK link you need. Geoff.]

650 LCT Flotilla. I'm looking to find out more about 650 landing craft flotilla part of Force J (Juno beach). Any help will be gratefully appreciated. Thank you. Simon Godfrey

[650 Squadron was part of Force J, F Build Up Squadron with HMS Sea Serpent as its HQ. The craft were LCM 3 (Landing Craft Mechanised Mark 3s) numbered 1100, 1164, 1197, 1212, 1213, 1214, 1215, 1216, 1234, 1235, 1236, 1240, 1241, 1242, 1277, & 1278. Geoff.]

Cherbourg 'Cockleshell' Operation. In 1944 just prior to or soon after D-Day there was a plan to carry out a 'cockleshell' like operation to sink ships in Cherbourg harbour to prevent them being used to block the port. A number of personnel including some Merchant Navy people were trained at a “country house estate”.  The operation never got past the planning and training phase. My uncle claimed that he took part in this training which included explosives, swimming and using a canoe. Can anyone verify that this operation was planned?

Many thanks

Brian Davies

Granville Raid - 9th March, 1945. I am researching the Granville Raid of 9th March 1945 when a German force from the then occupied Channel Islands raided the harbour at Granville, France to the East. During the raid Lt Frederick Roger Lightoller was killed. Any information about him and in particular his postings at HMS Osborne, IOW and HMS Odyssey, Ilfracombe will be very welcome. What were these Combined Ops establishments?

Many thanks indeed.

EF Malet de Carteret (Ned)

[They're not listed as Combined Operations establishments. HMS Odyssey was an accounting base located in the Collingwood Hotel, Ilfracombe. Later moved to Chelsea Court London SW3. (May have had a similar function as HMS Copra). There were 2 bases named HMS Osborne - Cowes and Ryde. The former was commissioned in Jan 1942 and pensioned off in June 1942 when it merged with HMS Tormentor II to form HMS Vectis and the latter was commissioned in Oct 1942 and pensioned off in Aug 1945.]

Combined Operations Conundrum. My father, Robert Edward Johnson - KX 112783, Stoker 1st class, Royal Navy, served with Combined Operations. Although I've traced a good deal of his service history, I feel it's not a complete record, perhaps for good reason.

His record shows training at HMS Quebec from 13.01.1942 12.3.1942, Dorlin House from 13.03.1942 until 08.10.1942. Then shows "Duty" from 09.10.1942 until 23.10.1942, back at Dorlin House from 24.10.1942 until 05.11.1942, Duty Inveraray 6.11.1942 – 08.11.1942, back to Dorlin 09.11.1942 until 18.3.1943 and then duty at Liverpool from 19.03.1943 until 31.03.1943. Dorlin and Quebec were, I believe, landing craft training/beach signals training establishments.

On 01.04.1943 until 07.01.1945 he was assigned to 89 Flotilla. From 08.01.1945 until 18.01.1945 he served on LCI (L) 281. From 19.01.1945 until 16.02.1945 he was hospitalised in Brindisi. From 17.02.1945 until 30.09.1945 he served on LCI (L) 281.

His medal entitlement card shows that he also served on 767 LCP (R) between 07.01.1944 and 07.03.1944. Although his records state Stoker 1st class, we know that he was involved in many operations in the Mediterranean/Italy/Yugoslavia etc. which suggest that the official record may be incomplete

Amongst the many items he left behind are his campaign medals, two of which are "Africa Star" with silver 8 plus 8th Army Clasp on Ribbon/Medal plus "Italy Star". The others are 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Defence Medal and War Medal.  Other items include a circular Combined Operations shoulder flash and a green, woollen cap/comforter (as worn by Commando servicemen).

My father never spoke much about the war and only mentioned that, apart from the 8th Army, he was involved in operations to do with Tito's partisans. On one operation they were told not to take prisoners since to do so might jeopardise their mission. On one such operation, my father suffered shrapnel wounds to his legs and lower torso.

I have read much about Combined Operations training establishments in and around Inveraray during the war, but what I cannot find out about are the actual operations he was involved in. Here, I hope someone may be able to help. I know, for example, that LCI (L) 281 was in and around Yugoslavia during operations involving 2, 9, 40RM and 43RM Commandos. I have read of heroic actions undertaken by those incredibly brave men in this theatre of operation and I wonder if anyone has copies of battle diaries/after action reports and the like that may contain information of possible interest. I am also interested in the smaller craft of 767 LCP (R) Flotilla between January and March 1944 and what was 89 flotilla?

Any information or sources of information will be very welcome and gratefully received.

 Kind regards

Ann Johnson

COPPs - Lt/Capt Robert James (Bob) Taylor

I'm trying to track my grandfather's WW2 service since his family know little of what he did. He only ever said he was in intelligence and that his missions were top secret. He was an officer in RE and has campaign medals for France/Germany and also North Africa. We only have vague details that he was part of a 'recon' team that collected soil samples from the D-Day beaches prior to Operation Overlord - and that's it!

I read in the Times that Major General Logan Scott-Bowden had sadly passed away. His mission history lead me to read about COPPs, which I now believe my grandfather served in. The photo opposite shows him second from the left in the back row. Does anyone recognise the photo, group or background? It may have nothing to do with COPPs - we simply don't know.

My grandfather was a very outgoing Irish chap. It would help our family greatly if we knew more about what he did that haunted him so much to his dying day. 

Many thanks,

Simon Moisy 

(LCpl 3 Sqn HAC)

US 746th Tank Battalion, Utah - Henry B. Maguffee. I am an exhibit builder for a local museum, the Jacksonville Museum of Military History in Jacksonville, Arkansas. I am expanding our D-Day exhibit for the 70th anniversary and wish to honor Arkansans who gave their lives or at least participated in the invasion. One such was T/5 Henry B. Maguffee, Company C, 746th Tank Battalion who is listed as lost at sea, 6 June 1944, off Utah Beach.

The U.S. LCT site states he was on board a British LCT (4). I have some numbers of LCTs the 746th were aboard. 801, 824, and the only one I can find that lost tanks was 593. Can anyone help me to honor this man by providing additional information or confirming which landing craft he was aboard.

Thank you in anticipation,

Robert  Houston

LCM 650 Flotilla. My father, who is 88yrs old, was on LCM 650 Flotilla  to Juno Beach. When he was returning to UK on the 21st of July on the LCM, they were rescued by the Minesweeper HMS Hornbeam after almost sinking. Looking for anyone who was there. David Lakey.

Landing Craft in Albanian Waters. Does anyone recognise the service personnel in this photo?  [Click to enlarge]. I came across it after my father, Robert Edward Johnson died and believe it may show crew members from either LCI(L) 281 or 278 or even LCP(R)767. In common with all landing craft crews he was seconded to the Combined Operations Command from the Royal Navy and was designated "stoker" on service records. He was involved in the invasion of Italy along with the 8th Army and saw service in the Adriatic /Aegean /Albanian and Yugoslavian theatres of operation. In this troubled and politically sensitive geographical area, Army Commandos, Royal Marine Commandos, Special Boat Service, Highland Regiment and elements of Tito's Yugoslav partisans were active. The photo may have been taken shortly after an action against the enemy having acquired a 'battle-scarred', German Kriegsmarine flag in the process! My father has written "Albania 1944" on the reverse of the photo.

Any information will be gratefully received.

Kind regards

Ann Johnson

45 Royal Marine Commando/George Arthur Thomas Neave. My father served in 45 RM Commando and in, or alongside, 3 Commando. In North Africa he was affectionately known as "Nigga Neave" (acceptable terminology then) because of the dark tan he acquired from the desert sun. He also served in Normandy driving DUKWs - 6 wheeled amphibious craft for transporting troops and supplies over land and water. They were known as "duck boats".

If anyone knows of my father, has photos or can suggest where I might find more information, please let me know on the link opposite.

Thank you.

George Neave.

COPP 8 / PO Gascoigne. I'm seeking information on P.O Gascoigne who served in Copp 8 and also a couple of information sources cited in Ian Trenowden’s book “Stealthily by Night”. These are Alec Colson’s transcript of the COPP 8 logbook and his unpublished manuscript about Operation David (“Double Handle”). In particular I'm interested to know if these documents are still available to public scrutiny.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated

Thank you in anticipation.

Paul Miller

Small Scale Raiding Force. I have been commissioned to write the full history of Gus March-Phillipps’ Small Scale Raiding force from its origins as Maid Honor force in 1940, though Operation Postmaster to its evolution into 2 SAS in early 1943.

I am most anxious to trace the next of kin of Major Gus March-Phillipps DSO, MBE and Major Geoffrey Appleyard DS0, MC and bar, MA and to make contact with any surviving members of that original raiding force, cover-name No 62 Commando.

Many thanks

Dr Tom Keene

Foot note. Tom's book on SOE and Operation Frankton – the Cockleshell Heroes – entitled Cloak of Enemies is being published in August 2012 by History Press with a foreword by Lord Paddy Ashdown.

Commander Harry Goulding RNR (SSRF & COPP).  My Grandfather was Commander Harry Goulding RNR assigned to COPPs (Combined Operations Assault Pilotage Parties). He received a DSO with Bar and I believe he may have been awarded a second bar. He was also a very active member of SSRF (Small Scale Raiding Force) and may have been instrumental in setting up this team and being involved in their operations. We have various documents some marked 'Secret' and 'Most Secret' and others such as manuals, a newspaper cutting and a 1946 letter to my father from Laycock. He was a very close friend of Blondi Hassler.


A COPP memorial is being planned for Hayling Island Seafront which has now passed planning and I am keen to find out more about my grandfather's war service in these special forces before it is unveiled. If any visitors to your website have information or can recommend sources of information I'd be delighted to hear from them.


Many thanks in advance.


Charlie Goulding

Legasee - ‘Become a part of History’ The Legasee War Veterans Project is looking for volunteers who want to tell their stories. As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee is looking for war veterans who would like to have their stories filmed for posterity.

This footage will be used to launch a unique online archive of interviews for use by schools, colleges and members of the public. To kick-start the project, we’re looking for war veterans of any age who wish to recall their experiences in front of the camera for the benefit of future generations.  

It doesn’t matter what campaign or country they served in, or what role they played.  The Legasee war veterans project is completely free of charge, with any travel expenses paid – all we need is their knowledge, enthusiasm and a small amount of their time to take part in the filming. 

If you know anyone that’s interested, please ask them to email me giving their name, age, daytime phone number and brief details of their wartime service so we can contact them to discuss this further. We hope to hear from you, and please feel free to forward this email to any war veterans that you think might be interested.

Kind regards

Dave Player [Telephone: 01992 719363; Mobile: 07881 814 707].

105 Wing RAF. During the war my father, W J Gardner served with 105 Wing from April 1943 until August 1944 when he was posted to HQ Ship Personnel Holding Unit. His rank at that time was Flight Lieutenant later promoted to Squadron Leader. He may have been involved in the use or development of radar but the information I've gleaned so far is ambiguous. I'd be grateful to receive any information, or sources of information, about the kind of work he may have been involved in. Many thanks in anticipation. Anita Cook. 
Major Jack Crane – COPP 1. I would like to hear from anyone who served in Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP), or from their relatives. My grandfather was Major Jack Crane, Royal Engineers (277770), who was part of the COPP 1 re-commission that served in the Far East (Sri Lanka, Burma, India) from November 1944 to September 1945.

I would especially like to hear from anyone related to the other members of that COPP 1: Lt-Cdr Peter Wild RNVR, Sub-Lt Robin Harbud RNVR, Sub-Lt Michael Pearson RNVR, Sub-Lt David White, Sergeant E Cook, Petty Officer EA Fish, Corporal Richey SBS, Sapper Hawkin RE, Leading Seaman Stewart, Petty Officer A Briggs (P/JX 144952), Leading Stores Assistant FI Wilkins (P/MX 59960), Lance Corporal RNW Kedge RE (1949872), Able Seaman A Prior (P/JX 19124).

My grandfather also did a few operations in Burma working within the COPP 4 re-commission led by Lieutenant DH Mackay.

I would also be interested to hear from anyone who would have been completing their commando training at around the same time as my grandfather (around June 1944 to October 1944).

With many thanks in advance.

Rob Crane (2010)

Hayling Island. I'm chair of a heritage group on Hayling Island called Discover Hayling charged with raising awareness of our island's history. We have been going for 3 years and, as I delve deeper into our past, I'm both fascinated and saddened that locally so little is known of the COPPs presence here at Hayling Island Sailing Club (HISC). We aim to remedy that by giving the COPP story on Hayling the prominence it merits. I'm anxious to speak to any surviving members, or their families, for information of interest and to create some sort of memorial to the COPPists on the Hayling seafront. We have had full cooperation from HISC, but the logistics of their operation precludes a public memorial on the original site. I would appreciate your views and help in making contacts. I have already been fortunate to meet and talk to Logan Scott-Wilmott. Yours, Robin Walton. [Anyone with information likely to be of interest to Discover Hayling should contact Robin on the e-mail link opposite].

10 Copp - Book Publication. My father George Talbot DSC was in COPP 10 After the war he wrote a book about his experiences. A copy of the book which is both factual and amusing about operations such as Anzio, Yugoslavia, Italy and the Greek Islands has been held in the Imperial War Museum. As his daughter l am about to have the book published and would be very interested to hear from any of the COPP 10 members or their families. Thank you in anticipation. Jill de Angelis.

COHQ Nov 1942 Photo Mystery. A photo of 34 women annotated on the reverse "Combined Operations HQ 1942" was recently found in a house under demolition in Holland. Also on the reverse are the names and signatures of most if not all of them. Who are these people? Why were they photographed together? What was the occasion? Where was it taken? How did the photo find its way to Holland? If you can help solve this mystery please contact us on the e-mail link. The photo was provided courtesy of Bert Guezen who lives in Zwolle, Holland.

Parry Copp. My father served in the Royal Navy between 1930 – 37 and 1940 – 45. After serving on King George V and other ships, he was transferred to Parry COPP on 21/01/44 until end of 1945. Could you tell me what Parry was and what number COPP it was? I obtained this information from Royal Navy Command records office. My father’s name was Able Seaman [signaller] William Charles Marsling NO: JX133969. Thanking you for your time and effort in advance. I think the web site is pretty brilliant! Steve Marsling [son] (10/09)

COPP 6 - V F Peter Manning, Commando/COPPist - Sicily 1943. My Uncle, Victor Frederick Peter Manning, known as Peter Manning was a Commando during WW2 and also a COPPist.  He was part of COPP 6 and trained on Hayling Island.  He took part in Operation Husky in the invasion of Sicily in 1943. Unfortunately he never returned. It is believed that Sub Lieutenant A G Sayce and L/Seaman V F P Manning were struck by a glider that fell short, landing in the sea instead of the mainland. Neither has a known grave.

Peter's fellow COPPists in COPP 6 were Donald Amer, Watson, McKenzie, Hunter, Peter Wild, Plummer, Sayce, Palmer, Shorty Bowden, Phillips,
Gray. I would love to hear from anyone who might have known my uncle or has any information re the COPPists. Many thanks in anticipation. Joanne Johnston (9/08)

Operation Ironclad - Madagascar 1942. I would like to ask a question about Operation Ironclad in Madagascar 1942. I am French and my father fought against the British troops in Diego Suarez. He was 22 and he will be 88 on 2nd August 2008. In 1941 he left France for Diego Suarez because of the Germans. He had no idea that Madagascar was defended by a Vichyst governor. What could he do as a humble sailor ? These were ambiguous times.  He was taken prisoner by South African soldiers and spent time as a prisoner in England before joining the Free French Navy in December 1942.

He would like to know if there are any books about the operation or perhaps some veterans of the action who would like to get in touch with him. If you can help please contact François on the e-mail link below.

Best regards

François Lorcet (7/08)

Operation Archery - Vaagso. My brother, Pte James William Hicks, Aged 31, No 3 Commando, was killed on Operation Archery - the raid on Norway's Vaagso Island on the 27th December, 1941. During my search on the events of that day, I have not come across a list of those who were killed. There is mention of some who performed 'heroic deeds' and also of meetings of survivors, but in an account of the raid, I have yet to see any mention of the names of those who gave their lives.  I would also like to know what happened to the bodies and if there's a memorial on the Island with a list of those who were killed. He was seconded from the Cheshire Regt.  His name is on the Brookwood Memorial and also in a memorial book in Chester Cathedral. Many thanks in anticipation.  Ivy Alexander. (2/08)
Royal Marine Frank CameronService  Number CH/X 113013 Chatham division. I would very much like to hear from anyone who knew my father, served on LC(F) 32 with him, has photographs, personal accounts, or anything that relates to the service of LC (F) 32 or its crew.

Information based upon my father's recollections may be helpful; he was at  Pantelleria, Valetta, Malta:,  D-Day and Walcheren. Later on he was on his way to Burma via the Mediterranean when his ship was re-called to Gibraltar (Cormorant)  following the surrender of Japan. 

One small mystery is that he had three squares of "silk" (probably Rayon) with a heavily embroidered Globe in the lower corner. These 'kerchiefs were black, powder blue, and white. Of his chums the following names are prominent; RM James Proudfoot DSM who came from Edinburgh and maybe emigrated to Australia after the war,  RM James McGuigan who eventually was a teacher in Coatbridge, Scotland and another called Monty. 

Information I have received recently places my father along with his best mate "Jimmy Proudfoot" as the after twin-oerlikon gunners  on  LC(F) 32, whose crew saw service on D-Day and at Walcheren. It was at Walcheren that Proudfoot won his DSM when LC(F) 32 was part of the  small ships "Support Squadron Eastern Flank"  that were considered expendable in Operation Infatuate. The last known surviving member of LCF 32 was Roy Leaney, who details his shipboard experience at Walcheren amongst other experiences at http://www.rmaq.com.au/stories/story08.html . Also, a very personal account of happenings at Walcheren, and its aftermath, along with memorabilia, can be found at http://www.rmaq.com.au/

Thank you in anticipation,

Alan Cameron  

Bruneval Raid - Paratrooper William Balloch. My Grandfather, William Balloch, was one of the paratroopers who took part in the Bruneval raid and I would like to know more about the men he served with and to see any photographs prior to and post the raid itself. As part of this I will be contacting the Public Archive at Kew and the Imperial War Museum in London but any information, especially from veterans or their families, would be very much appreciated. Chris Manuel (8/07)
William Edwin Merry, LCM 131 & 668 Flotillas. We are looking for information about my father's war service record. He was Mr William Edwin Merry from Blaby, Leicester, England. Information is sought about LCM Flotillas 131 and 668, particularly the names of the ships the flotillas were attached to. We believe he was in Messina, Sicily and saw action in the Italy and the D Day landings. Lynda Randall (8/07)

Czechoslovak Commandos. I'm working on a website about Czechoslovak Commandos and on the establishment of a Czechoslovak Commando Re-enactment Group. I'd like to hear from anyone with information of possible interest about the Czechoslovak contingent of No 10 (IA) Commando or any other Czechoslovak Commando groups. Sources of information in books and archives and information about the badge (above) would also be most welcome. Martin Sedivy.

Operation Zipper. I'm 81 years of age and served with REME 24th ABW part of SEAC and was seconded to Combined Operations for the invasion of Malaya, code named operation ZIPPER August 1945.  I would like to know more about this operation and possible contact of any comrades that may be still alive who served in this theatre. I was aboard the armed merchant ship HMS Tamele. I'd also like to know about this vessel and its war time history. Many thanks. Bert Townsend. (4/06)

(5/05) Operation Compass North Africa. Can anyone help me with information about a raid/landing in North Africa? I wonder if there was a raid/landing (not the Bardia raid) near Sidi Baranni in the days between 8-13 December 1940... perhaps only a few companies were involved. Thanks for any help and greetings from Blazej Slowinski. (5/05)

No 4 Commando - Dieppe, I am a serving Army Officer and I'm in the process of organising a battlefield tour for the Officers and SNCOs of my Regiment to Dieppe and in particular to study the role played by 4 Commando. I would like to get in touch with any No 4 Commando veterans of Dieppe who might be willing to accompany us on the tour as our guests. Many thanks. David McNeil.

No 2 Commando, D Company. I would like to find out about No.2 Commando, D company in WW2 as my father served in it. Any information, including recommended reading material, will be gratefully received. (12/04)
59th GHQ Troops Royal Engineers. My Granddad served in 510 Field Company RE which later formed part of 59th GHQ Troops RE. It is my understanding that Royal Engineers took part in liberation of Walcheren in Nov 1944. My Granddad was a sapper/mine detector etc Does anyone know if the Royal Engineers actually landed on Walcheren with the Commandos, and if so, what role did they in fact play in the operation? Regards, Carl Davies (12/04)
No 4 Commando Roll of Honour - Mr Sid Smallman. My granddad died in the D-day landings on June 6th 1944. His name was Sid Smallman and he died on Sword beach. My father has been to see his father's grave on many occasions during the last 30 years. When he visited this year during the 60th anniversary celebrations, he met a young historian who wondered why Sid Smallman's name is not on the No 4 Commando Roll of Honour which I believe is held at the museum at Ouistreham whilst his grave stone at Hermanville  has No.4 Commando written on it together with the other details. Can anyone help please? DARYL SMALLMAN (On behalf of his father Brian Smallman). (11/04)

No 6 Commando. I have just read G W McGurdy's article on his time as a US Ranger attached to No.6 Commando. This is another area of No. 6 that I knew very little about - despite the fact that my Grandfather, Mr Harry Winrow, served in 6 Troop of No. 6 during the war - seeing service from the Lofoten Islands raid through to Palestine.

He always speaks of a fallen comrade, "Jock", who served with him and was billeted with him throughout his time in No. 6 until being killed on Sword Beach on 6th June 1944. I have tried hard to trace any information about No.6 and this exploit adds to my collection of short accounts that I have been building up. I wonder if any visitor to your website can add to the information I have. Many thanks in anticipation. Peter Bowe. (11/04)

No 2 Commando - Photos. I am looking for photos of members of No. 2 Commando. Any information, contact or photos will be greatly appreciated. Robert Bishop MC. (10/04)
Paras - June 5th 1944. On a visit to Ranville Cemetery I saw graves of Paras where the date they died was given as 5 June, 1944. I'd like to if indeed Paras were killed on the 5th, and if so I'd like to know what happened. (7/04)
Algiers Nov 1942. My uncle was killed in Algeria Nov. 6 1942. We were told he was a US Ranger but I found out he was in No 6 Commando. The historian for the 34th Division informed me that some 300 men were made into two Commando companies by request of the British commandos. In the mid-1940's the circumstances of my uncle's death, as described by a US Ranger, did not fit the official record the historian had on him (my uncle). All very confusing and all the more so since it's not generally known that  US Rangers served under British control. Is there any good source for this information on this? (6/04)
4th Commando (RM) Signal Troop. I know my late Father was at the D-Day landings and also at Walcheren. I know he carried the radio at Walcheren but I have very little info, as to where he trained etc. He enlisted into the Army but was discharged by the Navy. Can anyone help? His name was Alan Green : His service No was PLY/X111456. He was from Manchester.  He never spoke about WW2.
Petworth, West Sussex. I am researching the units around Petworth, West Sussex during WW2 and would be most grateful to hear from anybody who was based in the area or anyone who has information on the units based here. (6/04)
42 Commando 1941-46. I think my father served with them during the second world war from 1941-46. Would very much like to have information about them. Thank you, Carol Field. (6/04)
4th Commando Brigade (RM) Signal Troop. I am researching into my father's military exploits as a young man of 18. I have very little information as he never spoke about it although he was very traumatised. My information to date is very vague. He made an annual pilgrimage to Walcheren for many years until ill health took its toll. Please can anyone give me information or tell me where to look. Are there any veterans or relatives of veterans who can contact me. (5/04)
Cockle Shell heroes in Bordeaux. I understand there are a few memorials around the Bordeaux area dedicated to the Cockleshell Heroes. I would like to visit these and would appreciate any information on locations. Many thanks. Dianne Harris. (5/04)
1126th M.P. CO. AVN. Can anyone tell me anything about the Army/Air-force Military Police in the Philippines in 1945? What did they do and who were they assigned to? My father, Herman E Gainer, (may have been known as Hank) who served with them, would be interested to hear from anyone who knew him. (5/04)

News & Information


Memorial Maintenance

We have a small band of volunteers who take turns to visit the memorial each month, particularly during the growing season, to undertake routine maintenance such as weeding keeping the stones and slabs clear of bird dropping, lichen etc. and reporting on any issues. If you live near the National Memorial Arboretum and would like to find out more, please contact us.

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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.

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.

Restoration of Geoffrey Appleyard's  Memorial 

Click on the image if you'd like to contribute to the improvement of the memorial to Geoffrey Appleyard, DSO, MC and Bar, through the purchase of a limited edition print of a book about him. Geoffrey achieved so much in service with No 7 Commando, No 62 Commando, the Small Scale Raiding Force and the Second SAS Regiment. He was posted Missing in Action in July 1943, aged 26.


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. www.legasee.org.uk

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