~ COMBINED OPERATIONS ~

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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 Hundreds of thousands of visits each year to 200  web pages & 3000 photos.  News & information at the bottom of this and every web page.

You can show your appreciation for those who served the Allied cause in WW2, by 'liking' the Combined Ops Facebook page.

~  THE WEBSITE & MEMORIAL  ~

This website is a self funding "not for profit" website and has no connection with any military or government department. Income from memberships covers the running costs of the website, with surplus funds used in support of forces' charities and the Combined Operations Memorial Fund. Details are on the website's accounts page.

Donations, specifically for the Combined Operations Memorial Fund, go into the fund's bank account which requires my signature and one other before the funds can be used.

Looking to the Past

The Combined Operations Command was an unintended victim of its unique structure and oganisation. Its personnel came from the three services and when the war ended, the vast majority returned to their original units! At the memorial dedication ceremony on the 4th of July 2013, General Barrons alluded to this when he said "After the end of the war, the skills and lessons faded quickly with little imperative and nobody to champion them. For some, the increasing importance of air power made these capabilities seem less relevant, and they were quite wrong." This sentiment is slowly finding favour in the public consciousness, but there's still much to do before the work of the Combined Operations Command, and everyone who served in, or alongside it, receive the recognition they deserve. The enormity and diversity of its contribution to the war effort, is second to none. [Photo; Geoff Slee at the dedication ceremony in July 2013].

In the mid 1990s, I discovered that my father in law, John Glen, had worked on wartime radar installations in the RAF and in the Combined Operations Command. After decades of silence, his fascinating wartime story unfolded in the second half of the 1990s and along the way, it captured my interest.

After his work on newly established coastal radar stations in the early 1940s, John was attached to the Combined Operations Command and reported to John Brown's shipyard on the Clyde. There he joined a recently arrived US vessel undergoing conversion from a Landing Ship Tank (USS LST 217) to a Fighter Direction Tender (FDT 217), together with FDT 216 and FDT 13.

John served on FDT 217 in charge of a small team of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) volunteer radar technicians. They maintained and operated radar equipment on board 217, most memorably off the Normandy beaches for 3 critical weeks in June 1944. When land based mobile radar units took over the role as they moved forward through Normandy and beyond with the advancing allied forces, the job of the FDTs was done. John was mentioned in dispatches, although he was reluctant to take personal credit for the excellent performance of his team. [Photo; John Glen, left middle row with his team].

I read Bernard Fergusson's excellent book "The Watery Maze", only to the realise that the Combined Operations Command was vastly greater in size, scope and influence, than I had first thought. Since there was no information on the Internet, and with the naive confidence of a novice, I set about writing a few web pages.

Work on the website started in November 2000 with the purchase of the www.combinedops.com domain name for 40.65 per annum. The following March, web hosting services were purchased for 57.58 per annum - incredibly expensive by today's standards. For the first 4 or 5 years, the website ran a deficit but, as the website became firmly established and with improving finances, the Combined Operations Command memorial fund was set up.

It was an act of blind faith, if not folly. There was little money, no design, no site, no bank account and no local support in the form of a committee. Financial and website contributions, advice, fund raising activities, practical help and the appreciation of thousands of veterans, their families and friends, sustained the project that would otherwise have ground to a halt in its infancy. It was a privilege for me to be the means by which their wonderful support and encouragement metamorphosed into a memorial, educational website and Facebook page. They made it happen.

By a process I've never fully understood and over which I exercised little control, the website grew like 'Topsy.' It now receives hundreds of thousands of visits each year (6,000,000 hits) and yet the final chapters of the Command's remarkable story, are as elusive as ever!

John Glen, did not live to see the little acorn he planted, grow and develop. He died in November 2000 at the age of 81. He would have been so proud to see two of his great grandchildren lay a wreath at the dedication ceremony of the Combined Operations Memorial in July 2013, on behalf of all who contributed to the memorial fund.

Looking to the Future.

The website and memorial objectives are to;

01). Preserve the memory of the achievements and sacrifices of the Combined Operations Command and the thousands of all nationalities who served in or alongside the Command on operations.
02). Improve public awareness of the Combined Operations Command and its substantial contribution to World War II.
03). Set up a charitable trust to look after the long term development and maintenance of the memorial and website.
04). Improve students access to information about the Command.
05). P
ublish Combined Ops related articles, stories, anecdotes, reminiscences, diary entries, poems and photographs from visitors to the site or from our own resources.
06). Provide notice boards on the website to receive appeals for information or advice and the means for visitors to respond directly.
07). Provide links to external websites that provide complementary historical information, WW2 records and veterans' welfare.
08). Provide an extensive list of Combined Ops related books and the means of sourcing 'out of print' books.
09). Offer memberships to those who wish to support the website's purposes or wish to request advice or information.
10). R
aise sufficient funds for a charitable trust to further develop and maintain the memorial and the website in perpetuity.

Geoff Slee, Edinburgh, Scotland. [10/03/17]

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.

Remember a Veteran

You can pay a personal tribute to veterans who served in, or alongside, the Combined Operations Command in WW2 by adding their details and optional photo to our Roll of Honour and They Also Served pages on this website.

Read the Combined Operations prayer.

Events and Places to Visit

To organisers: Reach the people who will be interested to know about your Combined Operations or war related event by adding it to our  webpage free of charge.

To everyone else: Visit our webpage for information on events and places to visit. If you know of an event or place of interest, that is not listed, please let us know.

To notify an event or place of interest, click here.

To visit the webpage click here.

Facebook

Why not join the thousands who visit our Facebook page (click on icon above) about the Combined Operations Command 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 Combined Ops events are highlighted on their anniversary dates with links to additional information.

You are welcome to add information, photos and comment or reply to messages posted by others.

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.

 

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.

New to Combined Ops?

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

 

About Us?

Background to the website and memorial project, and a look to the future; plus other small print stuff and website accounts etc. Click here for information.

 

Legasee Film Archive

As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee has recorded interviews with veterans from any conflicts. These  films are now available on line. www.legasee.org.uk

 

Copyright 2000 to 2018 inclusive [www.combinedops.com]. All rights reserved.