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 300,000 annual visits & 7 million hits to 176  web pages & 3000 photos.  News and Information at the bottom of this and every web page.

Please 'like' the Combined Operations Command Memorial on Facebook in remembrance of all who served their country.


The Past and the Future

The website is "not for profit" and has no connection with any military or government organisation. Income from memberships pays the running costs of the website with surplus funds used in support of forces' charities and the Combined Operations Memorial Fund. Details 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 Looking to the Future

Looking to the Past

The Combined Operations Command is one of the best kept secrets of WW2 considering the enormity of its contribution to the war effort. 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 much to do before the Command receives the recognition it deserves. [Photo; Geoff Slee].

In the early/mid 1990s I was that poorly informed member of the public and would have remained so had it not been for a university student researching early radar. In 1991 he ascertained that my father in law, John Glen had worked on coastal radar stations in Scotland in the early 1940s as an RAF radar technician. Contact was made and information exchanged and when the student's work was done, John and I regularly chatted about his wartime involvement in radar, including a few years in the Combined Operations Command. The student was the catalyst that opened a Pandoras box of wartime reminiscences after decades of silence.

After his work on the coastal radar stations, John was attached to the Combined Operations Command and ordered to report to John Browns shipyard on the Clyde where a newly arrived US landing craft was undergoing conversion from a Landing Ship Tank (USS LST 217) to a Fighter Direction Tender (FDT 217) together with FDT 216 and FDT 13.

Around 4.30 on D-Day morning FDTs 216 and 217 took up position a few miles off the landing beaches to provide radar cover that extended into enemy occupied territory which Home Radar stations along the south coast of England could not reach. FDT 213 was held some miles to the rear in support and as a replacement. Around 3 weeks later, mobile land based radar units became fully established on the soil of France and took over the role from the remaining FDTs, 216 having been sunk.

On FDT 217 John was in charge of a small team of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) volunteer servicemen and one or two British servicemen employed on the maintenance and operation of radar equipment. He was mentioned in despatches although was reluctant to take credit for the excellent performance of his team. [Photo; John Glen, left middle row].

At some point I read Bernard Fergusson's excellent book "The Watery Maze" only to realise that the Combined Operations Command was vastly greater in size, scope and influence than I had realised from John's accounts. Since there was nothing about the Command 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 domain name for 40.65 per annum. The following March web hosting services were purchased for 57.58 per annum. For the first 4 or 5 years the website ran a deficit but with the website firmly established and improving finances, the memorial fund was set up to construct a memorial and thereby gain the public recognition the Command so richly deserved.

Many thought it was an act of blind faith, if not folly. There was little money, no memorial design, no site, no memorial fund bank account and no local support in the form of a committee. But for contributions, advice, support, fund raising, practical help, encouragement and appreciation from hundreds of veterans, their families and friends over the intervening years, the project would have ground to a halt many years ago.

By a process which I've never fully understood and over which I exercised little control, the website grew like 'Topsy.' It now regularly attracts around 250,000 visits per year (7,000,000 hits) and yet the final chapters are as elusive as ever!

John Glen, sadly, 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 on behalf of the memorial fund.

Looking to the Future.

The website and memorial objectives are updated below to reflect the prevailing circumstances in 2014.

01). Preserve the memory of the achievements and sacrifices of the Combined Operations Command and the thousands of all nationalities who served in or with 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 on official websites supporting the National Curriculum.
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 the charitable trust to further develop and maintain the memorial and the website in perpetuity.

Geoff Slee, Edinburgh, Scotland.

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.

Forthcoming Events

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

To everyone else; Visit our forthcoming events page for things to see and places to visit. If you know of an event of possible interest, that is not listed, please let us know.

To notify an event click here.

To visit the webpage click here.


Why not join the thousands who visit our Facebook page 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.

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.

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.


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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