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Memorial donations of around 27,500 funded construction, dedication and routine ground maintenance in perpetuity.

  Donate here to a small contingency fund to repair and maintain the memorial structures as and when required.

The Combined Operations Project; 2000 to date.

 A Project in Remembrance of all who Served

By Geoff Slee


This website, Facebook page and memorial are dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of men and women, from many Allied Nations, who served in, or alongside, the Combined Operations Command in WW2.

Geoff Slee, Website and Facebook publisher and host, at the memorial dedication ceremony in July 2013The Command's officers and rank and file service personnel were drawn from the mainstream services but they proudly operated as a unified force entirely devoted to offensive operations against the enemy. Their motto was "United We Conquer".

[Photo; Geoff Slee, Website and Facebook publisher and host, at the memorial dedication ceremony in July 2013.]


Public donations from around the world, totalling 30,000 (2021), have fully funded the project through three distinct income and expenditure streams - one for the website and two for the memorial.

The website is independent, "not for profit" and largely funded from membership fees. It is free to use, carries no adverts, pop-ups or cookies and has no connection with any military organisation, government department or charitable trust. Surplus website funds support forces' charities and the Memorial Funds. All income and expenditure transactions in support of the website since November 2000, are on our accounts page.

Combined Ops Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.The first memorial stream financed the original Memorial Fund set up in 2006 to raise funds for the construction of a permanent memorial. Although the dedication ceremony was held in July 2013, it was not until January 2017 that the final bills were paid when a single donation of 2,000 topped off the fund at a magnificent 21,128! That fund was then closed and its small surplus became the initial deposit for the Memorial Maintenance and Development Fund. My signature and one other are required to authorise expenditure.


The Combined Operations Command is less well known for its wartime achievements than many other Commands since the majority of its personnel, recruited from the Army, Navy and Air Force, returned to their original units when the war ended. 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."  The enormity and diversity of the Combined Operations contribution to the war effort was second to none and the 200 Royal Marines who form part of the UK's latest aircraft carrier crews is testimony to it's relevance today - land sea and air forces working together as a unified force.

John Glen, left middle row with his team of radar technicians. His story inspired the creation of the Combined Ops website. 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.

[Photo; John Glen, left middle row with his team.]

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 the Allied Armies advanced through Normandy, 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.

Google map showing location of the Combined Ops Memorial.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 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 it 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 donations, written contributions for the website, fund raising activities, practical help and advice from many hundreds of veterans, their families and friends, sustained the project that would otherwise have faltered 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.

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) from around the world and yet the final chapters of the Command's remarkable story, are as elusive as ever!

Michelle and Daniel Slee, grear grandchildren of John Glen laying a wreath at the memorial dedication ceremony.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 on behalf of all who contributed to the memorial fund.

 Looking to the Future 

The website and memorial aim 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 in WW2.
02). Improve public recognition of the Combined Operations Command's substantial contribution to the Allied victory in World War II.
03). Set up appropriate measures to ensure the long term development and maintenance of the memorial and website in perpetuity.
04). Provide free access to the website in perpetuity.
05). Publish 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 for appeals for information or advice and the means for anyone 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 them including 'out of print' books.
09). Provide memberships to those who wish to support the website's purposes and/or to request advice or information.

Geoff Slee, Edinburgh, Scotland. [18/11/21]

News & Information

Photo of single poppy.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.

Photo of single poppy.

Featured Links; Combined Ops Heritage; 40 D Day Stories & Combined Operations Jigsaw Challenge


Photo of single poppy.Remember a Veteran

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 or They Also Served pages on this website, which include the Combined Operations prayer.

Facebook button.


Visit our Facebook page about the Combined Operations Command in appreciation of our WW2 veterans. You are welcome to add information, photos and comment or reply to messages posted by others.

Photo of single poppy.Events and Places to Visit

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. 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.

Photo of single poppy.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).

Photo of single poppy.Combined Operations Handbook (Far East)

The 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.

Photo of single poppy.New to Combined Ops?

Visit Combined Operations Explained for an easy introduction to this complex subject.

Copyright 2000 to 2022 inclusive [www.combinedops.com.] All rights reserved.