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Royal Marines in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Royal Marines





If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.



Those known to have served with

Royal Marines

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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There are 1 pages in our library tagged Royal Marines  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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Albert Frederick Benton Turret Gunner HMS Mauritius/HMS London

I learned recently that my wife's uncle - Albert Frederick Benton - served in the Royal Marines (turret gunner) on HMS Mauritius and on HMS London. I would love to know more, as would his son who never managed to talk to Bert about his war service.

Mark Bale



Leslie Frederick Turner

My Dad, Leslie Frederick Turner of the Royal Marines, was captured in Crete and imprisoned in Stalag 4C.

Linda Cook



Charles William Denney HMS Berwick

Charles William Denney (now deceased) is my father. As far as I am aware some of his time in WW2 was spent on HMS Berwick, serving in the Royal Marines. I am interested to trace all of the ships on which he served and their activity, campaigns etc. during WW2. I don't know any detail, but I believe some time was spent on Baltic convoys

Richard Denney



Bobbie Fry Y Turret HMS Mauritius

My dad, Bobbie Fry, was on Mauritius from just before D-Day until the crew were paid off. He was a Royal Marine and served in Y Turret.

Colin Fry



Thomas Raymond Parry

My father served in the Royal Marines during the Second World War. He was Thomas Raymond Parry. He travelled on the SS Anselm and told me the story of the lowering of Padre Pugh into the hold. He was also aboard 'The Hood'.

Sarah White



Sgt. Charles Horace Shoesmith

My father, Charles Shoesmith, Sergeant in the Royal Marines, was captured on Crete in 1941 and sent to Stalag VIIIB. His POW number is 95621. He used to tell me tales of his time in VIIIB but sadly, like many others, I did not record this information. I do remember him telling me he refused to work and was beaten, plus he had to stand outside in the snow wearing wooden clogs for swearing at a German officer. I do have some photos taken in the camp, one features a small group outside a hut with a shield and sign which reads 'School Staff July 10th 1943. Dad died in 1985. I would love to hear from anyone who knew him.

Nesta Shephard



Marine John Humphreys 28th Bn

My Step Grandad, Jack Humphreys served with the Royal Marines in WW2. He spent time in Italy preparing for the landing but contracted malaria and never took part. He moved back to UK and formed up with 41 Bn RM. He took part in the D Day landings crewing an LCA (Landing Ship Assault) as part of 338 Flotilla (I think) He was heavily committed with the movement of men and stores onto Mulberry Harbour at Aaromanchs.

He is in poor health with a fading memory. He has never returned to France and tried this year for the 65th but was told he needed a carer. I have arranged a trip down memory lane for him and will accompany him throughout a tour of the Normandy Landing sites. His memory comes and goes and I'm sure that once he get's back on French soil a few emotions will rise and his memories will flood back. I am a serving officer in the Royal Engineers and will put together a tour package. I don't want to be caught out as he was there so I need to get my facts together. Is there anyone out there that remembers a Jack or John Humphreys from the Middlesbrough area and can offer some information?

Major Dins Rudsdale



Cpl. Peter George Mason

My Granddad, Peter Mason served during the Second World War & Korean war in the Royal Marines on the HMS Penelope, HMS Belfast & I believe he served on the HMS London.

Simon McGuinness



Kenneth George Uttley

My father Ken Uttley was aboard HMS Manchester when she was sunk by the Italians, and was interred by the Vichy French. I do not know his rank at the time, but he survived the war and had attained the rank of QMS on his retirement from the Marines.

Mark Uttley



Sgt. Charles William Roberts DCM.

I am trying to trace anyone who knew my partner's Granded, Charles Roberts. He was in the Royal Marines first stationed at Capel Le Ferne in Folkstone and then North Africa. He was then sent to Crete were he was wounded and received the DCM for gallantry in action against the enemy, taken prisoner and to Poland to Lamsdorf POW camp in 1944 he had to endure a 1,000 mile march to another camp.

After the war he received his DCM from the King and then joining the Police Force and settling down with his wife Shelagh in Folkstone and then West Malling in Kent. We do have a few pictures and post cards from his pow camp. Anyone who remembers him or have any information regarding the above please drop us a message.

Matt Cheeseman



Daniel Gillespie HMS Manchester

my father was on HMS Manchester at the time of its sinking in October 1942 and was interned at Laghouat POW camp in the Sahara Desert. He served in the Royal Marines.

Alan Gillespie



John Cecil Foster HMS Penelope

My dad served on the HMS Penelope. I know he served on her during the bombing of the Grand Harbour and then spent some time in New york when she was being repaired. He served with the Marines. However I am not sure if he was on the boat during the sinking and would love any information. I do have a photo of the HMS Maori being bombed in the Grand Harbour taken from the Penelope.

Sandra



George "Bill" Marriott HMS Aurora

Bill was part of the Royal Marine (Gunnery) Contingent on HMS Aurora when it hit a mine in December 1941. He was thrown into the water. I believe the mine struck close to a gun turret. He was subsequently picked up by another ship which was also hit and he ended up in the water again. He remembers much oil in the water, lots of coughing, swallowing of oil. He and another Royal Marine officer were both picked up and taken to Alexandria. It was planned that they would be taken back to Malta by submarine to rejoin the ship's Company. Alas, the submarine never made it and they were ordered to take ship on the long passage south, home to the UK where they subsequently rejoined the Aurora's company.

He never spoke much about his experiences - only snippets especially later in life. He served on the Aurora in the Med and in the North Atlantic.

Keith Marriott



Gnr. Enoch "Nick" Wilson HMS Penelope

My grandfather, Enoch 'Nick' Wilson served onboard HMS Penelope from 1942 to 1944 as a gunner. I remember him telling me about the convoys to Malta and bombing of the Penelope while docked in Valetta, Malta and of the sinking off Naples. My grandfather was one of the survivors and was picked up by a ship and taken to Alexandria in Eygpt. Just wondering if anyone knew my Grandfather Nick Wilson RM? He kept a scrap book of the Penelope and had many photos of her and her crew.

Nicole Wilson Thackray



Marine. John Saunders

My late grandfather, Jack Saunders, from Preston was captured in Crete early 40's. He told me he was in Stalag VIIIb. He was a Marine and had ginger hair. I would be pleased to hear from anyone who remembers him. He recalls marching across country and staying in a sugar factory if that strikes a chord. He used to work for the railways.

Dave Aston



Commando. Henry Victor "Twink" Richardson

Henry was my Dad, known as Twink because of his dark very curly thick hair. The only information I have is a service certificate stating 'volunteer', and showing first entry at age 18 in service at Depot, R. M. Lympstone, 25 Feb 1943.

It's important to stress, Dad had signed at the age of 14, and been through a hell of a lot before this date, including the sinking of the Lancastria. He was made to forfeit 192 days service for being under age which included badges, engagement and pension.

    There is a list of ships or bases:
  • R. M. Lymstone 25 Feb '43 - 3 May '43
  • R. M. T. G.Group 4 May '43 - 13 Nov'43
  • Copra 14 Nov '43 - 3 May '45
  • B.L. R. M. T. G. 4 May'45 - 14 June '45
  • Highflyer 15 June '45 - 4 Aug '45
  • (3 or 8 ?)Paganza(np2437) 5 Aug'45 - 8 Sept'45
  • Sultan l 9 Sept '45 - 30 April '46
  • then what looks like Porto DW 1 May '46 - 21 Aug'46
His Cause of discharge is given as 'released in class A' and 12 Aug '46 has been stamped but has faded, where it says wounds received.

I know he fought the Germans at the start, then was eventually stationed at Singapore for a year after the Japanese surrendered. He was washed ashore and resucitated at St Nazaire, he always said he heard angels singing as he blacked out in the water. I have a photo when he was about 17.

Ann Platt



Sgt. Robert Francis Joseph Herbert G Company

My father served on the Dorsetshire from 8th September 1937, until it was sunk, as a coporal in the Royal Marines. He never spoke much about his time in the Royal Marines or during WW2. He did speak briefly of the sinking and mentioned some of his time in the water and how lucky he was not to be killed. I believe he was taken back to Cape Town after being rescued and was stationed there for some time. He met my mother in Cape Town and they were married there before being stationed back at Plymouth in 1944. Many years ago we watched a documentary about the sinking of the Bismark and after the sinking there was a film scan of the ship and a number of the crew and he named a number of the crew which was amazing and interesting. He passed away in 2002 and was very proud of his time in the Royal Marines.

Derrick Herbert



Marine Francis William Holcombe 42nd Royal Marine Commandos

My Grandfather served on the HMS Cairo in 1942 and was on board when it sunk, he was picked up and continued to serve in the Royal Marines up until 1951.

Chrystal Thompson



Cpl. Stanley Alfred Munns

Cpl Stan Munns served in the Royal Marines in North Africa and was then part of the Battle on Crete in 1942, when he was part of the withdrawal from the island after crack German paratroopers invaded. He was part of the final rear guard action on the island and was put in charge of a group of Australians from the 2/2 Field Artillery. He was captured and spent the remainder of the war in Stalag 4C. He compiled a diary during the latter stages of the war which included some photographs of other prisoners.

On repatriation in May 1945 he married one month later and then returned to his vocation as a book binder finally working for the HMSO as an Asst Director until retirement in Norfolk UK.

John Munns



Cpl. Bernard George Beecher Portsmouth Div. Co. E Royal Marine Engineers

My father, Benard Beecher was born in Sheffield in October 1915, where, after completing his schooling, he joined the Rating and Valuation Department at Sheffield Town Hall. In January of 1939 he moved to Croydon where he took up the post as Valuation Officer. His position delayed his call-up until December of 1941. In the meantime, out of work hours, he volunteered with the ARP. He told me of times when on duty he had to lie in the gutter as bombs came down. This was to be closest he came to hostile action.

In December 1941 he reported to Eastney Barracks in Portsmouth, home of the Royal Marines, and given his background, was taken on as a clerk. In June 1942 be became an Acting Corporal, Temporary, and in March 1943 became a Corporal. He was fortunate enough to spend all his service within the British Isles, travelling no further afield than Scotland and Wales. At one posting, I think Fort William, there were always kippers for breakfast, but as these were so inedible, one of the favourite tricks was to take them out of the canteen, tie two kippers together with a short length of string, throw them onto the roof of a hut and watch the fun when the seagulls took one each.

He was finally returned to his wife and daughter, who had been bombed out of their Croydon flat in the Blitz, when he was released to the Reserve list on the 6th of December 1945.

Philip Beecher



Musician Peter Keld HMS Nigeria (d.26th Oct 1914)

My granddad, Peter Keld, served as a Royal Marine Musician on the Nigeria, joining her during her refit in Charleston and only leaving after the war for service with various aircraft carriers (including the Eagle, Ocean and Implacable), before leaving the Navy in 1954.

Andrew



Maurice Herbert Thompson HMS Newcastle

My father served on HMS Newcastle from around 1941 to 1945 as a Royal Marine (45 Commando - Plymouth). His name is Maurice Herbert Thompson From Bristol. He's now 87 years and mostly worked on the 4inch AA guns. Occasionally he keeps his Grandson entertained with the missions that the 'Newcastle' did. If there are any of his old shipmates who remember Maurice and would like to contact him it would make his day.

Mike Thompson



Cpl. William Croft HMS Nigeria

My father-in-law, William Croft, was a Royal Marine Band Corporal aboard the HMS Nigeria. He married Marjorie Pauline Viviers in the Dutch Reformed Church in Simonstown, South Africa on 31 May 1947. We have a cutting of the article which appeared in the local newspaper. If anybody has any recollection or memories of him, we would be very happy to hear from them.

Gail Croft



Pte. Jim "Lofty" Colclough

My father Jim Colclough served with the Royal Marines, he was captured on Crete in May 1941 and spent time in Stalag VIII-B as a dental technician (I believe). It is very difficult to get him to talk about his experiences, but I would love to hear from anyone who knew him or has any pictures of the period.

Mick Colclough



Ronald Percy "Snowy" Thorne HMS Sirius

My father, Ron Thorne, served as a gunner on HMS Sirius. He was called Snowy because his hair was so blond it was white. He never spoke much about the war but I know he was at the Normandy Landings and in the Mediterranean. He was also on HMS Birmingham. He met my Mother in Cape Town and in 1946 he sent her the money to travel to England. They were married in 1947 in his home town of Sherborne. They returned to South Africa, but settled in Dorset again a couple of years later.

Ann Thorne



Robert Ernest Steadman HMS Nigeria

My father, Robert Ernest Steadman, who was a Royal Marine on HMS Nigeria, during the WW2. I am not sure how long he was on there. I do know that he was on there and after the war, as I have got pictures of him in Malta and South Africa. I have several pictures of him with other Marines and sailors. I have one large picture of the ship's crew. They seem to be in the Mediterranean, only because they are all in their whites.

It seems strange. I have gone through the crew list but there are no references to my father, or any other Royal Marines on board, but from the pictures I have he definitely was there and I remember him talking about the ship. But like most men during war, he did not talk much about it. He did talk about the other Marines because they were his friends. Unfortunately, I cannot remember much about it now, so if anybody out there remembers my father, please get in touch.

Robert Edward steadman



Thomas Glenville Scott Commandos 42

My grandfather, Thomas Glenville Scott, served in WW2 with the Royal Marines 42 Commandos roughly 1939-45. Unfortunetly, I dont have very much info on him I know he served in possibly Japan and I think France. He received the Defence Medal, Pacific Star and the 1939-45 Star. He also had a wife Audrey. He was from Ystalafera in Glamorgan Wales. I am trying to gain information for my father as his father never spoke much about the war and I would greatfully welcome any help people could give me. Unfortunetly, I also don't have his service number but if anyone remembers him or has any info please get in touch.

Lucy Davies



Pte. Joseph Moss Royal Marines

My uncle Joe Moss was a Royal Marine Private on board HMS Nelson. He served during the Ceylon campaign in 1945. He lost a thumb in the breach of a gun. He will be 90 years old this year (2012).

Stewart Herrieven



Edwin "Taff" Angel

My namesake Edwin Angel survived the sinking of his ship. We discovered recently that he saved a friend's life by removing his boots and trousers, whilst in the sea. Taking to the water, in full kit, meant the colleague quickly became waterlogged and was sinking. My uncle was fortunately at hand to keep him afloat. Typically we were never told this by the hero. A letter received from the other survivor, unfortunately after my uncle's demise, gave us the story.

Edwin Angel



Frederick Perry HMS Nelson

Believe Frederick Perry joined the Royal Marines in 1942 and served on the HMS Nelson before going into 42 Commando unit. He then was involved in the Africa and Italy campaigns. Does anyone have any information please?

John Perry



Sgt. Thomas Maxwell Guncrew HMS Cairo

My grandfather, Thomas Maxwell joined the Marines at 14, boy service. He saw service on HMS Cairo, Kenya, Caroline & HMS Indefatigable. He was in pre war Palestine then Norway, Dunkirk, Russian convoys, Crete, Malta, Dieppe, Italy, Burma and other units 45, 44 commando att sbs. He was badly wounded in Burma headshot by a Jap sniper. If any vets of 44 cdo knew him I would like to hear from them.

Ray Maxwell



L/Cpl. John Waterfield Millitary Police

My granddad, Jack Waterfield was a volunteer and joined the Royal Marines in 1940. He became a Military Policeman and spent 2 years of his 5 years service on HMS Auora (1941,1942,1943) having first joined the ship in the UK. He then went to the Med and served as batman to Kenneth Moore. I recall he mentioned the big bangs from the guns when they saw action, other than that I know little else about his war exploits.

Steve Sault



Albert Walter "Walter" Farley HMS Dorestshire (d.5th April 1942)

My great uncle, Walter Farley, was a Marine during the Second World War and was aboad the HMS Dorestshire when she sunk the Bismarck and when she was sunk by Japanese dive bomber planes.

My nan never knew what happened to her big brother until I started researching his service. I found that the HMS Dorestshire sunk off Sri Lanka on the date that my great uncle died. I was able to use Google Earth to pin point the site of the wreck she could finally see where he had died.




Peter Sydney Dowden HMS Arthur (d.21st February 1942)

Peter Sydney Dowden was my grandfather and served on HMS Royal Arthur until his death there on 21 February 1942. I was told there was some sort of bombing or bomb accident at the camp and his death was recorded as killed in action. I would be interested if anyone else knows what this incident was.

Martin Nicholson



Joseph Cockburn Booth Royal Marines

My late father-in-law Joseph Booth served on the HMS Nelson as a Marine for the duration of WWII. I have a whole album of photos from the time.

Austin Dale



Pte. Charles Dignam Royal Marines

My dad, Charles Dignam was in Combined Opts, HMS Odyssey in Normandy 1944 and he was in Iceland. That's all I know he didn't talk much about his war years.

Stanley Dignam



Henry Victor "Twink" Richardson

Harry Richardson was my dad, and was aged only 14 yrs and 9 months when the Lancastria was hit. He passed me a piece of paper one day with writing on (SS Lancastria) and said one day I would understand it but at the time he was forbidden to speak about the circumstances. The only other thing I remember was the date, 17th June 1940, also my sisters birthday. We knew that at some point in the war Dad heard angels singing (he was drowning), he mentioned that often. According to other family members he was washed ashore and revived. When I think about this, he was just a boy, not an easy man to live with as a father, the war destroyed his legs (shrapnel), and tormented his mind. I am in the process of applying for his records, although because he was a Royal Marine Commando, I may have to wait a while.

He served in Malaysia and Burma. He was also very artistic and would draw pictures for his mates to send home. I remember him mentioning that his unit had to line the steps to the building for the Japanese surrender. He would also sometimes have to be driver for Mountbatten (who liked the gin). I wonder if anyone remembers him?

Annie Platt



Mrn. Lionel Victor "Lofty" Wright MID. HMS Aurora

My father, Lionel V Wright, joined the Royal Marines on 8th November 1920 and served on many ships one of the longest term being on Revenge from August 1924 - January 1928. He was on the Aurora from 9th November 1937 until 17th August 1942.He was very proud of the Aurora and named two of his houses after it. He was at the Siege of Malta and I remember him saying he was at Scapa Flow.

As he had completed over 20 years service he was given a shore posting in 1942 when he was sent to London to guard the Cabinet and Sir Winston Churchill. Due to this we moved nearer to London so that he could return home at night and were in direct line of enemy bombs destined for London. My father was awarded The Atlantic Medal, The Africa and Italy Medals, Long Service and Good Conduct Medals and had 2 Mentions in Despatches. My father never talked about his time in the service and it is only in later years that I have realised what conditions must have been like for him and his comrades. I feel very proud to be his daughter.

Diane Boone



Pte. Norman Kellie HMS Cricket

My father, Norman Kellie, was born in 1924 and was conscripted into the Royal Marines.

He served at HMS "Cricket" initially, which was (I believe) a land-based location in Hampshire.

He went out to India and Burma in 1944 (if I remember correctly). He met up with one of his older brothers, Harold Kellie, in Rangoon who just happened to be out there with the Army at the same time.

He never talked about his wartime experiences and what little information I have came from my mother.

Stephen Kellie



Cpl. Herbert William Jagger HMS Exeter (d.8th May 1945)

Herbert Jagger died age 41 whilst serving with the Royal Marines. Born in 1902 in South Shields, native of Jarrow, he was the son of Edwin and Eliza Jagger (nee Farrow) of Harpenden Hertfordshire and husband of Lilian Mary Jagger (nee Moylan) of Stonehouse Plymouth. His younger brother Norman was also one of the fallen

Herbert is buried in Ambon War Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Sgt. Norman Jagger MID. HMS Glorious (d.8th June 1940)

Norman Jagger died aged 24 whilst serving wit the Royal Marines. He was the son of Edwin and Eliza Jagger (nee Farrow) of Harpenden Hertfordshire. His older brother Herbert was one of the fallen.

Norman is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Henry William Farrell HMS Repulse

Henry William Farrell was born in 1916 and enlisted in 1936. He lived in Plymouth, Devon. He was a Royal Marine on HMS Repulse when it was sunk by a Japanese aerial attack off Malaya on 10th December 1941 with the loss of 513 men. It seems that speculation still surrounds the subsequent actions of the Japanese pilots as they did not interfere with the rescue of survivors. The rescuing destroyers took them to Singapore naval base. Shortly after the sinking, the remainder of Marines from HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales, which was also sunk, merged forces with remnants of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, becoming known as the Plymouth Argylls. They took part in a series of land actions against the Japanese. They were ill prepared for tropical warfare and without air-cover so it was a mission doomed from the onset. Subsequently on February 15th 1942, the Argylls were led by a piper from Tyarsell Park Singapore, into 3 and a half years incarceration.

Henry was held in the flowing camps: Changi, Havelock Road, Kinkaseki, Hindato, Non Pladuk and No 17 Fukuoka

S B Flynn



T Trail

T. Trail RM is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Marine. Albert Younger HMS Hood (d.24th May 1941)

Albert Younger died aged 19, he was the son of late John G. N. Younger and Lilian Younger of Jarrow. He had joined HMS Hood in February 1940. Albert is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Charles David Mcquaker HMS Nelson

My father served on HMS Nelson in 1942, I don't have any further information, I would love to know more.

Alan Mcquaker



Skinner 10 Commando

My late father was in 10 Commando and was attached to SIS. It has been reported to me via one of his old army comrades that he was at Ringway Airfield in late 1943 doing parachute training and that my father was not staying with the other units, but at a large country house near the airfield. It could have been either, Milton Ernest Hall or North Cliffe Hall. If you have any knowledge of the area at that time, or know anyone who does, I would be most grateful if you would let me know. I am writing the story of my father and his war and it would be most helpful to solve the mystery of his stay and training at Ringway.

Sylvia Skinner



Marine Irish James Ernest HMS Nelson Royal Marines Light Infantry

Marine Irish James Ernest served with the Royal Marines Light Infantry, Portsmouth Division on board the battleship HMS Nelson during WW2.

Peter Kinge



Cpl. William John Daw HMS Copra (d.21st July 1944)

William Daw was killed in action 21st July 1944, aged 32. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent. He was the son of Jubilee John and Alice Clifford Daw, husband of Constance Daw. of Tonbridge, Kent.

s flynn



Pte. George Gregg Royal Marines

My Dad, George Gregg was taken on Crete and eventually ended up in Stalag 4b. He did not talk about the war except to my mother but then only snippets. He died aged 93 in 2011. A true gentleman and a wonderful father.




Marine George Wilfred Billington HMS Penelope

Dad, George Billington was on several ships including the Cardiff and Newcastle I believe. The story I remember was his being on the Penelope and somewhere off Malta in an engagement and being injured on a large gun by being thrown against its interior after an explosion. He ended up in hospital in Malta and while there German fighters machine-gunned the hospital, killing the man opposite dad's bed, apparently because we had sunk a German hospital ship by mistake. Penelope left and Dad stayed during the heavy bombing.

When he was discharged from hospital he eventually boarded a ship going to India before managing to get home as there was no other means of getting off Malta. He went back there with my Mum on holiday in the 1980s, but it was a mistake as it brought back too many memories. Dad died aged 86 in 2003. He was a good man with a wonderful wife, my mum. He was very lucky, a lot of people were not, and we all need to remember how much we owe them.

P Billington



CSM Charles Bagley Royal Marines

My dad, Charles Bagley served in both World Wars. He was in the Royal Marines and helped train the Cockle-Shell heroes.

Alan Bagley



Ernest Samuel Frazer

Ernest Frazer was a driver in the Marines. He served in Egypt 2 years with Major Sankey and I also have the name of Major Cooke, in Kata Kuranda, Ceylon

Carole



Pte. Levi Reginald Whiten

My Father, Levi Whiten, first landed on the beaches of Normandy in January 1944 – to collect sand samples for scientists to test to see which areas were capable of taking heavy equipment.

On D-Day he landed with the first wave at Arromanches as part of the Beachmasters contingent. He remembered hearing “roll out the barrel” being played over the tannoy system on one of the ships as he climbed down the netting into the landing craft. Breakfast had consisted of a ham sandwich and a cup of char. As they headed towards the beach he could hear the “whoosh” of the shells passing overhead both from both the ships and the shore – and as they got closer the whine of the small arms fire and it pinging off the side of the craft. There were also the screams of those in the water whose craft had suffered a direct hit and who they couldn’t stop to help – getting to the beach was the priority.

As they approached the beach some of those in the craft began praying. The shout came of “stand by”, my Father shook hands with his best mate, the ramp went down – and off they went up the beach trying to reach cover with the sand spurting up as the Germans opened fire. His best mate was killed within a few yards and he could see others going “man down” around him - “how the hell I made it up that beach I don’t know”. By the evening the beachhead was secure and having found a cinematograph in one of the German bunkers, complete with reels of Mickey Mouse cartoons they commandeered a generator and played the films on the back of one of the “white houses” for the wounded awaiting evacuation.

Paul Whiten



Marine John Victor Derrick (d.30th Oct 1943)

John Victor Derrick was killed whilst manning a Gun Turret (I believe) when HMS Aurora was damaged by bombs.

Pearl Davison



Pte. Fred Hunt

My father, Fred Hunt was from Widnes in Lancashire and was in the Royal Marines as a Private (rank). He was an anti-aircraft gunner. He was taken prisoner by the Germans on Crete in 1941 and held until liberation 1945. He was marched by the German from Greece through Sudetenland and held in Stalag 4B and I believe Stalag 4C in Czechoslovakia and Germany but I have little information on this and seek more.

He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Hyper anxiety disorder) post war when he met my mother, Sister Grace Edwards, Withington Manchester, Hospital trained Registered Nurse, (Princess Alexandria Royal Nursing Corp.) and married in 1948.

Anyone reading this - please send any information about POW sites Stalag 4B and Stalag4C (locations & conditions etc).

Philip Hunt



Sgt. J. M. Cross Royal Marines

An Exciting Frustration.

We in 697 L.C.M… Folitlla, a Royal Marines manned Landing Craft Flotilla, had been practising the landing of troops and light mechanised vehicles, together with other less mobile stores, on various beaches locally, from our base on the Beaulieu River, at H.M.S… Cricket, to as far afield as Bracklesham Bay, and The Witterings,…for some weeks past.

We had travelled in our twin-engined craft, sometimes loaded, otherwise not, and we reckoned that we knew these beaches well enough not to get stuck on them even on a falling tide. We had practised estimating the length of approach, so as to drop the kedge anchor from the stern of the carft and then secure it so as to be able to pull ourselves off on a falling tide, after having deposited our craft contents, (the load), on to the beach or as near to it as possible. L.C.V.M..'s were Landing Craft Mechanical, capable of carrying one 30cwt. Truck, or a Bren Carrier, or cargo. The craft was driven by twin petrol engines, mounted side by side.

We had practised in all weathers, fair (mostly!) and foul, so that neither daunted us. We had taken all our kit aboard, then after the exercises returned it to the Nissen huts, all in practise for the Great Day.

Being a sort of 'up-homer' from H.M.S… Cricket, our base at Bursledon, and my home in Gosport, I was able to spend quite a bit of my time at home in the evenings when not on duty. I would leave the following morning, having arisen about 6 am with my Mum, who at that time was working in Priddy's Hard, the local Munitions factory, or to give it it's formal title, The Royal Naval Armament Supply Depot, Priddy's Hard, Gosport.

I used to leave Gosport via Gosport Railway Station, and changing at Fareham, travel to Bursledon, just a few stations along the Southampton line from Fareham.

On each day, I had told my Mum that I would or would not return the following evening, depending on my duty requirements back at H.M.S. Cricket.

In those days anyone in uniform could be picked up and given a lift almost at will, by a variety of vehicles, lorries, vans, even buses etc. I even remember, on one occasion, having 'marched' out of H.M.S. Cricket, and on reaching the main road, I opted to try my luck on the road, rather than wait for a train, and I thus found myself travelling in a real American Jeep towards Fareham, from where I caught the bus to Gosport! It was so strange to hear the accents, which until then, we had only heard in the films, actually being used in normal conversation, by normal men!

As D Day approached, I could see, when making this journey, the build-up of troops and vehicles in the area and realised that as each day passed our departure became more imminent. Finally, it was such, that I said to my Mum, 'I don't think I will be home much more', and sure enough, on arrival back at Cricket, we were informed that all leave was cancelled from then on.

At this time I was serving as a Sergeant, Royal Marines, and had six landing craft under my command and in my sub-division. We were ordered onto our craft, with our gear (kit), and we moved off. We steamed down the Beaulieu River to Warsash, and moored at a jetty belonging to the then H.M.S. Tormentor a supply depot for the purposes of fuelling or re-fuelling. (Both before and after the War, H.M.S. Tormentor reverted to its original name of HMS Mercury, a land based 'ship' for training Merchant Navy Officers). We remained there just long enough to be fuelled and just long enough to take on petrol, can fuel for the landing craft engines, enough to take us to France, and begin work. Spare cans of fuel for after 'our trip' were stacked in-board close to the gunwales, as emergency fuel. Here, we picked up a R.N.V.R. Sub Lieutenant, named Rees, who had been attached to our Flotilla, to navigate us to our designated landing beaches.

Then we moved off into the Southampton Water, and at the southern end, we were directed to moor alongside an L.S.T.(Landing Ship Tank), which, with hindsight, I imagined to be moored at or near to Lepe Bay. We were invited aboard, and bearing in mind that most of us were like myself, only 20 years of age, we were very excited by what lay ahead.

When the news came later in the night, for us to slip our moorings, we did so and saw that some of our flotilla craft had been hauled aboard the L.S.T. before they sailed, but we were not included in that manoeuvre.

We made our slow way down the Solent, and I can remember that it was almost twilight, and it was getting darker as we moved on. The sea was becoming rougher all the time. We arrived somewhere off the Needles when we received orders to turn about, our destination at that time unknown.

However, we ended up at H.M.S. Northney, at Hayling Island, a pre-war holiday camp, and spent the night there. We were still mystified as to the reason, for the 'about turn', and to me, it remained a mystery until the 50th Anniversary D-Day celebrations. I had made contact with another Landing Craft man, and asked him why. He told me that apparently because some of L.C.A.s (Landing Craft Assault), which were smaller than our craft, and who began with us travelling towards France, had almost been swamped, due to the heavy weather. They had been ordered to return, but because we were travelling 'under our own steam', and although we started out early the following morning, we later realised that we were travelling towards the beaches on D-Day itself.

Looking around at the time, there seemed to be millions of boats, mainly small craft, just like ours, all mainly going in the same direction, towards France, in the apparently endless sea.

The trip was somewhat bumpy, because our Landing Craft were unable to ride the waves, up and down. Instead the craft had to go across the peaks of them, striking the on-coming waves as they approached, head on. We were in a flat-bottomed craft which at the time, presented a flat square bottom to the waves as we moved forward. Not exactly a comfortable ride!!

We also noticed the mustering area, which we later found out to have been nick-named, 'Piccadilly Circus', together with Landing craft and other craft trying to sort themselves out, gradually falling in with others, who, like ourselves, seemed to know where they were heading.

We also had the new Compo Ration boxes aboard, and tried the contents, which were a new experience for us. We found that the chocolate part of these rations 'disappeared' quite quickly, due to 'hunger!' and popularity. The biscuit section was probably extremely nutritious but not very tasty, so consequently was not so much sought after. In addition there was also a ready supply of tea available, and I can still see Sub. Lt. Rees wearing his uniform overcoat, hunched over the wheel in the almost open wheelhouse of our craft, peering ahead, with a mug of hot tea in his hand. His body responding to the bumpy ride, lurching mainly forward, sometimes sideways.

One craft I remember seeing, and it was one, which we actually overtook on the way. It was an old Thames Barge, which we were later told was now a Landing Barge Oil, carrying that sort of cargo she was old, and she slowly made her way lumbering forward to France, and there were others like her.

To his credit, although he did not engage in much conversation with us, Sub. Lt. Rees stayed at his appointed post all the time, and navigated us into the Mulberry area, near Arromanches, where the block-ships were at that time being sunk in their planned position, after their seacocks had been opened. This was also the time that the great concrete Mulberry constructions were being put into position. This also necessitated noise, as holes were blown in the bottoms of them. They formed the two lines of outer breakwaters, and were enough to afford shelter from the sea.

As we drew near to the French coast, we could hear, rather that see, that something was going on because the aircraft, and the gunfire of the bombarding ships became noisier and noisier. At the time the Fleet Monitor, (H.M.S. Erebus we were later told) and the Battleship H.M.S. Warspite, with other smaller ships were thundering, discharging their shells onto and eventually beyond the beachhead itself. This mainly appeared to come from the sea in front of us, when we were working.

When we arrived at the Beachhead, I beached our craft and found the Beachmaster, to whom I had received orders to report. He allocated to us the job of going just outside the Blockships breakwaters, which at that time formed the entrance to the 'harbour' and to help in unloading coasters stationary in the open sea. This we did, and we similarly serviced many other similar ships during our time there. Whilst the weather remained 'inclement', this was quite a job.

The running swell caused the landing craft to be raised up on a 'peak' usually just as the load, contained in a scrambling net, was being lowered, and by the time it had reached our deck, the craft had dropped a few feet, only to be raised again, striking the scrambling net. Thus there was something of a hastening to detach all or part of the rope eye of the scrambling net, then signal the winchman on board to raise the attached end, so as to spill the contents on to our deck. Again 'practice' came to our aid as we had met giant hooks previously when we practised on L.CA.'s

We didn't know the contents of the scrambling net until it had been 'up-ended' on to our craft deck. We then set about distributing the load evenly over the deck, and stacking it. We would take about three or four net loads, then shout to tell them up top that we were casting off, and leave the coaster. Of course by that time another landing craft had arrived, and was waiting to tie up loosely in the berth, which we had vacated, ready to take on another load. I remember on more than one occasion, we were loaded with petrol cans, and 78mm. tank shells, and if we could not off-load these supplies, we would dry out on the beach. If it was afternoon or evening, we would make a 'comfortable' area amongst the cargo and sleep there until the tide rose!! On arrival at the beach we were sometimes met by lorries which had been backed into the water, as far as possible, and we would man-handle the loan on to it, by means of a board 'gangway', (which was carried on the lorry) for as much as it would take. This sounds complicated, but it worked better than it sounds.

On one of the first runs into the beach, I saw floating logs and to the ends of each of these logs were fitted, (or tied) shells presumably designed to explode on contact. There were also steel spikes with sharpened ends, driven into the beach, so that at high water they were invisible, which we later realised were probably part of Rommel's defences to the 'Atlantic Wall'.

On another such visit, I saw an L.C.A., which had been split into two lengthwise, and was resting on the beach in that state, wide open. My thoughts were with the crew and any personnel carried in that craft at that time.

On one such return trip from the harbour towards the beach one of the stationary rhinos (a section of the as yet, not connected floating pontoons,) a large part of what was to become the pontoon roadway on to the port from the beach became detached and swung right across our path. We managed to swerve and avoid it, but as we passed it, it swung round and collided with our craft stern. Afterwards we found to our dismay that the craft would not answer to the helm. (i.e. it could not be steered using the wheel). Later, on a subsequent occasion, we 'dried out' on the beach and found that the rudder blade covering of one of our engines' propellers had been forced under the craft, and jammed the propeller in an 'inoperative' position. Using the two engines, we recovered, and by dint of reversing one engine at the appropriate times, eventually 'steered' our way to the beach where I reported our dilemma to the Beachmaster, who ordered us back into the sea to carry on as best we could until a repair could be made. This was eventually swiftly made by substitution of the rudder, with renewal, and we were back to 'easy' normal work again.

Eventually the weather cleared, and we were able to take advantage of subsequent 'drying out' periods to 'make do and mend', including a warm water shave! All this time the beach was subject to much movement by both personnel and vehicular traffic. When this traffic died down the beach became less of a 'battleground' and we settled down to servicing the approaching ships, and by the same token, the fighting boys of the Army. This was eased one day when we were beached and one of the crew noticed that one of the onboard 'jerry cans' began to swell. I ordered it to be thrown over the side, but one of the more adventurous Marines decided to go overboard just after it. We were beached at the time, and watched. I had previously told him to get away from it, but just as he stood over the can, it exploded and flame shot up to his face. We all went overboard and rendered what First Aid we could, and I reported the accident to the Beachmaster. Eventually, Marine O'Connor was taken to a field hospital and was subsequently returned to us. Now Marine O'Connor was of an Albino colouring and we noticed that even the blond eyebrows had been burned off. When he returned he seemed none the worse for his adventure.

We saw the 1000 bomber raid on Caen, or rather we saw the aircraft flying towards Caen after hearing the drone of their engines. We saw one bomber turn back with smoke coming from it, make it's way out to sea. After spotting some parachutes, we saw the plane dive into the sea and explode. This sight was almost as frightening as seeing pictures of 'condemned' ships in their death-throes just before sinking, and that is a very sad thought.

After some time, we were allowed into Bayeaux, and I was aware of rather a strange and peculiar feeling, knowing that we were actually walking on streets in a foreign land which most of us had never done before, and which, until a short while previously had been occupied by the Germans!! At Bayeaux we saw butter in large chunks and eggs etc., all the produce of a dairy countryside, but not much else was on sale. I bought some butter but when we tried to eat it on board, it tasted rancid. We also saw cows laying in a field, which were apparently blasted by explosion, and were bloated, their legs straight and rigid.

In all, we were working on the beachhead for about three months, during which time we witnessed the Mulberry being 'born', nurtured, and up and working. From the odd looking rhinos, to the small tower-looking constructions, the whole thing became a thriving, working port, which eventually made our landing craft redundant.

During those three months we had one rest period of one week, aboard a floating stationary ship, which gave us a chance to become clean, bright and upright Royal Marines once again.

Regular food was supplied and the necessary incentive to return to the beachhead and complete the job, for which we had been detailed, was restored.

The day eventually came when we saw an L.S,.D., a Landing Ship Dock, which rejoiced by the name of Princess Iris (or was it Princess Daffodil?) which lay just outside the Harbour entrance, and to which we were told to report. On arrival, the whole of the rear end became submerged into the sea enabling us and other Flotilla of similar craft to sail in. Having made ourselves secure, the dock area dried out by expelling the water and raising itself to the water surface level. It provided us with more or less 'the run of the ship' during our voyage home and it brought us home to Portsmouth!!

J M Cross



Marine William Albert Vernon

My Grandfather, William Vernon of the Royal Marines, was captured in Crete and imprisoned in Stalag 4C. He died in 1918

Brett Vernon



Pte. William Facer Royal Marines

My father joined the Royal Marines in 1938 just before the outbreak of the 2nd World War. Some of his service was aboard HMS Cumberland and he was based in Gibraltar when war with Germany was declared.

During the Battle for Crete he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war and was incarcerated in Stalag 17, from where he was eventually freed in 1945.

Dennis Facer



John "Jack" Pomfret Royal Marines

My father, John (or Jack) Pomfret served in the Royal Marines in WWII. If anyone remembers him please get in touch.

Judith Eyre



Gnr. George Frederick Taylor HMS Aurora Royal Marines

My grandad served on HMS Aurora during WW2 and was a gunner. I would love to hear from anyone that served with him or knew him.

Paul Taylor



Pat Smith Royal Marines

I served in the Royal Marines from 1941 until 1951.

Pat Smith



Pte. Albert Murdoch "Dan" Miller

Royal Marines, Ceylon -  A Company?

Dad, Albert Miller, didn't talk much about his time in the war, I know just snippets gleaned over many years. I have two photographs - one taken by an Exmouth photographers and one taken in Ceylon, plus a few personal ones taken in Germany in Willhelmshaven. He mentioned he was in Scapa Flow for a time and that he tried out for the Commandos in Deal. After the route march his boots were full of blood and his feet looked like raw meat, so he failed. Dad was very bitter over his time in the War especially over all his lost mates.

Su



Marine. Vowell 45 Commando

Dad joined the Marines 22/8/1938 was posted to H.M.S. Columbo 30/7/1939 and was at Gibraltar when War was declared. It was then sent to the Denmark Strait looking for German ships, while there they captured the german ship Henning Oldendoff on the 17/11/1939. Dad was posted to H.B.L. R.M. Brigade 1/4/1940 then onto 45 Commando 11/8/1943 finally from September 1943 to June 1946 he was Combined operations (H.M.S. C.O.P.R.A.) He was released to Fleet Reserve March 1950.

Douglas Vowell



Arthur Goode Royal Marines

I am looking for information about Arthur Goode, Royal Marines. From about 1942 onwards he was part of Lord Mountbatten's bodyguard in the far east.

John Lovett



Act. Capt. Cyril Gordon H. Miers DSC Royal Marines

My grandfather was an Acting Captain in the Royal Marines and took part in the D-day landings. He was commissioned on 11th September 1939 as a 2nd Lt. and promoted to Lt. on 16th February 1941. By 1945 he was an Acting Captain serving in India. He was awarded the DSC in November 1944 "for services during the landings in Normandy".

Sarah Jayne



Bill Palmer Commandos Royal Marines

My great uncle was a commando. He was also a POW in Stalag 8b.

Andrew Kane



Capt. David Glynn Thomas 602 LCM Flotilla Royal Marines (d.25th June 1944)

My cousin-in-law's dad served in HMS Copra. He was killed in Normandy on 25th June 1944 and is buried at Hermanville War Cemetery.

Update

The CWG site states that he was serving in the Royal Marines, 602 LCM Flotilla.

Martin Sugarman



William Rowlands HMS Copra Royal Marines

My father, Marine William (Billy) Rowlands, served on HMS Copra from 31st October 1943 to 24th January 1945.

Derek Rowlands



Marine Alexander Davidson HMS Galatea Royal Marines (d.15th December 1941)

I am trying to locate anyone who may have a friend or relatives who served on HMS Galatea. My great uncle, Alexander Davidson from Aberdeen, served on this ship and died when it was sunk on 15th December 1941.

Ann









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