47 commando

No. 47 (Royal Marine) Commando under command of Lieutenant Colonel CF Phillips was formed from the 10th Royal Marine Battalion 1 August 1943, and based in Dorchester. Like all Commandos the men of No. 47 (Royal Marine) Commando had to attend the commando course at Achnacarry. They were then assigned to the all Royal Marine 4th Special Service Brigade alongside No. 41, No. 46 No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commandos. In 1943 the commando formation had been standardised, into a small headquarters, five fighting Troops, a Heavy Weapons troop and a signals platoon. The fighting Troops consisted of 65 all ranks divided into two 30 man sections which in turn were divided into three ten man sub sections. The Heavy Weapons Troop was made up of 3 inch Mortar and Vickers machine gun teams.

June 1944
The first operation No. 47 (Royal Marine) Commando was involved in was Operation Neptune the Normandy landings better known as D-Day 6 June 1944. No. 47 landed at Gold Beach at 09:50 hours 6 June near the town of Asnelles. Five of the Landing Craft Assault carrying the Commando ashore were sunk by mines and beach obstacles with the loss of 76 of the 420 men in the Commando. These losses delayed No. 47's advance to their primary objective the port of Port-en-Bessin. Leaving the beaches after noon they fought through La Rosiere and dug in around Escures for the night prior to their planned assault on Port-en-Bessin on the 7 June.

The capture of Port-en-Bessin given the codename Operation Aubery was essential for the Allies which was to become the main port for fuel deliveries to Normandy until Cherbourg had been liberated. The assault on Port-en-Bessin began at 16:00 hours 7 June supported by naval gunfire support was captured the next afternoon after fierce fighting. By the 8 June No. 47 now had a strength of 19 officers and 259 other ranks. The brigade was ordered to move into the area of Douvres-la-Délivrande and were then ordered to move east of the Orne River to reinforce the 6th Airborne Division.

On 11 June 4th Special Service Brigade was to take over the area occupied by the 12th Parachute Battalion No. 48 Commando occupied Hauger and No. 47 was held in reserve at Ecarde. Reinforcements from the holding commando in the United Kingdom brought No. 47's strength up to 23 officers and 357 other ranks. The Commando carried out patrolling, digging minefields and erecting barbed wire. On 18 June, NO. 47 handed over to No. 46 Commando and relocated to the Sallenelles to Orne bridge road and held in reserve. They were held in reserve for a week before taking over from No. 46 again.

August 1944
On 1 August No. 47 moved to the Le Plein area to take over the positions occupied by No. 3 Commando. On 6 August No. 47 was ordered to relieve the 49th (West Riding) Division brigade west of Troarn. Patrolling led to the liberation of St. Parr and 4th Special Service Brigade moved up to the Dives River and Troarn was liberated. On 19 August No. 47 crossed the Dives River and occupied a position beyond the lead 6th Airborne Division units and on 20 August crossed the tributary of the Dives, at Putot en Auge to occupy a position to the right of No. 46 Commando. Over the night 20/21 August they moved up with No. 41 Commando to carry out a dawn attack on Dozule which was occupied without any resistance. On 22 August No. 47 moved up to Fonts de la Cressonre south west of Pont L'Eveque and again went into reserve. Attacks planned for the 23 and 24 August were called off as the Germans had withdrawn and the brigade advance continued. On 24 August Y Troop was disbanded because of casualties and its remaining men divided between the other Troops and the Commando was transported to the Beuzeville area and received orders to advance towards the Seine River and cut off the retreating Germans. On 26 August Toutainville was liberated and the Brigade was then rested until 31 August when they came under command I Corps) and 6th Airborne Division and 1st Special Service Brigade returned to the United Kingdom. The 4th Special Service Brigade was moved by road to the ferry crossing across the Seine River at Duclair crossing the river in assault boats they occupied a line along the Barentin to Le Havre road.

September 1944
On 1 September again moving by road the brigade was moved up to Cany Barville and on 2 September occupied Fecamp which cut off the German garrison in Le Havre. The advance continued on 15 September and by the night of 17/18 September No. 47 were in the area North of Dunkirk taking over positions in Ghyvelde from the Canadians. Here they remained until 26 September when they were relieved by 7th Black Watch. After being relieved they moved to Wenduine by the 27 September and prepared for amphibious operations. Training with L.V.T.'s was carried out in the sand dunes between Wenduine and Ostend and the Commando was brought up to full strength. Also a detachment from No. 2 (Dutch) Troop, No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando arrived. The training had been for Operation Infatuate the invasion of the island of Walcheren and at the end of October No. 47 moved to Ostend and embarked in Landing Craft Tanks.

Battle of the Scheldt
The Battle of the Scheldt started 1 November 1944, with 4th Special Service Brigade assigned to carry out a seaborne assault on the island of Walcheren. The brigade now comprised No. 41, No. 47, No. 48, No. 10 (Inter-Allied), and No. 4 Commando. The Royal Marine Commandos would assault Westkapelle with No. 47 landing on a small strip of sand to the right of Westkapple, at a breach in the dyke caused by Royal Air Force bombing raids, prior to the attack.

No. 41 Commando landed first and moved North to Domburg, No. 48 Commando went South towards Zoutelande and were followed by No. 47 Commando. No. 47 Commando was split when two of the LCT's carrying them ashore beached on the Northern side of the gap instead of the Southern side. Due to the division of the force No. 47 did not assemble until 19:00 hours south of the Radar station having suffered the loss of 30 men and much of their radio equipment. On 2 November No. 47 passed through No. 48 and took over the advance to the Flushing gap. Meeting slight opposition until they reached the artillery battery W11, and made an unsuccessful attack that evening losing all five of their Troop commanders. Digging in for the night they repulsed a German assault and finally captured the artillery battery and the rest of the island on 3 November. On 10 November they were moved back to Breskens and then to Wenduine.

On 22 December at short notice No. 47 Commando moved to Breda to come under command Brigadier E.T. Boylan and became the I Corps mobile reserve known as Paddy Force. On the 24 December they moved again to Oosterhout and carried out patrols along the Meuse (Maas) under command 1st Polish Armoured Division. On 28 December three Troops from No. 48 Commando came under command for a fortnight. On 30 December the commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel C.F. Phillips was given command of the 116th Royal Marine Brigade a non commando Royal Marine formation. He was replaced as commanding officer by Lieutenant Colonel Donnell.

At the beginning of January No. 47 Commando carried out patrols on both banks of the Meuse (Maas) and were themselves twice ambushed by German patrols doing the same. On 9 January they were moved out of the line for training at Bergen op Zoom for Operation Horse an assault on the island of Kapelsche Veer planned for the night 13/14 January. The assault started at 01:00 hours with Q Troop and No. 5 (Norwegian) Troop, No. 10 (Inter Allied) Commando attacking the right flank supported by armour and artillery from the mainland, while the rest of No. 47 attacked on the left flank. Attacking from both flanks simultaneously under heavy mortar fire caused heavy casualties. By 05:00 hours it became obvious that the objective was too heavily defended for a lightly armed commando unit to capture alone so No. 47 was withdrawn. The island was eventually captured by a Canadian infantry brigade with artillery and armour support.

After their failed assault No. 47 was moved back to Bergen op Zoom on 16 January and then back to Walcheren island on 17 January. Where they took over garrison duties from No. 41 Commando on 18 January. While at Walcheren they received about 100 reinforcements which brought No. 47 almost up to full strength. On 12 March No. 47 moved to North Beveland to relieve No. 4 Commando which was completed by 16 March. No. 47 Commando now were given the task of training the 3rd Battalion of Infantry, Royal Netherlands Army formed from men in the liberated area of the Netherlands. No. 47 Commando were still here when the war in Europe ended 8 May.

On the 20 August No. 47 Commando became the first Royal Marine Commando to have an Army troop. No other Commando had such a mixture of Army and Royal Marine personnel. On the 31 August they moved to Oer-Erkenschwick where they were tasked with the administration of displaced persons. On 2 November No. 47 Commando moved to Warburg and were informed they would be soon returning to the United Kingdom. Leaving Germany on the 27 November they arrived in Haywards Heath on the 28 November where they remained until they were disbanded on 31 January 1946
  1. RM CDOS Buckingham, William George

    SURNAME Buckingham FORENAME William George UNIT 47 Commando RANK Sergeant (Temporary) NUMBER CH/X 100413 AWARD Mention in Despatches PLACE N.W. Europe ("For good services while operating with the 21st Army Group") ADDITIONAL INFORMATION London Gazette 36979, 9th March 1945, Page 1386
  2. RM CDOS Wood, John Peter Wentworth

    SURNAME Wood FORENAME John Peter Wentworth UNIT 47 Commando RANK Temporary Captain (Acting Temporary Major) NUMBER AWARD Mention in Despatches PLACE N.W. Europe ("For good services while operating with the 21st Army Group") ADDITIONAL INFORMATION London Gazette 36979, 9th March...
  3. RM CDOS Leigh, Colin

    SURNAME Leigh FORENAME Colin UNIT 47 Commando RANK Temporary Lieutenant NUMBER AWARD Mention in Despatches PLACE N.W. Europe ("For good services while operating with the 21st Army Group") ADDITIONAL INFORMATION London Gazette 36979, 9th March 1945, Page 1386
  4. RM CDOS McKenna, Gordon Leslie

    SURNAME McKenna FORENAME Gordon Leslie UNIT 47 Commando RANK Marine NUMBER CH/X 108855 AWARD Croix de Guerre with bronze star (Fr) PLACE NW Europe 1944-45 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  5. RM CDOS Hooper, Albert

    SURNAME Hooper FORENAME Albert UNIT 47 Commando RANK T/Sergeant NUMBER PO/X 102479 AWARD Mention in Despatches, Croix de Guerre with bronze star (Fr) PLACE NW Europe 1944-45 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  6. RM CDOS McGeorge, Jack Stephen

    SURNAME McGeorge FORENAME Jack Stephen UNIT 47 Commando RANK Marine NUMBER CH/X 103833 AWARD Mention in Despatches PLACE NW Europe ADDITIONAL INFORMATION resided 86 Stanford Road,Luton,Bedfordshire (1946)
  7. RM CDOS Hughes, Trevor Lancaster

    SURNAME Hughes FORENAME Trevor Lancaster UNIT 47 Commando (HQ Troop - Signals Officer) RANK Captain NUMBER AWARD Member of the Order of the British Empire (Mil) PLACE NW Europe 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION born 27.10.1922 West Derby,Liverpool educated Alsop School worked for...
  8. RM CDOS Wood, Norman Peter

    SURNAME Wood FORENAME Norman Peter UNIT 47 Commando RANK Major NUMBER PO/76 AWARD Military Cross PLACE Walcheren 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  9. RM CDOS Spencer, Paul

    SURNAMESpencer FORENAMEPaul UNIT47 Commando (HQ Troop - Adjutant) RANKCaptain NUMBER AWARDDistinguished Service Order PLACEWalcheren 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  10. RM CDOS Pymm, Arthur Leslie

    SURNAMEPymm FORENAMEArthur Leslie UNIT47 Commando RANKCorporal NUMBERCH/X 103623 AWARDMilitary Medal PLACENormandy and N.W.Europe 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  11. RM CDOS Phillips, Cecil Farndale

    SURNAME Phillips FORENAME Cecil Farndale UNIT 47 Commando (Commanding Officer) RANK Lieutenant Colonel NUMBER AWARD Distinguished Service Order PLACE Normandy 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION born 11.09.1905 awarded MiD Malaya 1952 (See 3 CDO BDE awards)
  12. RM CDOS Packer, Mark Charles

    SURNAME Packer FORENAME Mark Charles UNIT 47 Commando RANK Sergeant NUMBER CH/X 105314 AWARD Military Medal PLACE Walcheren 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION born 18.07.1943, Rochester, Kent, UK father Thomas Packer mother May (nee Hermitage) educated Colyer Road School...
  13. RM CDOS MacDonald, William

    SURNAMEMacDonald FORENAMEWilliam UNIT47 Commando RANKMarine NUMBERCH/X 109660 AWARDMilitary Medal PLACENormandy 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  14. RM CDOS Litherland, Harry

    SURNAMELitherland FORENAMEHarry UNIT47 Commando RANKCorporal NUMBERPO/X 119150 AWARDMilitary Medal PLACEN.W.Europe 1944-45 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  15. RM CDOS Lanyon, Frederick Woodman (Fred)

    SURNAME Lanyon FORENAME Frederick Woodman (Fred) UNIT 47 Commando RANK Marine NUMBER PLY/X 103196 AWARD Military Medal PLACE Walcheren 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION born 26.1.1923 Carharrack,Cornwall employed at De Lank Quarry in civilian life R.M. 1.4.1941 married Mill...
  16. RM CDOS Kendrick, Percy George

    SURNAMEKendrick FORENAMEPercy George UNIT47 Commando (X Troop) RANKLance Corporal NUMBER5336379 AWARDMilitary Medal PLACENormandy 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  17. RM CDOS Horsefield, Harry

    SURNAMEHorsefield FORENAMEHarry UNIT47 Commando RANKSergeant NUMBERPO/X 115384 AWARDMilitary Medal PLACENormandy 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  18. RM CDOS Haw, Reginald (the Rev.)

    SURNAMEHaw FORENAMEReginald (the Rev.) UNIT47 and 45 Commandos RANKChaplain R.N.V.R. NUMBER AWARDDistinguished Service Cross PLACEN.W.Europe 1944-45 ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONB.A.
  19. RM CDOS Griffin, James Alfred

    SURNAMEGriffin FORENAMEJames Alfred UNIT47 Commando RANKMarine NUMBERPO/X 106712 AWARDMilitary Medal PLACENormandy 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  20. RM CDOS Gardner, Donald Hugh Godfrey

    SURNAMEGardner FORENAMEDonald Hugh Godfrey UNIT47 Commando RANKSergeant NUMBERCH/X 105333 AWARDMilitary Medal PLACENormandy 1944 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION