~ 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.

Australia Greece  Belgium Holland Canada UK USA France Norway Poland New Zea'd

Home

Membership

Visiting Memorial?

Roll of Honour

Books

FAQs

All Pages Index

Notice Boards

Donate

They Also Served

Search

Contact Us

 Approaching 500k visits per year to 200  web pages & 3000 photos.  General information at the bottom of this and every web page.

Please show your appreciation for those who served the Allied cause in WW2 by 'liking' the Combined Ops Facebook page. Many thanks.

~ COMBINED OPERATIONS INSIGNIA ~

IN DAY TO DAY USE

On this 'Combined Operations Insignia In Use' page you'll find a wide variety of examples of the Combined Operations Insignia in use from the 1940s to the present day. If you have any examples you're happy to share, please send them in with a brief note for possible addition to this page.

Also of possible interest are; History of Insignia, Insignia Specimens & Lt D A Grant

Service Personnel

Robert George Smith, Stoker 1st class, C/KX571807. Stoker Smith served on landing craft in WW2 including in Burma. He was so proud of his service in the Combined Operations Command that he made his own shield which stood above a passage door for all to see. It now sits proudly in my dining room and often causes comment and questions particularly from youngsters. Stacey Davies, Granddaughter.

James L Gooch, US Navy. The American version of the Combined Operations badge can clearly be seen in this wartime photo high on James' left arm. James originally joined the United States Navy in 1933, and after 4 years service returned to Oklahoma where he opened an auto parts store. He re-enlisted in 1939 serving on the USS Charles S. Sperry DD-967 as a gunner's mate and on other ships working as a postal clerk and achieving the rank of Chief Postal Inspector. He retired from the US Navy in 1974 as a Master Chief with 39 years of active service to his country

Canadian Combined Operations; The No. 1 Navy Ball Team 1944 at Comox, British Columbia. Note the Combined Ops badge on their jackets. Back row, left to right: Unknown, E. Chambers, Alec Bruce, Bill Erycan, George Hobson & Chuck Rose. Front row, left to right: Unknown, Jim Malone, Doug Harrison, Art Warrick & Joe Spencer.
 

Thomas Arnold John Jones (Arnie) No. KX 525510 Stoker 1st Class 1943 - 46 who served at HMS Cricket (Landing Craft Base, Burseldon) and HMS Hornet (Independent Command, Gosport), RN Bases and on MTBs (Motor Torpedo Boats) as part of Coastal Defences. The little girl in the picture is my sister, although poorly at the time, she celebrates her 70th birthday this year. I'd like to thank the members of RN Coastal Defence Veterans (London Branch) for leading me to your excellent site. I intend to help with awareness and contributions to the Combined Ops Memorials, great to know how many people are involved! Will ye no come back, yes we will !! Best Wishes, Chris Jones.

John Rufford Hodgett broadcasting on Radio Gibraltar. His son writes; My father spoke little about his war service but I believe he was part of a mixed group of men that set up communication posts in France. One year around D-Day, while we watched the movie "The Longest Day," he said his lot wore a white band around their helmets. I think he was in the Sherwood Foresters. He was born in Keyworth, near Nottingham and died age 70 in 1993. John Hodgett.

Bill Newell, ex W Commando writes from Canada; Many years ago before I became aware of the existence of either the RN Commando Association and crest or the Combined Ops. Association and Crest, I designed, and had made, the one I now wear on my blazers. See Bills message at the bottom of the RN Commando page.
 

No3 Commando taken at the 'Montgomery Club' Brussels on Wednesday March 15th 1945 showing Commandos on a two day respite from the snow covered Holland countryside.
 

Jack 'taffy' Bennett of No3 commando. His grandchildren, Scott Thompson, Louisa Davies, & Ross Morgan from Caerphilly, South Wales, taken on Sunday, June 6th, 2004 at Benouville during the 60th Anniversary ceremonies. Note the Combined Ops Insignia proudly displayed in his memory.

Sgt L G (Les) Ellis DCM1942/43 in England. Front left in the photo, he was an instructor at the 2nd Division Sniper School with the Royal Regiment of Canada. The CO patch is clearly visible on his left arm. A 2nd CO patch (just visible) is on the left arm of the servicemen in the back row 3rd from the left.

Instrument Section at RAF Dundonald in Ayrshire, Scotland. 516 Squadron was attached to Combined Operations and this may be the only plane ever to bear the Combined Operations insignia. See 516 Squadron for information about the squadron's role in Combined Operations training.

9 Commando Guard of Honour. No 9 Commando, which was part of No 2 Commando Brigade, Headquarters, Mediterranean Theatre provide the guard of honour on the 6th April 1945. They are wearing a black feathered hackle in their Green Beret with the round version of the Combined Operations red design on dark blue, with a shoulder title of white letters on black.

US Army Wear Combined Ops Badge. Extract from official WW2 records held at the Public Records Office, Kew, London. 19th Sept 1942 - US Army are now wearing their own version of the Combined Operations Badge, which is very similar to ours. These were worn by members of the Engineer Amphibian Corp. These badges were produced with the American Eagle replacing the original; embroidered in yellow on a light blue backing. Photo shows provisions being delivered on Omaha Beach on D-Day + 2 or 3. The Combined Operations insignia are on the left upper arms and on helmets.

Les Ellis DCM CD wearing his many medals with pride including the coveted Dieppe Bar (with the Combined Operations Insignia) on his Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. Lance Corporal Ellis earned the Dieppe Bar and the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the Dieppe action at Puys on August 19 1942. Les was born in Ogmo Vale, Wales, UK and lives in Ontario, Canada.

LAC Karl Work in England shortly before his return to Canada in 1945.  He served on Fighter Direction Tender 217off the Normandy beaches. The FDTs provided radar cover, intelligence gathering and fighter direction until land based mobile radar and communications units established themselves in Normandy. Click here for the full story of FDT 217 and her sister vessels FDTs 13 and 216. Insignia on lower arms.

Leading Seaman, Harry ‘Dusty’ Millar, was a Gunnery Instructor at HMS Armadillo between 1943 &1945.  Harry's son Robert said, I've been living in Australia for the past 33 years and hope that somebody might remember him from those days. Sadly my father died in December 1988 and seldom spoke about the war. If you have any information likely to be of interest to Robert you can contact him at deburgh@bigpond.com. [Photo; Harry taken outside his parent's home in Bannockburn c 1943].

Henry John Clifford Elcome, known as Cliff to his friends in 1943/44. He joined the RAF in 1942 as a 'Volunteer Reserve,' later volunteering for the RAF Servicing Commandos. He was posted as a Leading Air Craftsman (LAC) to 3204 Unit where he took part in the Sicily/Italy invasions. When the unit was disbanded in February 1944 he returned to the UK to serve in the 2nd-Tactical Air Force at various UK bases.

Telegraphist H .Ware. Photo taken July 1944 whilst serving with No.16 Royal Navy beach signals section. [Photo and information  courtesy of Michael Whittaker].
 

Petty Officer Richard Hamer. Unit Unknown. [Photo and information courtesy of Michael Whittaker].


 

Harold R. Smith, Leading Seaman, RCNVR had this photo taken in the spring of 1944. He was about 23 years old. He had been wounded during the landing at Reggio [Italy] and was back in Canada at the time of this photo. He volunteered for the RN Commandos in 1942 and was assigned to LCI(L)115. He was one of two Canadians (the other being the Captain) on the ship. He had been in action in North Africa, Sicily and Italy before being wounded while his ship was reloading for a return trip to the landing beaches at Reggio. He now lives on Vancouver Island in Courtenay, B.C., Canada with his wife who he married in 1944.

Christian Chilton's wedding photo taken in May 1943 at the Metro Studios, High Street, Slough. During WW2 he served in the Royal Navy under the Combined Operations Command. From information provided by his grandson, Keith Chilton, it's likely that his granddad served on landing craft ferrying soldiers to the beaches of Normandy, although it's known that he took a Landing Craft Tank to Scotland around the time he was demobilised. If anyone remembers Christian Chilton please contact us

R H Barnwell.

 

Miscellaneous

Royal Navy Commando shoulder title on a JWH (Jersey Wool Heavy standard issue pullover) of a serving RN Commando Chief Medic - one of only six still serving in November 2014. Click here and scroll down to item 13 for more information.
 

 

RN rating's square rig top and collar. The collar is named to a K PENNY but there are no marking or name on the square rig.

 

This historic navy hammock reposes in the Esquimalt Navy Museum, Vancouver Island. Merchant officer, James Robertson, borrowed a hammock in 1943 while aboard the SS Silver Walnut on a trip from the UK to the Mediterranean, via South Africa. He embellished it with the names of his Canadian companions and the Combined Operations badge, over a maple leaf. Over 40 years later, he returned the hammock to the Canadians at a ceremony in Australia. Click on images to the right for more information.
 

A Combined Operations ring which most likely belonged to a US serviceman who served in the Pacific in WW2. Was it a one off or are there any others? [Photo and information Courtesy of  Harman Meyerhoff.]
 

A badge design, possibly a ship's badge, which includes the Combined Operations Badge in the middle. It is is in the centre of a wooden tray which I found at a Militaria Fair. On the back was a small piece of paper with the letters COSD, perhaps a clue to who would have used this design. Yours sincerely, Terry Carney.

Combined Operations Tie Pin or Brooch. This well made silver brooch or tie pin has a couple of unusual features - the gun and the bomb like objects below the eagle's wings. If you recognise the design or can shed light on the significance of the unusual features please contact us. (Courtesy of Mr A Rees). Kevin Eaton suggests "the gun in the eagle's talons is a pump action shotgun. Combined with the anchor I'd say it's very possible something to do with a boarding party. Even now, lots of boarding teams have shot-gunners attached since the ammo is generally safer around bulkheads compared to high velocity rounds which can ricochet. (9/13)

A Commando Certificate made out to 14870625 Sgt E J Timms. (R. Signals.) confirming that he served in Commandos from July 1945 to November 1945. The certificate was signed by Laycock, then Chief of Combined Operations, on the 8th November 1945. [Courtesy of his son, Dr Alan Timms].
 

A wooden box bought at a car boot sale. On the inside of the lid, inlaid into the wood, is a Combined Operations insignia with the inscription '9 Commando, 14 August 1944, Sorrento.' At the top are the initials G.R.B.  I would really like to find out more information about the soldier concerned. Can anyone help or offer advice? Shaun Smoorefamily@aol.com

Bill Newell's battle dress tunic. He was a member of a small Canadian Commando Unit designated 'W' Commando. This is his  with the round CO badge which was worn by all ranks.


LCH 75 Christmas Card. It's Christmas 1945 and Headquarters ship, LCH 75, was on its way to Norfolk, Virginia after being recalled while steaming eastwards in the Indian Ocean. When she dropped anchor in Aden, Austin Prosser, gunnery officer and watch keeping officer, sent a copy of the ship's Christmas Card to his parents in England. Click here to read Austin's account of his wartime service and to see the inside of the card.

This is 1:12th scale DUKW nearing completion (working lights still to be added). It has a fully operational 6 wheel drive/differential system, steering, propeller and rudder. It is fitted out as a WW2 Royal Marine amphibian.

 

Memorial at Petiville, France. Under the command of Lt Col Peter Young, No3 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade, liberated Petiville on August 17th 1944.  The Combined Operations insignia can be seen centre of the memorial. [Photo courtesy of  Bernard & Fay Robins].
 

The Ultimate Act of Remembrance! I'm a tattoo artist in Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham. I tattooed the Combined Operations Insignia on the right forearm of 78 year old Mr `Dicky` Bird. He took part in the Normandy landings on June 6th, 1944 and Walcheren in early November, 1944.  I was so taken by this extraordinary character that I did a search for the best insignia I could find and landed upon your site. It was his first ever tattoo and he said he most definitely plans to have another on his left forearm. May I commend you on a most informative & enjoyable website. Thanks. Jon Davis.

Christmas 1945 at RAF Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland. This locally prepared festive poster from Christmas 1945 celebrates the successful conclusion to WW2. If you'd like to read about RAF Dundonald, which was part of the Combined Training Centre, read about 516 Squadron.
 

RN Beach Commandoes, Ardentinny, Argyll, Scotland. This memorial is sited outside the old regulating office at HMS Armadillo at Ardentinny. It is now a picnic site. More photos of this re-located memorial at http://combinedops.com/memorials_%20monuments_plaques.htm

The Funnel Badge of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's Sir Tristram taken in June 2004. The legacy of WW2 Combined Operations lives on!

 

Staff of the Commander UK Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR)... a Royal Marine Lt General. His staff wear the badge on their right arm in black on green; 2) the funnels of all UK Amphibious Shipping, HMS Fearless L10 and Intrepid L11 (now decommissioned), HMS Ocean L12 (LPH), HMS Albion L14 (LPD) and HMS Bulwark L15 (LPD) and all the RFAs - Sir Tristram, Bedivere, Galahad etc. as per your example immediately above. [Information and photo courtesy of Sgt Tom Clow RM, LCU Coxn.]

UK Joint Force Air Component Headquarters, based at High Wycombe. The JFACHQ was formed in Apr 2000, adopting a variation of the Combined Operations badge as already used by the deployable Joint Force Headquarters at Northwood. Since formation, the JFACHQ has deployed on operations including PALLISER (Sierra Leone), ORACLE/VERITAS (Afghanistan) and TELIC (Iraq). This shoulder patch is currently (May 05) used by the UK Joint Force Air Component Headquarters. A new patch, more recognisable as unique from the JFHQ, is under development although it will retain the Combined Operations badge as its centre piece. [ND]

Memorial at Ouistreham, Normandy to the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Crews. It reads "In memory of the British Royal Navy and Royal Marine Crews, especially those who gave their lives or were wounded, who served in more than 4000 landing craft, ships and barges which transported the Allied soldiers and their equipment to Normandy, or supported them with their guns and rockets from D Day, June 6th 1944 to the end of the Second World war in Europe on May 5th 1945."

Medals with Insignia

Burma Star ribbon, Atlantic Star ribbon with rosette and South Africa War Service Medal ribbon. The rosette with the Atlantic Star, is worn when ribbon alone is worn and indicates the recipient was also awarded one of two possible clasps for the medal: 1) Air Crew Europe - Awarded to RAF and Commonwealth aircrew Atlantic Star recipients who subsequently qualified for the Aircrew Europe Star and 2) France Germany - Awarded to Atlantic Star recipients who subsequently qualified for the France Germany Star. Only one clasp could worn. We are grateful to Jeff  Hannan of Warrington for an explanation of the ribbons opposite.

The South African War Service Medal is a little unusual to see as it was awarded for unpaid voluntary service of 5 or more hours per week, in or outside South Africa, in one or more of the officially recognised voluntary organisations.

What the original enquirer referred to as "The Combined Operations Medal" is the only example I have ever seen of what I believe to be a WWII Combined Operations sweetheart brooch worn by wives, mothers or girlfriends.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. This particular medal has the Dieppe Bar with the Combined Operations Insignia. The bar was awarded to those who took part in the Dieppe Raid of August 19 1942. All ranks and branches of the Canadian Armed Services were eligible for the CVSM on honourable completion of 18 months total voluntary service between 3/9/39 and 1/3/47 while on active service. On this particular example there is also the Overseas Service Bar which was awarded to those who spent at least two months overseas. The inscription reads 1939 CANADA 1945 around the top and VOLUNTARY SERVICE VOLONTAIRE around the bottom.

Postscript

The Combined Operations badge is still in use today as this e-mail and the funnel badge above confirm.

The Combined Ops badge is currently worn by the staff of the Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) which is the deployable element of the UK's Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) based in Northwood. This explains why it is worn by a large variety of cap badges and all three services. PJHQ staff wear a similar badge, smaller but on a square background of the three colours of the Services (i.e. Dark Blue for Navy, Red for Army and light blue for the RAF). I know - I used to wear one!

Any information on the post war period will be warmly welcomed. Use the 'contact us' link at the bottom of this page.

Further Reading.

There are around 300 books listed on our 'Combined Operations Books' page. They, or any other books you know about, can be purchased on-line from the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). Their search banner link, on our 'Books' page, checks the shelves of thousands of book shops world-wide. Just type in, or copy and paste the title of your choice, or use the 'keyword' box for book suggestions. There's no obligation to buy, no registration and no passwords.

Elsewhere on this website read about the badges design and development, see specimens in close-up and a short biography of the badge's designer, Lt D A Grant.

If you have any photos suitable for this page, please contact us.

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 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.

Restoration of Geoffrey Appleyard's  Memorial 

Click on the image if you'd like to contribute to the improvement of the memorial to Geoffrey Appleyard, DSO, MC and Bar, through the purchase of a limited edition print of a book about him. Geoffrey achieved so much in service with No 7 Commando, No 62 Commando, the Small Scale Raiding Force and the Second SAS Regiment. He was posted Missing in Action in July 1943, aged 26.

www.bramleywarmemorial.com/major-geoffrey-appleyard-book-now-available-for-purchase/

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. www.legasee.org.uk

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 -.

 

Copyright © 2000 to 2017 inclusive [www.combinedops.com]. All rights reserved.