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~ LANDING CRAFT SUPPORT SQUADRON ~

Support landing craft in the form of LCGs, LCFs and LCRs (guns, flack and rockets) provided fire power to soften up entrenched enemy positions on and near the beaches in advance of troop landings. This account provides an insight into the establishment of a support flotilla and its deployment.

Early Training The Landing Craft The Mediterranean Prep for D-Day D-Day & Aftermath
Walcheren Run Down Further Reading Acknowledgments  

Early Training

Christmas 1942 and six weeks leave had passed quickly. I reported back to RNB Portsmouth on February 2nd. The next day I was on the move again, this time to the Diesel School at Chatham for a three weeks course on Paxman diesels, after which I was transferred to Combined Operations. At the end of the course I was drafted to H.M.S. Dundonald a Combined Operations training establishment in Troon, Ayrshire. On arrival at the railway station I was taken to lodgings in the town because there was no room in camp. At Dundonald, Tank Landing Craft were commissioned and worked up before leaving for other bases to train the army in landing exercises. [Photo; the author, Chief Engine Room Artificer (CERA) Robert Wallace-Sims with wife and son.]

After three weeks in Troon, during which time I don't remember doing any work, I reported to Harland and Wolff in Belfast, to take over the maintenance side of the 8th LCT Flotilla. Once more there was no accommodation and I was billeted out with a delightful old lady who suggested my wife might like to come over. Belfast was a prohibited area but, after a week trying to obtain the necessary travel documents, she arrived.

The Landing Craft

In the meantime I reported to the Flotilla Officer and found things to be rather hush-hush. There were twelve LCTs in Harland and Wolff’s yard undergoing conversion to Landing Craft Guns (LCGs). These conversions included decking over the tank deck, converting the resultant space to magazines and living quarters and mounting two 4.7 inch guns on the deck forward of the bridge. Twelve more craft were undergoing similar conversions in London whilst in other yards twelve more were being fitted out as Landing Craft Flack (LCFs) and twelve more as Landing Craft Rockets (LCRs) to carry rocket launchers.

The whole would eventually join forces as a support squadron to cover landings. The maintenance crew consisted of myself, 4 Engine Room Artificers (ERAs), 2 Motor Mechanics and 4 Stokers, a Shipwright, two Joiners, an Ordinance Artificer, a Seaman Gunner and an Electrical Artificer and three wiremen for the electrics. Our collective job was to maintain all twelve craft in operational condition.

On arrival I found the maintenance crew, excepting me, were either hostilities only (HOs) or Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). This was my first experience of RNVR Officers and HOs, but they turned out to be a fine and competent crowd. None of the maintenance staff, including the Engineer Officer, who was a Croxley Heath dirt track rider, had more than six months service, but they all knew as much as I did about Paxman diesels, having done the same course.

The first two craft to be finished left Belfast at the end of March for Falmouth, but they had a serious design flaw which would prove to have fatal consequences. The forward end of the tank deck had been left open with the bow door and winches in a fully usable condition. The tank deck of an LCT had a series of drains running down to a duct keel, which could be pumped out. Although watertight bulkheads had been fitted the drains had not been sealed off so, in effect, there was no real water tightness.

Off Milford Haven the two craft ran into very heavy weather and sea-water was shipped over the bows which found its way into the duct keel and up into the mess decks and magazines. The one bilge pump in each craft could not cope with the amount of water and both craft foundered with most of their crews. Orders came through for the doors to be welded up and the deck to be fully covered in. The result was a very strong, stable and sea worthy craft but it was mid May before the whole squadron arrived in Falmouth.

The Mediterranean

In Falmouth one ship of the 6th Flotilla joined us making each flotilla 11 strong. From Falmouth we sailed, in company with many LCTs, to Dijelli in North Africa. Here the Squadron split into two, half remaining in Dijelli, the others proceeding to Sousse. Our section spent about five weeks in Dijelli before moving on to Malta early in July. This was my first visit to Malta since Christmas 1941. The damage done by German bombers was colossal and yet it seemed that all the pubs we had used then were still standing.

On July 9th we moved out for the invasion of Sicily, arriving off Regussa in the early hours of the 10th. We were in the lead, followed by masses of landing craft and ships of all shapes and sizes. Our LCGs went in with all guns firing whilst behind us came the Rocket craft. They opened fire about two miles off shore and the sight of a salvo of about 200 rockets from each craft flying over head was somewhat scary. These craft carried about 600 rockets fired in banks of about 200. Having exhausted the 600 they retired to reload. Below are the diary notes of an unknown veteran which gives some sense of the day's events.

Date Action
Fri 9th July Stand by call to action stations.
Sat 10th July 02.25 All's well. Flashes of AA fire from the beach. Beach well in sight, cruisers and destroyers steaming on starboard beam.
  02.35 All's well. Beach lit up by star shells. AA fire. Waiting to go in. First wave of RM Commandos in LCG3 believed gone in.
  02.45 Our wave ready to go in, LCGs 9 & 10 with Canadians. LCG3 just going in. RAF still carrying out softening process.
  03.00 No action as yet. Bombing and AA fire still active.
  03.15 Moving into beach on port side. A’s and M’s loaded with RM Commandos disappear in darkness towards beach.
  03.30 Standing by to fire. Steady bombing still in progress. Range approx. 2 ½ miles, 4000 yards.
  03.45 Still moving in, covering port side of landing.
  04.00 No shelling as yet. Intensified bombing still in progress. Range approx. 4000 yards.
  04.25 All guns loaded with reduced charges. Exchange of fire between MLs and machine gun posts. Still closing with beach. Range 3500 yards.
  04.30 Prepare to fore on machine gun posts from which tracers are pouring. Range 1000 yards. Dawn is now breaking. Troops still pouring in.
  04.35 Manoeuvring for covering fire and bombardment. No sign of any action against ships yet.
  04.40 Heavy smoke screen covering island. No shots fired at us as yet. Rocket ships fired salvos and cleared machine gun posts.
  04.45 Dawn has broken. Everything is clear. Destroyer fires two salvos and then withdraws. Battery opens up at us. A large number of ships on the horizon. Still training guns on target but still no shelling. Shots straddle ship and make it shake. Enemy shore batteries firing at LCGs.
  04.55 Begin firing in reply to enemy guns. Enemy guns silenced. Bridge reports ammunition dump hit. Clear daylight, action well under way. Expecting next shot to hit us. LCG firing closer to beach. LCAs standing off beach. Troops pouring in. Shelling growing strong.
  05.20 LCG 9’s gunfire effective.
  05.30 Not much reply from the enemy, must be engaged by troops. Odd shots dropping by craft. Many of our planes visible. Enemy battery silenced by us. Complimented by craft coming alongside. Fires starting on shore, landing craft standing off. Troops pouring in – 8th Army.
  05.40 Resistance not heavy, it appears that aircraft supported overhead. Pongos being ferried ashore. Shelling still continued, enemy guns silenced.
  05.50 No important developments. Tanks, troops and amphibians still streaming ashore. Bursts of Bren fire on shore.
  07.45 Town appears to be taken. Fighting continues but not very heavy. Machine gun fire coming from hills. Large explosion in water, just off beach.
  08.00 No further developments. Expecting enemy naval forces. We are now lying 800 yards of landing beach, 200 yards off rocky point. Water is only 25 feet deep, too shallow for LCIs to beach. Troops being taken ashore in LCAs. Just said hello to some pals in an LCA passing on the starboard quarter. It’s a small world. 51st Division still pouring in. More troop ships than that standing by, out to sea. Monitors and Destroyers which took part in shelling from further out, standing by, also awaiting orders from Admiralty.
  09.00 We are now at a large bay at east tip of island. The town is on our port beam, and on port bow large fires with dense smoke have started. The landing beach is sandy, merging into fertile countryside, with flat hill in the distance. Artillery landed sometime before, and are now engaging enemy positions. Circling aircraft are keeping a stout vigil.
  09.30 Heavy explosions now occurring regularly on shore. Hands to cruising stations.
  10.45 Bombardment by 6" cruiser and destroyer. Enemy resistance on land. Aircraft bomb positions. AA fire returned. Ten minutes bombardment. Amphibians moving in to land. Tanks visible on beach. LCIs still unloading troops. Other landings reported successful.
  15.00 Aerodrome captured. Shelling not required.
  15.45 Enemy being shelled in town by 15" monitor. Range accurate. Fall of shell excellent.
  16.00 Rumble of gunfire on ridge from top of island. Heavy fighting continues. Casualties unknown.
  19.55 Bombardment by 6" cruiser to assist our troops.
  21.30 Sing song in progress on B gun deck. Ammunition issued to all Marines.
  21.45 Moving out of bay to edge of convoy to watch for mines and E boats.
  22.00 Air attacks commencing. The sky is lit up like Blackpool illuminations. Dive bombers attempting to destroy troopships.
  22.30 A stick of bombs has just fallen 50 yards astern and ahead, and two to port and two to starboard.
  22.45 A large bomb has just dropped on starboard quarter. Bombing is getting more accurate. Two minor casualties. The Marine Officer has been grazed on the leg and Yorky was struck in the stomach with a small piece of shrapnel. None serious.
  23.15 No ship appear to have been hit. Smoke clearing away. Two LCIs are alongside, and cannot reach their parent ship.
Sun 11th July 01.00 Shelling by 15" Monitor. Flares on beach.
  05.35 Firing with rifles at believed enemy mines and suspicious objects. Enemy opposition on shore against tanks serious. RM Commandos did splendid job. Silenced machine gun posts and captured 1,000 Italians.
  08.00 Bright sunshine. General clean up of ships. Standing by for further orders.

The landings were successful and we had no casualties. The next few days found us moving round the coast in the support of the advancing army and by the 16th August the whole of Sicily was in our hands and the 8th Flotilla was resting up at Augusta. Not that there was much rest for the maintenance crew since all craft were due for top overhaul on their main engines. This included grinding in twelve exhaust and twelve inlet valves and refitting 12 fuel injectors on each of 22 engines - we had our hands full. Even with help from the craft motor mechanics and stokers it was a tough order but we had no lines of demarcation and ERAs, OA, EA and Shipwright all mucked in together and by the 31st August we were at Messina with the Battleships bombarding the Italian mainland.

On Sept 2nd we covered landings at Reggio De Calabria. Again no casualties and 3 days later the whole of Calabria was in our hands and on the 12th Italy surrendered and we saw the Italian Fleet pass by to give itself up in Malta.

On the 13th Sept half our Flotilla was giving support in the heavy fighting off Salerno. I was not on this operation and here we had our first casualties. One of our craft was hit on the bridge and all Officers and Coxswain were killed, leaving one Petty Officer, the motor mechanic to take command. This he did and with the Sergeant of Marines continued the fight until ordered to withdraw. He then took his craft back to Malta and received the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM) for his efforts.

Shortly after this the whole squadron returned to Dijelli, where we split into two, one half to stay in the Med, the others to proceed to Milford Haven, my staff to accompany those going home. We encountered no enemy but in very rough weather five tank landing craft (LCTs) foundered with the loss of all lives. In addition two broke in two but the crews were taken off. Our craft, with their covered holds, had no problems other than engine breakdowns... I changed craft six times on the trip to deal with big end failures.

On arrival in Glasgow, we never did get to Milford Haven, all engines were due for major overhaul. Only 11 out of 22 engines were running on all cylinders. The others had scoring of the crankpins which prevented the fitting of spare bearings. To allow the engines to operate in this condition the pistons on the affected cylinders had been removed, balance weights fitted to the cranks, and to prevent crank case fires, inlet and exhaust valves had been fitted with telescopic push rods to stop them opening.

Three weeks after arrival in Glasgow, the craft having been handed over to Ship Repairers, the Flotilla was disbanded and we went down to HMS Westcliff for leave and to wait for our next appointments.

Preparations for D-Day

After three weeks leave over Christmas I reported back to Westcliff. A week later I was on Euston Station in charge of a draft of 30 to form the staff of the 332nd Support Flotilla. However, on reporting to Combined Operations offices in West Nile Street, Glasgow, I found I had rejoined my old 8th Flotilla. This time the Flotilla Officer was a Lieutenant RN, the Engineer Officer an RNVR Lieutenant, who in Civvy Street was the engineer in charge of Post Office transport in Scotland. He informed me, "I don't propose to interfere; maintenance of all craft and supervision of the maintenance staff is yours." This suited me well and later on he told me he had pulled strings to get me.

We were to be in Glasgow until the end of March and my wife joined me. Work was fairly easy since all the craft were fitted with replacement engines by private contractors. My job was to check on progress, but, as the craft were in seven different yards on both sides of the Clyde stretching from Rothesay to the centre of Glasgow, a lot of travelling was involved. We had a 350 cc BSA motorbike and a jeep for this.

In early March the staff was made up to full complement and for the first time in my life I was able to pick those I wanted as my crew. I got half of my old staff back, the rest had been drafted elsewhere. At the end of March I returned the BSA to the garage and we sailed for HMS Turtle at Poole. Here we commandeered a house near the beach for the officers and later I found the motorbike at the back. The EO had brought it down because he thought I might like to live at home in Southampton!

A month in Poole and we moved again, this time to the Beaulieu River. The Officers were billeted in Exbury House, the Ratings in bell tents on the lawn and yours truly at home. At Exbury the craft were out on exercise daily and we carried out essential maintenance until the end of May, when we moved to the Eastern Docks. These were full of craft and ships of all types and sizes. We stored our ammunition and supplies to full capacity and on June 4th were ready to sail for the invasion of Normandy. We were to leave at 2000, arriving off the French beaches at 0600 the next morning. However, the weather was against us and we actually sailed 24 hours later.

D-Day and Aftermath

It was a rough trip and the American Mark V Tank Landing Craft had a particularly bad time. Several of them capsized and quite a few were taken in tow. They were very small craft, never meant for anything but calm weather. From one we picked up our Flotilla Officer from the 8th Flotilla!

At 0400 the next morning we went to action stations. Our job was to go in first together with the Flak and Rocket Craft to lay down a barrage before the troops were landed. We went in line abreast followed by the rocket craft. Out beyond them were destroyers and cruisers and further out two monitors and HMS Warspite. All opened fire a little after 0500, the noise was horrendous and morale in the enemy ranks must have dropped to zero. The landing craft on our beach had very little trouble at first although resistance gradually increased. With the assault troops went Bombardment Liaison Officers whose job it was to find where the army wanted shells placed and report back to us. Our two guns fired continuously from 0500 until 2300 that day then we were out of ammunition and had to retire to an ammunition supply ship to replenish. Thus ended what became known as the "Longest Day" ... and long it was.

After D-day we spent the next three days throwing 4 ½ inch shells at unseen targets, Army Forward Observation Officers positioned inland giving us instructions. D plus 5 arrived and LCG2, in which I was billeted, was ordered to close the shore and attempt to draw the fire of an enemy shore battery which had defied the efforts of the RAF to destroy it. With not a little trepidation we weighed anchor and proceeded inshore firing in the general direction of the battery. There was no response from the enemy until we made a 180 degree turn to avoid beaching. As we headed away from the cliffs our guns were now unable to bear on the enemy position. There were then three explosions, the first lifted our stern out of the water, the second was a 15" salvo from HMS Warspite, and the third saw the end of the battery as eight 15" HE shells hit their target. I was afterwards told that this battery was mobile, on railway lines and normally ran into a tunnel at the first hint of danger.

The enemy shell had exploded between our rudders and had put our steering gear out of action - it was impossible to turn the wheel. However, we had been lucky. If the incoming shell had had twenty feet longer range I would not be writing this.

Using the main engines for steering we put the ship on the beach and when the tide had fallen far enough examined the damage - both rudders were bent outwards and since they could not be straightened in place we dug deep holes in the sand, disconnected the rudders and dropped them out of the ship. Meanwhile our signaller tried in vain to locate a repair ship... but all was not lost. There were many craft on the beach some of them apparently damaged beyond repair so I decided to cannibalise one of them. I rounded up my four ERAs and some Stokers and set off along the beach.

We walked about a mile before we found a craft which had the same gear as our LCG 2. I went aboard and found her deserted and very high out of the water. Whilst the Stokers dug holes in the sand the ERAs disconnected all the gear and then, just as we were going to drop the rudders, a voice behind me said, "What are you doing?" A young RNVR Lieutenant informed me that he was sailing for Southampton at 0800 the next day. It was now 22.00 hrs so we replaced all the gear and rather forlornly began our trek back to LCG 2.

We hadn't gone far when out of the dark came the challenge "Halt, who goes there?" I replied "Friend." "Advance friend and be recognised." It was a Royal Engineer NCO who informed me that the beach was mined and had not yet been swept. The rest of our walk along the beach took much longer than when we came out!

By now the tide had risen so we turned in and, at the next low tide, we replaced the old rudders and requested instructions from the Senior Officer. We were to join the evening convoy so that repairs could be carried out in Southampton. At 22.00 hrs, together with 14 other landing craft, we sailed, steering by engines. We should have arrived at Southampton at 09.00 hrs the following morning but come daylight we were alone. However, through the haze we could see the Isle of Wight and at 10.00 hrs we berthed at Town Quay. An hour later a tug arrived and took us up the Itchen to White's Yard.

Back at the Normandy beaches we found there had been some excitement the night before. E boats had got in amongst the assembled ships and craft and one of our ships had been sunk. This resulted in all Flak and Gun ships being re-assembled as the Support Squadron, Eastern Flank, and each night we formed a protective screen around the ships and Mulberry Harbour. This lasted three weeks during which time there were a few sporadic raids. However, by the end of July the army was too far inland for the squadron to offer support so we returned to Poole to refit and to lick our wounds.

Walcheren - Operation Infatuate

The next couple of months were employed in routine overhaul and maintenance duties. We were beginning to feel that the war had passed the Support Squadron by. Then towards the end of October we prepared 6 LCGs, 6 LCFs, 5 LCT(R)s together with 6 smaller support craft armed with guns and smoke mortars and 2 LCG(M) (medium) for a further action. This done we sailed from Poole for Ostend and on October 31st we received our orders. D-day was Nov 1st with H-hour 09.45. Our purpose was to support the Royal Marine Commando landing at Westkapple on Walcheren in the Sheldt estuary. Three heavy warships, HMS Warspite and the monitors HMS Roberts and HMS Erebus, all with 15-inch guns, were to support us. We would go in under cover of an aerial bombardment.

The morning dawned cold and miserable with low visibility. Unfortunately this poor weather was general all over Northern Europe and the RAF was grounded by fog. The air support, which was an integral part of the original plan, was not available. However, after a hurried conference it was decided that the landing should go ahead.

The action started with a bombardment by the heavy ships whilst the LCGs closed the Westkapple battery with the object of destroying it. Our 4.7-inch shells bounced off the concrete emplacements. We had been firing for some hour and a quarter when the Rocket Craft opened fire. Two got the wrong range and their rockets fell in the area covered by the LCGs and LCFs. LCG2 and 2 of the LCFs were damaged. It was my most terrifying experience of the war.

Then, as the Marines closed on the beach, the enemy batteries opened up on them and we were told to get in as close as possible to draw the enemy fire. The two LCG(M)s went close in to the beach, No 1 was literally blown to pieces almost at once. There were no survivors. No 2 was repeatedly hit by 88mm shells, but managed to withdraw only to sink in deep water with only six casualties - 2 killed and 4 wounded.

LCG 1 went in with all guns firing and closed to 600 yards in spite of being hit three times and set on fire. She was hit several more times and put out of action. LCG 17 tried to take her in tow but she sank. LCG 17 continued to give support, but was hit several times and was set on fire. She was ordered to withdraw. LCGs 10 and 11 were also damaged but continued support until Walcheren was taken on the 8th of November.

Of the 6 LCGs one was lost and 5 badly damaged. Of the LCTs 2 were lost and 3 were damaged and only 2 of the Rocket Craft required no repairs. Of our crews 172 had been killed and 204 wounded. However, the enemy fire had been drawn from the Marines and they were ashore with far less casualties than the support squadron had suffered.

Photos l -r: (1) Amphibians (Buffalos) coming ashore at Westkapelle; (2) Oranjemolen (Orange Mill) at Flushing (Vlissingen) where No. 4 Commando landed early on 1/11/44; (3) French Commando Officers in Flushing - Lt. Guy de Montlaur, Lt. Guy Hattu, Commandant Phillippe Kieffer & Lt Jacques Senée; (4) Bunkers of the German coastal battery at Westkapelle. The first two are for 9.4 cm artillery and the third for fire direction; (5) Lt./General Wilhelm Daser, Commander of the 70th Infantry Division & Fortress Commander of Walcheren led into captivity accompanied by Major Hugh Johnston of the Royal Scots.

The cumulative effect of our shells, including the 15 inch, was to put one gun out of action when a 4.7 inch from one of the LCGs passed through the firing slit. Had the enemy ignored the Support Squadron and concentrated their firepower on the landings, there is no way the Marines could have made it. With the battle over we crept back to Ostend, a tired and ragged convoy, some under tow, few with both engines running and all with pumps going flat out to keep afloat. At Ostend we patched up the hulls as best we could. Some had plates bolted on, we found it virtually impossible to weld mild steel plates to the hulls. Cement boxes covered a lot of the holes. LCG 17 had 47 patches on her hull as she left for Poole.

Following the action 200 mine sweepers cleared the Sheldt Estuary and the port of Antwerp was opened to Allied ships - a vital link in supplying the Allied armies as they advanced towards Germany. Click on Operation Infatuate for a more comprehensive account of the action.

The Run Down

The Battle of Walcheren saw the end of the war for the Support Squadron. We stayed at Poole for a few months and then moved down to Appledore in Devon to lay the ships up in reserve. We spent about six weeks drying out the engines and pumping round inhibiting oil to prevent rust. This done we left the ships and returned to Poole. Here we spent the next few months laying up US Tank Landing Craft on the beach at Arne.

Gradually my staff were drafted away to other jobs until I was left on my own. I was then absorbed into the Base Staff to maintain the few landing craft still on the Channel run.

Early in July 1945 I was told to stand by to commission a new Flotilla of LCGs converted from Mark10 landing craft. They were to be 'tropicalised' so I was sent to Hall's of Dartford for a refrigeration course. At the end of the course I returned to Poole, but I never did commission the new Flotilla since the war ended before they were ready.

The coming of peace brought orders to close some of the Combined Ops bases, among them HMS Turtle. It took about three months and then I moved up to Troon and closed down there. Next a draft to HMS Tullicuan a shore base at Balloch on Loch Lomond. Why I was there or what I was supposed to do I never did find out. No ships, no small landing craft or even a motorboat and no engine room staff. The only thing I remember doing there was checking through service certificates and issuing medal ribbons!

By now I was the last Chief ERA in Combined Operations, all the others having returned to General Service. I was hearing daily from my old staff, all of whom were 'Hostilities Only', saying they were being demobbed. I was beginning to wonder if the Navy had forgotten me when I received orders to report back to RNB Portsmouth on May 31st. 1946. I had been away for three years and four months. Having spent all this time with none of the usual Naval Bull, it was with some trepidation that I returned. Three weeks leave and three weeks playing snooker found me on the move again this time to HMS Indefatigable, at the time the largest of Britain’s carriers. 28,000 tons and 152,000 HP. This came as a bit of a shock, but I found I had charge of the main engines, workshops and Diesel Generators - the latter were Paxmans, the same as in the LCGs... but all that's another story.

Further Reading

There are around 300 books listed on our 'Combined Operations Books' page which can be purchased on-line from the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE) whose search banner checks the shelves of thousands of book shops world-wide. 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. Click 'Books' for more information.

Acknowledgments

Written by Chief Engine Room Artificer (CERA), Robert Wallace-Sims.

News & Information

 

Memorial Maintenance

We have a small band of volunteers who take turns to visit the memorial each month, particularly during the growing season, to undertake routine maintenance such as weeding keeping the stones and slabs clear of bird dropping, lichen etc. and reporting on any issues. If you live near the National Memorial Arboretum and would like to find out more, please contact us.

Remember a Veteran

You can pay a personal tribute to veterans who served in, or alongside, the Combined Operations Command in WW2 by adding their details and optional photo to our Roll of Honour and They Also Served pages on this website.

Read the Combined Operations prayer.

Forthcoming Events

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

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

To notify an event click here.

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Facebook

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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.

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