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 400,000+ annual visits & 6 million hits to 180  webpages & 3000 photos.  News and Information at the bottom of this and every web page.

Please 'like' the Combined Operations Command Memorial on Facebook in remembrance of all who served their country.

~ PHOTO & VIDEO GALLERY ~

If you have photographs (old or more recent), Youtube videos or website pages  about veterans who served in Combined Operations, such as those on the BBC's WW2 People's War archive, we would be pleased to hear from you. The entries below will give you an idea of the kind of material of interest. Just send your photo(s) or link by e-mail with a brief description of the veterans' service. Use 'Contact Us' which you'll find in the page banner. [Photo opposite courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]

1

Normandy General

Leslie Parrott (RN) - Youtube Video. My late father was an LCA coxswain assigned to Combined Operations in WW2. He landed his craft on the Normandy beaches on D-Day. You can watch a short video of his recollections recorded by my son just a few years before my father's death in 2003. We're so lucky to have this video as a family archive and would be honoured to share it with anyone interested. The video is in two parts each about 10 minutes long. Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrX5WNrOAoM Part 2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKlnFNoTTKw  Best Regards, Kevin Parrott.

Veterans of No 3 Commando stand in remembrance of their lost colleagues in front of new commemorative plaque at the location of the Merville Battery. Location -  in Normandy near the village of Merville-Franceville on the D514. Notes - for more information and photos click here and scroll down the page. (Photos taken on 61st Anniversary of the action courtesy of Bern and Fay Robins).
Veteran.  LAC Karl Work of the Royal Canadian Air Force attached to the RAF. Location. Juno Beach. Notes.  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.
Veteran. Kenneth G. Wood, President of the London Area Branch of The Naval Officer's Association of Canada. Location. Canadian cemetery, Beny-sur-Mer (NW of Caen). Notes. Entered the Navy at the age of 15 (lied about his age). In 1940 he was torpedoed and captured by the Japanese en route to Hong Kong. Escaped with 6 others and made their way to Pearl Harbour. On D-Day he may have been the first Canadian ashore since he landed to confer with a British Commander about enemy positions for naval bombardment in advance of the main landings. After D-Day Wood's ship helped protect the invasion fleet from E-boat attacks.
As above in front of the Canadian cemetery, Beny-sur-Mer (NW of Caen).
Veteran. "Duck" seated (in red blazer & cap) in front row to the right of President Bush. Location. The American Cemetery, Omaha Beach. Notes. 'Duck' was in the first wave of landings on Omaha when 26 of the 32 troops aboard the landing craft were killed. Later in the hedgerows behind the beaches he accounted for a dozen Germans before being seriously injured by machine gun fire to his head. He spent 3 years in hospital.
Veteran. Petty Officer Motor Mechanic Alan Haworth. Location. Standing by the memorial at Ouistreham. Notes. He was with the Mk4 LCT 1025 of the 48th LCT Flotilla assigned to Sword beach.
2

Normandy - Pegasus Bridge and Gondre Cafe

Veteran. I recently was privileged to meet a D-Day Veteran by the name of John. He landed at Arromanches with the Service Corps and ran supplies from the beach to the advancing troops. Location. He had visited Normandy many times since the war and when we went to the Cafe Gondre he was recognised immediately and given his usual Brandy. Notes. It was so humbling to be in his company and for him to share his memories from the landings. He wore his medals under his overcoat and would only show them to people who asked. Peter Prescott, Lancs.
Veteran. My father, Richard Dyke (centre), 14706649 of the Royal Engineers attached to the Ox and Bucks when they took Pegasus bridge on D-day. Location. In front of the original Pegasus Bridge in 2005. Notes. Richard met Arlette Gondree who owns the cafe near the bridge and whom he first saw as a little girl on D-Day. They were relieved by Lord Lovat's Commandos and sent to high ground overlooking the Normandy area. I'd like to hear from anyone who may have served with my father. Best wishes, Howard. Click here to reply. [Howard's e-mail address was updated on 7/11/08.  He would also be delighted to hear from anyone who tried and failed to make contact via the old address.]
Veterans. The Ox and Bucks vets in the picture are from left to right, Nobby Clarke, Tich Rayner, Tom Packwood and Geoff Barkway glider pilot in the wheelchair. Location - Ranville churchyard. Notes - Taken in June 2005 close to Den Brotheridge's grave. (See below for more information on the daring action they were involved in.) [Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]
 
Veteran. Colonel Tillet. Location. Ranville churchyard. Notes. Photo taken after the ceremony for Den Brotheridge, who took over from Major Howard when he crashed his jeep. Pegasus Bridge was the objective of 6th (Airborne) Division's 'coup de main' force on the night of 5th/6th June 1944. Despite difficult conditions their three gliders landed on target, the road bridge across the Caen canal. Inside were men from Oxs and Bucks Light Infantry Airborne, under the command of Major John Howard. The advance party, under Lieutenant Den Brotheridge, stormed the defences. Brotheridge was killed on the other side of the bridge, just short of the nearby Gondre Cafe. With this bridge, and the one across the Orne, secured by another party from the Oxs and Bucks, Howard had achieved his objectives in ten minutes. His signal to HQ 'Ham and Jam,' to indicate that both positions had been taken intact must have been welcome news of the highest importance. [Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]
Veterans. First row from left to right is Wally Parr, Tom Packwood, David Wood and Billy Gray. Behind is Peter (Rocky) Bright, returning for the first time in 60 years, and also Nobby Clark. The two veterans flanking them are presently unknown, but the one on the left is the only surviving RE of the coup de main,   Location.
Notes. '
Coup de main' march past.[Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]
Veteran. Richard Todd. Location. Outside Gondre. Notes. Photo taken just before midnight after watching the fireworks display. Richard Todd starred in many post war films and played the role of Major Howard in the film The Longest Day. [Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]
 
Veterans. Two Royal Artillery veterans. Location. Colleville, Montgomery Plage (Sword beach). Notes. Names presently unknown. [Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]
Veterans. David Wood (right) and Major Freddie Scott (left).  Location.               Notes. David Wood is the only officer left of the, coup de main, party and who landed in the second glider and Major Scott also served with the Ox and Bucks. [Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]
Veteran. Bob Ham of the Ox and Bucks. Location. The original Pegasus Bridge now preserved for future generations in a nearby park. Notes. He took part in the follow up action. [Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]


 
 
Veteran. Wally Harris MM. Location. Colleville, Montgomery. Notes.
The NVA march past. Wally is holding a photograph of himself from the war years. [Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]


 
Veterans. Members of the 7th Btn. Parachute Regt. As you look at the photo (L-R); Gordon Tucker, Bill Law, then I believe Gordon Elliott and (?) Gould. My father was Eric Truman, a member of the 7th Btn. and a great friend of Bill Law. My father travelled to Normandy every year from the 70s onwards until his death in 1995. My husband and I travel to Normandy every June now and meet up with members of the 7th. [Frances McClory (nee Truman)] Location. The photo was taken on June 6th 2004 outside the 'Cafe Gondre'. Notes. The veterans had just marched over Pegasus Bridge, then joined by Madame Gondre, walked up the high street to the remembrance ceremony at the monument on the corner.
Veterans. Presently unknown. Location.                       Notes. Taking a breather. [Photo courtesy of Andrew Bystram.]
Veteran. Jack 'taffy' Bennett is represented here by his great grandsons Ross Morgan & Scott Thompson. Location. Cafe Gondre close to Pegasus Bridge with Arllete Gondre whose family owned the cafe in 1944. Notes. Jack Bennett was in  No 3 Commando who, amongst many other achievements, helped secure the bridge which had earlier been captured by British troops flown in by Horsa gliders.
Veteran. Fred Walker of No. 3 Commando is to the right of centre. Roy, last name unknown, is on the far left and to the right of Roy a veteran who fought in Yugoslavia. Location.  The photo was taken at Cafe Gondree, Pegasus Bridge. Notes. For a close up of the plaque click here and scroll down the screen.
3

Walcheran

Commemoration event at Westkapelle, Walcheren - 48 Commando RM.

Other

Photo of the Combined Ops Service Rugby Team taken on the occasion of a match with Troon College. My grandfather, Dilwyn Evans is front row, second from the right. He is 89, well and still driving his car around his home town of Merthyr Tydfil. I am researching my family tree and would welcome any photos or stories of HMS Dundonald.

Places to Visit

D-Day Museum, Portsmouth

Juno Beach Centre

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.

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.

 

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