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Index of Pages

Raids & Landings ranged from Commando style "hit & run" attacks, designed to inflict damage on the German war machine and to tie down German forces in areas that might otherwise be lightly defended to major amphibious landings such as Italy and Normandy.
Mers-el-Kebir (Catapult)


Operation Catapult aimed to secure the immobilisation of a squadron of the French Naval Fleet to prevent it falling into German hands. Although not a Combined Operation this naval action is included in this website because it provides useful background to British concerns about Vichy French military resources and foreign held territories. These concerns subsequently resulted in actions involving Combined Operations such as those in North Africa (Torch) and the Litani River.
Lofoten Islands (Claymore)


Operation Claymore was the 1st Lofoten Islands raid off the Norwegian coast just north of the Arctic Circle. It achieved a good measure of destruction of German ships and fish factory oil and it gave free passage to the UK to over 300 Norwegian volunteers and a few Germans and Quislings. It was, however, most notable for giving a great boost to flagging morale within the ranks of the Commandos and later the country as news of the raid was made public. Land forces - 3 & 4 Commandos. Sea Forces -  HMS Queen Emma, Princess Beatrix & 5 Destroyers.
Bardia, North Africa


The Bardia Raid. This land/naval raid took place at a time of rapid changes in the fortunes of war - usually in favour of the Axis forces. The objective was to disrupt enemy lines of communication and to inflict as much damage as possible to their installations and equipment. Land Forces - A Battalion (ex No 7 Commando). Sea Forces - HMS Glengyle, a RN submarine and supporting gun ships.
Litani River, Palestine


[Land] C Battalion (ex 11 Commando). [Sea] HMS Glengyle.
Rommel's HQ, N Africa (Flipper)


[Land] Middle East Commando. L detachment, No 11 Commando & G(R) Branch
Lofoten Islands 2nd Raid (Anklet)


[Land} 12 Commando. [Sea] HMS Arethusa & 8 destroyers in support.
Vaagso, Norway  (Archery)


[Land] 2 & 3 Commandos [Sea] HMS Prince Leopold & Prince Charles + HMS Kenya & 4 Destroyers. [Air] Bomber Command & Coastal Command.
Bruneval, France. (Biting)


[Air] 1 Whitley Squadron. [Sea] Landing Craft & Escorts. 
St Nazaire, France (Chariot)


[Land] Nos.1,2,3,4,5,9 & 10 Commandos. [Sea] HMS Campbelltown.
Madagascar (Ironclad)


This brief account of Operation Ironclad, the invasion of Madagascar, is taken from the viewpoint of a member of No 5 Commando. Combined Operations Command was not the principal player in this operation against the Vichy French regime - more of an assistant. The total campaign lasted 6 months but the bulk of the special work of Combined Operations and the Commandos was concentrated into a few days in early May 1942. [Land] No 5 Commando.
Dieppe, France (Jubilee)


[Land] Nos 3 & 4 Commando with 50 US Rangers, the Canadian 2nd Division. [Sea] 230 ships with 3000 men. [Air] 65 RAF Squadrons (fighters, fighter/bombers and bombers).
'Omaha' Beach (Aquatint)


[Land] 12 Commandos of the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF). [Sea] MTB 344 the Little Pisser under the command of Freddie Bourne.
Glomfjord, Norway (Musketoon)


[Land] 2 Captains, 8 other ranks from No 2 Commando & 2 Corporals from Norwegian Forces attached to SOE. [Sea] Free French Submarine Juno.
North Africa (Torch)

08 -12/11/42

Full listing of all services on page
River Gironde, France (Frankton)


[Land] 10 Royal Marines - "The Cockleshell Heroes." [Sea] Sub. HMS Tuna.
Pantelleria (Corkscrew)


[Land] Infantry [Sea] ? [Air] ? 
Sicily (Husky)


[Land] US 7th Army British 8th Army [Sea] 2760 ships of the RN and US Navy [Air] ?
Salerno, Italy (Avalanche)


A brief account of the advance from Sicily to Rome. More detailed accounts of the individual landings listed below will be added in due course.
Normandy, France (Neptune & Overlord)


170,000 assault troops, 5000 ships and 820 aircraft mainly from Canada, UK and the USA.
Elba, Italy


In this account of this French led invasion of Elba the emphasis is on the role of the RN Commandos (Beach Commandos).
Walcheren (Infatuate)


Infatuate 1[Land] 155th Infantry Brigade - 4th & 5th Bn. KOSB, 7th/9th Bn The Royal Scots. Infatuate 2 4 Special Services Brigade - 41, 47 & 48 RM Commando with attached No 10 (Inter Allied)
Operation Romulous Burma Jan 1945 This account covers the landings on the north east coast of Burma - Akyab, Myebon and Kangaw. There were set-piece battles and cat and mouse manoeuvrings on both sides with danger and death constant companions while on operations. The author's father, Sgt Alexander Pirie, MM, served  in 3 Troop, Royal Marine Engineering Commandos, whose heroic efforts in clearing beach obstacles and preparing roadways are, deservedly, well documented.
To be written  
Spitzbergen (Gauntlet)


Reggio, Italy


Taranto, Italy


Anzio, Italy (Shingle)


Anvil, France


Southern France (Dragoon)


Ramree, Arakan Peninsula


Cheduba, Arakan Peninsula


Ruywa, Arakan Peninsula


Comacchio, Italy

Apr 45

Rangoon. Burma


Malay Coast (Op Zipper)

Sep 1945


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.


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.


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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