Nowadays we associate the word Commando with the Royal Marines and their green berets. But during the Second World War the Commando units were also drawn from the Army. The word itself derived from the Boer em>kommando who caused the British Army so much trouble in South Africa.
As with the Parachute Regiment, Army Commando men volunteered from another unit, rather than join straight from civilian life. In the 1940 the British Army began to form and recruit company sized Commando units, which eventually grew to Battalion size. These special forces units spawned a number of famous Regiments, in particular the Special Air Service, the Special Boat Service and the Parachute Regiment.
Commando’s fought in the defence of Crete against a German airborne invasion in 1941.Corporal George Sheridan was killed on 25 May 1941 while serving in 7 Commando. Orginally from the Hampshire Regiment, he was 20 and from Fratton. He is buried in Suda Bay War Cemetery on Crete.
Private John Stevens, 22 and from Southsea, died on 13 May 1943. Originally from the Hampshire Regiment, he was serving in 12 Commando. He is buried in Milton Cemetery.
Commandos were par of the force that invaded Sicily in 1943.Gunner Richard Tickell was serving in 3 Commando. Orginally of the Royal Artillery, he was killed on 10 July 1943. He is buried in Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily.
Army Commandos were among the units that landed on D-Day. Lieutenant Michael Burness landed on Sword Beach on D-Day with 4 Commando. Originally from the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, he was 26 and from Southsea. He was killed on D-Day and is buried in Hermanvlle War Cemetery.
After D-Day the Commando’s fought on throughout the battle of Normandy, serving alongside the arborne troops in holding the Orne bridgehead. Private Andrew Newham of 6 Commando was killed on 20 August 1944. Aged 20 and from Southsea, he was formerly a member of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He is buried in Ranville War Cemetery.
Private Frederick Lyons was serving in 2 Commando when he was killed in Italy on 9 October 1944. Orginally from the Queens Regiment, he was 29 and from Southsea. He has no known grave, and is remembered on the Cassino Memorial.
After the war the Army Commandos were disbanded, leaving the Royal Marines to carry on the role.