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45 CDO D Day Sword Beach

Unit/ Formation: 45 Cdo RM


Location: France


Period/ Conflict: World War II


Year: 1944


Date/s: 6 June 1944

On 5th June, 1944, 45 Commando RM moved to Warsash at the entrance to the Solent where they embarked in five LCI(S)s, Landing Craft Infantry (Small). At 1700 hours, they slipped anchor and formed up in the Solent.


The voyage through the night proved uneventful, though the sea was rough. The secrecy over the Commandos' mission was finally broken, when the precise details of their landing beach were revealed; 0910 hours on "Queen Red" beach, two miles west of Ouistreham in Normandy.


45 Cdo (Lt Col N C Ries) landed alongside No 6 (Army) Cdo at H +90 near Le Breche on Sword Queen Beach which had been taken earlier by 8th Infantry Bde.


Their approach to the beach was under the cover of a very heavy bombardment of shells and rockets from Allied naval forces. One mile offshore, enemy shells fell around the long column of landing craft, many of which were ablaze. As 45’s flotilla approached the beach, enemy anti-tank guns opened fire from the flank. Two craft were hit and some casualties were sustained. On reaching the beach, a few troops managed ashore dry footed but the majority waded ashore, leaving the remainder facing the almost impossible task of swimming ashore carrying between 60 and 80 lbs on their backs.


The beach area was exceedingly hazardous with mines, beach obstacles and rapid fire from flanking pillboxes, not to mention the activities of enemy mortar units and heavy guns. About a hundred yards inland, they passed through the line of the assault battalion (2nd Battalion East Yorks) as they made their way to their check point. Their advance progressed well, although harried intermittently by mortar and shell fire.


Their first objective was to secure the bridges over the River Orne and the Caen Canal. It transpired that they were already in the hands of the Parachute Brigade, who had parachuted into the area seven hours earlier.

They pushed South and East across the Orne River and Caen Canal penetrating as far as Salanelles and the outskirts of Merville by dusk.


Related Royal Marines 'Dits'


  1. 45 Cdo Royal Marines - D Day

  2. Linking up with the Paras on the Orne Bridgehead

  3. D DAY Royal Marines

  4. 47 Commando - The Advance to Port-en-Bessin

  5. 47 Cdo RM - Battle of Port-en-Bessin 7-8 June 1944 - "It is doubtful whether, in their long, distinguished history, the marines have ever achieved anything finer 

  6. Embarking 47 Cdo at Southampton

  7. D Day from an LCA 

  8. The Last Man Standing, the story of Dennis Donovan, 48 Royal Marine Commando Juno Beach D DAY Royal Marines 

  9. Cpl George Tandy - Gold Beach - 'The Human Rudder'

  10. 46 Cdo RM - D Day - Capture of Petit Enfer  

  11. 48 Royal Marine Commando - July 1944 - Sallenelles

  12. Joseph Kelsey - 5th RM (Independent) Armoured Support Battery 

  13. Royal Marines Armoured Support Group 

  14. 30 AU in Normandy - 'You can't behave like Red Indians any more' 

  15. 46 CDO RM - The Attack on Le Hamel and Rots - 12 SS Pz Div

  16. Supporting the Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc 

  17. 47 Cdo RM - Sallenelles - Orne


References/ Further Reading



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