• Si Biggs

Formation of 40 Cdo RM

Updated: Apr 19

Unit/ Formation: 40 Cdo RM Location: Great Britain Period/ Conflict: World War II Year: 1942 Date/s: 12 October 1942

Formed at Deal with ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘X’ Companies in February 1942 as The Royal Marine Commando, it was briefly known as ‘A’ RM Commando (12–18 October 1942) before being designated 40 RM Commando In August 1945 retitled 40 RM Commando (Light) until personnel disbanded but 44 RM Cdo in Hong Kong was later re-designated 40 Commando RM.


On the original formation in 1942 the personnel were mainly volunteers from RM battalions , with an officer and 80 men of 8th Argylls; a USMC officer and two other ranks in the summer of 1942 were the first of several American Marines to serve with 40 RM Cdo.


Commando Veterans Org:


40RM Commando


14 February 1942 initially designated as the 'Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines'. Formation from volunteers commenced at North Barracks, Deal.

  • Commanding Officer Major (Acting Lt. Col.) J.P. Phillipps RM [more....].

  • Second in Command Captain (Acting Major) R.D. Houghton RM [more....].

  • When the call for volunteers for the Royal Marine Commando went out to all Royal Marine trained personnel, all ranks of the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders also became eligible to volunteer as they had been seconded by the Army to the 102nd Brigade RM since the end of 1940.

  • By the end of March 1942 the RM Commando had attained the full war establishment of 446 all ranks.

  • 5 April 1942. The RM Commando moved to Scotland where it was sub divided into 3 Groups with Commando HQ and 'X Company based at Shiel Bridge Lodge about 3 miles from Dorlin House. Elements from each Company spent time at the Commando Training Depot at Achnacarry.

  • It was during this period that an independent detachment was formed and designated as 'T' Company for a special mission. They completed their training at Achnacarry. They had been selected to be part of the crew of HMS Fidelity for raiding operations. In December 1942. HMS Fidelity was torpedoed, sinking with the loss of all the 53 Royal Marine Commandos and other crew on board [more....].

  • 18 May 1942 Greenock. The RM Commando embarked HMLSI Princess Beatrix arriving Ryde, Isle of Wight, a few days later. From there they were billeted in homes at Shanklin, Sandown and Ventnor.

  • 19 August 1942. The RM Commando (it had not been redesignated as 40RM Commando as yet although most post war writers use the new title) took part in the disastrous Dieppe raid. The main force of Canadians suffered worst with over 3,000 casualties, over 900 of whom were killed. Out of the 370 strong force from the RM Commando, 24 all ranks were killed and 76 wounded. Their Commanding Officer was amongst the Fallen. [Dieppe Commando ROH].

  • 10 October 1942 formation of a second RM Commando. The RM Commando redesignated RM Commando (A); the second RM Commando (B).

  • 26 October 1942 Green Berets now part of dress for RM Commando (A).

  • November 1942 RM Commando (A) redesignated as No.40 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines.

  • Captain J.C. Manners [more....] promoted Acting Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer.

  • 13 June 1943 Commando embarks HMT Derbyshire at Greenock engaged in training using the ship as a base.

  • 29 June 1943 HMT Derbyshire joins convoy and Commando informed destination is the Mediterranean.

  • 9-10 July 1943 Commando in LCA's join 127 Flotilla for Operation Husky landings at Sicily.

  • 7- 9 September 1943 Messina, Commando embark LCI's for Operation Avalanche landings at Vibo Valentia.

  • 3 October 1943 Manfredonia, Commando embark LCI's for Operation Devon landings at Termoli.

  • 12 October 1943 Termoli, Commando embarks LCI's for Molfetta via Manfredonia.

  • January 1944 Commando engaged in operations on the Garigliano front in Italy.

  • 2 March 1944 Commando arrives at Anzio engaged in operations for most of the month.

  • 28 March 1944 Commando returns to Molfetta.

  • 4 April 1944 Bari, Commando embarks for Komiza, Vis.

  • 2 June 1944 Commando HQ, A, Q, and Y Troops embark LCI at Vis for Operation Flounced at Brac.

  • 3 June 1944 Brac, Commanding Officer Lt Col. Manners [more...] killed during Operation Flounced.

  • 1 July 1944 Lt. Col. R.W. Sankey, D.S.C. appointed Commanding Officer; Major P.R. Matters, second in command. Commando continues operations from Vis.

  • April 1945 the Commando’s final action, Operation Roast at Lake Comacchio, Italy.

  • September 1945 - This month was largely devoted to Admin owing to the amalgamation of 40 and 43 RM Cdos., the sending of drafts to other Bdes and to HOC, and preparations for the final disbandment of the Unit.

  • 12 September 1945, 40RM Commando and 43RM Commando were officially amalgamated whilst based at Tichbourne House, Alresford.

  • 24 September 1945 the above amalgamated Commando units were redesignated a short while before disbandment as the 'Royal Marine Commando (2 Commando Brigade)'


In the Spring of 1946, 45RM Commando arrived in the Far East to strengthen the only remaining Commando Brigade, 3 Commando Brigade. In October 1946, after the disbandment of Nos 1 and 5 Army Commando units (merged as No.1/5 Commando), the Brigade was then redesignated as 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.


On 16 March 1947 the then 44 Commando of 3 Commando Brigade RM was redesignated as 40 Commando, Royal Marines. The intention being to perpetuate a Commando representative of the Dieppe raid and the Italian theatre of war, and to recognise their contribution to the Allied victory in Europe as with that of 45 Commando, combined with 42 Commando's contribution to Allied victory in the Far East.

Since then 40 Commando have served with distinction in many places including Palestine, Malaya, Cyprus, Suez, Brunei and Borneo and Ireland, the Falklands, and more recently Iraq and Afghanistan.


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