42 Commando

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#1
Has anyone ever written up the history of 42 Commando from its formation and specifically its time in Burma 1944-5?

There's a whole book about 44 but I can't find anything about 42.

My late stepfather Major HGS Saunders (1915-2003) served in both (joined 1RM in 1939) and I would like to be able to piece his story together.

Thanks for any leads.
 
#3
From a search:

42 Commando RM - The Battle of Kangaw - 31 January 1945
In Burma during January 1945, following the capture of the Myebon Peninsula, 3 Commando Brigade was given the task of making a further landing near Kangaw, with the intention of cutting the Japanese lines of withdrawal down the coast. On 22 January 1945, 42 RM Commando (Lieutenant Colonel H H Dales) together with No 1 Commando landed and occupied positions in the mangrove swamp. Subsequently the Commando was ordered to capture a heavily wooded ridge known as Hill 170. Two days of hand-to-hand fighting were necessary before the Japanese could be driven from the ridge, and no sooner were they dislodged than they subjected it to heavy artillery fire. After a lull of several days, the Japanese counter-attacked at dawn on 31 January 1945. The enemy attacked repeatedly. In spite of heavy casualties to the Commando, the Japanese were finally beaten off, and withdrew, leaving their dead and dying among forward Commando positions. In a Special Order of the Day to 3 Commando Brigade, Lieutenant General Sir Philip Christison, Commander of XV Corps, concluded "The Battle of Kangaw has been the decisive battle of the whole Arakan campaign, and that it was won was very largely due to your magnificent defence on Hill 170".
 
#6
War diaries for 42 Commando 1943-1946 are held at the National Archive under reference ADM 202/94: Medal citations for 4 RM O/Rs during service with 15 Indian Corps in SEAC are under reference ADM 1/30238.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#7
Thanks folks, both for Hill 170 and TNA refs. When you're knocking on a bit you realise the need to tie up the ends for those that come after.
 

jambosun

Lantern Swinger
#9
Seaweed,

You may have tried already but both the Corps Secretary (Lt Col Ian Grant RM) at DRM, Whale Island and the Corps Historical Records Officer (Maj Mark Bentinck), who used to be based at Centurion Bldg but not sure if he;s still there, should be able to help you. Good Luck
 
#13
In your search for 42 Cdo history, you'd do well to get in touch with the Corps Historian - Maj Mark Bentinck RM (Retd). He'll be able to point you in the direction of the 42 Cdo Op Record for the periods in which you're interested, best case he might be able to lay his hands on them straight away.

LG
 

tufty

Lantern Swinger
#14
jambosun said:
Seaweed,

You may have tried already but both the Corps Secretary (Lt Col Ian Grant RM) at DRM, Whale Island and the Corps Historical Records Officer (Maj Mark Bentinck), who used to be based at Centurion Bldg but not sure if he;s still there, should be able to help you. Good Luck
Major Mark Bentinck is now in the Historical Branch in the Naval Base. If you PM me I'll tell you how to contact him. I have quite a bit of contact with him and I'm sure he'd be delighted to help.

Tufty
 
#15
Re: Major HGS Saunders

Photo for "Seaweed"
Attached photo of 1 RM/42 Commando officers was taken at Sway in August 1943 just after 1 RM became 42 RM Commando. Major HGS Saunders is third from the left in between Davis and Messer-Bennetts.
I joined at Pompey November '39 and joined 1 RM when it was formed at Brookwood in April 1940 - left Hong Kong for home and demob in October 1945. Sorry, now find I don't know how to how send the photo.
 
#19
42 Commando served Far East 1949 Hong Kong,Moved to Malaya early 1950 operated in the area Perak against Communist insurgents,a excellent book 'Green Beret Red Star' by Anthony Crocket covers operation's at that time,Hope this helps.Cheers Aye.JR
 
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