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Looking for information on RM who served on HMS Arethsua light cruiser  XML
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Phil Harris
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Joined: 23/06/2013 12:17:11
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My late father served on HMS Arethsua from Jan 44 to may 46 and I was just trying to find out if their is any information or list of RM and what they did on board I did get dads s/records but their is very little on them I guest it's because of the time period and the action they sure. I got more information from dads s/records from his Australian army service and I was just trying to fill in some gaps. Dad also said that served in Palestine/Syria in late 45/46 for a very short time.
Any information on the time period would be very much appreciated.

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Phil.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 27/10/2013 09:51:59

NIC
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Joined: 10/04/2007 22:56:27
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Hi Phil,

Welcome to the Commando Veterans Association Website & forums.
Having seen some Royal Marine Service Records, I can fully understand why you say that the information is very scant - some of the records I have seen consist of just three entries.

You say your father served from '44 to '46 on HMS Arethusa which was a light cruiser?
If this is the case, I would venture to say that, although your father was a Royal Marine, he probably was not a Royal Marine Commando!

I should explain...

The first indicator is that your father served on board a ship - RM Commandos did not serve on board ships.

The Royal Marine Corps had been in existence as part of the Naval Service in 1755. However, it can trace its origins back as far as 1664...
During World War Two some 80,000 men served in the Royal Marines, and they continued to operate at sea and in land formations as RM Infantry Battalions and RM Artillery etc, but it wasn't until 1942 that we saw the formation of the first Royal Marines Commandos.

The Army Commandos had been formed in 1940, but in early 1942 'the powers that be' decided to convert some of the RM Infantry Battalions to become RM Commandos to fight alongside the, already established, Army Commandos
Eventually 10 RM Battalions were to become RM Cdos.
At that time, only the RM Cdos, together with their Army counterparts, were entitled to wear the Green Beret - other Royal Marines wore the Navy Blue Beret.

At the end of hostilities it was decided that, for various reasons, the Army Commandos would be disbanded and that the Royal Marine Corps would take over the Commando role.

Thus it was that all Royal Marines became commandos and these days all RMs complete commando training and are, therefore, all entitled to wear the Green Beret...

Without seeing your father's records I can't be 100% sure, but I'd guess that he wasn't a commando, nevertheless, he would have carried out an equally vitally important job on board his ship.

As for HMS Arethusa, a torpedo from an Italian aircraft struck her on 18 November 1942 and caused heavy casualties. She received temporary repair work in Alexandria that lasted until 7 February 1943, after which she proceeded to Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, for full repair. These were completed by 15 December 1943, and the ship then returned to Britain.
She did not become fully operational again until early June 1944, when she sailed for the invasion of Normandy. During the Normandy Landings she was part of the Eastern Task Force, sailing from the Clyde on 2 June and arriving off the beaches at 0455 on 6th. She was part of Bombarding Force 'D' which included the battleships Warspite and Ramillies and four other cruisers and thirteen destroyers. They provided gunfire support for Force S landing at Sword Beach.
Arethusa's main task was gunfire support to the Sixth Airborne Division.
She had the honour of carrying King George VI across the channel to Normandy, when he toured the beaches and visited the Allied Command Headquarters.
By January 1945, she was part of the 15th Cruiser Squadron with the Mediterranean Fleet and stayed there until October 1945 when she returned to the United Kingdom and was immediately placed in the Reserve (at the Nore).
I have to admit that I'm more at home with Commandos' records, but if I can help with your father's records, I'm happy to give it a go - are there any acronyms/abbreviations that may give me any clues as to his duty on board Arethusa?

In the meantime, you may want to contact the RM Association who may be able to through more light on the life of a Royal Marine on board a light cruiser.
http://www.royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/

regards,
Nick

Nick Collins

CVA Forum Administrator

Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Phil Harris
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Joined: 23/06/2013 12:17:11
Messages: 2
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Hi Nick,

Thanks for your reply unlike dads Australian army records which is about 20 pages long and very colour full in parts(dad also served in the Korean war & Japan),The RM record I have are 2 pages that are very hard to read the following information is on them.

Service number CH/X 112659.
Qualification PFF Feb 1944,Naval gunnery 67% TS 1943, SEA PT2 Sep 1943 ?.

The other details are
G coy at Chatham barracks march 43-Jan 44 CO was H L G Bird one of his CO on board ship was a H B Smith.

I do have a couple of photo's of him I think in the med wearing khaki in one he is having a drink with two sailors as their wearing white uniforms and the RM cap is next to dad.

[Thumb - Phil & Dad 030.jpg]
 Filename Phil & Dad 030.jpg [Disk] Download
 Description The old man having a drink.
 Filesize 271 Kbytes
 Downloaded:  187 time(s)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 28/10/2013 10:53:58

NIC
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Joined: 10/04/2007 22:56:27
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Location: Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire
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Hi Phil,

The letters 'CH' indicate the Division that your father joined - ie. Chatham Division

The prefixes 'CH/X' followed by numbers of six figures in the 100000 series (CH/X 112659), indicate ranks entered for Short Service during World War II.

Nick


Nick Collins

CVA Forum Administrator

Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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