commando veterans association commando dagger
[Recent Topics] Recent Topics   [Groups] Back to home page  [Register] Register /  [Login] Login 
2 Commando, 24 Wellington Square, Ayr  XML
Forum Index » Looking for Information General
Author Message
BrianWilliamson
Forum Member

Joined: 22/11/2019 09:54:21
Messages: 5
Location: Ayr
Offline

I am an amateur historian and recently purchased a building consisting of a 4 storey Georgian townhouse with dance studios to the rear. It transpires that this building was in fact converted by the army in early 20th century and was home to 2 Commando during the Second World War. The "Dance Halls" are in fact a drill hall and rifle range. I am particularly pleased by this connection as many of my friends were in the Royal Marines in the 90's and I have a great admiration of the commandos. I am looking for any info/pictures/stories relating to this building as I intend to create a memorial in the garden to the brave commandos who were based here and educate the local population. Any help greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Brian

BW
Pete
CVA Website Archivist
[Avatar]

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 4214
Offline

Hi Brian

No. 2 Commando moved from Perth to Ayr on the 9th October 1941 in rather rushed circumstances due to their being some trouble in Perth at a Dance Hall between the Polish soldiers there and the Commandos. On arrival in Ayr No.2 Commando was not ready to be housed in billets as normal and so were initially split with 1, 4, and 6 Troops staying temporarily in Churchill Barracks Ayr, the remainder residing in Dam Park Camp and Eglinton House, Ayr. On the 17th October the Commandos were "let loose in Ayr to find their own billets." The initial H.Q. building used was Eglinton House Ayr where the Officers were residing. I believe this is very close to Wellington Square. These details are from the No. 2 Commando War Diary covering that period.

Unfortunately I do not have the War Diary for 1942 but I do know the No.2 Commando held some parades at Wellington Square. Eric Buckmaster of No.2 Commando gave an account which is in the details of a photo taken in Wellington Square I believe. That account can be read here:

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/2/scan0142a.jpg.html

Additionally we have an account by Bob Bishop of No.2 Commando on this website and he specifically mentions their HQ in 1942 being at No.2 Wellington Square. From his accounts we believe the HQ was at No.2 Wellington Square by at least May 1942. So it may be that in the original few weeks/months after their move in 1941 the HQ at Eglinton House was simply where the Officers were living.

I also have the addresses of where those from 5 Troop were billeted in Ayr in 1942. I am hoping someone may see this that has the No. 2 Commando War Diary for 1942 and can provide specifics relating to your property.

All of No.2 Commando left the UK for Gibraltar and the Mediterranean theatre of war in early 1943.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 23/11/2019 12:21:35


Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
[Email]
Pete
CVA Website Archivist
[Avatar]

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 4214
Offline

On a purely historical note and to avoid any confusion between Army Commandos and Royal Marine Commandos, No.2 Commando was an Army Commando, the first Royal Marine Commando unit not being raised until 1942.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 23/11/2019 14:20:42


Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
[Email]
Belly
Forum Member
[Avatar]

Joined: 27/12/2010 20:58:21
Messages: 223
Location: Cheshire
Offline

There are no addresses mentioned at all in the War Diary for No 2 Cdo during its time in Ayr. Doing a little research it looks like most of the buildings military attributes stem from WW1:
"A drill hall at No 24 Wellington Square is recorded by Osborne as being in use by 1909. There is a drill hall and firing range behind. It is not clear which units used the building during the First World War."
Information from HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project (GJB) 16 September 2013.
https://canmore.org.uk/site/228652/ayr-24-wellington-square
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington_Square_drill_hall,_Ayr

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 24/11/2019 08:20:09


Army Commando: Setting Europe ablaze since 1940

Collector of Army Commando Insignia & Memorabilia - desperately looking for printed shoulder titles
[WWW]
Pete
CVA Website Archivist
[Avatar]

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 4214
Offline

These may help.

Temporary HQ. See details in this photo.

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/2/Arthur_Wardle.jpg.html

This Guard may well be outside the HQ in Wellington Square Ayr

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/2/scan0188.jpg.html

Likewise one with my Uncle, Ken McAllister, in this image

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/2/emmerson_+mcallister+and+others.jpg.html

and another

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/2/ken+mac+and+2+others.jpg.html

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
[Email]
BrianWilliamson
Forum Member

Joined: 22/11/2019 09:54:21
Messages: 5
Location: Ayr
Offline

Thank you for your replies. The photos outside the building with steps is indeed 24 Wellington Square. All the photos I have seen of the troops and the 5 returning NCO's from St Nazaire are also outside this property. Plus the building has an army history going back to before WW1. The way Wellington Square was numbered is a bit unusual. If you were to stand at the top of WS looking down to the sheriff court and the beach, you would have the town houses down the left and right hand side of the square. Number 1 Wellington Square is the first building on the right hand side, they number all the way down to 15 Wellington Square, then you cross the road to the buildings on the left hand side and work your way back up to the top. So, although my building is in fact the second building down on the left hand side and in my mind would be logically numbered 2, it is in fact numbered 24. I wonder if this is where the confusion comes from?

BW
Pete
CVA Website Archivist
[Avatar]

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 4214
Offline

Hi Brian

I believe you may be right there. May I suggest you register on the Gallery (separate to Forum registration) and post a comment against the photos you mention with the information. That way it will stick with each photo. At least you have some nice photos for your memorial in your garden. Let me know when it's done and post a photo on here.

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
[Email]
Bill Harvey
Forum Member
[Avatar]

Joined: 07/07/2007 22:24:35
Messages: 659
Location: Dunbeg Argyll
Offline

Hello

Just as an aside No 4 Commando "No4 COME TO TROON
From Inverary they were roused at 0400hrs to march the 16 miles to Dalmally. It was a bucketing all day and their train was late. They arrived at Ayr at 2200hrs some finding billets while others had to use the grandstand at Ayr racecourse. So on the 10 November 1940 the Commando marched behind the pipe band of the Royal Scots Fusiliers from Ayr to Troon and this became their base until late 1942."

Bill

Bill Harvey
Son of Gunner Bill Harvey No4 Commando who was killed in action on 1 November 1944 when liberating Flushing. "Their deeds shall live from age to age. They've writ their name on History's page. Upheld their glorious heritage. The Fighting Fourth Commando."
Pete
CVA Website Archivist
[Avatar]

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 4214
Offline

Hey Brian

Is there an Ayr Historical Group that might be interested? I have the addresses whilst billeted in Ayr of all of 5 troop, some 60 odd Commandos, some of whom sadly were killed, and that was only one of six Troops. So there's strong historical links to No.2 Commando in Ayr, just as there is in Troon where as Bill states No.4 Commando were billeted.

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
[Email]
Bill Harvey
Forum Member
[Avatar]

Joined: 07/07/2007 22:24:35
Messages: 659
Location: Dunbeg Argyll
Offline

Brian

I once got information from South Ayrshire Libraries about my Great Uncle who was kia in WW1.

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=south+ayrshire+libraries

With Covid - 19 they will be closed just now but may be worth following up.

Thanks Pete for shaking my memory.

Bill

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 30/03/2020 10:04:32


Bill Harvey
Son of Gunner Bill Harvey No4 Commando who was killed in action on 1 November 1944 when liberating Flushing. "Their deeds shall live from age to age. They've writ their name on History's page. Upheld their glorious heritage. The Fighting Fourth Commando."
Bob Bishop
Forum Member
[Avatar]

Joined: 26/03/2007 15:05:34
Messages: 342
Location: Ontario, Canada
Offline

I am late finding this post. All I can find right now is Bob saying his landlady was Mabel. I don't think I have a last name anywhere but will look.

Janet
BrianWilliamson
Forum Member

Joined: 22/11/2019 09:54:21
Messages: 5
Location: Ayr
Offline

Dear all, thank you for your replies. You may find this article interesting https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/04/a9900004.shtml
This is a small excerpt from a childs memory of having 12 soldiers billeted with them during the course of WW2 and a number of "Commandos"

About the end of 1940, No. 12 Commandos were moved to be replaced in Ayr by No. 2 Commandos and our allocation was five troopers; Arthur, Bert, Reg, Fitz (a nickname), Horace (called Gordon because he hated 'Horace' and we only discovered his real name when his mother came to spend a holiday with us and referred to him all the time as 'Our 'Orace' - much to his chagrin. We continued to call him Gordon). All were English. Our favourites were Gordon, who was full of fun, and Bert who was very gentle and spent hours playing the piano in the sitting room. They were with us a long time and became members of the family.

They spent many evenings' playing cards with Dad and Charlie Sheldrick, a regular in the RSF who was stationed in the Churchill Barracks and who visited us regularly. Charlie was in Naples in 1944 when Vesuvious erupted and sent us a photograph of this, which I still have. We went for walks with them along the shore on Sunday afternoons and they taught me to dismantle and re-assemble a Tommy gun and were going to let me fire it out to sea until Mum and Dad found out and forbade it - much to my disappointment. Gordon and Arthur came with us to Greenock to visit Granny Waller as they had got to know them while Granny and Grandpa lived with us after the Blitz. Arthur's Sister Gwen, who was in the ATS and his wife Doreen, came and spent holidays with us. In March 1942 No 2 Commandos disappeared suddenly. The boys, as we called them, collected their gear and went. By that time in the war we knew better than to ask where they were going. We soon found out, when the news of the raid on St. Nazaire was announced on the radio, and the fact that it had been carried out by the Commandos.

Some time later, the boys returned but said nothing and we didn't ask. Gordon was not among them and we thought he must have been killed but he eventually turned up. He had got separated in some way and had been at sea in a rubber dinghy for some time before being picked up by an MTB. Although all our boys got back, many of the No 2 Commandos didn't, including Captain Burnie, our boys' Troup Commander, who was killed.

BW
BrianWilliamson
Forum Member

Joined: 22/11/2019 09:54:21
Messages: 5
Location: Ayr
Offline

Pete, I am connected with some historical groups in the town and would be delighted to research the addresses you have of where the commandos were billeted.
Thanks
Brian

BW
BrianWilliamson
Forum Member

Joined: 22/11/2019 09:54:21
Messages: 5
Location: Ayr
Offline

24 Wellington Square is a 4 storey townhouse with a WW1 Drill Hall and Firing Range to the rear. It was used by the military through both world wars and was home to 2 commando during 1942-43.
[Thumb - 24 Wellington Square Commandos.jpg]
 Filename 24 Wellington Square Commandos.jpg [Disk] Download
 Description Front Elevation of 24 Wellington Square, Ayr, HQ of 2 Commando 1942-43
 Filesize 232 Kbytes
 Downloaded:  29 time(s)


BW
Pete
CVA Website Archivist
[Avatar]

Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
Messages: 4214
Offline

Brian

Can you email me via the email button below so I can send information that way. I will have to dig out the details and get photos taken so give me time but I will do it.

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
[Email]
 
Forum Index » Looking for Information General
Go to:   
©Commando Veterans Archive 2006 - 2016. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all content on this site is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Powered by JForum 2.1.8 © JForum Team
commando dagger