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Michael Condon
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Joined: 18/04/2021 01:13:33
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I am the oldest surviving relative of my favourite Uncle, Jack Nicholas. We have obtained his military records from MOD but are having difficulty in understanding his timeline in the military during WWII.

I had always understood that he lost his left leg at Salerno but subsequent info suggests that was not so.

I attach documents for which I would request help in understanding. File 001 is clear that he was a member of 3 Commando at some time or another.

File 002 shows that he was attested at Birmingham on 7/6/40 and appointed to the Corps of Military Police. On 13/7/40 he was appointed Unpaid Lance Corporal - Authority 2nd Depot... ?? On 6/4/41 he was transferred to Welch Regiment Authority Scottish Command... Entry on 30/6/41 I do not understand. Was this a transfer to 3 Commando ?

On 28/5/43 he was transferred to Royal Irish Fusilers, presumably from 3 Commando. Why might this be ?

From what I have been able to learn fron the various Histories and Archives on the date of his injury and loss of limb, 6 October 1943, both 3 Commando and RIF 1st Battalion were based in Termoli not Salerno, where heavy casualties were recorded on that day.

Information and dates on the final page of attachment 002 seem to be inconsistent and have additional info. What for example is SOS Draft on 11/4/43 ?

I should be most grateful to anyone who has the time to remedy my ignorance or point me to a solution.

Best wishes,

Dr Michael Condon, OBE.



PS. I am unable to attach PDF copies of the two documents quoted. How do I do this ?
 Filename Commando001.pdf [Disk] Download
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This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 20/04/2021 20:16:16

Pete
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Hello Michael

Your attachments have not uploaded. This is likely a file size issue. If you want to email them to me via the email 'button' below I will upload them for you.

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. ****
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Pete
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Hi Michael

I have separated the pages from the PDF file from your Uncle Jacks record and posted them here as jpg files. It's an interesting record. Some of the last digits of the year are unclear. Some points of interest are below:
1. Jack was a 25 year old Policeman on enlistment at Birmingham, so his constabulary was also likely there.
2. Jack was attested into the CMP in June 1940 - Corps of Military Police.
3. He is temporarily promoted Lance Corporal, the U being Unpaid until he had served in it longer.
4. April 1941 he is transferred to the ITC or Infantry Training Centre (Welch Regiment) under the authority of the Scottish Command (not Commando).
5. 15 April 1941 he is posted to the Auxiliary Units - an interesting unit formed to provide the basis of British resistance in the event of German occupation. There is much written on the internet about them. Here are two examples the latter has referenced sources which is always good and is why I include it
  • https://www.merseamuseum.org.uk/mmresdetails.php?pid=PH01_AUX&ba=mmww2.php
    https://scholarworks.uttyler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=history_grad#:~:text=The%20Auxiliary%20Unit%20was%20a,just%20taken%20hold%20of%20France.

  • 6. April 1942 he is attached from the HQ Auxiliary Units to No.3 Commando. This actually fits in well with the dateline of the the first of the Police Intakes to the Commandos in WW2 after Reserved Occupation rules were relaxed. This was at the Commando Depot at Achnacarry which had just become the centre of all Commando training. You will notice on one the sheets it shows that he relinquished his temporary promotion on that date which was common on joining the Commandos.
    7. In January 1943 he moves from No.3 Commando to 5 I.D. This may be the an Infantry Depot or even 5 Infantry Division which would go on to served in Sicily and Italy.
    8. One month later he is moved to the 18th Bn. of 5 I.D.
    9. One month later in May 1943 he is SOS or Struck Off Strength of 5 I.D. and is attached to the 1st Bn. R.I.F. (Royal Irish Fusiliers.)
    10. You will see that he is transferred to the X11 List in October 1943 whilst still serving with the R.I.F. The X Lists can be explained here: http://www.commandoveterans.org/x_lists
    This can best be explained by the report of his being wounded in Italy on the 6 October 1943 along with many others from the R.I.F. This date is consistent with the action at Termoli, Italy, in which the Royal Irish Fusiliers took part. I will send you a copy of the actual Casualty Page which is referenced at the National Archives under WO417/67.
    11. January 1944 arrives back in the UK and is ultimately discharged from service due to being medically unfit.

    Do you have any photos of your Uncle and his dates of birth and death and I will add a bit about him in our archive ?

    [Thumb - Nicholas record 4.JPG]
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    [Thumb - Nicholas record 2.jpg]
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    [Thumb - Nicholas record 1.JPG]
     Filename Nicholas record 1.JPG [Disk] Download
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    This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 20/04/2021 16:39:37


    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. ****
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    Pete
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    and another.

    As to why he left the Commando there could be many reasons, including his own choice. It might be interesting to ask his original Police Authority if they retained any record as to his release from Police Service in 1940. Was he selected for some reason? Did he move to different Units as some sort of Trainer/Instructor ? Who knows ?
    [Thumb - Nicholas record 5.JPG]
     Filename Nicholas record 5.JPG [Disk] Download
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    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 20/04/2021 12:01:18


    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. ****
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    Michael Condon
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    Joined: 18/04/2021 01:13:33
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    Hi Pete,

    Many thanks indeed for the very comprehensive explanation of Uncle Jack?s Service record. I really appreciate the time and effort you have spent on working that up for me. Below are Jack?s personal details you asked for plus a little extra info.

    Jack Nicholas:

    DOB 9 July 2015 at ?Richmond?, 25 High St., St Dogmaels, Cardigan, S. Wales

    Following his discharge from the Forces he married my aunt and enrolled in a special ex-forces Teacher Training Programme in Birmingham and became a schoolteacher. They lived with my family for this period before moving into their own home when Jack qualified. Eventually they moved to Jack?s family home in St Dogmaels after his mother died in 1946.

    Jack taught in Cilgerran Primary School, a village a few miles from St Dogmaels. He was, apparently, a very popular and respected teacher with the children. Strangely, he was the only teacher in the school, including the headmaster, who was addressed as ?Sir?. A fact I learned from one of his pupils involved in the school history project.

    He died of a heart attack at the Cilgerran school in 1972, while carrying out a minor repair to his car during the lunch break.

    I attach some photograph?s of Jack: in police uniform; in RMP uniform; RMPC class group and a newspaper clip of 3 Commando returning from the Dieppe raid. Jack is first left. The note is in his handwriting.

    I had intended to send you, from general interest, info on his younger brother, George, who was in the Navy and died when his ship was sunk on Arctic convoy. His name is entered on the Navy memorial in Plymouth. I realised, however, that the entry was possibly relevant to Jack?s record. George died on 19 March 1942. On 11 April Jack was SOS. I understand that MOW, in concern for families and particularly mothers, would transfer servicemen who had brothers killed in battle from more dangerous duties in order that individual families would not bear undue proportion of loss. Might this be the reason for Jack?s SOS status?

    All the best,

    Michael.

    PS. Just realised Jack's SOS was April 1943 not 42 so not relevant.
    Michael Condon
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    Joined: 18/04/2021 01:13:33
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    Hi Pete,

    One further comment I missed in my last post. Jack's police station was in fact in central Birmingham at Steelhouse Lane Police Station.

    Regards,

    Michael.
    Pete
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    Here are some photographs of his Uncle Jack that Michael has provided to us.
    [Thumb - Jack Nicholas CMP group.jpg]
     Filename Jack Nicholas CMP group.jpg [Disk] Download
     Description Photo courtesy of Michael Condon
     Filesize 265 Kbytes
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    [Thumb - Jack Nicholas.jpg]
     Filename Jack Nicholas.jpg [Disk] Download
     Description Photo courtesy of Michael Condon
     Filesize 370 Kbytes
     Downloaded:  58 time(s)

    [Thumb - Jack_Nicholas_Police.jpg]
     Filename Jack_Nicholas_Police.jpg [Disk] Download
     Description Photo courtesy of Michael Condon
     Filesize 158 Kbytes
     Downloaded:  68 time(s)

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 20/04/2021 21:40:08


    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
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    Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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    Message reposted below.

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 20/04/2021 21:48:41


    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
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    Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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    As Michael stated Jacks younger brother was killed in the war.

    In Memory of D/JX 211387 Coder George Richard Nicholas
    Royal Navy, H.M. Trawler Stella Capella
    who died on 19 March 1942 aged 22.
    Remembered with honour Plymouth Naval Memorial.
    Son of David Henry and Louise Nicholas, of St. Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire.


    https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/2485148/GEORGE%20RICHARD%20NICHOLAS/

    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
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    Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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    Hi Michael

    I have now added an entry about your Uncle into our No.3 Commando gallery and included detail from here. Did you know of the photo already in the gallery of Jack and his two brothers from Gemma. If so do you know which one is his brother George in that photo as you look at it. I have now added it alongside the others of him. They can all be viewed here: http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/3/Jack_Nicholas/

    You may well have information about the ship George was in but for others there is some information here: https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/ship/1420.html

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 24/04/2021 17:02:36


    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]
     
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