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No. 3 Commando or No.1 Commando?  XML
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Ritchie
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Joined: 30/12/2020 20:26:14
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I was wondering if someone can explain why my father (B G WILCOX) appears in the nominal roll for No. 3 Commando but the photo of him of the Lofoten Raid Party March 1941 has him as No. 1 Commando Troop 4 ?
How can I find out more information on his Commando service?
Regards
Mark
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Joined: 10/04/2007 22:56:27
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Hi Mark,
Thank you for pointing this error out - it would appear there is a very simple explanation...

Your father was in No.1 Commando.
However, No.1 Commando was part of 3 Commando Brigade out in India/Burma.

His details were found in a Commando Association Newsletter, Issue No.9, dated September 1949 (see below & attached)

Cpl. (now Lieut.) B. G. Wilcox (3 Cdo) in a recent letter to O.C.A. Head Office writes: Please inform any old members of 3 Cdo Bde who served in Burma, that my ex-Regt., the 19th Hyderabad Regt., is very proud of the Commando Beret which was presented to the 8/ 19th En. Hyderabad Regt. for operations with 3 Bde on the Arakan front.
The Beret in question lies in a glass case in the Officers' Mess at Almora Kumaon in India.


You will see that the Newsletter has 'B.G. Wilcox (3 Cdo)' and then goes on to talk about Burma - it should have read 'B. G.Wilcox (3 Cdo Bde)' because No.3 Commando did not serve in Burma or the Far East.
When the Nominal Rolls were compiled, this error was not spotted.


You can obtain more information about his Army Service by applying to the MoD, the ONLY custodian of WWII Service Records...

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-records-of-deceased-service-personnel

Nick
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Nick Collins,

Commando Association Historical Archivist & Photographer.

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

"Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Ritchie
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Joined: 30/12/2020 20:26:14
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Hi Nick
Thanks for your reply. So the photo that my dad appears in of the Lofoten Raiding Party is correct stating No. 1 Commando Troop 4 ?
Then he would have been in Burma and India attached to 3 Commando Brigade which is part of No. 1 Commando? Am I understanding that correctly?
So should he be moved to No. 1 Commando nominal role ?
Can I o rain a full copy of the newsletter his article is in?
I wonder how he ended up in the Hyderabad regiment?
Thanking you
Mark
Pete
CVA Website Archivist
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Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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Hello Mark and Happy New Year

I will update the website soon but perhaps first you can just confirm a couple of things for me. For the benefit of readers I have attached a link to the photo in the gallery where you previously placed a comment identifying your father:

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/3/trp+photos/ l" target="_new" rel="nofollow"> http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/3/trp+photos/ l

I have found some references that record someone I believe to be your Father all with the middle name spelt as Berkley rather than Berkeley. Can you advise me which is correct. Can you also advise me of his dates of birth and death. One of those references relate to a George Berkley Wilcox born in India in 1920. Can you confirm this ? A second is in the London Gazettes on this link which shows his Emergency Commission in the Indian Army as Lieutenant on the 1st November 1941. The relevant pages are 6715 with his name and 6714 with the words The KING has approved the following promotions, appointments, retirements, etc.: INDIAN ARMY.:

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35354

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 05/01/2021 21:54:11


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 the pm facility ****
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NIC
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Hi Ritchie

Ritchie wrote:
Then he would have been in Burma and India attached to 3 Commando Brigade which is part of No. 1 Commando? Am I understanding that correctly?


He was in No.1 Commando and they sailed to India, along with No.5 Commando, 42 RM Commando & 44 RM Commando, as part of 3 Special Service Brigade, in November 1943.
Enroute the convoy was attacked and the ship No.1 Cdo & 42 RM Cdo were in was damaged and put in to Alexandria for repair.
No.5 Cdo & 44 RM Cdo sailed on arriving in India in December 43 in time for Christmas.
Ship repaired, No1. Cdo & 42 RM Cdo arrived in India in January 44.

In December 44 the name 3 Special Service Brigade was changed to 3 Commando Brigade - not least because the commandos hated the abbreviation 'SS' and its connotations to the German SS...

So No.1 Cdo, No.5 Cdo, 42 RM Cdo & 44 RM Cdo were subordinate units within 3 Commando Brigade...

If you send me your email address - by PM or Email - I can send you a copy of the relevant Newsletter...

Nick

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 01/01/2021 16:59:14


Nick Collins,

Commando Association Historical Archivist & Photographer.

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

"Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Ritchie
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Joined: 30/12/2020 20:26:14
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Hi Pete and Nic
Thankyou for your response.
Your correct, the spelling for dads first name is Berkley, I spelt it incorrectly on the photo, and George is his middle name. Dad went by the name Barry but I don?t know if that was also what he used in the army.
His date of birth was 27 June 1920 in Darjeeling, India and date of death was 3 April 1980 in Auckland, New Zealand.
My email address is [email protected]
Thanks
Mark
Ritchie
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Nick, Pete
Do you know how he would have come to be in the 19th Hyderabad regiment?
Interesting that you say his ship was damaged and pulled in to Alexandria as I have a photo of a few soldiers laying on a beach, so possibly could be there.
Thankyou for your in-going help
Mark
NIC
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Mark, Pete,

Just to throw the spanner into the works, I have received this email

I am contacting you to help with the information being sought on George Berkley Wilcox. The photograph Mark is referring to is:

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/1/4_TROOP_MARCH_1941_copy.jpg.html?g2_imageViewsIndex=1

The photograph is incorrectly labelled, it is in fact 4 Troop, No.3 Commando, taken at the Gas Works, Largs, Scotland in March 1941.

The confusion relating to the mislabelling relates to where it was published. It appeared on page 42 of 'Allied Special Forces Insignia 1939-1948' by Peter Taylor.
On the opposite page to the photograph is a page relating to No.1 Commando insignia. I believe that this led to the assumption that the Lofoten Raid 4 Troop photograph related to 1 Commando.

I believe that Mark?s father served in Belgium and the retreat to Dunkirk in May 1940 with the 1st Battalion Queen?s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. When No.3 Commando were formed in June 1940 the majority of original volunteers came from 10th Brigade, 4th Division, a cohort from 1 R.W.K. formed the nucleus of ?F? Troop, later 4 Troop.

The officer in command seated in the centre is Captain ?Algy? Forrester, later killed on the Vaagso raid. There are several other men I have identified also from the 1 R.W.K, including ?Knocker? White, D.C.M. at Vaagso.

Wilcox was commissioned in the Indian Army in November and must have been attached to 3 Commando Brigade in 1945, an area of research you will be more familiar than I am?


The email comes from a very reliable researcher and source of information, so this needs investigating thoroughly...

Nick

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 02/01/2021 00:54:06


Nick Collins,

Commando Association Historical Archivist & Photographer.

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

"Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Ritchie
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Joined: 30/12/2020 20:26:14
Messages: 12
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Thankyou again Nick, Pete
I have the original of the photo in my dads possessions so will look at it in the next few days to see if there are any further nothings on it- I believe there?s not.
Yes he was in Dunkirk with The Royal West Kent?s so that is also correct.
So if he was in 3 Commando how would he have ended up in India if 3 Commando weren?t there?
Hmm this is getting more and more interesting.
And whoever emailed with the correction that he was in 3 Commando- Thankyou!
Mark
Eileen
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Joined: 17/08/2012 13:26:51
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This is so interesting!

Wonderful research from all - well done. I look forward to hearing more.

If I have praised my comrades too highly I make no apology, for they were beyond all praise.

Lord Lovat - No 4 Commando
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Pete
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Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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Hi Mark

The Indian Army Lists contain references to your Father. From those available online (not all are) on the website below I can see he is listed in the 1942, April 1943, April 1945, and Oct 46 lists as an Officer in the 19th Hyderabad Regiment, originally as a Second Lieutenant from 1st November 1941 (as in Gazettes on the link above) but later showing his rank as Second Lieutenant (War Substantive Lieutenant) in 1945. In the October 1946 list he is shown under the heading Temporary Released From Army Service. In this entry the page title states The Kumaon Regiment

Search the Indian Army Lists : https://archive.org/search.php?query=%22indian%20army%20list%22

There is a film at the National Archives of some from the 19th Hyderabad Regt. in the Arakan but not available online: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060042359

There are references online to the 19th Hyderabad Regiment being involved at the Battle of Hill 170 alongside Commandos from 3 Commando Brigade hence the connection your Father wrote of in his correspondence the Commando Association as outlined in their newsletter.

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 the pm facility ****
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Pete
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To add to the debate on the Unit we have a good photo of 4 Troop No.3 Commando in June 1942 and there is a distinctive character clearly identifiable in both...he is CSM Gordon. Additionally the Sgt Johnson identified in the 3 Cdo photo looks suspiciously like the John Abrams identified in the Lofoten photo.

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/3/trp+photos/Commando+group+3+pd.jpg.html

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 02/01/2021 14:10:54


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 the pm facility ****
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Ritchie
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Joined: 30/12/2020 20:26:14
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Thanks once again Pete!
I wonder if the temporary release in 1946 tied up with Dad going to Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine as I know he was there at some stage.
I have a photo that I will look at too that says it is of a mortar training course and has a number of Indian and British soldiers at. Perhaps a number of Commandos appear in that photo.
Just keeps getting more interesting- and you guys do a fantastic job!
Thanks again
Mark
Pete
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Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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Did he marry in Germany at Lubeck in 1948 to a Gertrude Reichel ? If so I can post a document I have found.

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 the pm facility ****
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Ritchie
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Joined: 30/12/2020 20:26:14
Messages: 12
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Yes he did. I only know that from visiting Darjeeling about 10 years ago and going to the Catholic Church he was christened at and finding the register and a notation on his birth certificate there.
He subsequently divorced and re- married in the UK then divorced and married my mum in New Zealand.
I also know he was in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising.
Cheers again
Mark
 
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