27th Battalion Royal Marines 25th April 1944 - 8th Jan 1946

Discussion in 'Commandos & Royal Marines' started by David Illingworth, May 5, 2017.

  1. Hi I am a newcomer to this website so please bear with me. I am attempting to find out about my fathers 2nd World War service record and especially between the dates above. My father was Ernest Illingworth and enlisted into the Marines 1st April 1941 at Eastney Barracks. I have received his service record from the Marines but frankly it's tells me nothing about his service in the force. I do have some photo's of him and some of his colleagues which I have attached. The photo with 3 men on it has my father on the left and written on the back are these details " Gunner Bradley 405 S/L Battery RA c/o B.P.O. Columbo Ceylon. The photo of the whole regiment was possibly taken at Eastney Barracks. One of the main reasons I am looking into my fathers army career is that my Mother told me he survived many hours in the North Sea which was also confirmed last year by his brother my Uncle, who also said he was one of only a few to survive. I would love to find out about his career in the Marines so if anyone knows any information regarding the whereabouts pf the 27th Battalion I would be very grateful. img003 (2).jpg img002 (2).jpg img005 (2).jpg img003 (2).jpg img002 (2).jpg img005 (2).jpg
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  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi David

    Welcome - can I suggest you also scan and post the service records you have for him, it helps to see the whole context.

  3. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a brief bit about 27th Royal Marine Battalion:

    27th Royal Marine Battalion
    24 August 1944 at Dalditch

    The battalion trained in Scotland until December 1944. It then served under 116th Brigade, Royal Marines from 4 January 1945 until 31 August 1945. It was intended to command Beach Battalions for the Far East. The battalion was reorganized on 15 January 1945 as an infantry battalion at Gailes cp, Scotland. The battalion left the United Kingdom on 18 February 1945 and was at sea until 20 February. It served in North-West Europe in the Netherlands District under 1st Canadian Army until 27 June 1945, when it returned to the United Kingdom.

    On 12 April 1945, the battalion was detached from the brigade to the United States Army command at Bremerhaven, but it switched to 4th Canadian Armoured Division for the assault on Wilhelmshaven. Later A and B Companies were detached to take the surrender of ships at Emden and B Company also went to Sengwarden for similar purposes. On return to the United Kingdom, the battalion worked on the farms.
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  4. That's very interesting as I have a few photo's of my father somewhere out in the far east which I know included Columbo Ceylon but not sure if they went on to other areas out there. I am in the process f scanning some more photo's I have so hopefully someone will recognise some of the chaps in his Battalion.
  5. Hope these photo's help in my search for the 27th Battalion whereabouts during the War. The photo with 7 officers was taken 5th May 1941

    Attached Files:

  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  7. I got the service record via the Gov.uk website however as you can see from the content there's very little info on the sheet
  8. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hi David and welcome to the forum.
    Sorry I cannot help with your query and hijacking your thread, but you had me worried for a moment-my father was called Ernest Illingworth too-but he was in the army:D. (Sorry guys, couldn't resist)
    Good luck with your research.

  9. Hi Lesley, Yes I did see your post about your father and incidentally my Father was from Bradford also as with a lot of us Illingworth's..
    Maybe there is a family link somewhere down the line, I have gone back to the 1700's with the Illingworth connection but have not come across another Ernest.
  10. I've just found out some more details of my fathers service during the 2nd World war. He was posted to Ceylon and then on to Gan in the Maldives where his Battlion were given the task of hacking out the jungle on Gan and creating a secret base out there. The task was called Port T and about 20% of the men fell ill through various insect bites, rats and the lack of fresh food. There is book by Peter Doling that describes the conditions on the Archipelago of the Islands. It is my intention to search this out and read his details of this task undertaken by the RM's.
    Historic Steve likes this.
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Might be some files at TNA - you havent said what year he was there

    Port T, Addu Atoll, Maldives: HMS Mauritius, War Diary of Col C T Brown; orders by... | The National Archives
    Reference: ADM 202/453
    Port T, Addu Atoll, Maldives: HMS Mauritius, War Diary of Col C T Brown; orders by Defence Commander Force SHORTCUT
    Date: 1941 Sept-Oct
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: 64

    Reference: CAB 79/19/17
    Date: 1942 Mar 17
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: COS(42)87th
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description


    Gan (Addu Atoll) - Wikipedia
    timuk likes this.
  12. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Just in case you can swop info.

  13. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    Hi I have the port T book, I will have a look and see what I can find
  14. The_Stonker

    The_Stonker Member

    This is my 2nd post on this site - and to save myself retyping my first one in full, I'm going to refer anyone on this thread who is interested, and in hopes that it may be helpful in some way, to my very 1st post (about 30 minutes ago), on Page 3 of a related thread:
    27th Bn Royal Marines 1945
  15. The_Stonker

    The_Stonker Member

    I'm giving what follows below its third airing on this site today. I don't know if the originator of this thread is still watching it, but here goes anyway, mainly because it looks like his dad's service prior to 1944 was not as a member of 27th Battalion, which was only raised (as the piece below sketches very hastily) in 1944 by the expedient of drafting into the newly-born (re-born, perhaps?) battalion, an assortment of men from units that had previously been performing entirely different RM roles, and I'd kinda expect the prior postings to be reflected in dad's service record, however cryptically.

    Anyway, I have made a note to dig out my own Grandad's documents from my study to test this hypothesis closer to home.

    Re-posted stuff follows:

    I just now followed a link tucked away in the references at the foot of the very short Wikipedia page for 116th Infantry Brigade, and got myself a copy of Naval Review Vol XXXIII No 3 August 1945, which opens with an 11-page piece entitled Review Of Royal Marine Operations 1939-45, from which I have lifted the few paragraphs below, because they contain the only references therein to 116th Bde, or any of its constituent Bns.​


    When at last 21st Army Group launched its decisive offensive to force the crossing of the Rhine on the 23rd of March, Royal Marines of Nos. 45 and 46 Commandos, serving with the 1st Commando Brigade, were in the spearhead. The first unit across at Wesel was No. 46 R.M. Commando, and general opinion awards to Captain Barry Pierce, R.M., of that unit, the honour of being the first man to land on the eastern bank (Captain Pierce was, unhappily, killed in subsequent fighting on the Aller). After the Wesel crossing 1st Commando Brigade with its Marine components cleared the town of Osnabruck and went forward to force crossings of the Weser, the Aller and finally the Elbe.

    The last stages of the war in the West saw the reappearance of two Royal Marine infantry brigades. These were the product of a remarkable quick-change act. As already related, many of the soldiers of the Royal Marine Division and the M.N.B.D.O.s were turned into landing craft crews in the autumn of 1943 to meet the heavy demands on the, Royal Navy for the invasion. The closing months of 1944 found the Army feeling the pinch of man-power shortage, whereupon the 116th and 117th R.M. Infantry Brigades were formed, drawing a substantial part of their personnel from these same landing-craft crews, who turned back into soldiers with even greater expedition than they had taken to the sea. Again the policy of basic infantry training proved its value.

    The 116th R.M. Brigade arrived in time to play a part in the holding action on the lower Maas that was the hinge upon which turned the swift envelopment of the Dutch and North German ports by the 1st Canadian and 2nd British Armies. The 27th Battalion from this Brigade fought with the 4th Canadian Armoured Division in their advance through Oldenburg towards Wilhelmshaven. When the collapse came the 117th Brigade was called forward hastily, its 33rd Battalion being flown forward from Belgium to take part in the occupation of Kiel. These R.M. formations were rushed into the German naval ports, Kiel, Wilhelmshaven, Emden, Brunsbuttel and later Cuxhaven, to deal with the crews of U-boats and destroyers coming in to surrender, often in a recalcitrant frame of mind, and also with the thousands of troops who poured in by ship. In Kiel in one hectic night 21 destroyers were taken over and 14,000 soldiers removed from shipping in the harbour by the Marines.​
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  16. The_Stonker

    The_Stonker Member

    Pretty sure that you haven't got a full service record* there - my Grandad's came home with him in 1945 (he volunteered early, but didn't leave England until 1944, and it is very informative (right down to the size and location of the scar sustained when his Bren Carrier turned over on him), and runs to several pages (I have the document itself), but the real clue is bang in the middle of the picture you posted - prior to joining the fresh-minted 27th Bn, he was serving with a unit known as a MNBDO - a Marine Naval Base Defence Organisation (organisations of whose existence I have only learned in the last 36 hours), but the handwriting is a bit scrappy so it ain't instantly clear which one.

    I'd lay money that a bit more research about MNBDO history would swiftly yield dividends - my impression is that wherever there were Landing Craft, there were MNBDOs and blokes like your dad.

    - - - - - -
    * Incidentally, you won't get his records from Glasgow: that's Army only. You'll need to go through the Royal Navy, 'cos they own the Bootnecks, and rightly proud of it they are too.
  17. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    It is actually Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation. There are several threads on this site covering MNBDOs.

  18. The_Stonker

    The_Stonker Member

    My Bad:)

  19. The_Stonker

    The_Stonker Member

    From the same piece of writing I pillaged at post #15:

    Crete was the only occasion on which the first M.N.B.D.O. was called upon to act as a complete formation in the role for which it was designed, yet it was by no means the end of its usefulness. The component units were employed in various parts of the Middle and Far East. For instance, in September, 1941, the 1st Coast Regiment, the Landing and Maintenance Unit and a detachment of signals went to Addu Atoll, in the extreme south of the Maldive Archipelago, there to establish defences for a naval refuelling base. Three 6-inch and a 4-inch battery had to be installed, together with searchlights, a signal station and the essential administrative amenities. The work had to be completed at top speed, as the intervention of the Japanese was expected imminently. The climate was bad, intensely hot and damp with no variety of temperature day or night, the worst possible climate for a European to do heavy manual work. Sickness took a heavy toll, scrub typhus and a peculiarly unpleasant outbreak of ulcers being the worst afflictions. Yet with diminished man-power in these arduous circumstances the Marines cut roads through the jungle, landed their guns and heavy stores across the beaches and installed their batteries on time. When the Japs declared war on the 8th of December, the anchorage was in a state of defence, and in January the Marines were relieved by the permanent Indian Army garrison.
    Your dad was feeding that lot (or he was one of the blokes doing the manual labour), I'd guess, which would seem to place him in MNBDO1, and the documentation you posted on here - such as it is - shows no other affiliation, so that could well have been him until the manpower crisis on the European Front in Sep 1944 (during which whole divisions of AA gunners were rebadged from Royal Artillery and RAF to infantry) drives the change that brings 27th Bn RM into the Order of Battle.

  20. The_Stonker

    The_Stonker Member

    I just realised I missed the last paragraph of the piece I just posted above:

    Similar tasks were later discharged by M.N.B.D.O. units at Diego Garcia, Seychelles and Ceylon. The A.A. batteries of the M.N.B.D.O., after deployment in the Middle East, sailed for Ceylon early in 1942, arriving in time to give a warm welcome to the Jap planes that raided Colombo and Trincomalee in April. Eventually, in June, 1943, the whole formation was concentrated in Ceylon with the exception of an anti-aircraft regiment near Bombay.​

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