544 Assault Flotilla Royal Marines

Discussion in 'Commandos & Royal Marines' started by Gazguildford, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

    Hi trying to find some info on d-day I have a photo from December 1944 of my grandad and his Royal marine regiment 544 assault flotilla
    He has sadly passed away but I was always told never to ask him about it I'm wondering if there is anyway I can find out info on him before going to the Royal Marines museum in southsea.

  2. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    You would be best off with his full service record: search on here as plenty of people have given out the advice - or https://www.gov.uk/guidance/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records. That way, the RM museum may yield more success as you'll have more detail.

    Some good advice here: http://www.genguide.co.uk/source/royal-marines--service-registers-service-records-ratings-military/250/

    Interestingly enough - Google brings this Guardian article up with James Baker, a veteran of the same unit as your granddad :http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2014/jun/05/veterans-of-d-day-revisit-the-places-where-they-fought-in-pictures

    Story on BBC People's War of someone in 556 Assault Flotilla - also Juno beach http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/32/a5018032.shtml

    And stories of 524 LCA Flotilla here: http://www.combinedops.com/524%20LCA.htm

    Apologies if you've seen all this stuff.
  3. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

    Thanks for the reply I read an article that said only James Baker and one other soldier from 544 made it of the beach alive... Assuming that is correct then the only other man could of been my grandad and reading through James Bakers memories I can understand why my grandad didn't want to talk about it....
  4. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Dear Gaz,

    I know 48 Commando took heavy losses attacking St.Aubin and even lost considerable numbers drowned while embarking. You'd really need to check that in the unit history/missing men files at the National Archives - or someone on here may have the relevant war diaries - there are other commando and marine relatives.

    Also, Michel Sabarly, a French gentleman who posts here has, 'after action reports' of fighting on Sword Beach - I don't know if his knowledge extends to Juno?

    Good luck with your research.
  5. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

    48 commando? Was this my grandads regiment? As stated I didn't even know that so it's already been a great help thanks for the info
  6. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

    I think the records will be difficult to find due to my grandad not being entirely truthful about his age at the time
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    If he was in 544 Flotilla, he would have been a crewman on a landing craft (some were manned by Royal Marines, others by the Royal Navy). As such, he shouldn't have been going ashore unless the craft was disabled in some way.

    If someone can identify the infantry battalion involved, their story will give you some idea of your grandad's.
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    544 Flotilla were on a ship called Monawia (do a search for 544 on this page):


    Alhough it's about a diferent flotilla, it's useful background.

    Hmm... Not much coming up on the Monawia...
    CL1 likes this.
  9. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Below is a brief rundown on the LCA of 544 Assault Flotilla on the 6th June.

    Nan White 08.40

    LCA 1057 - At moment of beaching a mine exploded on port side. Crew ordered to abandon craft.

    LCA 289 - Troops landed. On withdrawal from beach craft was thrown onto stakes. Crew ordered to abandon craft.

    LCA 1091 - Craft struck a mine 40 yards from beach. Settled down on stakes which kept her above the water. A line was run to the beach and troops landed.

    LCA 683 - Beached and troops disembarked. On withdrawal it was thrown onto an obstacle. Crew ordered to abandon craft.

    LCA 208 - Stuck mine 20 yards from beach. Troops got ashore. One member of crew missing.

    LCA 1092 - Craft was holed 20 yards from the beach. Stuck on stakes. Freed herself. Beached and troops landed. Returned to ship.

    Crews from the LCA that sank were mustered on the beach. Worked on the beach for over 2 hours before being ordered onto LCT to be taken back to LSI. Searched for Marine from 208 but could not find him. 3 Marines wounded.

    One LCA to land troops from 30 Assault Unit on Nan Red. Went in with LCI(S) carrying 48 RM Commando. Landed troops, unbeached and returned to LSI.

    One LCA to land RN Commandos on Nan White. Troops and equipment landed. On withdrawal bottom of craft ripped out by stakes. Craft sank and crew taken aboard LCI and returned to LSI.

    One LCA to land RN Commandos on Nan White. Landed troops and unbeached. Sank about three miles off beach due to holes below the waterline from shellfire on beach. Crew picked up and returned to LSI.

    One LCA to report to HMS Waveney for orders and remain in the assault area. Went into the beach area but did not beach. Returned to LSI.


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  10. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Apologies - it was my assumption that your granddad belonged to 544 Assault Flotilla - as you said in your original post? My thoughts on 48 Commando were brought on by the same thinking as Idler in his post - that he may have then been a crewman and as such not usually required to go ashore. The records of 544 Flotilla don't record everyone except two members being killed, so that memory may be doubtful - or he may have been with another unit- 48 RM Comando being the obvious choice. However, the newspaper captions of the photograph of veteran Corporal Baker clearly state "James Baker, DSM, 544 Assault Flotilla, Royal Marines, Bernières-sur-Mer. James was in the second wave of troops to assault Juno Beach on D-day leading a French-Canadian regiment. They fought their way off the beach to the town of Bernières. Baker is photographed at the church in the town where he was severely injured by a mortar shell."

    So I'm not sure where that leaves us, except to say that this is fairly standard stuff when dealing with 70 year old memories. Your grandad not being too sure about his age is by no means an insurmountable problem - any genealogy website/researcher should turn up his death certificate and therefore other details about him which you can then forward with a request for his service records.
  11. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The newspaper caption makes a bit more sense if there was a crowd of shipwrecked LC crews - they may have been told to get off the beach and headed to the church for sanctuary?
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Gaz

    If you post the details you know of him, full name, approximate date of birth or death and roughly where, the details can be found. You can then apply for his service records as linked in post 2, these are vital in researching someones military time.

  13. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    A few more bits on 544 Flotilla.

    Landing Table numbers.
    LTIN 1485 to 1490 Regiment De La Chaudiere
    LTIN 1490A to land 30 Assault Unit
    LTIN 1483 RN Commando Nan White
    LTIN 1484 RN Commando Nan Red
    LTIN 1490B to HMS Waveney

    Recommendations for awards Cpl Baker and Cpl L Hart.

    Cpl Baker may have gone into the town before all of the LCA crews joined up on the beach. It cannot have been that easy sorting themselves out after their craft were sunk.



    Baker  DSCF0493  ed.jpg Cpl  L  Hart  DSCF0512  ed.jpg
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  14. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

    He was in the 544 assault flotilla I have a group photo of his regiment dated Dec 1944
    His name is Albert Etherington his real dob is
    18th august 1925 Hence he bent the truth on his age. If someone can tell me how to upload pics I will do so thanks for the help guys
  15. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    So Corporal Baker must have been in LCT's 1485 - 90 as he was with a Candian Regiment - I presume Mr Etherington was also. If he was born 1925 I'm not sure what the problem was - he could join the regulars at 17 but technically not be deployed overseas until he was 18 - he would have been almost 19 on D-Day so no problem there?
  16. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

  17. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

    I'm just going by what my dad has told me about his age unless he went in at date a while before 1944
  18. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

  19. SJ2307

    SJ2307 New Member

    The RM Captain is Captain CGH Miers DSC. My Grandfather. We are delighted to see the photo with such clarity.
  20. Gazguildford

    Gazguildford Member

    Glad you spotted the photo if you want a copy let me know

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