No.4 Commando May - June 1941

Discussion in 'Commandos & Royal Marines' started by Drew5233, May 30, 2015.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From WO 218/24

    CL1, Steve Mac and bamboo43 like this.
  2. No.4CommandoBairn

    No.4CommandoBairn Well-Known Member

    I nearly fell off my chair when I read this - thank you! :)
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Although 4CB and I were not sharing a chair, I too was very pleased to spot one of my Chindit1 boys nestling amongst the names on the diary pages. Cheers Andy.
  4. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Thanks from me also ... Tom Montgomerie later moved from the Black Watch in Egypt to the Special Boat Section. He was killed in a Jeep accident in the Canal Zone on 18 August 42 and is buried at Suez War Memorial Cemetery. Interestingly enough his service record makes no mention of 4 Commando which shows you the dangers of only using them as a source of research. They're a fantastic start point.

    Meanwhile A E Duveen went on to serve with 'L' Detachment SAS ...
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thats what I call two busy pages of a single war diary. :salut:
  6. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    25 April 1941 - Brigadier Haydon paid a visit of inspection to the Commando on Training.

    Not sure how many Brigadier Haydon's there were at that time, but probably unlikely to be more than one. I recall one from my study of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division.

    Rank: Brigadier
    Date of Death: 01/06/1942
    Age: 46
    Regiment/Service: General Staff Commands and Staff (The Middlesex Regt.) Cdg. 150 Inf. Bde.
    Awards: DSO, MC
    Panel Reference: Column 1.
    Additional Information: Son of Edgar and Edith Haydon; husband of Evelyn Kay Haydon, of Camberley, Surrey.

    He was the OC, 150th Infantry Brigade, 50th (Nothumbrian) Division and was killed in action the date the brigade was overrun by the DAK at Rotunda Ualeb in the Gazala defences in the Western Desert.

    Apparently, Rommel was so impressed with the brigade's fight to defend the Rotunda that he stopped by to congratulate Brigadier Haydon, only to find that he had been killed near the end of the action there.
  7. No.4CommandoBairn

    No.4CommandoBairn Well-Known Member

    Unable to send this by pm so my query is how likely is the above to have happened? The Commando lost good men trying to kill him - I understand good manners :) but would it be likely for him (or for us to allow him) to pass the time of day and then just go on his merry way?
  8. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Eileen,

    My wife and I are baby sitting three of our grandchildren at their house tonight, so I don't have my reference material to quote from. I will return to this thread with it in due course.

    The point here is that the 150th Infantry Brigade was overrun. Ergo, except for a few men that managed to escape, the rest were either killed in action or taken prisoner of war. Totally surrounded, the brigade only surrendered when it ran out of ammunition. It was unable to fight on or escape.

    Enter Rommel, who was in little or no danger...

    Amongst those lost were the 4th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment, 4th and 5th Bns Green Howards, and Divisional troops including the 72nd Field Regiment, RA. A few weeks later the 4th Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (which had until recent times had been the Divisional Recce Bn) suffered the same fate. All those mentioned, except the 4th Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, were struck off the nominal role, i.e. they were not reconstituted.

    My wife's maternal grandfather fought with the 4th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment in WWI and was taken PoW. One of my maternal great grandfathers fought with the 4th Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in WWI and was killed in action. My dad's oldest brother fought with the 72nd Field Regiment, RA, in WWII and was killed in action on 31 May 1940 (75 years tomorrow). There are other family connections.

    It is all of this family 'connection' with 50 Div that first got me interested in, especially, WWII and specifically 50 Div. The fact that my Yorkshire born wife also has a family connection with 50 Div is quite some coincidence. I remembered Brig. Haydon's story from my earliest reading of many, many years ago.

    Incidentally, 50 Div nearly 'got' Rommel around the 21 May 1940, during the Arras counter-attack. The officer standing next to him was killed. Chance and luck (or bad luck, depending on your point of view).


    Guy Hudson likes this.
  9. No.4CommandoBairn

    No.4CommandoBairn Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for the above information. I love this place - such helpful people. :)
  10. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Here you go, Eileen. I have only had a quick look at a couple of my books...

    "Marshal Rommel appeared on the scene as the last shot was fired. He was anxious to meet the Commander."

    From '150th Infantry Brigade [50th (Northumbrian) Division] in the Middle East June 1941 - June 1942'. (Bush and others).

    This is Rommel's account: "Yard by yard The German and Italian units fought their way forward against the toughest resistance imaginable. The British defence was conducted with considerable skill. As usual the British fought to the last round of ammunition."

    From 'Monty's Northern Legions' (Delaforce).

    I have other such (and likely better) material, but I believe these cover the point made at Messages 6 and 8 satisfactorily. Unfortunately, no time to dig further at present.

    It appears that a lot of the men mentioned in the No 4 Commando War Diary had an illustrious WWII.


  11. No.4CommandoBairn

    No.4CommandoBairn Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I would expect nothing less from a Northumbrian Division and No.4.

    When shall their glory fade?

    It won't. :)
  12. Rualiam

    Rualiam New Member

    Thanks a lot Andy for the dairy for those pages. A group was transferred over from No 6 Commando to No 4 Commando for the month of May and part of June before being sent back to No 6 Commando.

    Thanks again for the pages.

  13. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Done a bit more digging and have I've found another Haydon who attained the rank of Temporary Brigadier on 9 April 1941 and therefore could have visted No. 4 Commando on 25 April 1941.

    Joseph Charles Haydon was Commanding Officer 1st Special Service Brigade of Commandos, 9 Oct 1940–28 Feb 1942.

    Doesn't mean this man was the Brigadier Haydon that visited No. 4 Commando, but it seems more likely.

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