Service records help - RN / No. 4 Commando

Discussion in 'Commandos & Royal Marines' started by Mly15, May 4, 2022.

  1. Mly15

    Mly15 Member

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to introduce myself. I just received my Grandfather's WW2 service records (finally) and am starting to decode them so to speak!

    From starting to decode, he was "lent" to HMS Queen Emma and was part of No. 4 Commando and took part in Operation Claymore and the raid on Lofoten in March 1941. I know he was a Commando, and would love to know more about his other missions.

    However, despite some extensive googling, I am struggling to find info on other various points that might be able to help fill in some further blanks. He was mainly listed on various ship/shore establishments, some for only a few days at a time, which I am guessing were specific missions - however might anyone know how to find out any of those further details specific to dates?

    Might anyone also know:

    1. What the Marshal of Bermuda was? It is listed as the ship/shore establishment, but I can find no details on it
    2. Fraser Battery - again can find no details
    3. Wembury - I know this was a heavy artillery site but can't find out much more
    4. HMS Mylodon & HMS Copra - shore bases but anyone with an extra info?
    5. I keep seeing LCT 804 under two entries for him being lent to HMS Mylodon - any idea what this means?

    Have a million other questions, but these seem like a good starting point for me to fill in some blanks at least.

    If anyone is able to help at all, would be hugely grateful!

    Thanks so much. M
  2. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi and welcome,
    It would be best if you could post the relevant document or part you want looked at so we can look at it for context and typos.
    1. Maybe ss MONARCH OF BERMUDA.
    4. HMS MYLODON - Lowestoft base, which undertook Landing Craft Training for RM Commandos and Combined Operations.
    4. HMS COPRA was an accounting shore base for Combined Operations.
    5. Landing Craft Tank 804 - see 4 above [Landing Craft Training].
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  3. Mly15

    Mly15 Member

    Thanks Hugh. Sure, please see images. Any help deciphering would be much appreciated!

    As mentioned, I have to figured out HMS Queen Emma, and the dates match with Operation Claymore and the raid on Lofoten in March 1941. I know he was a commando, and No. 4 commando were aboard the HMS Queen Emma. Guessing the other entries which are short and say "lent" also relate to specific raids/operations?

    Do let me know if you can shed any light or his wartime service at all.

    Thanks. M

    Attached Files:

  4. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi M,
    Looking at the record I would suggest he was Royal Navy - Combined Ops rather than No.4 Commando although he could have been operating with them but his ranking structure is that of the RN.
    How do you know he was in No.4 Commando?
    timuk likes this.
  5. Mly15

    Mly15 Member

    Thanks Hugh, that’s really interesting and definitely tracks. I was always told he had been a commando, and also remember being told he was part of the fore runner of the SBS, but unfortunately he passed away when I was in my teens and would never discuss any of his wartime duties. I just assumed as he was on Queen Emma and part of operation claymore that he was no. 4 commando.

    I’ve read a little of RN Combined Ops - I just finished reading the SBS Silent Warriors book, but could you give me any extra info? From googling seems they were involved in a lot of missions etc. might there be any way of fleshing out the info I have through research and if so any ideas where to start?

    Really appreciate your help. M
  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    This is my reading of his service record.

    I think he is on the battleship HMS Nelson from 1940-1943, but detached to reinforce the ships companies of two landing ships for a few days at a time. He serves in a variety of combined operations establishments for training landing craft and on Landing Craft Tank 804. In late 1944 he is posted to a series of shore based establishments which may have been training to join that most feared part of the Royal Navy - the Royal Navy Regulating Branch. He ended the war as a "Reg " or "Crusher" and after the war served for fifteen months as a Regulating Petty Officer.

    HMS Nelson could either be the battleship of that name or the Naval Barracks in Queen Street Portsmouth. (But I did not think the navy had shore estabishments wioth the same name as ships at sea.) The battleship HMS Nelson was in Portsmouth dockyard under repair from Dec 1939-August 1940. But I would expect the start of a service record to include some training establishments. Is this the first page of his record?

    Marshal of Bermuda - some sort of temporary duty for four days. I can't identify the ship or establishment.

    HMS Queen Emma fits with Op Claymore, the Lofoten Islands raid but suggests he was temporary addition to the the company of HMS Queen Emma, not a commando. If he had been a commando he should have been posted to a commando training establishment. Thew only Combined Operations establishment on his service is HMS Mylodon, which appeared to be for maintenance and repair of landing craft. UK Land Based Combined Operations Training Establishments

    He returns to HMS Nelson for the next two and a half years. During this time Nelson is involved in hunting the Bismarck, escorting convoys including some of the Malta convoys where she is torpedoed. Nelson supports the landings in Sicily (Husky)and Italy (Baytown and Avalanche) HMS Nelson departed Gibraltar on 29th Oct to rejoin the Home Fleet, but by then your grandfather has already left the ship. HMS Nelson (28) - Wikipedia

    HMS Victory (yup Nelsons's flagship from 1805) was the name for the centralised HQ and a holding establishment for someone between assignments. Your grandfather joined the Ulster Monarch presumably for its return passage to the Clyde for a refit. ULSTER MONARCH -

    ON his return to the UK he has a series of postings to Gunnery related training establishments. HMS Excellent was the RN's Gunnery Training School, Fraser Range Wembury and Westcliffe were gunnery training establishments. (maybe training in the light weapons used on landing craft?) HMS Mylodon was the landing craft training establishment in Lowestoft, Suffolk and he seems to have been lent to LCT 804 for July-September 1944. He is promoted to Leading Seaman

    There is then a series of postings to shore establishments at Stockheath Camp (Fareham, Hants.) and Beehive camp. He then emerges as a Leading Patrolman in April 1945. This is part of the new Royal Navy Regulating Service, now known as the Royal Navy Police. Royal Navy Police - Wikipedia

    He is posted to Australia and spends the next year and a half maintaining order and discipline amongst the matelots ashore in Sydney. He did a good job as a Regulator and was promoted to Petty Officer rank.

    Not a dishonorable service record. He did his bit.

    It was not unknown for returning servicemen to adjust or embellish their service records. He was obviously proud of his service on the Queen Emma taking the Commandos to the Lofoten Islands. He may have kept quiet about his role in the Regulating Service. The Regs or Crusher are not very popular with the rest of the navy. To paraphrase a comment on Rum Ration

    Joining a branch who are universally distrusted and whose job is stopping us getting drunk, scrapping, loafing, pissing up alleyways, being adrift and generally getting away with things Jack likes doing is never going to endear 'the crusher' to his fellow matelots...[/]

    Read this thread about "Crushers" on Rum Ration
    Crushers Full of dits with err "salty language"
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  7. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    HMS Nelson is definitely the battleship. The RN Barracks Portsmouth did not become HMS Nelson until 1974.

    Agree with others there is nothing in this record to suggest being in the Commandos.

    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    My15 asked in the opening post:
    There is a civil post of Provost Marshal(l) on Bermuda, which appears to be a civil court-appointed bailiff.
  9. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Unlikely to have anything to do with the island of Bermuda. HMS Nelson was in the Clyde finishing a refit and the loan was only for four days. I'm beginning to suspect 'Marshal of Bermuda' may be a transcription error and would be inclined to ask MoD to recheck the Pay and Victualling ledger entry. Another possibility is that 'Marshal of Bermuda' was a minor vessel, such as a tug or harbour launch, which required temporary manning.

  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    The nearest to Marshal of Bermuda I can find is a different name, part of the Nore Command on the outbreak of war:
    Link: Royal Navy Orgnisation in World War 2, 1939-1945

    There is a pointer back to Bermuda:
    From: (735) - Navy lists > Bimonthly > 1943 > April > Volume 2 - British Military lists - National Library of Scotland
  11. Mly15

    Mly15 Member

    Thanks all for you help so far. Much appreciated. Regarding Bermuda, as Tim mentioned, I am going to ask them to recheck. As Hugh pointed out it could be Monarch of Bermuda maybe?

    At the top of the list of his service that I previously posted it says "This information has been extracted from Payment and Victual (P &V) ledgers as it was not recorded on the enclosed service record card." Is that pretty common in terms of wartime records?

    I forgot previously to add an image of his actual service record card that was included, which has some other info on also. Have adde that to this post. Not sure if that helps shed any further light. I really hadn't considered how difficult finding out info would be even with google! ha

    Sheldrake - thanks for breaking it down. I did know he has been in the Royal Navy Police, that was something he would speak about but the part I am interested in is during the wartime. Just to add, I think I mentioned before - he would never and I mean never talk about his wartime service, even to my uncles (one of whom was in the SF) so he didn't embellish etc, this is mainly the reason I wanted to find out about the history and what he did.

    One thing, I know from my family that he spent quite a lot of time in Scotland at points - that was where he met my grandmother who was a WREN. Not sure if that is helpful either?

    Again thanks to everyone, really appreciate the facts and info. Any help is very much appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  12. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Yes, for the RN, it is very common. In this case nearly the whole of his WW2 service is missing. The information has been extracted from his P & V ledgers and consequently, some mistakes are inevitable.
    timuk likes this.
  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    HMS Nelson was based at Rosyth and Scapa Flow between August 1940 and July 1941
  14. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Just to expand on Hugh's post - the RN Record of Service (S459 - Certificate of Service, a four page document) was handed to the Rating on discharge and no copy was retained by the RN. Overtime many lost/mislaid/destroyed their record. Hence the only option available now is to attempt a reconstruction from the P&V ledgers.
    If you haven't seen it, look at this link. It will give you a comprehensive record of where and what HMS Nelson was doing during your grandfather's three years onboard.
    HMS Nelson, British battleship, WW2

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