RN and RM shore parties France, Belgium and Netherlands

Discussion in '1940' started by James K, Aug 6, 2021.

  1. James K

    James K Active Member

    I've been doing some casual research into the RN and RM shore parties that operated in mainland europe 1940.

    Apart from the large scale operation in Norway there were several smaller operations

    Operation Royal Marine, mining of the Scheldt, is difficult to obtain any information as to force strength and even if it had any Royal Marines or if it was purely a naval team. The Royal Marines Hook of Holland Company, raised as an emergency draft from Chatham division. This is fairly well documented.
    Next there was the Boulogne Royal Marines company again raised from Chatham Division, and the RN demolitions team. Both are well documented. There was also a RN medical team which landed but no information is forthcoming as to their strength, casualties or who led them.
    Calais company yet another rapidly formed RM unit from Chatham division is fairly well documented.

    Dunkirk is well documented but some information is conflicting. The SNO ashore Capt Tennant arrived in Dunkirk with 12 officers and 160 ratings and a signals detachment led by Lt Balfour consisting of a Yeoman of Sigs and 28 Signallers followed on the 30th by a Lt and 2 signalmen and 2 Telegraphists.

    But the SNO afloat Rear Admiral walker mentions leaving Dover on 29th in the company of two discipline parties each of 80 men. Are these the same as Capt Tennant's party?

    A third party No3 party is said to have been led by Lt Cdr Buthy consisting of another 120 ratings and a company of Royal Marines. I can only find one reference to the RM marines company and that is their deployment, nothing more. The other, naval section of the party, assisted the operation of the small boats, operated defensive weapons, forced reluctant civilian crews to take part in Dynamo and went ashore to assist in the embarkation of troops and provide security. But what of the Royal Marines?

    There was a maintenance party who operated in England and ashore in Dunkirk, they are fairly well covered. But a naval medical party who are briefly mentioned by army commanders but nothing more.

    At St Valery en Caux there was another naval embarkation party, in which some accounts by soldiers, the Royal Marines are mentioned, but information is scant. As for the naval parties at St Nazaire, Le Havre and other ports used to evacuate British and French soldiers I can't find anything.

    If anyone has information of any kind about these I love to know more.
  2. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    You may already have this, but thought I post it anyway. Source : Unit Histories Royal Marines

    Naval Port Parties (Normandy and North West Europe 1944–5)
    Four of these were formed with RM personnel as well as naval ratings in March 1944, to operate captured ports and for boat duties, etc. in the Mulberry harbour; they also manned naval bases ashore. They each had a repair element and communications parties.

    The large party ‘1500’ landed at Courseulles on 7 June 1944 with its repair element (NP 1526) and communications (NP 1518) — see chapter 6. The RM Passive Air Defence Section of ‘1500’ was responsible for precautions against and repairs after any air raids, but also worked on salvaging craft. Marines of ‘1500’s’ Administrative Section fed men in the naval camp, while those who were telephonists and those who plotted movements on the HQ maps, worked in the HQ of ‘1500’. The boat crews were mainly RMs and the RM bomb disposal team cleared mines

    The second of the large parties, ‘1501’ was based at Ouistreham with its repair element (NP 1528) and its communications (NP 1518). Later its personnel went to man the Naval HQ at Rouen, and then moved to Antwerp.

    The first of the smaller parties, ‘1502’ with a repair party ‘1531’ and communications ‘1520A, B & C’, was at Calais, but some elements were at Port–en–Bessin (1502A) and others at Ostend and Zeebrugge.

    The second of the smaller parties, ‘1503’ was at Boulogne with its repair element ‘1530’ and communications as NP 1521.

    NP 1686 with naval ratings and some Marines cleared Dieppe harbour of mines and obstructions in July 1944.

    NP 1715 when later in North West Europe included 324 RM Engineers. NP 1747 dismantled a V1 flying–bomb launching site in February 1945, and sent it to Chatham. NP 1749 with RM signallers was in Germany in the autumn of 1945.
  3. James K

    James K Active Member

  4. James K

    James K Active Member

    Thanks but I was specifically looking for the 1940 period. The other information you supplied is interesting and useful though, thanks

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