47 Royal Marine Commandos

No. 47 (Royal Marine) Commando was a battalion size formation in the British Commandos, formed in August 1943 during the Second World War. The Commando was assigned to the 4th Special Service Brigade and served North West Europe and took part in the Normandy Landings, operations around Ostend, Antwerp and the Netherlands before being disbanded in January 1946.

 

 

The Battle of the Scheldt started 1 November 1944, with 4th Special Service Brigade assigned to carry out a seaborne assault on the island of Walcheren. The brigade now comprised No. 41, No. 47, No. 48, No. 10 (Inter-Allied), and No. 4 Commando. The Royal Marine Commandos would assault Westkapelle with No. 47 landing on a small strip of sand to the right of Westkapple, at a breach in the dyke caused by Royal Air Force bombing raids, prior to the attack.

 

No. 41 Commando landed first and moved North to Domburg, No. 48 Commando went South towards Zoutelande and were followed by No. 47 Commando. No. 47 Commando was split when two of the LCT's carrying them ashore beached on the Northern side of the gap instead of the Southern side. Due to the division of the force No. 47 did not assemble until 19:00 hours south of the Radar station having suffered the loss of 30 men and much of their radio equipment. On 2 November No. 47 passed through No. 48 and took over the advance to the Flushing gap. Meeting slight opposition until they reached the artillery battery W11, and made an unsuccessful attack that evening losing all five of their Troop commanders. Digging in for the night they repulsed a German assault and finally captured the artillery battery and the rest of the island on 3 November. On 10 November they were moved back to Breskens and then to Wenduine.

 

On 22 December at short notice No. 47 Commando moved to Breda to come under command Brigadier E.T. Boylan and became the I Corps mobile reserve known as Paddy Force. On the 24 December they moved again to Oosterhout and carried out patrols along the Maas River under command 1st Polish Armoured Division. On 28 December three Troops from No. 48 Commando came under command for a fortnight. On 30 December the commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel C.F. Phillips was given command of the 116th Royal Marine Brigade a non commando Royal Marine formation. He was replaced as commanding officer by Lieutenant Colonel Donnell.

 

1945

 

At the beginning of January No. 47 Commando carried out patrols on both banks of the Maas River and were themselves twice ambushed by German patrols doing the same. On 9 January they were moved out of the line for training at Bergen op Zoom for Operation Horse an assault on the island of Kapelsche Veer planned for the night 13/14 January. The assault started at 01:00 hours with Q Troop and No. 5 (Norwegian) Troop, No. 10 (Inter Allied) Commando attacking the right flank supported by armour and artillery from the mainland, while the rest of No. 47 attacked on the left flank. Attacking from both flanks simultaneously under heavy mortar fire caused heavy casualties. By 05:00 hours it became obvious that the objective was to heavily defended for a lightly armed commando unit to capture alone so No. 47 was withdrawn. The island was eventually captured by a Canadian infantry brigade with artillery and armour support.

 

After their failed assault No. 47 was moved back to Bergen op Zoom on 16 January and then back to Walcheren island on 17 January. Where they took over garrison duties from No. 41 Commando on 18 January. While at Walcheren they received about 100 reinforcements which brought No. 47 almost up to full strength. On 12 March No. 47 moved to North Beveland to relieve No. 4 Commando which was completed by 16 March. No. 47 Commando now were given the task of training the 3rd Battalion of Infantry, Royal Netherlands Army formed from men in the liberated area of the Netherlands. No. 47 Commando were still here when the war in Europe ended 8 May.

 

On the 20 August No. 47 Commando became the first Royal Marine Commando to have an Army troop. No other Commando had such a mixture of Army and Royal Marine personnel. On the 31 August they moved to Oer-Erkenschwick where they were tasked with the administration of displaced persons. On 2 November No. 47 Commando moved to Warburg and were informed they would be soon returning to the United Kingdom. Leaving Germany on the 27 November they arrived in Haywards Heath on the 28 November where they remained until they were disbanded on 31 January 1946.

Name: Hubbard, Ronald Leslie

Rank: Marine

Age:22

No.PO/X 114110

Unit

Missing since: 01-11-1944

Next of Kin:Son of Frederick Charles and Elsie Maud Hubbard, of Enfield, Middlesex

 

Portsmouth memorial Panel: 87-3

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in Vlissingen/Walcheren area.

Name: Teed, Kenneth Talbot

Rank: Corporal

Age:20

No.PO/X 103256 (T)

Unit

Missing since: 01-11-1944

Next of Kin:Son of Mr and Mrs A.J.F. Teed, of Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

 

Portsmouth memorial Panel: 87-2

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in Vlissingen/Walcheren area.

 

An unknown Royal Marine Corporal, is buried at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery Grave 6.D.4

Name: Rackham, Robert Frederick

Rank: Sergeant

Age:

No.CH/X 954

Unit

Missing since: 02-11-1944

Next of Kin:

 

Chatham memorial Panel: 79-1

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in Vlissingen/Walcheren area.

 

He died during the period when his Commando were clearing the enemy from a series of gun batteries along the dunes at Westkapelle from Zouteland to west of Groot Valkenisse and Klein Valkenisse. Snipers and enemy mortar fire resulted in many casualties. 

(Source: Professor (Capt) John Forfar MC. 47RM Cdo.  'From Omaha to the Scheldt.)