Monday, 2 June 2014

Who Were The Royal Navy Commandos? What Did They Do On D-Day? #D-day70

A few years ago at the World War 2 Weekend in Northallerton, I came across a branch of the Royal Navy I never even knew existed. Royal Navy Commandos. 

They had taken part in all major operations including Dieppe and Italy. Their tasks were many and varied but always dangerous. One really dangerous task was the L.C.O.C.U - Landing Craft Obstacle Clearance Units. Basically their job was to go underwater, attach explosive charges to the teller mines which were on the beach obstacles, and when they had run out of explosives either make their way to the beach, or back to their boat. 
Beach Obstacle With Teller Mine 

Able Seaman Andrew Henderson was part of a unit which exploded around 100 mines. They had enough  oxygen for one hour and an emergency supply which would last 10 minutes.(Lee, p32).
L.C.O.C.U frogman training.

I was surprised to find out in Beachhead Assault  - The Story Of the Royal Naval Commandos In World War 2 by David Lee, that these commandos were present at Pegasus Bridge with the 6th Airborne. Wilf Fortune was a telegraphist with a Forward Observer Bombardment Party (FOB). He dropped into Normandy by parachute in the Ranville area with Captain Vere Hodge, and Leading Telegraphist Alex Bloomer. They made their way to Pegasus Bridge and set up their wireless set and were able to direct fire from a ship to prevent  German counter-attack. (Lee, p.p 134-138).    

Royal naval Commandos were also responsible for directing the traffic inland from the beach, no unenviable task. They did a good job, sorting out the traffic congestion and getting the wreckage moved out of the way. 

Read: Beachhead Assault  - The Story Of the Royal Naval Commandos In World War 2(2004) by David Lee.(London).