RCN Beach Commando "W"

 


 

W Commando were Canada's Beachhead Commandos. They were specially trained to create and maintain order on Normandy's Juno Beach during the D-Day landings. What would confront them was uncertain, so they were broadly trained, including protection against chemical warfare, clearing obstacles with explosives and driving Sherman tanks.

 

However, their main task was to keep the traffic of men, machines and supplies flowing through the beach area without delay. If the supply chain to the advancing Allied armies was interrupted, it would provide the Germans with an opportunity to mount a counter attack.

 

Members of W Commando were volunteers from the Royal Canadian Navy. In August of 1943, they were assigned overseas duty to HMS Armadillo on Loch Long in the Clyde estuary of Scotland. W Commando comprised 3 sub-units, W 1, W 2 and W 3, each with 25 ratings / leading seamen and 3 officers all under the combined leadership of an Assistant Beach Master and a Commanding Beach Master.

 

The Commando would remain on the landing beach until the supply chain was better served through the Mulberry Harbours or functioning captured ports.

 

Source: Combined Operations Website - https://www.combinedops.com/W%20Commando.htm

 


 

RCN Beach Commando W - E.G. Finley and Edward Storey

 


 

Personnel of W-2 Party, Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando "W" outside a German fortification in the Juno sector of the Normandy beachhead, France, 20 July 1944.

 

(Front row, L-R): Able Seamen A.F. Watt, Douglas Kennedy, R.V. Barnes, E.G. Woodall,
D.F. Trewin, A.H. Petty, Ordinary Seaman A.E. Morris, Able Seaman J.B. White.
(Rear row, L-R): Leading Seamen W.R. Murphy, J.P. Adams, Able Seaman, J.F. Roy, Petty Officer D.E. McIntyre, Lieutenant A.D. Rayburn, Able Seamen W.F. Cronkhite, Dan Kroshewsky, J.D. Ross, R.C. Nelson.

 


 

Leading Seaman Irving A. Smith

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando "W"

 H.M.S. ARMADILLO, Scotland, Feb 1944

Photo by Gilbert Milne

Credit: Library and Archives of Canada

Lieutenant Dudley Rayburn

Beachmaster

W-2 Party, Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando W

H.M.S. ARMADILLO, Scotland, Feb 1944

Credit: Library and Archives of Canada

Able Seaman George Vilneff, W-1 Party, Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando W, writing a letter in the Juno sector of the Normandy beachhead, France, 20 July 1944.

Credit: Library and Archives of Canada

Able Seaman Douglas F. Trewin, W-2 Party, Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando "W", points out a A German sign warning of mines in the Juno sector of the Normandy beachhead, France, 20 Jul 1944.

Credit: Library and Archives of Canada

Able Seaman Earl Jackson

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando W

H.M.S. ARMADILLO, Ardentinny, Scotland, Feb 1944

MIKAN 3355763

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando personnel in and around a former German fortification on Juno Beach, Normandy, France, July 1944. From left to right: Bill Ross; Art Petty; P.J. White; John Forsyth; W. Murphy; Art Watt

Credit: Library and Archives of Canada

Personnel of Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando W in the Juno Sector of the Normandy beachhead, France, 20 July 1944. (L-R): Able Seamen A.H. (Art) Petty, W-2 Party; D.S. (Don) Murphy, W-3 Party; unknown; Able Seaman Dan Kroshewsky, Leading Seaman J.P. (Joe) Adams and Petty Officer Douglas E. McIntyre, all of W-2 Party.

Credit: Lt Richard Graham Arless / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-180815

 

 

 

 


 

HOME PAGE     SHIP INDEX      CONTACT