Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) 1942-1945, Beach Commando W

RCN Beach Commando "W", 1942-1945

Data current to 30 June 2019

The Royal Naval Commando units were a formation of the Royal Navy which served during the Second World War.  The first units were raised in 1942 and by the end of the war, 22 company-sized units had been raised to carry out various tasks associated with establishing, maintaining and controlling beachheads during amphibious operations.  ‘W’ Commando was largely formed from personnel drawn from the Royal Canadian Navy.   They were commanded by an officer of the rank of Lieutenant Commander or Commander, with each company comprised of ten officers and 65 ratings organized into three parties with 25 men in each.

RCN Beach Commandos took part in Operation Neptune during the D-Day landings in Normandy in June 1944.  Here they were involved in establishing and defending the landing beaches against German counterattacks at the same time as carrying out their assigned tasks of controlling the beaches to ensure the steady and efficient flow of supplies and men to the front.  The parties remained in Normandy for about six weeks before they were withdrawn to reconstitute in preparation for further operations.  These operations were limited in scope after the effort of D-Day, but included participation in the assault on Walcheren in the Netherlands.  The Commandos were disbanded at the end of the war.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3201854)

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando "W", training in the UK, ca July 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3201854).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191758)

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commandos, "W", aboard a Landing Craft Assault of the 529th Flotilla, Royal Navy, during a training exercise off the coast of England, 9 May 1944.

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando "W", landing on Mike Beach, Juno Sector, Normandy, 7 July 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3355187).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3355168)

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

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3354995)

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

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3354996)

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando "W" Private M. Belanger (left) and Corporal P. Jenkins of Le Régiment de la Chaudière in the Juno sector of the Normandy beachhead, France, 20 July 1944.

  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3520343)

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando Lieutenant John Beveridge (right) playing cribbage aboard the infantry landing ship HMCS Pince David during a training exercise off the coast of England, 9 May 1944.

 (Lt Gilbert Alexander Milne, Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA-183056)

Royal Canadian Navy Beach CommandoAble Seaman John Joyce of Saint John, New Brunswick. (right) demonstrates how to disarm an opponent attacking with a knife.  The man with the knife is Able Seaman James Skinner of Strathroy, Ontario.  

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3355761)

RCN Beach Commando, training in the UK, Feb 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3355002)

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commandos, "W", in their quarters in the Juno sector of the Normandy beachhead, France, 20 July 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3355169)

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

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3520343)

Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando Lieutenant John Beveridge (right) playing cribbage aboard the infantry landing ship HMCS Pince David during a training exercise off the coast of England, 9 May 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3201116)

Beach Commandos loading ammunition aboard a Landing Craft Assault (LCA) of HMCS Prince David, near Taranto, Italy, 13 September 1944.