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BBC4 CASTLE COMMANDO

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BBC4 CASTLE COMMANDO

Old 27th Jun 2019, 07:58
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BBC4 CASTLE COMMANDO

Immediately following the Operation Mincemeat programme was Castle Commando about the training of Army Commandos.

It also found some survivors to talk about their experiences and Major Dunning was one such and still very fit and alert.

It used a 1945 immediately post-war film to capture the training detail. They also merged current colour images of the training school with original black and white imagery of the men from exactly the same camera angles.

Some of the demonstrations and illustrations were not for the squeamish.

To quote one commando at Dieppe - it's almost as hot as Achnacarry House.

And there is RAF content- the RAF refused to supply aircraft.
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 08:31
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Missed Mincemeat but watched the Commando programme. Excellent and informative. We saw a night opposed assault by boat with live ammunition fired just above them so that they could hear the crack of the bullet passing them. This was watched by the usual dignitaries (who were thus spared such dangers). "Good job they weren't watching the rehearsal, we managed to kill a man!".

I missed the bit about the RAF refusing to supply aircraft. I presume that referred to Transports for the cancelled Para drops. If so, a wise decision? We certainly supplied fighter and bomber aircraft and lost 106 v 48 lost by the Luftwaffe. Wiki suggests that Operation Rutter was cover for Sholto Douglas's Fighter Command to draw the Luftwaffe into battle. Like Mountbatten himself, he should have had a Sgt Wilson type asking, "Do you think that's very wise, Sir?".
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 08:50
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Oberon senior was one of the first to go through Achnacarry, ended up as RSM No9 Commando, age 22. Towards the end of his life he opened up a bit about his experiences both when training and operational. I used to take him to The Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge every Remembrance Day. The Commando veterans would form up about a mile from the memorial and march up behind the local school pipe band even when the rain and snow was horizontal, different breed.
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 10:38
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I served in No. 40 Commando during the late 50s to early 60's and completed commando training in the style of Achnacarry. Our playground had changed to Dartmoor with live firing at the Willsworthy range.

There were no differences between wartime and peacetime training practices. We were fit - very fit, with hikes of 25 - 30 miles with a full Bergen being the norm, the term 'yomp' wasn't then in use, Such was the international reputation of the Commando's, we trained specialist forces from around the world.

Wonderful times !
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 11:27
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My very fave advert line was on a wall in Cardiff looking for RM Commando recruits. The tag line: 99.9% Need Not Apply. I thought that was great!

CG
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 17:34
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Chug, at the beginning Commandos were formed at Churchill's insistence in carrying the war to the Germans. The Navy didn't want to provide boats, the RAF aircraft, the Army didn't like irregular forces and the RM because they were in their surf. They had to appeal to Churchill.

Their first successful raid was the Lofotens which forced Hitler to reinforce Norway. It wasn't mentioned in this programme but there were still 40,000 Germans in northern Norway on VE Day.
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 17:48
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Capt Kremmen,no doubt then,that you will have known my now deceased,next-door neighbour, David Tweed,who was OC 40 Cdo at Suez,for which he got the DSO.Strangely enough,another deceased neighbour,the old lady who lived directly opposite me,was mentioned,and I believe appeared in the 'Mincemeat' programme,as she was the girlfriend at the time,of the chap who conceived the deception plan.I haven't seen the programme for many years,so can't remember his name,but I remember her excitement when the author of the book came to interview her after she contacted his publisher's after reading the book.
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 17:50
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charliegolf,

That particular advertising campaign was a disaster, as 99.9% didn't...
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 18:52
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Originally Posted by ex82watcher View Post
,the old lady who lived directly opposite me,was mentioned,and I believe appeared in the 'Mincemeat' programme,as she was the girlfriend at the time,of the chap who conceived the plan.
chomondeley. .
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 19:53
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PN,yes that's the fellow.I just watched a few minutes worth of the programme on the BBCiplayer,and It was quite unnerving to see my neighbour,Peternel Hankin as I remember her just a few years before she died,There was also a photo' shown of her during the war,looking very glamorous.Once,she asked me to take her to a garden party being held in Haslemere,where she met with a lot of her wartime cronies from MI 5,MI6 etc,though by that time of course,they were all grey haired old ladies.Mrs Hankin's late husband,Tony,also had an interesting war - he was the ships secretary/admin officer (I don't remember the exact term) on HMS Belfast and was on-board when she was bombarding in support of the D-day landings.In my small lane with only about 17 houses,I had some quite remarkable neighbours,apart from those already mentioned they included Anne Welch,the famous glider-pllot and ATA veteran,and her husband Lorne Welch,who had been the intended pilot to fly the glider built in the attic of Colditz.Sadly,I only got to speak to him once,and I was on top of my roof at the time,and he just introduced himself,and I had no idea of his interesting past,and only got to know of it in detail following his death,when another neighbour lent me a copy of the book 'Flak and Ferrets' - a good read that I'd recommend to anyone.
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Old 27th Jun 2019, 20:27
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PN - Just finished an account of Churchill's rise to power and the Norway campaign was a total shambles, all of it driven by Churchill against the advice of his contemporaries. A complete lack of heavy armament, forces in one ship. arms in another, no air support. - it reads like a re-run of Gallipoli. Not one of his most memorable achievements.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 06:54
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CJ, Norway was indeed a shambles as was the Battle of France, Singapore, Dieppe, and numerous other places on land, sea and air. That's war, and it's not how you start out but how you finish that counts. If Norway had been a success it would have been perhaps the end of the begining. We had to wait a little longer for that though...
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 08:14
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Went to the funeral last year of a friend's father, who had been a British Commando Sgt. in WW II. There were about half a dozen other WW II Commandos in attendance. The still marched with pride and bearing.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 09:39
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
charliegolf,

That particular advertising campaign was a disaster, as 99.9% didn't...
Stll a great line.

CG
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 10:11
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Ex82watcher

I didn't know David Tweed. My CO - I imagine just prior to him - was Lt. Col. Gray known as 'Dolly Gray'. Sharl-Rogers was the adjutant. By the time Suez erupted I was on Reserve and despite my pleadings that to ensure success the MoD (War Office?) needed my contribution I was refused.

I did tho' have a hand in the Cyprus insurgency and dodged a few angry grenades ! I'm told that more British personnel were killed in the Cyprus conflict than in Afghanistan. If such is the case it makes one wonder why so little appears to be known about the Cyprus conflict by the public..
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 18:42
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack View Post
PN - Just finished an account of Churchill's rise to power and the Norway campaign was a total shambles, all of it driven by Churchill against the advice of his contemporaries. A complete lack of heavy armament, forces in one ship. arms in another, no air support. - it reads like a re-run of Gallipoli. Not one of his most memorable achievements.
CJ, as already agreed, the Norway campaign was a shambles but should not be confused with the Lofotens Commando raid which was a classic small force attack requiring a totally disproportionate response by the Germans. In contrast the Tirpitz, as a force in being, required a disproportionate Allied response to contain and subsequently destroy her.

I wonder whether a containment threat would have required a greater German defensive effort to protect her?
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 18:58
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They say history is written by the victor. I was lucky in 2014 to get Churchill's The World Crisis, all 5 volumes, on Kindle for very little money. His analysis of the Gallipoli campaign naturally blamed the Admirals and Generals.

In essence the Navy was slow to land troops, ships were not combat loaded for an invasion. The Army was slow to exploit their bridgehead etc. Indeed he might well have been correct but in essence there was no unified command, an organisation that only evolved slowly in WW2.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 19:33
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Capt Kremmen,following your post,I resorted to google,and Lt Col Gray was indeed the immediate predecessor to David Tweed as OC 40 Cdo.
Like you,he had spent some time in Cyprus,and according to his widow, once had to climb into an armoured car(Feret ?) to clear-out the' bits' after a grenade had been tossed inside.
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