Combined Operations*, a Rare Text by Londoner Clayton Marks
The 950 - 1,000 members of RCNVR who joined Combined Operations beginning in December, 1941, trained how to man and operate various types of landing craft soon after reaching the U.K., including Landing Craft, Assault (ALCs), Landing Craft, Mechanised (LCMs), Landing Craft (for) Infantry, Large (LCI(L)s) and more.
They suffered the first losses to their landing craft crews at Dieppe but persevered throughout the war and earned high praise - e.g., from General B. Montgomery for their outstanding efforts in Sicily - for transporting troops and all the material of war to (at times) heavily defended shores amidst "chaos and carnage."
The author wishes to acknowledge the many shipmates who contributed pictures, stories, sagas and many memories of our experiences in the Royal Canadian Navy (Combined Operations).
A special thanks to David Lewis, Roy Burt and Donald Kemsley for their assistance, and for pictures from their private collections. A special debt of gratitude is owed to Bill Grycan, Al Kirby, F.J. McParlan, Ted Zeally, Mac Rattan, Bill Prout, Everett Smith, Major C.H. Murphy and Robert McRae, to mention only a few of the many shipmates who so freely recalled the events and experiences that altered their lives. Also, to the memory of Tom Pickles, Bill Roberts, Lt. Dana Ramsay and Lt. Cdr. Jack Koyl for their part in our history...
The first illustration reveals the operations (and their start dates) that - for the most part - involved many Canadians in Combined Operations, beginning with St. Nazaire (western coast of France), March 8, '42. No credit is given to the illustrator/source but I include another copy from a known source.
The Museum, the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom, was opened by Lord Lovat, the famous and much decorated Commando Leader, on May 25, 1984, in the presence of the Chiefs of Services in Scotland. It is located in Cherry Park, a few moments walk from the Castle, being established and managed by the Argyll Estates Trustees.
Inveraray was the first Combined Operations Training base from which assault landing techniques were evolved and nearly every raid that was made on the enemy coast line, such as The Lofoten Islands, Vaagso, Bruneval, St. Nazaire, Dieppe, The North African Landings, Sicily, Salerno, etc., owed something in its composition, either men, materials, or planning, to Inveraray.
Often in the early raids, Inveraray acted as an assembly point for landing craft and assault ships before their despatch on operations.
Over a quarter of a million troops of many nationalities passed through this town, forces from the United States of America, Canada, The Free French, The Netherlands, Norway, to mention a few...
Having read my father's navy memoirs front to back several times I knew he landed American troops at Arzeu on November 8, 1942. I was tempted to bend the book so I could see more of the sailor's face (centre, left of seam) but it wasn't my book. And I knew in my bones it was Dad, and I have since found other photos taken by Lt. F. A. Hudson on that same day. I can spot my father in two more of Hudson's collection. (Yes, later I did buy the book too!)
1) Officers: Lt. Jake Koyl, Big Shoes to Fill
2) Photographs: Aging Veterans Connect at Navy Reunions (Parts 1 - 3)
Unattributed Photos GH