A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
Royal Marines CDO, 9/10Jul43 at 0246hrs Sicily Invasion, Salerno Beachhead, D-Day Sword Beach, Walcheren & beyond. Signed in memory of his RAF Sgt Pilot brother, Rex, killed in action.
From Newcastle upon Tyne & educated at Heaton Grammar School, after his eldest brother, Rex, was killed (as a Sgt Pilot on early Coastal Command Hudsons, as 220 Sqn re-equipment at Thornaby after Bircham Newton’s Ansons), was a 1940 l9 year old volunteer from the City Engineering Dept, with his older brother, Lawrence also serving in the Merchant Marine and Ambulance Service in WW2. Ray signs as Royal Marine, commemorating the ‘Per Mare Per Terram’ traditional Assault roles of the Marines. His own 7 Section Q Troop 41 Royal Marines Commando, originally 8 RM Bn then RM ‘B’ CDO, and noting the important service, courage and sacrifice of all Commandos, both Royal Marine and Army, in their Special Service Brigades, not forgetting the Engineer, Lcocu Obstacle Clearance and Armoured Support units.
Ray and his unit on 9/10Jul43 were the First Wave, at 0246hrs, on the first sustained Return to ‘Fortress Europe’, three years and a month after Dunkirk, in the 41 and 40 RM CDO night landings, swung down (after an extra ten shillings ‘invasion pay’) from davits off ‘Durban Castle’ onto LCAs, then off its ramps onto the southern tip of Sicily, at Commando Cove west of Pachino (nearby Captain later Lt. Col. William Cunningham DSO RM was wounded there, the late but three years younger brother of Signatory 50, Gp Capt John “Cat’s Eyes” Cunningham CBE DSO** DFC*) to pave a bridgehead for Ist Canadian Division (with 21 Regts represented from much of Canada). Ray was later wounded after the heavy fighting, which followed (both their own, as well as half the six Troops’ officers were wounded and killed, taking and defending the Molina Pass, helped by HMS Roberts monitor’s shelling) protecting the critical Salerno Beachhead this time in the British Commando Brigade Layforce near the U.S. Rangers and for the 5th Army, before recovering and returning to UK Jan44 for 2 weeks’ leave & preparation for D-Day for Sword Beach (further 30% casualties, 47 killed and missing and 72 wounded) and then onto Walcheren and the rest of this Commando’s war.
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