1st Special Service Brigade

Lord Lovat

Peter Young

Robert W. Dawson

Philippe Kieffer
The 1st Special Service Brigade was a commando brigade of the British Army. Formed during the Second World War, it consisted of elements of the British Army and the Royal Marines. The brigade's component units saw action individually in Norway and the Dieppe Raid, before being combined under one commander for D-Day.
The plan was for 1st Special Service Brigade comprising Nos 3, 4, 6 and 45 (RM) Commandos to land at Ouistreham. No 4 Commando were augmented by 1 and 8 Troops (both French) of No 10 (Inter Allied) Commando.
The assault on Sword began at about 03:00 with an aerial bombardment of the German coastal defences and artillery sites. The naval bombardment began a few hours later. At 07:30, the first units reached the beach. The 1st Special Service Brigade, under the command of Brigadier Lord Lovat, were piped ashore in the second wave led by No 4 Commando with the two French Troops first, as agreed amongst themselves. The British and French personnel of No.4 Commando had separate targets in Ouistreham: the French, a blockhouse and the Casino; the British, two batteries overlooking the beach.
Lord Lovat reputedly waded ashore wearing a white pullover under his battledress, with "Lovat" inscribed on the collar, while armed with an old Winchester rifle. He instructed his personal piper, Bill Millin, to play the commandos ashore, in defiance of specific orders not to allow such an action in battle. Lovat's forces pressed on, Lovat himself advancing with parts of his brigade from Sword to Pegasus Bridge, which had been obstinately defended by men of the British 6th Airborne Division who had landed in the early hours. The commandos arrived almost exactly on time, (late by about two minutes), for which Lord Lovat apologised to Lieutenant Colonel Richard Geoffrey Pine-Coffin, of 7th Parachute Battalion.
Commanding Officer: Brigadier Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, Lord Lovat  [view folder]
No. 3 Commando: Lt. Colonel Peter J. Young  [view folder]
  Second-in-Command: Major John B. V. Pooley  [view folder]
  Adjutant: Captain Wardle  [view folder]
  Intelligence Officer: Lieutenant C.G.C. Rae  [view folder]
  Signal Officer: Lieutenant Skelly  [view folder]
  Liaison Officer:
  Medical Officer: Captain E.L. Moore  [view folder]
  Chaplain : Captain/Reverend C. Pritchard  [view folder]
  Regimental Sergeant Major:
    1 Troop: Captain C.E.A. Collins  [view folder]
    2 Troop: Captain J. Bartholomew  [view folder]
    3 Troop: Captain Eric R. Westley  [view folder]
    4 Troop: Captain B. D. Butler  [view folder]
    5 Troop: Captain Woyevodsky  [view folder]
    6 Troop: Captain John Alderson  [view folder]
No. 4 Commando: Lt. Colonel Robert W. Dawson  [view folder]
    A Troop: Captain Alistair M. Thorburn  [view folder]
    B Troop:
    C Troop: Captain David C. W. Style  [view folder]
    D Troop: Major Pat A. Porteous  [view folder]
    E Troop: Captain Hutchison Burt  [view folder]
    F Troop: Captain Len N. Coulson  [view folder]
No. 6 Commando: Lt. Colonel Derek Mill-Roberts  [view folder]
  Second-in-Command: Major Charles Courtenay Coade  [view folder]
    1 Troop: Captain Marshall John Adam Leaphard  [view folder]
    2 Troop: Captain Alan Creswell Holman Pyman  [view folder] (KIA 6 June 1944)
    3 Troop: Major D. Colquhoun  [view folder]
    4 Troop: Captain Thompson  [view folder]
    5 Troop: Captain Reginald J. Emery  [view folder]
    6 Troop: Captain Clark Edmond John Leaphard  [view folder]
No. 45 (Royal Marine) Commando: Lt. Colonel Charles Ries  [view folder]
  Second-in-Command: Major W. N. Gray  [view folder]
    A Troop: Captain Captain E. E. Grewcock  [view folder]
    B Troop: Captain Captain N. G. Michael  [view folder]
    C Troop: Major J. N. Rushworth  [view folder]
    D Troop: Captain A. A. Scott  [view folder]
    E Troop: Captain I. N. Beadle  [view folder]
    F Troop: Captain A. W. Neaves  [view folder]
No. 10 (Inter-Allied) French Commando: Capitaine de Corvette Philippe Kieffer
    1 Troop: Lieutenant Guy Vourch
    8 Troop: Lieutenant Alex Lofi
    K Gun Troop: Lieutenant Pierre Amaury
Brigade Headquarters - War Diaries
No.3 Commando - War Diaries
No.4 Commando - War Diaries
No.6 Commando - War Diaries
No.45 (Royal Marine) Commando - War Diaries