Commando Spirit

Due to the irregular and specialised role of the new Commando units they were intentionally given a degree of flexibility in terms of administration, recruitment and training. Each Commando initially had a total war establishment of approximately 500 officers and men. An initial structure of a HQ and ten Troops per Commando was adopted, with each Troop led by a Captain and subdivided in turn into two Sections with each Section further divided into two sub-Sections.

Sections were generally led by subalterns or senior NCO’s, and sub-Sections by both senior and junior NCO’s; sub-Sections were further broken down into designated parties each with a specific role, which generally consisted of rifle, Bren gun and bomber parties.

Barely six weeks after Churchill challenged his Chiefs of Staff to propose measures for a ceaseless offensive against the German occupied coastline, volunteers from all walks of life and from a variety of regiments were gathering in their hundreds to grasp the opportunity for action and adventure.

The process of self-selection was the first step for all would-be commandos; those who had voluntarily put their name forward for selection were literally taking a step into the unknown.

There was no existing blue print for the Commandos, the development of the concept, and the standards for recruitment, selection and training would be determined by the Commanding Officer. However, to streamline the selection process a criterion was set for volunteering, all potential

commandos had to be trained soldiers, physically fit, able to swim and immune from sea and air sickness; their personal attributes had to include courage, physical endurance, initiative and resource, activity, marksmanship, self-reliance and an aggressive spirit towards the war.

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