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Eight won the Victoria Cross; thirty-seven the Distinguished Service Order, with, in addition, nine Bars to that award; one hundred and sixty-two Military Crosses, with thirteen Bars; thirty-two Distinguished Conduct Medals; and two-hundred and eighteen Military Medals.But only the most fortunate, the most outstanding, won these distinctions, chosen from a host whose devotion and bravery was not less marked for being unrewarded.This unique record of the Army Commandos owed more than anything to the fact that every man was a volunteer.
Look at the list and you will see that they were not the most peaceable operations of the Second World War.
But these were only the most famous of countless fights in which these units played their part.
A summary of the decorations awarded to officers and men of the Army Commandos gives some indication of their prowess.
It was not until February 1942 that the first Royal Marine Commando unit was raised.
Known as The Royal Marine Commando, then re designated as 'A' Commando, before being finally re designated 40RM Commando.
40 and the later 41RM Commando would be the only two RM Commando Units raised initially from volunteers as with their Army Commando counterparts.From August 1943 onwards a further six RM Commandos were raised from disbanded Royal Marines Bn's.The first call for volunteers for ‘Service of a hazardous nature’ was in the early months of 1940 and for the new Independent Companies.Many of these men went onto action in Norway almost immediately with little training.On their return Winston Churchill wanted his own Corps of ‘shock troops’ to start afresh. A majority of volunteers for the Independent Companies went onto join the newly raised Army Commandos.Lt Col Dudley Clarke, who was then Military Assistant to the Chiefs of the Imperial General Staff, is generally credited with the initial outline plan of their formation. Further volunteers came from all sections of the Field Army.