Italy/Albania/Yugoslavia 1943-45 and No. 2 Special Service Brigade

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    • #3709

      I posted a “Lost Trail” some time ago with the Italy Star Association UK regarding my late father, Robert Edward Johnson, who served with No. 2 Special Service Brigade in various operations between 1943-45 supporting Tito’s partisan forces in Albania/Yugoslavia.
      To date, I have received no reply to my request for information but since my first application, I have found an old photograph showing him with one of his mates and on the back of this photograph someone has written the words “Alf Nicholls, Bay View, Napier, New Zealand”. There are no mention of dates and no mention of when Alf Nicholls emigrated, I presume, to New Zealand. I have previously sent an e-mail to a newspaper in Bay View, Napier,(asking a lot I know) requesting that they put – out a request for anyone who might have the surname Nicholls, or may even be related to an “Alf Nicholls” who emigrated to the Bay View area of Napier,New Zealand at sometime shortly after the end of the last war and who served in the same theatre of operation and who knew a Robert or “Bob” Johnson? I have neither received an acknowledgement or answer to this simple request.
      I note, with interest, that Italy Star Association is represented in New Zealand and would be grateful if you could contact them with this, my request for help in finding an Alf Nicholls or his family via the New Zealand link?
      Thank you in anticipation for any help or advice you may offer.
      Yours sincerely,
      Trevor Johnson

    • #3739

      Re: Posting by Trevor Johnson. My late father (d. 2013 aged 98) was Acting Brigade Major from Anzio to Sarande with a significant period of time on Vis. A number of books or sections of books have been written about this Bde. You do not say to which commando he belonged, or perhaps it was one of the other forces – RSR, 111 RA, HLI, American Rangers etc.

      David Blake

    • #4317
      Eric BuckmasterEric Buckmaster.

      Dear Trevor,
      In searching for Information for me, one of my sons Saw your Request asking for Information about your Dad’s .Service…???? and passed it on to me.
      I served with No 2 Service Brigade, and I am not sure how much information you already have…..????
      I was a member of No. 2 Commando, and we spent some 6 Months on the Island of Vis, supporting Tito and his Partisans. and attacking German Garrisons on the other Dalmatian Islands.

      We had led in the American 5th Army in at Salerno and were rather depleted at the time.

      No 2 Commando Brigade Varied at times But for most of the Period we were in Italy it was
      No 2, & No 9 Army Commando’s also No’s 41 & 42 Marine Commando’s. But we were often involved in totally separate actions.

      You have mentioned Anzio is it possible that your Dad was more involved with No. 9 Commando, because that was their specific place of Action.

      Have you made any enquiries to the Army Commando Association. I might be able to help you there.

      It was formed in 1943 whilst we were still in our various Battle Stations, and due to cost and
      Falling Numbers was Stood Down in 2005.

      However, many Members did not want it to go, and formed the Commando Veterans Association.

      As you may know , there were twelve Army Commando’s formed in 1940/41, and 8 Marine Commando’s
      who began to be formed later in 1942.

      The Army Commando’s were Volunteers from Every Regiment & Corps in the British Army.

      I believe that the Marine Commando’s were not Volunteers. though N0 40 may have been initially.

      It was a Joke between Us & the Marines. ” We were there because we wanted to be, and they were there because they had to be ” .

      Sadly, within a Month of the Atom being dropped on Japan, Army Commando’s were Disbanded.

      It was said that we had ” Usurped ” the Role of the Marines.

      You can imagine the Hurt & Anger that caused.

      However, Army Commando’s have now been been formed again to Support the Marines, Commando Artillery, Commando Engineers, and Commando Logistics ( that would have our old RASC. ).

    • #15149
      Ray BrownRay Brown

      Hi Eric – I’m doing some research on my Dad; Ralph Brown, who served with No 2 Commando and who was wounded in Yugoslavia. Unfortunately he’s no longer with us and was never keen to discuss any of this but I wondered if you knew him, about his service or could point me towards someone who might?



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