§ 44. Mr. Driberg
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will publish in HANSARD a summary account of the part so far played in the Korean campaign by the 41st Independent Commando, Royal Marines, including a statement on the present whereabouts and function of this unit and the number of casualties sustained.
§ Mr. Callaghan
As regards aircraft carriers, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir R. Ross) on 6th December. To show the changes in other classes of His Majesty's ships I will, with permission, circulate a table in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the table:
§ Mr. Driberg
Without raising undue hopes, can my hon. Friend say whether the news announced last Friday afternoon, that a number of Marines who had been thought lost had, in fact, been rescued, may enable him to diminish somewhat the terribly long list of those missing which was published earlier the same day?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am afraid not. No operational reports have yet been received about this fighting. I can say, however, that seven other ranks who were reported missing are now known to have been 1145 either wounded or killed. That is as far as I can go.
Following is the account:41st Independent Commando R.M. (Lieut.- Colonel D. B. Drysdale, M.B.E., R.M.) arrived in Japan by air in early September as the result of a request from the American naval commander in the Far East for troops for special commando type operations against North Korea. Several naval and Marine volunteers from the Far East Fleet joined up with the Commando on its arrival. The unit was completely equipped by the Americans whilst in Japan.Within four days of their arrival in Japan a detachment of the Commando—1 officer and 14 other ranks—left to take part in an operation in the Inchon area. They left Japan on 10th September with a Special Operations company of the U.S. Army and took part in a beach reconnaisance on the night of 12/13th September to the south of Inchon. On 18th September the detachment landed at Inchon with the U.S. Special Operations company and subsequently took part in several successful operations in the Seoul area. The detachment returned to Japan on 2nd October.The Commando then came under the command of the Commander Naval Forces Far East (Admiral Joy U.S.N.) and made three successful raids on the East Coast of Korea from U.S. ships. The first raid took place on the night of lst/2nd October and was against enemy railway communications North East of Shako. Four officers and 63 other ranks were landed, including the commanding officer. A section of the embankment under the railway line was demolished and two tunnels were mined. During this raid minor opposition from poorly armed police was encountered. One Marine was killed.The second raid was on the night of 6th/7th October, when two troops of the Commando landed under the command of Major D. L. St. M. Aldridge, R.M., at Churonjang. A rail and road tunnel was blown up with two tons of explosive and completely blocked. One non-commissioned officer was killed during this raid.The third raid took place on the following night (7th/8th October) when the same two troops, who had landed the previous night, landed again. This raid was directed against a rail and road bridge and a tunnel and resulted in the bridge being blown and the tunnel partially blocked. Minor opposition was encountered and a tunnel guard shot. There were no casualties to the landing forces.In these three raids from United States ships the greatest possible co-operation was given by the captains, officers and ships' companies of the ships concerned. The Commando concentrated as a complete unit in Japan on 14th October, 1950, and carried out a period of training. On 16th November the Commando left Japan to join the First Marine Division (U.S. Marine Corps) in the Choshin reservoir area. They had to fight their way up Hungnam-Hagaru Road and suffered fairly heavy casualties in the process; they have now been successful in fighting their way back to Hungnam: 1146 no operational reports have yet been received on the latest fighting. The Commando is still serving with the First Marine Division.The casualties so far reported, including those mentioned above, are:
Officers: Killed in Action … … … 1 Wounded in Action … … 2 Missing … … … … 1 Other ranks: Killed in Action … … … 12 Wounded in Action … … 33 Missing … … … … 26The next-of-kin have been informed.