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Eythorne Exercise from the War Diary of No 5 Commando, 1940

No. 5 Commando was a battalion-sized commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commandos were formed in 1940, by the order of Winston Churchill. He called for specially trained troops that would “develop a reign of terror down the enemy coast”.
14th September 1940.
Troop Train arrived MARTIN MILL STATION.
06:30Troops detrained and marched to or embussed for ST. MARGARETS AT CLIFFE.
11:00 Commando H.Q. established at CURFEW HOUSE (see picture below). 14 Kingsdown Road, St. Margaret’s at Cliffe, Kent was HQ to No5 Commando from 14th September to the 8th November 1940. No5 Commando was assigned to protect the St. Margaret’s Bay area, a couple of miles to the north of Dover. It seems that they also had the function of protecting the heavy guns in the area, that is the static cross-channel guns ‘Winnie’ and ‘Pooh’ and the railway guns such as at Eythorne, Shepherdswell and Elham.
11th October 1940.
05:45 Troops. 1, 3, 5 & 6 took part in a Training Scheme with 1 Battalion Queen’s Westminsters. Nos 1 & 3 Troops attacked in Civilian clothing respectively EYTHORNE STATION (7267) and the Colliery (7268). They were supported by Nos. 5 & 6 Troops blocking the roads leading to these positions. No.6 Troop sent a decoy of one Section to LYDDEN while the rest of the Troops retired to the supposed coastal towns of GUSTON, E. LANGDON and MARTIN. No 5 Troop assisted this by holding a position at W. LANGDON. 1 Battalion Queen’s Westminsters used their Mobile Column and one Company. Their carriers occupied the “Coast Towns” before our troops had retired to them.
08:30 Exercise finished.
11:30 Umpires conference.
13:00 2nd Lt Eadie went to DOVER and completed arrangements for this Unit to take over two Naval Cutters (27′). These boats were towed to ST. MARGARETS BAY which they reached at 16:00 hrs.
15:00 Discussion on Scheme with a representative from 1 Battalion Queen’s Westminsters. The following were the two main conclusions drawn: this Unit achieved its object in that it had sufficient time to destroy the two objectives: the withdrawal to the coast will have to be carried out under cover of darkness.
Hence the exercise proved that the Commando could destroy Eythorne Station (and its located rail gun) and Tilmanstone Colliery despite regular army troops being deployed at both to protect them. No 5 Commando (patch pictured) left Kent in November 1940.

Vince Croud

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