Lt Col R.K. Montgomery: The St. Nazaire Raid
In 1939, R.K. Montgomery attended the Royal Military Academy to become a Royal Engineer Officer in the British Army. He graduated right before World War II.
His interest in explosives prompted him to pursue additional special training to become a demolitions expert in the Commandos. The Commandos (or British Commandos) were an elite group that gained fame for their rigorous training and distinctive green berets.
In 1942, the Comandos launched Operation Chariot, a.k.a. the St. Nazaire Raid, to take out a dry dock that was crucial to the Germans. ‘Dry docks’ were docks that could be drained of water via a caisson in order to repair the hulls of ships. In order to destroy this dock, the Commandos traveled on the HMS Campbeltown, a ship that was made to look like a Möwe class German torpedo destroyer. LtCol Montgomery’s demolition teams packed the Campbeltown full of explosives, snuck it into the dock (only semi-successfully) and blew it up, taking the cassion with it.
During the Raid, Lieutenant Colonel R.K. Montgomery was injured by an explosion, and then caught by German forces. He spent three years as a POW in Germany, and was released at the end of the war.