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Thread: The origin of the word "Commando"

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    Super Moderator Dutchy357's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The origin of the word "Commando"

    While looking through old newspaper files I found this interesting article:

    The Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld. : 1874 - 1954) Monday 19 January 1942 Page 1

    COMMANDO
    The word "commando" is much in the news at present, and no doubt as the war progresses we shall hear more of it. It is a word of Portuguese origin, commandra, meaning a command, and was used by the South African Dutch and familiarised in the Boer War. In effect, it is a small raiding party whose success depends upon the dash of its leader and the initiative of the men under him.
    Courage and mobility are important factors, and Australian troops, both in the last war and in the present, have proved themselves masters in the art of this type of warfare.


    And here I was, thinking all the time that it was a Dutch word!

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    Forum Veteran International's Avatar
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    Thanks Dutchy.

    On computer or microfiche?

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    Super Moderator Stewart Townsend's Avatar
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    I was searching "Commando Training" at the AWM.

    http://www.awm.gov.au/view/collection/item/NWA0089/
    both RAAF Security Guards in training as commandos, negotiate an obstacle with rifles and bayonets at the ready.

    http://www.awm.gov.au/view/collection/item/137663/
    SHEPPARTON, VIC. 1943-01-22. MEMBERS OF THE RAAF GROUND STAFF GOING THROUGH A SECTION OF THEIR COMMANDO TRAINING COURSE.

    http://www.awm.gov.au/view/collection/item/NWA0094/
    Darwin area, NT. February 1943. Leading Aircraftman R. B. Sheridan of Sydney, NSW, concentrates on the rope crossing of a stream which was included in an obstacle course during his RAAF Commando training.

    So RAAF Commandos.

    I knew about the RAN Commandos

    http://www.awm.gov.au/view/collection/item/080388/
    TRINITY BEACH AREA, QUEENSLAND. 1944-09-06. SUB-LIEUTENANT G.F. FAIRBAIRN, (ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY COMMANDO UNIT) (1); VX134428 PRIVATE R.L. WERNER, D COMPANY, 2/24TH INFANTRY BATTALION (2), AT THE STORES DUMP DURING AMPHIBIOUS TRAINING EXERCISES CONDUCTED BY THE 26TH INFANTRY BRIGADE

    Interesting, a training school in Syria (There was the school at Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, at the same time)

    http://www.awm.gov.au/view/collection/item/024238/
    TRIPOLI, SYRIA. 1942-05-12. THE "OBJECTIVE", AN OIL TANK, DESTROYED DURING ASSAULT EXERCISES CARRIED OUT BY 9TH AUSTRALIAN DIVISION COMMANDOS, WHO WERE LANDED FROM THE SEA SOUTH OF TRIPOLI.

    http://www.awm.gov.au/view/collection/item/024290/
    TRIPOLI, SYRIA. 1942-05-15. THE ASSAULT COURSE AT THE SPECIAL PHYSICAL TRAINING SCHOOL FOR THOSE WHO EVENTUALLY WILL BECOME COMMANDOS. THE LOG REPRESENTS AN IMPROVISED BRIDGE OVER A RIVER OR CREEK, AND IS NEGOTIATED BY THE STUDENTS, "BLONDIN" FASHION, OBTAINING BALANCE FROM THEIR RIFLES

    So we had RAAF, RAN and Army Commandos, maybe it was a "new word/idea" for the English Speaking Peoples.
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    Australian Knifemakers Guild gaston's Avatar
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    This is very interesting and brings back some memories from over 20 years ago in a far away country.
    I was conscripted in 1992 when military service was still compulsory in France and I thought I'd try to make the most of it. I was lucky that my commanding officers were good blocks and got me to do the necessary courses to become a NCO and sent me and my guys to a commando training camp. It was in an old fortress (fort Henri Martin) in the French Alps, equipped with all sorts of obstacle courses, climbing walls, underground maze, tanks, and all other toys only the army has.
    The camp focussed on very interesting reach and escape techniques, improvised explosive devices, traps and close combat.
    Here are a few pictures I scanned and would like to share:





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    Super Moderator Dutchy357's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by International View Post
    Thanks Dutchy.

    On computer or microfiche?
    Trove Newspaper archives on the net.

    Dutchy
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    Super Moderator Dutchy357's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart Townsend View Post
    I was searching "Commando Training" at the AWM.
    Hi Stewart

    The subtleties of the English language!

    There is a difference between "Commando Training" which anyone can undergo and "Training as Commandos" which only includes Commandos!

    Dutchy
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    "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."
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    "The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern: every class is unfit to govern."
    Lord Acton (1834–1902)

    dutchy357@gmail.com

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    Red face

    Portuguese word is itself derived from Latin "commandare" In informal English to "go commando" is to go without underwear.

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    Forum Veteran International's Avatar
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    Gaston no doubt it would have been challenging, but look's like you would of had a blast.

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    Australian Knifemakers Guild gaston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by International View Post
    Gaston no doubt it would have been challenging, but look's like you would of had a blast.
    I'd do it again tomorrow, and I still use some of the reach and escape techniques in the bush.

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    Thanks for sharing gaston

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