Steaming to the news stand at high speed – new Commando comics on sale now!

Commando 5241: Action and Adventure - Steel InfernoBrand new Commando comics from DC Thomson issues #5239 – 5242 are out now in all good UK newsagents and via digital subscription. This set of releases includes “Steel Inferno“, written by Hailey Austin, whose work as a PhD student caught media attention last year after she discovered a number rare comics – some dating back to the 1800s – among thousands of comics she catalogued at the University of Dundee.

They included drafts and proofs of early DC Thomson titles among the materials donated to the university’s archives.

Her story is inspired by the Soham Rail disaster which took place in the early hours of 2nd June 1944, as Britain prepared for the D-Day landings, when an ammunition train caught fire in Soham Station, which used to be on the Ely to Newmarket line in Cambridgeshire.

The train crew detached the wagon from the rest of the train and were drawing it away when the cargo exploded, the resulting explosion ripping through the town of Soham – but if it hadn’t been for the bravery of the men involved, the town would have been reduced to rubble and hundreds of residents could have been killed.

The fireman of the train and the signalman at Soham signalbox were killed and several other people injured. The train’s driver, Benjamin Gimbert, and fireman, James Nightall, were both awarded the George Cross for preventing further damage which would have occurred if the rest of the train had exploded.

Commando 5239: Home of Heroes - The Final HuntCommando 5239: Home of Heroes – The Final Hunt
Story: Colin Watson | Art: Morhain & Defeo | Cover : Ian Kennedy 

A body has been found beneath one of the Nissen huts in a Scottish prisoner of war camp — but who is it? Stripped of all identification and with camp records all accounted for, a small list of suspects leads to a mystery that only retired policeman Dick McKay can solve.

It’s okay – McKay likes a puzzle and the answer to this particular enigma will take the small town Scottish gardener all the way to Frankfurt.

Commando 5240: Gold Collection - Fire in the SkyCommando 5240: Gold Collection – Fire in the Sky
Story: Leach | Art: L Rosell | Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 685 (1972)

When bailing out of a failing aircraft the hard and fast rule is that the skipper is the last one out. So imagine an RAF Lancaster crew’s surprise when their Squadron Leader was the first out – not even bothering to tell them to jump!

When word gets back to England, Squadron Leader Ricky Lomax’s name is mud – but behind the barbed wire fence of a POW camp in Germany, Ricky has no idea – and no memory of what happened.

Commando 5241: Action and Adventure – Steel Inferno
Story: Hailey Austin | Art: Khato | Cove: Keith Burns 

Inspired by the true events of the Soham Rail disaster in 1944, Commando’s third female writer in 30 years, Hailey Austin, brings readers a high-octane spy thriller!

When Nazi agents pinpoint the sleepy town of Uxton as a prime target, two lieutenants must work together to stop them – if they can get along long enough to!

Commando 5242: Silver Collection - One Must Die!Commando 5242: Silver Collection – One Must Die!
Story: Mike Knowles | Art and Cover: Manuel Benet
Originally Commando No. 2839 (1995)

Hate is a strong word – but not strong enough! The intense hatred between John Norton and Eugen Von Hasse was so strong it spanned not one, not two, but three wars!

The torrid relationship between the Brit was German is likely to tear apart the lives of the men who serve with them. So, in order for any to survive… one of them – if not both – must die!


The Art of Ian Kennedy - Cover• Official Commando Comics Site:

• Don’t forget The Art of Ian Kennedy is available to order here on Amazon (Using this Affiliate Link helps support downthetubes, thank you)


• Pictures and items relating to the disaster of June 1944 are held by Soham Museum. The collection includes the George Cross awarded to fireman James Nightall and a series of pictures and paintings relating to the incident, in which Soham came within moments of being obliterated by a burning train packed with bombs and ammunition.

LocoYard: Soham Railway Station Disaster; 2nd June 1944: A Retrospective

The story of the disaster above is told an eyewitness who remembers the night well.

World War Two Today: As it Happened – Soham

Wikipedia: Soham Rail Disaster

Network Rail is currently working to reconnect Soham with the rail network, as well as help improve prospects for economic growth, jobs and investment in the area

Commando Comics on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Categories: British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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5 replies

  1. A small thing, but it should be “bale out” of an aircraft – akin to throwing out a bale of hay (as still happens when livestock are cut off by bad weather). “Bail out” refers to liquids (bailing out a bath by using a saucepan) and money (bailing someone out with a loan).

    I first read about the Soham explosion some fifty years ago. The town came into the news again in 2002, with the murder of two schoolgirls.

    On a happier note, William Case Morris – the Dr Barnardo of Argentina – came from Soham. A town, now part of Buenos Aires, is still named after him.

    It’s good to see the true past being reflected in comics today.

  2. Thanks, John. It seems another example of American usage dominating the English speaking/writing world. Along with little interest now shown in the etymology of words. The supposed refusal by teachers to correct UK state school pupils’ spelling, grammar and punctuation – for fear of “stifling creativity” – may play a part here. The many times the ‘there/their’ mistake appears on so-called social media sites has me wondering what is taught in English classes today. I found “borne out of” instead “born out of” on another internet forum, another homophonic error. Perhaps we shood ownlee rite how werds sound?!!!!!

    • Actually, the “supposed refusal” perpetuated by some elements of our tabloid press is a myth. Being able to spell is still considered as incredibly important in primary schools, even in these days of autocorrect and predictive text. All children at school in England are currently expected to sit a spelling test at the end of Year 6. Many schools will set children a list of words to learn at home each week from Year 1 onwards.

      Concerns have been raised, I think rightfully, that pupils with dyslexia are at a disadvantage in tests, and teachers don’t have the resources to give them the help they need. There is an article here about the issue, from The Guardian.

  3. A now-retired teaching professor at Imperial College repeatedly moaned to me about the poor spelling, punctuation and grammar in work submitted by his students. Also about their lack of scientific knowledge which led to numerous – thankfully, only written – mistakes. That was in the 1980s and 1990s.

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