John Robertson

Staff member
  • UNIT
SOE Op.Massingham,Algiers + Force 136 SOE
  • RANK
Major + T/Brigadier
Commander of the Order of the British Empire,Legion dHonneur (Fr),Croix de Guerre avec Palm (Fr),Legion of Merit (USA)
Algeria 1943 (LdH,CdG) Far East 1945 (CBE)
parent unit Somerset Light Infantry
born 3.1.1907 Devon
educated Clifton and Trinity College,Oxford
Clifton OTC 1921-25
Sub Lieutenant RNVR
employed with Imperial Tobacco in civilian life
commissioned 1930s
Somerset Light Infantry
Staff College
SOE November 1942
SOE Algiers 1943 (Major)
SOE Oriental Mission (Head)
Force 136 SOE (Chief of Staff) 1944-45 (Lt Col - Brigadier)
Knighted 1975
married Elizabeth Garnett 1935 (died 1990) (2 children)
died 2000 (Aged 93)


Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire : Brigadier John ANSTEY joined Force 136 as my Deputy Commander in November 1944 just when the scale of operations was beginning to increase rapidly. Only by his exceptional qualities of energy and leadership was it possible for the organisation to built up in such a way as to keep pace with the quickly increasing scope of its operations.

His previous experience of special operations was invaluable and enabled him to plan and organise simultaneously operational activities throughout the length and breadth of South East Asia Command and parts of China. The resulting successful resistance and intelligence activities spread over so wide an area were largely due to his successful concentration on the co-ordination of plans with the Commanders concerned, the selection of key personnel, the rapid development of an adequate supply organisation. During my frequent absences in U.K. and elsewhere he has acted as Commander with complete success, and essential factor if I was to carry out my necessary liaison visits. Brigadier ANSTEY's indefatigable energy and constructive ability made itself felt throughout the organisation, and I strongly recommend him for the award of the C.B.E.

Legion of Merit (USA) : Lieutenant Colonel John Anstey, Infantry, S.O.E., British Army. For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services covering from 28 April to 9 September 1944 the Normandy and Mediterranean operations in France. As co-director of Allied Force Headquarters Special Project Operation Center, Lieutenant Colonel Anstey was charged with organizing, planning and conduction Special Operation in the Allied Force Headquarters zone in South France. The success of the French Forces of Resistance and of allied special operations detachments in South France during the Normandy and Mediterranean operations was in a large measure due to Lieutenant Colonel Anstey, whose loyalty, intelligence, initiative, tact and sound judgment were marked.

WEB LINKS: (Legion of Merit (USA))
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