SOE Appleyard, John Geoffrey

John Robertson

Staff member
John Geoffrey
  • UNIT
62 Commando (SSRF)
  • RANK
Captain (A/Major)
Distinguished Service Order
Europe (London Gazette 28.1.1943)
killed with SAS - see Roll of Honour



Distinguished Service Order : Major Appleyard has taken part in five raids carried out by S.S.R.F. between 15th August and the 5th October. During all these Operations he has acted as Navigator to Raiding Craft M.T.B. 344 and as Second in Command on the other four. The success of these Operations has been largely dependent on his courage, determination and great skill in navigation. On all occasions M.T.B. 344 has proceeded unescorted and has often passed through enemy minefields.

On an Operation at CAP BARFLEUR which took place on the night 14th/15th August, he went ashore with the landing party which escaped undetected after killing and wounding several Germans. On an Operation against the CASQUETS which took place on the night 2nd/3rd September, he went ashore with the landing party which returned with seven prisoners. This Operation was carried out with a wind force 3 rising to force 5 and the landing and re-embarkation took place from a Goatley boat on a very rocky island. It was largely due to his skill that this very difficult Operation was successfully accomplished. During a raid at ST. HONORINE on the night 12th/13th September he remained in the landing craft owing to injuries received on the previous operation. The Landing Party got into difficulties and he kept the M.T.B. close inshore under heavy enemy fire until eventually forced to turn seawards by direct fire over open sights. He then evaded enemy patrol boats and as quickly as possible returned and scoured the coast on the chance of picking up any of the landing party. During this time he was again under fire and only one engine of the M.T.B. was working. Only when all chanced of picking up the landing party has disappeared did he turn back and successfully navigate the M.T.B. with one engine out of action through enemy minefields to the home port. He commanded the Raid against SARK on the night 3rd/4th October and let the landing party which spent 3 to 4 hours ashore, capturing one prisoner and killing three enemy, without any casualties to his own force.

Military Cross : The above officers carried out their duties under difficult conditions. The were often on duty at key points under enemy machine gun and bombing attacks for long periods. When on duty preventing French traffic entering the perimeter at a bridge over the Dunkirk canal and ugly scene was avoided by tact when a French Officer drew his revolver threatening to shoot the above officers 2/Lt. Appleyard by his fine example materially assisted in the efficient running of Corps transport under most difficult conditions under enemy fire.


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