The Golfer

John took part in 4CLY’s ill-judged attack (what one observer stated to be “the nearest thing to a cavalry charge with tanks during the war”) in its first major action at Bir el Gubi on 19 November 1941.  His tank was knocked out by Italian gunfire and he and his crew were captured.  Another of his crew was Roy Cawston, whose story is told in “The Prisoner of War”.

They were taken to a transit camp near Bari, with others captured at el Gubi and a group of SAS and Commandos captured during a raid on Rommel’s HQ.  There were three British officers, John, a captain from another yeomanry unit, and a Commando.

The two other officers made a successful, but short-lived, attempt to escape and were brought back into the camp. The following day the Italian commandant, came to hold an inquiry and took the two to the scene of their escape to show how they had done it: he then ordered the guards to fire on them. The captain was killed instantly and the Commando officer wounded. He, however, recovered, and on being repatriated to England in an exchange of wounded prisoners, reported the matter.