COATES, John Gordon

Doctor of Philosophy
Captain (later Temporary Major)
Intelligence Corps
Service number/s: 
1942 Intelligence Officer No.10 (Inter Allied) Commando.
1943 Operations Officer 30 Commando AU Italy and Corsica
1944 Special Operations Executive.
Captain John Coates, attached SOE, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Field.
"Captain Coates was dropped by parachute into Hungary on September 13th, 1944 in command of a small group with a special mission. Through the arrest of one of his party he was captured and imprisoned.
For a period of several months he was subjected to a series of interrogations by Hungarian and German police which included physical torture.
During this period Captain Coates showed unfailing bodily courage and strength of mind. He not only kept the real purpose of his mission secret but succeeded in leading his captors off the scent, thus undoubtedly saving his party from being shot out of hand.
By his sterling example Captain Coates encouraged the other members of his group to stand up to their interrogators and by his unfailing alertness and resourcefulness he was able to animate the resistance shown by his party under the most brutal treatment.
When in prison in Budapest, Captain Coates organised the escape of two other British Officers with great skill and courage and then escaped himself. He hid himself and another officer in spite of continuous searches, and was finally successful in making his way at great personal risk through the Russian lines, bringing with him great deal of useful information.
During a period of four months Captain Coates showed physical and moral courage of the highest degree. His leadership and sense of responsibility were worthy of the greatest praise, and it is due to his cleverness and resolution that the remainder of his party were saved from death. Should this award be approved it is requested that no publicity be given to it in the press for security reasons."
London Gazette 37293, page 4885.
National Archives file WO373/59/278.
Imperial War Museum oral interview with John Coates, catalogue no.13628.

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