ALMONDS, John Edward

Known as: 
Gentleman Jim
Sergeant (later Second Lieutenant )
Unit / Base: 
8 Commando
'Special Air Service'
Prior Police Service: 
Bristol Police Force
Coldstream Guards
Thursday, August 6, 1914
Died : 
Saturday, August 20, 2005
John Almonds, a Reservist of the Coldstream Guards, joined the Bristol Police Force in 1936. In December 1939 he was a Police Constable, married, and residing at 15 York Street, Bristol, when re-called to his Regiment [1][1a].
Known as Gentleman Jim he volunteered for the Commandos and served in No.8 Commando embarking with them for operations in the Middle East as part of Layforce. When his unit was being disbanded he transferred to the newly raised 'L' Detachment SAS [2]
  • Awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during SAS operations at Nofilla Areodrome and Aghelia [3].
  • Prisoner of war 14 September 1942 captured near Benghazi and housed at Campo 51 (Altamura). He and three others escaped on 4 February 1943 but, after travelling for 12 days over hills in poor weather to reach the coast, were forced to give themselves up due to weakness and being unable to find a boat [3].
  • At the time of the Italian Armistice he was imprisoned in Campo 70 (Monturano) from which he made good his escape reaching Allied forces 14 October 1943.  Awarded a Bar to the Military Medal [4].
  • 10 September 1944 (Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant) (Special Air Service Regiment) commissioned Second Lieutenant [5].
[1] Report in the Western Daily Press 12 December 1942.
[1a] The 1939 Register covering Bristol C.B.
[2] Obituary Daily Telegraph 13 September 2005.
[3] London Gazette 35799, page 5142 & National Archives file WO373/46/49.
[4] London Gazette 36486, page 1926 & National Archives file WO373/94/511. 
[5] London Gazette 36837, page 5726.

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