Byrne, John Vincent "Jack"

Date of birth:
April 1st, 1921 (Preston/Lancashire, Great Britain)
Date of death:
January 10th, 2007
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


Servicenumber 2060658.
Jack Byrnes joined the Gordon Higlanders after having graduated from Army Apprentices College in Chepstow and was wounded in France in 1940. After the evacuation from Dunkirque he was transfered to 11 Commando and took part in the actions in Syria against the Vichy French. He was subsequently recruted by David Stirling and joined the unit which was later to become 1st SAS.
After a few actions in Lybia, he missed a rendez-vous and was taken prisoner. Byrne ended up in Stalag III in Poland but managed to escape for which he was awarded the DCM.
Subsequently, Byrne was posted to 6 Commando and landed on Sword Beach on D-Day. When he and his unit tried to establish contact with the 6th Airborne Division at the canal near Caen and the Orne river, he was wounded in the knee and was evacuated to England. He was however fit enough to be deployed in the battle near Maasbracht and the Rhine crossing near Wesel. He also took part in the crossing of the Dortmund-Eems canal.
After the war he remained in the army until 1947 and later became a policeman in Kenya during the Malaya crisis where he was shot in the stomach by a terrorist.
After his discharge from the army, he married and started a textileshop in Shropshire.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
The Gordon Higlanders
Awarded on:
October 7th, 1943
"Cpl Byrne was captured by the Germans in Libya while returning alone from a special sabotage mission. He was sent to a Prisoner of War camp in Germany where he volunteered to act as an Officer’s batman as he thought this would give him a better opportunity of escaping. He was, accordingly, transferred to Oflag XXIB, an Officers camp, where he made two attempts to escape but was recaptured on each occasion. On 18 Jul 43, while being transferred to another camp, he escaped from a transit camp at Koenigsberg and succeeded in reaching Danzig, where he boarded a Swedish ship and finally arrived at Goteborg on 25 Jul 43. This NCO showed courage, pertinacity and initiative of the very highest order under the most trying circumstances."
Distinguished Conduct Medal