Colonel John Deane REYNOLDS, M.C., M.A. (240286)

Commanded the Depot Worcestershire Regiment from January 1958 to May 1960.

John Deane Reynolds was born in 1920 in Bromley, Kent, son of Frank Reynolds and Eileen (nee Deane) His father worked for the Air Ministry and so the family moved around the UK as he was posted to oversee the building of new airfields. John was educated at Kings School, Worcester, and Hertford College, Oxford.

In July 1940 he volunteered for the army, and was sent to Norton Barracks as a private in The Worcestershire Regiment. After weeks of training he volunteered for The Special Service Brigade, and was posted to No. 3 Commando in Largs, Scotland in October 1940. He became a batman to Ronald Denton of No. 1 Troop, and took part in the Lofoten Islands raid, Norway during March 1941; then he was made a L/Cpl in charge of a Demolition Squad, in which capacity he blew up a herring oil factory in the raid on Vaagso, Norway in December 1941.

He was then sent on a rock-climbing course in Glencoe, and was made an Assistant Instructor on cliff-climbing training. While doing that at Clovelly in early 1942 he was sent to 163rd OCTU at Heysham (Lancs), was then commissioned in July, and posted to 11th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.

In November he managed to get himself sent back to No.3 Commando, then in Worthing.

In 1943 he served with the No.3 Commando in Gibraltar, N. Africa, Egypt, and the invasion of Sicily, where he was one of the first to land to lead his Troop to Cassibile, and later to capture Agnone Bridge to save it from demolition. Later he was sent with a patrol of 6 to Bova Marina in Italy to check up on the situation before the main invasion. When the landing craft came next day to collect them, it forgot to slow down and ended well up the beach, and couldn't get off again! So he and his patrol retired up into the hills, while his commander Peter Young and the crew went and took over a local village. When he heard that the invasion had happened, John and his patrol made their way to Reggio, and the rest of No.3. (This was the operation for which he was awarded his M.C.)

Colonel J. D. Reynolds, M.C., M.A.

After the initial 8th Army landings in Italy, No.3 Commando was sent to capture Termoli (halfway up the Eastern coast) to block any enemy retreats northwards. It was here that John, while commanding No. 5 Troop, was wounded in the chest by enemy mortar fire; he eventually ended up in a military hospital in Algiers, whence, when he was better, he hitched a lift on an American troopship back to UK.

After a short leave he went to Wrexham Commando Training Centre. Here he became an instructor for officers newly joining the Commandoes. It was while on an exercise in Wales that he heard the news of D-Day, and requested a return to No.3. He was sent to prepare Petworth Camp for their return from France. But they didn't come! So he then posted himself to France and caught up with them in Arromanche. He was put in charge of No. 2 Troop (Heavy Weapons), and later of No. 5 Troop, with which he finished the War, via river-crossing battles on the Rhine, the Aller, the Elbe, etc. Finally he was at Neustadt, and then Neumunster in Schleswig-Holstein.

When the Commandoes were disbanded, John returned to The Worcestershire Regiment (1st Battalion) then in Goslar, Germany, and was made 2i/c of ‘A’ Company under command of Major K.R.H. James. In March 1946 the Battalion moved to Gandersheim, and John took over ‘A’ Company when Major K.R.H. James left. The next move was to Trieste in Italy. ‘A’ Coy went out to Pola on the border with Yugoslavia, which later took it over; John moved back to Trieste, and it was here that he was interviewed for a Regular Commission; which became fact later in 1947 while he was in Luneburg area. The next move was to Berlin near Gatow Airport. Then came the Berlin Airlift; John was in command of the last bus allowed by the Russians to drive through their Zone to Hanover area; probably because he had an argument with the Russian Guard on the border, because they wanted to take prisoner a young lady who took a photo of their sentry, and John wouldn't allow it, and talked them out of it (through an interpreter, of course).

John Reynolds (C33) leading cross country run in Berlin (1948) came 3rd

The next move for the 1st Battalion was to Gottingen where John took over ‘B’ Company, and finally became a Captain! In 1950 he went to the Staff College, and in 1951 got an appointment as Staff Captain (Q) in HQ 7th Armoured Division. Next year he was moved to 11th Armoured Division, until he was made Adjutant of the 7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment (TA) in Worcester (where he got married!) The next excitement was a posting to HQ Canadian Army in Ottawa, where he was involved in the reorganisation of the Canadian Infantry. After that he rejoined the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and went with them to Jamaica in command of ‘D’ Company. Then he was sent for to take over the regimental Depot at Norton Barracks when John Ricketts retired. He had the sad task of closing it down in 1959 when the Mercian Regiment was formed and had its Depot in Lichfield. John was then made DAAQMG of the Aden Protectorate Levies, where he had an interesting time travelling all over the Aden area (and Yemen). In May 1962 he was promoted to command 4th Battalion Cheshire Regiment (TA) in Chester, their first Regular C.O.

The next job was AAG in HQ Land Forces Hong Kong (where his main task was organising the annual Queen's Birthday Parade - and he actually met her on a visit there!) Then his last posting was as AA&QMG with the Kuwait Army, after which he retired from the Regular Army. He got a civilian job as Administration Officer of Shenstone Teacher Training College in Bromsgrove; in 1972 he was appointed Commandant of the Worcestershire Army Cadet Force, and later of The Hereford and Worcester Army Cadet Force. He was later chosen to be the Honorary Colonel (1985 - 1990). In 1983 he volunteered for the job of Secretary for the Worcestershire Regiment Association, where he worked (very happily) until he was over the age of 70 when they said he had to give up! He was then voted in as President of The Commando Association for a year, and was then Vice-President until the Association ceased to exist in 2005.


John Reynolds (left) receiving shield from Brigadier C. E. A. Firth
(winning the Individual Rifle Meeting Shield British Troops Berlin, 27th July 1948)

Colonel J. D. Reynolds
(when C.O. of 4th Battalion Cheshire Regt.)

John was always interested in shooting; he started in the OTC at school, and was in various teams at the annual Bisley meetings. His Depot Team won in 1958 and 1959, and he was a member of the English Regiments VIII which won the Infantry Cup in 1958. He was a member of The Worcestershire Regiment Association Rifle Club for many years. In his younger years he went in for Cross-country Running, and ran for various teams including Regimental, in Berlin and elsewhere - he never actually won, but came in second or third quite often! He was a member of SSAFA for many years, and was County Chair for a while.





Abbrevations used:

AAG = Assistant Adjutant General
AA&QMG = Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster General
C.O. = Commanding Officer
DAAQMG = Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General
HQ = Headquaters
L/Cpl = Lance Corporal
M.C. = Military Cross
OTC = Officer Training Corps
SSAFA = Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association
TA = Territorial Army

Colonel J. D. Reynolds (1998)

Note: All photos kindly provided by Colonel J. D. Reynolds.