Combined Operations Pilotage Parties

Memorial Fund





Ashford, John

Booth, Jim

Brand, David

Crane, Jack

Harbud, Robin

Kennedy, Lawrence

Ogden, Smith, Bruce

Palmer, P

Scott-Bowden, Logan

Smith, Philip

Turner, Thomes



Born in Wallington in 1915, before the war Jack worked as a banker. He was called up to the Royal Engineers in July 1940, initially as a Non-Commissioned Officer serving with 81st Chemical Warfare Company.

In mid-1943 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and allocated to the Royal Engineers’ No. 1 Training Battalion (1 TBRE) in Clitheroe, Lancashire. Over the next year he was part of the chief instructor’s team, training new recruits to become Royal Engineer sappers. He was promoted to the rank of Captain and became the chief fieldworks instructor.

‘Fieldworks’ are the enemy-created defences such as anti-tank defences, minefields etc that it was COPP’s role to reconnoitre, and it was perhaps because of his specialism in this field that he was approached to join COPP some time in the summer of 1944.  

After completing his training, Jack was sent to the Far East as part of the re-commissioned COPP 1, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Peter Wild RNVR. They arrived at Hammenheil Camp, near Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, in December 1944 after a month-long journey by sea. They embarked on active operations down the coast of Burma from January 1945, being based initially at Akyab and then at Myebon, under the auspices of the Small Operations Group (SOG). Their operations were supporting the 26th Indian Infantry Division as it advanced southwards towards Rangoon.

Jack stayed in the army in the immediate post-war period, being promoted to Major and serving with the Royal Engineers as part of the British Army of the Rhine in occupied Germany.

After leaving the army he put his new-found engineering knowledge to use, becoming a director of a construction company called West’s Pilings. He died in October 1981 in Shere, Surrey, aged 66.


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