Lieut Col John "Jack" Easonsmith
John R. Easonsmith, known to his friends as “Jack”, was born in Bristol, England in 1909. He joined his local Territorial Army unit in 1939 as a Private and by 1940 had been promoted to Sergeant and recommended for a commission. In December 1940 he was posted to the Middle East and volunteered for the Long Range Desert Group. As a Lieutenant he first commanded the New Zealand ‘R1’ Patrol before being promoted to Captain in August 1941. He led the highly successful BARCE RAID which disrupted German and Italian communications as well as putting out of action an Axis airfield there and destroying over 30 enemy aircraft parked around the airstrip. In October 1942 “Jack” Easonsmith was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in addition to a Military Cross given to him earlier ... and promoted to Major. One year later, by now a Lieutenant Colonel, he commanded the entire LRDG during an ill-fated campaign in the Dodacanese Islands off Greece. Here, he was killed in action on November, 1943 d
The men of the LRDG were definitely not “Parade Ground” soldiers. They included in their number many individualists who operated best in small unit operations. Here, an LRDG officer consults his map while his “dismounted” driver examines a captured MP40 “Schmeisser” machine pistol ... Their casual and comfortable style of mixed uniforms would give any Regimental Sergeant Major a heart attack!