Lt. John Francis Hume-Spry

(S/N 106698)

Lt. John Francis Hume-Spry, formerly of the Royal Artillery, served under Capt. Peter Cruden with No.2 Troop of No.6 Commando from early February 1945.

Lt. Hume-Spry was unfortunately KIA whilst engaged in the crossing of the River Rhine during the Operation Widgeon night-time attack on W esel on 23rd/ 24th March 1945 . It was reported that Lt. Hume-Spry’s storm boat – the last boat of the small armada of No.6 Commando boats to make the crossing that night - was hit in mid-stream by enemy fire and damaged to such an extent that it became unstable and sank without trace beneath the Rhine waters. Laden down with heavy Bergen rucksacks, weapons and ammunition many of Lt. Hume-Spry’s men, as well as Lt. Hume-Spry himself, were unable to swim to safety and were overcome by the strong river currents. In all ten men (nine members of the No.2 Troop sub-section and the Royal Marine Commando operator of the storm boat) of the sixteen commandos carried in Lt. Hume-Spry’s storm boat lost their lives in this unfortunate and tragic event.

His commanding officer, Capt. Peter Cruden described Lt. John Hume-Spry as ‘a first class officer and {a} very able and gallant leader of men.’

John was laid to rest in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery ( Kleve , Nordrhein-Westfalen) Grave 52.A.9.

Picture courtesy of Mr. Peter Hume-Spry