Lt. Col. Oliver Gyles Longley M.C. C.B.E 30th September 1918 — 28th May 2015 44 Recce

Discussion in 'Recce' started by Owen, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I have just seen this message on the admin email account.
    I shall post it here for all to see.

    Your members may wish to learn that today at St. Michael's Church in Paris at 2pm, 12th June 2015, I shall be addressing the funeral of my late and beloved uncle, Lt. Col. Oliver Gyles Longley M.C. C.B.E.

    Uncle Gyles was the final commanding officer of 44 Recce and, I believe, an occasional contributor to your fora.

    Other members may wish to know that Gyles included, in his autobiography, some interesting anecdotes about his wartime military service, especially the Italy campaign. I believe his book is available from Amazon for those who wish to read more and, like me, to celebrate a life less ordinary.

    Lt. Col. Oliver Gyles Longley M.C. C.B.E

    30th September 1918 — 28th May 2015


    Thank you.

    Sally Jane Longley
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  3. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    :poppy: Lt Col Oliver Gyles Longley MC CBE. 44 Recce. RIP :poppy:

  4. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    :poppy: Lt Col Oliver Gyles Longley MC CBE. 44 Recce. RIP :poppy:
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  6. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Gyles Longley, Reconnaissance officer - obituary

    Officer who survived machine-gun fire, landmines and grenade attacks in Italy

    Gyles Longley during the war

    6:32PM BST 15 Jun 2015

    Gyles Longley, who has died aged 96, was awarded an MC in Italy in 1943 and subsequently had a successful career in commerce.


    On September 16 1943, after the Allied landings at Salerno, Italy, Longley was commanding a squadron of 44th Reconnaissance Regiment (44 RR) which was holding a position south-west of Battipaglia. At dawn, they came under intense shell, mortar and machine-gun fire. His command car was riddled with bullets and was knocked out.

    The wireless sets were not working properly and as he ran over to contact one of the positions he saw a German taking aim at him. He dropped to the ground and the bullet missed him but a shell burst behind him wounding him in the foot.

    The battle raged all day. One of his armoured cars was set ablaze, killing all the crew. The enemy made determined efforts to surround the squadron but thanks to stiff resistance and the support from the Allied artillery, they withdrew before dark having taken severe losses.

    Longley was awarded an Immediate MC. The citation paid tribute to his courage and inspirational leadership.

    Oliver Gyles Longley, the son of an officer in the Honourable Artillery Company who was awarded an MC in the First World War, was born at Streatham, south London, on September 30 1918.
    He was educated at Tonbridge and then spent some time working in the family business at Smithfield before joining Gestetner, manufacturers of stencil duplicators, in 1936.
    Two years later, he joined the continental audit team and travelled on business throughout Europe. In a cinema in Berlin, he fell asleep during one of Hitler’s harangues and was awakened with a punch in the back.
    He was recalled to London by his company on the day that war was declared and, after returning to England, he reported to the Dorsetshire Regiment. In 1941, he was commissioned into the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment.
    The next year, he was posted to 44 RR and served with this unit for the rest of the war. In July 1942, he disembarked with his unit at Port Tewfik, Suez Canal. He took part in the Battle of El Alamein. The minefields caused many casualties.
    Training in Palestine followed and, in April 1943, they joined 56th (London) Division in Enfidaville, Tunisia. Longley saw fierce fighting before the end of the campaign in North Africa.
    In Italy he had two narrow escapes. One night, he had just left two officers with whom he had been chatting when an enemy plane flew over and dropped anti-personnel grenades. Both men were killed.
    On another occasion, he trod on an S-mine. It sprang up and glanced off his chest but failed to explode. In September 1944, he took command of his regiment. He finished the campaign in May 1945 in Trieste.
    Longley was demobilised in 1946 and returned to Gestetner. He worked in their Paris office and, in 1965, became managing director of Gestetner France. In 1976, he was made a director of Gestetner Holdings Ltd with responsibility for all the company’s activity in Continental Europe, Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He was appointed CBE in the same year and retired in 1983.
    Gyles Longley in later life
    He played a leading part in the life of the British community in Paris. Among many other charitable activities, he was vice-chairman of the Paris branch of the British Legion from 1986 to 1994, president of the British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, France, from 1972 to 1973, a member of the Management Council of Hertford British Hospital Corporation from 1973 to 2007 and a member of St Michael’s Church Council from 1953 to 1974.
    He published his autobiography To Hell with That! in 2012.
    Gyles Longley married, in 1949, in the British Embassy Church, Paris, Ginette Wilson. During the war, she worked in General de Gaulle’s private office in London. She predeceased him. There were no children.
    Gyles Longley, born September 30 1918, died May 28 2015
    Owen and bexley84 like this.

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