|8 Apr 2020|
This year is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and an appropriate time to recall the exploits of some of those OIs who served their country with such distinction.
Geoffrey Rippon Rees-Jones was born on 7th July 1914 and attended the School from 1925 to 1932. He was a Pemberton Scholar and Prefect excelling academically and at sport. He held the School record for 440yds which was unchallenged for many decades. He obtained an Open Scholarship to University College Oxford where he won three Rugby blues and represented his college at Rugby, Athletics, Cricket and Chess. He then played Rugby for Wales on five occasions and, in 1935, scored two tries in his country’s historic 13 to 12 win over the visiting New Zealand.
At the start of the War, he joined the Royal Signals and transferred to No. 5 Commando in 1940. The War Office was concerned at the lack of mountain troops and he had been taught climbing by the Chemistry Master at Eastbourne College where he was himself teaching Maths and Physics. With fellow officers, he ran courses from Clachaig Hotel in Glencoe, proving that troops could be turned into mountaineers. In 1942, as part of 5 Commando, he took part in the invasion of Madagascar against the Vichy French. He led the first two landing craft and was the first of his unit ashore.
In 1943 he returned to Wales and led the Commando Mountain and Snow Warfare Training Centre. The night before D-Day he escorted a raiding party up a Normandy cliff to capture a shore battery. He then attended Staff College and was posted to Germany as Brigade Major of 4 Commando Brigade where he was mentioned in dispatches.
After the war he returned to teaching at Marlborough College, becoming a House Master. He finally became Principal of King William’s College on the Isle of Man and retired 21 years later, having made an outstanding contribution to the College. He died on 13 September 2006 aged 90.
Alan Wyatt OI - Volunteer OI WWII researcher
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