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Frost, John Dutton "Johnny"

Date of birth:
December 31st, 1912 (Poona, India)
Date of death:
May 21st, 1993 (West Sussex, England)
Service number:
53721
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Promotions:
?: Gentleman Cadet;
September 1st, 1932: 2nd Lieutenant;
?: Lieutenant;
September 1st, 1940: Captain;

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Temporary Major
Unit:
C Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion, Parachute Regiment, 1st Parachute Brigade, 1st Airborne Division, Army Air Corps, British Army
Awarded on:
May 15th, 1942
Awarded for:
Operation Biting
Recommendation:
"For conspicuous leadership and gallantry in command of the Parachute troops in a raid on the French coast at Brunval on the night of Friday, 27 Feb and Saturday, 28 Feb 1942. During the course of the attack on the German R.D.F. station, a critical situation arose owing to the party detailed to capture the beach being dropped nearly 2000 yards short of the correct dropping zone. As the Main Force started to withdraw to the beach, heavy fire was opened on them from the defences on the South side of the beach. Major Frost immediately grasped the situation and under close-range fire, directed the attack on the beach which was completely succesful in restoring the situation and enabling the boats to be called in for re-embarkation. Both troughout the attack and capture of the R.D.F. station and subsequently during the clearance of the beach and re-embarkation, this officer displayed outstanding leadership and determination. The succes of the operation was largely due to the ability and conduct of this officer"
LG 35558/2111.
Military Cross (MC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit:
2nd Parachute Battalion, Parachute Regiment, 1st Parachute Brigade, 1st Airborne Division, Army Air Corps, British Army
Awarded on:
February 11th, 1943
Awarded for:
Operation Torch
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Recommendation:
"For conspicuous gallantry and leadership in a most hazardous operation. This officer led his Battalion, after a flight of over 400 miles and a parachute drop in enemy territory, against an enemy landing ground near TUNIS and by his high sense of duty, and example under heavy fire from machine guns, mortar and A.F.V's he was successful in reaching his objective and destroying a number of A.F.V's and inflicting a large number of casualties on the enemy. Although entirely surrounded by overwhelming forces he by his gallantry and cool leadership extricated a large part of his Battalion. After a move of almost 90 miles trough enemy territory of a most difficult terrain being continually harrassed by enemy armd and other forces. Short of food and water, fighting four seperate engagements he finally regained our lines with some 120 Officers and men. This complete disregard of personal danger and his coolness under heavy fire were at all times an inspiration to his officers and men under the most trying circumstances imaginable. This unit some some 450 strong dropped by parachute near DEPIENNE and proceeded to OUNDA some 15 miles from TUNIS. The operations lasted from 29 Nov to 10 Dec."
LG 35898/0744.
Lt Col Frost was in command of 2 Battalion The Parachute Regiment which dropped 6 miles west of Arnhem on Sunday 17th September 1944. The task of this battalion was to seize the main bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem and to hold this bridge until the arrival of 30 Corps. During the advance on the bridge Lt Col Frost commanded his battalion with great initiative and skill and by 2000 hours considerable enemy forces had been outflanked and the northern end of the bridge captured together with sixty prisoners. All attempts to capture the southern end of the bridge failed. The bridge itself was covered by fire from the south bank of the river while the railway bridge further downstream was blown before Lt Col Frost could get a company across. During the night a few other troops arrived and by the morning of Monday 18th September Lt Col Frost found himself in command of a force consisting of one Battalion The Parachute Regiment, Brigade Headquarters, one troop of Royal Engineers and a small party of Royal Army Service Corps. Meanwhile the remainder of the Brigade had met with intense resistance and, with the enemy constantly reinforcing with infantry and armour, all attempts to reinforce the defenders of the bridge proved hopeless. From now until the night of Friday 20th September, Lt Col Frost's forces numbering at the outside not more than 550 all ranks, were subjected to almost continuous attack by all arms. Despite no re-supply of ammunition and food, this force, under the commanding officer and inspiring leadership continued to fight magnificently; very heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy, and many tanks, S.P. guns and half track vehicles were destroyed.

It was only when the enemy, having burned the defenders out of each house in turn, set fire to Brigade Headquarters house, where there were nearly 300 wounded that had to be surrendered, that co-ordinated defence ceased. Lt Col Frost though wounded on Wednesday morning, showed the greatest courage and determination throughout the battle.

It was largely due to his fine leadership that the position was maintained intact for over three days.

Received as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DSO.
LG 37274/4683.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major-General
Unit:
late Infantry
Awarded on:
January 1st, 1964
Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB)
General Service Medal 1918-1962
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
With "1st ARMY" clasp.
Africa Star
Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Medal 1953

Sources

  • Photo: Public Domain
  • - The London Gazette of 2nd September 1932, Issue 33860
    - Supplement to The London Gazette of 30th August 1940, Issue 34936, dated 3rd September 1940
    - Supplement to The London Gazette of 12th May 1942, Issue 35558, dated 15th May 1942
    - Supplement to The London Gazette of 9th February 1943, Issue 35898, dated 11th February 1943
    - Supplement to The London Gazette of 18th September 1945, Issue 37274, dated 20th September 1945
    - Supplement to The London Gazette of 31st December 1963, Issue 43200, dated 1st January 1964
    - Frost, J., A Drop too Many, Pen & Sword Books Ltd., Great Britain, 1994 (republished)
    - Copy of the original recommendation for the first DSO- STIWOT-archive
    - Copy of the original recommedation for the second DSO, signed by Major-General Frederick Browning, Commander 1st Airborne Division
    - arnhemarchive.org
    - Go2War2.nl
    - unithistories.com