John Alcock joined the Army in the late 1930s, serving in the Coldstream Guards during the Second World War. He was part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) sent to France early in the War and in 1940, he formed part of the rearguard action assisting the retreat from the beaches at Dunkirk. He joined the SAS in 1943 and landed at Taranto with SAS 22 team and in 1944 took part in Operation Pistol in Alsace Lorraine.
He continued to serve 1950s and 1960s when joining the Parachute Regiment. As the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of The 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA), RSM Alcock took part in drop at Suez on Op Musketeer. He was eventually awarded a commission as a Lieutenant Quartermaster in 1958, and was appointed Captain in 1961.
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