Colonel John Crosland CBE, MC

{ J C }

  •  Military Cross medal
  • CBE medal
  • General Service Medal Clasp (1962 onwards) medal
  • General Service Medal, Dhofar
  • South Atlantic Medal with Rosette
  • Accumulated Service Medal
  • UN Medal for Kosovo with 2 Clasps
  • UN Medal for Former Yugoslavia with 2 Clasps

JC started his career with 10 Para, whilst still a schoolboy completing both P Company & earnings his wings. He then joined Depot Para as a Tom & rose to the rank of L/Cpl before attending RMAS in 1965. He was commissioned into Para in 1967, served with 1 Para in NI in ’69 before successfully passing selection for 22 SAS in ’72.

Since then he has served in both Regiments all over the world, including multiple tours in NI, Dhofar, Falklands & the Balkans. His speciality has been operations & intelligence together with training & selection. During ’72 –’76 he served in the Dhofar/Oman conflict where much battlefield experience was gained. This stood him in good stead during the Falklands campaign when he was gazetted with the MC for the battles at Goose Green & Wireless Ridge.

’76 –’78 saw him in BRIXMIS, working in the former East Germany reporting on the Group of Soviet Forces – he later realised that this was not the normal staff job! In ’80 he helped remove some squatters from the Iranian Embassy, which was one way of celebrating his youngest daughter’s birthday. After a further two command tours he then became Chief J 2 to the AMF (L), followed by CO/Chief Instructor of the ILRRPS in S Germany. He was then appointed DA in Belgrade, FRY in August ’96, an interesting choice, for being a Diplomatic envoy was a completely new role. Almost 3 years later, after monitoring the situation in Kosovo almost on a daily basis, he left Belgrade the night before NATO bombed that city. He returned to MOD as an adviser before going back out to Macedonia to help lead KFOR into Kosovo. Awarded the CBE in the QBH in ’99.

His last appointment was as Chief Special Operations at SHAPE. He was responsible for SF operations in support of SFOR/ KFOR & Macedonia. He keeps an interest in “Matters Balkans” & helped re – establish our Embassy in Belgrade.

Since retirement in late 2001, he spent 5 years with UTM Ltd which provided an innovative training system.  After that he has been & is a Consultant. He is Honorary Colonel of 21 SAS (V), as well as serving both SAS & Parachute Regiments. He is a member of the Worshipful Company of Glovers & Freeman of the City of London. He is Governor of Seaford College, Petworth, Sussex & a Parish Councillor, next stop Westminster!

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Service History


John  Crosland

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Latest Comments

Victor Thorn said:
John was my Platoon Commander in 1970 when I was a member of 357/8 Recruit Platoon. I remember when he pulled me on top of him when someone threw a thunderflash into the building we were stood in (thanks John).

He was supported by a great team, Bunny Harvey, Jim Kerr and the late great Wally Beard.
Jason Brownhill said:
JC was my CO at ILRRPS. He was one of the best bosses I`ve ever had (Mil & Civ) and it was a pleasure to have served under him. Hope you, Jo and the 3 girls are in good health. And once again, thanks for being a great and inspiring boss.
Steven James Hughes said:
The first time I met John was just after I joined 2 PARA in January 1982. I made a house visit; he was ill at home. (A very rare event!)
He gave me a carrier bag to pass on to Pete Richens, his CSM.
"Be careful with that; there's five pounds of Semtex and a bag of dets in it." Interesting start!
I met Col John Crosland when he arrived in our Embassy in Belgrade as our Defence Attache.
It wasn't long before he got involved with all that was going on around the then Yugoslavia. warring in Bosnia, with countless casualties and refugees trying to escape the killing. Which warranted several evacuations of the Embassy to Belgrade for safety. John played a major role in getting all embassy staff evacuated up to Budapest.
Soon after that the troubles in Kosovo started to get worse. Once again John was heavily involved with keeping an eye on the situation. I remember John taking delivery of a very heavily-protected-bright-red-bombproof-bulletproof Landrover. This was used for his many jaunt's down to Kosovo. I always wondered just what happened to the both the Landrover and a Union-Flag which I gave him to sport on the landrover as he was one of the first to enter Kosovo with a union flag flying..

Being an ex-squaddie myself, I appreciated have such a experienced stalwart of a soldier around. Especially with so much violence and unrest around. I know that his presence was always welcomed by everyone.

paul kemp said:
I served in B SQN 21 SAS(V) for 18 years and JC was our C/O for a few years in the late 80's .
He was the best C/O we had all the time I was in 21. Great man respected by all.
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