As a 16 year old in 1940 John Michael William Haley joined the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV).
As soon as he was old enough in August 1942, John enlisted into The General Service Corp and after basic training was posted to The Royal Artillery (RA). Unhappy in the RA, Private Haley requested a transfer and was posted to The Green Howards barracks at Richmond, Yorkshire.
Whilst there he answered a recruitment drive for the newly formed Parachute Regiment. After volunteering he went for assessment at Hardwick Hall in Chesterfield.
He qualified as a military parachutist on Course 94/95 which ran at RAF Ringway from 6 to 20 December 1943. After initially being posted to the Airborne Forces Holding Unit, he was posted to 156 Parachute Battalion (156 Para Bn), who were based in Melton Mowbray after returning from Italy.
Corporal Haley went on Operation Market Garden with Headquarters Company, 156 Para Bn. Jumping onto Ginkel Heath on the second drop on 18 September 1944. He was a ‘runner’ for Colonel Dickie Voeux. After several days of battle he was taken a prisoner of war.
After returning to England, he saw further active duty in Palestine.