Lieutenant-Colonel John P Cross OBE

Lieutenant Colonel John Cross served for just over 39 years of which nearly 38 years were in Asia without a European (including UK) posting. He spent ten years in jungle during his first 30 years.

As a linguist, he passed exams in Urdu, Nepali plus script, Cantonese, Malay, Temiar, Thai plus script, Vietnamese plus script, Lao plus script and had working but untested knowledge of Iban.

He carried out a number of special tasks, one being to make contact with the Communist Terrorist Leader, Chin Peng, at the end of the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s by waiting in a small jungle clearing for several months. Another task was at the beginning of Confrontation with Indonesia where he visited every Iban Longhouse along the Borneo border between Sabah/Sarawak and Kalimantan. This involved hundreds of miles of walking and considerable risk.

As Officer Commanding The Independent Gurkha Parachute Company, he led the Company in Borneo (in the SAS role) in the area where Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan Utara meet: there are three mountain ranges on the ground, though only two on the map.

He commanded the Jungle Warfare School in Malaya, and was Defence Adviser in Laos, in the rank of local Colonel. In this role he had the sole use of an Army Beaver Aircraft, and his advice was much sought after by the American and other defence advisers.

He now lives in mid-West Nepal in Pokhara and the nearby mountains, and has adopted a Nepali family.

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Service History

  • 1943
    Territorial Army (Second Lieutenant)
  • 1943
    Ox & Bucks Light Infantry (Lieutenant)
  • 1944
    1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles (Captain)
  • 1948
    7 Gurkha Rifles (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • 1965
    Gurkha (Independent) Parachute Company Gurkha Independent Parachute Company (Major)
  • 1968
    Jungle Warfare School (Acting Lieutenant Colonel)
  • 1972
    British Embassy, Laos (Acting Colonel)
  • 1976
    HQ Brigade of Gurkhas (Lieutenant-Colonel)

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