Sgt Jack Horsman MM

From Howden-le-Wear, Co Durham, Sgt Jack Horsman MM (4343244) was serving with the 6th Battalion DLI at Boulogne, France when he was taken POW on May 28th 1940. He escaped, was recaptured, escaped again and eventually reached Gibraltar for which he was awarded the Military Medal. The photograph above was taken outside Buckingham Palace on the day of the investiture, September 26th 1941. Sgt Horsman was then serving with the 16th Battalion DLI. Very badly treated at the hands of the Fascist Spanish authorities, Sgt Horsman was medically discharged from the Army on the 28th August 1942. His 1942 autobiography A Thousand Miles to Freedom, is a fascinating account of his escape. The book is now very rare. See the link at right to search for available secondhand copies. Horsman was also quite possibly the only ex-member of the 6th and 16th Battalions to star in a feature film! He took a supporting role in the 1943 Ealing Studios war movie Nine Men.

Sgt Horsman originally enlisted underage in the East Yorkshire Regiment in the early Thirties, but was discharged after a year when his father complained. At the outbreak of war, he was serving in the 6th Battalion DLI, which was a part-time territorial unit. Note however, that he retained his ‘East Yorks’ Army Number. For more on this see the Army Numbers section of the website.

Sgt Jack Horsman MM, 16th DLI, September 1941

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