John B. Reybold
06/07/1899 - 05/06/1987
Jersey Allied P.O.W Camp Commander 

John Black Reybold was born July 6, 1899, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He entered the U. S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, in June 1918, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Regular Army on July 2, 1920.  In 1925, Reybold was assigned to the Philippines, where he spent three years. Upon returning to the United States, he held various duties in a multitude of military posts across the South-west. In 1934 Reybold was called to serve in West Point as the Post Recreation Officer. One of the roles during his stay in Washington was his service at the White House as an aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As part of his duties, he rode horses with the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Leaving West Point in June 1942  Reybold was assigned as Commanding Officer of the 15th Calvary Group.

The 15th Cavalry embarked from New York City on March 1, 1944, aboard HMS Queen Mary, landing in Scotland on March 7. From the seaport in Scotland, the unit travelled south to Trow-bridge, England, where it was immediately reorganized and redesignated the 15th Cavalry Group and assigned to General George Patton's Third Army.

The 15th was given the mission of guarding the secrecy of the D-Day staging area in the vicinity of the port of Southampton. Following D-Day, the 15th was reassembled in Trowbridge in preparation for movement to France. Sailing from Portland, England, on July 4, 1944, the unit landed on Utah Beach the following day. Its members then assumed responsibility for police duties and security of the vital port city of Cherbourg. 

On July 20th 1944, he and his men provided the escort for Prime Minister Winston Churchill during his tour of the docks, arsenal, and flying bomb launch sites closeby. 

On the 1st of August the 15th Cavalry Group, received the assignment of cutting across the northern part of the peninsula to secure the vital bridges along the railroad from Avranches to Brest. At 1am on the 3rd of August, the Group was bombed and strafed by German aircraft. At 6 a.m., the lead platoon ran into a strongly defended road-block a few miles prior to reaching Dol-de-Bretagne. Colonel Reybold was fired upon by German soldiers, the colonel's jeep driver was killed. Reybold was shot through the wrist and he with 15 men was taken prisoners by the Germans. They were taken under fire to St Malo and transported to German converted fishing Travellers to Jersey on the 5th of August 1944. In total 19 American P.O.W'S arrived in St Helier on the 5th. Almost all needed urgent medical attention, Reybold, even having been shot and arm in a sling had taken charge on the ship ensuring watches were set up to monitor the illest and he helped the men up and to waiting ambulances.  

John Reybold being the most senior US soldier became the camp commander from August 44 to May 1945. He was responsible for better living conditions as well as assisting the escape of 2 P.O.Ws. 

He retired from the Army as a colonel in April 1947. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal, the Purple Heart, and the Army Commendation Ribbon with an Oak Leaf Cluster. 

 

© 2020 Jersey War Tours |  Contact us  |  Booking Conditions and Privacy Policy  

Jersey War Tours is Registered with the Jersey Financial Services Commission as a Non-Profit Organisation - NPO1207