John Marchant was the commander of the Scout Section for the New Forest in West Hampshire from approximately March 1942 to October 1943. He had been commissioned at 20 years of age into the Wiltshire Regiment in April 1940 and spent the early part of the war training recruits at the depot in Devizes, Wiltshire. Rather bored, he jumped at the offer from his CO to be posted to alternate duties and found himself at Burley, with a unit of 15 men from the Wiltshire regiment.
Lieutenant Marchant was sent to Coleshill to be trained in the use of explosives, grenades, the Sten gun and other weapons. This was likely one of the Scout Section Officer courses.
In October 1943, Lieutenant Marchant was transferred to Milton Hall near Peterborough as an instructor for SOE. He attributed this to his time in Auxiliary Units, and the involvement of Gubbins, who was running SOE, but brought in many officers from Auxiliary Units. He then managed to get himself onto more active service as a member of Jedburgh team “Felix”, dropping into Brittany in July 1944. Soon they coordinated 30 resistance groups, with around 3000 fighters, and were able to attack a column of 600 German paratroopers on two separate occasions, significantly delaying their progress. At a later date they captured two field guns and shelled the local garrison!
After his return he was then sent to Burma taking part in operation “Character” working with Karen Levies. By the end of the war he had the Croix de Guerre and two mentions in despatches
SOE with Jedburgh team and Force 136 Burma