Joe Vandeleur

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Brigadier John Ormsby Evelyn Vandeleur, DSO and Bar, ON (14 November 1903 – 4 August 1988), usually known as Joe Vandeleur from his initials,[1] was an Anglo-Irish British Army officer who served in the Second World War.

Early life[edit]

He was the son of Colonel Crofton Bury Vandeleur and Evelyn O'Leary. His family was originally from Kilrush, County Clare, where they were the local landlords. Vandeleur was born in Nowshera, India (now Pakistan).[2]

Military career[edit]

He was commissioned into the Irish Guards as a second lieutenant in 1924, serving in Sudan and Egypt before the war.[2]

As commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, Irish Guards,[2] he led the breakout of XXX Corps during Operation Market-Garden. His second cousin Lieutenant-Colonel Giles Vandeleur (their grandfathers were brothers) was acting commanding officer of the 2nd Armoured Battalion, Irish Guards.[3] He went on to command the 129th Infantry Brigade and 32nd Guards Brigade.[2] He retired from the Army in 1951.[2]

His memoirs A Soldier's Story were privately printed by Gale & Polden in 1967.[4]

In the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, Michael Caine played Vandeleur [5] and Michael Byrne played Giles Vandeleur. Vandeleur acted as military consultant to the production.

He lived out his life after the war in a magnificent manor house in Pinkneys Green, near Maidenhead in Berkshire. He married firstly Felicity Bury-Barry, who died in 1948, and secondly Norah Christie-Miller (who was a Vandeleur cousin on her mother's side).

Vandeleur died in Maidenhead, England in 1988.[2]

He is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.[2] His grave is marked by a simple headstone inscribed only "J.O.E. V 1903 - 1988" and underneath "Once an Irish Guardsman".

See also[edit]

  • Joe's Bridge, the nickname given to Bridge No.9 on the MaasScheldt Canal in the Belgian city of Lommel just south of the Belgian–Dutch border.


External links[edit]