John Akehurst (British Army officer)

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Sir John Akehurst
Born (1930-02-12)12 February 1930
Chatham, Kent
Died 20 February 2007(2007-02-20) (aged 77)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1947–1990
Rank General
Commands held Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe
UK Field Army
Staff College, Camberley
4th Armoured Division
Dhofar Brigade
2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment
Battles/wars Malayan Emergency
Dhofar Rebellion
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Mentioned in Despatches

General Sir John Bryan Akehurst, KCB, CBE (12 February 1930 – 20 February 2007) was a British Army officer who rose to be Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Military career[edit]

Educated at Cranbrook School and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, John Akehurst was commissioned into the Northamptonshire Regiment in 1949.[1] He was seconded to the Malay Regiment in 1952 during the Malayan Emergency.[2] He was appointed Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment in 1968.[2]

In 1974 he commanded the Dhofar Brigade of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces against a communist-inspired armed insurrection during the Dhofar Rebellion.[1] It reached a peak in the autumn of 1975 when he successfully launched an attack from the mountain garrison of Sarfait on the border, although at Christmas 1975 his helicopter was attacked by guerrillas.[3]

He spent two years as Deputy Military Secretary from 1976 to 1978 and then became General Officer Commanding 4th Armoured Division in 1979.[1] In 1982 he was appointed Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley and in 1984 he became Commander of the UK Field Army.[1] His final appointment was as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe in 1987; he retired in 1990.[1]


In 1955 he married Shirley Anne Webb.[2] Their two children died in childhood from cystic fibrosis.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Obituary: Sir John Akehurst The Times, 27 February 2007
  2. ^ a b c d Obituary: Sir John Akehurst Daily Telegraph, 6 March 2007
  3. ^ Goldman, Lawrence (7 March 2013). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2005–2008. Oxford University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-19-967154-0. 


  • We Won a War: The Campaign in Oman 1965–1975 by John Akehurst, Russell Publishing, 1982, ISBN 978-0-85955-091-8
  • Generally Speaking: Then Hurrah for the life of a Soldie by John Akehurst. Published by Michael Russell Publishing Ltd, 1999, ISBN 978-0859552530
Military offices
Preceded by
Richard Vickers
General Officer Commanding the 4th Armoured Division
Succeeded by
Jeremy Reilly
Preceded by
David Alexander-Sinclair
Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley
Succeeded by
Patrick Palmer
Preceded by
Sir Edward Burgess
Commander UK Field Army
Succeeded by
Sir David Ramsbotham