A H S Coombe Tennant

Cambridge District Scout Archive

ACM 53rd Cambridge St Clements 1933

Henry Coombes Tennant was a ACM at the 53rd Cambridge in 1933 – and picked for further investigation because of his unusual name and many initials.  Both give a better than average chance of finding details online.

A student at Trinity College, be achieved a double first and authored works such as Mr Wisdom on Philosophical Analysis.  In the 1930’s, having taught himself Chinese at school, he travelled in China in the company of the Diplomat/ Spy Gareth Jones.

He joined the Welsh Guards and was captured as part of the rear guard during the British retreat at Dunkirk. He escaped from Olflag VI B with fifty others and was one of the only three who made it to safety.  Coombes Tennant is described as an expert map reader.  They made their way through Holland, Belgium, France and Spain to Gibraltar.  The driver who collected him on his return was Princess Elizabeth. 

Picture labelled ‘Henry on the run’

On return he became involved in the SOE and was part of Operation Jedburgh parachuting in extreme weather into Belgium and contacting resistance groups ahead of the advancing Allied forces.

Remaining as a career soldier he was posted to Palestine after WW2, helped in the formation of NATO, joined MI 6 before finally retiring from the army in 1956 as a Major and holding the MC.  The MC was awarded for ‘Escape and Evasion and SOE’.

In 1961 he joined the Benedictine Order, dying in 1989.

See also

JWR Archivist Dec 2019