For the English association football player, see Jim Langley.
James Maydon Langley
Born 1916
Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
Died Template:Death year and age
Allegiance Template:UK
Service/branch 22px British Army
Years of service c.1939–1945
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Unit Coldstream Guards
Battles/wars World War II
Awards 25px Military Cross
25px Member of the Order of the British Empire
Other work Author, bookseller

James Maydon "Jimmy" Langley MBE MC (1916–1983) was an officer in the British Army, who served during World War II. Wounded and captured at the battle of Dunkirk, he later returned to Britain and served in MI9.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Langley was born in Wolverhampton, and educated at Uppingham School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.[1]

While serving as a Lieutenant with the Coldstream Guards at Dunkirk in May 1940, Langley was wounded in the head and arm. Left behind, he was captured, and had his left arm amputated by a German Army doctor. On 10 October 1940 he escaped from a hospital in Lille and made his way to Marseille. Like other British prisoners in the Vichy Zone Langley was held at Fort Saint-Jean, though this confinement was purely nominal, as they were only required to attend roll-call once a week, but were otherwise free. While in Marseille Langley worked as a courier for the escape line run by the Scottish officer Ian Garrow and Minister Donald Caskie.[2]

In February 1941 Langley was declared "unfit for further military service" by a Medical Board containing Dr. George Rodocanachi, and was repatriated in March.[3]

On his return to England he was recruited by Claude Dansey into the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) to serve as liaison officer between MI6 and MI9, where most of his work involved the support of escape and evasion lines in north-west Europe.[4]

In January 1944 Langley was appointed to joint command of a new Anglo-American unit; Intelligence School 9 (Western European Area), which was attached to SHAEF during the western campaign of 1944-45. IS9(WEA)'s role was to organise escape and evasion, setting up reception centres, collating intelligence and organising the return of personnel to the UK. These operations extended to liberated POW's as their camps were overrun. It was also involved setting up "safe areas" behind enemy lines in which men could congregate until liberated, rather than risk breaking through the front line.[5] The organisation was also involved in "Operation Pegasus" at Arnhem.[6] Langley was demobilized in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.[1]

Post-war he worked for Fisons until 1967,[1] then ran a bookshop in Suffolk with his wife, the former Peggy van Lier, a member of the Belgian "Comet line", who he had married in 1944.[7] They had four sons and a daughter.[8]

Langley retired in 1976,[1] and died in 1983.[7]

Langley was portrayed by the actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2004 BBC series Dunkirk.

Awards[edit | edit source]

On 20 December 1940 Langley was awarded the Military Cross for his service in France,[9] and on 29 April 1941 was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).[10]

Publications[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Foot, M.R.D; Langley, J.M (1979). MI9 : Escape and Evasion 1939-1945. The Bodley Head. 
  2. Foot & Langley, pp.65-67
  3. "Dr. George Rodocanachi (1875-1944)". Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  4. Foot & Langley, p.44
  5. Foot & Langley, pp.215-221
  6. Foot & Langley, pp.222-224
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Obituary: Peggy Langley". The Guardian. 17 August 2000. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  8. "Obituaries : Peggy Langley". The Daily Telegraph. 22 July 2000. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  9. "London Gazette, Issue 35020, Page 7199". Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  10. "London Gazette, Issue 35148, Page 2441". Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
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