Posted on March 15, 2019
Captain Jack Oldfield served with the Intelligence Corps during the Second World War and the new ops room at Wallis Barracks in Chesterfield is named after him. Captain Oldfield worked in textiles before the war and joined up in 1939.
His foreign language skills saw him play a vital part in army intelligence during the campaign: “I found myself interrogating people. I am fluent in German, and I found myself being asked to question people, which I did – I interrogated them.”
He played a vital role in the fourth assault at Monte Cassino in Italy.
It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Italian campaign, and he was mentioned in dispatches for the information he got from interrogating German prisoners of war (PoWs). The information helped the allies win the battle and saw Captain Oldfield awarded the Italy Star medal.
Daughter Fiona Oldfield said: “In our youth, it was more ‘oh no, dad is telling his army stories again’, but as we grew older and realised the significance of his service and what he did, then yes, I think the family is very proud of him. Particularly, that he has remained so interested in his history during the Second World War over the years.”
Despite leaving the service in 1946, the unit will always consider him one of its own. Colonel Phaedra McClean, Corps Colonel Reserves, Intelligence Corps commented: “It is a fantastic opportunity – we do not get the chance to speak to individuals like Jack about their service, about what they did. To be here and be part of it is super, and to retain the links to the Corps, I think for him is also quite special now.”
On Captain Oldfield’s 105th birthday, a message was read out from the Queen: “What a splendid achievement. I send you my warm congratulations and best wishes on your 105th birthday.”