Le Mémorial Pegasus: Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Pine-Coffin

Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Pine-Coffin
Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Pine-Coffin

Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Pine-Coffin was one of the most experienced battalion commanders of the 6th Airborne Division that landed in Normandy on D-Day in June 1944.

Born in 1908 in Devonshire, his unusual surname led to the nickname “Wooden Box”. He had transferred from the Devonshire Regiment to join 2nd Parachute Battalion in late 1941. He was later transferred to 3rd Battalion of which he was soon given command. He had fought in the Tunisian campaign, from November 1942 to April 1943, and the North African campaign where he was decorated for gallantry.

It is no surprise Lieutenant Colonel Pine-Coffin became so successful in the military. His father, Brevet Major J.E Pine-Coffin DSO served with distinction during the Boer War and his elder brother, Lieutenant Colonel Claude Pine-Coffin served in the Far East before being captured by the Japanese in 1942.

In Normandy, Pine-Coffin received the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) for his remarkable leadership commanding 7th Parachute Battalion. During the early hours of June 6th, he and his men were to relieve the troops who had successfully captured the River Orne and Caen Canal bridges. They were also given the mission to defend the village of Bénouville.

Lieutenant Colonel Pine-Coffin was also awarded a bar (2nd award) during Operation Varsity, the Rhine crossing, in March 1945.

Unusual Fact: Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Pine-Coffin was very tall and insisted on wearing cowboy boots during combat… Easily recognisable to his fellow Allied soldiers in Normandy.

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