Jan Nasmyth was educated at Bradfield and Balliol College, Oxford.

He was born in 1918 in a London basement during a Zeppelin raid and was descended, through his strong-willed mother, from two of Charles II’s mistresses, Nell Gwynne and Louise de Keroualle.

It was, perhaps, from this background that he developed into such an independently-minded person.

On the outbreak of war in 1939, he immediately volunteered but was turned down for officer training because he had lost one eye in a boyhood shooting accident. He, however, got to France as a field security sergeant and was wounded at Dunkirk.

After recovery, he joined the Special Forces and was commissioned and given a Troop. Subsequently, he wanted to transfer to a more regular regiment and applied to the Commanding Officer of the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars while admitting that he had only one eye. This was considered no bar on the grounds that ‘you can’t see anything from a tank anyway.’

However, perhaps wisely, he was not given a Troop but was appointed Regimental Signals Officer.

Here he distinguished himself greatly in the Italian campaign and was Mentioned in Dispatches.

After the war he worked in the City, achieving fame by producing a somewhat controversial but sound newsletter on the oil market.

Related topics

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