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"The school had a good reputation scholastically but the food was awful, and wartime rationing did not help. Several of us fainted on the station platform under freezing conditions at the end of the 1917 winter term; we had had only porridge for breakfast and even that was burnt."

'A Talent for Adventure' by Andrew Croft

Biography - Colonel (Noel) Andrew Croft, DSO, OBE 1906 – 1998

Andrew Croft

Andrew Croft had a diverse and distinguished career as Arctic explorer, SOE agent behind the German lines during World War II and latterly as reforming Commandant both of the Plymouth-based Infantry Boys’ Battalion and thereafter the Army Apprentices School at Harrogate. Colonel Croft was invited by then Commissioner, Sir Joseph Simpson, to (re-) create a Cadet Corps for the Metropolitan Police.

He arrived in 1960 and retired in 1971 shortly before his 65th birthday. During his time as Commandant, the system of training underwent complete overhaul. Andrew Croft was not, however, a man to sit behind a desk. He participated in every activity, outdoor and indoor; it was his example that converted new recruits into some of the best policemen of their time.

For Croft, every young man had talent and could be trained to bring out the best in himself and, in due course, pass on the skills he had learned. Croft knew each man’s history; he shared their triumphs and disasters; with sympathy and insight, he imbued them with his own exemplary integrity and leadership skills.

Croft was awarded the DSO for his achievements in North Africa, Corsica and France during 1943-44 and was appointed OBE in 1970. His participation in the Oxford University Arctic Expedition of 1935-36 earned him the Polar medal.

His retirement came far too early, at the peak of his powers; he remained, however, the inspiration to many of those who came after him. Fittingly, his tombstone carries the inscription “Explorer, soldier and leader of men”.

A full history of Andrew Croft can be found here »


  • Croft, Andrew: Geographical Magazine. 1935, 1937, 1938 & 1947
  • Glenn, AR assisted by Croft, Andrew: Under the Pole Star - The Oxford University Arctic Expedition 1935-36
  • Croft, Andrew: West Greenland Sledge Dogs. Polar Record, 1937
  • Croft, Andrew: Polar Exploration. 1939 (2nd Ed 1947)
  • Croft, Andrew and Roberts, Brian: Notes on Selection and Care of Polar Footware. Polar Record, 1940
  • Croft, Andrew: Report Number 35 by the British Army Observer on Exercise "Musk-Ox". Military Operational Research Unit, 1946
  • Croft, Andrew: Mountain Warfare. MI Review, 1947
  • Croft, Andrew: The Army and the Boy. British Army Review, 1960
  • Croft, Andrew: A Talent for Adventure. 1991

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