John Francis Hume-Spry was born in Edinburgh on 10 June 1920. He started at Mount House School in Plymouth during the late 1920s before leaving in the summer of 1933. He and his wife, Rosemary, lived in St Leonards on Sea, Sussex.
Hume-Spry joined the Royal Artillery before transferring to No 2 Troop of 6 Commando in February 1945. In March of the same year, he was part of Operation Widgeon which involved crossing the River Rhine and launching a night-time attack on the town of Wesel. It was reported that Lt Hume-Spry’s storm boat, the last boat of the small armada of No 6 Commando boats to make the crossing that night, was hit in mid-stream by enemy fire and damaged to such an extent that it became unstable and sank without trace beneath the Rhine waters.
Laden down with a heavy Bergen rucksack, weapon and ammunition, Lt Hume-Spry was unable to swim to safety and was overcome by the strong river currents. In all, ten men (nine members of the No 2 Troop sub-section and the Royal Marine Commando operator of the storm boat) of the sixteen commandos carried in Lt Hume-Spry’s storm boat lost their lives in this unfortunate and tragic event
John's troop commander, Captain Peter Cruden described Hume-Spry as ‘a first class officer and a very able and gallant leader of men’.