Appleyard began his career in the army as an officer in the Royal Army Service Corps in France but then joined the commandos. In late summer 1941 he was sent to explore Vichy France’s coastal areas off West Africa in the 65-ton Brixham trawler Maid Honor. He then joined the SSRF (Small Scale Raiding Force) and undertook at least eighteen different missions in northern France and on the Channel Islands to collect details of lights, tides and German positions. He became the Commander of the SSRF but after the commando failure at Dieppe the force was transferred to North Africa and conducted reconnaissance raids on Pantelleria. On 12-13 July 1943 he was involved in a SAS (Special Air Service) parachute-dropping operation over northern Sicily and is presumed to have died when his plane disappeared.