Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Honours and awards

Awarded to men of 6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

while serving with the Irish Brigade.

  



 Distinguished Service Order (DSO) 

LT COL HEN BREDIN.                                          MAY 1944 – VERTECHI/ PIUMAROLA.

“Lt Col Bredin when he was in command of his Battalion in an attack on MASSA VERTECHI on 15 May was given the task of leading the Division in the breakthrough of the GUSTAV LINE.

Throughout this operation, he commanded his Battalion with the utmost skill and inspired his men by his example of personal gallantry under heavy fire. This difficult operation was entirely successful due to his leadership.

Again on 17 May, Lt Col Bredin was ordered to attack PIUMAROLA where German infantry and tanks had held up an advance all day. At short notice, he planned this attack and was wounded on the start line. In spite of his wounds Col Bredin fought with his Battalion until success was in sight, again showing great gallantry, until he fainted and was evacuated.”   (WO 373/8).


LT-COL TN GRAZEBROOK.                                                      AUG 1943 – CENTURIPE.

“The Royal Innskilling Fusiliers had the difficult task of capturing the right and Southern part of CENTURIPE, including the precipitous heights of Pt 708 and 709.

The success of the operation was largely due to the skill, determination and complete disregard of danger of Lt-Col Grazebrook.

In exposed positions, and under heavy mortar and MG fire and continual and accurate sniping, this Officer handled his Battalion with a sure hand; never relaxing pressure throughout a hard day and overcoming the resistance of a determined enemy in defensive positions.

The whole Battalion was inspired by the example and determination of their Commanding Officers. I strongly recommend the immediate award of the Distinguished Service Order to Lt-Col Grazebrook.”    (WO 373/3).



Military Cross (MC)

MAJOR SJ BUNCH.                                          JAN 1943 – TWO TREE HILL/ POINT 286.

“On 13 Jan 43, A/Major SJ Bunch led his Company forward onto TWO TREE HILL 679090 with stolid perseverance, having lost two platoon commanders and being continually under MG fire and reached his objective. Later when the withdrawal was ordered this officer took charge of another Coy, which had lost all its officers, as well as his own. He brought both Coys back and organised the evacuation of wounded in both cases .It was due to him that so many men were evacuated.

On 19 Jan 43, this same officer led his Coy (A Coy) attack onto Pt 286, 663069, supported by 12 RHA. The attack was carefully planned and led with dogged perseverance to the farthest extremity of the objective. The enemy were completely driven off and the company withdrawn according to plan under perfect control. The action was an example of sound leadership, good organisation and steadiness by the Company commander.”   (WO 373/1).


LIEUTENANT C CLARKE.                                                 APR 1943 – JEBEL EL MAHDI.

“On 6 Apr 43, Lieut C. Clarke entered an enemy minefield in day light within easy range of the enemy and with the assistance of a Sgt helped to carry a wounded man a distance of 3 miles to comparative safety. The following day on DJ MAHDI, under very heavy fire he walked around attending to wounded men regardless of the great personal risk to himself.

Later on he went forward by himself with a Bren Gun to tackle a MG post which was holding up the advance, and effectively silenced it.

On the night 22 April during the attack on DJ EL TANNGOUCHA, Lieut Clarke’s Coy succeeded in reaching the outcrop of rock which was the enemy’s main position, but was pinned down by fire at point blank range. Lieut Clarke succeeded in crawling forward with a bren gun to a position from where he could fire into the caves and fissures occupied by the enemy. His position here, only a few yards from the enemy, enabled the remains of another platoon to advance up the rocks and wipe out the enemy.

Lieut Clarke’s personal courage and disregard for danger throughout the campaign has been a continued source of inspiration to his company.”    (WO 373/1).


CAPTAIN GL CROCKER.                                                         AUG 1943 – CENTURIPE.

“On August 2nd 1943, Major J Crocker was ordered to take his Coy into the fortress town of CENTURIPE.

After leading his Coy up an almost vertical cliff under heavy cross machine gun fire, he then organised it at the summit still under the fire with complete disregard for his personal safety, and led it into the centre of the town where it encountered an equal number of a German parachute unit.

In the ensuing hand to hand fighting Maj Crocker continued to display conspicuous gallantry and leadership and conducted the battle with the greatest skill.

Although wounded and suffering from loss of blood, he refused to leave his Coy and remained with it through the night during which the enemy withdrew.”     (WO 373/3).


MAJOR EJ GRIFFITHS.                                                       JUN 1944 – PUCCIARELLI.

“On 21 Jun 1944 D Coy commanded by Major Griffiths was given the task of supporting the right hand Coy in the advance on PUCCIARELLI. During the advance, contact was lost with this Coy and Major Griffiths went forward through very heavy Mortar fire to establish this contact and found the forward Coy pinned down by MG fire.

He immediately went to the reserve troop of tanks and ordered them to join his Coy. which by this time was also under heavy MG fire.

In spite of this fire, Major Griffiths visited each platoon in turn to organise his advance; his outstanding courage and cheerful determination inspired everyone.

When the advance started, Major Griffiths went to the front of his leading platoon and led his Company forward.

An enemy MG was encountered during this advance which threatened to hold up his Coy, so Major Griffiths himself went forward with the greatest courage and determination and succeeded in putting the gun out of action – killing or wounding the entire crew, after which the Company was soon on its objective. This feat was only possible by the complete indifference shown by Major Griffiths for his own personal safety  and is a typical example of the dash and brilliance shown by this officer at all times.

His determination is reflected in his Company and it is entirely due to him that the Company has done so well in the past.”   (WO 373/8).


CAPTAIN PA HAMILTON.                                                  JUN 1944 – PUCCIARELLI.

“On the 21 Jun 1944, the Battalion went through 11 Infantry Brigade to launch an attack on the strong, and well defended TRASIMENO Line – the objective being the village of PUCCIARELLI.

In this action, C Coy commanded by Capt Hamilton was largely responsible for the success of other Coys by assisting them on to their objectives; this being attained by the resourcefulness and untiring work of Capt Hamilton who did not once consider his own personal safety in the constant liaison necessary to make his task possible.

He afterwards led his Coy in a determined assault on a group of houses WEST of the village still very strongly held by MG posts, in order that he himself might take up positions there and so protect the flank of the Battalion.

At first light on the 22 Jun 44, the enemy made very strong efforts to move C Coy from this position by launching a powerful counter attack, which nearly succeeded. It was chiefly the courage and determination of Capt Hamilton – coupled with the cheerful confidence he showed, as with total disregard for his own safety he visited all positions in turn and inspired his men to the extra effort which finally decimated the enemy force to such a degree that the remnants were forced to retreat in disorder.”   (WO 373/8).


LIEUTENANT EBS HEWITT.                                              AUGUST 1943 – CENTURIPE.

“Attack on CENTURIPE 2 Aug 43: During the afternoon, A Coy succeeded in fighting its way against opposition into the centre of the town, and established itself in the main square. At 2030 hours OC A Coy went off to carry out a recce and to coordinate a plan with a second Coy now in the town; during this he was wounded and Lieut Hewitt took over the company. Throughout the evening and night the enemy counter attacked and pressed forward their attack with great determination. Although access to the houses could not be gained, Lieut Hewitt, regardless of personal danger and with an example of courage which was an inspiration to all, succeeded in repelling all attacks and later organised patrols further into the town until his Coy Commander rejoined.

Had it not been for this officer’s devotion to duty and power of leadership it is improbable that the hold on the town could have been maintained during the night.”   (WO 373/3).


MAJOR J KERR.                                                   MAY 1944 – VERTECHI/PIUMAROLA.

“On 15 May, Major Kerr led C Coy with great skill and daring in their successful attack on Pts 67 and 73. At this time he was suffering from acute stomach trouble but carried on until collapsing. He was carried to the RAP on a stretcher, but after taking medicine insisted on returning to lead his Company.

On 17 May, when his Battalion were ordered to capture Piumarola, the CO was wounded on the start line and was evacuated within an hour.

Major Kerr took command of the Battalion, which was faced by enemy tank and infantry opposition which had held up another unit all day. By his skill and gallant example Major Kerr captured his objective and effected a very determined and ambitious consolidation. This bold action played a vital part in the final breakthrough of the GUSTAV LINE.”   (WO 373/7).


CAPTAIN DK McCALDIN.                                                             FEB 1943 – HILL 286.

“On 24 Feb 43, Capt DK McCaldin led a platoon attack from Pt 279 onto Pt 286. Arty fire had put out of action three MC posts but a fourth remained. This officer advanced on this himself, silencing it with a Tommy Gun at short range. There were two members of the crew, who were both killed.

He then led the platoon on, obtaining eight prisoners and killing between 20 to 30 of the enemy.” (WO 373/1).


LIEUTENANT J McCLINTON (Twice)                                  APR 1943 – TANNGOUCHA.

“On 22 Apr 43, 2/Lieut McClinton was commanding a platoon of D Coy which was detailed to attack the strongly defended rock of TANNGOUCHA. The Coy reached the objective under very heavy MG fire but was then pinned to the rocks by enemy automatic weapons firing a point blank range from caves and crevices. Wireless communication had broken and ammunition was becoming short, but 2/Lieut McClelland at great personal danger came back by himself, reported the situation, and took up a supply of ammunition to his platoon.  He then organised and led his platoon into the rocks and succeeded in occupying the enemy position, taking 30 prisoners and 3 machine guns which he destroyed. Later when it became obvious that the main attack had failed and after his position had been heavily and accurately mortared, he was ordered to withdraw his platoon. This he did with great skill and coolness under heavy enemy machine gun fire, bringing back his prisoners with him.

2/Lieut McClinton has previously shown a high degree of leadership and courage in close contact with the enemy.”     (WO 373/2).

His second citation says:                                                          AUG 1943 – CENTURIPE.

“On the 2nd August 1943 during the successful assault on CENTURIPE, D Coy was ordered to capture the ridge which commanded the eastern flank of the town.

Lieut McClinton was ordered to attack the farm house on Pt 664 which was the key to the ridge, and which was occupied by a platoon of the enemy and was covered by another platoon position further along the ridge.

Although the approaches were extremely difficult and up steep terraced and rocky slopes Lieut McClinton directed and led his platoon, under intense fire, with such skill and determination that he succeeded in capturing the objective. The success of this operation was undoubtedly due to the personal courage and power of leadership of Lieut McClinton.”     (WO 373/3).


MAJOR RB MYLES.                                                                   MAY 1944 – VERTECHI.

“On 15 May 44, Major Myles was ordered to launch an attack on Pt 67, one of the strongly prepared positions in the GUSTAV LINE. His company came under fire from well sited enemy MGs.

Maj Myles went forward personally and alone to pin point the positions. Although heavily engaged by enemy MGs, he calmly continued his reconnaissance of these positions at close range. The information gained, combined with the spirit this example instilled in the men made the capture of the objective an easy matter with few casualties.

Later in the day, when he had lost all his Platoon Officers and had only a depleted Coy, he organised his Coy as a fighting Platoon and then to attack JUNO 832173.

His fearless attitude and complete disregard for his own safety and combined with his marked powers of leadership, was undoubtedly responsible for the speedy success on all occasions in which his Company took part.

During the following two days, his outstanding leadership and example continued under all types of enemy fire.”    (WO 373/8).


LIEUTENANT J NORMAN.                                                                   1943 – TUNISIA.

“Capt J Norman has carried out the duties of Adjutant 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers since the battalion was formed. Throughout the whole of the Tunisian campaign he has been in every action in which the battalion has taken part. He has invariably shown a conspicuous devotion to duty and has frequently been called upon to carry out those duties under the most arduous, difficult and dangerous circumstances. In spite of this, he has shown an unfailing spirit of cheerfulness, initiative and determination which has proved an inspiring example to the battalion.”   (WO 373/2).


LIEUTENANT RG PAGE.                                                JAN 1943 – GOUBELLAT PLAIN.

“Lt Page led a patrol of 20 ORs. Advancing into No Man’s Land at dark, he encountered the enemy, a MG post, about 2300hrs 3 Jan 43. He successfully engaged the enemy, silenced the MG and having evacuated a wounded Cpl, he proceeded to a farm in the vicinity toile up during daylight. About 0830hrs he was attacked by a force of 30/40 Germans and beat them off with heavy casualties. About 1000hrs he organised the withdrawal of his patrol and sent off the majority (one Sgt and 9 ORs) in front, remaining behind himself with 5 men to assist his wounded.

During the withdrawal the rear party was attacked by enemy Armoured Cars and Lt Page was wounded and his rear party surrounded and either killed or captured. Throughout the 24 hours, Lt Page showed the greatest gallantry, real leadership, initiative and enterprise. The small patrol accounted for at least 25/30 of the enemy and he conducted a difficult withdrawal when faced with superior forces, with such skill that over 50% of his patrol got out of a very awkward situation. He could have got himself away, but was determined not to leave his wounded men behind, and made it his job to get them out himself.

The opinion I have formed of this gallant officer’s work is borne out by every surviving member of his patrol and this I think the real test of good work and good leadership.”  (WO 373/2).


CAPTAIN JA PETRIE.                                                              MAY 1944 – LIRI VALLEY.

“During the period 15-20 May 1944, the Battalion made three attacks in the assault on and breakthrough the GUSTAV LINE.

Capt Petrie was RMO throughout this time and always had his RAP well up with the Battalion despite almost continuous heavy shell fire.

During one period of 24 hrs, some 300 casualties received treatment from him. His work was carried out with great courage and devotion far beyond the line of duty.

The ready treatment of wounded at his hands (of his own men and those of other units) was invaluable in maintaining the morale of the Battalion in battle, and his high standard of courage and devotion to duty under the heaviest fire won the admiration of all ranks.”   (WO 373/8).


LIEUTENANT DMS SCHAYEK.                                                   NOV 1943 – SAN SALVO.

“In the early stages of the attack on S.SALVO, B Coy was the leading Coy of the Battalion attack on the first objective which was strongly defended by a number of well sited and concealed machine gun posts.

Lieut Schayek led his platoon with distinction onto the first objective which he was first to reach. Single handed he attacked the one of the enemy machine gun posts and with his Tommy gun killed the crew. Although wounded himself twice, he continued to command and lead his platoon until the objective had been finally cleared.

This officer has previously shown himself as a courageous and inspiring leader, both in the North African and the Sicilian campaigns.”   (WO 373/4).


LIEUTENANT JV SORRELL.                                                         MAY 1944 – VERTECHI.

“On 15 May 1944, Lt Sorrell was commanding a Platoon of C Coy 6 Inniskllings when the Coy was ordered to attack and capture Pt 67.

The leading Platoon was held up by heavy MG fire from the reverse of Pt 67 for some time before daylight.

Lt Sorrell immediately took his Platoon around the Right Flank, where they were pinned down by three enemy MGs at 25 yds range. He ordered his Platoon to withdraw 50 yards behind the crest whilst he remained awaiting daybreak to observe and pin point the enemy positions. He remained until daybreak and then rejoined the Platoon under MG fire, with detailed information of the enemy posts and Anti Tank guns.

At this stage, the Company Commander became a casualty and Lt Sorrell took command and led the Company in the attack which proved successful, with very few casualties to our troops. The speedy success of the attack and the very few casualties suffered by the company on this occasion was entirely due to the information he obtained and to his excellent leadership.

In an attack some days later further along the LIRI VALLEY, Lt Sorrell’s continuing example and leadership was outstanding.”     (WO 373/8).



Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)

A/SGT MCALEER.                                                                FEB 1943 – HILL 286/279.

“On 24 Feb 43 No 6976983, A/Sgt F McAleer, at about 0800hrs, proceeded from MINEFIELD Fm 657058 to Pt 286, a hill known to be occupied by enemy with strength about one Platoon. His military mission was information, but his own object was to obtain revenge for the loss of a patrol on night 23/24 Feb 43. He spotted an MG post, went to the flank of it, surprised the crew of two, collected the MG and disabled the two prisoners a matter of 1000 yards back to MINEFIELD Fm. This was in broad daylight. The daring act resulted in obtaining information, which when later used, caused about 30 casualties to the enemy.”   (WO 373/1).


CSM J GLOVER.                                          DEC 1942/JAN 1943 – GOUBBELAT PLAIN.

“Between 20 and 25 Dec 42 at GOUBELLAT when a Platoon Sergeant in a forward position, this WO led patrols each night, both to reconnaissance and to fight. At that time, this battalion was in its infancy in fighting and this WO showed himself a leader at the early stages.

Later, between 26 Dec 42 and 10 Jan 43 in the MAHMOUD GAP, this WO, still a Sergeant at that time, led patrols which covered distances of ten to twelve miles, always getting some result, keeping control and bringing his men back to the battalion position intact.

On 27 Jan 43 when CSM of B Coy, he went out with his Coy to Rd Junction 687126 with the object of attacking high ground ARGOUB HAMIRI. When ordered by his Company commander to proceed to the Southern flank of the objective with Bren guns he carried out these orders  and when doing so succeeded without noise or firing to hold up three enemy signallers from 90 Arty Regiment whom he made prisoner.

He is brave and sure, and therefore inspires confidence in junior and newly joined officers as well as in the men of his company.”   (WO 373/2).


CSM R STEVENSON.                                                                NOV 1943 – SAN SALVO.

“On the morning of 3 Nov 43, the battalion attacked the S.SALVO position from across the R.TRIGNO.

By the time that the advance from the first objective had started, all the officers in A Coy had been killed. CSM Stevenson then took command of the company and without further orders directed it on towards the final objective.

Although the company was attacked by enemy tanks when it was in open country and suffered further considerable casualties, the CSM successfully retained control of the company and subsequently led it on to the attack on S.SALVO, which was ultimately occupied.”  (WO 373/4).


L/CPL EH TEARE.                                                            APR 1943 – JEBEL EL MAHDI.

“On 7 Apr 43, during the battalion attack on DJ MAHDI, L/Cpl Teare was bren gunner in a forward platoon, which was held up by a German machine gun. L/Cpl Teare went forward alone with his LMG and some grenades and silenced the machine gun, taking the survivors prisoner and occupying the position himself.

Throughout the day, he displayed great personal initiative and his individual efforts were largely responsible for the gaining of the Coy objectives.

On 27 Apr 43 during the Bn attack on KEF EL SENRACH L/Cpl Teare was ordered to move to the left flank of the Coy to a German MG post which was holding up the forward platoons. He succeeded in silencing this post with his bren gun from an exposed position. Suddenly he was rushed at from a concealed position by 4 Germans led by an officer. With great coolness L/Cpl Teare opened fire, killing the officer and an NCO, after which the remainder gave themselves up. The handling of his Bren Group continued to be of the greatest assistance to his coy throughout the battle.”  (WO 373/1).



Military Medal (MM)

L/CORPORAL RH APLING.                                                     AUG 1943 – CENTURIPE.

“On 2 August 1943, during the successful assault on CENTURIPE, D Coy was ordered to capture the ridge which commanded the eastern flank of the town; which was in turn dominated by the farm house on Pt 664. When the platoon detailed to attack the farm went into the assault, L/Cpl Apling took the lead, and with great determination and gallantry scaled a high rock terrace at the top of which were two enemy MG posts and closed with them, driving the enemy out.

His spirited action was largely instrumental in the capture of this dominating strong point held by a platoon of the enemy.

When the enemy counterattacked after a few minutes with grenade and a bayonet charge, L/Cpl Apling displayed the greatest coolness and firmly waited for the attack to come on.” (WO 373/3).


L/CORPORAL W AYRE.                                                         JUN 1944 – PUCCIARELLI.

“On the 24 Jun 1944, L/Cpl Ayre was with a MMG Section in a house in the village of PUCCIARELLI and the MMG was sited to fire through a bedroom window.

At 0530 hours on 24 Jun, the house sustained several direct hits from an enemy SP gun and a Portee, loaded with ammunition, standing outside the door of the house was hit and burst into flames.  This, or another shell, set the house on fire. At this point, the enemy counterattacked and the house in question was heavily machine gunned.

L/Cpl Ayre remained at his post and engaged the enemy until they were so close that he could depress his gun no further. He then leaned out of the window with his gun and continued to engage the enemy killing 12 Germans. The blazing roof collapsed on him and he jumped from a window twenty feet above ground level, as this was now his only means of escape. He then took a rifle and fought with a Section until the attack was beaten off.”  (WO 373/8).


CORPORAL E BROOKES.                                                       JAN 1943 – BOU ARADA.

“On 27 Jan 43 when part of a patrol sent out to destroy the enemy in FARM 654139, this Corporal when challenged by the enemy replied with fire. An enemy MG then opened on him from 30 yards range. He skirted the fire, ignoring the enemy, throwing two grenades at the MG, which was immediately silenced. Owing to a misunderstanding about signals, this NCO found himself alone in this action. He knew this, but remembered the tasks of the patrol, thus achieving success single handed by his own bravery and resolution.”  (WO 373/1).


CORPORAL JR CHATBURN.                                                  NOV 1943 – R. LI COLLI.

“On the 29 Nov 43, D Coy Inniskillings was attacking strongly prepared defensive positions on the R. LI COLLI. Cpl Chatburn went forward alone to search a deep trench system, which the enemy were known to occupy. Although he was fired upon at about 10 yards range he rushed forward and fired his TSMC into the trench. The Germans then attempted to withdraw along a communications trench, but Cpl Chatburn pursued them at the same time shouting to his section to come round their rear. As a result of his display of initiative, one of the enemy was killed, and one officer and 7 ORs were taken prisoner.”  (WO 373/5).


L/SERGEANT AT GOWEN.                                                 JUN 1944 – PUCCIARELLI.

“On 24 Jun 44, A Coy left PUCCIARELLI to attack Pt 267 and, shortly after crossing the start line, the Sgt commanding No 1 Platoon was wounded and had to leave his Platoon. L/Sgt Gowen took over the platoon immediately, being the senior spare NCO in the Coy, and without awaiting further instruction, continued the advance without a pause. As the fighting progressed, the whole brunt of the fighting fell on the two forward platoons, and consequently L/Sgt Gowen and his men were committed continuously both to their front and right flank. Nevertheless, Sgt Gowen pushed on relentlessly, overrunning numerous enemy positions and taking 7 prisoners. On the objective, L/Sgt Gowen’s platoon consolidated in a forward position with a tank, covering the right flank. An enemy counterattack with tanks knocked out the tanks in the Coy area, including those in L/Sgt Gowen’s position, which began to explode, rendering his positions untenable. He gave orders to his platoon to withdraw to Coy HQ, himself remaining until last to cover them out, and by his coolness, succeeded in keeping his platoon as an effective fighting force. They reported to Coy HQ and dug new positions behind the other platoon.

L/Sgt Gowen’s personal example and bravery held his platoon together during this difficult period of the enemy’s counterattack, just as his courage and initiative had inspired them earlier during our attack.”  (WO 373/8).


FUSILIER W HADDEN (twice).                                                      

His first citation says:                                                     JAN 1943 – TWO TREE HILL.

“On 18 Jan 43 No 6893533 Fusilier W Hadden, C Coy, in the leading Pl which reached within 20 yards of TWO TREE HILL 679090 distinguished himself in two ways. Firstly, with complete disregard for danger he moved over the hill, and threw hand grenades into the enemy trenches, although then only a few yards off the enemy IMG. The men who returned from the Coy after the withdrawal were high in praise of the dash shown by this fusilier. Secondly, he remained with No 7045063 L/Cpl Herbert M, a wounded SB who was attending No 6981943 Cpl Delaney W also wounded and twelve hours after the battle he supported both these NCOs back down the Western slopes of TWO TREE HILL 679090, getting them away under the noses of the enemy and back to safety.”   (WO 373/1).

His second citation says:                                                         MAY 1944 – PIUMAROLA.

Attack on Piumarola village, 17th May 1944:

“Single handedly and showing great daring, he cleaned up an enemy post capturing ten prisoners. When the company was ordered to attack a village which contained many enemy MG posts and snipers, he took over a Bren gun and without orders he followed up a tank into the village.

Throughout two attacks, which the Coy took part in, he displayed exceptional courage and coolness and was an inspiration to the whole company.”  (WO 373/8).


FUSILIER H HUTTON.                                                                       1943 – TUNISIA.

“Fusilier Hutton has been continuously with the battalion since the early stages of the campaign and has taken part in every action in which the battalion has fought.

He has throughout shown a conspicuous devotion to duty which has been an example to the remainder of his platoon.

In the first engagement in which his platoon took part, it was attacked by an enemy raiding force some 50 strong. His section, of which he was the Bren Gunner, although completely isolated, held out, and was largely instrumental in driving the enemy back. Later, during an attack on Pt 416, Fusilier Hutton advanced alone with his bren under heavy fire to a position from which he could dominate the enemy and was of great assistance to his platoon.

Throughout the campaign he has proved himself a thoroughly reliable and fearless soldier.”   (WO 373/2).


SERGEANT L LEAPER.                                                            MAY 1944 – PIUMAROLA.

“On 17 May in the attack on Piumarola, and when his officer became a casualty he took over command of the platoon and without heed to his own personal safety led his platoon into action under exceptionally heavy mortar-shell and small arms fire.

Due to his display of outstanding courage and total disregard for his personal safety, he was able to hold his men together and lead his platoon onto the final objective, his platoon suffering only two casualties. Throughout the action, he was resourceful and an inspiration to all ranks under him and of inestimable value to his company.”    (WO 373/8).


FUSILIER WJ LUNN.                                                            JAN 1943 – GRANDSTAND.

“Fusilier Lunn has been continuously with the battalion since the early stages of the campaign and has taken part in every action in which the battalion has fought.

During the battalion attacks on GRANDSTAND in Jan 43, he did very excellent work as a temporary stretcher bearer, bring in wounded under heavy fire at great personal danger.

He has in very way proved himself to be a thoroughly reliable and fearless soldier in battle.”  (WO 373/2).


CORPORAL A LYTTLE.                                                          NOV 1943 – R. LI COLLI.

“On 29 Nov 1943, during the attack by 6 Inniskillings on R. LI COLLI, a platoon of C Coy was being held up by an enemy post occupying a house. Cpl Lyttle with complete disregard to his personal safety made his way to the house by himself, and then rushed at it firing his TSMC from the hip. He succeeded in killing one and two of the enemy thus causing the post to surrender. By this vigorous and decisive action, the further advance of his platoon was able to continue and valuable lives were saved,

This NCO has shown outstanding powers of leadership and initiative both during the Italian and the Sicilian campaigns.”  (WO 373/5).


FUSILIER P MADDEN.                                                            NOV 1943 – R. LI COLLI.

On the 29 Nov 1943, during the initial attack on R. LI COLLI, L/Cpl Madden showed outstanding courage by clearing an enemy machine gun post alone. His section being pinned to the ground by MG fire he crawled round to the rear of the enemy position by himself and took it, killing the enemy with a grenade.

During the SAN VITO attack, his leadership was also outstanding. Here he took single handed one of two enemy posts who were firing on his section, and having accomplished this, he led a successful on the other one. On gaining the centre of SAN VITO town his section was sniped from the roof of a house. L/Cpl Madden placed his section under cover, then climbed to the top of the house, and dealt with the sniper.”   (WO 373/5).


FUSILIER D MILLIGAN.                                                            DEC 1943 – SAN VITO.

On the 3 Dec 1943, the coast road at SAN VITO was cratered, and covered by enemy from surrounding houses. Until this enemy was dislodged, the repair of the road and progress of the tanks was impossible, so that further action in this area was help up. L/Cpl Milligan was a section commander in the platoon ordered to clear the houses. As the leading section emerged from an alley, they came under fire which killed the section commander and wounded the Bren gunner of the section. L/Cpl Milligan immediately seized the Bren gun, mounted it by the dead Corporal and returned the fire. He then quickly organised his section and with the Bren gun led the way past side alleys and streets, and formed the advance guard to the platoon which eventually cleared through to the end of the town and dislodged the enemy. The courage and resourcefulness of L/Cpl Milligan were an example to the platoon and encouraged it in quickly clearing through to the enemy.”  (WO 373/5).


SERGEANT T O’DONNELL (twice).                                                   

His first citation says:                                                            JAN 1943 – GRANDSTAND.

“On GRANDSTAND HILL on 18 Jan 43, A/Sgt O’Donnell was a fusilier in a 2 Pounder A/Tank Gun Detachment, of which the gun was blown up by enemy fire. He was unhurt and unperturbed. The Detachment Commander was killed. Fusilier O’Donnell immediately took charge, collected the men and whilst the shelling was still in progress moved the Detachment into adjoining slit trenches, made himself Section Commander and carried on as a rifle section within C Coy defences. On 19Jan, this ma n was then absorbed into C Coy in the same forward position and still the most shelled place of all on the ridge. Up to 23 Jan 43, local listening patrols had to be sent out from this Coy. Each evening after the severe shelling and mortar fire had ceased, this man immediately volunteered to go out. Lack of sleep and persistent noise during the day did not thwart him in his resolve to play more than his full part in the defences. His strong nerve and determination placed him above his fellows, thus he was an inspiration and a fine example of leadership to all who had to undergo similar experiences on the ridge.”    (WO 373/2).

His second citation says:                                                          MAR 1943 – BOU ARADA.

“On the night of 6/7 March, Sgt O’Donnell was ordered to take out a fighting patrol to the farms in the neighbourhood of ARGOUB HAMRA. Whilst in this area, he found a German telephone cable leading in the direction of a Fm at 664130. Previous reports showed that this farm was occupied in some force by the enemy. Scrutiny of it showed this farm was a light was buzzing. Sgt O’Donnell decided to attach the farm. He cut the cable and then led his patrol in extended order to the farm.  He himself walked straight up into the farm covered by his men. When he was within 20 yards of the house door, he was challenged by a German sentry. He immediately shot down the sentry.  At this moment enemy MGs opened up from outside the farm and the patrol came under heavy fire. One of the MGs was within 20 yards of Sgt O’Donnell. He immediately rushed it by himself and throwing a hand grenade silenced it. The farm was now thoroughly roused and a number of Germans rushed out of the building. Sgt O’Donnell who had meanwhile regained the body of his patrol now directed LMG fire on the advancing Germans having stayed to the last moment and inflicted the utmost damage to the enemy. Sgt O’Donnell ordered his patrol to withdraw. The Germans followed them firing off flares, but by clever leadership and use of ground, Sgt O’Donnell eluded them and brought his patrol home having suffered one casualty only. This is only example of the gallantry and devotion to duty which this NCO has shown at all times.” (WO 373/1).


SERGEANT HD OWEN.                                                           MAY 1944 – PIUMAROLA.

“On 16 May 44, Sgt Owens’ Platoon Commander was killed in action and he assumed command of No 1 Platoon.

Throughout the advance of the Battalion along the LIRI VALLEY, this NCO led his Platoon with great dash, and by his example, kept his men together.

During the attack on PIUMAROLA on 17 May 44, Sgt Owens’ Platoon was leading the Company. From the time the Start Line was crossed until the final objective was taken, No 1 Platoon did not stop once.  

When the village was reached the Platoon went straight through, capturing 47 German Parachute Troops

Sgt Owens’ dash and disregard for personal safety inspired them to such an extent that the Platoon overran the German positions so rapidly that our casualties were negligible.” (WO 373/8).


FUSILIER AC PERCY.                                                            JUN 1944 – PUCCIARELLI.

“On the 21 Jun 44, Fusilier Percy was with the leading section which gained a foothold in a prominent white house in the village of PUCCIARELLI. Fusilier Percy was with a small party who then pushed forward to clear two outbuildings. As they approached, two Germans dashed from the outbuildings into an adjoining building on the left where there was an Anti Tank gun. A stick grenade hit Fusilier Percy’s rifle, but he ignored this and immediately followed Fusilier Harding into the house, from which they emerged with the two Germans as prisoners. Eight other enemy broke cover from another exit and made for the top of the village. Fusilier Percy’s prompt action undoubtedly did much to gain the firm footing in this important village, and prevented the Anti-Tank gun continuing to fire at our own tanks, thus saving valuable men and machines. Three days later on 24 Jun 44 during the attack on Pt 267 the Coy was held up in a sunken road by heavy fire from MG34s. Fusilier Percy received bullets through his steel helmet and his boot which luckily did not harm him. In spite of this, he remained as cheerful and aggressive as ever and was among the leading troops onto the final objective.”   (WO 373/8).


SERGEANT R PHILLIPS.                                                        AUG 1943 – CENTURIPE.

“On the afternoon of 2nd August 1943, A Coy was ordered to scale a cliff and occupy the town of CENTURIPE. The coy entered the town under heavy cross machine cross fire. Almost immediately on entering he town, the platoon commander of the leading platoon was severely wounded and Sgt Phillips assumed command. He immediately continued the advance and sweeping aside opposition gained the main square where the platoon was attacked by an enemy tank. In spite of this, Sgt Phillips managed to push further forward. The enemy then launched a counter attack which isolated this platoon from the remainder of the Coy. Sgt Phillips, however, displaying powers of leadership above the average, organised his platoon on a strong defensive position without orders of any kind from his Coy Commander and succeeded in repelling all attacks.

By his courage and leadership he undoubtedly assisted very materially in the capture of the important position.”    (WO 373/3).


L/CORPORAL JT POWELL.                                                    NOV 1943 – R. LI COLLI.On 29 Nov 43, D Coy 6 Inniskillings was attacking strongly prepared defensive positions on the R.LI COLLI. A platoon came under heavy fire from a well sited strong point. L/Cpl Powell asked permission of his platoon commander to carry out a reconnaissance of the place and then forward alone. He did this with great skill and courage, got within close range of the position and then rushed in firing his TSMC. Although he himself received three wounds he succeeded in clearing up the fort, killing three Germans, two of whom were automatic weapons.

By his gallant action, he undoubtedly saved a number of casualties and gave a stirring example of personal initiative and bravery.” (WO 373/5).

 


L/SERGEANT L RAMSELL.                                                  APR 1943 – TANNGOUCHA.

“On the night of 22 Apr 43, during the battalion attack on DJEBEL EL TANNGOUCHA, B Coy was ordered to capture a subsidiary feature to the flank of the main objective.

In the face of fierce machine gun fire from the front and both flanks L/Sgt Ramsell was the first man to reach the feature and proved an inspiring example to the remainder of his platoon.

Four hours later, the enemy counter attacked the Coy position with two Coys supported by the fire of 15 automatic weapons from positions on either flank, which dominated the position.

Since the attack on these two features had failed the positions gained by B Coy was no longer tenable and after fierce resistance, during which three out of the four Coy Officers were killed, the Coy was ordered to withdraw.

Sgt Ramsell, who had taken over command of the platoon, was ordered to cover the withdrawal of the remainder of the Coy. He personally fired a Bren gun with great effect until all his magazines were empty. He then continued to fire with a captured German machine gun until all his ammunition was exhausted.

During the final phases of the German counter attack, Sgt Ramsell was wounded in the head, face and arms, but in spite of this he remained at his post and was the last to leave the position.

This NCO has constantly displayed a high standard of leadership throughout the campaign and has throughout been a great source of inspiration to the company.”  (WO 373/2).


SERGEANT GL RICHARDS.                                                   APR 1943 – TANNGOUCHA.

“On 20 April 1943, Sgt Richards was a member of a Patrol sent out at night from DJEBEL ANG to reconnoitre a native village. The Patrol came under heavy MG fire in the open and another member of the patrol was wounded. Sgt Richards, although under heavy MG fire throughout went to the wounded man, dressed his wounds and brought him back unaided 600 yards uphill to the Coy positions on DJEBEL ANG.

Again on 23 Apr, when the Coy was occupying a position in full view of the enemy on the lower slopes of TANNGOUCHA, Sgt Richards left his slit trench and crawled forward under heavy sniping, at great personal danger, to the assistance of his CSM who had been shot down and was lying in the open. Having reached him, he directed him back in to the comparative safety of his slit trench. This NCO has been with the battalion through the present campaign and has been conspicuous throughout for a high standard of leadership and initiative.”  (WO 373/2).


SERGEANT JL RUSSELL.                                                       MAR 1943 – BOU ARADA.

“On night 10/11 Mar 43, Sgt Russell took out a recce patrol to investigate increased enemy activity on the Battalion sector. Half way up the slopes of Pt 286 feature, enemy voices were heard, Sgt Russell then went forward by himself to reconnoitre and found a position occupied by at least a Platoon of the enemy. He then returned to his patrol and lead it back to within 5 yards of an occupied enemy trench where it lay for over an hour listening to the enemy and pin pointing positions. The enemy was too alert to obtain a prisoner but just before first light Sgt Russell ordered every man on the patrol to prepare a 36 grenade. On his order these were thrown and Sgt Russell succeeded in withdrawing his patrol without heavy fire. The information which this patrol gained was of considerable value during the ensuing operations. Sgt Russell has been on a considerable number of patrols since December 1942 on all of which has displayed an outstanding degree of initiative, leadership and resource.”   (WO 373/2).


FUSILIER C SHAW.                                                            AUG 1943 – SIMETO RIVER.

“On the night 5th August 1943, D Coy advanced east of the R.SIMETO to assist in the defence of the bridge ahead already established there. Throughout the whole of that night L/Cpl Shaw, who is a stretcher bearer, went out and collected wounded from the forward area with complete disregard for his own safety in the face of continual sniping. He established an advance RAP, organised carrier parties across the river and generally displayed a high degree of initiative and devotion to duty, and was responsible for saving the lives of many seriously wounded men.”  (WO 373/3).


CORPORAL A SILLS.                                                        JAN 1943 – TWO TREE HILL.

“On 13 Jan 43, Cpl A Sills, a battalion Stretcher Bearer attached to A Coy during an attack to capture TWO TREE HILL, collected wounded whilst under heavy enemy fire. His gallantry was persevering. On one occasion he was within 40 yards of an enemy MG. During the withdrawal he went forward again two hundred yards to get in wounded men, part of the crew of a tank belonging to 17/21 Lancers. When he reached the withdrawal position, he reorganised the Stretcher Bearers of all Coys and continued the work. His final effort was to go forward again to collect the wounded caused by a mortar shell, whilst the position was still being mortared by the enemy.”   (WO 373/2).    


CSM J THOMPSON.                                                              MAY 1944 – LIRI VALLEY.

“Throughout the attacks during the period 15-17 May 1944 on Pt 67, and further along the LIRI VALLEY this WO was in the forefront of the battle. When his Company was reduced to thirty two men, he formed Coy HQ into a fighting platoon and attacked and captured the Company objective.

Under heavy fire, he went out in front on two occasions and fearlessly exposing himself, reconnoitred crossings over sunken obstacles for the supporting tanks.

Al all times under the heaviest fire he was a tower of strength to his Company Commander, being here and there organising and encouraging the men and showing the greatest bravery and disregard for his own personal safety.  

To his outstanding work, the success of the Company attack was due.

His personal bravery, clear leadership and unfailing devotion to duty was an example and inspiration to all.” (WO 373/8).



 

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