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- They Shall Not Grow Old – 1 London Irish Rifles
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- Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers – “The Skins”
- At Rest in Rome and Egypt
- In Sidi Bishr
- Back To Italy
- With the 5th Army
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- Point 286, Tunisia – Jan 1943 by Lt-Col Jeffreys
- Lieutenant Nick Mosley at Monte Spaduro
- The Skins in Sicily
- Percy Hamilton – On Route to Africa
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- Day 2
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- Irish Brigade at Termoli, October 1943
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Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
LT COL BH BUTLER. AUG 1943 – SIMETO RIVER.
“Lt-Col Butler’s task was to secure the right half of the RIVER SIMETO bridgehead and much depended on the success of this operation.
This officer led his battalion with great gallantry. Throughout a hard day’s fighting, he was tireless in his efforts to ensure success – personally directing the fire of his Anti-Tank Guns and Mortars at centres of resistance; launching attacks and never giving a desperate and determined enemy any loophole.
Colonel Butler was under continuous and accurate short range MG and rifle fire and Mortar fire for many hours, but his complete disregard of danger and his inspiring example to his Battalion ensure the success of the operation.
This officer had also rendered distinguished service in the attack on CENTURIPE (Aug 2/3) and in the crossing of the river SALSO (Aug 4/5). I strongly recommend the immediate award of the Distinguished Service Order to Lt-Col Butler.”
LT-COL MJF PALMER. APR 1945 – SANTERNO RIVER.
“Lt-Col Palmer has been commanding 1st Bttn, The Royal Irish Fusiliers since Dec 1944.
On 13 April 1945, the 1 RIrF were ordered to expand the bridgehead over the River SANTERNO in a NW direction.
Enemy strong points were encountered along the SCOLO FOSSATONE.
Lt-Col Palmer personally directed the attack on these strong points. By his very quick appreciation of the situation, he was able to effect a considerable element of surprise on the enemy. In spite of the heavy shell fire he continued to direct and encourage his men so that the strong points were taken and the momentum of the attack was delayed for the minimum amount of time.
On this day, the Royal Irish Fusiliers had 3 similar encounters but were nevertheless able to advance 6000 yards in 6 hours and take 87 prisoners. This was to a large extent due to the way in which Lt-Col Palmer kept up amongst his forward troops so that he could keep in touch, and deal with all the unexpected developments in the quickest possible manner.
Lt-Col Palmer’s courage and bearing throughout this day and during the advance from the Senio to the Po was of the highest order. His never failing cheerfulness under all conditions has been a great inspiration to all ranks privileged to serve with him.”
CAPTAIN RG WILKIN. DEC 1943 – MORO RIVER.
“On the morning of 4 Dec 43 Captain Wilkin, commanding the Support Company, was ordered to bring up two Vicker’s Machine Guns and two 3rd Mortars to the Battalion, which during the previous night had infiltrated to an area five hundred yards short of the MORO River and from dawn had been fiercely attacked by the enemy. The role of the Battalion was to force the enemy away from the close mountainous country overlooking the MORO River and the Germans were equally determined to hold this commanding ridge.
By 1000 hrs, the Battalion was hard pressed and the enemy had infiltrated machine gun groups to the rear of the Battalion, so severing its line of communication. As he climbed through this broken country with the mule borne ammunition, machine guns and Mortars, a message from the CO told Captain Wilkin that the ammunition situation was desperate and that to hold the position 3” Mortars and Vickers Machine Guns were vital necessities. When the mule train reached a track half a mile short of the Battalion Headquarters a burst of machine gun fire swept the track, killing the leading mule and wounding his muleteer. At the same time, snipers fired at the mule party from a house four hundred yards away. Captain Wilkin was the personification of coolness, he brought a Bren gunner into action against the enemy machine gun, and occasionally sniped, he, with great courage, untied the barrel of a 3” Mortar from the dead mule and loaded it onto another mule. He then said to his NCOs and men, “whatever happens to me, this stuff must get through to the Battalion”.
Under the protection of his one Bren gun which had, however, silenced the enemy machine gun to the left flank, Captain Wilkin bravely led his mule team up the track. Progress is slow, the enemy sniping was deadly, but they dauntlessly struggled up the mountain track. Two more men were hit and Captain Wilkin and an NCO took over their mules. Four hundred yards short of the Battalion Headquarters a round pierced Captain Wilkin’s right lung and his mule was killed. Refusing any attention, he ordered the mule train to go on and saw them wind up the track to Battalion Headquarters. Knowing the nature of his wound, in deliberately denying himself prompt attention, Captain Wilkin was prepared for the supreme sacrifice in order to carry out his task. Thirty minutes later, what proved to be the Germans final counterattack, was completely broken up by the surprise enfilade fire of these two machine guns and the 3” Mortars added greatly to the destruction of the enemy.
Captain Wilkin, at present dangerously ill, showed a fortitude and devotion to duty of the first order. By completely ignoring his own safety and by steadfastly carrying his task to completion he turned the day and so enabled the Battalion to throw back the enemy over the MORO River.”
Military Cross (MC)
CAPTAIN NW BASS. 1943 TO 1945 – TUNISIA/SICILY/ITALY.
“During the majority of the first three months of 1945, Captain Bass has acted as Quartermaster to 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s). In this capacity, despite shocking weather conditions, he maintained his Battalion during the difficult administrative period in the mountains NE of SAN CLEMENTE, his mule point frequently being subjected to heavy attention from enemy artillery. When the Battalion moved across to the R.SENIO in the COTIGNOLA sector, he continued in these duties, being constantly forward supervising the distribution of rations, whether by night or day.
At all times, has his devotion to all aspects of his duty been strongly in evidence, and his hard work during this period undoubtedly had considerable effect on the well being of all ranks and in particular was his personal example in the forward area an inspiration to those NCOs and men he supervised.
His particularly fine service during this period is the culmination of many months of effort in the cause of the Battalion’s welfare. In TUNISIA, he was MTO and brought the supplies nightly to the forward positions under the most arduous conditions, when the standard of battle knowledge within the Battalion was yet in its embryo. This necessitated the highest standard in maintenance supervision by Captain Bass, not to mention personal endurance under enemy fire. As Officer Commanding HQ Company in SICILY he continued his administrative duties, maintaining the Battalion at times by mule convoy under the most appalling circumstances.
Wounded during the battle of SAN SALVO by an aerial bomb, he returned in time to bring forward supplies when the Battalion was virtually cut off in a small salient NORTH of SAN VITO. Casualties in this action amongst Company Commanders were high and he was temporarily required to take over a Rifle Company, which he commanded with efficiency. Since that time, he has participated in the GUSTAV LINE battle and the advance NORTHWARDS to ROME, being again wounded at CEPRANO. In the MONTE SPADURO sector he performed the unenviable task of organising mule convoys and doing so with painstaking skill.
At all times, Capt Bass has shown himself to be a keen cheerful, capable and conscientious officer of great personal courage who has been able to turn his hand to any appointment within the Battalion and make a success of it, whether it be in immediate contact with the enemy or in the Battalion’s lines of communication. There is no doubt that his labours during the past two and a half years have borne fruit in the smooth running organisation which he now directs.”
LIEUTENANT JPF BEAMISH. DEC 1944 – ANZELLARA.
“Near ANZELLARA Ridge on the night of 1 Dec 44, Lieut Beamish of 14 Platoon C Coy was ordered to take a fighting patrol to a German position at the house Pt 166 which was 200 yards in front of our FDLs with the object of doing as much damage as possible.
Lieut Beamish took with him fourteen men organised into a support group and an assault group. On approaching the house, Lieut Beamish, who was leading, set up a number of enemy trip flares which gave away all surprise and the enemy opened fire. Lieut Beamish then posted his support group and decided to attack the buildings himself with one NCO, the rest of his force being scattered by the enemy fire. As he advanced he got into an S minefield setting off several but happily survived. His Corporal in the meantime had been badly hit by Machine Pistol fire at close quarters. Lieut Beamish then rushed the building alone as his support fire of 2“Mortars and Guns came down.
Outside the building, he encountered and silenced a German with his pistol and then threw all his grenades in and around the building. Five of the enemy bolted and were shot up by the support group.
Lieut Beamish later withdrew covering himself with a smoke grenade. On his withdrawal, he set up and wounded by another mine.
His very signal act of bravery did more than carry out the object of the raid and set an example for the whole Regiment to follow and was an inspiration to his Company. The area was held by a German platoon, which was known to Lieut Beamish and for one individual to press an assault like he did when all surprise was lost shows a pinnacle of resolution and devotion to duty.”
LIEUTENANT JB CAMMIADE. AUG 1943 – CENTURIPE.
“On 3 Aug 43, this Officer was in command of a Platoon of B Coy ordered to move forward from CENTURIPE as a fighting patrol to gain contact with the enemy. Lt Cammiade took sections across the river valley and located two enemy MG posts; in the action which ensued one of these posts was knocked out with its crew and the other withdrew.
On 5 Aug 43 on the River SIMETO, B Coy was ordered to attack the enemy in the houses covering the road crossing. Lt Cammiade’s Platoon was ordered to attack a large house. He advanced with such speed that his Platoon entered the house and drove out the Germans whilst our own artillery was still firing on the locality.
On receiving orders to take a party round the flank and take another building, he was unfortunately badly wounded whilst leading his men forward.
Lt Cammiade’s example to the whole Coy has been magnificent on all occasions.”
LIEUTENANT WJ CHAPMAN. APR 1943 – JEBEL EL MAHDI.
“On 7 April 1943 after the attack on the final objective on JEBEL EL MAHDI Lieut Chapman was in command of a fighting patrol sent forward to exploit success. The patrol encountered a force of 33 Germans dug in with three MGs. Although his patrol was inferior in numbers Lt Chapman at once attacked. Twelve of the enemy were killed and a number killed and a number wounded and Lieut Chapman himself was seriously wounded in the head. Throughout the action enemy shells were falling and considerable interference was encountered from one flank by enemy MGs from another position. In spite of this the action was completely successful and the remainder of the enemy surrendered to the patrol.
This officer set a magnificent example to his men inspiring them to pursue the action to its successful conclusion, after he himself was wounded.”
CAPTAIN BDH CLARK. 1943/44 – SICILY/ITALY.
“Capt BDH Clark has been adjutant of this Battalion throughout the Sicilian and Italian campaigns and has largely contributed to the battalion’s successes by his foresight in planning and determination in personally seeing to the efficient administration of the unit under exhausting and often dangerous conditions.
On several occasions – particularly at the RIVER TRIGNO (Oct 21-28 1943), the RIVER MORO (4 Dec 1943), and in the LIRI VALLEY (17 May 1944) – in spite of the fact that battalion headquarters was under enemy fire, Capt Clark personally supervised the bringing up to the forward companies of supplies, ammunition and support weapons for the consolidation of objectives.
Again at SANFATUCCHIO by LAKE TRASIMENO on 22 Jun 1944, when the Commanding Officer was taken prisoner and three company commanders became casualties, Capt Clark immediately assumed command of the battalion and remained in command till the unit came out of the line.
In the present difficult weather conditions on the slopes of MONTE GRANDE, Capt Clark has again shown the greatest determination in seeing to the administration of the battalion in a heavily shelled section. His courage, cheerfulness and tact have been an inspiration and example to this Battalion over 18 months of strenuous campaigning.”
MAJOR JS CLARKE (twice)
DEC 1943 – SAN VITO.
“On the night 1 Dec 43, Major Clarke was in command of two Companies whose task was to infiltrate by night to the edge of SAN VITO and to send a patrol into the town. Major Clarke led his two Companies over most difficult country which he was not able to reconnoitre. Having established a base on the high ground overlooking the town, Major Clarke despatched a platoon into the town which killed Germans and created alarm and confusion in the town. At dawn he advanced his force to the lip of the high ground overlooking the town and the main road from the South. This advance wiped out several pockets of enemy resistance. A counter attack estimated two companies in strength was driven in with great force by the Germans. This was repulsed with loss to the enemy including a German Captain. The Germans were determined to remove this threat to their line of withdrawal and for five hours they attacked frontally and from both flanks. For two hours, Major Clarke’s force was completely surrounded but the embattled Companies remained firm although suffering considerable loss. During this period, Major Clarke organised the defence of his position with the utmost calm and personally led a counter attack which cleared up enemy infiltration on the left. His cheerfulness and cool courage as he walked around his position under mortar and machine gun fire inspired the men to hold fast. By holding this ground, Major Clarke’s force must have seriously influenced the enemy’s decision to withdraw from the river line to the South and then the enemy endeavoured to withdraw by the main road, the FOO with Major Clarke was able to scatter his marching troops. Major Clarke’s work in this action deserves the highest praise, in spite of being in grave physical danger, he remained unruffled and sound of judgement revealing the qualities of a great leader.”
OCT 1944 – CODRANCO.
“On the evening of October 7th, Major Clarke MC and his D Coy were given the task of capturing Pt 382 on the Codranco Ridge. This position was held by a Company of Germans sixty strong. Major Clarke led the assault at dusk and after two hours succeeded in taking the church and other buildings at the bottom of Pt 382. In the meantime, the Coy was too close to the objective for further artillery support, surprise had been lost and the garrison was putting up a fierce fight. However, the attack was renewed, and for several hours a bomb and small arms fight continued around the foot of the hill and in the houses beside it. Owing to the steep slope and the mud, D Coy was unable to get a foothold and the Germans were able to roll a steady stream of grenades down.
D Company finally consolidated round the church with the enemy in position 200 yards in front. The whole of the next day, Major Clarke directed artillery, mortar and MG fire on Point 382, in spite of being practically on the top himself and getting all the “shorts”. When day came, of course, his Company were completely pinned down.
Major Clarke attacked again at dusk and the assault was successful. Two prisoners were taken and twenty three dead found: the majority of the garrison having fled. D Coy’s success in capturing this important feature was entirely due to Major Clarke’s skilful planning and leadership which has been characteristic of his conduct in all the previous operations he has taken part in. During this action he was suffering throughout with acute fever.“
MAJOR RMD DAWSON. MAR 1945 – FILIPONE.
“On the 2nd and 3rd March 1945, during the attack on FILIPONE and VENTI, Major Dawson showed outstanding skill and gallantry for exceeding his duty. He was attached to CREMONA GRUPPO as a Training Instructor but volunteered to go with the assault coy. There was no obligation for him to take any part in the battle. On the first day, when this Coy was stopped by mines and enemy fire, Major Dawson found the tanks, and, riding in the co-driver’s seat of a troop leader’s tank went with them up the beach to indicate the exact enemy positions.
Throughout the two days’ action he remained in the forefront of the battle – going from platoon to platoon under all types of fire and amongst the mines, exposing himself to constant danger, encouraging the infantry leading them in at least four separate assaults, showing them how to consolidate and coordinating the battle. Time and again, he gave the tank commanders just the information they required. He was Commander, Liaison Officer, Recce Officer and Runner all in one. Had it not been for Major Dawson, the operation could not have succeeded in the manner it did.
This Officer most nobly upheld the finest traditions of the British Officer.”
LIEUTENANT WG FIELDING. AUG 1943 – MALETTO.
“At Maletto on 12 Aug 43, this officer was in charge of a Platoon of D Coy which was engaged in clearing the village. After clearing the northern corner, 2/Lt Fielding moved forward to some rising ground and located a party of 8 Germans. Calling for volunteers, he quickly formed a small combat group of six men and proceeded to attack. The Germans scattered, one was captured and one shot and the remaining six ran to a culvert under a railway and opened fire with a MG 34. During this attack, two of 2/Lt Fielding’s party were killed and the three others became involved in a fire fight with a party of Germans some distance off. On being fired on, 2/Lt Fielding snatched a rifle and replied to the fire, then crawling forward alone across open ground he reached bombing range of the culvert and threw in his grenades, seriously wounding two Germans including the Unteroffizier. Although by now he had run out of ammunition and grenades, he dashed forward to the culvert and pointing his rifle at the Germans called on them to surrender and after some parleying they emerged reluctantly. By this time, another man came up and assisted 2/Lt Fielding to round up the six Germans. During the whole period, 2/Lt Fielding was under fire from snipers and a Machine Gunner from a point further to the north. The dash and fearless leadership shown by 2/Lt Fielding in accounting for this party of Germans so successfully was beyond all praise.”
LIEUTENANT D HAYWOOD. APR 1943 – PT 622.
“On the afternoon of 26 Apr 43, north of Chaouach, Lieut Haywood took part in an attack on Pt 622, a strongly defended MG post, the capture of which was essential to the Brigade plan. Lieut Haywood was in command of the Assault Group which consisted of ten men. About 300 yards from the objective, the Assault Group was in danger of being pinned by MG fire and accurate sniping. By good leadership and splendid personal example Lieut Hayward got his group on using rocks as cover. About 20 yards from the objective, with only six men remaining, the party was finally pinned. Calling for a volunteer Lieut Haywood, who realised, that if he failed the attack would be unsuccessful crawled around the right flank under heavy fire from almost point blank range and assaulted the hill with grenades. This action caused the surrender of the position which allowed Lieut Haywood to get his group on the objective. Throughout the action this Officer showed complete disregard for personal danger and by his inspiring example, and fearless dash, was instrumental in the capture of this important objective.”
MAJOR J COLDWELL-HORSFALL. FEB 1943 – BOU ARADA.
“Near BOU ARADA on the night 28 Feb/1 Mar 43, Major Horsfall was in command of a strong patrol, consisting of D Coy, less one platoon, the object of which was to move out Northwards from our own positions and harass the supply lines of an enemy force known to be operating in the West, Shortly after starting, the patrol bumped into an enemy MG post and received four casualties. Reorganising his patrol, Major Horsfall then led his men on some two miles to a farm found to be occupied by the enemy and succeeded in ambushing a large lorry full of Germans. The patrol was engaged from the farm but withdrew out of range and by skilful manoeuvring succeeded in capturing two Germans from a party sent out to deal with it.
On the afternoon 2 Mar 43 near BOU ARADA, Major Horsfall again led a patrol of fifteen other ranks through difficult mountain country reaching a point in enemy territory five miles in advance of our position. On darkness coming down, Major Horsfall carried out a search of the area including several farms. On the route back, the patrol entered a farm used by the enemy as an HQ narrowly missing capturing some enemy. The information gained by Major Horsfall’s patrol proved to be of the greatest value. The success of both patrols in accomplishing their object was entirely due to the leadership, determination and courage of Major Horsfall.”
MAJOR RSV HOWARD. APR 1945 – ARGENTA.
“On the morning of 17 April 1945, Major RSV Howard commanded C Company, the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s) during the attack through the ARGENTA GAP.
The advance under fire to the objective was carried out successfully, despite some delay in support from the armour, caused by extensive minefields and numerous natural obstacles, and Major Howard’s Company, inspired in their drive forward by the high standard of his personal courage, accounted for a considerable number of enemy dead and wounded, and took over fifty prisoners, all of them recently committed from a reserve division.
This hardest period in this action had yet to come, and, incessantly throughout the day, the Company was engaged at close range by enemy tanks, armoured cars, assault guns and infantry. C Company withstood all of these sorties under Major Howard’s direction, and in one of the first encounters he was wounded in the arm and side. Not until all possibility of the threat to security of his Company’s position had been evacuated, did Major Howard consider reporting his wounds, and it was several hours after this before he was relieved by his second in command. The fierceness with which the enemy contested the battalion’s advance NE of ARGENTA is proof of the importance which he attached to the holding of these positions and in no small way was the success of the operation due to Major Howard’s courage and leadership.”
CAPTAIN DN JEFFERIES. DEC 1942/JAN 1943 – GOUBELLAT PLAIN/BOU ARADA.
“When as a Pl Commander, this officer carried out most daring and effective patrolling on many occasions.
In particular on 27 Dec 1942 in the PLAINE DU GOUBELLAT, this officer took a night recce patrol some 4 miles in front of our positions. Here he discovered a German force of about one Coy with a smaller covering party making towards our positions. Joining in rear of this force, he seized a favourable moment to capture a member of this Coy and bring him quickly back. The cool action and accurate information thus furnished, enabled a very successful action to be fought against the enemy on the next day.
On night 14/15 Jan 1943, north of BOU ARADA, after sustaining a slight wound during this day, this officer took a night patrol of 7 men to the much contested area of TWO TREE HILL, He destroyed an enemy MG post, all except one of his party becoming casualties, and with complete disregard for personal danger stayed in the area for some time, trying to find the missing members of his patrol
This officer’s courage and resourcefulness in danger has been an inspiration to his men on many occasions.”
LIEUTENANT JV LLOYD. MAY 1944 – STRANGOLAGALLI.
“On the afternoon of 29 May 44, Lieut Lloyd was point platoon of the company during the advance on STRANGOLAGALLI ridge. Being informed by civilians that a small village was heavily mined and occupied by the Germans, he infiltrated a section to the rear of the village and then regardless of the danger from mines and enemy fire, he led a spirited rush into the village and completely routed the small but strongly armed force of Germans, three of whom were killed and two taken prisoner. Realising the importance of clearing the main route through the village for tanks, Lieut Lloyd personally supervised the removal, by prodding, of two belts of mines: thus enabling the tanks to come through. This was done under steady mortar fire. By his courage and coolness, and prompt action, Lieut Lloyd eliminated an enemy strong point and hastened the advance of the Battalion.”
LIEUTENANT LM MANSON. JUN 1944 – CITTA DELLA PIEVE.
“On 16th June 1944, Lt Mason was in command of thirty men with two 3” Mortars in support. This patrol was under command 9th ARMOURED BRIGADE in their advance NORTHWARDS along ROUTE 71. The force, headed by a squadron of tanks captured MONTELEONE and proceeded towards CITTA DELLA PIEVE.
Approximately one mile short of the town, the tanks were fired on, and a plan was made for the patrol to advance with one troop of the ROYAL WILTSHIRE YEOMANRY and enter the town. Lieut Manson, in command of the force, disposed the infantry on either side of the road and the tanks advanced up the road. En route they encountered and destroyed several enemy strong points. On some occasions the infantry, well to a flank, had to clear a group of buildings without cover from the tanks. On one of these occasions, Lieut Manson personally led his men into the houses, shooting the first German and demoralising the remainder by his decisive planning and the execution of the attack. This particular action produced twelve prisoners. Another time, wireless communications with the tanks failed when it was essential that their fire should be directed onto a strongpoint which was holding up the infantry. Lieut Manson, despite being under heavy MG fire, climbed onto the Troop Leader’s tank and directed their fire so accurately that the opposition was smashed.
On the outskirts of the town, the tanks came under heavy A/Tk fire knocking out one of them. The infantry, covered by the remounted Browning, advanced round the left flank and entered the village which appeared to be hastily evacuated. They were well into the village when orders were received to withdraw to conform with the tanks’ dispositions. This they did, but on their way out, Lieut Manson met an officer from the 1st Bttn East Surrey Regiment, who informed him that they were following up. Realising the position, he immediately led his men back into CITTA DELLA PIEVE with the intention of holding the village until their arrival. This time, the patrol came under heavy MG fire,were grenaded and suffered casualties. Seeing that the enemy had returned in force, Lieut Manson withdrew his patrol and reported to the CO of 2st BTTN EAST SURREY REGIMENT.
During the whole operation, Lieut Manson’s personal courage and disregard for his own safety was an inspiration to his men. The high standard of his leadership was responsible for the great success of the patrol, which accounted for six dead, and thirty prisoners, all of them in the redoubtable 1ST PARA DIVISION.”
LIEUTENANT JE McNALLY. AUG 1943 – SIMETO RIVER.
“On 5 Aug 43 on the river SIMETO this Officer was commanding a Platoon of A Coy. When the two leading Coys of his Battalion had been held up whilst crossing the river this Officer was ordered to take his Platoon further round to the right flank and get up on the cliff edge beyond the enemy position.
In spite of much enemy MG fire and sniping from the rocks, crevices and houses on the opposite side of the river, Lt McNally managed to seize the high ground and establish a bridgehead there, thus enabling the remainder of his Coy to get across and enlarge the bridgehead.
This action led to the crumbling of the whole enemy position.
Lt McNally’s fine leadership, initiative and disregard of danger were a magnificent example to his men.”
CAPTAIN JP PHELAN. JUN 1944 – MONTEGIOVE.
“On the night of 16/17 June 1944, Capt Phelan was commanding A Company, 1st Bttn Royal Irish Fusiliers, which was under command 56 Recce Regiment. Towards the end of the day, the armour had been held up and it was clear no advance could be made until the height and castle of MONTEGIOVE had been captured. This task was given to A Company.
Realising that speed was essential, Capt Phelan transported one platoon as far as possible by carriers, ordering the remainder of the Company to march to a RV. He himself travelled in a carrier. When they reached the outskirts of the castle grounds, they came under heavy MG and Mortar fire, and Capt Phelan immediately got his forward platoon into position and organised the neutralisation of the enemy fire so that the remainder could form up from the attack.
At 2100 hours, the attack started on the castle and it was evident from the start that surprise had been attained. It later transpired that the majority of a Bttn of 755 Grenadier Regiment had been in occupation of the castle since 0800 hours that day, but the attack of A Company so disorganised their defences by its speed and determination, that they did not resist for long. Capt Phelan personally led the attack into the castle courtyard and took part in the hand to hand fighting. This fighting produced 25 prisoners, killed several and many enemy weapons were captured including 7 MG 34’s and 2.75mm A/Tan guns.
The success of this attack was due entirely to Capt Phelan’s planning and drive. His own courage was an inspiration to his Company and his leadership was responsible for the speed and determination of this highly successful attack.”
MAJOR PJ PROCTOR. OCT 1943 – TERMOLI.
“At TERMOLI on 6 October 43, Major Proctor was in command of A Company, partaking in a Battalion attack with a squadron of tanks on enemy positions on the high ground NORTH of San GIACOMO and along the road leading from that point towards TERMOLI. A Coy was moving in rear at the beginning of the attack but when the forward Coys were temporarily held up, Major Proctor at once moved forward on his own initiative up the right flank. Advancing very rapidly in close co-operation with the tanks he moved his Coy into a brick factory which was the first objective. This advance was made in the teeth of fierce opposition of enemy tanks and infantry but so rapid was it that the enemy were thrown off their guard and the strong point in the factory was not seriously defended.
After a brief reorganisation, the advance was resumed with A Coy still leading, Opposition from enemy tanks and MGs were encountered but rapidly overcome and by 1530 hours the final objective, Pt 161, was gained and the enemy driven off leaving several wounded prisoners in our hands.
Major Proctor’s work has been consistently of a high order. His leadership and personal example has instilled a high morale into his Coy and his sound judgment has been responsible for many successful actions in the field.”
LIEUTENANT J RAY. FEB 1943 – BOU ARADA.
“Near BOU ARADA on the 26th February 1943 this officer’s Coy was employed on the immediate counter attack role on a portion of the Brigade front. At dawn the enemy attacked and infiltrated through the forward positions, setting up four MGs, shooting down the reverse slopes. Lieut Ray’s and another platoon were ordered to counter attack with two troops of tanks. This officer led his platoon forward with great skill using concealed entrances, and quickly dealt with the enemy MG posts, killing the crews, and capturing the guns. Pursuing the enemy into thick tree clad country Lt Ray brought devastating fire to bear on a retreating platoon of Germans, himself firing a German MG 34 which they had abandoned.
Lieut Ray by his skillful and daring leadership restored what was a dangerous threat to the Brigade position.”
CAPTAIN GL RICHARDS. MAY 1944 – CERRO.
“During the attack on the C.TARTA feature on 17 May 1944, Capt Richards MM was commanding the left forward company of the Battalion. As they approached the ridge of the objective, owing to the nature of the ground and the presence of at least one Mark IV tank, the tanks found it impossible to move onto the objective. Thereupon, arranging a skilful fire plan, Capt Richards led his company with great dash up the forward slope onto the objective. He personally led the assault into strongly held buildings and dug the enemy out of their strong points capturing over twenty prisoners. Subsequently, when very heavy mortar and shell fire came down on his objective, his calm behaviour was a model to his men and the consolidation was rapidly completed. His cheerfulness and complete disregard for his own safety inspired his company with a will to fight for and hold their important objective.”
LIEUTENANT KEG TAYLOR. MAR 1945 – SENIO RIVER.
“On 22nd March 1945, Lieut Taylor’s platoon of B Coy, The Royal Irish Fusiliers, was occupying the positions on the reverse side of the EAST flood bank of the R.SENIO.
At approximately 1500 hours a strong enemy attack was launched against his platoon, commencing with vicious grenade duels. Under his leadership, this officer’s platoon stood firm with great determination and no ground was gained by the enemy. Later in the afternoon and after these duels had been taking place for a considerable period, several Germans rushed across the bank and occupied some disused trenches to the flank of Lieut Taylor’s position. This might have developed into a very difficult situation but for his decisive action, and after he had directed fire at the enemy for a time, they took to flight leaving the dead and two wounded, who were eventually evacuated under a Red Cross Flag. The duels continued until dark, during which time, Lieut Taylor personally took one prisoner after a hand to hand struggle, and his platoon had suffered 50 per cent casualties.
Throughout the afternoon, Lieut Taylor displayed great coolness and courage and his leadership held his platoon to their tenacious resistance under the most trying conditions. But for his determination to stand his ground, the violence of the enemy onslaught must have succeeded, and there is proof in the fierceness of this resistance in a prisoner’s report that 25-30 enemy had been evacuated wounded after what proved to have been an unsuccessful and costly company attack.”
LIEUTENANT GR UNWIN. OCT 1944 – FONTANELICE.
“On the 7th October, in the FONTANELICE area, when his Coy did a night attack on a feature held by the enemy. Lieut Unwin distinguished himself by his conspicuous gallantry under fire.
Soon after crossing the start line the Coy came under enemy mortar fire and the leading platoons sustained casualties. Lieut Unwin rallied them and continued towards the objective with his own men and some stragglers from another platoon whom he took under command.
This officer was among the first to reach the objective where he came under enemy MG and grenade fire. More casualties were sustained but Lieut Unwin continued to scale the steep slopes of the objective firing his tommy gun at the enemy.
Owing to his action and his disregard of safety it was possible to evacuate the wounded before the Company Commander ordered a withdrawal.
On this night and in the successful attack of the next night, Lieut Unwin was in the very hottest of the enemy fire. No less than three times, shells landed almost at his feet killing and wounded men all around him, but he remained cool and collected, an inspiration to his men.
His gallantry and leadership are of the highest order.”
MAJOR AJ WILTON. 1944 / 1945 – ITALY.
“Major AJ Wilton, 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers, (Princess Victoria’s) has seen practically continuous service for the past two years, both in this and another Battalion, in the capacity of Mortar Officer and Company Commander.
At all times, his leadership and courage have been on the highest par and on many individual occasions he has demonstrated a skill at command only equalled by the standard of his own personal bearing under enemy fire – one such occasion being the action in the SANFATUCCHIO area in the summer of 1944.
During April, Major Wilton commanded a Company from the RIVER SENIO to the RIVER PO, and has experienced every success in doing so. The successful advance of the Army to the much vaunted PO is now past history, but the proportionate successes on a Company level were due to just such leaders as this officer – a commander who was working in continuous close contact with the enemy, and was subjected to many privations in the cause of a rapid objective.
Major Wilton has at all times displayed the highest qualities of drive and leadership and his personal conduct has been of the utmost value in instilling further enthusiasm and drive into his men in their offensive. His was the example of a courageous officer who was prepared to go to any reasonable lengths to ensure the success of the soldiers fighting beneath his command.”
Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
SERGEANT RC CROSS. MAY 1944 – STRANGOLAGALLI.
“On the 29 May 44, RIrF advanced towards STRANGOLAGALLI Ridge and the leading company found the road and a village area to be heavily mined with teller mines and anti personnel mines. The forward company became pinned by enemy fire and found progress impossible without the aid of tanks.
Sgt Cross, with his Pioneer Platoon, at once moved forward to this area and proceeded to clear a track through the minefield. While carrying out this work, the Pioneers came under intense mortar and accurate enemy sniping. In spite of three casualties, Sgt Cross coolly continued with his task until a track was cleared for the tanks to go through. Later in the evening, a deep ditch prevented any form of tracked or wheeled vehicle from reaching the forward companies. Again under heavy fire, Sgt Cross assiduously got to work to make the route passable and completed a track up an exposed slope to the forward positions.
By his doggedness and complete disregard for his own safety throughout the day, Sgt Cross undoubtedly made both the taking and the consolidation of the objective possible. He showed patience, devotion to duty and courage of an outstanding quantity.”
CSM PG PAYNE. MAY 1944 – CERRO.
“CSM Payne was acting CSM of C Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers during the attack from the Rapido bridgehead to HIGHWAY 6 on 17th May 1944. C Company was right forward company and combined in the attack with a squadron of tanks.
Shortly after crossing the Start Line, the Company Commander was killed and CSM Payne was entirely responsible for the command and control of the company until the senior platoon commander arrived at Company HQ. During this period, they experienced extremely heavy mortar and small arms fire and CSM Payne showed great coolness in handling the company.
Once onto the objective, a great deal of liaison was necessary within the Company and CSM Payne moved fearlessly between platoons under enemy shell and mortar fire until the consolidation was complete.
His fine conduct during an extremely heavy action was to no small measure responsible for the success of the company.”
CSM R ROBINSON. OCT 1944 – FONTANELICE.
“Sgt Robinson has commanded a platoon in action for the past year. His leadership and courage are a constant inspiration to his men. On the night of 8th October, after having played a conspicuous part in the capture of a feature in the FONTANELICE area, he led a platoon forward to mop up on the front. His ten men bumped an enemy platoon around a house, subsequently found to be held by a company, some 500 yards away from our forward positions and came under fire from MGs and mortars. Sgt Robinson closed with the enemy and with four other tommy gunners accounted for an enemy section and two other Germans who tried to rush them from a flank.
Sgt Robinson was hit in the head and back by grenade fragments and others of his patrol were wounded by SA fire. He then reorganised his force and continued the fight for over an hour and personally saw to the evacuation of the wounded men without any thought of going back himself in spite of his own injuries. Satisfied that all possible has been done, Sgt Robinson organised the withdrawal which was carried out under heavy MG and mortar fire. He personally assisted in carrying other wounded men back and returned with valuable information. His conduct throughout was most gallant and a source of praise amongst his men. His admirable leadership in this action is only equalled by similar conduct in the past. He was subsequently evacuated to hospital but his example and courage remain an inspiration to his men.”
CORPORAL T SWAIN. APR 1943 – KEF EL TIOUR.
“On the KEF EL TIOUR position on the night 24/25 April 1943, Cpl Swain took part with his Coy in an attack on an enemy strong point, Pt 622. Throughout the attack Cpl Swain was always in the lead urging on his men. He was the first to reach the objective and with another man destroyed two enemy MG posts.
On the 26th April 1943, Cpl Swain again took part in a daylight attack on Pt 622. Throughout the attack Cpl Swain was up with the Assault Group and displayed great gallantry and resolution in pushing forward in the face of MG fire and sniping. When the Group were held up within 100 yards of the objective, he voluntarily crept forward with his Platoon commander and in spite of accurate sniping, which killed four men directly behind him, reached the rocks concealing an MG nest , climbed on top in the face of stick grenades and took prisoner the enemy gun crew. Cpl Swain has shown the highest qualities of leadership and courage throughout the campaign.”
Military Medal (MM)
FUSILIER SJ ABEL. JUN 1944 – PESCIA/RANCIANO.
“On 24th June 1944, the 1st Bttn Royal Irish Fusiliers attacked and captured PESCIA and RANCIANO on the WEST side of LAKE TRASIMENO. During this action, Fusilier Abel was the driver of a stretcher bearing Jeep attached to the RAP, and as such, spent the whole day in the evacuation of wounded, with little, if any, respite.
On one occasion, after having been called forward by the leading Company, he was proceeding up the track, and was stopped and told that further up this track the area was swept by Machine Gun fire. This information in no way deterred him from his task, and he carried onto collect two serious casualties. On the return journey his Jeep was sprayed by MG fire, hitting one of the casualties for a second time.
Shortly after this, a casualty was reported along the road to RADIA, an area which had not been cleared of the enemy. Fusilier Abel, fully aware of this situation, took his Jeep forward and picked up the casualty proceeded to find a turning place and came face to face with twelve armed Germans. With great coolness, he turned his Jeep and arrived safely back in our lines, fortunately unmolested by the enemy.
At all times, and especially under heavy artillery fire, Fusilier Abel drove with the utmost consideration for his passengers, who are indebted to him for a better chance of recovery. In all, he evacuated twenty wounded men, which involved extremely hard work under the most dangerous conditions. His courage and cheerfulness under fire was an inspiration to his comrades and a great encouragement to his charges. He showed a devotion to duty of the highest standard and was undoubtedly responsible for saving the lives of several of the more seriously men.”
FUSILIER R BARNES. FEB 1943 – BOU ARADA.
“Near BOU ARADA on the night 20/21 Feb Fusilier Barnes was a member of a patrol which penetrated into enemy territory. Whilst moving near a track one of the patrol set off a “jumping mine” which killed two and wounded three, including the patrol commander. Although the members of the patrol believed themselves to be in a minefield, Fusilier Barnes at once went back into the apparent danger area and rescued the wounded. With the help of another man he carried one wounded man back a distance of two miles and then led out a rescue party with stretchers to bring back the others. Throughout the night this Fusilier displayed coolness, resources and disregard of danger of a high order.”
FUSILIER J BIRCH. OCT 1944 – SPADURO.
“Fusilier Birch has been a stretcher bearer in D Coy throughout the TUNISIAN, SICILIAN and ITALIAN campaigns. He has taken part in every battle fought by this Regiment and has throughout shown the highest devotion to duty in caring for and evacuating casualties.
During the battle of SPADURO and in particular on the 21st October, D Coy has had many casualties from MG fire in a forward position on 416. Birch went forward in full view under German MG fire at 300 yards and gave treatment to the casualties, evacuating most of them although the enemy paid no heed to the Red Cross. It was remarkable that Birch was un-hit. He and L/Cpl Pendrey succeeded in getting the remainder out at dusk.
His total disregard for his own safety has been a source of wonder amongst D Coy and was an inspiration to everyone in the very trying circumstances of the day. His gallantry is only equalled by his constant cheerfulness not only on this but on all previous occasions.”
FUSILIER T BOOT. OCT 1943 – TRIGNO RIVER.
“On 26 October 1943, the Battalion was holding TRIGNO bridgehead with three Companies forward and one Company in rear of the river.
During the evening, the enemy who had been shelling the area incessantly for four days put down an intense concentration on the bridge and area South of it cutting all line communication with forward Companies. Fusilier Boot, together with two other line parties were sent out. One man was hit and the concentration prevented the repair of the line by the other two parties who had to return. Fusilier Boot carried on alone ad repaired all the lines. About an hour later the lines were cut again and again repaired by him under heavy fire. During the night and the next day he repeatedly crossed and re-crossed the TRIGNO under enemy observation and repaired all lines although he knew that his action was bound to attract enemy shell fire.
By these actions which showed a complete disregard for his own safety, he maintained good communication within the Battalion at a time when this was vital. On the night 27/28 October while acting as 18 set operator in the attack on SAN SALVO he performed his duties with the maximum efficiency and his fearlessness whilst under intense enemy DF fire was a great inspiration to all about him.”
L/SERGEANT BRANDON (TWICE)
DEC 1942/JAN 1943 – GOUBELLAT PLAIN / BOU ARADA.
“This NCO took part in a number of night patrols, some of which he personally led, during the period between 28 Dec 42 and 4 Feb 43. His conduct has been noteworthy throughout, for coolness and daring. During a daylight action with the enemy East of Goubellat on 28 Dec 42 his skilful and daring handling of his section resulted in several enemy casualties.
Cpl (now L/Sgt) Brandon accompanied Lt Jefferies on a night patrol near BOU ARADA on the night 14/15 Jan 43 during which the whole patrol with the exception of himself and Lt Jefferies became casualties Notwithstanding this serve setback, Cpl Brandon and Lt Jefferies continued their patrol, bombing out a German post before returning to their base.”
FEB 1943 – BOU ARADA.
“Near BOU ARADA on 24 Feb 43 this NCO was acting as Platoon Sergeant of a patrol operating in the mountains on the lookout for enemy parties. Whilst crossing a ridge covered with undergrowth, the rear section spotted an OP party of 3 HGJR. Sgt Brandon, on hearing a shout ran up and opened fire on them with a Bren at 300 yards range as they were attempting to make off, wounding two and causing the third to surrender. All three were captured but one died. The success of this action was entirely due to Sgt Brandon‘s initiative and rapid action.
Near BOU ARADA on night 28 Feb/1 Mar 43, Sgt Brandon was in charge of the leading section of a fighting patrol. The patrol was ambushed by a German party firing an MG at very close range, hitting four members of the section including Sgt Brandon. Sgt Brandon immediately threw a bomb at the Germans hitting one man which enabled the party to crawl away with their wounded.
Although badly wounded in one arm, Sgt Brandon continued to command his section until sent back with the other wounded by the patrol commander.
The initiative, courage and devotion to duty displayed by this NCO on this and several previous occasions have been an example and an inspiration to his company.
This NCO has already been recommended for a decoration for previous excellent conduct in action.”
SERGEANT P BUNTING (ACC). MAY 1944 – RIVER MELFA.
“On the evening of the 27 May 44, the area of the Administrative Point in the woods NW of the MELFA crossing under exceptionally heavy shell fire and several cooks who were preparing the evening meal were either killed or wounded. Sgt Bunting, on hearing this came forward and cooked two company meals under continuous fire. Finding that the CQMS of D Company had been wounded, Sgt Bunting made himself responsible, taking forward the company’s food. On the route forward, the driver of the jeep was wounded and, although lacking knowledge of driving, Sgt Bunting too over the wheel and drive the vehicle under fire up an extremely bad track towards the company position. Finally having ditched the jeep, he hurried forward and organised the carrying of the food by porters. The importance of this meal to this forward company after a hard day cannot be over emphasised. Sgt Bunting, through his coolness and fixity of purpose, showed courage and devotion to duty of the highest order.”
FUSILIER AW CARTER. OCT 1944 – SPADURO.
“During the battle of SPADURO, Fusilier Carter was manning an MG position on the top of Pt 416. This position was very exposed and in full view of the enemy. Fusilier Carter manned this post for four days and the enemy throughout did their utmost to destroy his position with MG fire, mortars and artillery of heavy calibre. Carter maintained his gun in action continually and did more damage to the enemy than any one other weapon or sub unit. On one occasion, a 150 shell burst just beside his position within a matter of feet. How Carter survived is a mystery but his gun was firing twenty seconds later. Carter destroyed two German MG posts complete with their crews near the 387 ridge and dropped a good many other Germans whenever movement was seen. He shot down all the Germans that ran from SPINELLA after the tanks shelled that locality. This great personal courage and devotion to duty, besides inflicting great damage on the enemy, greatly helped the Irish Rifles in their attack and his conduct was an inspiration to the rest of the MG platoon who thenceforth were determined to rival his deeds.”
CORPORAL I CATHCART. MAR 1945 – COTIGNOLA.
“On 11 March 1945, Cpl Cathcart was in command of a section post of C Company, 1st Bttn The Royal Irish Fusiliers, which was holding a forward position on the EAST bank of the R SENIO, SW of COTIGNOLA.
At approximately 1300 hrs, a shower of grenades landed amongst his men, wounding several. He immediately organised resistance and personally led the counter attack, hurling grenades at the enemy with great speed and accuracy. He then attended to his casualties, whose evacuation he directed with sound judgement.
Shortly afterwards, another attack was made on his post, which was again repulsed, mainly due to his own readiness to lead the resistance. By now, the ammunition situation was serious, and increased by the fact, so fierce had been the enemy attack, that some of the slit trenches had collapsed onto their reserve dump of grenades. Despite further attacks, the post was denied to the enemy until successfully relieved at first dark.
This NCO displayed great personal courage combined with a high quality of leadership which held his section together during a fierce close quarter combat lasting over three hours. It was entirely due to his efforts that the determined efforts by the enemy did not bear fruit.”
CORPORAL J CLARKE. OCT 1943 – SAN SALVO.
“Cpl J Clarke was a section commander of No 9 platoon, A Company on the night of October 27th 1943, during the action in which A Company were a forward company, and No 9 platoon one of the forward platoons.
The platoon commander and platoon sergeant were both seriously wounded, and Cpl Clarke, although himself wounded in the side by shrapnel, and in pain, took over the platoon. By his personal example and leadership, he kept them together under the extremely heavy fire brought down on them, and took them forward until they had to stop through lack of ammunition. Only then did he allow himself to be helped back.”
BANDSMAN E COOKE. JAN 1943 – BOU ARADA.
“Near BOU ARADA on 19 Jan 43, Bandsman Cooke, who was employed as a Stretcher Bearer with “A” Coy, 1st Bttn Royal Irish Fusiliers, displayed commendable devotion to duty and disregard of personal danger in accompanying Fusilier Smith, another Stretcher Bearer, on their own initiative, into enemy country to collect casualties. After searching for several hours for “A” Coy Commander and his 2-in-command, who had been missing since the previous evening , during which time he was fired on by enemy posts, he located the Coy’s 2-i-c severely wounded and brought him back to our lines.”
CORPORAL F COOPER. AUG 1943 – SALSO/SIMETO RIVERS.
“On 4 Aug 43 on the River SALSO, Cpl Cooper was commanding a section of A Coy engaged in an attack on the enemy positions on the opposite bank.
During the advance, Cpl Cooper located a sniper shooting at his Coy. Firing his TSMG he closed to 30 yards and shot the sniper dead.
Again on 5 Aug 43, on the River SIMETO whilst attacking across the river valley, Cpl Cooper again stalked a German post, dashing forward over the last few yards capturing two Germans in it.
Cpl Cooper’s fearless actions and initiative were largely responsible for the success of his Coy in their attacks.”
CSM E CROWLEY. DEC 1943 – SAN VITO.
“On the morning 2 Dec 43 CSM Crowley was at Coy HQ of D Coy occupying a position overlooking SAN VITO. This position was being heavily mortared and was swept with enemy machine gun fire.While the Company Commander was with his forward Platoons a counter attack developed from the wooded country to the rear of the position and heavy fire was brought to bear on Coy HQ and the rear platoon, the officer of which was wounded. Realising the danger of this attack from the rear, CSM Crowley swiftly organised a counter attack with Coy HQ and the rear platoon. He personally led the charge and drove off the enemy. Four Germans were killed and five wounded and the rest scattered amongst the trees. By his prompt action and daring leadership CSM Crowley completely broke up a serious threat to the whole position.
Throughout the rest of the day, this Warrant Officer acted with great courage and was an inspiration to his hard pressed men.”
CQMS JJ DUFFY. OCT 1944 – CODRANCO.
“CQMS Duffy is Colour Sergeant to D Company. On the night of 7 October 1944, D Coy attacked Pt 382 from M.CODRANCO. This attack met fierce resistance and after several hours fighting the Coy consolidated 200 yards short of Pt 382. They were then very short of ammunition and under heavy SA fire. CQMS Duffy himself led forward mules with ammunition and food to D Coy under the noses of the enemy. His column was shot up all the way and suffered severely but Duffy managed to get the essential supplies to D Coy. His action saved the day and made possible the ultimate success of the operation. His conduct has been of a similar pattern in all the actions in which he has taken part and his bearing and devotion to duty have been an inspiration at all times.”
FUSILIER T ELLIOTT. APR 1945 – ARGENTA.
“On 21st April 1945, Fusilier Elliott was Despatch Rider to Support Company, 1st Battalion Royal The Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s) during the attack on PORTOMAGGIORE to secure a bridgehead over the SAN NICOLO Canal.
After the initial footing had been established, Support Company started to move forward with the Battalion heavy weapons to effect consolidation and to assist in exploitation. To this end accurate guiding was essential and Fusilier Elliott was employed in this role. Time after time, he rode from an area in MONTESANTO back to the bridge to collect various sub sections, under continuous shell fire from enemy assault guns. Nothing daunted by the enemy’s discouraging artillery concentrations, he carried out every duty required of him, thereby vitally influencing the speed of the operation. On his final journey from the bridge he and the vehicles which he was escorting ran into a vicious concentration, and he was very seriously wounded. Despite the fact that he was in agony himself, he insisted on his wounded comrades being evacuated before he received any further attention.
By his courageous conduct and devotion to duty before, and his fortitude and patience after, being wounded, Fusilier Elliott was an inspiration to all those who were privileged to work with him, and there is no shadow of doubt but that he considerably influenced the course of the battle – a creditable performance at any time for a Fusilier. This action followed his excellent service in a similar capacity in the SANTERNO bridgehead.”
FUSILIER RN GALLAGHER. OCT 1943 – TERMOLI.
“At TERMOLI on 6 October 1943 Fusilier Gallagher was acting No 1 of a bren group in A Coy during an attack on enemy positions. Throughout the whole operation, he showed a most offensive and gallant spirit, dashing forward from his platoon and engaging enemy posts. On one occasion he rushed a post which was holding up the Coy’s advance on the left. Dashing forward firing from his hip, he wounded one German and took two others prisoner. During the assault on a large brick factory he was very much to the fore, always making the best of his bren.
Fusilier Gallagher’s courageous behaviour and disregard of personal safety was largely responsible for the great success in the action by his Coy.”
L/CORPORAL KJ GILVEAR. AUG 1943 – MALETTO.
“During the attack on Mt MALETTO on the morning of 12 Aug 43, this young NCO showed the greatest courage and complete disregard for his own safety. By crawling forward to a MG post, which had been holding up the advance, he threw a grenade and fired a burst of TSMG into the post causing the four occupants to surrender. Throughout the remainder of the attack he inspired and led his section in a most daring manner. Later in the day, regardless to risk to himself, he made his way back to Coy HQ from a very exposed forward under heavy MG Mortar and Shell fire to get ammunition for his section.
By his courage and cheerful confidence through this dangerous period, L/Cpl Gilvear kept his section alert and in good spirits at all times.”
L/CORPORAL FG GIRVAN. MAY 1944 – MASSA CERRO.
“On 17 May 1944, 1st Bttn, Royal Irish Fusiliers was engaged in extending the RAPIDO bridgehead to HIGHWAY 6. L/Cpl Girvan was in charge of the stretcher bearers of C Company, which was right forward company in the attack.
Throughout the attack and during consolidation, the company was under constant heavy shell fire and received twenty casualties. L/Cpl Girvan directed the evacuation of these wounded – many of them serious, and who are undoubtedly indebted to him for a better chance of survival – and carried out all duties required of him in a cool calm manner. He gave comfort to the wounded and great encouragement to the remainder of the company.
His disregard for his own personal safety was a fine example to everyone and he showed a devotion to duty which was of the highest order.”
CORPORAL W GLASS. FEB 1943 – BOU ARADA.
“On the night 14/15 Feb 43, near BOU ARADA, this NCO took park in an attack by a fighting patrol against a located enemy position. On a previous night he had accompanied Captain Black on a recce of these positions, during which his coolness and observance played no small part in the successful attack on Feb 14/15 Feb 43. During the attack, this NCO took part in the assault with Captain Black, and although seriously wounded, carried on until he collapsed. He had taken part in previous patrol activities and has always been conspicuous for his coolness and gallantry.”
SERGEANT W GOLDIE. DEC 1944 – TAMAGNIN.
“On the night of 18 December 1944, D Company 1st Bttn Royal Irish Fusiliers, carried out a local raid on the strong point TAMAGNIN.
Sgt Goldie was Platoon Sergeant of one of the two platoons involved in the assault on the houses. The assault group formed up and, under supporting fire from the third platoon, they charged from a distance of 120 yards. Just over halfway the enemy opened up from every conceivable angle and aperture of the buildings and the advance was temporarily halted. Cover was sought and commanders carried out a brief reconnaissance. During this period, Sgt Goldie attended to the evacuation of three men, necessitating his dragging them one by one back to the cover of the start line, under direct fire from a MG 34.
No sooner had he completed this when his platoon commander gave him his plan and they gathered a handful of men and a Bren gun together and started the final assault on the house. This action was met with a hail of machine gun and machine pistol fire and grenades thrown from the upper windows, but Sgt Goldie continued, oblivious of his own safety, to the outer wall. From there, he urged his men forward, grenades bursting, within a matter of yards of him, until eventually the smallest of the buildings was cleared.
A determined enemy counter attack from a flank caused the operation to be called off, and the Company commenced a laborious up-hill trek to their own positions. Seeing the predicament of the main body – burdened as they were with nine casualties and short of ammunition – Sgt Goldie took his small party by a different route and distracted the enemy’s attention and fire with such success that all casualties were eventually evacuated and the entire Company regained their own area.
By his courageous example under heavy fire, Sgt Goldie greatly inspired his men in the assault on TAMAGNIN and the whole Company owe much to him for his resourcefulness and initiative in the ultimate withdrawal from the objective.”
FUSILIER J GORDON. APR 1945 – ARGENTA.
“On the morning of 24th April 1945, A Company 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s) was attacking the SALETTA – RUINA road in the face of a rearguard action fought by enemy tanks and infantry.
Approaching a canal, the company came under heavy machine gun fire and it was imperative that the obstacle be crossed forthwith. In the course of this fire Fusilier Gordon ran over the bank, and although of short stature, plunged unhesitatingly into the water of then unknown depth. He was the first of his platoon to cross and there is no doubt that his action spurred the remainder who quickly followed his example.
Later in the same day, the company was crossing an open field when two enemy tanks confronted them at a range of less than four hundred yards, and forced them to withdraw slightly to the cover of an irrigation ditch. In the course of this withdrawal, Fusilier Gordon‘s Platoon Commander was wounded, and although, he himself reached cover, he immediately returned to assist his officer until the arrival of the Company’s stretcher bearers.
Fusilier Gordon’s conduct throughout the action was of the highest standard and was undoubtedly an inspiration to his comrades. But for his initiative in the first instance there might have been considerable casualties and selfless deed in tending his wounded commander demonstrates his complete contempt of danger.”
FUSILIER H HEYWOOD. APR 1943 – KEL EL TIOUR.
“On the KEF EL TIOUR position on 26 April 1943, D Coy attacked Pt 622. Fusilier Heywood was a Bren Gunner with the Support Group. The Assault Group was held up by an MG nest in the rock on the crest and was unable to get forward with covering fire. The CSM ordered Bren Groups forward and while others wavered and searched for positions, Fusilier Heywood boldly rushed his gun to a position to cover the isolated assaulting party. Having fired some bursts which temporarily silenced the gun and enabled the forward assaulting party to cover difficult ground, he manoeuvred his gun to a better position. As he took up this second position the MG again opened up and Fusilier Heywood was seriously wounded by the burst. His bold action and quick execution of orders were exemplary and played a large part in enabling the Coy to reach its objective.”
SERGEANT FT HIGGINS. MAY 1944 – CERRO.
“On 17 May 1944, Sgt Higgins was commanding 13 Platoon, C Company, 1st Bttn, Royal Irish Fusiliers, which was right forward company in the attack from the RAPIDO bridgehead to HIGHWAY 6.
During the advance to objective, both our own artillery fire and the enemy DF barrage were unpleasantly close, but throughout the action Sgt Higgins conducted himself with the utmost coolness and courage.
Nearing the objective, he was wounded in the thigh, although obviously in great pain, he refused to relinquish his command, and led his platoon onto the final objective, where he organised the consolidation before he submitted to evacuation.
Sgt Higgins, by his courage and calmness in command, contributed highly to the success of the attack.”
FUSILIER WG HOBDEN. JUN 1944 – PESCIA.
“On 24 June 1944, C Company was leading company in the attack of the 1st Bttn Royal Irish Fusiliers on PESCIA. Fusilier Hobden was 38 Set Operator in company HQ.
During the action, a Mortar bomb fell beside company HQ, wounding the Company Commander and 18 set operator. This temporarily delayed the advance and it was necessary to contact the tank troop leader in order to keep control.
Fusilier Hobden, who had a complete grasp of the situation, immediately set out, under heavy Mortar fire, and contacted the tanks. He then contacted the reserve troop leader and arranged for his Company Commander, who was not seriously wounded, to be transported forward.
Shortly after this, Fusulier Hobden found that he was out of touch with one of the platoons. Realising that communication at this time was essential, he ran forward to the platoon HQ- a matter of 250 yards- under constant MG fire and passed a vital message. Owing to the fog caused by exploding HE, he returned by a flank and passed through a group of buildings. Looking into one house, he discovered nine armed Germans, one of whom aimed a pistol at him. With great initiative he immediately brought his 38 Set and aerial to the “on guard” position and menaced the enemy. They surrendered.
Throughout the whole action, Fusilier Hobden showed a complete disregard for his own safety and carried out vital tasks of communication under the most dangerous conditions. He was at all times cheerful and always willing to carry out some extra duty. The control of his Company was entirely due to his unceasing efforts and but for him, control would have been lost with the tanks with inevitable confusion.”
CORPORAL SR HUGHES. DEC 1943 – SAN VITO.
“At approximately 0400 hrs 2 Dec 1943, Cpl Hughes entered SAN VITO as 2-i-c of a patrol led by Lt Day. The main German positions were five miles to the South and the town itself was strongly held by Germans. As the patrol fought their way into the town, two Germans pounced on the back of a Bren gunner, these Cpl Hughes promptly killed with his Tommy Gun. He then took charge of one Section of the patrol and, advancing boldly down the main street, he took eight German prisoners and killed three German motor cyclists. By this time, the town was in an uproar and finding that Lt Day had been badly wounded by fire from Armoured Cars he collected the Patrol and cleverly hid them in houses until the town was taken by 6 Inniskillings twelve hours later.
It is considered that this spirited entry into the town and the havoc wrought by this NCO and his men must have seriously embarrassed the main German forces holding the river to the South. Reports from the men in the patrol prove that Cpl Hughes is a fearless and outstanding leader.”
SERGEANT WJ JACKSON. OCT 1943 – TERMOLI.
“At TERMOLI on 6 October 1943 Sgt Jackson was commanding a platoon of A Coy during an attack on enemy positions NORTH of S.GIACOMO.
Throughout the attack Sgt Jackson commanded his platoon on an outstanding manner. He continually directed the fire of his brens onto enemy posts and personally led assault groups to clear these positions. His platoon was the first into a large factory which was well known to be an enemy strong point.
Sgt Jackson’s magnificent leadership, cheery confidence and complete disregard of his own safety were fine inspiration to his men.”
CSM JD KEIR. AUG 1943 – MALETTO.
“During the night attack on Mt Maletto in the early hours of 12 Aug 43, A Coy, of which this WO is CSM, encountered determined resistance on the lower slopes. When one Platoon of the Coy was heavily engaged in grenade fighting in the trees and terraces in that area CSM Keir accompanied another Platoon around the right flank. Spotting the post from which the main opposition was coming, he crawled forward in the semi darkness by himself and threw two grenades right into the position. This enabled the Platoon to advance and clear the post. Throughout the night attack, this WO rendered the greatest assistance to the Coy Officers controlling the men, being always well to the front.
CSM Keir also distinguished himself on the crossing of the R.SIMETO on 5 Aug 43 by bringing forward ammunition and food to his Coy whilst under fire.
The conduct of this WO in action has been outstanding and has inspired the men of his Coy to respond to his leadership.”
FUSILIER R LAMB. AUG 1943 – SIMETO RIVER.
“On 5 Aug 43 on the River SIMETO, this NCO was in charge of B Coy’s Stretcher Bearers during an attack on a strongly held enemy locality. The leading troops were held up in the centre of the locality by heavy fire from German Sub MGs and bombs fired from the windows of the most dominating house. Although he was only 50 yards from the house, L/Cpl Lamb moved about, tending the wounded and dressing no less than six men.
This NCO displayed devotion to duty regardless of his own safety of a high order.”
L/SGT LANG APR 1945 – ARGENTA.
“At 0630 hours on the morning of 18 April 1945, L/Sgt Lang’s platoon of D Company, 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s) attacked NE of ARGENTA with tanks in support.
During this attack, which was made all the more difficult by extensive minefields – and consequent delay in support from the armour – L/Sgt Lang led his men with customary ability and courage, and every objective fell to his platoon as planned and many prisoners were taken – all from the freshly committed 29th Panzer Grenadier Division – which bears token to the enthusiasm and drive with which had instilled his men.
Later during the day, this NCO was detailed to lead a patrol half a mile into enemy country to a group of farm buildings. On approaching the first farmhouse, he observed the gun –barrel of a German tank protruding from a barn, and on closer inspection, a second tank was seen, camouflaged against another group of huts. Nothing dismayed by a sight which might well be described as discouraging, L/Sgt Lang sighted an LMG in a covering position, and personally led the assault around the rear of the houses. Such was the speed and determination of the attack, that the tank crews were taken prisoner without being able to fire a shot, despite their numerical superiority; and two sound Mark IV tanks, complete in every detail, fell into the hands of the Regiment – a company being despatched immediately to secure the patrol gains.
This action was typical of L/Sgt Lang’s cool courage in the case of the enemy and in a culmination of many instances of gallant conduct during the past eighteen months, when his bravery and leadership have previously resulted in two previous situations.”
CORPORAL H LAWTON. DEC 1944 – TAMAGNIN.
“On the night of 18 December 1944, L/Sgt Lawton’s platoon of D Company, the Royal Irish Fusiliers participated in the raid on the strong point TAMAGNIN.
Half way to the objective, the platoon came under extremely heavy fire from the buildings and the advance was temporarily checked. Realising the value of closing with the enemy, L/Sgt Lawton crawled forward with a Bren Gunner and got to within ten yards of the house, when they set off several booby trapped grenades, happily surviving. Despite the knowledge of this additional danger, he continued up to the house where he grenaded the first two rooms.
The fire from the upper floor, however, had not abated, and the remainder of the platoon was still pinned down. This left L/Sgt Lawton and his Bren Gunner in the sole position whence the enemy counter attack could be perceived, as it came from behind the house. He immediately engaged this new enemy, at the same time warning the Company of their approach. The order was given to withdraw and he remained firing to the last possible moment before withdrawing behind the main body of the Company.
Throughout the whole action, L/Sgt Lawton showed a complete disregard for his own safety and was an inspiration to his men, in particular the Bren Gunner who accompanied him. But for his steadfast action at the completion of the operation, the Company might have become involved in a running fight with disastrous results.”
L/SGT H LINES. APR 1945 – ARGENTA.
“On 17 April 1945, C Company, the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s), attacked NE of ARGENTA. The resistance was that of a determined enemy who realised the strategic importance of the positions which was defending, and the advance over every yard was fiercely contested by infantry, assault guns and tanks.
Lance Sergeant Lines’ Platoons was well to the fore and heavily involved with the enemy. During the engagement, this NCO conducted himself in an exemplary manner, disregarding all thoughts for his safety and continuously encouraging his men under a hail of fire. One particularly heavy concentration seriously wounded one of his men, and unhesitatingly, he went to his assistance, despite the shelling.
Not only did he apply immediate first aid, but shortly afterwards, when another concentration came down on their area, he shielded the wounded man with his own body.
Lance Sergeant Lines’ selfless devotion to duty and to the well being of his men was a vital factor in the ultimate success of his platoon’s attack. His cheerful encouragement during the action greatly helped to keep his men to their task and his personal gallantry was an inspiration to all those who were privileged to fight with him.”
SERGEANT T LYTH. DEC 1943 – MORO RIVER.
“On December 4th on the River MORO, Sgt Lyth was in command of a platoon which he led with the utmost bravery and determination. Once, when his platoon was held up by heavy mortar and MG fire and a bren gun number wounded, he took the LMG and worked his way right forward alone. From this new position he silenced an enemy post by his accurate fire and skilful handling of the weapon.
Shortly afterwards in similar circumstances he repeated his performance. When wounded and obviously in considerable pain he carried on for at least 30 minutes, and until properly relieved.
Then making light of his wound and first giving encouragement to his men, he made his own way back to the RAP.
During the preceding fighting on the Rivers TRIGNO and SANGRO, Sgt Lyth commanded a platoon and behaved in the same inspiring manner.”
FUSILIER W MALLON. APR 1943 – KEF EL TIOUR.
“On the KEF EL TIOUR on the night 24/25 Apr 1943, Fusilier Mallon took part with the Coy in an attack on Pt 622. Throughout the greater part of the night the Coy was under fire from small arms and bombs. Fusilier Mallon was continually in the lead urging on his comrades and was one of the first to reach the objective where he and Cpl Swain succeeded in silencing two enemy MG posts. When daylight dawned the enemy were still holding out in the main part of the rocky stronghold and a withdrawal had to be ordered. Fusilier Mallon was among the last to leave and gallantly assisted the wounded back.”
L/SERGEANT L MARNELL. MAY 1944 – STRANGOLAGALLI.
“On 29 May 1944, L/Sgt Marnell was commanding a section of the right forward company in the advance of RIrF from CEPRANO to the STRANGOLAGALLI-RIPI lateral.
Throughout the spasmodic mortaring of his platoon area, he maintained a high standard of personal courage which gave great confidence to his men.
On one occasion, when his section was pinned by enemy MG fire, he personally took a Bren gun to a flank -moving over open ground to do so – and neutralised the resistance allowing his section and platoon to go forward onto the objective and take the MG crew prisoner.
In consolidation, he moved without fear amongst his men, while heavy concentrations were being put down on the company area by Nebelwerfers.
Throughout the battle, his bravery under fire has been a fine inspiration to his men and personal initiative saved several awkward situations.”
L/CPL WA McCOMISH. MAR 1945 – SENIO RIVER.
“On 22nd March 1945, Lance Corporal McComish was NCO in charge of B Company Signals, 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, the forward posts of which were situated on the EAST flood banks of the R.SENIO, and its HQ in a farm some two hundred yards distant.
During the night the enemy heavily mortared the Company area and this, combined with the explosion of hundreds of grenades caused breakages in the line on three separate occasions. This tool place when communication between Company and Platoon HQs was vital. On each occasion, he set out alone from Company HQ to repair and relay the line, crossing, in order to do so, an open space of two hundred yards swept by all kinds of enemy fire. On one such occasion, as he was climbing the flood bank to relay a length of line destroyed by grenades, he was struck on the knee by a grenade, which fortunately failed to explode. This in no way deterred him from continuing his hazardous duties, nor prevented him from obtaining a complete grasp of the situation.
L/Cpl McComish, always an outstanding man in the Signal Platoon, has given most valued service to the Battalion during the past two and a half years, and this night’s action during which his courage was an inspiration to all those with whom he came into contact, was the culmination of long, cheerful and conscientious conduct.”
CQMS T McKESSICK. 1945 – ITALY.
“Colour Sergeant McKessick is an old and distinguished member of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s). During the early months of the year, in his capacity of Company Quartermaster Sergeant, he was responsible for supplying his men with food and ammunition under the most appalling conditions when the enemy were concentrating the majority of their artillery and mortars on the disruption of our maintenance convoys.
On one occasion, in January 1945, in a blinding snowstorm, this Colour Sergeant was required to move his mules in bounds behind a raiding party, and was at all times immediately available when any requirements were notified. This necessitated the presence of his supply group in extremely dangerous areas, but in no way affected the efficiency of the task in hand.
This action was typical of Colour Sergeant McKessick and only confirms the faith which the Battalion already has in him. Again, in late January this year, he unfailingly brought up supplies to his Company in the MONTE GRANDE sector, disregarding weather conditions and demonstrating the utmost disregard for his own personal safety and comfort.
Colour Sergeant McKessick served this Regiment throughout the French Campaign in 1939/40 as a Platoon Commander and again in North Africa and Sicily. This further service in Italy has completed a record of almost continuous performance in action – in itself no mean achievement. His performance is not only the quick bravery of a younger man but the steadfast courage over a considerable period of a veteran in full possession of the knowledge of his responsibilities. This long record of loyal and distinguished service has proved an inspiration to younger members of the Regiment and there is no shadow of doubt that Colour Sergeant McKessick is one of of the main stays of this Battalion.“
CSM J MEEHAN. OCT 1943 – SAN SALVO.
“On the night 27/28 Oct CSM Meehan was CSM of B Coy which was the left forward Coy in the first attack by the Battalion on SAN SALVO.
Very early in the attack, concentrated enemy MMG and Artillery fire inflicted casualties amongst the leaders in the Coy and caused some confusion. CSM Meehan at once took control of the situation. Having found the rear Platoon without a Commander, he took command and personally brought home their bren guns into fire positions, from which, under his direction they silenced two enemy automatic weapons. He was then able to lead the Platoon forward. All this time, CSM Meehan was under heavy fire. Having delivered these much needed reinforcements to his Coy Commander, he was informed that the forward Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Glennis had been wounded.
Without hesitation, CSM Meehan worked his way forward to the Platoon which was under heavy MMG fire. He at once reorganised this Platoon into fire positions from which they engaged the enemy MMGs.
He then bandaged the Platoon Commander and two other men and arranged their evacuation.
Throughout the whole of this time and the remainder of the action, CSM Meehan showed complete disregard for his own safety, and with great coolness. His courage and leadership were of the highest order and an inspiration to the whole Coy.”
SERGEANT J MORRISSEY. APR 1943 – JEBEL EL MAHDI.
“On 7 April 1943 after the attack on the final objective on the JEBEL EL MAHDI, Sgt Morrissey was platoon Sgt of a platoon sent forward to exploit success after the capture of the hill.
The platoon encountered an enemy strong point having superior numbers. During the ensuing attack, Sgt Morrissey‘s platoon commander was severely wounded. In spite of this setback and the fact that the platoon was under shell and MG fire from another quarter, Sgt Morrissey led the platoon forward with bomb and bayonet and forced the enemy remaining alive to surrender.
After the action, Sgt Morrissey spent two hours under shell fire arranging the evacuation of the wounded of both sides.
Sgt Morrissey’s skilful and daring leadership after his platoon commander had been wounded set a fine example to his men and ensured the success of the whole action.”
FUSILIER J MULDOON. DEC 1943 – SAN VITO.
“On 2 Dec 43, A and D Companies, 1 RIrF had forced a salient into the positions just South of SAN VITO.
Between them and the town was a formidable gully, and on arriving on the lip of this gully, the forward platoons came under heavy MG and Mortar fire from the opposite side. One platoon of D Company was ordered to manoeuvre across the gully to obtain fire positions from which the enemy posts could be successfully engaged. The first section across, of which Fusilier Muldoon was a member, suffered more than 50 per cent casualties and withdrew. Fusilier Muldoon, however, stayed to tend a wounded comrade, whom he carried to a house, still to the enemy side of the gully. There he remained until a party of Germans approached and he took cover and watched his comrade being carried off.
For the next six hours, Fusilier Muldoon laid up and observed the enemy positions, making a sketch of MMG posts and other enemy positions. This he returned with after a hazardous journey across the ravine and reported to his Company Commander, giving invaluable information for any future attack. He arrived with full kit despite having had to carry a wounded man some considerable distance.
Fusilier Muldoon displayed a devotion to duty of the highest order in remaining on the enemy side of the gully, sketching enemy positions, particularly as our own artillery was engaging targets close to him, His courage was unquestionable and is action was a great inspiration to his comrades when they saw his return, unhurt, and unperturbed.”
FUSILIER J MURPHY. APR 1943 – JEBEL EL MAHDI.
“On 7 April 43 after the attack on the final objective at JEBEL EL MAHDI, Fusilier Murphy’s platoon was sent forward to exploit success. The platoon encountered opposition from a superior force of enemy dug into some native huts. Although under MG and shell fire Fusilier Murphy succeeded in crawling forward by himself to a position from which he was able to kill a number of enemy and materially help in inducing those remaining alive to surrender.
During the action Fusilier Murphy was wounded in the head by a MG bullet but resolutely refused to leave his platoon until the whole situation had cleared up and the remaining casualties evacuated. His behaviour was a source of inspiration to his platoon.”
SERGEANT CE PARKE. JUN 1944 – MONTEGIOVE.
“On the night 16/17th June 1944, a Company 1st Bttn Royal Irish Fusiliers was given the task of capturing MONTEGIOVE – a castle on a feature which dominated the whole advance of the 56th Recce Regiment. After a long approach march, the leading platoon which was commanded by this NCO, came under heavy MG fire on reaching the outskirts of the castle grounds. Sgt Parke’s platoon, which had been lifted in carriers, immediately engaged the enemy and neutralised his fire while the remainder of the Company arrived and concentrated; but for his immediate action the Company would have received heavy casualties, and the impetus of the attack would have been lost.
In the evening attack, Sgt Parke led his platoon with great dash and courage and, despite the darkness, maintained excellent control of his section and kept the Company Commander very well informed. It was this control, which undoubtedly influenced the success of the plan. The total of prisoners taken by Sgt Parke’s platoon was twenty five and several enemy were killed. The Company also took seven MG 34’s and two 75 mm A/Tk guns.
Throughout the action, Sgt Parke showed great courage and initiative and the speed and success of the attack was in no small way attributable to this NCO.”
CORPORAL S PATTON. JUN 1944 – CITTA DELLA PIEVE.
“On 16th June 1944, Cpl Patton was i/c of a section of the patrol. Their task was to advance up ROUTE 71 and enter CITTA DEL PIEVE with one troop of tanks.
About 200 yards short of the village, the small force deployed to either side of the road after coming under heavy Mortar and MG fire. Cpl Patton immediately led his section to a flank whence he directed accurate neutralising fire, thus allowing the entire patrol to advance 200 yards.
When the force reached the outskirts of the village, two MG 34s opened up, pinning the patrol by fire, and causing a definite delay to the advance. Cpl Patton immediately handed his section over to his 2 i/c and taking a Bren Gun, alternately ran and crawled to a flank.
Getting into position behind a wall, he enfiladed one post, killing the crew. This action drew the fire of the other gun, and allowed the patrol to get onto its objective. Although under heavy fire all the time, Cpl Patton maintained his rate of fire.
Throughout the whole of this action, Cpl Patton showed himself to be a leader of distinction, and his initiative undoubtedly saved several lives including that of his patrol commander. His courage was exceptional and his dash and determination inspired his men to make a great success of the action.”
FUSILIER AB PENDREY. OCT 1944 – CODRANCO.
“L/Cpl Pendrey is the senior stretcher bearer of D Coy. His gallantry and efficiency as a stretcher bearer has saved many lives in the past year and his conduct is a constant source of admiration amongst his men.
On the 7th October on M.CODRANCO he displayed great gallantry in the treatment and evacuation of casualties from the attack on Pt 283.It was a miracle he was un-hit as this took place under heavy fire from German MGs at a range of less than 100 yards and even grenades were being thrown near him.
Again at Pt 416 in the battle of SPADURO, he went forward in daylight, under fire from German MGs at 300 yards who ignored the Red Cross and evacuated wounded for our forward positions.
His sympathy, efficiency and courage in the heat of battle has been a source of great confidence to the men knowing as they do that they are assured of prompt treatment and that nothing will stop Pendrey in his efforts to help them.”
FUSILIER J PHILLIPS. APR 1943 – KEF EL TIOUR.
“On KEF EL TIOUR on 25th April 1943, Fusilier Phillips to the Coy Support Group for the attack on Pt 622. When the Assault Group was held up near the objective by the MG nest on the crest, a Bren Gun was called for to fire on the enemy position. In spite of sniping from the flank Fusilier Phillips crept forward through the wounded and killed right up to a position between the Cpl Swain and the Platoon Commander. He came alone and brought his own ammunition. His gun enabled the other two to get further forward again and into a better position for the assault. While changing his own position to one further forward he injured himself on a jagged rock and was unable to continue firing. When ordered back by Cpl Swain, he crawled back and tried to guide forward his No 2 and coolly collected magazines for him. His coolness and initiative under fire were an inspiration to his comrades at a critical moment.”
FUSILIER T REANEY. APR 1943 – JEBEL EL MAHDI.
“On 9 Apr 1943 during mopping up operations on JEBEL EL MAHDI by B Coy, Fusilier Reaney’s section came under very close range MG fire from a dug in position on the hill top. Although under fire and being subjected to bombing, Fusilier Reaney advanced up the hill firing his bren from the hip until wounded in the leg. His action enabled other men of his platoon to outflank the enemy position and bring about his surrender of the enemy.
Fusilier Reaney’s action showed great dash and disregard of personal danger.”
SERGEANT S SANDERSON. MAY 1944 – CERRO.
“Sgt Sanderson was commanding a platoon of D Company during the attack of the 1st Bttn, Royal Irish Fusiliers to extend the RAPIDO bridgehead to HIGHWAY 6.
Shortly after the start of the attack, his platoon was caught in some “shorts” from our own barrage. His steadiness kept the platoon together and, after organising the evacuation of the casualties, he led his platoon forward in the face of heavy enemy mortar fire.
When his men came under fire from a MG 34 he attacked with such determination and success, that they reached their objective well ahead of the supporting tanks.
His own personal conduct was of the highest order and he showed a complete disregard for his own safety which inspired his men.”
FUSILIER J SMITH. JAN 1943 – BOU ARADA.
“This Fusilier displayed devotion to duty in a high degree whilst employed as a Stretcher Bearer attached to “A” Coy 1st Bttn Royal Irish Fusiliers. During the evening of 18 Jan 43, near BOU ARADA, he accompanied “A” Coy in a forward move to clear the enemy from a village in proximity to our position. During the action he became detached from his Coy and remained in the enemy locality long after it had withdrawn, busying himself succouring the wounded.
On the following day, Fusilier Smith with Bd Cooke, twice went forward entirely on their own initiative into no-man’s land, searching for A Coy commander and the Coy second in command, both of whom were missing . After a search lasting several hours during which they were fired on by enemy posts, they located the Coy 2-i-c, severely wounded and brought him in.”
CSM JN STOREY. MAY 1944 – CERRO.
“On 17 May 1944, D Company, 1st Bttn, Royal Irish Fusiliers was left forward company in the Battalion’s attack to extend the RAPIDO bridgehead to HIGHWAY 6.
During the attack, a great deal of liaison was required between platoons, and more important still, between Company HQ and the Tank Squadron Leader. CSM Storey was never inactive. When not making his way between platoons under heavy enemy fire, and when our own barrage was uncomfortably close, he was in close contact with the tanks. On one occasion he went well forward of the company to point out a strong point to the tanks, at a time when enemy mortar fire on the tanks was very heavy.
Throughout the whole battle, he completely disregarded his own safety and was a fine and steadying example to the company, and the success of the attack was in no small way due to his courageous conduct under fire.”
CORPORAL G STRAINGER. OCT 1944 – SPADURO.
“During the period 18th to 22nd October, C Coy was occupying a forward position in the MONTE SPADURO area. This NCO as cook corporal was in the area with his burner and never failed to produce hot food for his company although under constant shell fire. On the 21st, the small hut he was cooking in received a direct hit and the cooks were wounded. However, he got going immediately, saved the meal and continued its preparations alone. On this occasion he got the food to his men up a small track at dusk, which was fired in occasionally by German MGs at 400 yards. He and the three who went with him were un-hit and the arrival of the meal had an effect in the men which was only equalled by Cpl Strainger’s amazing cheerfulness on his arrival. This one act did more for C Coy that day than any other factor and made all the difference to their moral and will to fight under the most trying of circumstances.”
CQMS F WHITE. OCT 1944 – SPADURO.
“During the period 18th to 22nd October, CQMS White was responsible for bringing the Coy mule teams to HQ Coy in the area of Pt 416. The track was under constant shell fire and also all troops in the 416 area were so pinned by MG and shell fire that movement was rarely possible. Casualties were suffered nightly on the approaches to the buildings at 401 alone. On the 19th October HQ mule team was heavily shelled and many mules lost. Undaunted, CQMS White personally rallied the panicky muleteers, got the survivors together until they reached the Coy. As the attack on Monte SPADURO was then in full swing, the German DF was falling in this area with great intensity; CQMS White’s act in coming forward into the inferno when he could have held back until later was therefore extremely gallant. As it was, he saw to the offloading of the mules, the ammunition and distribution under constant fire and more or less unaided. Until this has been done he refused to take cover. In doing this, he was going far beyond his duty which lay in the supply of Bttn HQ only and such few members of HQ Coy present but on this occasion he took charge of the combined mules teams and without his leadership, courage and guidance, it is doubtful whether either C Coy or S would have received their essential supplies.”