Honours and awards won by men of the London Irish Rifles
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
LT-COL HEN BREDIN DSO MC, 2 LIR.
“Lt-Col Bredin commanded 2 LIR (2nd Battalion of the London Irish Rifles) during the period 12-25 April ’45 when 78 Division advanced from Santerno to the Po. This Bn was mounted in Kangaroos (adapted armoured cars/tanks) of 4 Hussars and affiliated to the 9 Lancers. On four occasions, this force was launched through the leading elements of the division (78th Infantry Division) in order to exploit success. On each occasion, outstanding results were achieved, the enemy’s defences being penetrated and havoc and confusion caused in his back areas. In particular, on April 18th, the force was launched between 36 and 38 Bdes (brigades) in the Consandolo area (Map Reference 237651) and executed a dashing advance of 10,000 yds (yards), capturing the bridges over the Fossa Sabbiosola near Coltra (Map Reference 246677) from the SW (south-west) and reaching the Scolo Bolognese between Portomaggiore (Map Reference 263699) and S (Santa) Nicolo Ferrarese (Map Reference 186714). A bridgehead was established over this obstacle. In the action, medium arty (artillery) was overrun, tanks, SPs and 88 mm’s destroyed or captured and many prisoners taken. Again, on 21 April, the force advancing in the late afternoon and late into the night in bright moonlight seized bridges over the Po Di Volano at Cona (Map Reference 191820) and over the canal at Quartesana (Map Reference 213823). This constituted an advance of 8,000 yds against stiff opposition. Again, the enemy were thoroughly disorganised and all types of equipment seized and many prisoners taken. These fine successes in a type of operation entirely new to the participants were very largely due to the outstanding skill and powers of command shown by Col Bredin. In these fast-moving battles, he always had a thorough grasp of the situation and acted with admirable speed. Such was the confidence of his Bn (battalion) in his leadership that they cheerfully and enthusiastically embarked upon tasks which might have appeared foolhardy under less inspiring leadership. Lt-Col Bredin’s co-operation with his fellow C.O. of the 9 Lancers was a model of what should be done in these circumstances.”
Reproduced courtesy of the London Irish Rifles
Photograph taken by Paul H Lunnon www.paul-h-lunnon.co.uk
LT-COL J COLDWELL-HORSFALL MC, 2 LIR.
“On the afternoon of 15 May, the C.O. (commanding officer) of the Bn (battalion) was killed on recce. When Major Coldwell-Horsfall arrived to take over command that evening, the situation was very confused as the breakthrough of the Gustav Line had just begun. Major Coldwell-Horsfall completed the plan to capture Sinagoga (825177) next morning with considerable skill. On 16 May, Major Coldwell-Horsfall commanded his Bn with great skill and set a magnificent example of personal bravery and leadership. During the action, his Bn captured many P.W. (prisoners of war) and knocked out a number of enemy SP guns and captured their objective with outstanding speed. The success of this operation was largely due to Major Coldwell-Horsfall’s excellent leadership. “
MAJOR JW DUNNILL, 2 LIR.
“This officer has on several occasions since 1 Jan ’43 acted with distinction in the face of the enemy when commanding his Coy. In particular at Heidous on 23 Apr ’43, when his Coy was ordered to capture the village in a night attack, Major Dunnill’s leadership, determination and personal courage were outstanding. When his platoons were held up by enemy fire, Major Dunnill lead an assault with Coy HQ in which he was slightly wounded. The forward platoons then held the Germans by fire while Major Dunnill organised another assaulting party. Under heavy fire Major Dunnill led a fresh attack with a small party, a splinter hitting him on the temple. He thereupon seized a Bren Gun and silenced an enemy MG post that was holding up his advance. When this sortie failed, Major Dunnill and one man began to stalk enemy MG positions killing the occupants of several enemy positions. Major Dunnill then came under mortar fire and was wounded in the foot and the Rifleman with him was knocked senseless. However, he gained high ground where he was attacked by some Germans. Waiting until they came near, Major Dunnill then threw his last 36 Grenade into their midst. In the resultant confusion he withdrew and was later ordered to the RAP by the Commanding Officer. The gallant action of his Coy was outdoubtedly due to Major Dunnill’s splendid example which has always inspired his men in action.”
LT-COL IH GOOD, 1 LIR.
“During a silent attack on the Bottacetto line on the night of 17/18 July ’43, Lt-Col Good’s Battalion, in its first engagement, came under heavy enfilade fire from a large number of automatic weapons and from mortars and artillery. Bitter fighting developed and it was extremely difficult to discover the exact situation of the leading Companies.
With a complete disregard of danger, Lt-Col Good went forward over very open and bullet swept ground, discovered the exact situation and reported it. Later, during the early hours of 18 July, when ordered to withdraw his Bttn, and take up a defensive position some 400 yards in the rear, he extricated his Companies with great skill, despite the fact that they were disorganised due to heavy and confused fighting and that there was only a short period of darkness left. Due to Lt-Col Good’s untiring efforts the Battalion had reorganised, was digging in on the new position by daylight and was ready and eager to continue the fight despite its heavy losses. Later, at Gravina di Catania, his Battalion, which was advancing through very difficult and close country was held up by skilfully concealed Machine Guns and Mortars, once again Lt-Col Good went forward at very considerable risk to his leading Companies with the result that they were able to hold their gains and harass the enemy who withdrew again through the night.
Lt-Col Good has been an inspiration to all. His cool courage, sound decisions and imperturbability under fire have been a splendid example. This is reflected in the fighting spirit of his Battalion which is unimpaired despite heavy casualties and great physical exertion. Lt-Col Good has shown outstanding powers of leadership and bravery of a very high order.”
LT-COL TPD SCOTT, 2 LIR.
“Lt-Col Scott has carried out consistent good work during the Tunisian campaign which includes:a) Making the 1st Bttn Royal Irish Fusiliers into a first class fighting machine.b) Taking over a unit (2nd Bttn London Irish Rifles) which has been severely handled and pulling it together again.c) Temporarily taking over the Brigade for 3-4 weeks. In the latter case which included a delicate period Feb 26/28 ’43 at Bou Arada – Col Scott handled his Brigade with skill and determination and restored a situation which at one time looked threatening. Although I can quote no specific act of gallantry on the part of this officer, his devotion to duty has been of a high order and the good work done has been entirely due to this officer’s very considerable personality and powers of leadership. I recommend that he should be awarded a periodical DSO for his valuable services.”
LT-COL JA SPERLING, 1 LIR.
“This officer throughout the period of the final battle in Italy from the Reno to the crossing of the Po led his Battalion with outstanding skill and imbued it with a high degree of enthusiasm and determination to destroy the enemy. He was responsible for the highly successful assault crossing of the Reno on the night 5/6 April ’45. The plan was good and executed with considerable dash and determination by his Bttn.
Over a wide water obstacle, against long prepared positions strongly held, his Battalion attacked and achieved immediate success killing many and capturing over 200 prisoners in one night. Following it up, they cleared a further 3000 yds of prepared positions during the next 24 hours.
His personal leadership, infectious cheerfulness and determination coupled with disregard for personal safety have been responsible for the degree of success his Battalion has achieved through the operations.”
Member of the British Empire (MBE)
LT D AITKENHEAD, 2 LIR.
“This officer has been employed as QM during three campaigns. His devotion to duty and hard work has been outstanding. His initiatives in overcoming all difficulties and ensuring that the Bttn has never been without essential needs, despite adverse weather conditions and difficult country have been outstanding throughout the fighting in Italy. His foresight and hard work cannot be too highly praised and have resulted in the smooth and efficient working of the maintenance of the Bttn. I strongly recommend the award of the MBE.”
CAPTAIN RG COCKBURN, 2 LIR.
“Capt Cockburn commands HQ coy of his Battalion and as such is normally in charge of Bttn A Echelon and recce parties in battle.
During April ’45, his Battalion was involved in four attacks mounted in Kangaroos, involving rapid advances by day and by night.Largely due to Capt Cockburn’s untiring work, improvisation and persistence in the face of great difficulties, the Battalion always received its correct food, ammunition and transport almost before each attack had finished. During the battles in the Liri Valley and Lake Trasimeno of May and June ’44, and the winter campaign in the San Clemente area, he has maintained a very high standard in his effort for the welfare of the troops in battle, often in dangerous conditions of shell and mortar fire.At all times, Capt Cockburn by his zeal and outstanding efficiency has been an inspiration to all those with whom he has come in contact.”
Military Cross (MC)
LIEUTENANT JH ALLAN, 2 LIR.
“At Cona on the night of 21-22 Apr ’45, Lt Allan commanded the reserve platoon of his company. The other platoons had suffered 16 casualties attempting to seize the bridge over the Po Di Volana in the face of heavy machine gun and bazooka fire and from a 150mm gun sited covering the bridge at a range of 100 yards. Lt Allan’s platoon was ordered to seize the bridge at all costs. Leading his platoon in the most gallant manner he dashed across and in one rush seized the bridge and a house on the other side killing several of the enemy and taking 12 prisoners.The 150mm gun was also captured intact. This officer’s actions are worthy of the highest praise. He showed immense dash, gallantry and tirelessness not only on this occasion but throughout the operations between the Rivers Santerno and the Po where because of the speed of the operations platoon commanders were able to get very little rest.”
MAJOR MS BOSWELL,1 LIR.
“Major Boswell has been commanding C Coy 1/LIR throughout all the actions in which the Bttn has been engaged on the River Senio with the exception of a short period in hospital as a result of a wound. He particularly distinguished himself during the following periods: 20/26 Feb ’45 when his Coy took part in the advance up to and capture of the South bank of the Senio, and during the period 3-11 March ’45 when his Coy was holding a stretch of the near flood bank of the river which was also held on the far side by the enemy and resulted in almost continuous close quarter fighting. At the time of the advance on the bank on the night 23/24 Feb ’45, Major Boswell’s ingenuity and personal example in the carrying out of each detail of the operation was undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of that operation on his Company’s sector. During these periods, Major Boswell displayed throughout leadership of the highest order. He was constantly up on the bank with his forward sections taking part in grenade battles and personally laid explosive charges in the bank to blow up enemy positions.
His cheerfulness and complete disregard for personal safety particularly when taking part in close quarter fighting with his forward sections have been a real inspiration to the troops under his command and have had a direct bearing on the high morale and fighting efficiency of his Coy.”
MAJOR RW BOYD, 2 LIR.
“Major Boyd led E Company in the attack on Sanfatucchio – San Felice. The main brunt of this severe battle fell on E Company for they had the task of breaking into the town from the rear which necessitated a most difficult approach. They were under small arms and mortar fire as soon as they moved from the start line. In spite of numerous casualties, Major Boyd led his company forward. They were pinned down at close range by very heavy M.G. fire very close to the north side of the village. He inspired his whole company to charge the village and they broke into the houses where furious fighting prevailed which lasted for nearly two hours. E company captured nearly all the village alone killing a large number of Germans, capturing about twenty with severe losses to themselves.
On this objective being captured, the attack on the left was held up by heavy fire from the right flank which included direct SP guns. Major Boyd having located these new centres of resistance launched a new attack. They were held up in the corn where furious fighting began with grenades and small arms. This Major Boyd eventually cleared up and personally led a charge on their new objective which they eventually broke into. About seventeen more prisoners were captured mostly wounded and seven killed. At this stage Major Boyd had lost nearly half his men – practically all close range small arms casualties. He spent the next two hours resisting a local counterattack by a German company. Another counterattack developed after dark when a force of Germans penetrated H company’s positions. Major Boyd restored the situation after a fierce grenade battle in the dark. Major Boyd’s conduct throughout these operations has been exemplary and his personal dash and fearlessness an inspiration to his men.”
CAPTAIN WE BROOKS (TWICE), 1 LIR.
“On the night of 17/18 July ’43 during the Battalion’s night attack on German positions south of Catania airfield, the leading Coys came under heavy fire and concentrated automatic and mortar fire at very close range. Without hesitation, Capt Brooks led his Company forward and engaged in hand to hand fighting with the enemy in pillboxes and earthworks on the objective. Inspired by his personal example his Coy gained their objectives but immediately came under heavy automatic and mortar fire from enemy positions elsewhere. Finding that the Company commanders of the Coys on his flanks were both out of action, Capt Brooks took general charge of the situation and organising the layout on the objective. During all this time he moved about among the men with complete calm and indifference to personal danger. When the Bttn later had to withdraw to conform to the general line of FDLs. Capt Brooks remained to the end supervising the removal of the wounded – still completely indifferent to personal danger. Throughout the whole action, Capt Brooks showed courage and devotion to duty of the very highest order.”
The second citation says:“From 4-10 Feb ’44 C Coy of which Maj Brooks was in command was holding positions close to the “Factory” area of Caracetto. During this period, the enemy launched very strong attacks on the Bttn front and on its flanks. On one occasion, an attack got within fifty yards of C Coy’s position and the situation was extremely critical as the enemy had managed to get into a gully under temporary cover from which they brought intense fire to bear at close range. Major Brooks at once went into the upper story of a house with a Bren gun from where he engaged the enemy in the gully to such good effect that they were beaten off. The house at the time was under fire from enemy high velocity weapons and during this time sustained several direct hits through the upper story with AP shot. This did not deter Major Brooks in the least. By this gallant action, he contributed very largely to the defeat of the enemy. Throughout the whole action, his personal bravery and example were of the highest order – no thought of personal safety was ever allowed to interfere with his duty – and were an inspiration to all ranks ensuring that they held firm during a most trying and critical action.”
LIEUTENANT J CHAPMAN (see 1 Royal Irish Fusiliers)
LIEUTENANT M CLARKE, 2 LIR.
“This officer displayed the most outstanding courage on 5/6 Aug ’43 when the Bn was establishing a bridgehead on the R.Simeto. His company on the left of the attack was disorganised due to the activities of snipers and a local enemy counter attack. Lieut. Clarke reorganised all his available men and attacked with determination two enemy strong points inflicted casualties on them and forced the occupants to retire. His prompt action at a critical moment undoubtedly prevented a serious situation arising. Later Lieut. Clarke led a reconnaissance patrol which brought back valuable information. This officer’s bearing and disregard for personal safety throughout the operation was an inspiration to all his men and was undoubtedly one of the factors in the success of the attack.”
CAPTAIN GE COLE. 2 LIR.
“This officer has been adjutant of his battalion since before the May offensive in Italy. During the operations on Monte Spaduro in October and Monte Grande in November and December his work, in conditions of personal danger and discomfort, has been outstanding. On many occasions, his care, tact, and sheer disregard for his own safety and comfort has saved his battalion casualties and fatigue. During the battle at Spinello on 24 Oct ’44 he personally maintained close touch on the wireless with his brigade headquarters in spite of several direct hits from heavy guns on his command post. During the May and June battles from Cassino to Trasimeno he never spared himself, and was largely instrumental in the arrangements which resulted in his battalion keeping close on the heels of the enemy. For devotion to duty when all others are overcome by the fatigue or strain of the battle, this officer’s record shows a very fine example.”
LIEUTENANT J COOKE, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 5/6 Apr ’45, 12 Platoon B Coy 1/LIR commanded by Lt J Cooke took part in the initial assault crossing of the River Reno. 11 Platoon, who were on the right of 12 Platoon suffered heavy casualties in their initial assault on a German strong point on the North bank of the river and were unable to link up with 12 Platoon for the move forward to the bridgehead objective, Lt Cooke on his own initiative pushed onto this objective with 12 Platoon and took 20 prisoners. In silencing one post he personally led the assault of a section and with his Tommy Gun accounted for four enemy killed. This enabled the reserve Platoon to come up and assist in the further advance of the Coy. Whilst consolidating on the bridgehead objective, Lt Cooke was wounded in the leg, but insisted in staying with his Platoon. The Platoon then advanced to the Coy’s final objective around 493538. Lt Cooke personally led this advance and on reaching the objective supervised the consolidation of his position. The devotion to duty of this officer, his personal courage and fine leadership were an example to all under his command and played a great part in the success of the Coy’s action.”
CAPTAIN J LILLIE-COSTELLO, 2 LIR.
“On 21 January ’43 on Pt 286, 3 miles north of Bou Arada, Captain Costello led his company across a very bare and exposed feature which was under very heavy Mortar and Machine Gun fire. He was an outstanding example of coolness and his leadership enabled the feature to be taken. During the action, an enemy Machine Gun was causing considerable casualties. Capt Costello took his Bren Gun from the dead gunner and in the open mounted the gun onto the dead man’s back and engaged the enemy’s Machine Gun until it stopped firing. When the majority of his Company was driven off the feature by the heavy fire, Capt Costello stayed with a few of his men and held it until the arrival of reinforcements.”
LIEUTENANT AE CRAMPTON, 1 LIR.
“2/Lieut AE Crampton has displayed great gallantry and extremely high powers of leadership and devotion to duty. During a night attack on 17 Jul ’43 this officer led his platoon with great coolness and judgement although himself stunned at one time by a bullet which passed through the rim of his steel helmet and grazed his scalp.
The following night this officer led a patrol onto the objective from which the Battalion had been forced to withdraw and penetrated on to enemy positions bringing back valuable information.
Again the following night he led a patrol to the same area and, as it was suspected that the enemy might be withdrawing, this patrol was ordered to stay out until daylight. As soon as daylight came the patrol was able to confirm that the enemy was still in the positions. 2/Lt Crampton skilfully withdrew the patrol under heavy enemy fire, himself remaining to the last to ensure that the rest got away. Later he went forward to assist in the recovery of casualties.
The following night he led a further patrol to blow up a pile of “S” mines which the enemy had dumped in their own wire preparatory to laying. This task he accomplished most successfully. Throughout all these patrols, this officer has displayed gallantry and leadership of a very high order indeed.”
MAJOR M DAVIES, 2 LIR.
“On 23 October ’44, Maj Davies’ company was ordered to capture Spinello Farm in the Monte Spaduro area. The attack was carried out over open ground in daylight. Maj Davies brought his company very close up under the covering artillery and mortar fire and assaulted the farm, moving himself with the leading platoon. During very close and bitter fighting amongst the farm buildings, he was wounded by a grenade in the legs and arm. Only after the farm had been finally cleared of its very determined garrison and Maj Davies had reported its capture on his wireless did he allow himself to be taken to the RAP, after all other wounded had been evacuated. The success of this operation was largely due to the careful planning and personal gallantry of this officer, and the repercussions of this success were vital to the success of the Divisional attack on Monte Spaduro.”
Davies’ MC was approved by Field Marshall Alexander on 12 April 1945.
CAPTAIN RHYS-EVANS (RAMC), 2 LIR.
“Capt Evans has been RMO of a battalion since November ’43. During January ’45 in the bleakest conditions of snow and ice, by his energy and forethought he kept the sick rate of the battalion at a very satisfactorily low figure. No thought or discomfort deterred him from visiting the foremost platoons frequently.
During many battles including the Sangro in Nov ’43, Liri Valley in May ’44 and particularly at Monte Spaduro in Oct ’44 his work in the RAP tending casualties under very heavy fire has been a very high example of consistent devotion to duty.
Out of battle his study of psychology, his constant efforts to educate the troops medically and to prevent diseases makes him a very valued member of the battalion staff and all that an RMO should be.”
CAPTAIN DW FAY (TWICE), 2 LIR.
Desmond William Fay’s first MC citation said: “This officer commanded his platoon of E Company during the Bn (battalion) attack on Colle Monache. E Coy (Company) met heavy M.G. (machine-gun) fire from left, front and flank. By his skilful leadership of his Pl (platoon) and personal conduct, Lieut. Fay stormed these positions and both killed and captured a considerable number of Germans. During the final attack on the objective, Lt. Fay was ordered to exploit round and beyond. This he did with great speed and entirely liquidated the crew of a German A.Tk (anti-tank) gun and reduced the remainder of the garrison to surrender. His example throughout was an inspiration to his Pl.”
Desmond Fay’s second citation said:”On 23 Oct ’44, Lt Fay was ordered to take a recce patrol to ascertain the strength and dispositions of the garrison of Spinello Farm on the Monte Spaduro area. This farm was known to have a minefield in front of it. Going out about midday with a Sergeant (Farthing) and 2 Rfn he advanced to a point some 80 yds from the farm over extremely difficult country under view from the flank and very precipitous. He left his 2 Rfn under cover and advanced with the Sgt over open grassland to the farm at the front edge of which he found a slit trench which contained 3 Germans one of whom he shot, the second escaped whilst the third he took prisoner and brought back to Bn HQ. The garrison although over 30 men strong and backed up by a Coy on a nearby feature were completely taken by surprise. This prisoner gave much information which helped greatly in the capture of the farm which took place two or three hours later. Having had to crawl a good proportion of the way Lt Fay was very exhausted by the end of the patrol. Later in the afternoon, he took part in a daylight attack on the farm and took over command of the company when his Coy Commander was wounded. During the early part of the night he beat off four attacks with his depleted Company and was a source of encouragement and inspiration to all, organising and improving the consolidation of his position. The gallantry and enterprise which Lt Fay showed both in his patrol and his defence of the farm was quite out of the ordinary and can seldom have been surpassed.”
MAJOR G FITZGERALD, 2 LIR.
“Maj Fitzgerald joined the 2/LIR in Aug ’43 in Sicily. Since that time, he has fought in every battle in which the Regiment has taken part. Before being given command of a Coy last August he commanded the A.Tk platoon and was continuously in action in the Liri Valley and the pursuit actions that followed. In the battles around Lake Trasimeno, the successful outcome for the Regiment was largely due to Maj Fitzgerald handling his guns at the closest ranges and engaging and silencing enemy strongpoints. His methods with his 6 pdrs became a by word in the Regiment. Since then he has shown himself to be an outstanding Coy commander particularly in the difficult hill fighting around Monte Le Pieve last winter. During the Po Valley campaign at Cona on the night of 22 Apr Maj Fitzgerald was ordered to capture the bridge over the Po Di Volano. In the darkness the tanks with his Coy could only give support if properly guided into position. The bridge was defended by a Coy of Germans with bazookas and a 150mm Medium Gun. The bridge was stormed after most of the leading Pl were killed or wounded but could not be secured until the immediate vicinity was cleared. Major Fitzgerald did this personally and after some hours confused fighting the enemy who had not been captured was driven from the village. The fact that this Coy achieved it objectives was very notable in view of the strength of the enemy and there being no chance of reconnaissance and all the difficulties and confusion arising in fighting in a built up area. The success of the operation was due to Maj Fitzgerald’s great personal initiative at the critical moment and his courage which is of a pattern with all his past conduct in the Regiment and has won him the devotion and admiration of all who have served with him.”
MAJOR J FITZGERALD, 2 LIR.
“This officer was commanding F Company in a two Coy attack to secure a bridgehead over the River Simeto on the afternoon of 5 Aug ’43. He led his Coy with great dash and gallantry throughout the attack. Some disorganisation was apparent after the bridgehead had been gained owing to the activity of enemy snipers and loss of officers and NCOs during the attack. It was at this point that Major Fitzgerald realising that the attack might become serious took charge and with great coolness and efficiency directed the reorganisation of the two companies thus ensuring the complete success of the operation. His personal courage and disregard for personal safety were of the highest order.”
LIEUTENANT J GARTSIDE, 2 LIR.
“Lieut J Gartside commanded 13 Pl of G Coy throughout the battle of Sanfatucchio. The day after the capture of this feature, a new attack was launched to clear the vital ridge of 410904. Lt Gartside’s platoon and a troop of tanks alone could be spared for this task. The area in question contained two groups of buildings which were held by a German company at least seventy strong. Lt Gartside organised this attack admirably: by skilful use of ground and cover he worked his way close to the first objective. He personally led his men in the attack when the enemy put up a fierce resistance with grenades and small arms. Lt Gartside and his platoon charged the buildings and broke in. The fight lasted half an hour and each house had to be stormed in turn. The whole battle lasted an hour and a half, 17 wounded prisoners were taken, many others wounded, 12 were killed in the house and the others scattered in flight through the corn. Such results with such a small force were due to Lieut Gartside’s courage and resolute leadership and its issue affected vitally not only the holding of the Bn sector, but also future operations of the Brigade.”
MAJOR CAF GIBBS, 2 LIR.
“Throughout the Italian campaign, Major Gibbs has been commanding F Company. At all times, he has led his company with great skill and personal courage and his whole company reflect his personal conduct. The achievements of F Company in the Battle of Sanfatucchio from 21st to 24th June ’44 were notable. In the initial attack, Major Gibbs had the task of seizing the high ground (in the) rear of the enemy strong points prior to the assault. This difficult job they did in the face of stiff opposition. Major Gibbs personally led the assault on one group of houses which were cleared with bomb, smoke and small arms. After this, the company was pinned down by fire from many MGs short of their objective. Major Gibbs realised that if he could not get on, the whole attack with H Company on the right would be in jeopardy. He rallied his men and personally led them on until they got to grips with the enemy killing many and capturing others. After three hours of hand to hand fighting, crawling up ditches and through the corn they had stormed their objective. Major Gibbs was then ordered to attack the S.(San) Felice crossroads. This he did and came under fire immediately from SPs and about a company of Germans in that area. Major Gibbs worked his troop of tanks round the left in enfilade and as soon as they open fired, charged with one platoon through the corn. The platoon commander was killed and seventeen of his men hit, but they never stopped and slew many Germans at point blank range and survivors surrendered. If this attack had not succeeded the whole Btn position and H Company holding the cemetery would have been in great danger.
Major Gibbs’ conduct the next day was of (a) similar pattern, he organised his depleted coy admirably and broke into a number of most important buildings on the heels of the enemy. Within an hour, he successfully resisted a violent counterattack calling down mortar fire on his own position owing to the closeness of the range. Hie company was engaged with the Germans at 100 yards range all that night and the next day and the next night. During that time, they accounted for eleven Germans. (On) The morning of the 24th June when the Irish Fusiliers continued their attack, Major Gibbs was given the option of pulling out as his position was within 100 yds of the barrage opening line. This he refused to do and at zero hour under the barrage was engaging with the enemy with everything he had including A.Tk weapons. This effort made the task of the attackers here a much easier one. Major Gibbs’ personal conduct throughout has been most gallant and his men never flagged with his cheerfulness to keep them going in spite of their trying and prolonged ordeal aidless.”
RSM GIRVIN, 2 LIR.
“This warrant officer of 21 years service has been RSM of his Battalion since June 1943. He has taken part in every battle which the Battalion has fought in N.Africa, Sicily and Italy, being previously a CSM. During the offensive of May and June ’44 his main concern as is usual was the supply of every type of ammunition to the Battalion. This he achieved by every method of transport including mule in the conditions of the greatest difficulty and danger owing to enemy demolitions and heavy harassing fire. During the breaking of the Gustav and Hitler Lines and at the Battle of Sanfatucchio the Bn used unusually large quantities of ammunition but were never short owing to RSM Girvin’s ingenuity and devotion to duty. Before the Battalion’s attack at Sinagoga his work in organising and encouraging the Battalion in a forward forming up position under heavy artillery and mortar fire contributed very greatly to the spirit in which the men went into a successful attack. During all these campaigns he has carried out his duties with skill and devotion, being only concerned with the success of his Battalion.”
CAPTAIN HC GRAYDON (RA ChD), 2 LIR.
“During the action by 2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles on Point 279, the Rev Harry Graydon moved amongst the foremost troops encouraging the fit and tending the wounded. Under very heavy enemy fire he showed a complete disregard for his own personal safety. His gallantry was an outstanding example to all who saw him.”
LIEUTENANTJ GRENNAN, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 24/25 Dec ’44 Lieut Grennan was in charge of a fighting patrol detailed to destroy the enemy in and around the house at 333284 near Faenza. During the approach to the house, the enemy was encountered in several previously unlocated weapon pits about 100 yards from the house. With great determination and despite the fire from two enemy MGs (one on each flank), Lieut Grennan led his patrol straight into close quarters, the patrol thereby killing three of the enemy and wounded one, two more probably killed. The enemy in the house now being thoroughly on the alert, Lieutenant Grennan successfully withdrew his patrol. The exact information which he brought back of the enemy’s dispositions was invaluable in planning the subsequent Coy attack, which captured this position. The determination and powers of leadership of this officer were entirely responsible for this successful patrol action.”
MAJOR E GRIFFITHS (see 6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers)
LIEUTENANT RM HAIGH, 1 LIR.
“On 7 Feb ’44 when Captain Hardy in command of B Coy was wounded, and the other officers of that Coy had become casualties in action near the “Factory” area of Caraceto, Lt Haigh was sent to take over the Coy.
Just after he took over, the enemy put in another fierce attack on the Coy position which was preceded by a very sharp artillery and mortar bombardment together with MG fire from close range on the right flank. During the bombardment Lt Haigh moved about Coy areas reorganising the defence after the previous attack and steadying the men, many of whose leaders had become casualties. During this time, he was wounded by small arms fire in the arm but continued his task without the slightest hesitation.
Later he found the enemy had got into part of the group of house occupied by his Coy HQ. At once he personally led an assault on the enemy in the houses and drove them out with grenades. During this phase, he was again wounded in the arm and leg with small arms but continued to control and direct the defence with great personal gallantry, resource and coolness. His personal example and display of leadership was of the very highest order enabling the Coy he had taken over at such short notice to maintain its positions.”
CAPTAIN DA HARDY, 1 LIR.
“During 4-7 Feb ’44, Captain Hardy was in charge of B Coy, who occupied very exposed positions on the right flank of the Bttn near the “Factory” area of Caracetto. Many strong attacks were made on the Coy positions and on occasion Capt Hardy found an enemy party had penetrated through his forward Platoon position and was occupying a house in the same group as his Coy HQ. At once he took a PIAT gun and with another man attacked the house in spite of the hail of enemy fire to such good effect that the enemy fled leaving dead and wounded behind. This gallant action restored a very critical situation. Throughout the rest of the action, Capt Hardy displayed great personal gallantry, resource, initiative and coolness under fire of the highest order. His personal example was an inspiration to those around him throughout until he was wounded. Even then he continued to control and direct the defence with complete calm and efficiency until another officer arrived to take over.
By his actions he ensured that the Coy maintained its positions firmly in spite of heavy and constant attacks.“
CAPTAIN SIR J HENRY BART, 1 LIR.
“This officer has commanded D Company throughout the fighting in Sicily and Italy and has always set the highest example of personal courage and devotion to duty. His calmness of manner and steady demeanour, no matter what the conditions of enemy fire, his personal example and untiring energy, no matter what the conditions of ground and weather, his unruffled outlook and complete disregard of personal safety under all circumstances have been an inspiration to those under his command at all times. I recommend him strongly for the periodical award of the Military Cross.”
LIEUTENANT AR HIBBERT, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 23/24 Apr ’45, 15 Platoon C Coy 1/LIR commanded by Lt Hibbert took part in a general advance onto the east bank of the River Senio. 15 Platoon was give the task of advancing and occupying a position on the bank about 337337. It was known that this part of the eastern river bank was held by the enemy, with covering positions on the west bank.
In the assault on the enemy positions, the left hand section of the Platoon met an enemy minefield at the bottom of the river bank. One member of the section had his foot blown off by a schu mine, and the explosion brought down spandau fire from close range upon the remainder of the section causing them to withdraw. The wounded man was left in the minefield and on discovering this, Lt Hibbert immediately went forward through the fire and carried the man to safety.
Shortly after this, Lt Hibbert had his spectacles blown from his face by a near miss from a Mortar Bomb reducing his vision to a few yards. Despite this handicap Lt Hibbert reorganised his Platoon and again assaulted the enemy positions and despite heavy spandau fire and grenading he managed to establish two sections on the river bank. An enemy spandau post on the east bank between these two positions prevented the third section establishing itself and made the consolidation of the remaining two sections extremely difficult. Lt Hibbert immediately organised a small fighting patrol which he led himself against this post. The open ground and bright moonlight made it impossible to get to grips with this post with the result that the third section was firmly established on the false river bank to the left of the Platoon’s original position. The presence of the enemy post in the middle of platoon position virtually cut off the remainder of the platoon from the right hand section. Lt Hibbert decided to hold this section position despite the difficulties and personally supervised the digging of trenches. He continually ran the gauntlet of enemy fire between the posts to maintain touch between his right and left.
At first light, Lt Hibbert was able to review the situation and by the skilful use of grenades and 2″ mortars he drove the enemy from the post.The determination and complete disregard for personal safety displayed by this officer was responsible for the success of his Platoon, and the fact that he occupied the positions on the river bank ensured the safety of the Coy occupying positions on his right.”
MAJOR JD LOFTING (TWICE), 2 LIR.
Major Lofting’s first citation said:“On the Senio river near Cotignola on 22 Mar ’45, Major Lofting’s Company was ordered to carry out a raid, He spared no effort to ensure by meticulous planning and enthusiasm that this venture would be a success. During the operation he stationed himself in a post from where he could best control the operation but which was also some ten feet from an enemy post which had to be subdued to ensure the success of the raid. A grenade duel started in which Major Lofting took a leading part, at the same time issuing orders and instructions for the success of the raid. The raid was a complete success yielding 5 prisoners, whilst the enemy post near Major Lofting’s position was neutralised and could take no part in hindering the raid. Major Lofting was on the site of the recently captured enemy position organising the consolidation within seconds of the termination of the assault. It was with the greatest difficulty that he was dissuaded from taking part in the assault. This incident is typical of several others that have occurred during Major Lofting’s two years as a Rifle Coy Commander. He has been twice wounded. This officer’s personal courage, enthusiasm and devotion to duty is quite exceptional and the high fighting spirit of his Company reflects admirably his personality.”
John Lofting’s second citation said:“In the thrust northward from the Santerno to the Conselice Canal by armoured forces and infantry in Kangaroos. Major Lofting’s company was supporting one of the leading tank squadrons. On approaching the Conselice Canal through scattered resistance, it was found that the village of Cavamento on the near bank was strongly held by enemy infantry whilst the bridge was partially blown. Without hesitation Major Lofting decided to make a quick bridgehead, making the fullest use of the protection given by his Kangaroos, supported by the tanks from the near bank, whilst containing the enemy in Cavamento with his reserve platoon. His was a very bold decision. A bridgehead was rapidly achieved much to the surprise of the enemy who were mostly caught off their guard by the speed of the operation. Over 100 enemy were either killed, wounded or captured, whilst two anti-tank guns and several carts full of enemy equipment were captured as the enemy were trying to evacuate them. On two other occasions during the advance to the River Po, Major Lofting’s company has by its dash and swiftness into action achieved great success against the enemy. These successes are all in very large part due to the drive, gallantry and fighting spirit of Major Lofting who after 2 years as a rifle company commander is still an enthusiastic and inspiring example to his company.”
CAPTAIN F LYNESS, 2 LIR.
“Capt Lyness has fought since almost the beginning of the North African campaign without a break. He was a platoon commander until after the Sangro battles of Dec ’43 when he became a liaison officer for a few months. During the Sicilian campaign and early Italian campaign his patrolling was outstanding, particular on occasions on the Simeto River in Sicily when he showed great gallantry under heavy fire in extricating a patrol of another regiment from a very difficult position and bringing it and its wounded officer back to our lines. In the positions at Monte Castellone at Cassino he acted as liaison officer at Brigade HQ, his job being to contact battalions in exposed positions on the slopes of Monte Cairo. He carried out his duties for a month running considerable risks from the heavy shell and mortar fire which were a feature of the area. During the battles of May and June ’44 from Cassino to Trasimeno he was the Bn Intelligence Officer, His skill, gallantry and cheerfulness under heavy fire in mobile battles was most marked and the work done by him in observing enemy movements and recording information had a great bearing on the battalion’s successful advance. In the battle on Monte Spaduro in October ’44 and the holding positions in the Sillaro valley his work has been of the highest order and his devotion to duty in spite of obvious strain brought on by such a long continuous period of active operations has been unstinting.”
CAPTAIN AF MACE, 1 LIR.
“In the Wadi area NW of the Flyover Bridge in the Anzio bridgehead on 22 Feb ’44, Captain Mace was ordered to take over command of the remainder of the Rifle Coys, as all the other officers had become casualties. Capt Mace had previously been Intelligence Officer of the Battalion.
Almost immediately he assumed command the enemy counter attacked strongly but Captain Mace took charge with such dash and showed such complete disregard for his personal safety when encouraging the men, that the attacks were beaten off with heavy loss to the enemy. Later he was ordered to attack a party of the enemy, which had surrounded Bttn HQ of the Ox & Bucks. Under heavy shell, mortar and small arms fire he again lead his men magnificently and although severely wounded in the back he continued to exercise command until he was ordered back by the MO. His courage and complete disregard of danger encouraged the troops under his command so well that the Bttn was relieved.”
LIEUTENANT HG MONTGOMERIE (TWICE), 2 LIR.
Lt Montgomerie’s first citation said:”In the attack on Sanfatucchio on 21st June ’44 the two leading Coys were held up by enemy MG fire from a strong enemy position on a group of farm buildings outside the town. With tank support the buildings were assaulted from both side by 2/Lt Montgomorie’s and one of the right hand platoons. The assault was made in the face of very heavy MG fire which caused numerous casualties. 2/Lt Montgomorie led his Pl with such dash and determination that they were able to burst into the farms. He played a prominent part in the clearing of the buildings showing complete indifference to danger. Later in the day during the advance beyond the village his Pl were under constant MG and mortar fire from the flank. He led one section off to a fire position to support his platoon and then returned under heavy fire to lead the remainder of his platoon to capture his objective. In this attack five enemy were killed and nine taken prisoner. This officer’s gallant conduct and skilful leadership was instrumental in achieving the success of his platoon in capturing their objectives over difficult terrain, stubbornly defended by a numerous enemy.”
Lt Montgomorie’s second citation said:“During Dec ’44 the farm of Casa Tamagnin was a strong enemy outpost and patrol base about 800 yards in front of our positions. The enemy’s presence in it formed a definite threat to our positions and an attempt by a company to raid it by night was repulsed in mid Dec. In the last week of Dec a series of recce patrols by night and by day was led by Lt Montgomorie to discover the enemy’s dispositions and habits around Casa Tamagnin. During the course of these patrols Lt Montgomorie and two men lay up one night for one hour within 15 yards of the farm and on another disconnected three enemy booby traps. As a result of the information gained on these patrols, Lt Montgomorie and six men covered by various covering parties, entered the farm which consisted of two buildings at 0830 hrs on a bright sunny morning. Both buildings were set on fire by incendiary grenades and approximately 25 enemy of 1 Para. Division were driven out of the houses, four of whom were seen to be killed or badly wounded. Although the farm was overlooked by a strongly occupied enemy ridge about 250 yards away. Lt Montgomorie succeeded in withdrawing his party and all covering parties without a single casualty back up the hill to our own positions. It is worthy of mention that the operation had been planned for the previous morning but was postponed after four casualties had been sustained over one of our own booby traps during the approach to the farm. The bold and resolute leadership of this officer coupled with the skill and perseverance he showed in all his work leading up to the raid on the farm was almost entirely responsible for the success of this venture and is worthy of the highest praise.”
LIEUTENANT N MOSLEY, 2 LIR.
“During the attack on Casa Spinello near Monte Spaduro on the evening of 23 October ’44, Lt Mosley commanded the assault platoon which was first into the farm buildings. After bitter fighting amongst the buildings, they were cleared of the enemy except for two who maintained resistance from beneath the floor of a building. Lt Mosley personally disposed of these two with his tommy-gun and a grenade. His company commander becoming a casualty, Lt Mosley took over temporary command of the Coy (Company) and rapidly prepared for counter attack under very heavy shelling and mortaring. Another officer arrived and took over command of the Coy, but Lt Mosley, throughout three counter attacks which followed in the early part of the night, behaved with the greatest gallantry, exposing himself frequently to enemy fire with complete disregard for his own safety, in order to direct fire and to keep alert his men, who were very tired. This officer’s leadership, gallantry and tirelessness was in large part responsible for the capture and still more in the holding of this important position.”
CAPTAIN GRH MULLINS, 1 LIR.
“On 8 Feb ’44 A Coy of which Lt Mullins was in command was ordered to counter attack and restore the situation of B Coy near the “Factory” area of Caracetto. Lt Mullins organised the attack with skill and resource and in spite of heavy enemy opposition, it was completely successful resulting in many enemy casualties and the capture of 33 POWs.
Almost immediately the enemy counter attacked fiercely and in great strength following a very sharp artillery and mortar bombardment. During this period, Lt Mullins moved about his Coy arranging the defence of the position with complete disregard for personal safety, and by his personal example steadying his men, many of whom had become casualties and lacked Section and Platoon leaderships. He was badly wounded in the arm and leg, but continued to organise and direct the defence to such good effect that all enemy attacks at this stage were beaten off. Throughout, his gallantry, initiative and display of leadership were of the very highest order and enabled his Coy to maintain its position in spite of all that the enemy could do.”
LIEUTENANT J PROSSER, 1 LIR.
“On the 7 Sep ’44, C Coy 1/LIR was in the Battalion area under extremely heavy mortar and shell fire. Officers commanding A and C Coy and the CO were all wounded in an OP and Lieut Prosser was ordered to take over command of C Coy. As a result of these casualties and the very heavy shelling the morale of the Coy was some what shaken. Lieut Prosser was given orders to attack the feature Pt 168. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Lieut Prosser carried out his recce for the attack and personally led his Coy into the attack through very heavy enemy fire showing great coolness and the highest qualities of leadership. The attack was carried out with great dash and the enemy on the objective completely over run, the only other officer in the Coy being wounded in the attack. After the attack he reorganised the Coy on the objective and continued in command for 12 hrs without the assistance of any other officers. I consider that the success achieved by this Coy was largely due to the example of courage and determination set to his men by Lt Prosser.”
LIEUTENANT L RUE, 1 LIR.
“On 2 Mar ’44, in the area NW of the Flyover bridge in the Anzio bridgehead, this officer was commanding D Coy, which was ordered to clear the enemy out of a wadi at 823303. The Company had to cross a very wide open piece of ground in front of the wadi, and although suffering casualties from the shell fire reached the wadi quickly. Once in the wadi, the mortar and shell fire increased and the Company also came under machine gun fire. However Lt Rue did not hesitate to lead his men into the attack and although the scrub was very thick. Lt Rue knocked out one machine gun post himself, but was hit by bullets in the face and under the arm. But he carried on with the task until it was too dark to advance any further in the thick scrub. Several prisoners were taken and then Lt Rue set about organising what was left of the Company. It was not until another Officer had arrived to take over, and he was satisfied that the situation was well in hand, that he would allow his wound to be dressed. Although he had only just taken over Command of the Company, he showed magnificent leadership and his courage and devotion to duty were beyond praise.”
LIEUTENANT EM SALTER, 2 LIR.
“On the 22nd March ’45 on the Senio river near Cotignola, Lt Salter was in charge of a raiding party to wipe out an enemy post whose snipers had been causing much trouble. He personally led the assaulting group up the flood bank and stood on top giving covering fire while the raiding party doubled over. He was immediately wounded in the shoulder by a bullet. He remained with the covering party and directed very effective fire on the German positions on the opposite bank of the river thus enabling the raiding party to kill one German, severely wounding another and capturing five others, one of whom was wounded. He remained commanding the Platoon and refused to leave until receiving a direct order from his Company Commander. His covering fire was so effective that not a single man of the six who went over the bank was wounded by small arms fire, although four were slightly wounded by rifle grenades from the enemy side. The success of this raid was largely due to the gallant example and leadership and careful planning of Lt Salter.”
CAPTAIN LJ SAMUELS (RAMC), 2 LIR.
“This officer has been employed as RMO throughout this and the previous campaign. His first consideration has been the wounded and his succour has on many occasions been rendered with complete disregard to personal danger. During the attack across the River Trigno on 27/28 Oct ’43, he tended the wounded under very heavy fire for five hours and there is no doubt he saved many lives. During this time he supervised evacuation across the river under continual enemy shelling. His cheerfulness and courage under the worst conditions have been an inspiration and example to all. I strongly recommend the award of an MC.”
LIEUTENANT RW SATCHEL, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 5/6 Apr ’45 B Coy 1/LIR took part in the initial crossing of the River Reno. 10 Platoon, the reserve Platoon, was commanded by Lt Satchel. Owing to 11 Platoon on the right being held up with heavy casualties, 10 Platoon was ordered to take their place on the bridgehead objective. Lt Satchel led his Platoon onto this objective and then continued to advance. An enemy strongpoint at the Rice Factory was silently surrounded by his Platoon, and under his leadership one section attacked and drove the enemy out. 18 prisoners were taken and 4 mortars captured. Whilst consolidating on the final objective, 10 Platoon were subjected to very heavy mortaring, shelling and SP gun fire. Throughout the whole of this, Lt Satchel walked round the sections encouraging his men and assisting in the evacuation of wounded from 12 Platoon. On the 13 Apr ’45. Lt Satchel led his platoon in an advance against enemy resistance of over 6000 yards. In this he was supported by a troop of tanks and his platoon accounted for approximately 130 prisoners and a number of dead. Owing to his very skilful leadership his platoon incurred no casualties. The leadership and complete disregard for personal safety displayed by this officer was an inspiration to all who came in touch with him.”
LIEUTENANT HND SEYMOUR, 2 LIR.
“Lieut Seymour led his Pl with great dash and gallantry in the attack on the Sperina feature in the early hours of 12 Aug ’43. He personally accounted for two enemy MG posts with his revolver and grenades, reached his objective with 12 men and quickly occupied it. He then collected the remainder of his Pl under heavy fire and proceeded to become offensive again in spite of the fact that the Coy on the right had failed to reach their objective, his flank was “in the air” and he was under extremely heavy fire. He showed himself continuously to draw fire and locate enemy posts and was able to locate and silence many snipers. Later in the day, the right Coy tried to capture their original objective. 15 men succeeded in reaching Lt Seymour. He immediately took charge and led the party augmented by one of his own sections to capture and clear all the other Coy’s objectives. This he did. Throughout a hard night’s fighting Lt Seymour’s aggressiveness, cheerfulness and outstanding leadership was an inspiration to all under his command. He was completely fearless. He personally accounted for 4 MG posts and his command silenced many snipers and neutralised other MGs. In addition he captured 27 prisoners. This officer’s outstanding behaviour is deserving of high recognition and I strongly recommend an immediate award of a DSO.” – this was later amended to an MC.
CAPTAIN RHS SINCLAIR, 1 LIR.
“On the night 5/6 Apr ’45 C Coy 1/LIR were one of the assaulting Coys to cross the River Reno. 14 Platoon under the command of Captain Sinclair carried out successfully a coordinated attack with 13 Platoon to secure an initial bridgehead across the river. In the advance from this bridgehead 15 Platoon, who were covering 13 Platoon moving along the river bank, sustained heavy casualties, including the Platoon Commander and Sergeant, from enemy spandau fire. As a result the Platoon became disorganised and it was evident that only leadership of the highest order could reorganise them and ensure that they carried on with their vital task. Capt Sinclair was ordered to take command of 15 Platoon. Within a short space of time, he had the Platoon reorganised and covering the advance of 13 Platoon. After a time, the enemy had some knowledge of our line of advance and by using flares he spotted 15 Platoon in the open and covered them with two spandaus. Capt Sinclair positioned his sections in waterlogged ditches and settled down to replying to the enemy with maximum fire. It was impossible for him to move forward and rather than yield ground he decided to make the best of his position for daylight. When daylight came, it was discovered that the Platoon lying in ditches were in an enemy minefield covered by spandau fire from the river bank. It was not until the arrival of tanks in the afternoon that the Platoon were able to move on.
Despite his being wet and tired, Capt Sinclair refused to take rest and immediately asked to lead his own Platoon (14) in a further advance with tank support. This he did, advancing some 1500 yards and taking over 50 prisoners, Whilst consolidating their gains, the Platoon was subjected to heavy mortar fire resulting in ten casualties. Owing to this and to spandau fire Capt Sinclair decided to withdraw temporarily. The Platoon was made up to reasonable strength and ordered to retake the position before dusk. The attack had just commenced when once again the Platoon ran into heavy mortar, shell and small arms fire resulting in further casualties. The tank in support was also put out of action and the commander wounded. As darkness was approaching, Capt Sinclair was ordered to hold the ground he had occupied which he did through a night of normal harassing fire.
The success of the initial crossing and the deepening of the first bridgehead to a depth of 2000 yards was due in the main to the determination and leadership of Capt Sinclair. His courage, clear thinking and cheerfulness under the worst conditions was an inspiration not only to the men he commanded but to the whole Coy.”
MAJOR JD STEWART MBE, 2 LIR.
“On 16 Dec ’44, Major Stewart took over command of the 6 Royal West Kents in the difficult position on the slopes of Monte Grande. Although in one of the worst shelled areas, Major Stewart was hardly ever indoors during the day. He walked fearlessly amongst his men looking for any small thing that might improve their positions or decrease their danger. This cheerfulness, courage and efficiency did much to maintain the morale of his men during a period of heavy shelling and extremely cold and bad weather. Major Stewart took over command of 2/LIR on 12 Jan ’45. Here again he showed an enthusiasm and aptitude for work that was a source of great inspiration; he daily visited troops in the most forward positions, on two occasions coming under the fire of snipers. Nothing, however, seemed to interfere with this officer’s desire and enthusiasm to inspire and lead the troops under his command. Major Stewart commanded a rifle company throughout the Sicilian campaign and for nearly six months in Italy. He was Brigade Major for a year and now has commanded in action for periods of a month, two infantry battalions. On 10 May ’45 he became GSO L Division in the absence on leave on leave of the GSO. He has, by his cheerful bearing, tact, personal leadership and courage been a source of great inspiration in whatever capacity he has been employed. Although he has had no respite since Sicily his energy has never flagged and his personal bearing under fire has set the highest standard.”
LIEUTENANT JHC TAYLOR, 1 LIR.
“In the night attack which developed on the night 18-19 Apr ’45 over the Fossa Sabiosola, North of Argenta. Lt Taylor was commanding one of the leading platoons of his Company. With little opportunity for reconnaissance he led his platoon with great dash on to the objective given to him. Hearing from prisoners that there were many of the enemy in the next farm about 500 yards farther on he asked for permission to attack and such was the speed of this action that he captured four officers and seventy men and a bridgehead over the next canal in the neighbourhood of Coltra. Next evening in the vicinity of Portomaggiore he held an important sector of a bridgehead against repeated fighting patrols of the enemy and heavy shellfire until dangerously wounded by sniper fire in the early morning. The dash, leadership, and praiseworthy initiative of this officer was a very fine example to his men and was largely instrumental in the rapid advance of the Battalion with relatively light casualties. Through his type of action the enemy was given no rest and pinned finally against the River Po.”
LIEUTENANT JD WHITE, 2 LIR.
“Subsequent to the action which secured Termoli on 6 Oct ’43, touch had been lost with the enemy. It was vital to regain contact and Lieut White was sent forward on 9 Oct with his Pl to gain contact and bring in information of the enemy’s position. Handling his Pl boldly, Lieut White went forward about 7,000 yards, staying out throughout the hours of daylight. He and his Pl were continually under heavy mortar fire. Despite this, he made a valuable reconnaissance of the ground in addition to discovering several enemy MG positions by showing himself in order to draw their fire. His high powers of leadership and disregard for personal safety were responsible for the success of the patrol and the gaining of the required information. I strongly recommend the immediate award of the MC.”
LIEUTENANT TWH WILSON, 2 LIR.
“During the attack on Fossacessia on 30 Nov ’43, this officer was responsible for dealing with a particularly heavily defended part of the village. Due to Lt Wilson’s leadership, the task was rapidly executed despite the fact that he was badly shaken when the first house he entered received a direct hit by a shell. Two days later on the Treglio ridge, Lt Wilson and his platoon beat off two counter attacks and this played an important part in holding the ground already won.
This officer later took over command of another Coy, when all its officers had been wounded, and for three tiring days led it with great skill and determination. He has been tireless and set a high example to all. I strongly recommend the award of the MC.”
MAJOR AD WOODS, 2 LIR.
“On 16 May ’44, this officer commanding H Coy, led the attack on the centre of the Pytchley Line at Sinagoga. Of all three forward Coys in this attack, he encountered the fiercest resistance. However, by skilful handling of his Company and by his personal example, in spite of severe losses, the enemy strong points were overcome. In the attack on the village itself, which was strongly held, he took part of his company in ahead of the tanks and this alone largely neutralised the enemy A.Tk weapons which then could not be served. During the whole battle, Major Woods Company was under very heavy fire and their capture of the village was very largely responsible for the success of the operation.”
MAJOR IP YATES, 2 LIR.
“This officer is the Bttn (battalion) MTO (motor transport officer). On the night of 29 May ’44, the battalion had the task of capturing Hill 255 north-west of Ceprano. This hill was strongly defended and approaches to it by vehicle were very bad. The assault went in at midnight and a very large amount of ammunition was expended by the leading companies which had to be replenished immediately. Lieut Yates took it upon himself to bring forward the company carriers. He got them forward up a very bad track under heavy mortar fire and also the fire of at least three German M.Gs (machine guns) at a range or about 500 yards, who could not fail to see and hear the carriers on the top of the ridge in the bright moonlight. The leading carrier being hit, caught fire and ammunition started exploding. This blocked the track. Lieut Yates worked ceaselessly, and personally dug the vehicle clear and towed it out at very great personal risk not only from the burning carrier but from the fact that he was a target for all available German weapons within range. Having achieved this, he delivered the remaining carriers to the forward companies which were still under fire. It was very remarkable that Lieut Yates survived this action and he has throughout gone completely outside his duty to render best possible service to the Bn. He has set an example which has been an inspiration to all throughout this offensive and this is but one of many incidents of personal self-sacrifice on his part. Throughout none have worked harder or exposed themselves to greater danger than Lieut Yates. His devotion to duty has been such that the Bn Colour Sergeants sent a deputation to the C.O. drawing attention to his conduct.”
Yates’ MC was approved in December 1944. The colour sergeants mentioned in the citation were Edmund O’Sullivan, E Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) and the CQMSs of F, G, H, S and HQ company in the 2nd Battalion of the London Irish Rifles. A letter, probably in O’Sullivan’s hand, said: “To the Adjutant. Sir, We the undersigned NCOs respectfully ask you to draw the attention of the Commanding Officer to the work performed by Lieut. I Yates during the present offensive. We are of the opinion that his untiring efforts were a great factor in the smooth running of the administration of the battalion. With entire disregard of his personal safety, he maintained contact with the Battalion throughout the many hazards of the advance. We humbly suggest that when the commanding officer is reviewing recommendations for decorations, that Lt. Yates’ names will be given due consideration. We are Sir, Your Obedient Servants.”
Testimonial of Major Yates’s bravery signed by the Battalion’s QMSs
Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
CORPORAL J ADAMS, 2 LIR.
“On 16 May 1944. during the battalion attack on Colle Monache, Cpl Adams was commanding a section in 14 Platoon, which was the right forward Coy of G Company (the right forward Coy).The Coy was being subjected to heavy shelling and small arms fire and after advancing about 500 yards, 14 Platoon had all its NCOs and its Platoon Commander made casualties with the sole exception of Cpl Adams.
Cpl Adams immediately assumed command of the platoon, reorganised his sections and pressed on with great personal courage, which heartened his men and enabled him to lead them onto the capture of the final objective.
On the right of the final objective, was a Mark IV Tank with infantry dug in around it, creating a strong point. Cpl Adams, without hesitation and ignoring completely the enemy fire, personally led.
His dedication and his great personal courage alone made possible the capture of that particular objective.
He was later wounded himself and evacuated.”
RIFLEMAN H CHALMERS, 2 LIR.
“Rfn Chalmers is the Bren Gunner of a section of 17 Pl H Coy. During the attack through the Gustav Line at Colle Monache, Rfn Chalmers’ section commander was wounded. The Bren group at this stage was apart from the rest of the section who were pinned down by close range small arms fire from Germans in buildings close by. There was also a determined group of Germans firing at the rest of platoon from the trenches to the right flank and the whole advance was temporarily held. Rfn Chalmers then without any orders to do so decided to destroy the latter position. This necessitated crawling 100 yds up a ditch and then an assault across another 60 yds. This he did, although under heavy fire all the time from a variety of directions. He then charged across the open by himself firing his Bren Gun from the hip. The German position comprised of eight men and two MGs. Rifleman Chalmers killed one and the rest surrendered. This act of gallantry was carried out not because he was ordered to do it but purely because he conceived it was his duty to do it. Rfn Chalmers was alone responsible for dislodging this post and enabling the battalion to advance and force an entry into the village. His conduct through the whole of this battle was exemplary and his merry attitude and his determination to close with the enemy had an inspiring effect not only on his section after the loss of their leader but throughout the whole platoon.”
George Charnick in Austria 1945
CSM GJ CHARNICK, 2 LIR.
“During Apr ’45, CSM Charnick was CSM of a Rifle Coy. On three occasions in the attack on the bridge over the Conselice Canal south of Lavenzola, in the overrunning of an enemy battery of 150 mm guns near Coltra and the attack on the bridge at Quartesena he showed great courage, resourcefulness and leadership under fire. His cheerfulness and willingness to carry out any task was a constant source of encouragement to the men of his Coy. In Oct 1944, in the attack on Casa Spinello, he took charge of a difficult situation when all three officers of a rifle Coy had been killed, and despite darkness, rain and mud, enemy minefields and heavy fire he consolidated the position, supplying the position with ammunition and personally evacuating one casualty from the interior of an uncharted minefield. In Nov 43 in the attack on Fossacessia on the Sangro, CSM Charnick showed great gallantry in engaging and destroying single-handedly an enemy post which had been holding up his Company’s advance and causing casualties. CSM Charnick has been CSM of a rifle Company since Mar 1943, has been wounded, has fought in every important battle in which the Battalion has been involved since the beginning of the North African campaign and has been once previously unsuccessfully recommended for a decoration. He has shown himself to be the type of Warrant Officer who is a credit to the traditions of his Regiment and the Infantry.”
L/CORPORAL GREGORY, 2 LIR.
“This Rfn displayed great courage and coolness during the attack on the afternoon of 5 Aug ’43. Under heavy fire he brought his 2” mortar into action to engage an enemy strong point in a hut. Still under heavy fire he continued to engage the enemy till he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to withdraw. He then found a rifle and with L/Cpl Brodie formed a centre of resistance against an enemy counter attack. He kept up continuous fire with his rifle and helped to beat off four attacks against his position. After L/Cpl Brodie had been wounded and taken back, Rfn Gregory remained and sniped the enemy although his position was an exposed one. His courage and disregard for personal safety was of the highest order and he was an inspiration to his company and the Battalion.”
SERGEANT HF GUY, 1 LIR.
“On the 20 Feb ’44 in the Anzio Bridgehead, the company to which Sgt Guy belonged was ordered to attack to relieve the Bttn HQ 7 Oxf Bucks, which was at the time surrounded. Immediately the attack began, enemy MGs opened fire and both shell and mortar DF tasks were brought down, with the results that in a few moments all officers and WOs in the Coy became casualties. Without hesitation Sgt Guy immediately took command. Exposing himself fearlessly he went from platoon to platoon, rallied the men and led them with such dash that the objective was reached and 7 Oxf Bucks relieved. During this advance, Sgt Guy was wounded, but this in no way deterred him from leading the Coy. Shortly after the objective was reached, Sgt Guy was again wounded, but he steadfastly continued to carry on despite the pain and loss of blood until he was ordered to the RAP by his Commanding Officer. Throughout this action, Sgt Guy displayed courage of the very highest order and by taking command at a critical moment was mainly responsible for the success of the operation.”
CSM F KELLY, 1 LIR.
“On 2 Mar ’44, this Warrant Officer was CSM of D Company, which was ordered in the evening to clear the enemy from a wadi at about 823303 in the area NW of the Flyover bridge in the Anzio bridgehead. This was partially done but owing to darkness, the thickness of the scrub, and casualties from shellfire, it was not possible to finish the job that night, The next day, the remnants of the Company went forward to complete the job. Almost immediately the Company commander received wounds from which he later died and CSM Kelly received a bullet wound in his chest. Although by now, there was only 15 men left in the Company, CSM Kelly carried on, saw the task completed and remained to see that the position was held until it was possible to get reinforcements under cover of darkness. Although wounded and under constant fire, he remained cheerful to the end, and his gallantry and duty was of the highest order, and ensured that all the enemy was either killed or captured, and the situation completely restored. His example of courage and his determination to see the task completed, under the most trying of conditions, were beyond praise.”
SERGEANT S KELLY, 2 LIR.
“On 30 Nov ’43 during the attack on Fossacessia Sgt Kelly personally accounted for three enemy posts which were holding up the attack. On entering the town the leading tanks became divorced from the infantry, Sgt Kelly quickly appreciated the situation and led his platoon to their support clearing a way for them through the town. This enabled the tanks to take up dominating positions on the further side of the town. On 2 Dec on the Treglio Ridge, Sgt Kelly led his platoon under heavy MG fire in a bayonet charged dislodging the enemy from their positions and consolidating. Here although running short of ammunition the platoon beat off a determined enemy counter attack. During this counter attack Sgt Kelly was wounded but refused to leave until the position was firmly established. Throughout, Sgt Kelly has shown great powers of leadership and complete disregard for personal safety. His example has been inspiration to all. I strongly recommend the award of the DCM.“
CORPORAL W MCCLELLAND, 1 LIR.
“On the night 5/6 Apr ’45, Cpl McClelland was NCO i/c of 2” Mortar and PIAT group in 15 Pl C Coy 1/LIR. During the initial assault across the R.Reno, in Square 5252, the Pl Commander, and Pl Sergeant were both wounded and Cpl McClelland took temporary command of 15 Pl. shortly afterwards, he himself was wounded in the leg but, despite this, carried on encouraging and leading his Pl under the most difficult of conditions. His leadership inspired the Pl to hold the ground they had gained despite heavy machine gun fire and mortaring and it was not until at least an hour had passed that Cpl McClelland was relieved by an officer. Later the Pl advanced a few hundred yards and got out of wireless touch with its Coy HQ. Twice he took back messages across fire swept ground, running and crawling in water logged ditches, to Coy HQ. Both of these messages enabled the Coy Commander to take actions to help the Pl. On 6 Apr ’45, 15 Pl assisted in an attack with tank support and throughout the action, Cpl McClelland displayed great courage and cheerfulness especially under heavy mortar fire. During the night 6/7 Apr Cpl McClelland offered to carry out vitally important contact patrol with the Coy on the right. Despite enemy fire and minefields this patrol was successfully accomplished during the night.
On the morning of the 7 Apr, when his Pl was being relieved, Cpl McClelland was severely wounded by an A/P mine. Even then he displayed great cheerfulness. The success of the severely handled and much reduced 15 Pl. throughout the whole action was due to the courageous example and excellent leadership displayed by this NCO.”
CSM P MCDAID, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 5 Sep ’44, D Coy 1/LIR was strongly counter attacked after capturing a feature North of Il Tribbia. The enemy attack was made in three waves each of a strong Pl strength and pressed home with the utmost determination by fanatics who knew the ground. There followed a hand to hand fight round a house which lasted some 1 1/2 hours. In the fighting, the Coy Commander was killed and CSM McDaid had to take over command of the Coy until another officer could be found. He conducted the fight with the greatest skill and determination keeping a steady control of the situation, yet not sparing himself to move up immediately to deal with any enemy infiltration on the cordon. On several occasions, he went forward and dispatched five enemy single handled with his TMC. His coolness and steadiness in a fast and hectic fight was the inspiration of all ranks. After 1 1/2 hours ammunition was low, generally to the last magazine and CSM McDaid decided to withdraw to the road behind the feature. Coolly giving orders and maintaining covering fire to the last, he successfully achieved the withdrawal and saw to the evacuation of the wounded. On arrival back at Bn HQ, he volunteered to go up again with another Coy and retake the position. CSM McDaid’s conduct was of the highest order and the successful withdrawal of the Coy was largely due to his actions. His courage, resourcefulness and coolness under fire, without thought of personal safety was an inspiration and example to his Coy.”
L/CORPORAL F NORMAN, 1 LIR.
“Rifleman Norman was Signal operator with D Coy who occupied positions north of Lorenzo during 18-26 Jan ’44. On 24 Jan ’44, the Coy was subjected to very heavy mortar and artillery fire followed by a strong enemy attack.
During the early part of the enemy bombardment the Coy commander, CSM and one signaller were wounded and another man of Coy HQ killed in close proximity to Rfn Norman. He himself was severely wounded in the arm and leg and his wireless set put out of action by shell splinters.
At once he realised the vital need of maintaining the only means of communication with Bn HQ and crawled from one slit trench to another to get another set. He found this set also out of action from shell fire but crawled back with it, still under heavy fire and calmly stripped both sets until he had made the necessary repairs to get one set in working order again and reestablish communication. During the greater part of this time, he was working alone, his arm severely damaged and giving him great pain, the other members of Coy HQ dead or wounded around him but he refused to allow his own wounds to be attended to until he had reestablished communication.
By his coolness, magnificent courage and complete disregard of personal safety he regained touch with Bn HQ and then calmly passed information of the situation thereby enabling the Bn Command to take the necessary measures to deal with it.
Finally he was relieved at Coy HQ but on return to Bn HQ seeing there was a shortage of signallers he insisted on remaining at duty there and was again wounded when Bn HQ came under heavy shell and mortar fire.
I consider his devotion to duty and gallantry under fire to be of the highest order and most strongly recommend him for the immediate award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal.”
L/SERGEANT H SYE, 2 LIR.
L/Sgt Sye’s citation written by Lt-Col Bredin said: “On 21 Oct ’44 on the occasion of H Coy’s night attack on Hill 387 of Monte Pieve the a/m NCO was at the outset Pl Sgt. Early in the attack his platoon which was leading the Coy came under intensive small arms fire and heavy shelling. Considerable casualties were caused and the Pl commander killed. L/Sgt Sye immediately rallied the few remaining men of his platoon and continued to press up the steep slopes towards the objective. All the time he was facing heavy MG fire and grenades at short range, but despite this he pressed on with total disregard for his personal safety. By crawling forward he attacked single handedly one MG post and killed or wounded all of its occupants. Not content with this feat, he tried twice more to reach another MG post but was severely wounded in the attempt. Throughout this attack, as on so many previous occasions L/Sgt Sye behaved with great personal courage and the highest quality of leadership.”
CORPORAL PJ TINDALL, 1 LIR.
“On 26 Dec ’44, at Bisaura near Faenza, Cpl Tindall displayed a devotion to duty and aggressive courage beyond praise. His Platoon had made a successful night attack on a group of houses and was immediately counter attacked by a stronger enemy force, which infiltrated right among the farm buildings, firing at the house on 3 sides with MGs and endeavouring to knock it down with a Bazooka. In this situation, Cpl Tindall showed a spirit which inspired his whole Platoon. During 3 hours of continual fighting, during which his Pl Commander was killed, he handled his section with such energy, dashing from post to post, encouraging his men and directing their fire, that the enemy was continually beaten off: he himself used grenades and TMC to great effect, killing two enemy, twice with no thought for danger he dashed out of the house himself and cleared the enemy from the outbuildings.
At the end of 3 hours of fighting his Pl, largely owing to the inspiration of Cpl Tindall’s magnificent example, had beaten off all attacks and the enemy was forced to withdraw leaving 8 dead.
Cpl Tindall’s extraordinary gallantry on this occasion is consistent with the fine leadership and fighting spirit he has shown in all the actions of this Bttn in Sicily and in both campaigns in Italy.”
CAPTAIN JK CANTOPHER, 1 LIR.
The George Medal was awarded for Captain Cantopher’s valour during the Battle for Graveney Marsh in 1940.
LIEUTENANT AE CRAMPTON, 1 LIR.
Military Medal (MM)
L/SERGEANT H ADE, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 5/6 Apr ’45 L/Sgt Ade was commanding a section of 13 Pl C Coy 1/LIR during the initial assault across the River Reno. L/Sgt Ade’s boat was lost on launching but not deterred he immediately reorganised his section and crossed in another boat. After successfully assaulting an enemy position in the bank, he provided covering fire to 15 Pl enabling them to widen the initial bridgehead. On rejoining his own Pl he found them pinned by heavy spandau fire. He immediately ran forward with his Bren group into a position from which they could engage the spandau, Running short of ammunition, L/Sgt Ade at great personal risk ran back three or four times and carried up ammunition. As a result he temporarily silenced with fire the enemy spandau and then led his section forward to destroy the post, covered by his own Bren, As a result of this action, the remainder of the Platoon were able to push forward.
Throughout the remainder of the action, L/Sgt Ade showed excellent initiative and complete disregard for personal safety. He has already been twice wounded in previous battles. His courage and steadiness under trying conditions was an example to his Platoon.”
L/SERGEANT J BARRETT, 2 LIR.
L/Sgt Barratt’s citation for his MM written by Lt-Col Horsfall said :
“On 21 Jun ’44 L/Sgt Barratt was Platoon Commander of 7 Platoon for the assault on Sanfatucchio. Throughout this battle, Sgt Barratt showed the highest powers of leadership and his personal example and skills made the success of his platoon that day possible. During the assault on the first objective, the village itself, the platoon came under very heavy machine gun fire from many houses in the village and were pinned down. However, by skilful use of smoke and fire from the tanks this NCO worked his way forward into one of the buildings and totally destroyed a post of seven men and two machine guns. They were then fired onto from other buildings close by, but by resolute leadership Sgt Barratt cleared them successively using grenade, SMG, and other small arms. In all, his platoon took eleven prisoners and killed at least eight Germans. It was the great effort of Sgt Barratt and his platoon in securing a foothold in the town which made its ultimate capture possible.”
RIFLEMAN J BEAN, 2 LIR.
Rifleman Bean’s citation written by Lt-Col Horsfall said:
“On 16 May ’44, Rfn Bean was with the Bren group of the No 3 Section H Company 2/LIR when the Bn had the task of breaking through the Gustav Line at Sinagoga. Rfn Bean was with the leading section of H Coy who were in the centre. The company came under heavy fire from the start line onwards but his skilful use of the Bren and Tommy guns overcame three positions, killing some Germans and capturing others. At this stage Rfn Bean was wounded in the arm. His Pl (16 Pl) was finally ordered to attack the southern half of Sinagoga. Very heavy small arms fire was coming from here and heavy shell fire went on all the time. Cpl Barnes went ahead towards the village while Rfn Bean shot at those positions he could see. The section overcame the first part in this way. Rfn Bean then went with Cpl Barnes round the building to where an SP gun was firing at our tanks.
There was heavy small arms fire at point blank range. Cpl Barnes went in with grenades and Rfn Bean kept up shooting. Cpl Barnes was then killed and Bean reorganised the section which had got split up and got into other buildings. After further firing the surviving enemy surrendered. Bean’s actions played a valuable part in reducing a very strong position and he behaved most gallantly throughout. He was never deterred by the very heavy enemy fire and his conduct throughout was an inspiring example to the rest of his section.”
RIFLEMAN SG BECHELET, 1 LIR.
“On 26 Dec ’44 at Bisaura near Faenza, Rfn Bechelet displayed a cool courage and aggressive initiative beyond the call of duty. His Platoon made a successful night attack and was then strongly counterattacked for three hours during which the Platoon commander was killed and the situation was at times serious, with the enemy moving around the outbuildings and attempting to break the house down with a bazooka. Rfn Bechelet without receiving orders, took upon himself the task of stalking and sniping the enemy. On several occasions, although under heavy fire, he moved into the open and took up fire positions only a few yards from the enemy, where he used his rifle to great effect. At one time, the enemy was firing his bazooka bombs in an attempt to destroy the house. Rfn Bechelet, under heavy fire, made his way to a fire position and killed the bazooka man by rifle fire. In all, he himself killed four enemy with his rifles. Rfn Bechelet’s outstanding courage and initiative was an inspiration to all who saw him at work and his actions had a decided effect in restoring the position and beating off a serious threat to his platoon position.”
L/CORPORAL BELLIS, 2 LIR.
“Sgt Bellis joined the Irish Brigade (6 Inniskillings) at the end of the Tunisian campaign since which time he has fought with distinction in every action and battle in which the Brigade took part as a member of a Rifle platoon. During his time in the Innsikillings he was known as a first rate NCO with a magnificent bearing in action. He joined 2 LIR on the disbandment of 6 Inniskillings and went to F coy where his worth became evident immediately and in the difficult days in the mountains around Monte Le Pieve he was a tower of strength in his Coy both in his coolness and cheerfulness when conditions were as bad as they could be and casualties heavy. In the costly battle of Monte Spaduro he greatly distinguished himself in the capture of the crucial point of Spinella, the fall of which decided the battle – after his Coy commander and platoon commander became casualties his guidance of his Platoon was largely responsible for the successful holding of that key point – he himself being wounded in the face and head. After 4 months in hospital he returned in time for the Po Valley campaign in which he further distinguished himself in several Coy actions and in particular at the severe fight at Cona – on the 21 Apr where the capture of the vital bridge over the Po Di Volano was achieved largely due to the determined leadership of Sgt Bellis at the crucial moment when most of his platoon were killed or wounded by the very determined German resistance. His personal intervention saved the day and is a typical example of this NCO’s conduct in all his past actions and earned himself a great name both in the Inniskillings and the London Irish Rifles.”
CORPORAL C BLAIR, 2 LIR.
“During the Bttn night attack on Fosso Bottaceto on 17 July ’43, this NCO’s Pl Commander was badly wounded as were all NCOs senior to him in the Platoon. He at once took over command of the Platoon. He commanded it throughout the rest of the action, and three days subsequently. Throughout this time, he displayed complete coolness and his control of the Platoon was outstanding during the action. He reorganised his Platoon with efficiency and continued to command it until reinforcements arrived and command was taken over by a Sergeant. He then acted as Pl Sergeant for the next few weeks; a job he carried out extremely well and with complete satisfaction. Several times during these weeks he took out patrols always with good results.
During the whole period he has displayed high personal courage and coolness in action. His readiness to take on any task no matter what the conditions and his ability to inspire confidence in those around him have been most praiseworthy and I recommend him most strongly for the merit of the Military Medal.”
RIFLEMAN GF BOSSON, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 5/6 Apr ’45 after the successful crossing of the River Reno, 13 Platoon C Coy 1/LIR was engaged in clearing the strong enemy defensive positions on the river bank on Square 5152. This Pl came under heavy gun fire which caused casualties and pinned the remainder to the ground. Rfn Bosson, on his own initiative, ran forward to a position, which was within 100 yards of an enemy spandau position and devoid of cover opened up rapid fire with his Bren gun. Two Spandaus immediately switched onto him and he continued to engage them until his Bren was put out of action. He immediately went back for another Bren, obtained one and from the same open position continued to engage the enemy. At this time, a Platoon of D Coy 1 LIR arrived and supported by Rfn Bosson’s fire they attacked and destroyed the two enemy posts. The calm aggressiveness of Rfn Bosson over a long period and the unflinching manner in which he maintained his gun under the worst conditions and in the face of enemy fire was an excellent example to his comrades.
It was discovered later that Rfn Bosson’s pack was riddled with bullet holes. His devotion to duty and complete disregard for personal safety was a prime factor contributing to the success of the attack.”
PIPER T BRIGHTMAN, 1 LIR.
“On the night 17/18 July ’43, during a Bttn night attack on German posts south of Catania airfield, Rfn Brightman was one of the stretcher bearers with B Coy. When this Coy came under heavy automatic and mortar fire Rfn Brightman immediately began treating the wounded. Almost immediately he was wounded in the leg himself but this made no difference to his actions and he continued to carry out his duties with complete calm and great competence. In all he dealt with 15 cases all the time under continuous fire. By his devotion to duty, complete indifference to personal danger and disregard of his own injuries the majority of the wounded in his Coy were able to be treated and finally successfully evacuated.”
RIFLEMAN CG BROWN, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 5/6 Apr ‘45, 11 Platoon B Coy 1 LIR were ordered to attack and destroy an enemy strong point on the north bank of the R.Reno. Rfn Brown was the LMG gunner of the assaulting section which approached the position from the rear. His section encountered a minefield covered by heavy Spandau fire and all but Rfn Brown were wounded. Despite this, he continued forward to within 20 yards of the post and opened fire at a rapid rate. Realising he could not face the post alone he withdrew and volunteered to go forward with another section. This he did, firing his Bren from the hip as he advanced. During this attempt to eliminate the post, his Platoon commander and three members of the second section were wounded. The Platoon commander ordered the section to withdraw and Rfn Brown insisted on covering this with fire and remained at his post until the wounded had been evacuated. His complete disregard for personal safety and his devotion to duty inspired his whole Platoon. His unselfish action undoubtedly prevented further casualties occurring.”
RIFLEMAN G BROWN, 1 LIR.
“During the night of 23/24 Feb ‘45, 15 Platoon C Coy 1/LIR advanced to occupy positions on the East bank of the River Senio. The positions gained by the Platoon were in great danger of being rendered untenable by a Spandau post positioned between them. A small fighting patrol was organised to deal with the post and Rfn Brown was selected as a member. In the early stages of the patrol, the patrol leader lost his spectacles and Rfn Brown temporarily took command. With complete disregard for his own safety, Rfn Brown three times endeavoured to infiltrate into the enemy position, but each time was he met by Spandau fire and grenades and was forced to try another route. Later, during an attempt to rush the position one man was badly wounded and the platoon commander decided to withdraw. Rfn Brown volunteered to stay close to the enemy position to attract their attention whilst the wounded men were evacuated. He covered the withdrawal of the remainder of the patrol by firing his TSMG and throwing grenades. In doing this he drew considerable fire upon himself, but despite this he remained in position until signalled out by his Platoon commander.
The following night Rfn Brown was wounded himself but refused to leave his post during the night. His wounds were examined by his Platoon commander in the morning and were found to be severe. Rfn Brown then had to be ordered to leave his post.This man displayed outstanding courage and devotion to duty during the whole of this action, and his example greatly inspired the remainder of his comrades.”
L/CORPORAL R BROWN, 2 LIR.
“This NCO is in charge of E Coy stretcher bearers. He was conspicuous for his very gallant conduct during the battle for the Sanfatucchi/Pucciarelli ridge on 21/22 June and 23rd June ’44. During the attack on the 21st Jun, L/Cpl Brown had to deal with thirty casualties which nearly all occurred under close small arms fire. He dealt with nearly all these cases himself totally disregarding cover while dressing the wounded and organising their evacuation.
His conduct was an inspiration to the remaining stretcher bearers, two of whom had already been hit. He worked throughout ceaselessly under fire from very close range and L/Cpl Brown’s conduct has been an inspiration to his Coy. Due to his efforts four or five gravely wounded men were evacuated from under the walls of Sanfatucchio where the company was pinned down for over an hour. These men may owe their lives to L/Cpl Brown.”
RIFLEMAN R BURTON, 2 LIR.
“During the battle for the high ground north of Bou Arada on 26 Feb ’43 the platoon to which Rfn Burton belongs was surrounded by the enemy. Under very heavy enemy fire Rfn Burton broke through the enemy positions and made his way to Company HQ. During the course of the battle, on his own initiative, he prepared tea and food and carried it under fire to the forward Platoons. To do this it was necessary for him to make several journeys to and fro. His outstanding fearlessness was a great example to the remainder of his Company.”
CSM W BUSH, 1 LIR.
“On 5 Sep ‘44. C Coy 1/LIR was ordered to attack Pt 168. Sgt Bush personally led his platoon into a house which was the key to the objective. In this attack, he accounted for a German bazooka position. He then reorganised his platoon, swung his attack to the left and led this attack onto two farmhouses, killing a number of Germans and taking two Spandau positions. The speed of this operation coupled with Sgt Bush personal example, fine leadership and complete devotion to duty without regard for his own safety, was directly responsible for ensuring that C Coy were able to gain their objective in very difficult circumstances. This is typical of Sgt Bush’s actions during the whole of the Gothic line battle. During the following fortnight, the Coy sustained many casualties and was finally made into one platoon of which Sgt Bush was platoon sergeant. He was at the time suffering acute pain from fibrositis of the shoulders (for which his medical category has since been downgraded) but he refused to be evacuated and continued cheerfully through those days of continuous heavy shelling and bad weather conditions.”
CORPORAL JJ BYRNE, 1 LIR.
“On 6 Aug ’43, L/Cpl Byrne was a member of a daylight patrol in close country near Gravina Di Catania. The patrol came under sudden fire at close range from enemy automatic weapons; some were killed immediately, several others were wounded and the rest dispersed to cover. L/Cpl Byrne with two others made his way back to his platoon position after he had personally succeeded in getting one of his wounded men under cover. He made a full and coolly worded report on his return. Immediately afterwards, he went out, still in daylight, with the Coy stretcher bearers to bring in the wounded man whom he had placed under cover. As they approached the place all three men came under heavy automatic fire. They continued on however and succeeded in reaching the wounded man but were unable to move him for about half an hour as their least movement attracted enemy fire.”
Eventually by breaking through a wall and crawling, carrying the wounded man with them, they were able to get him away and back to their own lines. Throughout the whole of this time, Lt Cpl Byrne displayed great personal bravery and his coolness and devotion to duty were of a very high order.”
CORPORAL GP DAVIES, 1 LIR.
“On 31 Dec ‘44, at Casa Nuova near Faenza, Cpl Davies showed a fine aggressive spirit and remarkable presence of mind whilst leading a patrol. His Coy had just occupied a position and he was ordered to take patrol of himself and two others to discover whether a house some 350 yards away was occupied by the enemy. The patrol approached the house without meeting opposition and Cpl Davies decided to search the house itself. Ordering the other two to cover him he entered the kitchen to find some dozen German soldiers sitting round the table. He immediately opened fire with his TMC and called the others to assist him and together they fired five magazines into the room. More German soldiers began to run down the stairs with machine pistols and Cpl Davies decided to withdraw. He covered the other two out and they began to make their way back after signalling to the Coy to give them supporting fire.
The enemy were now aroused and began to fire 3 MGs at the patrol as they crawled down the ditch. Some of this fire was very accurate and one of the patrol was wounded in the shoulder by a bullet so that he was unable to crawl. Cpl Davies, although wounded in the hand and exposing himself to the enemy’s accurate fire, proceeded to drag the man with him for some 50 yards down the ditch, until the wounded man was unable to move further from weakness and loss of blood, and asked to be left behind. Taking advantage of a smoke screen, Cpl Davies and the remaining man made a dash for it across the open and arrived safely back at the Coy position. It was undoubtedly the quick thinking, high courage and fine leadership of Cpl Davies that enabled him to maintain his patrol as a fighting force, do considerable damage to the enemy and bring back vital information.”
SERGEANT H DONAGHY, 2 LIR.
“During the attack on Point 253 on 5 Aug ’43, L/Sgt Donaghy was Pl Sgt of No 11 Platoon. Nearing his objective, his Pl commander was killed by fire from an enemy MG post. He handed over his Pl to the next senior NCO and personally stalked and attacked the post wiping it out with grenades. He then came under fire from another post on the flank which he also successfully attacked and neutralised. His conduct throughout the action was an inspiration to his Coy and showed a complete disregard for his own personal safety.”
CORPORAL EW FLAVELL, 2 LIR.
“Cpl Flavell was commanding one of the sections that was giving close fire support during the attack on Casa Spinello on 23 Oct ’44. At about 1900 hours, after the attack had succeeded he was wounded in the thigh. Although he had every opportunity to be evacuated to the RAP he remained at his post keeping his gun firing as counter attacks were beginning to come in.
Another company with extra ammunition and grenades were ordered up to reinforce but ran into a minefield. Cpl Flavell volunteered with the help of another man to guide them around it to his own Coy position. This he accomplished in the dark, over rough country and under heavy defensive fire. Only after this did he allow himself to be evacuated.
This NCO’s gallantry devotion to duty and disregard of the fact that he was in great pain resulted in much needed men and ammunition arriving at the correct spot in time, and is worthy of the highest praise.”
L/CORPORAL K GAFFNEY, 2 LIR.
“This NCO was in charge of H Coy’s wireless set during the attack on the afternoon of 5 Aug ’43. Under the most difficult of circumstances and continual sniping he helped to carry the set across the River Simeto which was deep and swift. On the arrival at the far bank it was necessary to dismantle the set to get it up the further bank by the side of a waterfall. This was done and the set re-assembled under fire in ten minutes. The maintenance of communication by the NCO and his operator enabled ammunition to be sent to the Company when urgently required and kept me in touch with the situation at a vital period. The devotion to duty and great courage, coupled with technical skill was largely instrumental in bringing the attack to a successful conclusion.”
SERGEANT R GAMBLE, 1 LIR.
“On 5 Sept ’44 at Il Tribbia, C Coy 1/LIR was in a reverse slope position and under heavy shell and mortar fire for some three hours. The Bn Commander and Coy Commander were wounded whilst carrying out a recce for an attack, leaving two subalterns with the Coy. Orders for an attack across open country on a feature known as Pt 168 were eventually given out. Sgt Gamble led his Platoon in the attack under heavy fire with a magnificent display of courage, determination and cheerfulness. During the advance, one of the remaining officers was wounded and it was largely due to this NCO that the morale of the Platoon was maintained under those very adverse conditions. Sgt Gamble was the first to reach the objective which was held by six Spandaus. With complete disregard for his own safety, Sgt Gamble organised raids on these positions in succession, personally neutralising three with his own TMC. The example set by this NCO was an inspiration to the whole Coy and largely contributed to the successful capture of the objective.”
CORPORAL GRAHAM, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 6 Sep ‘44, C Coy 1/LIR was moving up to attack a feature S of Cevolabatte. The Coy came under extremely heavy fire from enemy shelling, mortars and machine guns. Owing to the weight of the fire, only half the Coy got forward, the remainder being pinned down in the area of a cross road at 874828. Cpl Graham then immediately volunteered to bring up the rest of the Coy. With complete disregard for his personal safety and exposing himself continually to constant enemy fire he returned to the area of the cross roads, organised the remainder of the Coy and brought them intact over ground still under heavy fire to rejoin the leading half of the Coy and allow the feature to be occupied. The following afternoon – 7 Sep ’44 – he led his section with skill and determination during the attack by C Coy on Point 168.
On consolidation he was sent on an extensive patrol to establish contact with B Coy 1/LIR, who were isolated on the right flank. During the course of this patrol he, with two men, attacked and overcame two Spandau positions and returned to the Coy with eight prisoners. During the whole of the patrol he was subjected to heavy enemy fire from machine positions.
Throughout the whole action, his example of cheerfulness and complete disregard of enemy fire was an inspiration to the whole Coy and contributed to a considerable extent to the success of the operation.”
SERGEANT C GUILD, 2 LIR.
“Sgt Guild commanded 10 Pl of F Coy on 21 Jun ’44 when his platoon came under heavy MG fire from the western outskirts of Sanfatucchio and were pinned down. Sgt Guild ran forward under heavy fire, and from an exposed position engaged the post with his rifle, silencing it. He then led a section round to a flank and knocked out another post which was holding up the platoon on his right. Later in the day his platoon had to advance on their objective while subjected to intense mortar and MG fire from their flanks with great skill and determination Sgt Guild seized his objective and held it in spite of repeated attempts to dislodge his platoon by mortar and constant small arms fire from his front. The personal gallantry and determination of this NCO was a decisive factor in the success achieved by his platoon over difficult ground tenaciously defended by the enemy.”
CSM J HAMILTON, 2 LIR.
“As a Sergeant and a WO, this man has consistently shown a high standard of courage and leadership. In particular at Bou Arada on 21 Jan ’43 his disregard for personal danger in handling his command during an attack on Hill 286 was exceptional until he himself was wounded. Near Bou Arada on 27 Feb he led the carrier platoon in a successful counter attack which entirely restored the local situation.”
RIFLEMAN RW HARRISON, 2 LIR.
“In the initial stages of the attack on 5 Aug ’43, this rifleman covered his platoon through a gap, which was covered by snipers, accounting for one. Later when the objective had been reached he took up a position from which he gave the enemy no respite although he was under fire from his left and the enemy started to counterattack. He stayed at his post until ordered to another position where he acted as Pl runner. In this capacity he brought at least five important messages to his Coy HQ each time across open ground under heavy fire. His coolness, bravery and complete disregard for his own personal safety throughout four hours of hard fighting was an inspiring example to all others.”
SERGEANT S HENRY, 1 LIR.
“On the evening of 5 Sep ’44, D Coy 1/LIR was ordered to attack a feature North of the village IL Tribbia, Sgt Henry was Pl Sgt of 18 Pl. After the feature had been successfully attacked and consolidated, the enemy counter attacked in three waves, each wave of a Pl strength, all with full previous knowledge of the ground. The enemy began to infiltrate through the Pls in the darkness and the Coy was ordered to close in on the house in the centre of the Coy position. Then followed a fierce hand to hand fight round the house for 1 ½ hours. It was during this fight that Sgt Henry showed the highest qualities of leadership and individual courage. He controlled his Pl with a magnificent combination of dash and coolness, encouraging his men, and himself going to meet the enemy attacks. With him own TMG he dispatched at least five enemy. Finally when ammunition gave out, his Coy was ordered to withdraw.Sgt Henry again showed great coolness covering his Pl out and succouring the wounded. Throughout the action, Sgt Henry displayed the most outstanding gallantry which was the inspiration of the whole Coy.”
CORPORAL C HILL,1 LIR.
“On 22 Feb ’44, in the Wadi area NW of the flyover bridge in the Anzio bridgehead, this NCO was given the key job of leading his Section against an enemy Spandau post in connection with the relief of the Bttn HQ of the 7th Oxs and Bucks, who were surrounded.
Very heavy mortar and small arms fire was brought down on the open piece of ground, about 450 yards long, which he had to cross. He led his section with great dash, killing two and putting the remainder of the post to flight. His courageous and determined action ensured the capture by his platoon of a Wadi entrance, which enabled the Ox and Bucks HQ to withdraw without a casualty.”
CORPORAL R HOGAN, 2 LIR.
“On the 26 Feb ’43 at about 1000 hours the enemy had captured Stuka Ridge and were in occupation. Troops of F Coy 2 LIR were prisoners or casualties or had retired. The 4.2in mortars and the artillery OP had been over run. Cpl Hogan commander of a 3″ Mortar Det, remained. He went to the 4.2 in mortar Det OP and ordered fire down onto the position. This OP was in the middle of the position, thus he was bringing down fire which was likely to kill him in order to restore the situation. He succeeded and survived. His gallantry and cool headedness prevented a break-in.”
RIFLEMAN FE JANES, 2 LIR.
“During the battle for the high ground north of Bou Arada on 26 Feb ’43, an enemy machine gun was inflicting casualties on F Company. Rfn Janes moved forward to an exposed position and stayed there under heavy fire in order to direct the fire of a LMG which was engaging the MG. He stayed in this position for about twenty minutes during which time his steel helmet was struck by an enemy bullet and Rfn Janes knocked unconscious. When he recovered, he continued to direct the fire until the MG had been put out of action.
Rfn Janes’ complete disregard of his own personal safety and his determination to destroy the enemy was a magnificent example to the remainder of his platoon.”
CORPORAL G KEEGAN, 2 LIR.
“This NCO commanded his section in “E” Coy on 16 May ’44 in the attack on Colle Monache. In overcoming the very determined resistance, Cpl Keegan displayed the utmost bravery and skill in manouevring his section to close with the enemy. Later, he organised the evacuation of a wounded rifleman under heavy fire. When his platoon commander was killed (see EC Mayo), he assumed command and consolidated his position with thoroughness and a cheerfulness which inspired his whole platoon.”
SERGEANT J MADIGAN, 1 LIR.
“On the night 17/18 July ’43 during the Battalion night attack on German positions south of Catania Airfield the leading Coys suddenly came under heavy and concentrated automatic and mortar fire at very close range. During the early stages, all the officers and the CSM were hit and Sgt Madigan himself was wounded in the arm. In spite of this, he personally attacked a pill box with a Cpl of his Platoon, and having dealt with this he realised the situation of his Coy. Making his way to the Coy Commander, who was lying wounded, he got his instructions and at once began to organise his Coy on the objective in accordance with these instructions. During the whole time, he displayed complete indifference to personal danger and by his example, devotion to duty and courage steadied the Coy on its objective at a time when all the officers were out of action. Later he assisted in organising the removal of the wounded before himself being treated for his own wounds.”
L/CORPORAL T MARTIN, 2 LIR.
“During the attack on Fossacessia on 30 Nov ’43, this NCO took command of his Platoon after his Pl Commander and Pl Sgt had both been wounded. L/Cpl Martin grapsed this situation instantly and directed the Platoon onto its objective and organised the work of clearing up the enemy defences. He led the Platoon himself and personally dealt with two strong points. This NCO set a magnificent example and showed great initiative and powers of leadership throughout the attack. I strongly recommend the award of the MM.”
CORPORAL LJ MARTINI, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 5 Sep ’44, D Coy 1/LIR attacked a feature north of Il Tribbio village, After reorganisation on the objective the enemy counter attacked in strength and with full knowledge of the ground. A very fierce hand to hand fight followed lasting 1 ½ hours. During this fighting, Cpl Martini displayed outstanding gallantry and leadership under very difficult conditions. By his example of aggression, initiative and cool courage he kept his section together and beat off all attacks. Finally when the order was given to withdraw, Cpl Martini was given the task of covering his Platoon withdrawal with the assistance of a Bren Gunner. This he accomplished, killing 7 enemy with his T.M.C. as they came around a corner. Not until the whole Coy was out did he withdraw himself. A few days later in the same area, his section was caught in a severe and sudden stonk. While digging in, Cpl Martini was severely wounded but he ordered his section to a safe place and refused to be carried in until the shelling had ceased.”
SERGEANT AC MASON, 1 LIR.
“On 21 Feb ’44, in a very critical period of the Wadi battle, NW of the Flyover bridge, in the Anzio bridgehead, this NCO showed a complete disregard of danger in beating off an attack on a Gunner CP house in an exposed position. The house, which had a guard of 4 men, was attacked by a German patrol about 20 strong. No ordinary reserves were available to relieve the situation, but Sgt Mason, with a couple of men, worked his way forward under heavy fire and attacked the patrol in the flank, causing them to retire after suffering casualties. He continued to operate as a lone aggressive patrol until wounded, causing great havoc among the numerous enemy patrols, which were endeavouring to infiltrate.”
CORPORAL EC MAYO, 2 LIR.
“At Heidous on 23 April ’43 in a night attack, this NCO personally destroyed a German MG (machine-gun) post. Later, he rallied his Pl (Platoon) under heavy mortar fire and MG fire and in spite of being wounded in both legs, succeeded in leading a fresh sortie on the enemy. Cpl (Corporal) Mayo had previously distinguished himself at Bou Arada on 20 January in leading his section with great gallantry in an attack on Hill 286, where he was wounded. He had only been back from hospital 2 weeks before the attack on Heidous. The way his men followed him on this last occasion was a tribute to his previous courage.”
RIFLEMAN M MCDONALD, 2 LIR.
“On the night of 5 Sep ’44, when D Coy 1/LIR was strongly counter attacked on the Il Tribbia feature, Rfn McDonald was the senior Coy stretcher bearer. The fighting was very fierce and 13 men were wounded. Rfn McDonald showed extraordinary bravery and coolness under fire, going out in the middle of the fighting to tend and carry in the wounded. Finally when the Coy had to withdraw Rfn McDonald insisted on remaining behind to collect the remaining wounded. This he accomplished in the darkness with the result that of the 13 wounded, only one man who remained at his LMG fell into enemy hands – a magnificent achievement under the circumstances. Rfn McDonald’s selfless and courageous persistence in his duty without doubt saved the lives of several men. He was an inspiration to the whole Coy.”
SERGEANT E MCNALLY, 2 LIR.
“On 5 Dec ’43 during the advance from St Vito. Sgt McNally was ordered to clear up four MMG positions which were threatening the flank of his Coy. Using one company to give covering fire, Sgt McNally attacked with the other section, but was held up. Sgt McNally then went forward himself and accounted for two of the posts with grenades, killing three of the enemy and making it possible for his men to deal with the other two posts.
Throughout the recent fighting Sgt McNally has set a fine example by his disregard for personal safety and devotion to duty. He has shown marked powers of leadership. I strongly recommend the immediate award of the MM.”
RIFLEMAN JGG MURTAGH, 2 LIR.
“Rfn Murtagh was the Bren Gunner of the leading section in the attack on Sperina on 12 Aug ’43. His platoon was held up by an enemy MG post halfway up a bare coverless slope. Rfn Murtagh immediately engaged the enemy MG post and although in a very exposed position silenced it and enabled the platoon to continue its advance, but in doing so he was wounded.
Rfn Murtagh, though wounded, continued to give covering fire for this section throughout a further advance and only gave up when his platoon had successfully reached their objective.
He showed courage and determination of a high order and was a splendid example to all. I strongly recommend the immediate award of the MM.”
SERGEANT JE O’CONNOR, 1 LIR.
“During the period 20-26 Feb ’45, B Coy 1/LIR occupied positions on the East side of the Senio river. On the night of 23/24 Feb, they were ordered to advance and hold positions on the South bank. The advance was to be made by 10 and 11 Platoons with 12 Platoon, commanded by Sgt O’Connor, held in reserve to give covering fire. The objective of 10 Platoon, in the area of the weir, proved to be held strongly by the enemy and on three occasions the Pl was driven back from the bank. Sgt O’Connor observed the apparent failure of the Pl and on his own initiative offered to go forward with one man to locate exactly the enemy positions and find, if possible, a covered line of approach. Moving forward and making the greatest use of ground, Sgt O’Connor succeeded, despite enemy small arms fire and mortar fire, in reaching the bank. He crawled to the top of the bank and located the exact positions of two Spandau posts. He decided to attempt to wipe out one or both of the posts with grenades. As soon as he raised himself to throw a grenade he was spotted and subjected to very heavy fire. He decided to withdraw in order to get back his information. As a result of his recce patrol, 12 Pl were ordered to carry out the task. The following day and night, Sgt O’Connor organised and led three patrols to recce in detail the task allotted to his Pl. As a result of these patrols, the exact dispositions of four Spandau posts and one mortar position were located.
Throughout the last three periods in the line, Sgt O’Connor has commanded his Pl with great efficiency, and whenever the occasions demanded it, great gallantry. His offensive spirit and complete disregard for personal safety has been an inspiration to the whole Company.”
CORPORAL PJ O’LEARY, 2 LIR.
“On 22 March ’45 on the Senio River. Cpl O’Leary led the assaulting group of a raiding group over the bank into the German slit trenches and dugouts. The route over the bank was suspected to contain Schu mines. He commanded the section with great dash, gallantry and skill and out of eight Germans holding the position, killed one, wounded another whom he left for dead and captured and brought back five, one of whom was badly wounded. Four out of his team of five were hit by fragments of grenades. He brought all his section back and completed the entire operation in about one minute. This NCO has on several occasions in the past shown leadership of a high order. Without the tremendous dash and will to conquer shown by Cpl O’Leary in the best traditions of the Irish soldier, the operation would not have been successful.”
L/CORPORAL E O’REILLY, 2 LIR.
“This NCO was with a leading section on the attack on Sperina on 12 Aug ’43. His section was earlier held up by enemy snipers, MGs and Mortars. Using great skill and in spite of continual sniping and MG fire, this NCO stalked an enemy post and single-handedly cleared it and took ten prisoners. He then forced two of his prisoners to dismantle an MG in a second post which he had also cleared.
This action was instrumental in allowing the remainder of his Platoon to move forward and reach their objective. L/Cpl O’Reilly set a fine example throughout the day and his skill and daring are deserving of recognition. I recommend the immediate award of the MM.”
CORPORAL W PERVIN, 1 LIR.
“The ground between Scolo Matinella and Ca Vinina was absolutely flat and open. The house proved to be strongly defended, with one spandau post in its grounds and one or more in houses further away covering the approaches. As a result the Pl was held by fire in the open some 200-300 yards from the objective. In addition to automatic small arms fire the Pl was subjected to consistent small arms fire. It was imperative that the house should be taken in order to get some cover around which the Coy could dig in.
Unaccompanied, Cpl Pervin worked his way forward and mainly by crawling outflanked the Spandau post outside Ca Vinina. The 200 yards which he covered was continually swept by fire and harassed by mortars. Using his Tommy Gun he destroyed the enemy manning the Spandau post and then proceeded to draw attention to himself by throwing grenades. As a result, the enemy concentrated fire in his direction and the short diversion enabled the remainder of his Pl to rush forward and take the house.As a result of Cpl Pervin’s expert use of fieldcraft and of his own complete disregard for personal safety he himself destroyed an enemy Spandau post and by doing so was responsible for his Pl in capturing Ca Vinina”
CORPORAL G POOLE, 1 LIR.
“During the night of 5/6 Apr ’45 1/LIR made an assault crossing of the R.Reno. L/Cpl Poole was in charge of a Pioneer company responsible for establishing and maintaining a ferry across the river. The ferry was successfully established and in continuous use throughout the night in getting men and supplies across the river. For the greater part of the night the ferry was under constant heavy mortar and shell fire and L/Cpl Poole directed the operations on the ferry with great determination and courage. At one stage, the ferry was sunk by mortar fire. Without hesitation, L/Cpl Poole brought another boat forward and established it in place of the sunken craft. Throughout the operation, he was under continual mortar fire which in no way deterred him. The following day, the ferry continued to operate despite the fire that it was continually sniped throughout the morning.
On the afternoon of 7 Apr, L/Cpl Poole volunteered to go forward to search for enemy mines which were impeding the advance of another battalion. Together with Rfn Whelan, he lifted a number of schu-mines and prepared charges. During the operation, a prepared charge exploded and severely wounded Rfn Whelan. L/Cpl Poole was slightly wounded but despite this he unhesitatingly went forward and carried Rfn Whelan to safety. His leadership, courage and devotion to duty was an example to all who served with him.”
RIFLEMAN TH RAMSDEN, 1 LIR.
“On 18 Sep ’44, on the Marano river, Rfn Ramsden was acting as stretcher bearer with A Coy, who were advancing across the river under observed fire from the enemy. At the crossing place, a very heavy concentration of shell and mortar fire was brought down on the Coy and eight men were wounded. The whole area became obscured by dust from the explosions in the dry river bank. Without orders or hesitation, Rfn Ramsden came forward from the rear and dressed the wounds of the casualties and arranged their evacuation to a place of comparative safety. He then began the long and tedious climb back up the hill carrying casualties to the RAP. Here again a concentration of shells and mortars fell on his party and it was completely obscured from view by the dust, forcing all the party to take what cover was available. After this second severe shelling there was no one willing to continue the evacuation of the casualties except Rfn Ramsden, who by example and encouragement got the party going once more and took them back to the RAP from which he returned immediately to his Coy.
On this and every occasion during this advance, his example of cheerful determination and disregard for personal safety was an inspiration to all with whom he came in contact and the speedy evacuation of casualties undoubtedly saved the lives of several wounded men.”
RIFLEMAN CJ SPAIN, 1 LIR.
“On the night 23/24 Feb ’45, 12 Pl B Coy 1/LIR advanced and occupied positions on the East bank of the River Senio. Whilst the Pl were digging in and wiring their position an enemy Spandau opened fire on them from approx 100 yards range. Without hesitation, Rfn Spain crawled to the top of the river bank completely exposing himself to the enemy fire, and engaged the Spandau with his PIAT scoring a direct hit and silencing the post.
At about 1100 hours on the 24 Feb three enemy were seen to enter a weapon pit on the near bank. Rfn Spain again crawled to the top of the bank, and from a completely exposed position engaged the enemy post. Although under direct fire, he continued to fire his PIAT until with his fifth bomb he scored a direct hit on the post destroying it. Five enemy stretcher bearers were seen to cross the river later, and evacuate two stretcher cases. It is probable that any other occupants were occupied. By his initiative, cool determination, and complete disregard for his own personal safety, Rfn Spain accounted for two enemy posts and at least three enemy. His actions were an inspiration to the remained of the Platoon.”
RIFLEMAN H SPARROW, 1 LIR.
“On 10 Sep ’44, Rfn Sparrow was Pl runner to 11 Pl, B Coy, 1/LIR in the area of San Savino cemetery. The Coy was dug in on a bare hill under full observation of the enemy and under almost continual shell and mortar fire for 48 hours. During this period, on several occasions, Rfn Sparrow was despatched by daylight carrying important messages to Coy HQ, some 300 yards away. On one of these occasions he was blown into the air by the blast of a mortar bomb, In spite of this, he refused to be replaced by another man and all the messages were safely delivered. On 10 Sep ’44 at 2300 hours he was a member of a patrol, which was investigating an area where three Spandaus had been located. As the patrol started, a large shell landed near blowing him off his feet and severely shaking him. The patrol officer suggested to him that he should return to his Coy to recover but he refused to be relieved and continued with the patrol.
His example of courage and determination was an inspiration to the Platoon and directly contributed to the success of this patrol which brought back valuable information of the enemy positions.”
L/CORPORAL P STACK, 1 LIR.
“On 13 Apr ’45, C Coy 1/LIR were ordered to attack an enemy strong point at Pallazzo Tamba. The enemy was offering extremely strong resistance from this point which was subsequently found to have been manned by personnel of a strong NCOs’ cadre. C Coy were met by withering from numerous concealed MG and sniping positions and, having sustained a number of casualties, were ordered to withdraw. By this time, L/Cpl Stack, leading his section with great dash, had got to within 30 yards of enemy MG positions. L/Cpl Stack, who had little or no infantry experience and who had only just taken over command of his section when his Section Commander had become a casualty, the proceeded to extricate his section from a very dangerous position with great skill and disregard for his personal safety. The immediate area was quite devoid of cover but L/Cpl Stack remained in the open firing his TMG at point blank range until his section had withdrawn to safety. That his section was not badly cut up was entirely due to L/Cpl Stack’s rapid appreciation and selfless conduct. He then rejoined his section, and with a fine display of leadership, continued to engage the enemy whilst the rest of Pl withdrew.
The previous night, at about 2330 hours, when his Pl had lost contact with Coy HQ, L/Cpl Stack, although he had only just finished a long fighting advance, volunteered to go out and try to locate them. The area which L/Cpl Stack had to traverse was subjected to heavy mortar fire, but in spite of this and having to swim across two canals, he succeeded in his task.
L/Cpl Stack has repeatedly volunteered for dangerous patrols from which his reports have invariably been accurate and his leadership of the highest order. These actions are typical of the fighting qualities of this NCO whose behaviour in battle throughout the period from the initial crossing of the R. Reno to the R.Po was exemplary and inspired the complete confidence of his section at all times.”
L/CORPORAL G TATE, 1 LIR.
“On 13 Apr ’45, D Coy 1/LIR were ordered to attack and destroy an enemy strongpoint in the Pal Tamba area. This enemy position had held up the advance of 1/LIR for some six hours, and had already withstood one company attack and continued mortar and artillery fire. The position was based on a number of fortified houses with dug posts along the North bank of the R.Reno. The platoon, in which L/Cpl Tate was 2i/c of a section, was held up by fire from an enemy Spandau post which covered an SP gun. The very open ground made it impossible for the Pl to get forward in the face of this fire. With complete disregard for his own safely. L/Cpl Tate rushed forward and silenced the machine gun with his Tommy gun, wiping out the crew. He then proceeded with a view to attacking the SP gun, but the enemy realising their covering position had been destroyed withdrew before he could reach them. The action of L/Cpl Tate so inspired the remainder of the Pl that they quickly attained their objective. By his outstanding courage and quick thinking L/Cpl Tate destroyed a key enemy position, killed several enemy and put to flight an SP gun, besides paving the way for his Platoon to achieve their objective.”
RIFLEMAN HJ THRUSH, 2 LIR.
“During the attack over the Conselice Canal south of Lavenzola on 13 Apr ’45, Rfn Thrush’s Platoon came under heavy small arms fire before crossing the canal. Spotting an enemy machine gun which covered the canal crossings from the other bank he doubled to a fire position engaging it with such accuracy that the platoon was able to cross on their second attempt. He was wounded in the buttock, whilst the butt of his Bren Gun was also hit by a bullet. He remained in action for over an hour after his incident before reporting to the RAP. He refused to be evacuated and was eventually sent to A Echelon. He returned repeatedly with the ration truck trying to obtain permission to rejoin his Platoon. This was granted after his third request and he was very soon in action again. This rifleman’s courage and determination has set a magnificent example to his Platoon.”
CORPORAL L TOMKINSON, 2 LIR.
“Cpl Tomkinson commanded the right leading section in the attack on Casa Spinello on 23 Oct ’44. His task was to capture and consolidate in the second house on the feature. During the initial assault most of the section were wounded and only Cpl Tomkinson and one Rfn were left to complete the task.
This NCO ran forward on his own round the right hand side of the house disregarding the heavy MG fire that was brought to bear on him from the rear and right of the house, and the grenades that were being thrown from the back. From a position he took up by the right corner of the house, he beat down every opposition from the rear rooms and the back of the house with his sub machine gun and grenades. He then entered the house and started to clear the rear rooms. 14 German prisoners mostly wounded were taken from the positions and rooms which he had silenced.
The determination, gallantry and example of this NCO, who has been fighting continuously since Jan ’43 was quite outstanding and undoubtedly saved his Company many casualties.”
CORPORAL JA VALE, 1 LIR.
“On 18 Sep ’44, this NCO was commanding a section in B Coy, 1/LIR. On 18 Sep whilst crossing the Morano river his Coy was caught in a concentration of Mortar and Shell fire and Spandau fire was opened at long range. Several men in his Pl were wounded and the remainder of the Coy took cover. Cpl Vale with complete disregard for his personal safety left his cover and carried one of the wounded men in from the open, rendering first aid and arranged for his evacuation. The Coy then moved onto Cortellini and carried out a successful attack at dusk. On the night 19/20 Sep the company carried out a night attack across the Ausa and at dawn a German counter attack was made on their position, supported by Spandau fire and an S.P. gun. His section which was in the open consisted of five men and suffered two casualties. Cpl Vale raided the remainder and returned the fire until ordered to move to cover.
Whilst still under very heavy cross fire, he led his section in the counter attack which was then ordered and assisted in destroying two enemy Spandau posts, himself disposing of a sniper with his TMG.
During these two attacks the exemplary leadership of this NCO contributed largely to the success of the operation. His coolness and courage under fire was an example to all with whom he came in contact.”
CORPORAL WH WARDLE, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 10/11 Feb ’45, 10 platoon B Coy 1/LIR was occupying a forward position, which was an infiltration into the enemy position, with Cpl Wardle’s section positioned on the slope of the flood bank of the R. Senio at Palazzo Bolzaca. The enemy had a number of positions on the reverse of the same bank and occupied numerous houses in Cotignola which overlooked the platoon positions. It was known that certain areas of the top bank were mined and also all the reverse slopes of the flood bank which Cpl Wardle’s section occupied. An enemy Spandau position had been established immediately opposite the section position and was a continuous danger with its harassing fire. One man had been killed with some type of explosive projectile from this enemy position.
Three times during this night, Cpl Wardle volunteered to crawl to the top of the bank and fire directly with the PIAT at the position. With complete disregard for his own safety and although entirely exposed to enemy fire and grenades, Cpl Wardle’s shooting was most accurate and at least two hits were observed. As a result of his action there was no further trouble from that position that night. It was then decided to use phosphorous grenades on suspected Cotignola positions from which heavy harassing fire was coming. It was found impossible to throw the grenades from the section position. Cpl Wardle again climbed to the top of the bank and standing there fully exposed he threw several grenades with apparently most successful results. Cpl Wardle displayed outstanding courage and leadership throughout and was a tremendous inspiration to the men under his command in their task of holding an exposed position which was continually subjected to heavy fire of all natures.”
RIFLEMAN EC WARREN, 2 LIR.
“On the evening of 21 Oct ’44 H Coy attacked Hill 387 North of Monte Pieve, Rfn Warren was attached to the Coy as a stretcher bearer.
The attack went in under extremely heavy small arms and mortar opposition, casualties were high and eventually the remnants of the Coy consolidated what gains had been made.During all the fighting and through the many hours of darkness, Rfn Warren kept enthusiastically at his job, always cheerful regardless of his own safety and on at least three occasions going forward of our lines to bring in wounded or to make certain whether a comrade was dead or not. Rfn Warren displayed great courage during this engagement, as he has always down in the past and further to doing his job, he is an inspiration to the men around him around him in and out of battle and is very deservedly worthy of recognition for this action.”
RIFLEMAN M WHELAN, 2 LIR.
“During the night of 5/6 Apr ’45 1/LIR made an assault crossing of the R.Reno. Rfn Whelan was one of a Pioneer party who established a ferry across the river in Square 5252. Throughout the night, Rfn Whelan manned the ferry boat and operated it continuously in getting across troops and supplies. He showed the greatest courage, endurance and fortitude in carrying out this task in difficult conditions and under continual mortar and shell fire. It was largely due to his personal efforts that men and supplies reached the North side of the river.
Early in the morning of 6 Apr, the Battle Patrol were ordered to attack a post about 200 yds east of the ferry on the north bank of the river. Rfn Whelan volunteered to go with the Battle Patrol to look for enemy mines. He went forward of the patrol in order to probe for mines and was under Spandau fire from the enemy post for most of the time.
On the afternoon of the 7 Apr, Rfn Whelan again offered to go forward to search for enemy mines, which were hindering the advance of another Bttn. Together with L/Cpl Poole he probed through a mine field until he was unfortunately wounded by a mine exploding causing the loss of a foot.
His courage and devotion to duty were an example to all around him and played a great part in the success of the operation.”
L/SERGEANT F WHITE, 1 LIR.
“On the night of 5/6 Apr ’45, 1/LIR was ordered to make an assault crossing of the R Reno, which was strongly fortified and held by the enemy. Cpl White of the Signal Pl was responsible for the laying and maintenance of line comms first to the south bank and shortly afterwards to the forward coys and supply dumps on the far side of the river in square 5252. The whole area was subject to heavy and accurate mortar and artillery fire and on the far side of the river to small arms fire from heavy defensive posts. Many times during the night and morning of the 6 Apr, Cpl White took out the line party either laying extensions to the lines or mending breaks caused by shell fire. At no time during this period did Cpl White delay his work or show the least anxiety for his personal safety in spite of continual and at times very heavy enemy fire. His high sense of duty, leadership and determination to maintain the line comms at all costs was a great inspiration to his party. His party undoubtedly had a definite bearing on the excesses of the operation in which the maintenance of good comms was of the utmost importance.
Cpl White, as a member of the Signal Platoon has shown the same efficiency, sense of duty and courage throughout in every action in which the Bttn has been engaged throughout the whole Italian campaign.”
RIFLEMAN T WHITESIDE, 2 LIR.
“At Heidous on 23 Apr ’43, when his Coy had been held up after repeated assaults on the village at night, Rfn Whiteside accompanied his Coy Commander in a final attempt to dislodge the enemy from his positions by stalking the remaining posts. Rfn Whiteside preceded his Coy Commander. These two were successful in destroying several enemy posts, during which Whiteside showed complete disregard for personal safety and continued to act with great gallantry until he was knocked senseless by a grenade.”
CORPORAL CA WILSON, 1 LIR.
“On 7 Feb ’44 at Caracetto during the fierce fighting that developed that day in the area of the Factory, Corporal Wilson saw another NCO of his Coy fall badly wounded some 150 yds in front of his position. Stretcher bearers went out immediately to bring in the wounded man but before reaching him were themselves wounded. Despite this and also the fact that the intervening ground was being swept by small arms fire and was being heavily mortared, Cpl Wilson ran out to help his comrade. He had covered some 100 yds when he himself was wounded. Disregarding his injury he went on undaunted and reached the wounded NCO. Although completely exposed he rendered first aid, ignoring the enemy fire, which had in no way slackened and then calmly and with superb gallantry carried his wounded comrade to safety.”
British Empire Medal (BEM)
SERGEANT J BYE (ARMY CATERING CORPS).
CORPORAL W HUNNEX, 1 LIR.
“Throughout the action (at Fosso Bottaceto, 17th July 1943), ammunition, food, water, and other supplies were sent up from B Echelon at the rear. The staff worked unceasingly, and the battalion were well supplied despite counter-fire by the enemy on the route forward.
The CQMS of D Company was wounded, and as no senior non-commissioned officer could be spared a young corporal, AW Hunnex, who was at B Echelon with an injured foot, took over the quartermastering duties. Working for long periods over difficult country and with a shortage of equipment and transport, he never failed to get the supplies through to his company. So well did he carry out his task that he carried on as acting-CQMS for three weeks until the company quartermaster returned from hospital. For his invaluable services Corporal Hunnex was awarded the BEM. (The London Irish At War).
American Silver Star
CORPORAL RG BUSH.
CSM GJ CHARNICK, 2 LIR.
“1. Under the provision of AR-600-45 it is recommended that CSM George Charnick 2nd Bttn London Irish Rifles be awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action on 22nd October 1944.
2. On the night of 22/23 October the London Irish Rifles attacked Hill 387. The attack was pressed home forcibly, but after heavy casualties on both sides the LIR had to withdraw slightly, as they had pushed on too far thus exposing their right flank. A supply train followed up the attack but in the dark and under the confusion caused by heavy mortaring and shelling it ran into a minefield.
3a) The terrain was steep – there were few tracks or marked routes – enemy minefields were known to exist but were uncharted or marked.
b) The night was fine, in its early stages, and then poured with rain making visibility nil.
c) The enemy was prepared to resist all attack and fought stubbornly – mortaring of all back areas was nearly continuous.
d) Morale on both sides was high.
e) The battalions had 3 officer and 20 OR casualties, including some bringing up supplies.
f) The effect of this deed was to bring up essential supplies and also save the life of at least one man.
4) To my knowledge the facts as stated in this citation are true.
5) At the time of the incident CSM Charnick held his present rank of W/Warrant Officer Class II.
6) Since the 22 Oct CSM Charnick has continued to serve this battalion with honour, credit and devotion.
7) He has no other awards.
8a) No 7015855 CSM Charnick G, 2nd Bttn London Irish Rifles, Infantry, British Army for gallantry in action on the night of 22nd October in the vicinity of Monte Spaduro.
b) CSM Charnick was left at Battalion HQ to organise ammunition supplies while his company moved to repel an enemy counter attack. During the night his company became heavily engaged and part of it ran in to an enemy minefield. Without guides this warrant officer led up an ammunition party to contact the company who were in a farm which was being counter attacked by the enemy. He delivered the ammunition and himself organised and effected the removal of two wounded officers and two wounded men from the interior of an enemy minefield. All this was done under intense enemy shell and MG fire in the middle of the night over unknown terrain which had only been captured during that evening. CSM Charnick’s energy and gallantry in the face of unknown dangers not only had a great bearing on the success of the operation but saved the life of at least one man.
c) He has served in a front line unit since the beginning of the North African campaign and has been twice wounded. Entered service from 25th April 1939. His home address is Dagenham, Essex, England.”
American Bronze Star
SERGEANT FJ PARSONS.
Mention In Dispatches:
LIEUTENANT D AITKENHEAD.
CORPORAL F ALLEN.
SERGEANT HE ALLEN.
RIFLEMAN H ALLENSTEIN.
CAPTAIN HF ANDREWS.
LIEUTENANT T BARRY.
RIFLEMAN RB BAXTER.
L/SERGEANT F BELLIS.
SERGEANT E BIRD.
RIFLEMAN G BISHOP.
RIFLEMAN D BLACK.
2/LIEUTENANT FW BRIANT.
RIFLEMAN JW BROWN.
L/CORPORAL H BUTLER.
SERGEANT FD BYRNE.
CSM GJ CHARNICK.
CSM AF CLARKE.
RIFLEMAN SC CLAXTON.
RIFLEMAN JF COLLINS.
CORPORAL R COOPER.
L/CORPORAL MF CORP.
CQMS E COX.
CORPORAL A DONAGHY.
MAJOR NW DORRITY.
L/CORPORAL WJ DYER.
RIFLEMAN JR FAIRMAN.
MAJOR G FITZGERALD.
RIFLEMAN H FLAHERTY.
CSM H FORD.
RSM W FRAZER.
L/CORPORAL C FURR.
MAJOR H ST G GALLAHER.
RIFLEMAN S GEDDES.
RSM W GIRVIN.
LT-COL IM GOFF.
LT-COL IH GOOD.
CORPORAL WC GOUGH.
LIEUTENANT WH GREEN-ARMYTAGE.
RIFLEMAN WJ HAGUE.
CORPORAL J HAMILTON.
CSM GH HAWKINS.
RIFLEMAN W HENNESSEY.
CQMS G HERLIHY.
RQMS J HEWITT.
RIFLEMAN RP HILL.
CORPORAL H HOLDEN.
CORPORAL D HUGHES.
SERGEANT NA JOHNSTON.
SERGEANT CH JONES.
CQMS CJ JONES.
SERGEANT C LEWERS.
RIFLEMAN J LIGHTBODY.
CORPORAL JW LINEHAN.
RIFLEMAN R LINIHAN.
MAJOR JD LOFTING.
SERGEANT E LOGUE.
LIEUTENANT KJ LOVAT.
SERGEANT HP MACKENZIE.
LIEUTENANT WE MARTIN.
RIFLEMAN B MAWDESLEY.
CAPTAIN HG MCCLELLAN.
LIEUTENANT M MCGRANAHAN.
CORPORAL W MCKEE.
SERGEANT J MCMILLEN.
CQMS JD MEIGHAN.
LIEUTENANT CRW MILLEN.
CAPTAIN K NEELY (TWICE).
SERGEANT A NORMAN.
L/CORPORAL A NORTH.
L/SERGEANT C O’CONNOR.
CAPTAIN JD O’ROURKE.
CQMS E O’SULLIVAN.
SERGEANT FJ PARSONS.
L/SERGEANT G PERRY.
CSM GA PLUMMER.
CQMS RN PRUDHOE.
SERGEANT RW REECE.
LIEUTENANT JV REYNOLDS.
CORPORAL WE ROBERTS.
CSM AGL ROBINSON.
SERGEANT HJ SADLER (ACC).
RIFLEMAN PT SALMON.
CAPTAIN SH SHARP.
CQMS JE SHEEHAN.
RSM GP SLATTERY.
CAPTAIN AW SOUTAR.
RIFLEMAN T STABIELLI.
MAJOR TJ SWEENEY.
SGT EC THURSTON.
RIFLEMAN G THOMAS.
CAPTAIN PJ TOAL.
RIFLEMAN RP TODD.
RIFLEMAN EW TURLAND.
CQMS WJ TURVEY.
CORPORAL C WALLACE.
CORPORAL J WALSH.
RIFLEMAN LBH WATTS.
CAPTAIN RA WIGGER.
CAPTAIN T WILSON.
MAJOR AD WOODS, MC.
L/SERGEANT WG WOOLF.
SERGEANT JW YOUNG.