The Military Medal (MM) was awarded to personnel of below commissioned rank for bravery in battle on land.
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
“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
“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 Inniskillings 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, 1 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 Sanfatucchio/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 TMG 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 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 TE 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, which was 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 of 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 Oxs 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 4.2in mortar detachment 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 manouvering 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 Fossacesia 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 grasped 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 1/2 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.G. 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, 1 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 Mc Nally 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 handed 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 field craft 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 of 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 was 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, he 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 was 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 was 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, 1 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 Caraceto 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 yards 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 yards 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.”