Men and women from west Wales served in every operational theatre of war during the Second World War, as well as serving in every branch of the armed forces. This page commemorates those from Pembrokeshire who gained gallantry awards during the conflict. It is very much a work in progress and more details will be added as they become available.
Pembrokeshire WW2 Heroes
Llewellyn Arthur Augustus Alston, CBE, DSO, MC, Colonel, 1739, Royal Welch Fusiliers. (Wolfscastle). Llewellyn had commanded the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, before being attaché to the US Army in France. As well as being awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross, he was created C.B.E. on 18 September 1945. On 30 December 1947 the London Gazette also acknowledged his award of the USA Legion of Merit, the citation reading: ‘The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit, in the Degree of Officer to Colonel Llewellyn Arthur Augustus Alston, British Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States from September 1944 to May 1945. General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 27.’
Thomas Ivor Cavell Anthony, MID, Stoker, LT/KX, 103338, Royal Navy. (Haverfordwest). Thomas was mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette of 2 June 1944.
Hugh Baker, MBE, MC, Captain, 187147, Gordon Highlanders. (Pembroke Dock). Hugh was commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders, but was attached to 116 Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, which served in Burma. He had been educated at Pembroke Council School. He was recommended for the Military Cross by his CO, Lieutenant Colonel Blackater, who wrote in the citation: ‘Capt H Baker, 116 Regt (Gordons) RAC, has commanded a Troop in operations since 10 Feb 45. He has been engaged in 45 actions. This Officer has shown outstanding keenness in his desire to close with the enemy, and many actions have been brought to a successful conclusion through his forcefulness and initiative. He has at all times displayed the highest qualities of leadership. At Neakaing, in co-operation with 2 KOSB, his troop, by moving to the rear of the village, accounted for forty-two of the enemy who would otherwise have escaped, and during the operations to clear Myingan, his troop unsupported, cleared the northern portion of the town, continuing the action until darkness and the retreat of the enemy left the area completely in our hands. His award of the Military Cross was published in the London Gazette of 15 January 1946. He served with the Territorial Army after the war, and was awarded the MBE in 1964 for his services.
Karel Becvar, DFC, Flight Lieutenant (W/Op), 82587, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Talbenny). Karel was a Czech airman who had escaped to Britain and joined 311 (Czech) Squadron, RAF, based at RAF Talbenny. He was recommended for the Distinguished Service Order after carrying out 35 sorties, mostly over Berlin, and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was approved on 12 March 1942. He was killed on a raid on 18 August 1942.
William James Boast, DSM, MID, Chief Engineer, Fishing Fleet. (Milford). William was born on 5 June 1881, the son of William and Mary Ann Boast, of Yarmouth. He married Sarah Susannah Willgrass at Yarmouth in 1903, and by 1910 the couple had moved to 45, Great North Road, Milford Haven. He had served with the Royal Naval Reserve during WW1, and was mentioned in despatches on 27 June 1917 as well as being awarded the Distinguished Service Medal on 31 December 1917. He lived at Neyland after the war, and his wife Sarah died there in 1933. During WW2 William served as Chief Engineer of the Fishing Vessel Charmouth. On 14 November 1946 William was one of nine men killed when a mine blew up in the ships nets after being snagged. William was 65 years old and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. William’s body was later reported to have been brought to Milford Haven for burial.
Thomas Bowen, MBE, Major, Home Guard. (Pembroke). Thomas was awarded the MBE for services with the 3rd Battalion, Pembroke Home Guard. The award was published in the London Gazette of 15 December 1944.
George Kircup Brantingham, BEM, Chargeman of Fitters, RN Mine Depot. (Milford). George was from Wallsend, Northumberland and served as Chargehand of Fitters at the Royal Naval Mine Depot, Milford Haven. His award of the British Empire Medal was published in the London Gazette of 1 January 1944, in the New Year’s Honours List. George died at Milford on 30 Jan 1961, aged 70. His father was killed during the sinking of HMS Aboukir on 22 Sep 1914, during the catastrophe when the three ships, Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue were sunk by the infamous German submarine U-9.
Michael Bryant, BEM, Corporal, 1913949, Royal Engineers. (Haverfordwest). Michael enlisted on 19 January 1940, and served in France with 684 GC Company, Royal Engineers, before being evacuated from Dunkirk with the BEF. After returning from Dunkirk, Michael was awarded the British Empire Medal for his gallantry after rescuing a man from the wreckage of a bombed house in Castle Street, Clydebank, Scotland. He was then posted to 934 Port Construction and Repair Company, Royal Engineers, and landed back in France on 11 July 1944, his unit being involved in the construction and repair of pontoon bridges. Michael was killed during a road accident in Germany on 18 April 1945. He was 30 years old, and is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Arthur George Frederick Campodonic, MBE, MID, Pilot Officer, 51613, Royal Air Force. (Pembroke). Arthur was a former pupil of Pembroke Council School. He was mentioned in despatches and awarded the MBE for his services in the Middle East.
David Frank Crow, MID, Petty Officer, P/J 109258, Royal Navy. (Pembroke Dock). David was the son of Walter and Annie Maria Crow, and the husband of Rosalie Alice Crow, of Bournemouth, Hampshire. He was serving aboard the destroyer H.M.S. Puckeridge when she was attacked by German aircraft off the Welsh coast on 13 December 1941, and was one of 18 men killed aboard her that day. David was 36 years old, and is buried at Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery. He was posthumously mentioned in despatches for his gallant work following the attack, the citation being published in the London Gazette of 17 February 1942: ‘Petty Officer-David Frank Crow, P/5.109258. Who, though badly shaken by blast from a bomb, took charge of a party when a fire broke out in his ship, and by his dauntless courage, leadership and humour inspired all who worked with him, until the fire was put out. He then took charge of the forecastle, when the ship was taken in tow, and in harbour saw to the landing of the wounded. Only then did he himself report sick. Soon afterwards he died of his injuries.’
Howard Earl Dabbs, DFC, Pilot Officer (Pilot), J/15608, Royal Canadian Air Force. Howard was the son of William L. Dabbs and Florence D. Dabbs, of Daysland, Alberta, Canada. Howard enlisted into the Royal Canadian Air Force, and was posted to 101 (Royal Air Force) Squadron, based at Holme Upon Spalding Moor. He was an experienced pilot, having flown in eight raids in Wellington’s and a further four in Lancaster’s, and had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross just four days before his final mission. The citation, published in the London Gazette of 15 December 1942, read; ‘One night in December, 1942, this officer was pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt. When nearing the target area, his aircraft, whilst held in a cone of searchlights was hit by anti-aircraft fire and one of its engines was put out of action. Despite this, Pilot Officer Dabbs flew on to his target but, as the bomb release mechanism was unserviceable, he was unable to drop his bombs. Displaying skilful airmanship he flew his aircraft back to this country without the assistance of wireless aids. With a full bomb load he made a masterly landing in poor visibility. This officer’s skill and determination in the face of adverse circumstances set an example worthy of the highest praise. He has flown on several sorties with distinction.’ On the night of 6 December 1942, Howard took off in his Lancaster, Serial ED322, bound for Mannheim. On the return leg the following morning, the Lancaster became lost over the Pembrokeshire coast, and crashed into the sea off Tenby, killing the crew. Over the next ten days, four bodies washed ashore on various beaches in the area. Howard’s body was one of these, and he is buried in Carew (St. Mary) New Churchyard. He was just 20 years old. The three other crewmen were not recovered and are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, England.
Harold Davey, MBE, Captain, 68698, Royal Engineers. (Pembroke Dock). Harold served with the Royal Engineers and was posted to their Base Depot in Palestine. He was recommended for the award of the Member of the British Empire by his CO, who wrote: ‘This officer has been carrying out the duties of S.S.W. at these HQrs for the last 2 years. During this period, and especially during the last year, the Works Services programme has been extremely heavy and Major Davey has in consequence been called upon to work excessively long hours for long periods. He himself has been responsible for the letting of contracts to the value of about 2 ½ Million Pounds in the last year, and in addition has been responsible for the supervision of the S.Ws on the staffs of D.C.E. Aerodromes and six Cs.R.E., who have let contracts to a total value of about 4 Million Pounds. Major Davey has never spared himself; is always ready to take on more work and has shown himself to be a most capable and efficient officer. It is very largely due to Major Davey’s efficiency and extremely hard work that the Contracts in this Command have been carried out in a most satisfactory manner.’ His award of the MBE was published in the London Gazette of 16 February 1943.
David John Davies, OBE, Chief Officer, Merchant Navy. (Milford). David was awarded the Lloyd’s Medal for Lifesaving at Sea and the OBE, following the sinking of his ship, the SS Athelknight, in May 1942. The award was published in the London Gazette of 26 May 1942. He, along with the Captain and a number of survivors, managed to survive an epic rescue of fifty crew members in two lifeboats. David’s boat reached the Leeward Isles after 27 days at sea.
Edward Vaughan Davies, CMG, DSO, OBE, Master, Merchant Navy. (Llanrhian). Edward served as Master of the SS Apapa when she was bombed by a German Kondor aircraft and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean on 15 November 1940. There were two hundred and twenty-nine survivors including the master, Capt. Davies, but five passengers and eighteen crew members perished. His award of the OBE was published in the London Gazette of 1 January 1942. He was also awarded the Czechoslovak Military Cross, 1939. The award was published in the London Gazette of 15 September 1942 and read: ‘The KING has been graciously pleased to grant unrestricted permission for the wearing of the Czechoslovak Military Cross, 1939, which has been conferred by the President of the Czechoslovak Republic upon the undermentioned Officers and Men of the Merchant Navy in recognition of their gallant conduct during the withdrawal of Czechoslovak troops from France in June, 1940.’
Jack Davies, MID, Captain. (Neyland). Jack was a former pupil of Pembroke Council School and was reported to have been Mentioned in Despatches just prior to being demobilised. Nothing more is presently known of him.
Vaughan Ninian Startin Davies, DSC, Lieutenant (Pilot), Royal Naval Reserve. (Llanrhian). Vaughan’s award of the Distinguished Service Cross was published in the London Gazette of 24 April 1942. The citation read: ‘For sustained courage, skill and enterprise in many air operations by night and day, against the Enemy in the Mediterranean.’
Frederick Albert Denney, CdeG, Flight Lieutenant, Royal Air Force. (Pembroke). Frederick was reputedly mentioned in despatches during the war. The report stated: ‘Flt/ Lt. F. A. Denney has been awarded the Croix de Guerre with gold star. He joined the R.A.F. at the beginning of the war and became an expert parachutist, taking an important part in the training of French personnel attached to Special Service units. It was for this work and for the part he played in subsequent operational sorties that the honour was conferred on him. He was very closely associated with the training of men of the French Resistance movement, and accompanied them as a dispatcher on their operational missions over Occupied Europe. The citation states that he was at all times an inspiration to the men under his command.’
John Dick, DSM, Leading Stoker, P/KX 92859, Royal Navy. (Freshwater West). John was the son of Andrew and Isabella Dick, of Inverkeithing, Fife. He was 23 years old when he drowned following the HMLCG(L) 16 disaster in Freshwater Bay on 26 April 1943, and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire. John had been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his gallantry earlier in the war.
Cecil Percival Dorsett, MID, Lance Corporal, 6098255, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. (Haverfordwest). Cecil was the son of Percival and Gladys Clara Dorsett, of Wolverhampton. He married Evelyn Pearl Phillips, of Haverfordwest in 1941. Cecil served with 6th Battalion, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. The battalion had taken part in the retreat to Dunkirk, before embarking for North Africa. Cecil was killed during Operation Vulcan, the final offensive against the Afrika Korps. He was 26 years old, and is buried at Oued Zarga War Cemetery, Tunisia. He had been mentioned in despatches at some time during the war.
Hugo Dostal, DFM, Sergeant (Pilot), 787536, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Talbenny). Hugo was a Czech Pilot who had fled to England following the German invasion of his country and joined 311 (Czech) Squadron, RAF at RAF Talbenny. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal at some time prior to being killed during a mission on 15 July 1942.
Vivian Dykes, CBE, DSM, Brigadier, P15128, Royal Engineers. (Talbenny). Vivian was the son of Alfred Herbert Dykes, J.P., and of Annie Louise Dykes (nee Jassmann) and the husband of Ada Winifred Dykes, of Camberley. He had a long and distinguished military career, after being commissioned into the Royal Engineers during WW1 and was already CBE when he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (USA) by the American government on 23 February 1943. He served at RAF Talbenny and died there on 29 January 1943 aged 44. He is buried in Yorktown (St. Michael) Churchyard, Surrey.
Arthur Benjamin Dyson, MID, D/J 88384, Leading Seaman. (Saundersfoot). Arthur was mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette of 2 June 1944.
Gordon James Edwards, DFC, Pilot Officer, 177700, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Milford). Gordon was the son of Bertram and Mary Jane Edwards, of Milford Haven. He served as Pilot with 405 Squadron, RAFVR. The Squadron was designated a Canadian Squadron, and was equipped with the Lancaster heavy bomber from mid 1943 onwards, when it was also selected to be a Pathfinder Squadron, one of the elite Squadrons of the RAF. Gordon had earned himself the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was listed in the London Gazette of 28 July 1944, although there is no citation to say why he was awarded it. He was killed when his Lancaster, serial PB527, crashed in the North Sea on 16 September 1944 during a bombing raid to Kiel. All of the crew perished. Gordon was 23 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Out of the crew, one man is buried in Sønderho, one in Esbjerg and five have no known grave.
John Edwards, BEM, Sergeant, Home Guard. (Pembroke). John served with the 1st Battalion, Pembroke Home Guard. His award of the BEM was published in the London Gazette of 12 December 1944 and was in recognition of Meritorious Service in the Home Guard.
Brian Herbert Victor Evans, MC, Second Lieutenant, 85657, Welch Regiment. (Cresselly). Brian was born at Pembroke on 24 March 1919, the son of Lieutenant William Sandford Evans, MBE, of the Welsh Regiment, and Violet Elinor Spencer Evans (nee Lewin). He followed in his fathers footsteps, gaining a commission into the Welch Regiment, and was posted to the Middle East with the 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment. The battalion was in Palestine when war broke out then in November 1939 was despatched to Egypt. Before the Welch managed to get into action against the Italians, the battalion was sent to Crete, where it became virtually annihilated following the German invasion which opened on 20 May 1941. Brian was in command of a company of the 1st Welch which saw heavy fighting over the coming days. His commanding officer later wrote the following citation of his gallant work, which resulted in his being awarded the Military Cross: ‘Under his command on May 20th his Company were responsible for shooting down 4 gliders with small arms fire which were about to land in his area and subsequently destroyed a large number of parachutists who had established themselves in strong positions in front of him. On the 27th May his Company held a forward position West of Canea Bridge. Although about 100 of his men had become casualties after 4 hours had elapsed he hung on with the remainder though wounded himself until finally ordered to withdraw. He was subsequently wounded again while reporting at Bn. H.Q., but he continued to Command what remained of his Company in their withdrawal and to show the same disregard for his own safety.’ The award was signed off by Geral Bernard Freyberg, VC and Brian’s award of the Military Cross was published in the London Gazette of 4 November 1941. Brian returned to Pembrokeshire after the war and in 1965 married Auriol Joan Bartlett Harrison-Allen. The couple resided at Cresselly until Brian’s death on 18 August 1978.
Charles Henry Evans, MBE, Warrant Ordnance Officer, Royal Navy. (Haverfordwest). Charles was the son of Joseph George Evans and Lily Evans, of Haverfordwest. He served with the Royal Navy aboard HMS Tyne, a Destroyer Depot Ship. Charles died on 29 October 1944, aged 44, and is buried at Haverfordwest (St. Thomas A Becket) Churchyard. Charles is not commemorated at Haverfordwest.
James Morgan Evans, MC, Lieutenant, 4th Gurkha Rifles. (Tenby). James served with the 1st Battalion, 4th Gurkha Rifles. He was recommended for the award of the Military Cross by his CO, who wrote: ‘During the earlier part of the action fought by the 1st Bn 4th P.W.O. Gurkha Rifles in the Pimpi area of the Chin Hills on 28 Nov 43, Lt Evans accompanied the Bn Command Post and controlled its Gurkha personnel in his capacity as Signals and Intelligence Officer. By about 0245 hrs the two companies attacking the Jap position on the Point 5151 feature – which dominated the area – appeared to have overrun their objectives and the Command Post party moved up that hill to superintend consolidation and secure observation of our own artillery fire. During this move Lt Evans directed with skill and success the fire of the small unit Intelligence group with the Command Post against Jap tree snipers and nuisance parties operating on the lower slopes of the hill. Shortly after entering the Jap wire, the Command Post party came under close range light and medium M.G. fire from Jap bunkers which had only temporarily been put out of action by our forward troops, and casualties occurred. Lt Evans was grazed by a bullet which passed between his chest and left arm, but he at once engaged the two nearest bunkers with his small Signals and Intelligence party. He himself remained under heavy fire and threw No. 36 grenades with great coolness and accuracy at the narrow slit in a bunker some 12 yards to his front. As a result the most dangerously placed bunker was once again silenced and Lt Evans was able to get the Command Post wireless set and signallers functioning just below the Jap wire. He also took charge of the Signallers with the Min Bty F.O.O. who had been killed when fire was reopened by the Jap bunkers on the Command Post party, and succeeded in establishing wireless communication with the Bty and directing artillery fire onto the rear of the enemy position. His outstanding example of calm, cheerful and resolute confidence and absolute determination to close with and kill his enemy had a most heartening effect on all forward troops at this critical stage of the battle. Meanwhile all three B.Os with the two Companies in the area of the main Jap defences on the summit of Pt 5151 had become casualties and Lt Evans was placed in temporary command of both Companies. Casualties in these companies had been heavy and most of the men were dispersed behind widely separated bits of cover on both sides of the enemy wire. Jap automatic fire made movement from one part of our forward line to another almost impossible and plans for concerted action were most difficult to implement. Lt Evans, however, moved round his scattered command with complete disregard for his own safety, re-established control, reorganised his platoons and renewed the fire attack with his forward elements and so pinned the enemy while a fresh attack was being mounted by the remaining two companies of the Bn. He then organised evacuation of about 25 wounded, some of whom had to be extricated in difficult and dangerous circumstances from inside the Jap wire. He also had all enemy papers which could be found collected by his Intelligence group. Later, on orders from the Command Post, Lt Evans moved both his companies under excellent control to positions in which they would not mask the fire of the troops carrying out the second attack. He carried out the difficult work from close contact most effectively under cover of a small party which simulated a renewal of the attack. On completion of this move about 1130 hrs Lt Evans resumed his duties as Signals and Intelligence officer with the Command Post and personally operated the wireless set by means of which the companies carrying out the second attack were controlled. All sets with forward companies were operating on the move but under his supervision no single communication link ever failed during the battle. In the concluding phase of the raid Lt Evans formed his Intelligence group into a security party which moved with the Rear Guard and obliterated all evidence of the battle likely to be of use to the Jap. Throughout the action on 23 Nov this young officer, for long periods carrying a responsibility and acting in a capacity much beyond that normally required of his rank, showed exceptional personal courage, leadership, and resource and powers of organisation of a high order. The heavy damage inflicted on the Jap and the successful outcome of the engagement was in no small part due to his initiative, determination, and the confidence he inspired in the troops placed under his command.’ His award of the Military Cross was listed in the London Gazette of 16 March 1944 for his gallantry in Burma.
Dennis Joseph Fitzpatrick, MM, Serjeant, 401023, Royal Armoured Corps. (Milford). Dennis was born on 4 March 1906 at Weymouth, and enlisted into the Cavalry of the Line on 31 January 1927. After postings with the King’s Dragoon Guards, 5th Irish Dragoon Guards, and the 15/19th Hussars, he was finally posted to the 11th Hussars in March 1938. He served with the regiment in Palestine from July to September 1938, for which service his General Service Medal was sent to his mother in October 1945. He continued his service with the 11th Hussars at the outbreak of war. Dennis fought through the North African, Italian and Western Europe Campaigns, and gained the Military Medal for gallantry in North Africa. The citation for his award read; ‘On April 7th, Sgt. Fitzpatrick was in charge of a mortar section mounted in a White Scout Car under command of an Armoured Car Troop Leader. Near Djedida he heard German voices and realised that the troop had been ambushed by a strong force hidden in the olive groves. He quickly warned the Troop Leader and almost at once the troop came under heavy fire from two 88mm guns only 400 yards away and many machine guns. The Troop Leader’s car was knocked out and Sgt. Fitzpatrick, finding it impossible to turn round, ordered his men to dismount just before his own car was knocked out. For the next hour he led his men, encouraging them and crawling through the cornfields under intense fire and later pursued by infantry. Eventually he got them into safety and under cover of darkness the whole section returned to our lines. By his quick action and fine leadership he saved the lives of his men. Sgt. Fitzpatrick has served in the Western Desert since the outbreak of hostilities and at all times he has shown complete disregard for his personal safety. I recommend that he be awarded the Military Medal.’ Dennis then landed with the Regiment in Normandy on D-Day, and fought up though Northern France. through Belgium and into Holland. Dennis was taken captive on September 8, 1944, along with three other 2 troop members between St Nicholas and Kemseke, Holland, during a meeting with a German Mk IV Special Tank, but escaped from his captors, and returned to Britain. He returned to Germany in August 1945, but sadly on 8 September 1945, Dennis was fatally injured in a traffic accident only weeks after returning back to the regiment after escaping captivity. He was 39 years old, and is buried at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany. His medals and battledress tunic were sold at auction in 2003.
Edgar Ivor Flavell, MM, Corporal, 319705, Royal Armoured Corps. (Pembroke Dock). Edgar served with the 12th Royal Lancers. His award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette of 23 March 1944.
Geoffrey Theodore Garratt, MBE, Major, 135713, Pioneer Corps. (Pembroke Dock). Geoffrey was the son of the Reverend Charles Foster Garratt and Agnes Mary Garratt (nee Percival), and the Husband of Annie Beryl Garratt (née Benthall), of Bishopsteignton, Devon. Geoffrey was a well-known man, having studied for his M.A. at Oxford, he was a Justice of the Peace, and the author of several political books, and had been awarded the Member of the British Empire by King George VI whilst a Temporary Captain. The citation for his award read: ‘Of the 5th November, 1941, an officer of the Pioneer Corps was accidentally killed whilst searching for unmarked mines in a minefield. With complete disregard of personal danger, Captain Garratt entered the minefield, which was covered with long grass and extremely dangerous, and brought out the officer’s body.’ Geoffrey was the most senior man killed during the explosion at the defensible barracks at Pembroke Dock on 28 April 1942. He was 53 years old, and is buried in Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery.
Archibald John Gutch, MC, Captain (T/Major), 64608, Worcestershire Regiment. (Angle). Archibald served with the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, which was attached to 214 Infantry Brigade, 43rd Division. His award of the Military Cross was recommended by his CO, Lieutenant Colonel Harrison, who wrote: ‘On 29-Jun-44 this Officer was commanding the left and assaulting Coy during the attack on Mouen. Soon after leaving the start line, he was wounded by shrapnel in the back. He refused to stop to have his wounds attended to or be dressed and continued to lead his Coy during a difficult house clearing and mopping up operation. Two of his Platoon Commanders were wounded as was his CSM but this did not deter him. He personally supervised the clearing up of this area and the consolidation of his Coy. Only when this was successfully completed did he allow himself to receive treatment and later to be evacuated. By his personal leadership and example I/C the assault Coy, he contributed materially in the successful operation on Mouen.’ His award of the Military Cross was published in the London Gazette of 17 October 1944.
William G. Gwilliam, CGM, Able Seaman, HMS Exeter. (Milford Haven). William was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal while serving aboard HMS Exeter, during the Battle of the River Plate, when Exeter suffered severe damage in action against the German Pocket Battleship Admiral Graf Spee. His citation, published in the London Gazette of 23 February 1940, read; ‘William G. Gwilliam, Able Seaman, H.M.S. Exeter; who helped Midshipman Cameron to smother the flames of a burning ammunition locker, and to throw hot shells, with their brass cases either missing or split open, over the side. He showed no regard for his own safety in putting out fires on the Upper Deck near the aircraft from which petrol was leaking.’
Albert Joseph Harries, MM, Private, 4032405, The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. (Haverfordwest). Albert was the son of David John and Elizabeth Harries, of Haverfordwest, and served with the 2nd Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. The battalion had served at the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940, then in North Africa, and during the invasion of Italy, before returning home, where it took part in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Albert was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery during the Normandy campaign, following the recommendation of the CO of the 2nd KSLI, which read: ‘On 8 and 9 June 44 Y Coy, 2/KSLI were under intermittent but heavy shelling and were subjected to continual sniping from enemy snipers concealed in the vicinity. Pte Harries one of the coy snipers set a fine example of endurance and initiative which impressed all ranks and had a marked effect on the morale of the Coy. In company with other snipers he stalked and killed six enemy snipers in one morning and returned regularly to snipe and observe from the area of the forward platoon which had been registered by the enemy and was under heavy shell fire most of the time.’ Albert continued to fight with the battalion during the drive through Holland. He was killed in Holland on 17 October 1944, and is buried in Venray War Cemetery, Netherlands.
Francis Ernest Hawkins, BEM, Fisherman, Fishing Fleet (Milford). Francis was the son of Francis Moxey Hawkings and Lilian Grace Hawkings, of Milford Haven, and lived at 87, Shakespeare Avenue, Milford Haven. He had been awarded the British Empire Medal early in the war, for his courage in action against enemy aircraft while aboard Trawler P & Y in 1941. He was drowned while serving aboard the Trawler M85 Ely, which sunk after colliding with HM Canadian Corvette Trillium on 14 January 1945. Francis was 35 years old. He is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission because the loss of M85 Ely was not seen as being war related. His brother Ernest also fell during WW2.
Joseph Robert Horwood, MM, Corporal, 6149840, Royal Sussex Regiment. (Pembroke). Joseph served with the 1st Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. His award of the Military Medal was recommended by his CO, who wrote: ‘On 30th August 1944, during an attack by No. 13 Platoon onto a vital road junction just South of Pieve Di Cagna, Map Ref 8465, Corporal Horwood and his Section, assaulting across a very steep wadi, had to clear two houses and consolidate on a hill fifty yards further on. The complete move was carried out with such speed and efficiency that the enemy had no idea where this section was situated. This was proved when on the following night, the enemy counter-attacked in strength, and chose as his line of approach the ridge where Corporal Horwood’s Section was positioned. On two occasions the enemy tried to get to the main positions, but each time this Section held its fire until the enemy were almost on the Section position, and then broke up the enemy attacks. The following day, the enemy shelled and mortared the position constantly, but Corporal Horwood maintained complete control over the situation and by sniping prevented the enemy from consolidating on a feature overlooking the Platoon position. In all, this section accounted for five enemy killed.’ His award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette of 8 March 1945.
James John Hughes, MID, Pilot Officer, 131806, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Haverfordwest). James was the son of Abel and Florence Hughes, of Haverfordwest, and served with 405 Squadron, Royal Air Force. The squadron was a heavy bomber unit, equipped with the Avro Lancaster, based at RAF Topcliffe in 1942. James died when his Lancaster was lost during a raid on 28 June 1942. He was 31 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.
John Anthony Hughes-Rees, D.F.M., Flying Officer (Pilot), 113942, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Newport). John was the son of Anthony Hughes-Rees, and of Anne Hughes-Rees, of Newport. He joined 609 Squadron, RAFVR on the 18th September 1940 at Middle Wallop as a Sergeant pilot. On 25th September his engine failed and he crash landed at Glastonbury in Supermarine Spitfire L1008. On the 8th July 1941 he was shot down in combat with several Messerschmitt Bf109’s and baled out of his Supermarine Spitfire. John was rescued by Air Sea Rescue off the Goodwin Sands at 06:30hrs. John was then awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal for his gallant flying, gazetted on 8 August, 1941. His citation read ‘This airman has completed a large number of operational sorties against the enemy and has destroyed at least four of their aircraft. In. every engagement he has shown courage and enterprise.’ John returned to his Squadron in November 1941, and was commissioned in December. In March 1942 he was posted to 73 OTU at Abu Sueir in Egypt as a Flying Instructor, and was promoted to Flying Officer in October 1942. Sadly John Hughes-Rees contracted Poliomyelitis and died 30 April 1943, aged 22, and was buried at Moascar War Cemetery. John is recorded as a Fighter Ace, having 4 and 1 shared destroyed, 1 probably destroyed and 1 damaged.
Donald Sidney Arthur Hutley, GM, Lieutenant, Royal Corps of Signals. (Monkton). Donald was born at Woolwich on 9 June 1910, the son of Arthur Jeffrey Thomas Hutley and Hilda May Hutley (nee Wesson). The family lived at Monkton prior to the war. Donald enlisted into the army in about 1932, and joined the Royal Corps of Signals. He had been commissioned prior to the outbreak of war and had been temporarily detailed to serve as Fire Control Officer on a Greek steamer forming part of one of the Malta convoys. During June 1942 the steamer, carrying a highly volatile cargo of petroleum, explosives and acid, came under attack and was set alight. Donald managed to get some of the crew to safety, before attempting to fight the fire. With the ship doomed, he was one of the last to leave the ship and upon the safe return of the crew, the ships Captain recommended him for an award. The authorities deemed that his brave efforts were worthy of the George Medal, for: ‘Carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner.’ The award was Gazetted on 6 November 1944. Donald died in Kent on 28 July 1985, aged 75.
Owen James, MM, Sergeant, 825827, Royal Artillery. (Pembroke Dock). Owen served with 198 Battery, 73rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery, which took part in Operation Market Garden, attached to 30 Corps. His recommendation for the award of the Military Medal read: ‘This NCO has performed the duties of Troop Second-in-Command of a SP Anti-Troop Company of this Regiment since the commencement of operations in NW Europe. In November 1944 when the troop was stationed in Nijmegen, the general area of the billets was subjected to heavy shell-fire. Direct hits were scored on the billets and some civilians were wounded in a neighbouring building. Despite the continued shelling Sgt James took charge of a vehicle which he drove to the building in question. He evacuated the civilians to a place of safety and took the wounded to hospital. In the absence of the Troop Commander in December, Sgt James took the Troop into action in the area of Bure. The Troop remained in action for a matter of two weeks. In most arduous and dangerous circumstances he showed himself to be a leader of courage and ability, inspiring the men under his command by his constant devotion to duty. Throughout the period in review he has shown himself to be an outstanding and courageous NCO; and his conduct has been at all times worthy of the highest praise.’ Owens’ award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette of 19 June 1945.
Robert Voase Jeff, DFC and Bar, Flight Lieutenant, 39285, Royal Air Force. (Tenby). Robert was the son of Ernest and Madge Jeff, of Tenby, and served with 87 Squadron, RAF. The Squadron was a fighter squadron, equipped at the beginning of the war with the Hawker Hurricane, which it flew during the Battle of France in 1940. Robert gained the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal twice, and the French Croix-de-Guerre, during his prematurely short career with the RAF, in which he shot down several German aircraft. He was killed when his Hurricane was lost in combat over Portland Bill on 11 August 1940. Robert is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. His brother John also fell. Robert’s Bar to his DFC was awarded after his death; ‘This officer was a first class leader who inspired his flight with the offensive spirit and himself shot down five enemy aircraft.’
Charles Frederick Jelley, DFC, Flying Officer (Observer), 161812, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Pembroke). Charles was the son of Christopher James Jelley and Dorothy Ellis Jelley, of Pembroke. He was educated at Pembroke Dock County School, before joining the Royal Air Force, where he became an Observer with 635 Squadron, RAF, which was an elite Pathfinder unit. Charles was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in the London Gazette of 15 November 1943. On 6 January 1945, Charles was serving as a mid-upper turret gunner aboard Lancaster PB-228, during a raid on Hanau, when it collided with another Lancaster above Grobaheim, Germany, and crashed with the loss of seven men. Charles was 21 years old, and is buried at Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.
William Mauvan Jenkins, MM, Corporal, 6030531, Wiltshire Regiment. (Pembroke Dock). William served with the 4th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. His award of the Military Medal was recommended by his CO, Lieutenant Colonel Corbyn, MC, who wrote: ‘South of Cleve on 14 Feb 45 the Company to which this NCO belonged attacked by night a number of buildings which proved to be held by the enemy in some strength. The leading Platoon was stopped by enemy MG fire and suffered a number of casualties. Cpl Jenkins Platoon was then ordered to move to the left of the main road and attack the buildings from a flank. The Platoon Commander took forward one section with him, with Cpl Jenkins in charge. They encountered very heavy automatic fire at extremely close range. Rushing the first enemy post Cpl Jenkins took two prisoners. Almost at once his Platoon Commander was wounded and his Platoon Sergeant killed. Moving close to the buildings, Cpl Jenkins, despite the fact that his Sten carbine refused to function, disarmed 3 further prisoners and captured a fourth. Very heavy enemy fire continued to be directed at his section and an enemy SP gun opened fire at point blank range. By this time almost every man in his section was either killed or wounded. Finding his original route was swept by enemy fire Cpl Jenkins skirted the buildings to find an alternate route. While he was doing so one of his prisoners was killed and one of his own section wounded in the head. Taking his wounded comrade with him Cpl Jenkins successfully brought him to the safety of the Company area of the adjoining unit. The behaviour of this NCO was of the highest order. His example was a magnificent encouragement to his men in the most difficult circumstances.’ His award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette of 24 May 1945.
Henry Brynmor John, MBE, Paymaster Commander (S), Royal Navy. (Narberth). Henry was the son of Jonah and Mary John and was born in 1897 in High Street, Narberth. Henry married Elizabeth Dorothy Williams, of Laugharne. Harry was educated at Narberth School, and during 1914, at the age of 17, he entered into St. George’s College in London to pursue a Naval Career. At the age of 18, Harry was serving in the Royal Navy-probably aboard H.M.S. Juno, where he assisted with the rescue of survivors from the torpedoed passenger ship ‘Lusitania’, which had been sunk by a German submarine off the Irish coast with great loss of life. By 1920, Harry had been awarded the Order of the Nile, whilst serving at the Royal Naval base at Port Said. And had reached the rank of Paymaster-Lieutenant. Later that year Harry was awarded the MBE and was invested by King George V at Buckingham Palace. By the age of 38, Harry had risen to the rank of Paymaster Commander. Harry’s first posting after the Great War was aboard the cruiser HMS Frobisher. On 14 November 1930, he was posted to Bermuda (HMS Flora). Harry spent a year aboard the battleship HMS Rodney, until July 1935, and then transferred to the cruiser HMS Exeter where he saw active service during the famous ‘Sinking of the Graf Spee’ off the River Plate in South America. He served aboard the HMS Exeter until August 1939 and from 15 November 1941, Harry served aboard the Battleship HMS Resolution, as Squadron Accountant, 3rd Battle Squadron. On 29 December 1943, Harry was transferred to the navigation school at Portsmouth (HMS Dryad). He was promoted to Commander in the Royal Navy, and served on the Combined Operations staff under Lord Mountbatten, which planned the D-Day landings. Harry’s last posting was at HMS President-a Royal Naval Gunnery School in London. It was whilst serving there that Harry and his wife decided to visit Plymouth en-route to a trip home to visit family in Narberth and Laugharne. Whilst in Plymouth, Harry took ill and was taken into St. George’s Hospital in London. He died three weeks later of heart failure, aged 49, on 26 August 1946 and was cremated in the Golders Green Crematorium, Middlesex.
Ronald David Johnstone, MC, Captain, 219944, Royal Armoured Corps. (Neyland). Ronald was the son of Thomas White Johnstone and Annie Johnstone of Neyland. He married Norma Cornelius, of Sketty, Swansea in 1942. He had gained his B.A. with Honours (Cantab.) prior to the war, and was commissioned on 25 August 1941 into the 2nd Lothians and Border Horse, Royal Armoured Corps, which moved to North Africa in 1942. Ronald was awarded the Military Cross, for gallant service in North Africa, which was published in the London Gazette of 23 September 1943. The award was recommended by his CO, Lieutenant Colonel Perry, who wrote: ‘On April 23rd, 1943, during the tank battle on the hill North of the Sebkret El Surzia, one tank of the leading squadron while crossing a ridge was hit by enemy A/Tk fire. The driver was so seriously wounded that he was unable to stop the tank which ran right into the open in full view of enemy tanks which fired deliberately at it, and at the injured crew as they evacuated it when it eventually caught fire. Lieut Johnstone thereupon dismounted from his own tank and proceeded on foot under MG fire, which was expressly aimed at him, to the assistance of the wounded members of the crew. Not until they were safely under cover did he return to continue the battle in his own tank. During the following day (April 24th) in the area of the Mosque Ridge (St Djaber), this officer gained most valuable information in the persistent search for which his own tank was eventually put out of action by A/Tk fire. During both these days and on the 26th April when in the action West of the DJ Kournine he destroyed an enemy tank by enterprising tactics, Lieut Johnstone has shown a splendid example of personal bravery and determined leadership. He has inspired his men with complete confidence in him, and manoeuvred his troop with outstanding skill.’ By the time his award was published the Allies had invaded Italy, and were driving towards Rome. Ronald was killed in action in Italy, during a tank battle against the Hermann Goering Panzer Division on 8 June 1944. He was 25 years old, and is buried at Bolsena War Cemetery, Italy.
David Rhys Geraint Jones, MID, Lieutenant, 247467, The Monmouthshire Regiment. (Haverfordwest). David was the son of William Emlyn David and Mary Ceinwen Jones, of Haverfordwest. He was educated at Haverfordwest Grammar School, Cheltenham College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In 1942 he passed through Sandhurst and received a commission to the Royal Armoured Corps, before being posted to the 3rd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment. The battalion landed in Normandy as part of 11th Armoured Division in June 1944, and took part in the break out from the beach head. David was killed when his Company were attacked by the 12th S.S. Panzer Division, during Operation Epsom on 28 June 1944. He was 22 years old, and is buried at St. Manvieu War Cemetery, Cheux, France. He had been Mentioned in Despatches during his brief time in France, and was a well known Poet.
Jack Garner Jones, MID, Lieutenant, Royal Marines. (Tenby). Jack was born in 1922. He married Lelgarde De Clare John, the daughter of Police Sergeant J. H. John, of Tenby in 1944, prior to embarking for the Far East with No. 42 Royal Marine Commando. Jack was killed in Burma on 31 January 1945, aged 22, and was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches. He is buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar.
Frank Stewart Lamb, BEM, Engineer, Fishing Fleet. (Llanhowell). Frank was awarded the British Empire Medal for his bravery when a German aircraft attacked his trawler on 9 July 1941. The citation was published in the London Gazette of 20 January 1942 and read; ‘The trawlers were fishing in pairs, when an aircraft was sighted from ahead. It flew towards one of the trawlers and dropped a bomb, which fell clear. Lamb, who was at the gun, at once fired at the aircraft, which sheered off towards the second ship, attacked her with cannon and machine guns, and flew back to bomb the first vessel. It then dropped two bombs astern of the second ship and returned to the first, whose skipper told his gunner to hold his fire as long as he dared. Lamb opened fire, and, after 30 or 40 rounds, the aircraft shot up into the air, dropped another bomb, and made off. It was then seen to wobble badly, drop several bombs and fall into the sea. The first trawler, which had been badly damaged by a bomb, was taken in tow by the other vessel and brought safely into port.’
Morgan Harries Lanham, MID, Leading Seaman, D/SSX 16051, Royal Navy. (Goodwick). Morgan was the son of William Hadley Lanham and Martha Lanham, of Goodwick, and served in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Onslow. Onslow was an O-class destroyer of the Royal Navy which entered service in 1941. Onslow saw considerable action during the war, and survived the hostilities, being transferred to the Pakistan Navy in 1949. Morgan died aboard Onslow on 31 December 1942 during the Battle of the Barents Sea while Onslow was serving as part of the destroyer escort for Arctic Convoy JW 51B. During the battle Onslow received three direct hits from the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper which severely damaged the bridge and engine room. This caused many casualties among Onslow’s crew killing 17, including Morgan, and severely injuring the escort commander Capt Robert St Vincent Sherbrooke. Morgan was buried in sea. He was 26 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. He had been Mentioned in Despatches for ‘bravery in northern waters’ during his time at war, which was published in the London Gazette of 27 April 1943. (The photograph of Morgan is courtesy of Chris John).
Vernon Charles Lewis, DFM, Flight Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 570550, Royal Air Force. (Milford). Vernon was the son of Hubert William ‘Stokey’ Lewis, VC, and Edith Evelyn Lewis (nee Etherington), of Milford Haven. He was a brave man like his father and had served as a pre-war regular with the Royal Air Force. He had gained the Distinguished Flying Medal on 23 August 1943 while serving with 83 Squadron, RAF. Sadly though, Vernon was killed the following day. The Squadron was equipped with the Lancaster Bomber, and Vernon was killed when his Lancaster, Serial ED984, was shot down during a raid over Germany on 24 August 1943 killing six of its crew. Vernon was 22 years old, and is buried at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany.
John Henry Lloyd, MBE, Warrant Officer I, 281200, Royal Air Force. (Warren). John was born in Pembrokeshire in 1897, probably the son of John and Anna Lloyd. He served during World War Two with the Royal Air Force, being awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours list of 1 January 1943. John survived the war, but died in Pembrokeshire on 27 April 1947. He was 50 years old, and is buried at Warren (St. Mary) Churchyard.
John Timothy Alban Lloyd, MC, Captain, 211566, Royal Army Medical Corps. (Llanwnda). John’s award of the Military Cross was published in the London Gazette of 19 December 1944.
John Edward Mathias, DFC, Flying Officer (Pilot), 162961, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Narberth). John was the son of William Griffiths Mathias and Daisy Victoria Mathias, of Narberth. He trained as a Pilot, and served with 305 (Polish) Squadron, an elite unit, which was armed with the twin-engined De Havilland Mosquito. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in September 1943, but was sadly killed on 27 April 1944 during a training exercise. John was 23 years old, and is buried at Narberth Church Cemetery, N.W. Section, Row 3, Grave 29. His mother Daisy had lost her first husband during the Great War.
Gerald Bassadona May, MID, Captain (Quartermaster), 274998, Royal Army Service Corps. (Pembroke). Gerald was reported to have been mentioned in despatches during the war. The report stated: ‘Capt. G. B. May, who has been serving in British East Africa for over three years was “honourably mentioned in despatches for distinguished service in the present campaign.’ The award was published in the London Gazette of 8 July 1943 and was for service in east Africa and Madagasgar.
Albert John Monk, BEM, Flight Sergeant, 560846, Royal Air Force. (Pembroke). Albert was reported to have been awarded the British Empire Medal. The report stated: ‘Flt/Sgt. A. J . Monk, who joined the R.A.F. from School seventeen years ago as an apprentice, has been awarded the B.E.M. In January, 1944, he was Mentioned in Despatches. During the war he served in France, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Malta, India and Burma.’ His award of the BEM was published in the London Gazette of 1 January 1946.
Alfred William Morgan, MM, Warrant Officer, Essex Regiment, 4030860. (Tenby). Alfred served with the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment. His award of the Military Medal was recommended by his CO, Lieutenant Colonel Finlinson, and read: ‘On 27 Sept 44 at Ryckevorsel, B Coy were counter-attacked in the early morning by 3 armoured cars and 3 companies of infantry. The forward platoon ran short of ammunition and CSM Morgan sought the assistance of 3 tanks who carried him and some reserve ammunition to the platoon. When the tanks had departed, having left the CSM with the reserve ammunition in the platoon area, he found that the platoon headquarters and one section had been overrun and he had no idea where the other two sections were. The area was under heavy small arms fire and was frequently shelled and mortared. In a determined effort to locate the two surviving sections CSM Morgan made off on his own with some ammunition in the direction where fighting appeared to be heaviest. He found the sections and gave them the ammunition, then returned on his own to bring up more, but on the way back he was wounded. Throughout the majority of the time this WO was under fire. His courage and determination enabled these two sections to hold their ground in spite of very strong enemy infantry attacks and eventually to beat them off and so saved the left flank of the Bn from being threatened.’ His award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette of 27 February 1945.
Derek Morgan, MID, Royal Air Force. (Pembroke). Derek was reported to have been mentioned in despatches during the war. He cannot presently be identified.
David John Morris, DSC, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve. (Fishguard). David was the son of Thomas and Ann Morris, and the Husband of Nancy Olwen Morris, Of Fishguard. He served in the RNR, at H.M.S. Baldur, which was the Royal Naval Base at Iceland. On 1 October 1943 David was gazetted with the Distinguished Service Cross, for: ‘Courage and skill in many successful minesweeping operations in Mediterranean-waters, while serving in H.M. Ships Negro, Elbury, Achroite and Triton, and H.M. Motor-Minesweepers 47, 68, 80 and 171’. David was then posted to Baldur in Iceland, but sadly died there on 10 November 1944, aged 38. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, and on the headstone of his wife’s parents at Hermon Baptist Chapelyard.
Hamish Muir-Mackenzie, DSC, Lieut-Commander, Royal Navy. (Dale). Hamish was the son of Kenneth James Muir Mackenzie and Phyllis Mary Muir Mackenzie. He died in an ambulance after crashing his Mosquito on 18 June 1947, aged 29 and is buried in Dale. He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his work during the Malta Convoys.
John Paul Vipond Nicholls, MID, Squadron Leader (Pilot), 40560, Royal Air Force. (Tenby). John was the son of John Richard Lee Nicholls and Gladys Nicholls, of Yorkshire. He married Grace White, of Tenby, in 1941. John had been in the Royal Air Force for several years prior to the war, and served as a Pilot with 150 Squadron, Royal Air Force. The squadron was equipped with Vickers Wellingtons, operating from RAF Newton. On 9 March 1942 John was flying his Wellington on a raid over Germany when it was brought down, killing all of its crew. John was 30 years old, and is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. John is not commemorated at Tenby.
Paul Parbury, MC and Bar, Major, 56597, Royal Artillery. (Tenby). Paul was the son of Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Parbury and Doris Brooke Parbury, of Tenby. He was admitted to Sandhurst in 1932, and left in 1933 to become a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Artillery. By 1941 he was posted to North Africa with 124 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. Paul won two Military Crosses for his bravery during the fighting in North Africa: his first award was recommended by his CO of the 5th East Yorks, Lieutenant Colonel Stanfield, and read: ‘On the evening of the 14th June 42, Major Parbury was in command of a battery of the 124 Fd Regt RA which was operating with this unit during the breakout from the Gazala Box. Just before dark a subaltern of the East Yorkshire Regt, thinking Major Parbury and his carrier to be one of the Bn’s carriers, shouted to him to damn well go and silence a machine gun post which was holding up his platoons advance. Without hesitation he charged the post in his carrier and silenced the MG. On returning to where the subaltern was, Major Parbury said “I have done that” but the subaltern, not recognising Major Parbury, told him to bloody well silence another post which had opened up on them. Major Parbury without hesitation and in spite of the artillery fire and MG fire promptly charged the post and silenced the gun.’ This first award was gazetted on 24 September 1942. His second award, earning him a Bar to his Military Cross, was recommended by Lieutenant Colonel Stanfield again, and read: ‘During the attack up to and into the Mareth Line from 16th until 23rd March Major Parbury’s Battery was constantly in support of 5th Bn the East Yorkshire Regiment and he himself was unceasing in his efforts to bring about close co-operation. During the night of the 16th and the day of 17th March he organised the extrication of vehicles, both his own and those of the battalion, which had been bogged in the soft ground and were being shelled. When the 5th East Yorks were isolated in Ksiba Ouest during the period 22nd and 23rd March Major Parbury by his efficient control of the fire both of his battery and of the Regiment was largely instrumental in driving off several enemy attacks by both infantry and tanks, all supported by heavy fire of all natures. In addition he organised the supply of rations, water and spare wireless batteries. The latter was a vital item since for long periods communication between the battalion and the outside world was maintained solely through the battery wireless set. In organising this supply he also discovered a route by which the battalion was eventually withdrawn with effectively few casualties. Major Parbury’s cool conduct under fire and his able control of his guns were largely instrumental in the success of these operations and were an example to the members of his staff and to those with whom he worked.’ This second award was gazetted on 1 June 1943. Paul was killed in the ensuing invasion of Italy on 14 July 1943. He was 29 years old, and is buried at Catania War Cemetery, Sicily.
Ivor Lloyd Phillips, MC, BSc, Reverend, 95730, Army Chaplain’s Department. (Kilgetty). Ivor served with the Royal Army Chaplain’s Department and was attached to the 102nd Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery. His award of the Military Cross was recommended by the CO of the battery, Lieutenant Colonel Turner, and read: ‘During the whole period the Regt has been on Active Service since Feb 43, firstly in N Africa and subsequently in Italy, as Chaplain he has carried out his duties in a completely selfless and devoted manner. On the welfare and religious sides his work has been unremitting and he is held in very deep esteem by all ranks, both within the Regt and throughout the group. Never deterred by any considerations of enemy shelling, he has always shown complete disregard for personal safety. He always hurried to the spot where casualties have occurred and his presence and work with them, which includes the last few months when the Regt has been engaged in some particularly heavy fighting on the Gothic Line, has always been the greatest inspiration to others.’ His award of the Military Cross was published in the London Gazette of 28 June 1945.
Vivian Phillips, DSO, Flight Lieutenant, 45749, Royal Air Force. (Hook). Vivian was commissioned as a Pilot Officer into the Royal Air Force on 16 May 1941 and served as a Navigator with 487 (R.N.Z.A.F.) Squadron, which was a medium bomber squadron, equipped with the Lockheed Ventura. On 3 May 1943 Vivian and his crew left RAF Methwold aboard Ventura II, Serial AJ209 as part of a raid on Amsterdam. The squadron lost all but one of their aircraft during the raid, Vivian’s aircraft being brought down near Amsterdam, and he was taken prisoner, before being sent to Stalag Luft III, near Sagan. During the raid Vivian’s Pilot, Leonard Henry Trent, showed such courageous leadership that he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Whilst in captivity Vivian and Leonard Trent played a role in the infamous Great Escape, Trent actually escaped but was among the lucky few to be captured and returned alive to the camp. Following the end of the war Vivian was released from captivity and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for: “coolness, courage and devotion to duty.” (London Gazette 1 March 1946).
Andrew Alex Kyrle Pope, MID, Major, 77672, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. (Milford). Andrew was the son of Commander Rowland Kyrle Pope and of Agnes Jessie Pope, of Milford. The family later resided at Much Marcle, Hereford. He had served with the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry before volunteering to join the Parachute Regiment and was attached to the H.Q. 5th Airborne Division. Andrew was mentioned in despatches for Operation Overlord and was killed soon after parachuting into Normandy during the landings, on 6 June 1944, aged 25. He is buried in St. Vaast-En-Auge Churchyard, France.
Gwilym Henry Storkes Prance, DSC, Master, Merchant Navy. (Solva). Gwilym was the son of George Storkes Prance and Sarah Ann Prance, of Solva. He married Marion Alyce Hardy, at Newport, Gwent in 1935. Gwilym was a long serving Merchant Seaman, and during the last years of WW2 was Master of the S.S. Ocean Gypsy, a Manchester registered steamer. She was in the Indian Ocean after the end of the war when Gwilym took ill. He died on 11 February 1946, aged 50, and is buried in Calcutta (Bhowanipore) Cemetery, Kolkata, India.
Richard Leslie Read, MM, Sergeant, 3957339, Welch Regiment. (Narberth). Richard served with the 4th Battalion, Welch Regiment. His award of the Military Medal was recommended by his CO, Lieutenant Colonel Frisby, and read: ‘On 12 Feb 45 Sjt Read was commanding 17 Pl D Coy, 4th Battalion, The Welch Regiment, during an attack on the eastern tip of the Reichswald Forest. The right forward company had been counter attacked and driven off the objective but had managed to consolidate some four hundred yards behind it. D Company was ordered to recapture the objective. Sjt Read’s Platoon was the right forward platoon and almost immediately after passing through the forward company came under heavy Spandau fire. Sjt Read in spite of the whole area being swept by MG fire and enemy shelling and mortaring in the area, personally led his reserve section round to the flank and destroyed the MG post. Later his Platoon was again held up by another enemy post by which time Sjt Read’s platoon had suffered fairly heavy casualties. Sjt Read, with complete fearlessness and in face of heavy enemy fire combined two sections of his platoon which entailed him moving about under heavy enemy shell and small arms fire and then led them forward to wipe out the enemy post. Throughout the action Sjt Read’s determination to close with the enemy and complete disregard for his own safety are worthy of the highest praise. His devotion to duty and fearlessness were an inspiration to the men of his platoon and without doubt contributed largely to the success of the operation.’ His award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette of 24 May 1945.
Cornelius Octavius Regnart, MID, Commander, Royal Navy. (Milford). Cornelius was the son of Mr. And Mrs. Clare Regnart, and the Husband of Frances Regnart, of Warminster, Wiltshire. Cornelius had been Mentioned in Despatches during the Great War, while serving aboard a Submarine. In World War Two he served aboard HMS Skirmisher. Cornelius died on 27 June 1941, aged 54, and is buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
John David Richards, MID, Chief Petty Officer, Royal Navy. (Tenby). John was the son of John Edward and Sophia Richards, of 4, The Green, Tenby. He was a long serving Royal Navy rating and towards the end of the war served at HMS Drake. She was an old monitor, which had proved to be of no use, and so was used for training of stokers. John was mentioned in despatches during the war, and died at Plymouth on 24 November 1944, aged 44. He is buried at Tenby (St. Mary) Church Cemetery.
William Arthur Rickards, DFC, Flying Officer, Royal Air Force. (Pembroke). William was reported to have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross while serving with the RAF Coastal Command during the war. The report stated; ‘Further news has now come to hand about W. A. Rickard’s D.F.C. We learn that he was actually the first pilot to arrive over France in the early hours of D-Day, and although his aircraft was badly shot up he completed his task, that of dropping paratroops, and brought all his crew back safely to base. The citation for his award reads:-“Flying-Officer W. A. Rickard has completed much operational flying and has displayed exceptional ability, commendable courage, and devotion to duty. On the night of the 5th June, 1944, he piloted an aircraft detailed to drop paratroops in Northern France. So skilfully did he accomplish his task that the paratroopers were dropped in the precise area within seconds of the allotted time. His fine work contributed materially to the success of the airborne operation as a whole,” He has been flying with the Tactical Air Force for nearly two years and on December 20th completes his second successive tour of operational flying. One of his duties recently was the carrying of paratroops to Arnhem.’
Ivor Rogers, MM, Bombardier (Acting), 894114, Royal Artillery. (Kilgetty). Ivor was born at Pembroke Dock on 29 November 1915, the son of John Rogers and Annie Jane Rogers (nee Gibby). He was a pre-war Territorial, mobilising with his unit, the 102nd Medium Regt RA (The Pembroke Yeomanry) in September 1939, embarking with them from Liverpool on 5 February 1943, bound for Algiers. The Pembroke Yeomanry saw heavy fighting in North Africa before landing in in Italy on 16 December 1943. Ivor was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery during the assault on Faenza, for his part in maintaining an Observation Post. The citation for his award read: ‘For conspicuous courage and devotion to duty as NCO i/c Line Maintenance Party over a considerable period. He has at all times performed his duties with zeal and efficiency and showed high courage in maintaining his line along routes that were regularly harassed by enemy guns. In particular in maintaining line communication with the O.P. in MONTECCHIO  on Dec 5th and subsequent days over a track that was continually harassed by enemy guns and mortars and was at first under direct observation. In spite of this L/Bdr Rogers and his party maintained line communications continuously and his example was an inspiration to his team, while the success of his work enabled many targets to be engaged and must have materially assisted the success of operations locally.’ He survived the war and remained with the TA for many years, gaining the additional award of the MBE (Military) in 1960. He died on 26 July 1985.
David George Russell, BEM, Sergeant (Acting), 1949852, Intelligence Corps. (Pembroke). David’s story is an interesting one. He initially enlisted into the Royal Engineers before transferring to the Intelligence Corps. He was sent to Burma, attached to the Intelligence Corps (India) and assigned to 565 Field Security Section supporting the 5th Indian Division, with the rank of acting sergeant, operating alone and in close proximity to the front line. In the first few months of 1945, while conducting counter-intelligence operations he captured two Japanese soldiers and then fought and killed an enemy military policeman in one-on-one hand-to-hand combat. From mid-May, David was detached from his unit and sent to operate alone near the front line. For nearly four-months he conducted counter-intelligence and intelligence collection patrols, often penetrating ‘unsafe’ areas to search villages for enemy agents. On one occasion, he led a patrol of civilian police and apprehended an armed gang of bandits, with no loss of life. For his actions, his CO, Captain R. J. Isaac, recommended David for the British Empire Medal, with the recommendation being supported by Major-General E.C. Mansergh, G.O.C. 5th Indian Division. The awarding of the B.E.M. was published in the London Gazette on 4 June 1946. After the war, David joined the Intelligence Corps Comrades Association and his address was listed as ‘Castle View’, Pembroke. (The details about David’s award are courtesy of Mark Willson).
Oliver Tucker Burman Sayers, DSM, Second Hand, LT/X 302SA, Royal Naval Reserve. (Milford). Oliver was born in Milford on 1 February 1911, the son of Thomas Sayers and Alice May Sayers (nee Holder). He served with the Royal Naval Reserve aboard HM Trawler Force, which had been hired for minesweeping duties in February 1940. He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal on 3 September 1940, for skill and enterprise in Minesweeping operations off the Coasts of Holland, Belgium and France, but was killed when Trawler Force was sunk by an air attack off the Norfolk Coast on 27 June 1941. He was 30 years old and is commemorated on the Lowestoft Naval Memorial.
William Peter Shand, DFC, Wing Commander (Pilot), 33285, Royal Air Force. (Caldy Island). William was the son of William and Josephine Shand, of Caldy Island. On 1 August 1936 Peter passed out from Cranwell, and was granted a commission as Pilot Officer. When war broke out Peter was posted to 139 (Jamaica) Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was an elite unit, equipped with the De Havilland Mosquito.On 20 April 1943 Peter took off from RAF Marham, in Norfolk, for a raid on the Dutch coast. His Mosquito, Serial DZ386, crashed at Ijsselmeer, killing Peter and his navigator, Christopher Handley. William was 27 years old, and is buried alongside Christopher at Wonseradeel (Makkum) Protestant Churchyard, Netherlands.
Wilfred Smith, DFC, Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force. (Pembroke). Wilfred was reported to have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during the war.
Graham Arthur Steadman, AFC, Flight Lieutenant (Pilot), 169596, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Narberth). Graham was the son of Arthur Edward and Dorothy Daisy Steadman, and the husband of Sheila Margaret Steadman, of Finchley, London. He was a pilot with the Royal Air Force, and had been awarded the Air Force Cross on 6 June 1943. He was then based at Aden, and it was there that he died on 30 June 1945. Graham was 24 years old, and is buried at Maala Cemetery, Yemen, in Grave Ref. H. 120.
Clifford Lewis Swan, MID, Second Hand, LT/X 3035A, Royal Naval Reserve. (Milford). Clifford was the son of Leonard Victor and Ethel Medora Swan and the husband of Kathleen Swan of Fleetwood Lancs. He had sailed for many years with the fishing fleet at Milford and during the war joined the Royal Naval Patrol Service, serving aboard HMT River Clyde. He was mentioned in despatches following the salvage of a bombed ship by his crew in July 1940 and was killed while on minesweeping duties on 5 August 1940. He is commemorated on the Lowestoft Naval Memorial.
Colin Thomas, MID, Flight Lieutenant, Royal Air Force. (Pembroke). Colin was reported to have been mentioned in despatches twice during the war. He had served in Malta for three years.
Herbert Samuel Griffiths Thomas, MC, MiD, Chaplain 4th Class, Royal Army Chaplain’s Department. (Llanycefn & Saundersfoot). Herbert was born in Llanycefn on 15 April 1912, the son of David Timothy Thomas and Elizabeth Hannah Thomas (nee Griffiths). His father later became headmaster at Saundersfoot School, so moved the family there soon afterwards. Herbert joined the Clergy and volunteered to serve as a Chaplain 4th Class with the Royal Army Chaplain’s Department following the outbreak of war. He became attached to the 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment and joined the battalion in its advance from the Normandy beachhead through France and Belgium into Holland in 1944. He was awarded the Military Cross later that year: ‘“On 6th October ’44 in Overheide Forest near Poppel heavy fighting ensued in the forest area immediately north of the Battalion position. As a result some casualties were received in the thick woods. Further enemy forces in the vicinity infiltrated immediately after the engagement and prevented the evacuation of these casualties. Padre Thomas, however, on hearing of this took the medical half-track [which was, presumably, still the German half-track captured in Normandy] forward to the Battalion positions and went straight through to the area where the casualties were known to be, knowing full well that his route passed through an area which was now heavily held by the Germans. Although Spandau fire was directed at his vehicle he continued forward and eventually found and brought back the casualties concerned. His intrepid devotion to duty on this occasion is typical of this officer’s work.” (London Gazette, 1 March 1945) and was also Mentioned in Despatches: “In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North West Europe.” (London Gazette, 22 March 1945). After the war he lived in Shrewsbury with his wife Agnes, and died there on 24 August 1980, aged 68. Many thanks to his grandson, Thomas Thorne, for the details and photograph.
O. Thomas, DSC, MID, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. (Pembroke). Lieutenant Thomas was reported to have been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The report stated: ‘Lieut. J. O. Thomas , R.N.V.R., was awarded the D.S.C. at the end of last year for gallantry and enterprise in spirited encounters with superior enemy forces while serving in light coastal craft… We were glad to hear, at the end of December, that Lieut. J. O. Thomas, D.S.C., had been mentioned in dispatches for his work during the invasion of Normandy. He was afterwards appointed Senior Officer of a flotilla of eight M.L.s. His ship was the first to enter Le Havre and to sail up the Seine to Rouen.’
Kenneth Thomas, MBE, MID, Flight Lieutenant, Royal Air Force. (Pembroke). Kenneth was reported to have been awarded the MBE during the war. The report stated: ‘Flt /Lt. Kenneth Thomas was awarded the M.B.E. in the New Year Honours’ List. He was twice ‘Mentioned in Despatches and served for a considerable period in Egypt.’
Leslie James Thomas, MC, Captain, 226757, Royal Artillery. (Pembroke). Leslie had been educated at Pembroke Grammar School and later served with 52 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. His award of the Military Cross was recommended by his CO, Lieutenant Colonel Dayrell-Browning, and read: ‘Throughout the ground shooting period from Feb-Apr 45 which includes action in the R Senio and L Commacchio areas this officer showed outstanding keenness, efficiency and devotion to duty when carrying out command post duties and those of troop leader. Due to his practical efficiency in this specialised employment of 40mm’s, he was at constant call to help and instruct others, in addition to exceptionally long hrs of duty in action with his own troop. During this period, though his command post was under shell and mortar fire on many occasions, he showed great calmness and a painstaking thoroughness, to which the Regimental success in a ground role largely was due. His example was an inspiration to all those working with him.’ His award was published in the London Gazette of 13 December 1945.
Reginald Heber Thomas, AFC, Squadron Leader, 43825, Royal Air Force, (Pembroke Dock). Reginald was the son of Charlie and Alice Amelia Thomas, of 9, Lewis Street, Pembroke Dock. He was an accomplished athlete, and had ran the 1500 metres in two Olympic Games, at Amsterdam in 1928 and at Los Angeles in 1932. He joined the Royal Air Force before the war, and trained as a Pilot, rising to the rank of Squadron Leader. On 8 June 1944 Reginald was gazetted with the Air Force Cross. He was killed on 14 March 1946 when piloting a Lancaster from RAF Aston Down, which lost power and crashed near Chalford. He was 39 years old and is buried at Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, England.
William Henry Thomas, MID, Seaman, LT/JX 186620, Royal Naval Patrol Service. (Milford). William was the son of Frederick and Lilian Thomas, of Milford Haven. He married Florence May Vaughan of Neyland in 1939. He served with the Royal Naval Patrol Service aboard HM Trawler Argyllshire. She had been hired by the Admiralty in September 1939 and converted for anti-submarine duties, joining the 11th Anti Submarine Striking Group. She took part in the Norwegian campaign in April/May 1940 and then the evacuation of Dunkirk. William died when Argyllshire was sunk by a torpedo from a German E-boat off Dunkirk on 1 June 1940. He was 23 years old, and is commemorated on the Lowestoft Naval Memorial, Suffolk. William was Mentioned in Despatches for Norway.
John Tipton, DFC, Wing Commander, Royal Air Force. (Narberth). John served with 109 Squadron, RAF and went on to complete 70 operations with the squadron through to 1945. He also completed 34 Operations with 40 Squadron in 1941/1942 operating from RAF Wyton and Malta. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during the war.
Albert Henry Tucker, DSC, Lieutenant Skipper, Royal Naval Reserve. (Milford). Albert was the son of Albert Henry Tucker and Miriam Berry Tucker (nee James). He married Frances Mary Elizabeth Edwards of Milford Haven in 1932. He served aboard HM Motor Minesweeper 168, and was killed when she struck a mine in Genoa Harbour on 25 June 1945. Albert was 38 years old, and is buried at Staglieno Cemetery, Italy. He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on 29 September 1942 for bravery and skill while minesweeping. His brother Fred also fell.
Michael Robin Rogers Turner, MBE, Captain (T/Major), 74632, East Yorkshire Regiment. (Tenby). Michael served with the East Yorkshire Regiment, and was attached as Brigade Major to the 37th Infantry Brigade, 23rd Indian Division. His award of the Member of the British Empire was recommended due to his work in Burma, and read: ‘This officer who is Brigade Major to the 37 Ind Inf Bde performed his duties in a most efficient manner under heavy and continuous strain during the operations on the Tiddim Road in March 1944 and subsequently. During the period March 15 to April 8, 1944, the Bde was actually engaged in difficult operations which required a very high standard of staff work… Although Bde HQ was under establishment in officers at the time, and in spite of the fact he was only able to get very little sleep, Major Turner maintained a very high standard throughout. His orders were always clear and he went to infinite trouble to tie up details and ensure that operations went smoothly. In the subsequent operations on the Ukhrul Road he has maintained the same high standard. An experienced commanding officer has stated that he considered the G Staff work in the Bde to have been of a high standard throughout the operations. This reflects great credit on Major Turner, and the excellent result he achieved under heavy and continuous strain are well worthy of recognition. I consider that his excellent work deserved higher recognition than an MBE, so I recommend him for the OBE.’ Awards during WW2 were generally harder to obtain than during WW1, and Michael’s award was downgraded to the MBE and was was published in the London Gazette of 8 February 1945.
George Alfred Whichello, DSC, Lieutenant Skipper, Royal Naval Reserve. (Milford). George served aboard HM Trawler Orfasy. He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on 11 June 1942 for a rescue mission whilst escorting a convoy, which was attacked by German aircraft. One ship was lost [probably SS Ratula], and a rescue was initiated by Whichello, in launching a small boat to rescue sailors from the burning ship loaded with aviation fuel which was about to explode at any time. George was killed when Orfasy was sunk after being torpedoed on 22 October 1943. He was 36 years old, and is commemorated on the Lowestoft Naval Memorial.
George Davies Williams, CMG, DSO, Commander, Royal Australian Navy. (St. Dogmaels). George was born at St. Dogmaels on 17 September 1879. He migrated to Australia, where he quickly rose through the ranks of the Royal Australian Navy, and became President of the Maritime Services Board, State of New South Wales. He was awarded the Order of the Garter in the Birthday Honours list of 6 June 1939, and had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order during the Great War.
Richard Claverley Windle, MC, Second Lieutenant, 134987, Royal Armoured Corps. (Haverfordwest). Richard was the son of Norman Whitmore Windle and Marian Julia Windle. He served with C Squadron of the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards, in the Royal Armoured Corps. His award of the Military Cross was recommended by Major General Neil Ritchie, CO of the 8th Army, and read: ‘On 21 November 1941, Tobruk Fortress broke out of Tobruk, led by 32 Army Tank Bde, KDG. The 4RTR led and Armoured Cars closely followed the leading tanks with the object of making gains in the minefields. Lt Windle’s car was brought to a standstill in front of 1st Enemy Post- “JILL” by a projectile piercing the bonnet and breaking a sparking plug and disconnecting the starting button. When the car stopped Cpl R.E. Noakes in second drivers seat had opened his side door and received a bullet wound in the shoulder. Lt Windle continued to fire on the enemy in the post until the Black Watch arrived and took it. Tpr Page then having fitted a new sparking plug managed to restart the car and continue. Attaching his car again to one of the tanks they attacked a post at “JACK” containing Field Guns. Lt Windle circled the post throwing hand grenades in. The post having been entered by the 4RTR, they were rallying back when they struck a mine on the opposite side of the post. Lt Windle then dismounted and ran across with CPL Noakes who could only use one arm and made gaps for the 1RTR whose Cruisers were approaching. The shelling having abated a little, they collected some prisoners from the post to lift nine mines- all B2 Type. They then collected the crews and wounded from the other cars blown up on the minefield and carried them back to the Perimeter. Lt Windle (also Cpl Noakes and Tpr Page who have been recommended separately on other forms) showed exceptional gallantry in the face of the enemy while under heavy fire and set a splendid example.’ Richard sadly died at sea off North Africa on 5 December 1941, aged 22 and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial. His award of the Military Cross was gazetted posthumously, on 24 February 1942.
Robert Gordon Yaxley, DSO, MC, DFC, Wing Commander, Royal Air Force. (Ambleston). Robert was awarded the Military Cross while serving with No. 2 Armoured Car Company, RAF in Palestine in 1936. The citation was published in the London Gazette of 6 November 1936 and read: ‘The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the undermentioned rewards for gallant and distinguished services rendered in connection with the emergency operations in Palestine during the period 15th April to 14th September, 1936.’
He had been promoted to Wing Commander early in the war and gained the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross whilst serving with 252 Squadron. The citation was published in the London Gazette of 17 October 1941 and read: ‘This officer commanded a detachment of fighter aircraft which recently carried out a series of sorties with the object of assisting in the safe passage of our convoys in the Mediterranean. Attacks were made on certain aerodromes and seaplane bases which resulted in a loss to the enemy of at least 49 aircraft and a further 42 damaged. The Successes achieved undoubtedly contributed largely to the fact that the convoys were able to proceed without loss; only 1 ship was damaged but it succeeded in reaching port. The courageous leadership and determination of this officer is worthy of the highest praise, and throughout he set an example which proved an inspiration to his fellow pilots.’
Robert then transferred to 272 Squadron and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order soon afterwards. The citation was published in the London Gazette of 9 December 1941 and read: ‘Since the operations in the Western Desert commenced this officer has led his squadron with conspicuous success. Enemy aerodromes, as far west of the battle area as Benghazi, have been attacked daily and other serious damage has been inflicted on the enemy. On the opening day of the operations a number of Junkers 52 aircraft, carrying troops, were encountered and 7 of them were shot down. In addition to a daily toll of enemy aircraft destroyed, heavy casualties have been inflicted on ground crews while lines of communication have been harassed and petrol tankers set on fire. Altogether, within a space of 6 days operations, no less than 46 of the enemy’s aircraft were destroyed. Much of the brilliant successes achieved can be attributed to the courageous leadership and determination displayed by Wing Commander Yaxley. Throughout, he has set a magnificent example.’ He was killed on 3 June 1943.
James John Simon Yorke, DSO, DSC, Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Navy (Fishguard). James was born in Chelsea on 1 September 1912, the son of James Hamilton Langdon Yorke and Violet Mary Yorke (nee Vincent). The family home was at Langton Hall, Dwrbach, Fishguard. James enlisted into the Royal Navy in January 1930 and by 1939 had risen to the rank of First Lieutenant. He had married Bridget Essex Curteis, the daughter of Rear Admiral Alban Curteis, in 1938, and the couple had two sons and a daughter. James was serving aboard the destroyer HMS Hasty at the outbreak of war and saw two years of active service in the Mediterranean aboard her, before being transferred aboard HMS Decoy. On 27 March 1942 he assumed command of the destroyer HMS Berkeley, taking part in the disastrous Dieppe Raid of 19 August 1942, where his ship was badly damaged by German aircraft. The stricken vessel was forced to be scuttled due to her damage, and for his bravery in command of her that day, James was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (LG 02/10/1942). He then assumed command of the destroyer HMS Tynedale, back in the Mediterranean, and was aboard when she was torpedoed and sank by the German submarine U-593 off Bougie on 12 December 1943. Upon his safe return to Britain, James took command of another ship and took part in the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944. For his work during the operations off Normandy, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (LG 14/11/1944). He remained in the Royal Navy after the war, becoming Director of Naval Training prior to retiring on 28 February 1958 and settled back into family life in Pembrokeshire. He served his county as he had served his country, becoming Deputy Lieutenant for Pembrokeshire in 1959, and then served as Sheriff from 1959 to 1962, before becoming High Sheriff. He died on 30 April 1963, aged just 50, and was buried in Manorowen. His father, James Hamilton Langdon Yorke, had been awarded the Military Cross whilst serving with the Pembroke Yeomanry during World War One, and was killed in Palestine in 1917.
Philip Cecil Langdon Yorke, MBE, Commander, Royal Navy (Fishguard). Philip was born on 23 July 1903, the youngest son of James Charles Yorke and Katherine Ellen Yorke (nee Langdon), of Langton Hall, Dwrbach, Fishguard. He enlisted into the Royal Navy on 15 January 1917 as a Boy Sailor and saw his first posting as a Midshipman aboard the battleship HMS Resolution. Over the coming years, Philip served aboard a wide variety of ships, steadily rising through the ranks, and by April 1925 had been promoted to First Lieutenant. He gained his pilots licence in July 1933, by which time he was serving aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Courageous. On 22 April 1936 Philip married Elsie Margaret Davis, of Barnwood, Gloucestershire. By the time war broke out he had been promoted to Lieutenant-Commander and became an Air Staff Officer in Fighter Direction in the Mediterranean. He was soon after appointed to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for skill and resource in operations in the Mediterranean (LG 28/11/1941), whilst serving aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, which had seen extensive action with the Malta Convoys. Philip continued to serve aboard HMS Formidable until the summer of 1944 when he was posted to HMS Heron, for observer duties, then became the Deputy Director of Naval Air Warfare and Flying Training Division for the Admiralty at HMS President. He remained in the Royal Navy for several years after the war. Sadly his wife Elsie had died in London in July 1945, then in July the following year Philip married a fellow Naval Officer, Violet Helen Trew. They divorced in 1960 and in August 1961 Philip remarried to Margaret Rose Rubenstein. Philip died at Gosport, Hampshire on 19 January 1970, aged 66.
James Edward Youngs, DSM, Acting Chief Stoker, D/KX/88911, Royal Navy. (Fishguard). James’s award of the Distinguished Service Medal was among a number published in the London Gazette of 18 December 1945. The citation read: ‘For courage, efficiency and devotion to duty whilst serving in H.M. Submarines Solent, Selene, Sea Scout, Sleuth, Stygian, Spark and Supreme in aggressive operations against Japanese shipping, often performed in shallow waters and in the face of serious opposition, over a period from July, 1944, to August, 1945.’