Medals of the Regiments:
The Norfolk Regiment


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The Royal Norfolk Regiment WW2 Victoria Crosses





Name  Citation
11st 6th August, 1944
near Sourdeval, France

5779898 Corporal
Sidney Bates

(Posthumous award)

   No. 5779898 Corporal Sidney Bates, The Royal Norfolk Regiment (London, S.E.5). In North-West Europe on 6th August, 1944, the position held by a battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment near Sourdeval was attacked in strength by 10th S.S. Panzer Division. The attack started with a heavy and accurate artillery and mortar programme on the position which the enemy had, by this time, pin-pointed.
   Half an hour later the main attack developed and heavy machine-gun and mortar fire was concentrated on the point of junction of the two forward companies. Corporal Bates was commanding the right forward section of the left forward company which suffered some casualties,- so he decided to move the remnants of his section  to an alternative position whence he appreciated he could better counter the enemy thrust. However, the enemy wedge grew still deeper, until there were about; 50 to 60 Germans, supported by machine-guns and mortars, in the area occupied by the section.
   Seeing that the situation was becoming, desperate, Corporal Bates then seized a light machine-gun and charged the enemy, moving forward through a hail of bullets and splinters and firing the gun from his hip. He was almost immediately wounded by machine-gun fire and fell to the ground, but recovered himself quickly, got up and continued advancing towards the enemy, spraying bullets from his gun as he went. His action by now was having an effect on the enemy riflemen and machine gunners but mortar bombs continued to fall all around him.
    He was then hit for the second time and much more seriously and painfully wounded. However, undaunted, he staggered once more to his feet and continued towards the enemy who were now seemingly nonplussed by their inability to check him. His constant firing continued until the enemy started to withdraw before him. At this moment, he was hit for the third time by mortar bomb splinters—a wound that was to prove mortal. He again fell to the ground but continued to fire his weapon until his strength failed him. This was not, however, until the enemy had withdrawn and the situation in this locality had been restored.
Corporal Bates died shortly afterwards of the wounds he had received, but, by his supreme gallantry and self sacrifice he had personally restored what had been a critical situation.

(LG 2nd Nov 1944)

22nd  21st May, 1940  River Escaut, Belgium, south of Tournai

391398 CSM
George Gristock

(Posthumous award)

No. 391398 Warrant Officer Class II (Company Sergeant-Major) George Gristock, The Royal Norfolk Regiment. For most conspicuous gallantry on the 21st May 1940, when his company was holding a position on the line of the River Escaut, south of Tournai. After a prolonged attack, the enemy succeeded in breaking through beyond the company's right flank which was consequently threatened. Company Sergeant- Major Gristock having organised a party of eight riflemen from company headquarters, went forward to cover the right flank. Realising that an enemy machine-gun had moved forward to a position from which it was inflicting heavy casualties on his company, Company Sergeant-Major Gristock went on, with one man as connecting file, to try to put it out of action. Whilst advancing, he came under heavy machine-gun fire from the opposite bank and was severely wounded in both legs, his right knee being badly smashed. He nevertheless gained his fire-position, some twenty yards from the enemy machine-gun post, undetected, and by well aimed rapid fire killed the machine gun crew of four and put their gun out of action. He then dragged himself back to the right flank position from which he refused to be evacuated until contact with the battalion on the right had been established and the line once more made good. By his gallant action, the position of the company was secured, and many casualties prevented. Company Sergeant-Major Gristock has since died of his wounds.

(LG 23rd Aug 1940)

37th 7th & 8th August 1944 south of Grimbosq, Normandy, France

Captain David Jamieson

    Captain David Jamieson. (90577), The Royal Norfolk Regiment (King's Lynn, Norfolk). Captain Jamieson was in command of a Company of The Royal Norfolk Regiment which established a bridgehead over the River Orne, south of Grimbosq, in Normandy. On August 7th, 1944, the enemy made three counter-attacks which were repulsed with heavy losses. The last of these took place at 1830 hours when a German Battle Group with Tiger and Panther tanks attacked and the brunt of the fighting fell on Captain Jamieson's Company. Continuous heavy fighting ensued for more than four hours until the enemy were driven off, after suffering severe casualties and the loss of three tanks and an armoured car accounted for by this Company. Throughout these actions,
Captain Jamieson displayed outstanding courage and leadership, which had a decisive influence on the course of the battle and resulted in the defeat of these determined enemy attacks.
    On the morning of August 8th the enemy attacked with a fresh Battle Group and succeeded in penetrating the defences surrounding the Company on three sides. During this attack two of the three tanks in support of the Company were destroyed and Captain Jamieson left his trench under close range fire from enemy arms of all kinds and went over to direct the fire of the remaining tank, but as he could not get into touch with the commander of the tank by the outside telephone, he climbed upon it in full view of the enemy. During this period Captain Jamieson was wounded in the right eye and left forearm but when his wounds were dressed he refused to be evacuated. By this time all the other officers had become casualties so Captain Jamieson reorganised his Company, regardless of personal safety, walking amongst his men in full view of the enemy, as there was no cover. After several hours of bitter and confused fighting, the last Germans were driven from the Company position.
   The enemy counter-attacked the Company three more times during that day with infantry and tanks. Captain Jamieson continued in command, arranging for artillery support over his wireless and going out into the open on each occasion to encourage his men. By the evening the Germans had withdrawn, leaving a ring of dead and burnt out tanks round his position. Throughout this thirty-six hours of bitter and close fighting, and despite the pain of his wounds, Captain Jamieson showed superb qualities of leadership and great personal bravery. There were times when the position appeared hopeless, but on each occasion it was restored by his coolness and determination. He personally was largely responsible for the holding of this important bridgehead over the River Orne and the repulse of seven German counter-attacks with great loss to the enemy.

(LG 26th Oct 1944) obituary  (The Independent)

4n/a (attached Commandos)  31st January 1945 near Kangaw, Burma.

 George Arthur Knowland

(Posthumous award)

Lieutenant George Arthur Knowland (323566), The Royal Norfolk Regiment (attached Commandos) (London, S.E.1). In Burma on 31st January, 1945, near Kangaw, Lieutenant Knowland was commanding the forward platoon of a Troop positioned on the extreme North of a hill which was subjected to very heavy and repeated enemy attacks throughout the whole day. Before the first attack started, Lieutenant Knowland's platoon was heavily mortared and machine gunned, yet he moved about among his men keeping them alert and encouraging them, though under fire himself at the time.
   When the enemy, some 300 strong in all, made their first assault they concentrated all their efforts on his platoon of 24 men, but, in spite of the ferocity of the attack, he moved about from trench to, trench distributing ammunition, and firing his rifle and throwing grenades at the enemy, often from completely exposed positions.
    Later, when the crew of one of his forward Bren Guns had all been wounded, he sent back to Troop Headquarters for another crew and ran forward to man the gun himself until they arrived. The enemy was then less than 10 yards from him in dead ground down the hill, so, in order to get a better field of fire, he stood on top of the trench, firing the light machine gun from his hip, and successfully keeping them at a distance until a Medical Orderly had dressed and evacuated the wounded men behind him. The new Bren team also (became casualties on the way up, and Lieutenant Knowland continued to fire the gun until another team took over.
   Later, when a fresh attack came in, he took over a 2 in. Mortar and in spite of heavy fire and the closeness of the enemy, he stood up in the open to face them, firing the mortar from his hip and killing six of .them with his first bomb. When all bombs were expended he went back through heavy grenade, mortar and machine gun fire to get more, which he fired in the same way from the open in front of his platoon positions. When those bombs were finished, he went back to his own trench, and still standing up fired his rifle at them. Being hard pressed and with enemy closing in on him from only 10 yards away, he had no time to re-charge his magazine. Snatching up the Tommy gun of a casualty, he sprayed the enemy and was mortally wounded stemming this assault, though not before he had killed and wounded many of the enemy.
   Such was the inspiration of his magnificent heroism, that, though fourteen out of twenty-four of his platoon became casualties at an
early stage, and six of his positions were over-run -by the enemy, his men held on 'through twelve hours of continuous and fierce fighting until reinforcements arrived. If this Northern end of the hill had fallen, the rest of the hill would have been endangered, the beach-head dominated by the enemy, and other units farther inland cut off from their source of supplies. As it was, the final successful counter-attack was later launched from the vital ground which Lieutenant Knowland -had taken such a gallant part in holding.

(LG 12th Apr. 1945)

52nd 4th May, 1944,  Kohima, Assam

Lieutenant (temporary Captain)
John Neil Randle

(Posthumous award)

Lieutenant (temporary Captain) John Neil Randle (130097), The Royal Norfolk Regiment (Radlett, Herts.). On the 4th May, 1944, at Kohima in Assam, a Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment attacked the Japanese positions on a nearby ridge. Captain Randle took over command of the Company which was leading the attack, when the Company Commander was severely wounded. His handling of a difficult situation in the face of heavy fire was masterly and although wounded himself in the knee by grenade splinters he continued to inspire his men by his initiative, courage and outstanding leadership, until the Company had captured its objective and consolidated its position. He then went forward and brought in all the wounded men who were lying outside the perimeter.
   In spite of his painful wound Captain Randle refused to be evacuated and insisted on carrying out a personal reconnaissance with great daring in bright moonlight prior to a further attack by his Company on the positions to which the enemy had withdrawn.
   At dawn on 6th May the attack opened led by Captain Randle and one of the platoons succeeded in reaching the crest of the hill held by the Japanese. Another platoon, however, ran into heavy medium machine gun fire from a bunker on the reverse slope, of the feature. Captain Randle immediately appreciated that this particular bunker covered not only the rear of his new position but also the line of communication of the Battalion and therefore the destruction of the enemy post was imperative if the operation was to succeed.
    With utter disregard of the obvious dangerto himself Captain Randle charged the Japanese machine gun post single-handed with rifle and bayonet. Although bleeding  in the face and mortally wounded by numerous bursts of machine gun fire he reached the bunker and silenced the gun with a grenade thrown through the bunker slit.
   He then flung his body across the slit so that the aperture should be completely sealed. The bravery shown by this officer could not have been surpassed and by his self sacrifice he saved the lives of many of his men and enabled not only his own Company but the whole Battalion to gain its objective and win a decisive victory over the enemy.

(LG 8th Dec. 1944)


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