SAS Shaw, Bertram John

John Robertson

Staff member
Bertram John
  • UNIT
  • RANK
Croix de Guerre (Fr)
Normandy 1944
born 14.11.1924, Rochester, Kent
parent unit Army Air Corps
former Essex Regiment
holder D.C.M.
died 08.03.1983


Distinguished Conduct Medal : On 27th September 1944 at Ryckevorsel, B Company were responsible for defending the left flank of the Battalion area. In the early morning the enemy launched their third counter-attack against the company. The attack was preceded by heavy mortar and shell fire and it was later discovered that the strength of the enemy was approximately three companies, with three armoured cars. Corporal Shaw was commanding a section in the forward platoon of B Company. After an hour and a half of the attack, the platoon Headquarters and the rear section were overrun, thus causing the two remaining sections to be cut off from the remainder of the Company. Corporal Shaw, who commanded one of these sections, immediately assumed command of both. He co-ordinated the fire of the Bren gun and positioned the riflemen to form a firm base. The first wave of enemy, attacking frontally, were killed or wounded from approximately 80 yards range. By this time only one Bren gun remained in action and ammunition was running low. The enemy then attacked his left flank with three armoured cars, whilst enemy infantry infiltrated to the rear to within grenade range. There was no more ammunition left so Corporal Shaw directed the remaining Bren at the three armoured cars, blowing the tyres of one and causing the withdrawal of all three. The enemy infantry were held off with grenades. Throughout this engagement Corporal Shaw personally directed the fire of all weapons and it was undoubtedly through his fine example and determined leadership that the two sections held firm to their positions until the arrival of tanks, fighting patrols, and ammunition eased the position for them. His courage was an inspiration to all who worked with him.
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