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Officers of the 1st Airlanding Light Regiment, May 1945

Lieutenant Adrian Donaldson

 

Unit : "C" Troop, No.2 Battery, 1st Airlanding Light Regiment

Army No. : 228471

Awards : Distinguished Service Order

 

Lieutenant Donaldson was the gun position officer of C Troop of 2 Battery. At 1100 hrs on 25th September his Troop was attacked by a Tiger tank and a self-propelled gun at about 150 yards range. His troop at once came under heavy machine gun fire and suffered such heavy casualties to the gun detachments that it became impossible to produce effective fire from his guns. Nothing daunted Lieutenant Donaldson, taking Lance-Bombardier Dickson with him, manned a 6-pounder anti-tank gun whose crew had been killed but which was in a position about 100 yards from his Command Post. To reach his gun Lieutenant Donaldson had to cross open ground swept by enemy fire. Together with Lance-Bombardier Dickson he brought the gun into action and fired eight or nine shots at the tank until the gun was destroyed by a direct hit which blew him off the gun temporarily stunning him. When he came to himself, Lieutenant Donaldson, together with Lance-Bombardier Dickson, made his way under heavy fire back to No.1 Gun of C Troop whose detachment had been killed and bringing the gun back into action fired four shots at the tank without effect. Armour Piercing ammunition being then expended, Lieutenant Donaldson, still under heavy fire went to find some more, covered by Lance-Bombardier Dickson firing High Explosive. He collected three rounds of Armour Piercing and two of these were fired without effect before his gun jammed. Lance-Bombardier Dickson then went back to the wagon lines and fetched a PIAT with which Lieutenant Donaldson attempted to engage the tank but without success. The whole of this action took place under heavy fire from the Tiger tank and the self-propelled gun and under small arms fire from enemy infantry who had infiltrated into the woods surrounding the position. Lieutenant Donaldson then withdrew to 3 Battery's position as enemy infantry were occupying the gun positions. Nevertheless later that day he returned to the position and ensured that no wounded men of his Troop remained on the position and removed the sights and breech blocks of all the guns not already destroyed. When the order to withdraw was received he led the remains of his Troop back across the river. Lieutenant Donaldson displayed great courage and determination in the face of the enemy of the highest order and it was largely due to his indifference to danger that the enemy failed to press home their attack beyond the outskirts of 2 Battery's positions and on to our last line of defence in that area.

 

Lance-Bombardier Dickson was awarded the Military Medal for his part in this action.

 

See also: L/Bdr Parkes.

 

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