Sapper Dacker H. Thicke
Unit : 20th Field Company RCE, 2nd British Army
Army No. : B97214
Awards : Military Medal
Recommended for the Military Medal, in recognition of gallantry and utter disregard for his own life and setting an example of bravery to his comrades which was directly responsible for the operation being carried out according to plan.
On the night of the 26th/27th September 1944 at Map Reference 683759 Arnhem Sheet No.6 NW/W 1/25,000, storm boats and assault boats were being used to evacuate Airborne troops, the Dorset Regiment, and casualties from the North bank of the River Neder Rijn. On the North bank a factory was burning furiously which lit up the entire South bank of the river. This particular point was used on two previous nights for assaults across the river and it was being continuously watched by enemy snipers on the far (North) bank. Immediately any movement on the near bank was seen by the enemy, flares were sent up and concentrated machine gun fire was made.
A flood bank with a 12 foot roadway on top of it had to be crossed and this was in direct view of the enemy. It was necessary to cut down three strands of thick wire on two fences on either side to allow the storm boats to be carried across the road and down the 400 yards of open country to the beach. Sapper Thicke without hesitation walked up to the wire and by bending it many times with his hands, and in direct view of the enemy, broke the wire. He immediately went across the road and continued the work on the North side of the road and removed the strands of thick wire with wire cutters and with a shovel removed the iron post.
Immediately after this was done he joined the carrying party and assisted in carrying the first storm boat to the beach. While this was being done, the enemy brought heavy machine gun fire on the party. When the next storm boat was to be launched, Sapper Thicke tried to join this party even though he had not been detailed to do so. Again, when volunteers were asked for to cross the river in assault boats, Sapper Thicke was the first to volunteer to make the hazardous trip.
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