Corporal Harold Roy Couling

 

Unit : 16 Parachute Field Ambulance

Army No. : 7384504

Awards : Distinguished Conduct Medal.

 

On Tuesday the 19th September 1944, Corporal Couling was the NCO in charge of a building housing 100 patients of an MDS run by 181 Air Landing Field Ambulance. On succeeding days up to 25th September the building was the centre of heavy fighting and frequent shelling. This NCO organised a ration supply for his patients by going out between the opposing forces to collect stores from wrecked vehicles and abandoned buildings. When the civilian water supply was cut off he organised an emergency supply in a rubber dinghy and supervised the rationing. On many occasions he went out to give medical aid to and carry in the wounded, enemy and British alike. He organised the routine of the wards and treatment of his patients in such an efficient manner that no one could have done more for them in similar circumstances. On several days shelling and small arms fire around the building prevented the visits of MOs and Corporal Couling performed minor operations under local anaesthetics. By 25th September, 160 wounded were accommodated in his building and from 19th September only one man died there. When one room was wrecked by fire from a self-propelled gun, this NCO rescued the patients from the debris and treated them. When injured by shellfire on 23rd September, Corporal Couling used an inverted floor brush as a crutch and continued in the care of his patients. Although his premises were occupied by the enemy, he made repeated journeys in the open to carry in British and German casualties and to supervise the care of his ambulance transport. When all patients had been evacuated, this NCO collected all remaining rations, medical stores and equipment, organised a truck for his orderlies and rejoined his patients to continue his work in a prison hospital. Throughout the week when he was in charge of this hospital Corporal Couling showed great bravery and devotion to duty and his behaviour was in keeping with the highest traditions of his Corps.

 

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