Sergeant Herbert Backwell


Unit : Headquarters, 1st Airlanding Brigade

Army No. : 177924

Awards : British Empire Medal


This NCO has served with the Motor Transport Section of HQ 1st Air Landing Brigade since April 1942.


His sterling qualities have resulted in his promotion from Private soldier to Sergeant in-command all Brigade Motor Transport.


His work during the operations in Algeria, Tunisia and Italy was of an extremely high order. He was responsible, under the Brigade Transport Officer, for two major moves, one from Mascari in Algeria to Sousse in Tunisia, the other from Taranto to Foggia in Italy. During the latter move, transport was extremely short and it was due to the skill and determination of Sergeant Backwell that [impressed?] Italian lorries were kept on the move, thus enabling essential stores to be carried.


Prior to the Battle of Arnhem he proceeded with the seaborne element of the Division to join up with the Airborne troops at Nijmegen. His control of the five mile convoy moving from the [Normandy harbour?] through France and Belgium and into Holland left nothing to be desired. For nights he spent without sleep, riding a motor-cycle the whole time, and by day he supervised the essential maintenance. He shepherded the convoy along the difficult corridor from Eindhoven to Nijmegen with care and skill. Finally, after the airborne party had been evacuated to England by air, he led his convoy back through Belgium, embarked all his transport and brought every vehicle and man in safety to the U.K.


The energy, drive and quiet efficiency of this N.C.O. has been outstanding for the past two years.


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