Lance-Sergeant Hugh Lake

Lance-Sergeant Herbert Mallet Lake


Unit : No.3 Platoon, 9th (Airborne) Field Company

Army No. : 1880512

Awards : Distinguished Conduct Medal.


Hugh Lake was born on the 15th March 1915 in South Shields.


On the 20th September Lance-Sergeant Lake accompanied a party ordered to defend Heveadorp ferry. During the night 20th / 21st the ferry was heavily attacked and the protective party forced to withdraw. Lance-Sergeant Lake, however, lay up near the ferry on the water edge, half submerged. He loosened the cables and prepared to disable the ferry should the enemy attempt to use it. He remained on his own under fire within 200 yards of the enemy without food or water until the early morning of 22nd September, when he rejoined the unit, wounded and exhausted with detailed information of the enemy's movements and disposition on the river bank.


On the evening of 22nd September, less than 10 hours after his return, Lance-Sergeant Lake volunteered to accompany a party which was to ferry the Poles across the river Neder Rijn. His knowledge of the river bank materially assisted the ferrying operations. During the return journey Lance-Sergeant Lake was again wounded - this time in the neck.


During 22nd September the unit was running short of food and water. On his own initiative Lance-Sergeant Lake organised a foraging party and with two sappers carried water through intense mortar fire to the company positions.


On the night 25th September Lance-Sergeant Lake led a party of RE which fought its way through enemy positions to the river bank. Lance-Sergeant Lake, though badly wounded a third time in the shoulder and back, saw all his party safely into boats before he allowed himself to be carried aboard.


During the whole period of operations Lance-Sergeant Lake set a magnificent example to his men and his complete disregard of danger was a continuous inspiration to those near him. His initiative and energy materially assisted the various operations in which he took part and his determination not to give in, though thrice wounded, certainly led to the safe withdrawal of the men under his command.


Hugh Lake died on the 5th October 1990.


See also: L/Cpl Johnson.


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