Captain Lionel Ernest Queripel
Unit : "A" Company, 10th Parachute Battalion
Army No. : 108181
Awards : Victoria Cross
Lionel Queripel, formerly of the Royal Sussex Regiment, was Second-in-Command of the 10th Battalion's A Company. The aircraft in which the Company commander, Major Anson, had been travelling was shot down south of the Rhine, and so Queripel took charge in his absence.
On Tuesday 19th, the 10th Battalion's progress along the Amsterdamseweg was halted by a strong German blocking line on the crossroads with the Driejenseweg, and there followed an exchange of gun and mortar fire with persisted for several hours. A Company were positioned to the north of the road at this time and were scarcely challenged, but after a time they received an order from Brigade HQ to mount a wide flanking attack. The following is an extract from Queripel's citation for a Victoria Cross:
In Holland on 19th September 1944, Captain Queripel was acting as company commander of a composite company composed of three Battalion The Parachute Regiments.
At 1400 hours on that day, his company was advancing along a main road which ran on an embankment towards Arnhem. The advance was conducted under continuous machine gun fire which, at one period, became so heavy that the company became split on either side of the road and suffered considerable losses. Captain Queripel at once proceeded to reorganise his force, crossing and recrossing the road whilst doing so, under extremely heavy and accurate fire. During this period he carried a wounded sergeant to the Regimental Aid Post under fire and was himself wounded in the face.
Having organised his force, Captain Queripel personally led a party of men against a strong point holding up the advance. This strong point consisted of a capture British anti-tank gun and two machine-guns. Despite the fire directed at him, Captain Queripel succeeded in killing the crews of the machine-guns and also recapturing the anti-tank gun. As a result of this the advance was able to continue.
The flanking movement proved fruitless, however, and little ground was gained in what was to be the final attacking action of the 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem. During the evening, whilst the 4th Para Brigade was in the process of transferring its vehicles through a tunnel beneath the railway line, Queripel was given command a composite company, consisting of A Company and men from two other battalions, and was ordered to hold a small finger of woodland to the north-east of Wolfheze, less than a quarter of a mile from the tunnel. This area was vital to the defence and as such it was pressed very hard by the Germans throughout Tuesday night, but the company held it with great valour until early the next morning. The citation continues:
Later in the same day Captain Queripel found himself cut off with a small party of men and took up position in a ditch. By this time he had received further wounds in both arms. Regardless of his wounds and of the very heavy mortar and Spandau fire, he continued to inspire his men to resist with hand grenades, pistols and the few remaining rifles.
As, however, the enemy pressure increased, Captain Queripel decided that it was impossible to hold the position any longer and ordered his men to withdraw. Despite their protests, he insisted on remaining behind to cover their withdrawal with his automatic pistol and a few remaining hand grenades.
This was the last occasion on which he was seen.
During the whole period of nine hours of confused and bitter fighting Captain Queripel displayed the highest standard of gallantry under the most difficult and trying circumstances. His courage, leadership and devotion to duty were magnificent and an inspiration to all.
See also: Captain Henry.
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