Lieutenant Lewis Andrew Hodgkinson Lack
Unit : 3rd Parachute Squadron, RE.
Army No. : 278772
Awards : Military Cross
On the 22nd August Lieutenant Lack was in command of a Royal Engineer reconnaissance party in support of 5th Parachute Brigade. 5th Parachute Brigade was following up the German withdrawal with the object of securing crossings over the River Touques in the area of Pont L'Eveque. Lieutenant Lack and his party advanced with 13th Parachute Battalion along the road leading into Pont L'Eveque. Lieutenant Lack's special task was to report on the state of the bridges in Pont L'Eveque (the River Touques divides into two through Pont L'Eveque) and if the bridges were demolished to give an estimate of the size of the gaps and the nature of bridging equipment which would be required. The leading elements of 13th Parachute Battalion penetrated into the western outskirts of Pont L'Eveque where they encountered small arms fire and mortar fire. Small parties of Germans including snipers appeared to be established on the near side of the River Touques covering the approaches to the bridges. Though under fire Lieutenant Lack crept forward alone and reached the first obstacle where he found the bridge blown, but passable to infantry. He crossed over the obstacle and endeavoured to reach the second obstacle which was about 100 yards away. Whilst carrying out the reconnaissance he was wounded in the shoulder by Machine-Gun fire and forced to withdraw after he had verified that the second bridge had been blown. Lieutenant Lack made his way back under fire, recrossed the first obstacle still under fire, and regained his motor cycle in the outskirts of the town. He reported to HQ 13th Parachute Battalion but refused to be evacuated until he had made his report personally first to HQ 5th Parachute Brigade and then to Divisional HQ. His action was an outstanding example of determination, of devotion to duty, and utter disregard for his own personal safety. His report was the first information on the River Touques obtained from ground reconnaissance and contributed in no small measure to the ultimate success of the bridging operations by the Division over the river.
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