Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Malcolm Gray
Unit : No.41 (Royal Marine) Commando
Awards : Military Cross
Lieutenant-Colonel Gray was awarded the Military Cross for actions that took place before the 4th Special Service Brigade was attached to the 6th Airborne Division.
At Lion sur Mer on the 6th of June, from the moment of landing under heavy and accurate mortar and shell fire, Lieutenant-Colonel Gray showed a complete and utter disregard for his own safety. His coolness, cheerfulness and personal bravery were an inspiration to all. On the first morning he was slightly wounded on two occasions and insisted on continuing. His example contributed enormously to the success of the Commando task.
Lieutenant-Colonel Gray was further wounded and had to be evacuated on the morning of the 7th June, after he was caught in the explosion of anti-personnel ordnance dropped by three Heinkel bombs. Recovering from his injuries, he later returned to lead No.46 Commando and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his part in the assault crossing over the Rhine and into the town of Wesel on the 23rd/24th March 1945. His citation reads:
Lieutenant Colonel Gray was in command of 46 (Royal Marine) Commando which captured the original bridgehead over the River Rhine. He attacked across the river in Buffaloes and fought his way inland with unparalleled determination and skill. His men captured two large groups of houses killing over thirty enemy and capturing eighty three enemy in the first ten minutes of the operation. This was only made possible by the speed and dash of this fearless advance where a number of key personnel were lost. Lieutenant Colonel Gray never allowed the impetus to slacken despite every enemy opposition, and his dauntless courage and sure progress made the Brigade task possible. He was in every way and inspiration and example to the men under his command.
He was continually under fire from small arms fire from the Rhine to Wesel, and in Wesel was under fire from enemy armed with Panzerfausts which wounded many of the men around him.
His cool judgement and his complete contempt for danger inspired his men and influenced the battle at a most critical stage.
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