Captain Charles Anthony Harrison


Unit : "E" Troop, No.3 Battery, 1st Airlanding Light Regiment

Army No. : 75273

Awards : Military Cross


Captain Tony Harrison had been stationed at Arnhem Bridge on Sunday 17th September, but at first light on Monday he was sent back in the direction of Oosterbeek, due to the signals failure, to give a verbal report to Divisional HQ. His Observation Post assistant, Bombardier Ogle, drove him through the darkness at high speed with the intention of reaching the Division via the "Lion" route along which the 2nd Battalion had advanced on the previous day. In the poor light, however, a crucial turning was missed and the Jeep found itself going along the Utrechtseweg, the "Tiger" Route. As they left Arnhem behind them they ran into Lieutenant-Colonel Dobie and his 1st Battalion, who had mistaken the approaching vehicle for an enemy but fortunately they did not open fire. Harrison gave a report to Dobie and then proceeded to Divisional HQ but was unable to find anyone, so after leaving a message he left to rejoin the 1st Battalion.


By the time he arrived, the 1st Battalion were fighting hard to push their way into the town. Harrison was able to contact "E" Troop and direct artillery fire onto German positions. German soldiers abandoned their positions as a consequence of this, prompting Harrison to take the opportunity to fire at several men with his rifle. This act, however, gave him away to a watching German sniper who fired at and struck Harrison in the stomach. He managed to find his way back to the Light Regiment's Aid Post in Oosterbeek to receive treatment. At 10:00 on Wednesday 20th, Harrison rejoined "E" Troop after insisting on discharging himself. For this and the actions that followed, Captain Harrison was awarded the Military Cross.


Captain Harrison commander E Troop, No.3 Battery, was wounded in ARNHEM on 18.9.44 and was evacuated to 181 Field Ambulance. On 19.9.44 despite his wound he insisted on returning to duty with his Battery. On 21.9.44 his troop position at Oosterbeek was threatened by an enemy infantry attack from the West which broke through the local defensive position. Captain Harrison in the absence of any senior officer organised a mixed party of infantry and held off this attack. He then proceeded to organise a counter attack against the enemy who had taken up a strong position in the Gas works to the west of Oosterbeek. In spite of the strength of the enemy's position and of the very mixed composition of his own force, Captain Harrison leading the attack himself successfully stormed the enemy position and drove the enemy back. Then under heavy fire he organised a strong defensive position around the Gas works which our infantry were able to hold against all attacks by the enemy. Captain Harrison by his courage and personal example undoubtedly was solely responsible for restoring a very dangerous situation. It was entirely due to his magnificent example and great powers of leadership that this attack succeeded.


During the attack on the Gas works, Harrison had engaged in a personal duel with a machine-gun position. An observer said that Harrison "won on points"; giving up the exercises as a bad idea, he had pretended to be dead for some 20 minutes or so before making a run for cover.


See also: Bdr Hall.


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