Major Leslie Francis Williams M.C.

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by 4jonboy, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Whilst browsing the old copies of the Goole Times newspapers today at the library, I found this article about Major Leslie Francis Williams and thought it may be of interest.

    From an article in the Goole Times dated Friday December 25th 1942

    COURAGE IN BATTLE OF ALAMEIN

    "Courage and cool efficiency, which set a splendid example to his officers and men throughout the operation" has earned the Military Cross for Major Leslie Francis Williams, Royal Tank Regiment, of Oakleigh, Western Road, Goole.
    He was in the fighting at El Alamein which led to the rout of the Afrika Corps and our great advance in North Africa, and it was here that he won the award.

    An account of the particular exploit which gained Major (then Captain) Williams the M.C. is as follows:-
    "What happens when a tank is immobilised in the middle of an enemy minefield? Captain L.F. Williams found the answer. He converted his static tanks into pillboxes and continued to fight. As a result of the calm way in which he rallied his men behind the minefield only two were killed. Williams assumed command of a squadron of tanks shortly before our attack on the main enemy position, and led his squadron through difficult conditions and heavy shellfire. When his own tank had been put out of action by enemy fire, he climbed out, got into another, and rallied his men out of danger of the enemy guns, thereby avoiding casualties. Finally, when his squadron was reduced to only three tanks, Williams was ordered to assist a company of infantry being harassed by the German machine-gun fire and snipers. His three tanks cleared the ground so efficiently that the infantry were able to continue their consolidation unimpeded."

    Mrs Williams has not heard from her husband of the award, although receives news from him regularly. He volunteered for the Army and entered the Royal Army Service Corps in May 1940, in which he rose to the rank of sergeant. Subsequently he went to Sandhurst and was commissioned in the R.T.R. in April 1941. He went overseas in May and was in action almost as soon as he arrived in Egypt, at a time when Rommel was threatening to reach the Nile delta. He was also in the thick of the fighting during the subsequent attack on our positions, when, Rommel attempted to encircle our defensive positions. On the eve of the battle which was to see the Germans thrown out of Egypt he wrote to his wife and said he 'expected to be busy' and had been made commander of his tank squadron. Later letters showed that for some time he remained in the thick of the battle, and one extract, which appears to refer to the incident quoted above, said that he was quite fit. He adds that he only lost two of his lads, and apart from that not a single man was hurt. He lost his personal kit when he had to 'bale out', an experience he has had about six times altogether. He said at that time that everyone was in high spirits and confident of the outcome of the battle and of the fact that the enemy would soon be on the run. About a fortnight after the incident he was promoted to the rank of Major.

    A native of Wallasey, where his parents live at 17 Thorncliffe Road, he was educated at Ellery Park School and Wallasey Grammar School. He was employed by firms of soap and biscuit manufacturers, being stationed for some time at Doncaster. He married Miss Ethel Wale, daughter of Mr and Mrs Alan Wale, and came to live in Goole where he was associated with Mr Wale in business in 1937. He has one son, aged six. His many friends will join in congratulating him on the award.
    (apologies for poor picture quality, this is a copy taken from a microfilm reader)

    Edit: apologies-I have posted this in the wrong place, can a moderator move it please.
     

    Attached Files:

    dbf, Drew5233 and CL1 like this.
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Thank you Lesley

    regards
    Clive
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7376278

    Letter from his father - states 50 RTR at the time of writing, 11/1/43
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    Reply
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    Citation
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  5. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Thanks Diane, puts more info on the story :)

    Lesley
     
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks for original post Lesley

    The father's letter is a nice little find, a few similar enquiries in that particular file.
     
  7. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Interesting to see that his father wrote to the War Ministry on 11th January and a letter was sent dated the 15th January from a Lieutenant-General.
    Now that is what I call a quick reply. :)
     

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