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The exceptional and regimentally unique Second World War North West Europe operations Battle of the Scheldt 3rd November 1944 Military Medal and Battle of Alpon attack on the milk factory recce patrol commander’s Second Award Bar group awarded to ...

£8,500.00
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Description:

The exceptional and regimentally unique Second World War North West Europe operations Battle of the Scheldt 3rd November 1944 Military Medal and Battle of Alpon attack on the milk factory recce patrol commander’s Second Award Bar group awarded to Corporal W. Robertson, 6th Lanarkshire Battalion. The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), Territorial Army, who despite being trained in both mountain warfare and then air landing, found himself on service in North West Europe from October 1944 as a part of the 156th Infantry Brigade a decorated with an ‘immediate’ award of the Military Medal for his gallantry in an area of Holland that was technically below sea level. On 3rd November 1944 during the final operations centring on Walcheren island and the Scheldt Estuary, during the crossing of the Sloedam, he was wounded in action in the area of Land en Zeezicht when his Company was under heavy enemy shell fire. ‘Though wounded, he took a 2 inch Mortar from a dead comrade and with it engaged an enemy Machine Gun post with HE and Smoke bombs, thereby assisting the advance of his Platoon across an exposed and bullet-swept stretch of ground. Thereafter, regardless of his wound, he carried an important message, under fire, to his Company Headquarters.’ It was shortly before the official announcement of his first award that Robertson won his second award of the Military Medal, becoming the only man in the Cameronian’s to win it twice during the Second World War. This was for an action on the 9th March 1945 which saw the dawn attack on the milk factory north of Alpen - detailed as Alpon in the records, and known regimentally at the Battle of Alpon. The two leading platoons ran into very heavy opposition and no news had been heard of them since first light. At 1100 hours Robertson was ordered to take a recce patrol to find out the situation. The ground leading to the factory was swept with heavy machine gun fire whilst snipers were very active. Robertson led his patrol over the open group with great skill and under heavy fire and brought back information of enemy defences which was of the greatest assistance to a subsequent attack, and captured two prisoners, the information from one of whom was of great value. The patrol lasted over two hours. Gazetted with the Military Medal on 22nd March 1945, his Second Award Bar was gazetted on 21st June 1945.

Group of 6: Military Medal, GVI 1st type bust, with Second Award Bar; (3244200 L.CPL. W. ROBERTSON. CAMERONIANS.); 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star; Burma Star; Defence Medal; War Medal.

Condition: Good Very Fine.

William Robertson came from Cambuslang, on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland, and saw service as a Rifleman later Lance Corporal (No.3244200) with the 6th Lanarkshire Battalion. The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), Territorial Army, and would have formed part of the 156th Infantry Brigade in the 52nd Lowland Division.

As a part of the 156th Infantry Brigade, the battalion, which had originally fought in France in 1940, was originally trained for mountain warfare from May 1942 through to June 1944, yet never used in this role, and it then retrained in air landing operations, but was again never used in this capacity, this being due to the disastrous events that occurred during the Battle of Arnhem where the British 1st Airborne Division was virtually destroyed.

In October 1944 the battalion together with the 52nd Division was sent to North West Europe, and joined the 21st Army Group, being attached to the First Canadian Army, and fought in the Battle of the Scheldt where the division gained an excellent reputation.

The Battle of the Scheldt lasted from 2nd October to 8th November 1944, and it was during this battalion when in action during the crossing of the Sloe, otherwise known as the Sloedam, on 3rd November 1944, that Lance Corporal Robertson, a part of ‘B’ Company, won the first of his two Military Medals and was also wounded in action. This was as part of Operation Infatuate II, during the fourth phase of the battle, which formed part of the capture of the Island of Walcheren and had begun on 1st November. The 3rd November, was the day that the Royal Marines who had formed the amphibious landing on the 1st November, met up with the men of the 52nd Division who had fought through from the mainland.

The Battle of the Scheldt was fought to open up the shipping route to Antwerp so that its port could be used to supply the Allies in north-west Europe. The well-established Wehrmacht defenders staged an effective delaying action, during which the Germans flooded land areas in the Scheldt estuary, slowing the Allied advance. After five weeks of difficult fighting, the Canadian First Army, at a cost of 12,873 Allied casualties (half of them Canadian), was successful in clearing the Scheldt after numerous amphibious assaults, obstacle crossings, and costly assaults over open ground.

The recommendation for Robertson’s ‘immediate’ award of the Military Medal was made on 8th November 1944, and reads as follows: ‘After the crossing of the Sloe on 3rd November 1944, in the area of Land en Zeezicht, when his Company was under heavy enemy shell fire, Rifleman Robertson, though wounded, took a 2 inch Mortar from a dead comrade and with it engaged an enemy Machine Gun post with HE and Smoke bombs, thereby assisting the advance of his Platoon across an exposed and bullet-swept stretch of ground. Thereafter, regardless of his wound, he carried an important message, under fire, to his Company Headquarters.’

Robertson’s first award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette for 22nd March 1945.

It was shortly before the official announcement of his first award that Robertson, by now a full Corporal with ‘B’ Company, won his second award of the Military Medal, becoming the only man in the Cameronian’s to win it twice during the Second World War. This was for an action on the 9th March 1945 which saw the dawn attack on the milk factory north of Alpen - detailed as Alpon in the records, and known regimentally at the Battle of Alpon, during which Robertson led the recce patrol.

The recommendation made on 16th March 1945 reads as follows: ‘On 9th March 1945 “B” Company launched a dawn attack on the milk factory north of Alpon. The two leading platoons ran into very heavy opposition and no news had been heard of them since first light. At 1100 hours Corporal Robertson was ordered to take a recce patrol to find out the situation. The ground leading to the factory was swept with heavy machine gun fire whilst snipers were very active. Corporal Robertson led his patrol over the open group with great skill and under heavy fire and brought back information of enemy defences which was of the greatest assistance to a subsequent attack, and captured two prisoners, the information from one of whom was of great value. The patrol lasted over two hours, and its success is entirely due to its excellent and fearless handling by Corporal Robertson.’

Robertson was subsequently awarded the rare Second Award Bar to his Military Medal in the London Gazette for 21st June 1945.