​ The outstanding Second World War Italy Campaign crossing of the River Senio 20th to 26th February and 3rd to 11th March 1945 Military Cross group awarded to Lieutenant Colonel M. van Staden Boswell, Union of South Africa Defence Forces, one time 'C' Company Commander with the 1st Battalion, London Irish Regiment, who was constantly up with his forward sections taking part in grenade battles and personally laid explosive charges to blow up enemy positions.

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The outstanding Second World War Italy Campaign crossing of the River Senio 20th to 26th February and 3rd to 11th March 1945 Military Cross group awarded to Lieutenant Colonel M. van Staden Boswell, Union of South Africa Defence Forces, one time 'C' Company Commander with the 1st Battalion, London Irish Regiment, who was constantly up with his forward sections taking part in grenade battles and personally laid explosive charges to blow up enemy positions. 

Group of 6: Union of South Africa: John Chard Medal with Crossed Swords device, rim numbered '806';
Military Cross, GVI 1st type, reverse dated 1945; 1939-1945 Star; Italy Star; War Medal; Africa Service Medal 1939-1945, these last four all correctly named in South African issue impressed style; (12086 M.V.S. BOSWELL). Condition: Good Very Fine.

Together with the following original documentation and photographs: recipient's original pair of named dog tags; a 13th Corps letter of congratulations on his winning the Military Cross, dated 26th September 1945; original Republic of South Africa Department of Defence Certificate of Service issued on his discharge dated 22nd March 1979; a photograph of Boswell taken around the time of the Second World War and wearing the uniform of the London Irish Rifles; a photostat postcard of a drawing of Boswell in uniform, drawn in 1942 when he was serving as a Captain; a 1964 dated photograph print of a gathering of officers including Boswell shown wearing medal ribbons; another taken around the same time, this showing officers drawn up at attention; and photograph of Boswell making a presentation to another officer.
Marthinus van Staden Boswell was born in Wepener, South Africa on 11th September 1917, and was educated at Grey College, Bloemfontein. He worked as an electrical engineer and salesman, and with married with five children, and living in Molteno, when he enlisted into the South Africa Forces, and joined the Die Middelandse Regiment on 1st July 1939 as part of the Union Defence Forces just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. With the outbreak of the Second World War, his war service commenced on 16th April 1940 and he was promoted to Corporal on 20th September 1940, but then went on to spend the next three and a half years on the Staff of the South African Military College at Pretoria, and during this period attended an Officer's Course from May 1941 to 29th September 1941, and in the time found himself confined to barracks for 7 days as a result of failing to appear on parade on 21st May 1941. Commissioned and promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 30th September 1941, and then to Lieutenant on 30th March 1942, and to Captain in October 1942, and during 1941 to 1942 qualified in the following courses: gas instructor, 3 inch mortar, Vickers machine gun, Lewis machine gun, assistant instructor. Boswell was appointed Company Commander of the Recruit Training Battalion at the South African Military College on 1st October 1942. Boswell finally got to see action when he was attached to the United Kingdom forces, joining as a Captain the 1st Battalion, London Irish Regiment - a part of the Corps of Royal Ulster Rifles, and then saw active service in Italy from 26th February to 11th July 1944, and then saw further service with the Central Mediterranean Forces from 11th July 1944 to 2nd October 1945. Boswell was promoted to Major and given command of 'C' Company, London Irish. On 22nd December 1944 at the Senior River, during a visit from Colonel MacNamara, M.P., a former Commanding Officer of the London Irish, whilst the Colonel was talking to Boswell, a sudden mortar bombardment killed the Colonel and Boswell was wounded. The London Irish was was part of the 167th London Infantry Brigade, in the 56th London Division, and played a major part in the crossings of the rivers Reno and Senio west of Bologna in February and March 1945, and it was for his gallant actions during this period that Boswell was awarded the Military Cross. The recommendation reads as follows: 'Major Boswell has been commanding 'C' Company, 1st Battalion London Irish Regiment throughout all the actions in which the Battalion has been engaged on the River Senio with the exception of a short period in hospital as a result of a wound. He particularly distinguished himself during the following periods - 20th to 26th February - when his Company took part in the advance up to and capture of the South bank of the River Senio, Square 3333 and during theca period 3rd to 11th March when his Company was holding a stretch of the hear flood bank of the river which was also held on the far side by the enemy and resulted in almost continuous close quarter fighting. At the time of the advance on the bank on the night of 23rd to 24th February, Major Boswell's ingenuity and personal example in the carrying out of each detail of the operation was undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of that operation on his company's sector. During these periods Major Boswell displayed throughout leadership of the highest order. He was constantly up on the bank with his forward sections taking part in grenade battles and personally laid explosive charges in the bank to blow up enemy positions. His cheerfulness and complete disregard for personal safety particularly when taking part in close quarter fighting with his forward sections have been a real inspiration to the troops under his command and have had a direct bearing on the high morale and fighting efficiency of his Company.' The recommendation was made on 4th April 1945, and the award was published in the London Gazette for 20th September 1945. Boswell was wounded a second time on 10th March 1945, and with the end of the war in Europe, was finally discharged at Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 15th January 1946, and then placed on the Reserve of Officers. However he was then transferred from the Reserve of Officers in the rank of Major, and posted to command the 1st Field Battery, 8th Field Regiment (later retitled the Johannesburg Regiment) on 6th November 1952, and was then appointed Acting Officer Commanding the Regiment on 3rd November 1956, being appointed Temporary Commandant on 25th November 1957 and transferred to the Reserve of Officers a second time as Major on 28th September 1958. Boswell was Commandant (Lieutenant Colonel) commanding the East Park Commando from 3rd July 1962 and posted to the Reserve of Officers finally on 1st January 1966. In 1962 Boswell was awarded the John Chard Medal number '806' in the Army Order No.160/62, for completing twelve years long and efficient service with the Citizen Force. From the institution on 6th April 1952 to 2nd May 1960 there were 156 John Chard Decorations and 292 John Chard Medals awarded. This medal was named in honour of Lieutenant Colonel John Chard V.C., who commanded at the defence of Rorke's Drift during the Zulu War in 1879.  Boswell died at Johannesburg on 28th May 1970.  


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