The superb Second World War Normandy D-Day + 9 15th June 1944 Tilly-sur-Seulles Military Medal awarded to Lance Corporal J.R. Giles, 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment, who when reconnoitring Tilly on 15th June 1944 became split from the Officer and NCO who were accompanying him when engaged by a machine gun position, and ended up spending two nights and a day and a half hidden in the German positions taking notes of the dispositions, at one time being forced to dive off a bridge into a river when spotted by a machine gunner and forced to hide in re
The superb Second World War Normandy D-Day + 9 15th June 1944 Tilly-sur-Seulles Military Medal awarded to Lance Corporal J.R. Giles, 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment, who when reconnoitring Tilly on 15th June 1944 became split from the Officer and NCO who were accompanying him when engaged by a machine gun position, and ended up spending two nights and a day and a half hidden in the German positions taking notes of the dispositions, at one time being forced to dive off a bridge into a river when spotted by a machine gunner and forced to hide in reeds, he then made a break for it during his battalion attack on the German position with much valuable information.
Group of 5: Military Medal, GVI 1st type bust; (6019561 PTE. J.R. GILES. ESSEX R.); 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; War Medal. Mounted swing style for wear.
Condition: very slight edge bruising to first, overall Good Very Fine.
Together with old magazine cutting concerning the award of the Military Medal to Giles.
John Robert Giles came from London and was working for Siemen's before the war, working in the Paper Shop and Sheathing Department. With the outbreak of the Second World War he enlisted as a Private later Lance Corporal (No.6019561) into the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment, and went on to see service in North Africa, and then landed in Normandy on or around D-Day 6th June 1944 as part of the 56th Infantry Brigade, 50th Northumbrian Division. Shortly afterwards he performed the act of gallantry which led to the award of the Military Medal to him, he award being gazetted on the 19th October 1944, and the recommendation reading as follows:
'On 15th June 1944 this Other Rank together with one officer and Lance Corporal was ordered to move forward at night from Buceel to Tilly and ascertain whether or not the enemy were still in occupation of this village. The patrol set out at 2300 hrs and on approaching the outskirts of Tilly they were fired on by an enemy Light Machine Gun position. The NCO threw a 36 Grenade in amongst the position and apparently silenced it. Unknown to Private Giles, the officer and NCO had both been hit and began to withdraw. Thinking that Giles as 'Getaway' man, would be behind them, they eventually made their way back to our own lines. Meanwhile Giles having hidden up, assuming that the officer and NCO had moved forward again, resumed the advance. He reached the cemetery at La Butte and walked until dawn. He then found that he was in the midst of the enemy position. Altogether by laying in the enemy lines for two nights and a day and a half, making careful note of the enemy disposal. On 17th June when the Battalion attacked Tilly, he ran out in the face of the enemy and our own fire with complete disregard for his own life to present his company commander with the vital information about the enemy's dispositions.'
A more detailed account was published in the Siemen's Magazine in June to July 1945: 'Lance Corporal John Giles (5ft 1 inch tall and the shortest Lance Corporal in the Essex Regiment) has been awarded the Military Medal. If he had been a little taller he might never have known about it. John, who worked in the Paper Shop and Sheathing Department before joining the Army, set out one night last July with an officer and a sergeant to pass through the German lines to locate gun and machine-gun posts in Tilly. They had arranged (gruesome choice) to meet if separated in Tilly graveyard. Fired on by a German patrol, the others were both wounded, and John , having located machine gun posts reached the graveyard alone. Hiding till nightfall, he attempted to recross a bridge over which he had come the previous night, but German machine-gun fire caused him to dive into the river, where he came up amongst some reeds which only just hid him. Had he been taller he must have been spotted by the German gunner who continued to fire bursts into the water. Deciding to lie low for the night, John was awakened by the roar of artillery and found he had been asleep almost under the muzzles of six German big guns. He lay there for six hours until he heard what he describes as the sweetest music he ever heard - the rattles of the Bren guns of our own advancing troop. Making a dash towards them, again under the fire of machine guns, he managed to reach his goal safely and reported the exact position of the German guns, which within a few minutes were blown out of action.'