Chronology of Awards


LEADBITTER, Pte John 4469562 MM

'On March 2nd 1943, when the Bn attacked Djebel Guerba, Pte Leadbitter was in charge of a Bren gun. When the attack was at its fiercest, this soldier ran out of ammunition. He ran through heavy fire to obtain more magazines and returning to his gun he put out of action an enemy MG position which was holding up the advance. He then went forward firing the gun from the hip and thus enabled the advance of his Platoon to be continued.' Recommended by J K [typing error for D H C] Worrall, Major, Acting 2 i/c 16 DLI. Note: recorded as George Leadbitter by CWGC; KIA 8/12/43. Medal previously on loan and display at the DLI Museum.


DRAKE, L/Sgt Joseph 4464742 MM

'On March 3 1943 while the main enemy attack on Sedjenane was being pressed from the East, a fresh threat developed from the North. L/Sgt Drake was a member of the party of 20 detailed to delay any new attack. Defensive positions having been taken up, the party was attacked by two companies of the enemy. This NCO, by continually moving the position of his two Bren guns, led the enemy to believe that our positions were a great deal stronger than was the fact. By this action the advance was successfully held up until all ammunition was exhausted.' Recommended by Major D C H Worrall, Acting 2 i/c 16 DLI.


BALLANCE, T/Major Thomas George Lance 73434 MC

'This officer was very strongly recommended for an immediate award of the Military Cross for an independent action fought at Sedjenane. He commanded a composite force of some 20 men and occupied a native village at about 1900 hours on 3 March 43. on the left flank of the 6 Lincs. 'By his leadership and example he was able to keep his men firing and the enemy in check until all his ammunition had been exhausted. This action undoubtedly contributed to a great degree in enabling Sedjenane to be held until 1530 hrs the following day. Shortly afterwards this Officer assumed command of a Rifle Coy, which he was ordered to move to the MINE at 1257, from where he was ordered to find out whether there was any enemy in the GERMAN mine, some three miles away to the N.E. Finding it to be unoccupied, he went immediately to Bde and asked permission to hold it in greater strength owing to its obvious tactical importance. This was confirmed by the Bde Comd and he there upon moved his Coy forward and held the position until relieved by the 6 R West Kents. By his quick appreciation he was able to secure the base from which 138 Bde launched its attack as part of the general offensive of 46 Div.

'It should also be pointed out that when he arrived at the Mine (1257) the enemy were on the saddle to the NE, transecting the Beja-Djebel Aboid road. Unless offensive action had been taken immediately the situation might have become serious.' Recommended by A/Lt Col J C Preston, Comd 16th Bn The Durham Light Infy.


REYNOLDS, Lt Thomas, MC [Personal Number not fully legible on original citation]

'During an attack on a feature known as Sidi Barka near Bou Arada on the morning of the 22 April, Lt Reynolds as acting as 2nd i/c B Coy, 16 DLI. When it became light, the company came under heavy mortar fire and MG fire. This was on the slopes of the SADDLE and close to the enemy OP who was directing the fire.

Joe Drake MM newspaper clipping

L/Sgt Joe Drake MM was in the first draft of civilian recruits to the 16th DLI in July 1940. Rapidly promoted, he helped form the Carrier Platoon, delivering the very first vehicle to the Battalion in early 1941. However, during the Battle of Sedjenane, conditions were far to muddy for the carriers to operate over the battlefield and it was as a conventional infantry soldier that he fought and won his Military Medal.

The photograph below of Major T G L Ballance MC is enlarged from the December 1942 officers’ photograph.

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Major T G L Ballance, 1942