Battle of The Mareth Line, Tunisia, Military Medal Group, March 1943.
880539 A. BMBR. A. M. LOVEGROVE R. A.
This group of 5 consists of:
Military Medal, 1939 / 45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, War Medal
London Gazette – 25th November 1943.
Gazette Info: http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36261/pages/5174
Gazette Date: 25/11/1943
Gazette Page: 5174
Duty Location: Middle East (including Egypt, East Africa, Western Desert, Sudan, Greece, Crete, Syria & Tobruk)
The citation for Albert Malcolm Lovegrove is as follows:
5th HQ Army Division, 10 Corps
He was an RA Signalller attached to Signal Section 121 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.
The recommending officer is E.B. Thornhill. Lt. Colonel Royal Artillery Commanding 121 Field Regiment. Royal Artillery.
This NCO is in charge of the line detachment of the Signal Section attached 121 Field Regiment, RA, and has carried out his duties in a manner beyond praise.
On 22nd March 1943 when in action in front of the MARETH LINE, the Regimental area came under heavy shell fire and all line communications, both internal and external, were cut. Bdr LOVEGROVE immediately organised repairs, and by his example inspired his detachment, with the result that communications were quickly restored.
His action was exactly similar under similar conditions WEST of DJ FADELOUN on 7th May 1943 and again NORTH of ENFIDAVILLE on 10th May 43. In the latter case, the lines were repeatedly cut, but Bdr LOVEGROVE never failed to organise their restoration in the shortest possible time.
On all these occasions his disregard of personal danger and cheerful behaviour was an inspiration to his detachment and by his action the Regiment was enabled to engage in all the fire tasks asked of it.
Location of service.
The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French between the towns of Medenine and Gabès in southern Tunisia, prior to World War II. It was designed to defend against attacks from the Italians in Libya, but following the Fall of France and Operation Torch it fell into Axis hands and was used by the Italians and Germans to defend against the British instead.
Battle of The Mareth Line, Tunisia.
On 19 March 1943, Eighth Army launched its assault on the line, Operation Pugilist. The 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division of British XXX Corps successfully managed to penetrate the line near Zarat, but their pocket was destroyed by a counterattack from the 15th Panzer Division on 22 March.
Earlier reconnaissance by the Long Range Desert Group had confirmed that the Line could be outflanked. This would enable a force to enter the Tebaga Gap from its western end and reappear on the coastal plain behind the Mareth Line – the “left hook”. Montgomery, therefore, sent Lieutenant-General Bernard Freyberg’s reinforced New Zealand 2nd Division – now the New Zealand Corps – through the Matmâta hills. This attack was stalled by determined defence.
Although the attacks by XXX Corps and the New Zealand Corps had been repulsed, allied forces were redistributed with 1st Armoured Division of British X Corps sent to reinforce the Tebaga Gap. Brian Horrocks, commander of X Corps, was placed in charge of operations at the Tebaga Gap and a renewed attack, Operation Supercharge II, began on 26 March. This “left hook” broke through the Tebaga Gap on 27 March and, combined with a fresh frontal assault, the Line was rendered untenable. However, Messe’s forces were able to escape encirclement when the 1st Armoured Division was held up at El Hamma. The Axis forces retreated to a line at Akarit, 60 kilometres (37 mi) to the north. (wikipedia).
The below map shows the Battle of The Mareth Line and The Pursuit to Enfidaville.
London Gazette Entry.
No. 880539 Gunner (acting Bombardier) Albert
Malcolm Lovegrove, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Albert Malcolm Lovegrove
Birth 1918 in HAWKES GREEN, CANNOCK, Staffordshire.
Son of Mr Albert Lovegrove and Mrs Elizabeth Ethel Lovegrove (nee Elizabeth Ethel Hopkins).
Attested in the Royal Artillery 1938 and transferred ro the Royal Corps of Signals 14th September 1943.
Death 1974 in Cannock, Staffordshire, England, aged 56 years.
On sale 2015.