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We are delighted to bring this superb Gallantry Medal group to the market, directly from the family of the recipient.
1st Battle of Sedjenane Military Medal Group
1st Battle of Sedjenane, Tunisia Campaign Theatre of War February 1943, Military Medal Group.
This very fine group of 7 medals, swing mounted as worn, consists of Military Medal, 1939/45 Star, Africa Star with 1st Army Clasp, Italy Star, Defence Medal, War Medal and Territorial Efficiency Medal.
Citation for Military Medal
46th Division 5th Corps – 46th Divisional Signals.
Rank and Number – 2579874 Sigmn – Lawrence Buck
From 23rd Feb 43 to 28th Feb 43 Sigmn BUCK was responsible for the maintenance of line communications in the area between EL ALOUANA and the enemy positions to the EAST. Being the only lineman in this area with a thorough knowledge of the lines, Sigmn BUCK was out almost continuously for six days repairing faults under very heavy shell and mortar fire. He completed every assignment with commendable tenacity, never once failing to restore service on any broken line. It is only through his keen sense of duty and utter disregards for his own personal safety that it was possible to maintain line communications during this period. Sigmn BUCK was wounded on 28th February 1943 whilst in the act of repairing a line under direct enemy observation.
An article “blood and sand do not mix” give some accurate detail of the immediate vicinity wher Buck was wounded.
Ephemera as follows:
Original handwritten letter and typed transcription of a letter sent to BUCK by Bernard Nicholls, Signal Section, HQ 139 INF BDE. B.N.A.F. May 23rd 1943. It was addressed to BUCK at No. 4 Coy. No 9 Convalescent Depot, B.N.A.F. Images of this letter can be seen on this page.
Images and photographs.
Original photograph of him seated on a step. His MM ribbon can be clearly seen. The reverse has his name hand-written with the place and date ROME DEC 25 / 44.
A small portrait on a thin card with the caption Good Luck Some Where in the Middle East. This has a small portrait and his MM ribbon can be clearly seen. This paper is torn.
Copy of a photo of him on his 17th Birthday in Leeds 1939 in Uniform.
Undated copy of an image of him on a Motorcycle.
Undated portrait of him.
His Record of Service Card. Dated 13th June 1946 it confirms his service 18th April 1939 to 7th Sept 1945.
Dated 2nd May 1945 a copy of the congratulatory note to all servicemen in the Mediterranean Theatre from Field Marshall Alexander.
Original Release document instructing him to the Assembly Centre at Villach for evacuation to UK.
His Pay Book. His Military Driving Licence.
His Memorial Thanksgiving and Remembrance Service Order of Service has a very fine photograph of Lawrie Buck MM wearing this group of medals.
Finally, a page of THE OAK, published Sunday October 22nd 1944. Issue number 329. Circulation 3000.
This lot also come with a copy of the privately produced book THE STORY OF THE 46 DIVISION 1939 – 1945 .
Chapter 1 of this fine book covers The Tunisian Campaign. The 1st Battle of SEDJENANE is covered on pages 24 to 27. There is also a map on which Lawrence Buck has indicated where he was wounded – near Jefna Station between the 3 renowned hills named Green Hill, Baldy Hill and Sugarloaf.
This group has been sourced from the direct descendant of the recipient.
First battle of Sedjenane, February–March 1943
The town became of strategic importance during the Allied invasion of North Africa in World War II. Following the initial landings of Operation Torch, the Allied run for Tunis was halted by German paratroops (operating in the ground role) in the hills east of the town in November 1942. British troops of the 8th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, part of 36th Brigade of British 78th Division, were ambushed as they advanced on the road through the hills on November 29, 1942 and their wrecked Universal Carriers in No man’s land became a grim symbol of the ensuing stalemate to Allied troops over the following several months of the Tunisia Campaign. These dominant hills, known to the Allies, as “Green Hill”, “Baldy” and “Sugarloaf” were a barrier to further Allied advances in the north through to February 1943. Alan Moorehead a war correspondent wrote in African Trilogy (1944),
Sejenane was a wayside railway town in the wet cork forests on the way to Mateur. Whoever held Mateur held Bizerta, and whoever held Green and Bald Hills outside Sedjenane held Mateur.” — Alan Moorehead.
On February 26, 1943, the Germans broke the stalemate with Operation Ochsenkopf (Ox Head) offensive, a complementary blow to the Kasserine Pass offensive earlier that month. In a subsidiary operation Unternehmen Ausladung, the Axis attempted to outflank the British troops in Sedjenane and on the high ground opposite “Green Hill”, with an attack on the hilly coastal strip to the north between the town and Cap Serrat, which was only lightly held by poorly-equipped French troops of the Corps Franc d’Afrique.
The German advance, led by Colonel Rudolf Witzig‘s Parachute Engineer Battalion, was held by a series of counter-attacks by the 16th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, of 139th Brigade of British 46th Division, and two troops of No. 1 Commando on February 27, 1943, supported by the 70th Field and 5th Medium Regiments, Royal Artillery. 16 DLI mounted a further, disastrous counter-attack at dawn on March 2, 1943 in which it suffered severe casualties. That afternoon, the Germans also successfully advanced from the east towards Sedjenane and broke through the ranks of the 5th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, also of 139th Brigade. According to Associated Press war correspondent Don Whitehead, an Italian infantry battalion (from the 10th Bersaglieri Regiment ) supported by 30 tanks counterattacked in the British sector on 3 March, but lost half its strength killed to machine-gun fire.
The 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, of 138th Brigade of 46th Division, several Churchill tanks of the North Irish Horse, of 25th Army Tank Brigade, plus elements of No. 1 Commando and 16 DLI were involved in the defence of the town, which finally fell to the Germans and Italians on March 4. (wikipedia)
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