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Lt K N Tuffnell DSO

3385345 Private Charles Verdun Wride MM

Lt K N Tuffnell DSO
The XX Lancashire Fusiliers

attachment to
1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment

3385345 Private
Charles Verdun Wride MM
1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment

Was on attachment to 1st Bn The East Lancashire regiment when he was recommended for a Victoria Cross. This recommendation was approved at Battalion, Brigade,Division and Corp level, before being amended to DSO by Lt General M C Dempsey Commander of Second Army.
We so very nearly had our second VC of WW2.

These documents were submitted by Mark Wride, the grandson of Private Charles Verdun Wride MM.

289881 Lt Kenneth N Tuffnell

1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment (Parent Regt: Lancashire Fusiliers)
Recommended for Victoria Cross, subsequently amended to DSO
Ardennes, Belgium 4-7th January 1945

On 4 Jan 15 during the attack on Bois Monseu (MR92/3584) Lt. Tuffnell commanded 18 platoon ‘D’ company. As the company advanced up a steep narrow track into the woods an enemy tank opened fire and delayed the advance. Lt Tuffnell immediately started working round the tank in order to by-pass it and was moving on towards the objective when a well-concealed enemy machine gun post opened fire on his platoon at very short range. Without hesitation Lt. Tuffnell at once organised and personally led an attack on the enemy position, which continued to fire at every movement. As this assault went in a second enemy machine gun post opened up some 50 yards away. Again without any delay, Lt Tuffnell led a party straight in against this second position in spite of the heavy fire coming from it. It was captured for the loss of 3 casualties to his platoon. Three Germans were killed and six prisoners were taken.

Later in the same action, Lt. Tuffnell’s platoon again came under heavy and accurate machine gun fire from a strong and well defended enemy locality. Undeterred, this officer immediately led an attack against it round the left flank. On the way there another enemy machine gun post opened up; this was assaulted by Lt Tuffnell en route and the enemy there were put to flight. The attack against the original enemy post, which was still firing actively, was then resumed. This second assault went in so quickly that the enemy hardly had time to realize they were being attacked before the platoon was on top of them. A further 10 prisoners were taken without casualties to Lt. Tuffnell’s platoon. This officer’s determined leadership and rapid decisions not only enabled his company on this occasion to get forward to its objective but also permitted the battalion to fulfill its task and clear the axis of advance for a further attack by the 7 RWF later the same day.

During a subsequent attack in this same operation when his company was being attacked by an enemy Mark IV tank, Lt Tuffnell led his depleted PIAT team straight at it down a forward slope with practically no cover and in full view of the tank. The tank continued to fire at him all the time he was advancing towards it. A direct hit was obtained on the tank, causing it quickly to withdraw together with two other tanks which were holding up the advance of the company.

The main company attack was then resumed but soon after was again held up by an enemy machine gun post supported by a tank on the outskirts of the village of Grimbiemont. Without waiting for orders, Lt Tuffnell once more led his by now very depleted party into the attack against the position. Heavy casualties were incurred and his platoon was reduced to a total of only 3 men by the time he finally succeeded in capturing the objective. Two more Germans were killed in this action and the remainder fled. This action again had a decisive effect on the battle enabling the battalion to get forward to its objective, from which accurate and observed fire was brought to bear on the retreating enemy.

In all these operations lasting in all some 23 hours, Lt Tuffnell himself was continually under sustained and heavy fire from enemy small arms, mortars and tanks. Lt Tuffnell’s aggressive bearing and magnificent leadership under heavy fire cannot be too highly praised. He is an inspiration to his platoon who will follow him anywhere.

Recommended for Victoria Cross by

Lt-Colonel FFE Allen: Commander 1st Bn East Lancs. Regiment
Brigadier JHO Wilsey: Commander 158 Infantry Brigade
Major-General RK Ross: Commander 53rd Division
Major-General GI Thomas: Commander XXX Corps

Amended to Distinguished Service Order by:
Lt-General MC Dempsey: Commander Second Army

Ratified by
Field Marshall BL Montgomery: Commander 21st Army Group

Lt K N Tuffnell was Pte Wride's Platroon Commander at the Ardenne.

3385345 Private Charles Verdun Wride MM
1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment
158 Infantry Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, XXX Corps, Second Army
Commendation for Military Medal, Ardennes, Belgium, January 1945
Public Record Office WO 373/53

On 7 January 1945 during the battalion attack on Grimbiemont (MR 92/3580) the left forward company of the battalion was held up by three Mark IV tanks in hull-down positions on the forward edge of the wood to the east of the village. No anti-tank weapons were available other than PIATs.

At this stage, Private Wride advanced across the snow and down a forward slope with very little cover, to within 75 yards of one of the tanks. Owing to the nature of the ground he was obliged to approach it frontally, and in the face of its 88 mm gun which was firing continuously over open sights at the company locality just over his head.

As soon as he got within range, Private Wride coolly sited his weapon. With his first shot he obtained a direct hit on the tank which jammed its turret and caused it to stop firing and to withdraw. The other two tanks apparently taking their cue from this, also decided to withdraw. This permitted the company to continue the attack.

Private Wride showed very great personal bravery throughout the whole of this action. Although he was exposed to small arms, artillery and direct fire, he showed not the slightest hesitation in going forward and was a magnificent inspiration to all those who saw him. It was undoubtedly due to his resourcefulness and courage that the advance of the company at this stage was not held up for a considerable period.

Thank you
Mark Wride