11 April 2010

Victoria Cross; Q. G. M. Smythe


Sergeant, 1st Royal Natal Carabineers

Born: 6 August 1916
Died: October 1997, Durban, South Africa

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry in action in the Alem Hamza area on the 5th June, 1942.
During the attack on an enemy strong point in which his officer was severely wounded, Sergeant Smythe took command of the platoon although suffering from a shrapnel wound in the forehead. The strong point having been overrun, our troops came under enfilade fire from an enemy machine-gun nest. Realising the threat to his position, Sergeant Smythe himself stalked and destroyed the nest with hand grenades, capturing the crew. Though weak from loss of blood, he continued to lead the advance, and on encountering an anti-tank gun position again attacked it single-handed and captured the crew. He was directly responsible for killing several of the enemy, shooting some and bayonetting another as they withdrew.
After consolidation he received orders for a withdrawal, which he successfully executed, defeating skilfully an enemy attempt at encirclement.
Throughout the engagement Sergeant Smythe displayed remarkable disregard for danger, and his leadership and courage were an inspiration to his men.

[London Gazette issue 35698 dtd 11 Sep 1942, published 8 Sep 1942.]

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