Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Honored Allies Wednesday: Francis A. Jefferson (United Kingdom)

"On 16th May, 1944, during an attack on the Gustav Line, an anti-tank obstacle held, up some of our tanks, leaving the leading Company of Fusilier Jefferson's Battalion to dig in on the hill without tanks or anti-tank guns.  The enemy counter-attacked with infantry and two Mark IV tanks, which opened fire at short range causing a number of casualties, and eliminating one P.I.A.T. group entirely.
As the tanks advanced towards the partially dug trenches, Fusilier Jefferson, entirely on his own initiative, seized a P.I.A.T. and running forward alone under heavy fire, took up a position behind a hedge; as he could not see properly, he came into the open, and standing up under a hail of bullets, fired at the leading tank which was now only twenty yards away.  It burst into flames and all the crew were killed.  Fusilier Jefferson then reloaded the P.I.A.T. and proceeded towards the second tank, which withdrew before he could get within range.  By this time our own tanks had arrived and the enemy counter-attack was smashed with heavy casualties.  Fusilier Jefferson's gallant act not merely saved the lives of his Company and caused many casualties to the Germans, but also broke up the enemy counter-attack and had a decisive effect on the subsequent operation.  His supreme gallantry and disregard of personal risk contributed very, largely to the success of the action." 

From Fusilier Jefferson's Victoria Cross citation, awarded on 11 July 1944.
Another ass-kickin' ally! 
A painting of Jefferson's action.

No comments:

Post a Comment