WW2 North Africa Immediate Military Medal group – Royal Artillery.( Recommend for the D.C.M.)
Military Medal (Geo VI) 959759 Gnr. L. Black. R.A.;1939-45 Star; Africa Star, 1st Army clasp;Italy Star; Defence Medal; 1939-45 War medal.
Leslie Black was serving 152 (AY) Field Regiment Royal Artillery when he was recommended for the immediate award of a Military Medal
London Gazette 8th July 1943:
This man displayed initiative, gallantry and coolness in difficult circumstances during the morning of 22nd April 1943, in the El Asia area (Sheet 34 Box Arada – 608B142)
On the night 21/22 April 43 “A” Bty, Ayrshire Yeomanry was occupying a forward position with an O.P. some 800 – 1000m in front of the gun area on the El Assa feature. The O.P. party ws commanded by Lieut A.E. Hailey, R.A. At about 0030 hrs 22nd April 1943 the O.P. area was attacked by a strong enemy patrol which gained possession of the surrounding features and also occupied a Wadi in between the O.P. and the Battery position shortly afterwards the O.P. line went ‘dis’ and LieutHailey called out for volunteers to mend it. Bar Close , W. and Gunner Black, L. at once volunteered. They set off across and open field, but came under heavy machine gun friend also had grenades thrown at them, forcing them to return to the O.P. Half-an-hour later Lieut Haileydecided to make a second attempt and again the same two stepped forward as volunteers. This time they managed get down the line until they found a place where some 20xhad been cut out of the line by the enemy. Got Black then tried to pull in slack from the Bty end, but it was pulled back again, apparently by some of the enemy. Gnr Black then moved on down the line towards the Bty and found the enemy tapping in. He Killed the enemy then on the line. They then continued with the task of repairing the line. They succeeded in getting the line through shortlyafterwards.
During the whole of this period the enemy were in and around the area, and the ground over which the line ran was overlooked by features then held by the enemy.
When dawn broke it was found that the enemy had beenreinfoced and now numbered about a Battalion, but with the line ??? Lieut Hailey was able to shoot the Bty and support ?? own Infantry when they were ready to counter-attack.
The above named man displayed a high sense of duty initiative and coolness in a difficult situation and his personal effort contributed largely to the success of the operation.
Throughout this campaign Gnr Black, L. has shown a complete disregard for personal safety and his one thought has been to keep the line through. In view of this specific instance and the consistent courage and sense of duty shown by him I recommend the award of the M.M.
Signed Lt Col D.A.K.W. Block Commanding the Ayreshire Yeomanry, 152 Field Regiment R.A..
On the recommendation, a hand written note states: I consider this an outstanding act of gallantry and strongly recommend the immediate award of the D.C.M.
Signed byBrigadier CRA 6th Armoured Division.
The award was then down graded back to the MM.
Black was from Newcastle-on-Tyne
Also with the group s a typed copy of a letter to his parents from Major B.M. Knox of A Bty Ayrshire Yeomanry, 152 Field Regiment RA, B.N.A.F. dated 2nd July 1943.
To the parents of Leslie Black.
“I have been meaning to write to you for some time. I expect you have heard that your son has been awarded the Military Medal for Gallantry. On April 18 we were going to launch a large scale attack against the enemy. On the 17th we were formed up near Goubellat. During the night 17/18 The Germans attacked us with a strong force of determined members of Herman Goering’s Regiment. Your son “Black” as we call him, was at the observation post that night. I had a telephone line laid from the guns to the O.P. About 2am the enemy completely surrounded the O.P. and it was cut off for 24 hours from our own troops. It was vital that the telephone line to the guns should be kept open, to enable the officer at the O.P. to shoot the guns at first light in the morning. Of course the Germans cut the line. The officer at the O.P. called for volunteers to mend it. Your son and an NCO at once volunteered. They went out in the dark, found the German who was cutting the line, shot him dead and mended the line. This happened twice. On both occasions your son volunteered. Each time the job was done under heavy and deadly machine gun and small arms fire. I am glad to say that the battle was won by us with very favourable results. The Ayrshire Yeomanry played a staunch part in beating off the enemy. The Battery is proud your son – it was a grand job of work”
The Ayrshire Yeomanry during WW2
On the outbreak of the Second World War the Regiment was then returned to its horsed Calvary Training in Scotland. Though they faced a difficult choice as they were not required as a cavalry or an armoured Regiment, so were asked to join the Army Artillery organisation. In 1940 the Regiment was transferred into the Royal Artillery and formed two regiments of Field Artillery 151st (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA, formed in February, and 152nd (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, formed in April as a second-line duplicate.
The 152nd was in 1942 attached to the 6th Armoured Division which moved with the division to North Africa in November that year. Here it stayed till the end of the war, fighting in the Tunisian and Italian Campaign, and were in action as part of the assault on the Gustav Line, 13 May 1944, ending the war in Austria
Both Regiments fought with great courage and between them they won four Distinguished Service Orders, twenty one Military Crosses and twenty four Military Medals.
After the war the regiment was reconstituted in the Territorial Army as a Yeomanry Regiment, with the original title of The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick’s Own) Yeomanry, and transferred into the Royal Armoured Corps in 1949.
Brief Historical Notes on the Ayrshire Yeomanry (Earl of Carrick’s Own) 152 Field Regiment, R. A. 1939-45. By: Knox, Major B. M were published are are available to purchase on Amazon.
Condition – EF