A.S.W. Willis

Tales of valour

Military Cross and Bar

Military Cross

WILLIS Arthur Stewart William, (Acting Captain)

15th Battalion Tank Corps

This officer commanded the section of five tanks on August 8th 1918, operating on the extreme left of the Australian Corps front on the south bank of the river Somme. During the whole action, in which two of his tanks were knocked out by field-gun fire from the north bank of the Somme, he kept going on foot in the open between his tanks, directing them and encouraging the crews. The country was difficult to traverse and was subjected to heavy enfilade field-gun and machine-gun fire from the exposed flank, where the attack was held up. He succeeded in getting three of his tanks to objectives, and after consolidation hid them behind a bank 50 yards from the front line, as it was impossible to rally them across the open, under the conditions prevailing during daylight. At nightfall he endeavoured to salve a derelict tank, and eventually succeeded in getting three tanks to the rallying point by night without being observed by the enemy, where he arrived at 4 am on August 9th. It was due to his ability to command, presence of mind, untiring energy and devotion to duty under exceptionally difficult circumstances that the objectives were reached and three tanks rallied, one of which had received three direct hits, but had not caught fire. He set a magnificent example to all his section and the Australian personnel carried in the tank.

Bar to Military Cross

WILLIS Arthur Stewart William, (Temporary Lieutenant, Acting Captain)

This officer commanded a section of tanks in the attack on the Arras-Albert railway on August 21st 1918. In order to ensure that all tanks reached their objectives in spite of the thick mist, Captain Willis led his section on foot, walking in front of the tanks in spite of heavy machine-gun fire which was directed at them. It was in a great measure due to this officer’s gallantry, skilful leadership and untiring energy that all tanks of his section reached their objectives ahead of the infantry, silenced a number of machine guns, and allowed the infantry to reach the railway with very few casualties. He set a splendid example to the officers and other ranks of his section by his fearlessness and powers of leadership.

ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY MEDAL FOR SAVING LIFE AT SEA (BRONZE)

Country: United Kingdom

MILITARY CROSS AND BAR

Country: United KingdomThe Military Cross The demands of the First World War made it necessary to ...

1914-15 STAR

Country: United Kingdom1914 -1915 StarIssued to British, Dominion, Indian and Colonial Forces and ...

BRITISH WAR MEDAL 1914-18 (SILVER)

Country: United KingdomBritish War Medal 1914 - 1920 This medal, issued in both silver and bronze ...

DEFENCE MEDAL

Country: United KingdomDefence MedalIssued to service personnel for three years' service at home or ...

INDIA GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL, 1936-39

Country: United KingdomIndian General Service Medal 1936 - 1939 This medal was instituted in 1938 ...

VICTORY MEDAL

Country: United KingdomVictory Medal 1914 - 1919 Authorised in 1919 this yellow bronze medal, ...

WAR MEDAL

Country: United KingdomWar Medal 1939 - 1945 Awarded unnamed to all full time personnel of the ...