The Tank Museum | Recipient

F.W. Kite

KITE, Sergeant Fred, MM

Frederick William "Buck" Kite was born in 1919. He enlisted in 1936, into the Royal Tank Corps and after training at Bovington, was posted to the 3rd Battalion RTC. In 1940 he was sent with the battalion to Dunkirk, to delay the German advance and allow the withdrawing allied army time to evacuate.

He was then posted to Egypt in November 1940 and then to Greece and Crete, from which he eventually escaped, with a few other soldiers, in a Greek ship, which they sailed themselves. He was unique during World War 2, in that he was awarded the Military Medal on three occasions. The first was in January 1943 near Tarhuna, the second and third in France, in July and August 1944. In the latter action Sergeant Kite was seriously wounded and his right arm permanently damaged. He was discharged from the army in May 1945 and became Chief Wages Clerk at a factory in Stoke-on-Trent, retiring in 1985.

"Buck" Kite died in 1993, aged 74.

Tales of valour

Military Medal and two Bars

Military Medal

KITE Frederick William (Sergeant)

3rd Royal Tank Regiment

Three miles south west of Tarhuna throughout 20th January 1943, Sergeant Kite was engaged in a special reconnaissance mission, in command of a troop. The nature of the ground, the poor visibility, the enemy strength in machine gun, anti-tank and high explosive fire which repeatedly hit and affected the mechanical efficiency of his two tanks, made conditions desperately difficult.
In the face of these difficulties Sergeant Kite excelled himself. No hostile anti-tank gun, no field gun, no machine gun opened fire on the Regimental front without Sergeant Kite reporting accurately its location to Artillery Operations. As the resultant counter-battery fire neutralised the enemy guns, Sergeant Kite with his troop pressed forward and engaged the hostile gun crews with small arms fire, causing much confusion and considerable casualties. On several occasions he became dangerously isolated. Nothing daunted he continued his gallant and skilful actions time and time again. His actions had much to do with the hurried and disorderly withdrawal of the enemy towards last light.
His complete disregard for his personal safety, his skilful leadership and his good humour throughout were a fine example to all who watched him and listened to his wireless reports.

Bar to Military Medal

Sergeant Kite was commanding a troop on “A” Squadron during the actions on July 18th and 19th, near the village of Bras (0663). At all times he displayed a very high standard of leadership, dash and personal courage, and was an excellent example for the remainder of the Squadron. When the Squadron was held up by two enemy tanks and two 88 mm guns on the high ground at Bras, this NCO by clever use of the ground pressed forward under heavy anti-tank fire and knocked out one Mark IV tank, one Panther and one of the 88s, and held onto his position under extremely trying circumstances. This allowed the rest of the Squadron to get forward into better positions.
During both days the action of Sergeant Kite displayed the highest standard of leadership, initiative and personal courage.

Second Bar to Military Medal

On 3rd August 1944, at le Grand Boffait (7222372) Sergeant Kite was commanding one of several tanks on the edge of an orchard, the duty of these tanks being to support a company of infantry. This position was strongly counter-attacked by enemy infantry, and at least one Tiger and four Panther tanks. The enclosed nature of the country enabled these tanks to approach within a distance of 400 yards. All the other tanks in the vicinity of Sergeant Kite were hit and set on fire, but despite this, he maintained his position. He assisted in the correction of our Artillery fire, thus preventing the enemy infantry forming up with his tanks for an attempt to advance on our position. Sergeant Kite kept his own tank in action and assured at least five hits on enemy tanks at short range, before his own tank was hit and he was seriously wounded.
Sergeant Kite showed the greatest personal courage, and his example of remaining in action against odds that were much against him was an inspiration to all. He undoubtedly helped to a considerable degree to beat off this attack on a feature of great importance.


1939-45 STAR