Tales of valour
Distinguished Conduct Medal
ROBERTS Richard Ieuan, (Sergeant)
46th Royal Tank Regiment
On 26th January 1944, Sergeant Roberts was ordered to command one of two tanks whose task it was to drive enemy infantry who were supported by several self propelled guns from a group of houses. While proceeding down a narrow road towards their objective, the leading tank hit a mine and was unable to move further, and at that moment three enemy self propelled guns appeared from a sunken road on their left flank. Without hesitation Sergeant Roberts ordered his tank to advance, drove past the disabled tank which was unable to protect itself, and engaged the three self propelled guns at point-blank range. Sergeant Roberts then controlled the fire of his tank with such accuracy that two of the enemy guns were put out of action, whereupon the third attempted to escape. Enemy spare crews immediately came forward to man the two guns, whereupon Sergeant Roberts ordered his driver to ram the escaping self propelled gun, at the same time firing all his guns to prevent the enemy bringing the other two guns into action. This was accomplished so successfully that all the three self propelled guns were destroyed. By this time the other tank had become fit for action, and they continued the attack together. Sergeant Roberts then destroyed a Mark IV tank.
Throughout this action, Sergeant Roberts fought entirely on his own, and his great dash and complete disregard for his own safety were entirely instrumental in saving his Squadron Leader’s tank from destruction, and in the complete annihilation of the enemy’s positions around the houses which our infantry were able to occupy soon afterwards.
The following morning Sergeant Roberts was again ordered to advance forward in rear of an officer’s tank, which was soon hit by a high explosive shell and set on fire. Sergeant Roberts immediately ordered his crew to leave their tank and take fire extinguishers to assist in putting out the fire. Although the burning tank was in full view of the enemy, and subjected to both artillery and small arms fire, Sergeant Roberts climbed into the tank and turned on the emergency fire extinguisher inside the turret, despite the fact that ammunition was already exploding inside. All this was done with such promptness that the tank was saved from destruction and was able to continue in action.
Throughout these and other operations, Sergeant Roberts showed great courage and was an inspiring example to the men of his Squadron.
DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL
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