Friday, December 30, 2005

Lieutenant Colonel Harvey: RIP

Another great man goes. Man, the Brits know how to write an Obit.
On April 9 1945, Harvey led "D" Company of the 1st Battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, in an attempt to force the Santerno River, in northern Italy. The German positions on the high flood banks were very strong, and the Gurkhas went into battle in Kangaroos, hollowed-out Sherman tanks converted into troop carriers.

Captain Harvey led his men in a dash to the near bank. Many of the flame- throwers that should have provided support became bogged down and, as the leading platoons assaulted the far side, they ran into heavy machine-gun fire from the left flank and mortaring from overhead. No sooner was this position secured than the enemy put in six desperate counter-attacks. Harvey's HQ came under intense shelling, but he sent back precise reports over the wireless which enabled his CO to commit his reserve company at exactly the right moment and to turn a precarious foothold into a permanent bridgehead.

Of the 92 men who went into the attack with Harvey, 44 were killed or wounded. The citation for his MC stated that his coolness, skill and courage had been an inspiration to his men.

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