Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 21, 2010 8:37:52 GMT 12
Yesterday I interviewed four veterans of the 2nd NZEF who all fought in the Italy Campaign and are veterans of the Sangro River, Monte Cassino and dozens of other battles. It was an amazing experience for me to have these four men together telling their stories. Especially since three had been in the same platoon and are all still friends in he same town now! Two of them had been at school together.
Anyway, one of the chaps is named Bob O'Brien and he was wearing the Military Cross among his medals. I asked him about it but he clammed up a bit and never really explained it, simply fobbing off that he did nothing brave and nothing as an individual. This is the guy who said that when all the Allied forces withdrew 1000 yards at Cassino so 1000 artillery guns and thousands of aerial bombs could rain down their fury on the town, he volunteered with just two others to stay put on the front line with his anti-tank gun and snipe the German snipers when the others were withdrawing. That is an incredibly brave thing to do, to sit there under all that fire, However, he said it was not awarded for that.
So, I am really curious and would very much like to find his citation to see just what this heroic gentleman did to be awarded the medal. Is there a book like By Such Deeds but for the Army?
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 24, 2010 10:56:14 GMT 12
I went through the New Zealand Gazette yesterday and found that Bob O'Brien's Military Cross was Gazetted on the 15th of February 1945, along with dozens of others. Sadly it did not record the Citation in the Gazette, so I am still wondering where on earth I go to find that. Does anyone know?
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 26, 2010 15:53:40 GMT 12
I have found in the Official History that Bob O'Brien was indeed awarded his MC for staying and manning his anti-tank gun when the rest of the army withdrew for the bombardment, and also for his nightly attempts to get food and supplied to men of C Company who were cut off on Point 202 at Cassino. I'd still like to get the full Citation if I can.
Hi Dave, I'm Bob O'Brien's grandson, Elliott, and have a copy of the citation if you're still looking for it. Let me know and I'll scan it and email it through. Thanks and all the best for your investigations!