Cotterell, Lester

Service number:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


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Second World War (1939-1945)
32 Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery Signal Section
Awarded on:
June 28th, 1945
‘For devotion to duty and gallantry. On 28 August 1944, near Piaggio (M.R. 183561), the lines to two batteries were frequently cut by persistent enemy shellfire. Sergeant Cotterell established a test point along the line so that it could be repaired as soon as it was cut, and with a small party remained there for 36 hours during which time he repaired a number of breaks, going out in spite of enemy shelling and remaining out at great personal risk until the line was repaired. By his devotion to duty he ensured line communications to all batteries at a most important period of the attack on the Gothic Line.

On the night of 3 September 1944, and the following night, near Cattolica, the regimental area was subjected to almost hourly attacks by enemy planes dropping anti-personnel bombs. All line communications were cut and it was only by Sergeant Cotterell’s persistent hard work and disregard for his own safety that communications were re-established.

On 7-8 September 1944, the regimental area was heavily shelled by large calibre guns. Numerous casualties were suffered as well as considerable material damage. Sergeant Cotterell went out repeatedly while the shelling was still in progress to restore communications.

Over a long period Sergeant Cotterell’s devotion to duty and disregard of his personal safety have been an inspiration to his comrades and have ensured reliable communications under the most adverse conditions.’
Military Medal (MM)