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Etches, William Whitson

Service number:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)



31 December 1939: 2nd Lieutenant
30 December 1952: Major
28 December 1961: Lieutenant Colonel
8 January 1966: Colonel
27 March 1971: Retired

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Second World War (1939-1945)
No. 3 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade, Combined Operations Headquarters, War Office, British Government
Awarded on:
April 3rd, 1942
Awarded for:
Operation Archery
In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in successful combined operations against the enemy at Vaagso and Maaloy.
Mentioned in Dispatches
On 28th March 1942 during the Commando Raid on St Nazaire, France. Lt Etches was assistant to Captain Montgomery, RE, in supervising the various demolition parties in the dry dock area. Lt Etches was severely wounded in the legs during the run in on board HMS Campbeltown, but in spite of this and though only just able to walk, he carried on to his objective and supervised the demolitions, only with drawing to the Old Mole when the whole of the demolition was complete.Subsequently, athough in great pain. Lt Etches fought with courage and determination in the street fighting in the town of St.Nazaire when the force was trying to breakout from the dock area. Although weak froim the loss of blood, and only able to drag himself along, he kept up with the others, scaling walls, breaking into houses and fighting on until finally captued when all ammunition had been expended. His courage and devotion to duty was an example to all who saw him, and his own personal bravery encouraged other wounded men to follow his indominitable example and continue with the fighting.
Awarded on:
January 1st, 1964

On the advice of Her Majesty's Nigerian Ministers.
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)