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Pacific Saga: the personal chronicle of the 37th Battalion and its part in the Third Division's Campaign

Honours and Awards

page 104

Honours and Awards

Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

Captain Morgan was appointed quartermaster to the 37th Battalion in December, 1941, and he served in that capacity until January, 1944. He rendered invaluable service to the battalion in Fiji, New Caledonia and Vella Lavella, displaying outstanding efficiency and devotion to duty. During the landing at Warambari Bay in Vella Lavella, while landing craft were subjected to enemy fire, he carried out the duty of controlling the landing and unloading of boats. His cool handling of the situation enabled the landing to proceed without confusion or congestion. His distinguished services were recognised by the award of the MBE in January, 1944.

Military Cross

On 16 November, 1943, on Vella Lavella, a fighting patrol of two platoons was sent from Doveli Cove to the northern side of Tambama Bay to destroy a party of Japanese who were reported to be there. While at Tambama Point, an enemy lugger was seen to be entering the bay. One platoon followed it down the bay and successfully boarded it. Lieutenant Bartos remained at the point. On hearing sounds of firing from the direction of the lugger, he took six men and moved down the coast. The platoon on the lugger had killed fourteen Japanese, but it was ascertained that some were still on shore, who might attempt the recapture of the lugger. Lieutenant Bartos set out to locate this party and did so among a tangle of mangroves and banyan roots. His party came under enemy fire and Lieutenant Bartos was blown off his feet by a Japanese grenade. He then so disposed his party that the enemy were trapped and killed. The leadership of Lieutenant Bartos on all occasions when in contact with the enemy was outstanding, and deserves the highest commendation.

page 105

Distinguished Conduct Medal

During operations at Warambari Bay in Vella Lavella, this NCO was a member of several patrols which were operating against the enemy. Throughout all these operations, he displayed courage and resource of an exceptional character. On 6 October, 1943, the officer commanding one of the patrols was seen to fall some distance away in close proximity to an enemy position. Corporal Dunlea, with others, then volunteered to go forward and bring him to safety. In spite of heavy fire from the enemy, the attempt was successful and the officer, who was found to be dead, was brought back. In performing this duty, Corporal Dunlea displayed the utmost gallantry, and continued throughout the Operation to give a splendid example to men under his command.

Military Medal

During landing operations at Warambari Bay in Vella Lavella on 5 October, 1943, Private McCullough was wounded in both hands and in the leg by an enemy light machinegun. In spite of his wounds he continued to fight at close quarters, picking up and returning a Japanese grenade which had landed near him. The grenade killed one of the enemy. His courage and determination were an inspiration to the remainder of his platoon.

Mentioned in Despatches

Lieutenant Colonel A. H. L. Sugden; Sergeant J. S. Hillis; LanceCorporal J. W. Barbour; Private B. F. Collins.