The Collection of Second World War and Modern Gallantry Awards formed by the late William Oakley

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Date of Auction: 12th December 2012

Sold for £6,800

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

A fine Second World War Italy operations M.M. and Bar group of five awarded to Lance-Corporal W. F. Cull, Royal West Kent Regiment, whose gallantry as a stretcher bearer saved many lives: ‘during relatively few months of fighting he has shown such valour and devotion to duty as I have rarely witnessed before’ - his C.O. in a letter to the recipient’s parents

Military Medal, G.VI.R., with Second Award Bar (5346996 Pte. W. F. Cull, R.W. Kent R.); 1939-45 Star; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, mounted court-style as worn, together with his identity tags, generally good very fine (5)
£4000-5000

Footnote

130 Military Medals and just the one Second Award Bar were awarded to members of the Royal West Kent Regiment during the 1939-45 War.

M.M. London Gazette 7 December 1944. The original recommendation for an immediate award states:

‘On the night 22-23 June 1944, the forward platoon of ‘B’ Company was heavily shelled, and a message came back reporting 15 casualties. Private Cull, a company stretcher bearer, already extremely tired after a very hard day’s fighting, immediately set out to find the casualties and had to go a distance of half a mile under heavy enemy shell and mortar fire, to the platoon area. He then personally dressed the wounds of all the casualties, and, working alone, arranged for their speedy evacuation. When he had dealt with the wounded he returned to assist in salvaging equipment left behind by the wounded men. The R.M.O. reported that all the dressings were of a very high standard - a brilliant effort since Private Cull worked throughout this period in the dark. His initiative, bravery and skill undoubtedly saved the lives of several of these casualties, and his cool disregard of personal danger was a splendid example to the company.

On 25 June 1944, ‘B’ Company were again under very heavy shellfire, and again with complete disregard for his personal safety Private Cull attended the wounded and encouraged those who were badly shaken. In this work he continued for twelve hours.’

Bar to M.M.
London Gazette 12 April 1945. The original recommendation - for an immediate award of the D.C.M. - states:

‘Lance-Corporal Cull is a stretcher bearer in ‘B’ Company. On the night 24-25 October 1944 the Company made an attack on the Casetta feature. The rear platoon ran into a minefield just short of the objective. Lance-Corporal Cull immediately entered the mined area and proceeded to attend to the many casualties regardless of the mines surrounding them. With great gallantry he then evacuated the casualties from the mined area. An escort party bringing back prisoners of war ran into more mines, blowing themselves up. Lance-Corporal Cull entered this mined area and successfully reached the casualties whom he evacuated under heavy mortar and shell fire. The Company Commander, moving back to meet his C.O., was wounded on the minefield and Lance-Corporal Cull managed to get to him and dress his wounds. He then stayed with him under fire, since he could not be moved, until he died. Lance-Corporal Cull then moved to the forward platoon and was himself blown up but not wounded. Although badly shaken he refused evacuation and went on to deal with casualties in the forward position.

These consecutive acts of gallantry were carried out in the dark, single handed and under intense shellfire and mortar fire. Lance-Corporal Cull working ceaselessly, with calm efficiency attended the wounded at the same time showing an extremely high morale to all the company as he went about his work. He was undoubtedly responsible, by virtue of his gallantry and efficiency, for saving the lives of many of the wounded. The high standard of his work throughout this period had an inestimable bearing on the confidence and morale of his company.’

William Frederick Cull, who was from Addlestone, Surrey, was serving in the 6th Battalion, Royal West Kents at the time of the above cited deeds.

Sold with the recipient’s original Buckingham Palace M.M. forwarding letter, together with a congratulatory field signal for the award of his second M.M., two letters from his Battalion C.O., Lieutenant-Colonel G. K. Defrates, to his parents and two photographs.