Medals to the Royal Tank Regiment from the Collection of Bill Green

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Date of Auction: 4th July 2001

Sold for £720

Estimate: £500 - £600

A 1943 ‘Tunis’ M.C. group of seven awarded to Major G. Thomson, 5th Royal Tank Regiment

Military Cross, G.VI.R., the reverse dated 1943; 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; France & Germany Star; Defence & War Medals, the M.C. with its original case of issue, together with named Buckingham Palace letter, War Office transmission letter and Registered packet, all addressed to Major Thomson, and an envelope addressed to him from his C.O., Lt.Col. Holliman, in September 1944, extremely fine (7) £500-600


M.C. London Gazette 25 November 1943: “In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East.”

The recommendation states: “Has commanded a Troop of Shermans in this Unit for the whole of the period 18 Feb-31 May 43 which is under review, and has been in every action with the Battalion during this time. Throughout he has shown outstanding courage, initiative and ability in the leading of his troop. His keeness at all times to get at close grips with the enemy has been most marked. His one aim at all times has been to kill Germans, an admirable intention which he has fully achieved.

An example of his outstanding enterprise and gallantry was his action on 7 May 43. His troop was doing protection front to the Battalion at Map ref: J.9051 and was approaching the last line of defences before Tunis. Capt. Thomson saw an enemy force of 4 x 88mm and 1 x 50mm A/.Tk guns plus three lorry loads of infantry hurriedly taking up defensive positions on this line. He very rapidly appreciated the situation, took up battle positions and engaged the enemy, he himself coming under heavy fire. He soon knocked out two of the 88mms and the 50mm. The other two 88mms were so accurately engaged by him that he forced the crews to abandon the guns, which were later captured intact. The infantry scattered and were subsequently mopped-up.

This action enabled the Battalion to continue its advance directly into Tunis considerably earlier than was anticipated and broke up the enemy’s last attempt to establish a defensive line covering the town. His initiative, personal gallantry and outstanding leadership and spirit are an inspiration to all ranks and I have no hesitation in recommending him for a Periodical Award of the M.C.”

Major George Thomson, now Squadron C.O. of ‘B’, was accidentally shot and badly wounded at Aunay sur Odon, near Caen, on 3 August 1944. Returning from a meeting with his opposite number in ‘A’ squadron whilst the two squadrons were in a very critical situation, having lost some 20 tanks, he was challenged by one of his sergeant tank commanders who, hearing no reply, opened up with his machine gun. Thomson is understood to have been hit by 5 bullets, including one in the stomach and another in the shoulder. He was placed on the back of his 2 i/c’s tank as they proceeded to break out through the surrounding German tank division back to the rest of the regiment, losing another three tanks in the process. Thomson spent nearly two years in hospital recovering from his wounds. Sold with two copy photographs and two original letters from former Army comrades.