Medals to the Pioneer Corps from the Collection of the late Peter Wilks, TD

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Date of Auction: 21st September 2001

Sold for £1,800

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800

A good Immediate D.C.M. for the Salerno Landings awarded to Private C. Joyce, 79 Company (No. 21 Beach Group), Pioneer Corps

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.VI.R. (14401848 Pte., Pioneer C.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; War Medal, nearly very fine (5) £1400-1800

Footnote

D.C.M. London Gazette 24 August 1944:

‘On Sugar Green Beach at 05.00 hrs 9 September 1943, Pte Joyce who with his section was making his way to Amber Beach spotted a Machine Gun post. Without waiting for instructions he dashed forward, entered the post, and at the point of the bayonet captured the gun and its crew of 4 gunners.

Throughout the rest of the day engaged on the extremely important work of laying Sommerfield track on Amber Beach under continuous mortar fire. This soldier continuously set a fine example of energy and courage which was of immense value.’

The American Fifth Army which was to carry out the landings at Salerno consisted of British X Corps and United States 6 Corps. News of the Italian surrender was made public on 8th September and by the time the ships bearing Fifth Army arrived off the beaches to the south of Salerno on the 9th the German 16th Panzer Division had disarmed the Italian troops and taken over the defences. For the first time the Allies experienced real resistance, including the use of German tanks actually on the beach, and the fighting that followed was amongst the fiercest of the whole Italian campaign. In this the Pioneers played a worthy part and suffered many casualties. Operating with Beach Groups, 79, 140 and 188 Companies landed with the first wave of assault troops under intense fire, Private Christopher Joyce springing ashore with the rest of 79 Company at 3 a.m. His D.C.M. was one of only four won by the Pioneers in the Second World War.