The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 20th August 2020

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

A good Second War ‘Sicily’ D.C.M. group of seven awarded to Private P. J. Crowhurst, 1st/7th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, for his gallantry during the attack and capture of Francoforte on 13-14 July 1943; a pre-War regular, he was subsequently killed in action in North West Europe whilst serving with the 1st Battalion on 16 September 1944

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.VI.R. (6200558 Pte. P. Crowhurst. Midd’x. R.) on original mounting pin; 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, 1 clasp, 8th Army; Italy Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, extremely fine (7) £3,000-£4,000

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A good Second War ‘Sicily’ D.C.M. group of seven awarded to Private P. J. Crowhurst, 1st/7th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, for his gallantry during the attack and capture of Francoforte on 13-14 July 1943; a pre-War regular, he was subsequently killed in action in North West Europe whilst serving with the 1st Battalion on 16 September 1944

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.VI.R. (6200558 Pte. P. Crowhurst. Midd’x. R.) on original mounting pin; 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, 1 clasp, 8th Army; Italy Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, extremely fine (7) £3,000-£4,000
Provenance: Christie’s, March 1989.

D.C.M. London Gazette 21 October 1943:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Sicily.’


The original Recommendation states: ‘Private Crowhurst was a No. 1 Gunner of “D” Company, 1st/7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment supporting the attack of the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders on Francofonte. Early in the morning of 13 July Private Crowhurst was ordered to bring his gun into action less than 150 yards from a strong force of enemy troops concealed in an olive orchard. He was at once subjected to heavy mortar and Machine Gun fire. Quite undeterred he mounted his gun in the face of this fire and knocked out two troop-carrying vehicles which were approaching the enemy position. Later in the morning he skilfully manoeuvred his gun to engage an enemy Spandau whose fire had pinned two infantry platoons to their ground. The gun was silenced and the crew killed or wounded.

By 05:00 hours on 14 July Private Crowhurst had dug in behind a crest. Owing to the casualties suffered by the infantry and his own section the previous day, his Vickers gun was the only automatic weapon in the forward position. Any exposure above the crest immediately drew intense Machine Gun fire. He at once saw the infantry were being forced to give ground. Without a thought for his own personal safety and acting entirely on his own initiative he moved his gun into position above the crest from where he could bring direct fire to bear upon the enemy. This action halted the enemy’s advance and enabled the infantry to withdraw to a more commanding feature. Private Crowhurst remained in this position for two hours.

Late that afternoon a strong party of enemy had worked their way round the rear of this company of the 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. Assisted solely by his No. 2, as the remainder of the section, including their gun, had become casualties, he again manoeuvred his gun with great skill. His first burst of fire had a most devastating effect on the enemy. Their advance was halted and the very sight and sound of the Vickers gun had the most heartening and encouraging effect on our infantry who had been forced to give ground.

At about 18:00 hours when the situation had been restored Private Crowhurst immediately volunteered to rescue wounded who were lying in an exposed position under enemy observation. Under very heavy fire he worked his way forward, and brought a seriously wounded man back to safety.

Private Crowhurst set a magnificent example of personal courage, with utter disregard for his personal safety, and devotion to duty during 48 hours’ bitter fighting. His coolness and determination, and the great skill he displayed in manoeuvring his gun under intense mortar and machine gun fire was, on at least two occasions, responsible for halting a determined enemy advance and ensuring the safe withdrawal of the infantry.’

Percy Crowhurst was born on 10 March 1914 and attested for the Middlesex Regiment at Bromley, Kent, in 1932, serving in the inter-War years in Egypt, Hong Kong, and Singapore. During the Second World War he served with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium before being evacuated from Dunkirk, and then with the 1st/7th Battalion in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. For his gallantry at Francoforte, Sicily, on 14 July 1943 he was awarded an immediate Distinguished Conduct Medal, and he was presented with the riband of his D.C.M. by General Montgomery on 26 September 1943. Transferring to the 1st Battalion, he saw subsequent service in North West Europe post D-Day, and was killed in action whilst crossing one of the Rhine Bridges on 16 September 1944. He is buried in Mol Communal Cemetery, Belgium. A colleague of his wrote to his family: ‘He was a fine fellow. Everybody got to like him and respect him as a man of courage and leadership. He died, as he lived, bravely.’

Sold with copied research including newspaper cuttings from the Kentish Times, which feature a photograph of the recipient.