*** RESERVED *** A wonderful WWII Western Desert ‘Sidi Rezegh 1941’ M.C. group awarded to Captain J. W. Stiddard, 6 Royal Tank Regiment and North Somerset Yeomanry, who ‘went into action against a vastly superior force of tanks’ that were attacking the 1st South African Infantry Brigade, consisting of: Military Cross, G.VI.R. reverse officially dated ‘1942’ and additionally engraved: ‘2/Lt. J. W. Stiddard 200023 R.T.R.’; 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Efficiency Medal, Territorial, GVI to Lt. J. W. Stiddard. M.C. R. Tks.


Military Cross Gazetted 20 Jan 1942: "During evening 24 Nov 2/Lt. D. S. Bowling-Smith 22 Armd. Bde. And 2 Lieut Stiddard, J. W. of 6 R.T.R. arrived in our defended perimeter with 3 serviceable and 2 derelict tanks in tow. The following day this Bde. was engaged in repulsing a determined tank attack and the above mentioned Officers at a very critical stage, on their own initiative, went into action against a vastly superior force of tanks. It is considered that this gallant action led by these two Officers materially influenced the enemy in retiring. In addition the action of these tanks acted as a stimulus to a number of troops who were being heavily attacked by tanks for the second time that day. I consider that the highest courage and great devotion to duty which in my opinion saved many casualties and it is strongly urged that this gallant action should receive official recognition."

Jack William Stiddard was born in Bristol on 5 Dec 1917, enlisting into the North Somerset Yeomanry at Bristol on 18 Oct 1935. Embodied on 2 Sep 1939, he served in Palestine until Dec 1940 when he was posted to R.A.C. O.C.T.U in India. Granted an Emergency Commission in Aug 1941, he was posted to the Middle East to join the 6th Royal Tank Regiment. Stiddard was recommended for the M.C. following the action at Sidi Rezegh when 6 R.T.R. suffered heavily and in the immediate aftermath he found himself fighting with the 1st South African Infantry Brigade. His fellow officer, Second Lieutenant D. S. Bowling-Smith, County of London Yeomanry, was also awarded the M.C. for the same action. Following a posting to No. 1 Independent Troop, Malta Tanks, in Jan 1941, Stiddard was posted to 5 R.T.R. in Aug 1943. He saw further service in Southern Italy, Northern France, Belgium and Holland. After the war he rejoined the North Somerset Yeomanry as Lieutenant in May 1949, was transferred to the Temporary Army Reserve in June 1951, and granted the Hon. Rank of Captain. He finally resigned his commission on 16 May 1961. Captain Stiddard died at Winford, Bristol on 22 May 1986.


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