POW Tobruk served Dunkirk WW2 Military Medal group Bryant AA/AT gun British Army
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POW Tobruk served Dunkirk WW2 Military Medal group Bryant AA/AT gun British Army:
For sale is a medal group consisting of Military Medal(G.VI.) named 871093 SJT . R.T.C. BRYANT. R.A.; 1939 - 45 Star, Africa Star,and Defence Medal (1939 - 45) all un named as issued, court mounted as worn.;Corps of Commissionaires medal with 15 year clasp.; Royal Artillery badges(2).; Royal Artillery tie pin.; Royal Artillery metal and enamel lapel badge.;Dunkirk Veterans Association enamel lapel badge; M.M. ribbon bar; Dunkirk medalribbon (missing the medal). Pictures of Bryant during the war and post warliving in Australia; Soldiers Pay Book and Service Book, and numerous originaldocuments and newspaper cutting and research.
Bombardier Robert Taylor Charles Bryant M.M. wasborn on 25/3/1920 in Bristol, England. A grocer by trade he had initiallyenlisted into the Territorial Army as a Gunner on 23/6/1937 serving with the153rd Battery (Anti Aircraft) Royal Artillery.
He was mobilised for Active Service on 26/9/1938 when the‘Munich Crisis’ blew up but was demobilised shortly after. His originalTerritorial Army Mobilisation form is included. Perhaps as a result of seeingwhich way the wind was blowing, he transferred to the Regular Army on11/4/1939.
He served in France with the 1st Anti-Aircraft Regiment (1stA.A. Brigade) from 12/9/1939 until evacuating out through Dunkirk on 28/5/1940.
The 1st AA Brigade's role was to cover corps assembly areasand the routes used by the BEF to advance into Belgium. When the German Armybroke through, forcing the BEF to begin withdrawing again, the AA batteriesgave cover leap-frog fashion. Soon they were sucked into the ground battle,split into sub-units to join rearguard actions or moved back from one key pointto another. When the BEF reached Dunkirk, the 1st AA Brigade was down to 20 outof its original 72 HAA guns. The AA units attempted to cover the shrinkingDunkirk 'pocket' against air attack until it was their turn to destroy theirequipment and join the queues of men waiting to be taken aboard small boatsback to England.
The 1st was reformed in June 1940 from 2, 3. And 4 Light AABatteries. On 5/2/1941 he deployed to the Middle East where the regiment was heavilyinvolved in the fighting with the 7th Armoured Division. He was taken prisoneron the 15/6/1942 at El Adem (12 miles out of Tobruk) when with ‘2’ Battery. HisMilitary Medal was awarded for this action with his rank being Sergeant at thetime.
It is highly probable that the 40mm Bofors guns were usedin a ground capacity as well as Anti Aircraft.
On 14 June, Auchinleck authorised Ritchie to withdraw fromthe Gazala Line. The defenders in the El Adem and two neighbouring boxes heldon and the 1st South African Division was able to withdraw along the coastroad, practically intact. London would not contemplate a withdrawal to thebetter defensive positions on the Egypt-Libya frontier and on 14 June,Auchinleck ordered to Ritchie to hold a line running south-east from Acroma(west of Tobruk) through El Adem to Bir El Gubi. By the evening of 15 June, thePoint 650 box had been overrun and on 16 June, the defenders at Point 187 hadbeen forced by lack of supplies to evacuate. The defensive boxes at El Adem andSidi Rezegh were also attacked by the Afrika Korps. On 17 June, both boxes wereevacuated ending any chance of preventing the encirclement of Tobruk. Tobruksurrendered a week later.
He was transported to Italy on 23/6/1942 to P.O.W. Camp 70Monturano and then to Germany to Stalag VIIIB (Lamsdorf) on 4/1/1944 untilliberated on 21/4/1945.
He was discharged on 17/12/1945, His M.M. being gazetted on21/2/1946 probably as a result of the survivors of the day giving theiraccounts of Sgt Bryant’s actions during the battle. Post war he emigrated to Australia in 1949with his occupation recorded as a painter. He was active in the veteran’scommunity as a member of the Corps of Commissionaires. He died on 31/10/2001 inKnox City, Victoria.
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