VARLEY, Richard James

Royal Marines
Royal Navy
Service numbers: 
Honours & Awards: 
Corporal Richard Varley was awarded the M.M., [1] for distinguished services in support of Operations in Borneo between the 13th December 1965 and the 20th April 1966 [2].
Corporal Varley has commanded his section in a series of successful operations in Borneo. On the 16th March 1966, he took part in an attack on a strong base position set up by part of an infiltrating enemy company. During the night Corporal Varley skilfully moved his section to within twelve yards of the position, and lay there undetected until dawn. He then opened fire on the position, controlling the fire of his section in the face of accurate enemy retaliation. At a crucial stage the section general purpose machine gun jammed and the section was in danger of losing the initiative to an enemy Browning machine gunner who now became active at very close range. Corporal Varley at once threw smoke grenades and withdrew his section to a bank about fifteen yards to his rear, and from there gave new fire control orders to win back the fire fight knowing that he had to keep the enemy engaged for a further fifteen minutes to enable other parts of the overall plan to succeed. Corporal Varley succeeded in his mission and was finally ordered to withdraw.
It was largely due to his courage, coolness under fire, and tenacity that this part of the plan succeeded and the platoon was finally able to break off contact after inflicting heavy losses on the enemy at the cost of only two casualties [1 +2]. 
[1] London Gazettes Supp. 44196, page 13457.
[2] National Archives file WO 373/140/82.

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