Royal Army Medical Corps
Captain Eric Townsend MD MC
Captain Eric Townsend M.D. R.A.M.C. attached to the Middle East Commando was awarded the Military Cross for gallant and distinguished service during operations in Egypt [1]. In 1944 he additionally received a Mention in Despatches for gallant and distinguished service in Italy [2].
Recommendation for M.C.
"Captain Townsend showed conspicuous bravery on the afternoon of June 14th, when the patrol he was with was subjected to 4 hours dive bombing and machine gunning by enemy aircraft.
The Patrol was caught in the open desert behind the enemy lines during the heat of the afternoon, and the men had to lie scattered in the open. By moving about with utter disregard for his own safety Captain Townsend encouraged the men, and by his personality and cheerfulness, kept them going until darkness, and the destruction of all the vehicles, led to the enemy aircraft eventually moving off.
This was followed by a very long march, with little or no water, and the men in a very bad way mentally. Again Capt. Townsend moved amongst them, encouraging and keeping them going, and it was undoubtedly due to his untiring energy and example that the personnel eventually reached safety without a single casualty.
On the return of the Squadron to SIWA it was reported that a wounded airman was being looked after by the Senussi in the Jebel. He had been there for over a month and could not be moved. Capt. Townsend at once volunteered to return and find this airman, which he did, and after attending to his wounds, brought him safely in, and saved his life.
This Officer has, in all his service with Commandos, set a very fine example to all ranks. His attention to detail and his untiring energy have been magnificent and have assured the maximum of effectiveness being kept at duty, and the minimum of sickness." [3].
[1] London Gazette 37515, page 4155 dated 22 September 1942.
[2] London Gazette 36668, page 3935 dated 24 August 1944.
[3] National Archives file WO373/21/93.

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