PACKER, Mark Charles

Temporary Corporal (Acting Temporary Sergeant)
Unit / Base: 
47RM Commando
Royal Marines
Royal Navy
Honours & Awards: 
Wednesday, July 18, 1923
Rochester, Kent
Died : 
Friday, March 24, 2023
Sergeant Mark Packer was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry, leadership and undaunted devotion to duty during the assault on the Island of Walcheren [1].
"At Walcheren, on 2 Nov, during 47 (RM) Commando's attack on W.11 Battery S.E. of Zouteland, Cpl Packer's section commander was killed during the hand to hand fighting that followed the assault. Continuous heavy fighting ensued for 2 hours, during which Cpl Packer displayed outstanding courage and leadership, often rallying those around him at critical times. He was always well to the fore, sometimes unsupported, in the counter rushes that met the German attacks.
In the absence of any close fire support our men were driven off the position by sheer weight of numbers. Cpl Packer rallied the survivors of his section. His cheerful yet resolute manner inspired them with confidence, and put new life into them so that they were .... to hang on to the vital ground during the hours of darkness.
The next morning, in a renewed attack on the enemy battery position, Cpl Packer's troop was responsible for right flank protection. The enemy opened concentrated and sustained cross fire at close range from the crest of the dunes and from a concrete fire control position known as the "umbrella" on the seaward side of the dunes.
Quickly sizing up the danger from this flanking fire, Cpl Packer in spite of MG and rifle fire, without hesitation and without waiting to see if he would be supported, charged the "umbrella" with his tommy gun. He had to climb about 30 yards up a slope of soft deep sand. When he was only a few yards short of the "umbrella" he was wounded by a stick grenade and fell just under the concrete lip of the emplacement. With great presence of mind and still full of fight he threw a No 77 smoke grenade into the "umbrella" and this proved a very effective silencer.

Throughout the best part of 2 days continuous and fluctuating fighting, much of it at close quarters, this NCO showed the greatest courage, inspiring those around him to further efforts by his cheerfulness, determination and complete disregard for his own safety."[2].

[1] London Gazette 36947, page 998 & 36992, page 1507 (errata).
[2] National Archives file WO 373/47/48.
Obituary in The Times 21 April 2023.

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