PANTALL, Richard William White

Bombardier later Lieutenant
Unit / Base: 
3 Commando
Prior Police Service: 
Brighton Police Force
Royal Artillery
14241750 and 327724
Honours & Awards: 
Thursday, August 23, 1917
Died : 
Monday, December 13, 2010
Richard William White Pantall joined the Metropolitan Police, warrant number 125976, on 10 May 1937, and left on 5 February 1939. Last posted to J Division as a Constable. He left the Metropolitan Police Force on transfer to the Brighton Police Force joining them on 6 February 1939. In 1942 he volunteered for the Commandos and joined the 2nd Police Intake to the Commando Depot (Commando Basic Training Centre), Achnacarry. He was attached to No.3 Commando on successful completion of his training. In 1943 Bombardier Pantall was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Italy [1][2][4][5][6].
During operations around Bova Marina between 24 August and 5 September 1943, this NCO took part in two landings. The object of the first was to capture a prisoner and the second to report by wireless the activities of the enemy around Bagaladi.
During the morning of the 28th, this patrol of 1 officer and 6 OR's became heavily engaged with between 50 and 60 of the enemy which they kept at bay for over an hour, during which the signallers were able to pack up and take away their wireless, while at least 8 of the enemy were seen to fall. During the action Cpl Pantall played a prominent part.
Later in the day his officer left him in charge while he went on a reconnaissance from which he did not return. Cpl Pantall took charge and kept his men concealed throughout the afternoon, although the valley was full of enemy troops and civilians armed with shotguns, some of whom came within 3 yards of his position. He counted 168 enemy in all.
During the 29 Aug. his party was still surrounded and consequently only had 1 meal in 36 hours. On 30 Aug. he successfully evaded an Italian patrol of 1 officer and 20 men although handicapped by the fact that one of his men had Malaria, and the two RA signallers were exhausted. On 2 Sept. his party cut the telephone lines between Melito and Bova Marina. On the 5th Sept. he brought his party into the British lines.
Through the operations he kept his men cheerful although he had not the least idea of when the invasion of Italy was to take place, and although their diet consisted mostly of figs. He succeeded in extricating this party, of which throughout only one man was capable of rendering him complete support. He has shown himself to be an excellent NCO [2].
  • 26 August 1944 commissioned Second Lieutenant, King's Shropshire Light Infantry [3].
  • 1945 Lieutenant serving at the Commando Basic Training Centre, Achnacarry [7].
[1] London Gazette 36327, page 257.
[2] National Archives file WO 373/4/115.
[3] London Gazette 36765, page 4911.
[4] The 1939 Register covering Brighton.
[4a] Register of Leavers from the Metropolitan Police / National Archives file  MEPO 4/350/124.
[5] Tony Moore FRHistS and police historian.
[6] Kington Times newspaper, 17 June 1944, p2 [below].
[7] Image in CVA Training Gallery titled 'Commando Basic Training Centre Officers' Mess 1945'.
[image above] No.3 Commando Gallery titled 'Lt. Col Peter Young, Cpl Philip Logan, and others, No.3 Cdo'.

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