ETCHES, William Whitson

Known as: 
Lieutenant (later Colonel)
Unit / Base: 
3 Commando
Royal Warwickshire Regiment
P.O.W. number: 
Sunday, May 15, 1921
Died : 
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Col Bill Etches OBE MC
Lieutenant William Etches, a veteran of the Lofoten and Vaagso raids in Norway 1941 (he received a Mention in Despatches during the latter) [1],  was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry at St Nazaire in March 1942 during Operation Chariot [2]He was assistant to Captain Robert Montgomery, RE, supervising demolition parties in the dry dock area [2a]
Lieutenant Etches was severely wounded on the approach on board HMS Campbeltown but continued with his duties, only withdrawing when the demolition was complete. He was later taken prisoner of war. [2][2a][3][3a]
Post War
  • 1961-1963 commanded the 3rd Bn. Nigeria Regiment with United Nations forces in Congo. There is an IWM interview with him available at the IWM, but unfortunately it is not yet available online. However they have a lot more information on their description of the interview: [View the IWM entry.]
  • 30 September 1963 (Lieutenant-Colonel) formerly on loan to the Government of the Federation of Nigeria, appointed OBE (Military Division). [4]
  • 8 January 1966 promoted Colonel of the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers  with seniority from 25th August 1965 [5].
  • 27 March 1971 retired from military service [4], and became the regimental secretary of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers [6].
[1] London Gazette 35510, page 1506
[2] London Gazette 37162, page 3493.
[2a] St Nazaire Society.
[3] Prisoners of War  / National Archives file WO392/11.
[3a] German Record Cards of British PoW's / National Archives file WO416/113/359 (Stalag 133).
[4] London Gazette 43203, page 43.
[5] London Gazette 43938, page 3685.
[6] London Gazette 45331, page 2938.

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