WW2 Military Medal and Mentioned in Despatches Group of Six - Pte. J.C. Cawton, 5th Battalion, Black Watch

WW2 Military Medal and Mentioned in Despatches Group of Six - Pte. J.C. Cawton, 5th Battalion, Black Watch

  • Product Code: MM-4538
  • Regiment: Black Watch (The Royal Highlanders)
  • Era: WW2
  • Availability: Out of Stock

  • Price: £2,100.00

A second world war MM and MID medal group awarded to 4460983 Private James Cheeseman Cawton, 5th Battalion, Black Watch. 

George VI Military Medal named to 4460983 Pte. J.C. Cawton. Black Watch. 
1939-45 Star unnamed as issued 
Africa Star (Clasp - 8th Army) unnamed as issued 
Italy Star unnamed as issued 
WW2 Defence Medal unnamed as issued 
War Medal 1939-45 (with M.I.D. oak leaf emblem) unnamed as issued 

Military Medal: L.G. 25th November 1943
The MM recommendation reads as follows:
  ‘On the night of 24/25th March, 1943, Pte Cawton was Platoon Runner in 8 Platoon of "A" Coy. This coy had carried out an attack against an enemy position, and in the process had suffered such very heavy casualties from shell-fire, that the Company was split up into isolated groups round the objective. Private Cawton located and collected the remnants of his Platoon and then made his way to Company HQ which necessitated crossing some 200 yards of ground that was swept with machine-gun fire and on which many shells were falling. He then reported the situation and disposition of the Platoon. Subsequently he was the greatest possible assistance to Lieutenant Nickson, the sole remaining officer, in re-organising the Company against counter-attack, and in the smoke and confusion it is doubtful if this could have been done without him. Throughout the entire action he was cool and collected and carried out his orders with great energy. He seemed oblivious of the shells and bullets falling around him. His devotion to duty was an inspiration to all who saw him, and he showed courage of the highest order.’

Mentioned In Despatches: L.G. 6th April 1944
  'for gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East' 

John Cheeseman Cawton was born on 2nd August 1915 in Winlaton, near Gateshead, County Durham. On the outbreak of the Second World War he enlisted into the Durham Light Infantry, before transferring into the Black Watch on 16th July 1940.
Cawton was awarded the Military Medal in the London Gazette for 25th November 1943. In addition he was Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East in the London Gazette for 6th April 1944. He was wounded in action on 28th October 1942.
Cawton was transferred to the Class W Army Reserve on 2nd January 1946, and on 9th March 1946 married a Miss Linda Brooks at Winlaton. He died on 26th March 1979. 

The action resulting in the award of his MM is detailed in 'The Spirit of Angus: The War History of the County's Battalion of the Black Watch' by John McGregor. 
Pte Cawton was part of “A” company during an attack against a dominating enemy position called “Carrier Hill”, near Tunis, North Africa. It was decided to put in a two company attack with a supporting barrage from Corps Artillery. “A” Company was on the Start Line ready to move at 2200 hours on 24th March. Unfortunately some of the British guns had not been adjusted to the drop in night temperature and the shells fell short, right in the middle of “A” Company. Many were killed on the Start Line, but despite this “A” Company advanced towards their objective and, having reached it, were shelled again by their own guns. The Company Commander was badly wounded, the 2 i/c and many others were killed or wounded. All around Italians were giving themselves up and there was considerable confusion. Lt. Nickson, with Pte Cawton’s help, attempted to reorganise the Company. They held on despite being accurately mortared, which caused more casualties, and repelled strong counter-attacks. Eventually the Commanding Officer had no option but to order the remnants of “A” Company to withdraw, which they did with 27 Italian prisoners of war. Lt Nickson was recommended for a DSO, which was downgraded to an award of the MC, and Cawton was awarded the MM. Cawton’s MM Citation mentions heavy casualties to “A” Company from shellfire but neglects to say they were caused by the British artillery. 
Lt. General Oliver Lease sent the following message to the battalion the next day:
  'I am writing to congratulate all ranks of 5th Black Watch for their magnificent bearing during operations last night. It speaks worlds for their discipline and esprit de corps that the Battalion reached their objectives and captured 30 prisoners of war, after being shelled heavily by our own guns on the Start Line. I am very proud of them and I send them my most hearty congratulations and my sincere regrets that they should have suffered casualties at the hands of our own guns. I know, however, that this will not impair their conference for our Artillery which has so splendidly supported the Infantry in all their attacks.'

The medals are in good condition. The MM is mounted on the original pin as issued. 

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Tags: WW2 Medals, WWII, World War Two, Second World War, Military Medals, Campaign Medals, British Medals, Gallantry Medals, Gallantry, MM, Black Watch, Royal Highlanders

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