New Object of the Month Display

14Nov13

Don Burley

The Firing Line Museum has a new display titled ‘Object of the Month’. This display will change monthly, showcasing objects and stories from the collections of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards and The Royal Welsh. This display has been researched and installed by one of Firing Line Museum Assistant, Ceri Gage who is currently studying towards obtaining her MA in Museum Studies.

November’s ‘Object of the Month’ displays personal items that belonged to WS/Sergeant D Burley of The Queen’s Bays, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery at Coriano. These include a collection of private photographs and letters.

WS/Sergeant D Burley’s Citation reads:

“On 20 Sep 44, NW of M dell ARBORETA, the left flank of… leading elements of 2 Armd Bde were heavily engaged from high ground of the Coriano Spur (790914).  The vital position had been held by infantry of the division operating on the flank of the 2 Armd Bde, but they had been forced to withdraw, leaving wounded on the ground, by an enemy counter attack.

 One Troop of The Queen’s Bays of which Sgt Burley was Troop Sgt was ordered to go and assist in driving the enemy from this area.  During the move, both his Troop Leader’s tank and the Cpl’s tank were knocked out leaving Sgt Burley to carry on the operation by himself.  Realising that the ground over which he would have to attack almost entirely covered by enemy Anti-tank guns, he dismounted and set off to find out a covered way of approach up the hill to the enemy position.  This he did and managed to return, though he was constantly under close and accurate fire of all descriptions.  He found an Infantry Company Commander and told him what he had found out on his reconnaissance and suggested a suitable plan of attack.  The plan was agreed to and Sgt Burley led the infantry into the enemy position, using his guns so effectively that they arrived there with few casualties.  The enemy were temporarily routed, and under cover of the tank fire were able to evacuate the casualties who had been left there in the first instance and consolidate.  Later the enemy counter-attacked again.  Sgt Burley inflicted severe casualties on them, but whilst he was on foot, reconnoitring an alternative fire position for his tank, he was badly injured.  He was able to walk back to his tank and, though in great pain, and suffering from loss of blood, he continued to fight from his tank until the enemy had again been dispersed.

 This NCO, throughout, showed resource, initiative, powers of planning, and skill in execution, which would be considered outstanding in a commander of much higher rank.  In addition, he showed great personal courage in continuing to command his tank when so severely wounded.  The fighting spirit of Sgt Burley undoubtedly inspired all who co-operated with him in this action.
Sgt Burley was back again in time to take part in the advance from the River Motone to beyond the River Lamone.  At the passage of the Marzino he commanded his tank with marked ability and in the hard fighting West of FAENZA and across the Lamone he commanded his troop in the absence of his Troop Leader.  His was one of the first troops over the Lamone and throughout he led his tanks with great courage and resource causing many casualties amongst the enemy and materially assisting the infantry in holding their bridgehead against severe enemy counter-attacks”.

Visitors will be able to view this display throughout November 2013.  

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