Thursday, November 07, 2013

Lt-Col Donald Ramsay-Brown killed 2 Germans with a kukri

Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Ramsay-Brown, 2nd from Left

In the face of heavy machine-gun fire and grenades at close range, he killed two Germans, including the No 1 of a machine-gun section, with a kukri.

WHO:  Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Ramsay-Brown
WHERE:  The high ground west and south-west of Medenine, Tunisia
WHEN:  March 14-16, 1943

Lt-Col Donald Ramsay-Brown

Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Ramsay-Brown, who has died aged 89, won two MCs in the African campaign while serving with the Gurkha Rifles.

12:01AM BST 19 Jul 2007

In October 1942 Ramsay-Brown, then a captain, was serving with the 1st Battalion 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (1/2 GR) in north Egypt. During the build-up to the Battle of El Alamein, he led patrols by day and night into No Man's Land on the Ruweisat Ridge. The enemy front line was wired, mined and highly organised but, at great risk, he brought back much valuable information.

On the night of October 10 Ramsay-Brown penetrated enemy minefields and reached their wire, only to find himself surrounded. He remained in observation and subsequently extricated his men safely. At the end of the month he led a patrol to a German strongpoint on the Ridge while the brigade was staging a dummy attack. He followed the wire for a considerable part of the front, shooting up the enemy with broadsides from his carriers.

He was awarded an MC; the citation paid tribute to his coolness and daring and stated that he had played a large part in the complete domination of the enemy in No Man's Land.

Donald Ramsay-Brown, the son of a missionary, was born at Chuddergent, Hyderabad, India on July 3 1917. He was educated at St George's Grammar School, Hyderabad, where his father was headmaster, and St Aloysius School, Vizagapatam. After Sandhurst he was attached to the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, joining it in India in 1937. The following year he was posted to 1/2 GR and went with them as adjutant to Iraq and Persia before joining 4th Indian Division in Egypt.

During the period of March 13-17 1943 the task of the battalion was to hold the high ground west and south-west of Medenine, Tunisia. Much valuable information was obtained, due almost entirely to Ramsay-Brown, who organised and led the patrols.

On the night of March 14, while on patrol, he captured single-handedly two armed German sentries who had opened fire with automatics. Two nights later he led a silent attack against a strong enemy position in the hills. Half of the enemy were killed and the rest fled. In the face of heavy machine-gun fire and grenades at close range, he killed two Germans, including the No 1 of a machine-gun section, with a kukri. After this action, in which he was wounded, he was awarded a Bar to his MC.

Excerpted from

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