Lance-Corporal William Richardson, BEM - 29th Field Company - British Empire Medal

British Empire Medal (BEM)

During the attack of our troops across the River Orne on the night 18 and 19 July 1944, the equipment and vehicles for the bridging of the Orne Canal were marshalled in an area in the centre of Caen. Shortly before the bridging operation commenced, enemy aircraft dropped several bombs in this marshalling area setting fire to eight vehicles carrying vital bridging equipment. Lance-Corporal Richardson, in charge of a unit recovery vehicle stationed nearby, immediately ran to the scene and despite exploding ammunition, jerry cans and petrol tanks, succeeded in rescuing a driver whose foot had been partly blown away. Lance-Corporal Richardson again returned to the area and for fifteen minutes rendered valuable service in the removal of other bridging vehicles which were in danger of catching fire. Lance-Corporal Richardson's bravery and quick appreciation of a serious situation contributed greatly to the saving of many bridging vehicles that were so vital to the operation in hand.


Shortly after this event, Richardson was promoted to Lance Sergeant.  On 16 August 1944, while on a reconnaissance of the Falaise Road with his platoon commander, Lt. G.A. White, MC, his jeep was shot at by a sniper.  Lt. White served off the road and hit a land mine.  White escaped serious injury, but Richardson was badly hurt and may have lost his leg.