Sgt Hugh Winslow Shiers, 1st Field Company, Military Medal

Background 

On 23 May 1944, 1 Canadian Infantry Brigade was to attack an area in the Adolph Hitler Line. F.91434 Sergeant Hugh Winslow Shiers was in charge of a minefield gapping party in the support of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment of that brigade. In support of this attack was a squadron of tanks from 142 Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps.

On the evening of 22 May 1944 Sergeant Shiers twice led a detector team forward clearing lines [mines ?] from roads and tracks leading to Pontecorvo. Although subjected to heavy mortar fire and continuous sniping he repeatedly returned to his task of clearing mines in the face of severe enemy opposition. Although daylight had broken before his task was completed, he continued his efforts in the face of increasing enemy fire and successfully completed his task.

As a direct result of his efforts, the British tanks were free to use these tracks in close support of the infantry attack. He displayed outstanding resolute coolness and courage in the face of enemy opposition. His fearless determination and devotion to duty was a splendid example to all ranks. (See MM awarded to Acting Corporal George Edgar Parker, 22 June 1944).

NOTE: About September 1943, Lieutenant-Colonel G. Walsh (1 Canadian Division) recommended Lance-Sergeant Shiers for the Canada Medal (an award subsequently bestowed on no person). The document text is transcribed for the historical record: This Non-Commissioned Officer has many times neutralized booby traps set by the enemy. In one particular case, an enemy ammunition lorry was found and was suspected of booby traps. It was not possible to use the normal method of moving the lorry by using a long rope as it would have held up the advance, and would have been a source of danger to nearby troops. It had to be removed, and Lance-Sergeant Shiers, realizing this, personally neutralized the booby traps which were found, and then arranged for the clearing of the vehicle at great personal risk.

See Sappers on the Hitler Line – May 1944  for background.