Spr Clifford Derwin Wardell, 9th Field Park Company, Military Medal

Background 

On the 24th May 1944, during the crossing of the Mariano River, a crossing had to be constructed by the Engineers in order that the vehicles of the division could reach the far side and for this purpose a bulldozer had to be used. The location chosen for the crossing was under heavy enemy mortar and machine gun fire for the final 200 yards of the approach. Sapper Wardell was detailed to bring up his bulldozer and to proceed with the necessary excavation and clearing. Despite the fact that the bulldozer was in no way protected by armour and that the shelling and machine gunning was so concentrated and accurate that the infantry who were waiting to cross were forced to cover in ditches and slit trenches, Sapper Wardell never once hesitated in carrying on with his task. Although wounded at an early stage by splinters from an exploding mortar bomb, this soldier continued to operate the machine until the diversion was completed.

By total disregard of his personal safety and by his selfless devotion to duty, Sapper Wardell ensured that the crossing was completed in the minimum of time. As a result of this it was possible for the leading armoured elements and anti-tank guns to cross an obstacle which otherwise might have held them up for a matter of several hours. Through this crossing being effected so quickly it was possible for consolidation on the far side of the river to be completed before any organized enemy counter-attack could be affected.