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

Military Medal

Clifford Derwin Wardell was serving in Number 6 Company Canadian Forestry Corps in Scotland during the early days of the war and the paid rank of Acting Corporal. For a brief time, he held the rank of acting Sergeant while attending Cookery School in Inverness. He earned trades pay as a Foreman Group 'B' for most of the time but lost it during a short period of detention in July 1942. In August 1942, he was transferred from No. 6 Coy to the Forestry Corps General Workshop. 

At some point, Clifford was transferred to the Royal Canadian Engineers and found himself as a dozer operator in Italy.

From Volume II of the RCE History"

"At 0800 hours 24 May the leading troops of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division drove forward towards the Melfa River. With each of the three armoured regiments were parties of sappers from the 10th Field Squadron in "Honey" reconnaissance tanks— 18 parties in all. But these were not the only engineers engaged. At one crossing of the San Martino River, a small stream between the two almost parallel lateral roads running north from Pontecorvo, armour and anti-tank guns were held up. Sapper C. D. Wardell of the 9th Field Park Company earned a Military Medal when he trundled his unarmoured dozer forward under fire and, despite an early wound from a mortar-bomb splinter, stuck to his job until he had the banks cut down and a route cleared."


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.

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