Spr Joseph Alexander Arthur, 12th Field Company, Military Medal

Background 

On 2 November 1944, "A" Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons were in position for the purpose of attacking along the road from San Stefano. A party of five Sappers of 2 Platoon, 12 Canadian Field Company was assigned the job of checking the road for mines and immediately began their task. After proceeding three-quarters of a mile along the road, the party of Sappers was suddenly fired on by the enemy small arms fire. The party immediately took to the ditch beside the road and took cover. The Sappers cautiously made their way to a nearby house on the right in order to get out of the enemy fire. The house proved to be an enemy strong point with numerous enemy in and around it. Sapper Arthur made his way into the house where the enemy threw a grenade at him but he quickly dove out of the window and escaped. He made his way to the back of the house where more enemy were concealed and there opened fire with his Tommy gun, dispersing the enemy there and possibly accounting for one of them. It was evident that the party was outnumbered and taking advantage of the lull, Sapper Arthur made his way across country toward San Stefano for help. As he came clear of the house, snipers from the top storey opened fire on him but he continued his journey and reached the town safely. There he told the Royal Canadian Dragoons that the Sappers were pined down and immediately set off again up the road. He reached the vicinity of the enemy strong point where the party was under heavy enemy machine gun and mortar fire. However, the armoured cars were quickly on the scene and Sapper Arthur was able personally to direct them to the spot. Because of his courage and quick thinking Sapper Arthur was responsible for the rescue of most of the party. Since that time he has been an outstanding man in his section and the incident is typical of his personal initiative and courage. He has been an example to all the men in the unit through his perpetual cheerfulness and ever willingness to take on anything, regardless of personal effort to himself.