Russell Endean AWMM
Also known as
WWII 10737 AWMM
Medals and Awards
Military Cross (MC) AWMM
30 December 1941 AWMM
The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Rawle, Russell Endean. (Ref. WO 373/27/430). Military Cross. AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
Maj R. E. Rawle, MC; Wellington; born Wellington, 2 Aug 1911; civil servant; OC Div Supply Coy 1944–45; wounded 25 May 1941. (Source: Davin, D.M. Crete. p.287.)
'On Murray Hill Rawle's men were fighting it out. Precariously placed on an insecure salient, they were fighting still on their first orders—‘Hold out at all costs’—unaware that a heavy Stuka raid on Galatas about 4 p. m. had broken all communications and that their chances of hearing a withdrawal order were remote. At 4.30 p. m. the enemy turned his attention to the troublesome hill. Mortar bombs and bullets showered in from three directions: front, right and rear. At 5 p. m. a strong formation began to close in from Ruin Hill. Cox swung his gun to meet the straggling line of men, and in so doing exposed himself to fire from Red Hill. He was pounding away when a bullet caught him between the eyes. As he fell dead, Gibbs took over.
The enemy was pressing close and stick bombs were flying in from the left and bursting in the central trench. How long this furious battle kept up is hard to determine. Eventually a runner came through from the rear holding a white-lined British warm in front of him. The enemy presumably took this to be a white flag, for fire eased appreciably, but as the runner threw himself flat on the hilltop, the hammering began again. The runner jerked out to Bradshaw, ‘You're to get out if you can.’ Bradshaw passed the word down, and Rawle, his face white and his head bandaged, appeared and asked, ‘What's going on?’ Bradshaw told him, and the retirement began. As the men jumped up and dashed for cover, Bradshaw and Gibbs stayed at their guns. One or two men fell.
Gibbs was pounding away on the left, with bullets whipping about and the Germans advancing up the hill.
Bradshaw's gun was still stuttering when he turned to find three Germans spraying into the trench with tommy guns. With two other survivors of 27 Battalion he was taken away a prisoner. When they were taken beyond Red Hill they saw to their satisfaction that the ground was liberally littered with German dead. Their sweeping of Red Hill had been effective.
The others who had gone back had crawled off Murray Hill on their bellies through grape vines with bullets plunking around them and Germans only fifteen feet away. They reached the shelter of a low stone wall, then made an S movement through German detachments to the old Battalion Headquarters area. They finally reached a deep gully, where they met Bliss and were guided back to Ruin Ridge ahead of the German advance.
The detachment suffered 50 per cent casualties on the ridge. There had been further casualties on the way out, and at least four men, one of whom was wounded, surrendered.
For his leadership during the battle and for his skilful extrication of the detachment, Rawle was awarded the MC. Gibbs, for his covering action and for his consistently steady behaviour during the campaign, was awarded the MM.' (Source: Bates, P.W. Supply Company. p. 117-118.) AWMM
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Russell Endean Rawle
- Bates, P. (1955). Supply Company. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
pp.57, 63, 81, 86, 92, 94, 101, 108, 110-11, 116-18, 120, 154, 160-1, 174, 177, 201, 209, 262, 307, 333. AWMM
- Davin, D. (1953). Crete. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
pp.287, 299, 302. AWMM
- Henderson, J. (1954). RMT: official history of the 4th and 6th Reserve Mechanical Transport Companies. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs. AWMM
- Dawson, W. (1961). 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
- Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 2 (Embarkations to 30th June, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
- Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 13 (Embarkations from 1st January, 1944 to 31st March, 1944). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
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