Sergeant E. W. Clarke, MM; New Plymouth; born New Plymouth, 27 Sep 1915; groom; wounded May 1941. (Source: Dawson, W.D. 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p.510.)
'It was here that Padre Gourdie turned on the performance of his life. He was always noted for his tendency to gravitate up towards the front; wherever the regiment went he turned up at the ‘sharp end’, touring the foremost tanks with cheerful words and an old pack full of cigarettes or chocolate or tinned milk. On this trying day he was all over the place, pulling the men out of two burning tanks, attending to wounds and burns, braving shell and Spandau fire again and again to take carrier-loads of wounded back to the RAP. When, a few weeks later, he was awarded the unit's fifth DSO, everyone was delighted.
There were others, too, who worked like demons to haul the crews out of the burning tanks. Notable among them was Captain Laurie, who had a most hectic day apart from this, tearing up and down the ridge, keeping control of his scattered tanks and keeping in touch with the elusive infantry. Prominent among the rescue workers was Trooper E. W. Clarke, and so was Corporal Win Snell, who was wounded while attending to the casualties. This was no job for anyone with a weak stomach.
While all the metal was flying beyond Route 2, C Squadron was spending a satisfactory day on the right flank, where a company of infantry and some Divisional Cavalry armoured cars were pushing ahead along a road parallel to the Pesa River. At dawn C Squadron moved up through San Donato, running into a shower of shells on the way, and placed itself nicely in position among the trees some half a mile north of the village. Here it stayed all day, bombarding the road and getting nothing back, which, thought everyone, was just as it should be. Views on this indirect fire business had changed now. The tankies, who six or eight months ago had been inclined to look down on it as a menial job, had begun to pride themselves on their skill at it, and it was now quite an accepted thing in the Division that the Shermans could contribute a lot to its gun power, especially for tackling Jerry from well forward before the 25-pounders could move up.' (Source: Dawson, W.D. 18 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p. 510.) AWMM