An "Operation Musketeer" M.M. group of four to Sergeant R.R.G.Read, Parachute Regiment,
Lot 47
An "Operation Musketeer" M.M. group of four to Sergeant R.R.G.Read, Parachute Regiment,
£ 18,000 - 22,000
US$ 25,000 - 31,000

For Valour

29 Sep 2010, 10:30 BST

London, Knightsbridge

Lot Details
An "Operation Musketeer" M.M. group of four to Sergeant R.R.G.Read, Parachute Regiment,
An "Operation Musketeer" M.M. group of four to Sergeant R.R.G.Read, Parachute Regiment,
Military Medal, E.II.R. (23210200 A/Sgt.R.R.G.Read. Para.); Korea 1950-53, an unnamed example, engraved privately (O.S.Read R. S.S.Langleygale); United Nations Korea Medal; General Service 1918-62, one bar, Near East (23210200 Sgt R R G Read PARA), a recent claim. The first and last in boxes of issue. (Lot)


  • M.M. London Gazette 13.6.1957.

    On 6 Nov 56 Sgt Read was Pl Sgt of a platoon carrying out an attack which encountered strong enemy opposition during street fighting. Sgt Read was severely wounded and during confused fighting was left for dead in the enemy position. Some time later a person was seen crawling from the enemy position towards our lines; this proved to be Sgt Read, who by a superhuman effort had dragged himself away from where he was wounded and managed to cover about 400 yards before being rescued by a patrol. It was only due to Sgt Read's determination and fortitude that he did not fall into enemy hands dead or alive. On return, although wounded he was calm and cheerful. This individual act of courage by Sgt Read had a great effect on the rest of the Company who were undoubtedly inspired by his outstanding example. Throughout the two days fighting Sgt Read's conduct had been exemplary and a source of inspiration to his platoon, and his leadership and bearing were outstanding.

    The lot includes a variety of items as follows: Airborne Forces Depot Basic Training Champion Recruit Certificate dated 18 Sep 54; Programme for Passing Out Parade with newspaper cutting; Passing Out Parade Invitation dated 18.9.1954; Record of Service Card; Colour Certificate showing service from 22.6.1954 to 21.6.1957; Brigade Routine Orders; letter of congratulation for the award of the MM from Brigadier M.A.H.Butler, dated 10th June 1957; newspaper cutting relating to the award; A quantity of related photographs from the campaign and later Nicosia; Programme from the Presentation of the Freedom of the Borough of Aldershot to the Parachute Regiment 1957 with a photograph of the march past; Soldier's Record and Pay Book; Army Identity Card; Certificate of Service.; photograph in unifom; Airborne Forces card by Gale and Polden; Poem from his time in hospital; with photocopies of citation etc; various insignia etc.

    Operation Musketeer began on Monday 5th November 1956 with the Airborne Assault leaving Nicosia at 04.15 and the drop over Port Said was to take place 3 hours later. The drop was to be carried out over the El Gamil airfield, the first wave comprising 688 Personnel. The jump was fairly eventful and the main task firstly was to clear and secure the airfield, this was completed in half an hour with very few casualties on the British side. The group comprised A,B, C and D Company and 3 Troop, 9 Para Field Squadron.

    Having completed the airfield clearance the groups moved to carry out specific tasks.

    B Company were to clear a sewage farm and having completed this successfully were then relieved by C Company who encountered the cemetry, this proved to be a strong point and in turn at 10.30am this was bombed by Sea Hawks who penetrated the surrounding wall. C Company cleared through the cemetry and called in further airstrikes to a block of flats which were being used as an observation post.

    The second phase of the Airborne Operation began at 13.15 resulting in 58 reinforcements being dropped over the airfield.

    Later that afternoon given that all objectives had been achieved the troops were ready to go on and reach the docks, however as light was fading and the lack of light would be a problem for all those fighting in the alleys of the port at night, it was halted. The port was to be taken by the Seaborne force landing on the Tuesday morning. The troops had taken an area which was to be subject to sea bombardment the following morning so it was decided to withdraw C Company back to the sewage farm area for the night so to avoid possible friendly fire casualties. The French had landed troops at Port Faud and having been a total success the word on the street back to the French was that the Military Commander of Port Said wanted to surrender. That evening the area was secured as follows: B Company held the right end of the sewage farm, C Company held the left, D company held the west end of the airfield and A company held the east end of the airfield whilst 3 Troop ( Para Field Squadron were on the airfield.

    The thought of a possible surrender was thrown out by those in Cairo who hinted that Egyptian and Russian troops would help to relieve things the following morning. All those out in the field bedded down as best as they could for the following day.

    The airborne assault began with the landing craft coming on shore, given the beaches had been cleared of defences and gun positions it was relatively easy for them. C Company reestablished themselves in the cemetry and then an attack on the Coast Guard Barracks took place without loss. In the meantime the Royal Marines despite having had an easy landing got caught up in the town. The native quarter of the town proved resilient and it was decided to meet up with the Marines to speed things up. A fighting patrol was sent forward to meet up with the Marines however this met strong resistance, with a number of paras wounded, it was here that Sergeant Read gave covering fire with his Bren Gun, despite of the intense enemy fire he enabled wounded men who were being transported in a jeep to get to safety. In this fighting it was thought that Read had been killed an it was decided not to risk finding out if he was still alive.

    The enemy were very active still in the shanty town and Police barracks, an airstrike was called but was not carried out for fear of damage caused to Egyptian property. However the use of own weapons was still permitted.. The use of a 106 anti tank gun caused devastation to the barracks and the fire that followed destroyed most of the shanty town. C Company advanced to the outskirts of the town whilst B Company entered the flats. Shortly after this Sergeant Read was found alive despite one leg being useless he left the building he was in which had set on fire. In great pain he crawled past some Egyptians who did not kill him, he was rescued by a a fellow soldier and the padre who had gone up to boost morale.

    The Marines never did meet up that day and 2 Para did not link up with their tanks until after dark. It was ordered that there was to be a cease fire at 23.59 when all movement was to stop.

    Given the political weight behind everything it was feasibly possible to reach the canal but given that opinion in the world was against the British the operation stopped despite all that had been done.

    After a clean up operation the evacuation back to Cyprus took place on Monday the 12th aboard New Australia.

    A total of 7 Military Medals were awarded for the Suez action of which 4 were awarded to the Royal Marines and 3 to the Parachute Regiment.
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