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Major J. Masters D.S.O.


Transcript of Distinguished Service Order Citation

Brigade

111 Indian Infantry

Division

3rd Indain

Unit

4th Prince of Wale's Own Gurkha Rifles
 

Date of
Recommendation

31st May 1944

Regtl. No.

478

Rank and Name

Captain (Temporary Major) John Masters

Action for which recommended :-

On 30 March the Bde Commander left Bde HQ to assume another appointment. The Bde was engaged on Long Range Penetration Operations, Colns being widely scattered. Major MASTERS, as Bde Major was the only officer in the area of Bde HQ fully in the picture, and was nominated de facto Bde Comd. Though junior and younger than many officers in the Bde, he carried on in the appointment, demonstrating outstanding qualities of leadership, drive, personal courage, military knowledge and skill.

The Bde at first carried out typical L.R.P. operations against enemy
L of C convoys and installations. Major MASTERS displayed considerable ingenuity and skill in this phase. Next the Bde covered 60 miles in three days over difficult hill jungle tracks. Both extreme heat and heavy rain were encountered in this move, but failed to slow up progress which has not been equalled in the present operations.

From 7 to 25 May,  four colns of the Bde held a block in the main enemy L of C. In a first series of attacks by an enemy battalion supported by artillery, Major MASTERS showed considerable skill and resource in holding the position in spite of the fact that additional colns to give floater protection and clear the enemy failed to arrive being held up by weather.

The enemy then brought up fresh tps and more artillery under cover of a spell of really bad weather which prevented air support and the delivery of supplies, ammunition and stores in adequate quantities. Beginning on 21 May, the enemy methodically swamped each tactical feature in turn by concentrated artillery and mortar fire, culminating in an infantry assault in greatly superior numbers. The enemy's determination to eliminate the block is evinced by his indiscriminate shelling of positions gained by his own tps when these were counter attacked.

On morning 25 May, with rations exhausted and practically no ammunition remaining, and after suffering very heavy casualties, Major MASTERS decided to evacuate the block. This decision required a very delicate appreciation of the conflicting factors and was made at the last possible moment. All artillery and other weapons and equipment in our hands that could not be taken away was rendered unserviceable. Over 100 wounded, including 50 stretcher cases, were sent ahead under escort, and then under sustained shelling and short range heavy  mortar and MMG fire the garrison withdrew. A withdrawal of 18 miles over steep muddy hill tracks in heavy rain was then carried out by tps already exhausted after four days incessant shell fire and close quarter fighting.

Throughout these operations Major MASTERS was an example to all ranks. His leadership and sound judgement have caused heavy losses to the enemy in men, artillery, animals and equipment, and have extricated his command from a most difficult position caused by extremely adverse weather conditions.


Recommended By

Major General W.D.A. Lentaigne, DSO,
Comd. 3 Ind. Div.

Honour or Reward

D.S.O. (Immediate)
   

(London Gazette 05.10.1944)

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