During the action north of NATHKOKYIN on 8 May 1944, Capt Swannell
was acting as Staff Officer to the Commanding Officer and a force
consisting of 6 Infantry Platoons.
Throughout the action lasting some five hours, Capt Swannell with
complete disregard for his own personal safety organised with
admirable judgement the immediate defence of the Command Post, and
on several occasions undertook hazardous journeys to outlying
platoons to co-ordinate their actions. It may be said that, as a
result of his efforts, the first Japanese counter-attack was beaten
off with heavy casualties.
It subsequently became necessary to
break off the engagement and a party of approximately 90 men
including eleven casualties was faced with an exceptionally
difficult march over mountainous country to rejoin the main body.
Capt Swannel was a member of this party. The early part of the march
lay through Jap infested territory, and before marching Capt
Swannell carried out recces of enemy positions by himself and gained
information which enabled the party to slip through the enemy net
carrying its casualties.
During the 24 hour march, when all ranks were becoming exhausted
from lack of food and recently concluded action, Capt Swannell's
personal example of fortitude, courage and determined spirit was a
great source of inspiration to all ranks, and were in a great
measure responsible for the safe arrival of the party to the main
On 16 July 1944, Capt Swannell was 2 i/c of the company attacking
PUNGAN. He was in command of two platoons ordered forward after the
initial clash to feel their way towards the village. Strong
opposition was encountered and as the positions reached by the two
platoons were untenable, Capt Swannell was ordered by his Column
Commander to withdraw. This proved to be a most difficult operation,
but Capt Swannell with great skill and the utmost coolness in the
face of heavy enemy fire organised mortar support and successfully
extricated the force under his command.
Capt Swannell has previously rendered outstanding service in
CRETE, SYRIA and TOBRUK.