[Transcript of Recommendation of Award]
Rank and Name
Action for which recommended -
Lieut. Pond commanded a rifle platoon in 1st Bn the Bedfs & Herts Rgt (61 Column), from start of operation until he was evacuated as a result of wounds towards the middle of May 1944.
On 20th April 1944 61 Column was given the task of discovering enemy dumps and destroying them in the INDAW area. It was further instructed to cause confusion among the enemy by making them believe that a strong force was operating against them. Divisional Intelligence reported 2000 Japs as composing the garrison. Lieut. Pond was ordered to operate for four days in the area immediately SOUTH of INDAW. His tasks were to discover and destroy dumps known to exist in this area and to kill Japs. He took his platoon from Column Battle HQ on 21 April 1944 and was due to return on 24 April. Within half an hour he entered a village discovering a Jap camp kitchen and five Japs. These he immediately engaged killing one and wounding three. He then carried out a search of the village without discovering further traces of the enemy. Thinking he had accounted for the enemy in his locality he carried on with his patrol leaving the village by the northern exit which led out to open paddy and thin scrub. Heavy fire was suddenly opened on his platoon by Japanese in dug-in positions on the far side of the paddy. The sudden unexpectedness of the firing caused two of his sections to break for cover in the village. Placing one section in position, personally, to keep down enemy fire, he walked back to the village where he collected and reorganised his men. His calm and collected behaviour obviously helped enormously in restoring his men’s confidence. By this time, the enemy realising the strength of his patrol, were commencing an encircling movement to his right flank. Placing himself at the head of his two sections he rushed them across some open ground to a position from which they were able to counter the threat. Then again returning to his original position he withdrew his first section, led the way along a chaung which brought him to the enemy’s rear at close quarters. This attack caught the enemy by surprise and they fled. Four enemy dead were counted and it was estimated that several other casualties had been caused to the enemy. He carried on with his patrol but the enemy had obviously been warned.
For the three days his platoon was continuously sniped and making sudden contact with Jap searching parties. So determined and decisive were his actions that in every case the enemy was routed. Cover consisted only in clumps of scrub with large paddy fields intervening.
During the whole of this time there was no moon and consequently all movements were carried out by day nearly always under enemy observation and, frequently, enemy interference. Lieut. Pond was able to identify two large petroleum oil dumps. One of which he was compelled to enter in order to produce an accurate sketch map, having first killed the sentry and caused the remainder of the small guard post to disperse.
By the morning of the fourth day his actions had so aroused the area bordering on the southern outskirts of INDAW that he was compelled to fight his way out to the cover of the jungle, a distance of four and a half miles.
His patrol produced excellent results, having pinpointed two dumps, a hospital and MT park (subsequently shot up by 16 column) and definitely killed 17 Japs for the loss of one seriously injured and three slightly injured from his own platoon. This officer had carried out many patrols with precisely the same coolness and determination. His own excellent behaviour under trying circumstances inspired his platoon.
Later his platoon was ordered to block the INDAW-NAMKIN railway to cover the left flank of the Brigade which was crossing from south to north. While getting into their covering positions, contact was made with a small Jap railway patrol. During this action he received wounds in the head, left arm, left side and foot. Despite his injuries Lieut. Pond refused to relinquish command of his platoon to the officer sent to relieve him until he had carefully explained the situation and furthermore had conducted him to the positions of his two forward sections.
Lieut. Pond displayed on all occasions the highest qualities of leadership, bravery and extreme devotion to duty.
Honour or Reward
W. Lentaigne, Major General
Comd Special Force
G. Giffard, General
C-in-C 11 Army Group
(London Gazette 26.04.1945)