Corporal SIDNEY BATES (photo added)

Serviceman Headstone image Serviceman grave marker Serviceman thumbnail
Rank Corporal
Forenames SIDNEY
Surname BATES (photo added)
Initials S
Place of Birth Unknown
Date of Birth Unknown
Date of Death Tuesday, 08 August 1944
Age 23
Nationality British
Residence or Entered Service From LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Service Number 5779898
Force British Army
Service/Corps/Regiment Royal Norfolk Regiment
Unit / Ship / Battalion / Squadron 1 Battalion
Military Honours and Awards VICTORIA CROSS (VC)
Place of Burial/Commemoration BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY
Roll of honour
Grave/Memorial Location XX. E. 19.
Previous Place(s) of Burial Unknown
Epitaph
Family Details SON OF FREDERICK AND GLADYS MAY BATES, OF CAMBERWELL, LONDON.

Additional Information

 

The announcement and accompanying citation for the decoration was published in supplement to the London Gazette on

2 November 1944.1

War Office, 2nd November, 1944.

Sidney Bates VC

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous awards of the VICTORIA CROSS to:
 

 

No. 5779898 Corporal Sidney Bates, The-Royal Norfolk Regiment (London, S.E.5).
 

 

 

In North-West West Europe on 6th August, 1944, the position held by a battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment near Sourdeval was attacked in strength by 10th S.S. Panzer Division.

 

The attack started with a heavy and accurate artillery and mortar programme on .the position which the enemy had, by this time, pin-pointed. Half an hour later the main attack developed and heavy machine-gun and mortar fire was concentrated oh the point of junction of the two forward companies. Corporal Bates was commanding the right forward section of the left forward company which suffered some, casualties, so he decided to move the remnants of his section to an alternative position whence he appreciated he could better counter the enemy thrust.

 

However, the enemy wedge grew still deeper, until there were about; 50 to 60 Germans, supported by machine guns and mortars, in the area occupied by the section. Seeing that the situation was becoming, desperate, Corporal Bates then seized a light machine-gun and charged the enemy, moving forward through a hail of bullets and spnnters and firing the gun from his hip. He was almost immediately wounded by machine-gun fire and fell to the ground, but recovered himself quickly, got up and continued advancing towards the enemy, spraying bullets from his gun as he went. His action by now was having an effect on the enemy riflemen and machine gunners but mortar bombs continued to fall all around him.

He was then hit for the second time and much more seriously and painfully wounded. However, undaunted, he staggered once more to his feet and continued towards the enemy who were now seemingly nonplussed by their inability to check him. His constant firing continued until the enemy started to withdraw before him. At this moment, he was hit for the third time by mortar bomb splinters, a wound that was to prove mortal. He again fell to the ground but continued to fire his weapon until his strength failed him. This was not, however, until the enemy Had withdrawn and the situation in this locality had been restored.

Corporal Bates died shortly afterwards of the wounds he had received, but, by his supreme gallantry and self sacrifice he had personally restored what had been a critical situation.

 

Although the VC citation gives the hamlet Sourdeval as the location (not to be confused with the market town of Sourdeval about 20km away, it is actually at Pavee. There is a fitting memorial to Sidney Bates at Pavee.

 

 

References
1. http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36774/supplements/5016/page.pdf

 

Acknowledgements and Credits
Source of original data: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Headstone photograph: Carl Shilleto
Cross marker photograph:  
Individual photograph: Chris Bates
Additional photographs provided by: Chris Bates
Additional information provided by: Albert Bates and Chris Bates

 

APPEAL FOR INFORMATION AND PHOTOGRAPHS

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please email details and images (as high a resolution as possible please [i.e. 300dpi]) to:

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All contributors will be duly acknowledged

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On Tuesday, July 12, 2016