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Soldiers of the Regiment

Sergeant Philip Fordham DCM


Medals to Sergeant Philip Fordham: Distinguished Conduct Medal, General Service Medal with bar Palestine, 1939-45 Star, The Africa Star, The Italy Star, Defence Medal and War Medal.
Accession Number: KO2936/01-07

Sergeant Philip Fordham, DCM, 3710327 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Regiment.

Philip Fordham was a native of Kendal and a farm labourer in south Westmorland. In 1932, aged about 18, he travelled the few miles to Bowerham Barracks, Lancaster to enlist into The King’s Own. After recruit training he joined 2nd King’s Own, serving at Lichfield and Aldershot (Signal Platoon) before seeing active service in Palestine in 1938. Discharged to the Reserve in 1939, but soon recalled when war was imminent, he was retained at Bowerham Depot as a Signals Instructor. Posted to 8th King’s Own in 1940 after Dunkirk, he served with the same Battalion to the war’s end: in the epic voyage to Malta, 1941; the Siege of Malta 1941-43; Egypt 1943-44; Palestine 1944 when the 8th King’s Own took over the remnants and identity of 1st King’s Own, which has been decimated in Egypt and on Leros; and Italy 1944-45, where Fordham won his DCM in December 1944 when 1st King’s Own successfully defended its positions against repeated attacks by the German 90th Light Division.

London Gazette 24 May 1945
“During the fighting around Pideura between 7th and 13th December 1944 Sergeant Fordham, Battalion Signals Sergeant performed his duties with superb gallantry. Line communications to the forward companies was vital, and owing to the lack of experience of the existing linesmen, Sergeant Fordham insisted on going out himself on line repair works. Time and time again Sergeant Fordham took line parties forward through heavy mud and intense shell and mortar fire. For four nights running, during which there was continuous shelling and mortaring he spent the greater part of the night on the line.
On two occasions when ordered to rest by the Signals Officer, Sergeant Fordham begged to be allowed to go out, saying that unless he were there, the line would not be repaired.
The forward Company Commanders all reported that Sergeant Fordham went out on his way to work when it appeared certain that he would be killed or wounded by shell and mortar fire.
Sergeant Fordham worked throughout with the greatest coolness and had it not been for his magnificent example, it was very doubtful if the other linesmen would have returned out at times when line communications was most needed.
As a result of Sergeant Fordham’s work Battalion Headquarters was in almost constant telephone communication with the forward Companies and this enabled artillery and mortar Defensive Fire to be brought down at times when it was needed quickly.
Undoubtedly this not only broke up more than one enemy attack but also saved the lives of many men.”

After the war Philip lived at Holme, near Carnforth, with his wife and family, and for a long time was a railway signalman at Arnside Box on the Furness line. He received his DCM from HM King George VI at Buckingham Palace in May 1947. A pleasant and unassuming man, he died at his home in 1991.
 

 

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