Date Posted... Jun 28th 2024

Archive Attic: Tales of Courage

This year’s Festival of Courage suggested an opportunity to share some of the tales of courage in the school archive. The wartime school magazines provide many examples of Old Truronians’ bravery, courage and endurance in the face of adversity.


Sub-Lieut. H.R. Taylor R.N.V.R., a former member of the Staff has been mentioned in dispatches for courage, endurance and helpfulness under heavy fire in rescuing his comrades from a blazing gun-boat on which he was second in command. He was wounded and is a prisoner in Germany.

The Truronian, July 1943


The following is the statement submitted by the General Officer Commanding the 1st Army in recommending H.D. Eddy (Captain, R.A.M.C.) for the award of the Military Cross:

This Officer has displayed most outstanding courage and devotion to duty throughout the operations of this Battalion 22nd April-6th May. During the night attack on the Crichel Oued positions on 22nd April he moved level with the assaulting Companies and established his Regimental Air Post on the objective immediately it was gained. Throughout the next 24 hours he worked under shell and mortar fire with exemplary courage. He again moved with the battalion during the night attacks on Points 119 and 131 and established his Regimental Aid Post within a few minutes of the objective being gained. Here the Regimental Aid Post received a direct hit by a shell but continued to function uninterruptedly under Captain Eddy’s fine leadership in spite of some casualties. On being established upon Point 171, after the attack on Djebel Bou Aoukaz, the Regimental Aid Post again received a direct hit from a mortar bomb, in spite of which this officer continued his work of evacuation, showing calm resolution and complete disregard for his personal safety, under heavy fire and accurate mortar fire. I cannot overstate the admiration felt by all ranks for this Officer’s unfaltering gallantry.

The Truronian, January 1944


Captain J. Paul Bennett, R.E., has been awarded the M.C. for services in North West Europe.

Captain Bennett landed the first troop in the initial assault on November 1st, 1944, on the south-east side of the gap at Westkapella, going through the gap and turning along the landward side of the dunes under heavy shell, mortar and small-arms fire. He landed them without loss and rallied his ‘buffalos’ on the edge of the dunes. Shortly afterwards a ‘buffalo’ was hit and burst into flames, and the crew abandoned it. Captain Bennett, seeing it was loaded with ammunition and close in amongst other ‘buffalos’ and men wounded on the dunes, went out to it, climbed into the driving seat, and in spite of the flames, exploding ammunition and shell fire managed to drive it away inland into the flooded areas. His complete disregard for his own safety was an inspiration to his men and to all the troops on the initial beach-heads.


F/O Lambert Wellington Eddy, R.A.F.V.R., has been awarded the D.F.C.

The citation states:

For the greater part of his operational tour F/O Eddy has been a meteorological observer with his squadron. In this capacity he has completed many sorties and done a considerable amount of flying in bad weather in areas frequented by enemy air and sea forces. In addition he has trained and led air-crew personnel as meteorological observers with great success. His enthusiasm, courage, and cheerfulness, have set a fine example to all ranks.


Flt. Sgt. Wallace Bernard Dale, R.A.F.V.R., has been awarded the D.F.M. The official citation reads:

One night in September 1944, this airman was the navigator of an aircraft detailed to attack Berlin. While over the target the aircraft was attacked by a fighter while illuminated in the searchlights. Bullets shattered the windscreen and Flt. Sgt. Dale was hit in the eye by flying glass. Six time fighters came in. Although in much pain, Flt. Sgt. Dale gave the necessary directions to his pilot, who finally evaded the enemy aircraft. In the flight much of his equipment had been rendered unserviceable, but Flt. Sgt. Dale navigated the aircraft home with unerring skill. This airman set a fine example of courage, fortitude and tenacity.

The Truronian, May 1945


R.J.K. Rundell has been awarded the MC. The citation reads:

On 10th April 1945, Lt R.J.K. Rundell was acting CMO of 158 Inf. Bde. Soon after first light he was carrying out a recce in the area of Rethem, when he encountered a newly ditched lorry. He halted behind the vehicle and on looking to the front he saw three German Marines manning a Basooka. He fired his revolver at them and two of the Marines jumped out of the ditch and ran towards the near-by woods. The third Marine was taken prisoner. Lieut. Rundell left the driver to guard the prisoner while he and two other members of his party went to search the wood for the two marines. They did not find them and from sounds of activity deeper in the wood Lieut. Rundell judged there to be a considerable number of enemy there. He then proceeded to the nearest Battalion to inform them of the whereabouts of the enemy. After having established his OP he was returning along the same route when he saw a Jeep in the ditch by the enemy lorry and its two occupants killed. As he slowed down to see if he could check the identity of the dead bodies he was fired upon. He managed to evade the enemy fire and by proceeding at a great speed along the route he was just in time to prevent the A Echelon vehicles of the battalion coming into the ambush.

Later in the day Lieut. Rundell left the OP to visit the fwd. inf. coys. And on his return found that the CP had been heavily shelled and that two of the men were casualties. He evacuated the casualties by the quickest route which was under observation and heavy machine gun fire and later returned to the OP with reinforcements.

Lieut. Rundell showed complete disregard for personal danger and his determination and courage were an outstanding example to his men.


Ronald Hadley has been awarded the D.F.C. the Citation states,

This officer as navigator, has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.

This decoration was awarded for sustained gallantry in air operations previous to the time he was posted missing.

The Truronian, December 1945



The school magazines from the 1914-1918 War also provides the experiences of Old Truronians in their own words.

Private G. Stratford , “B” Company, 20th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, BEF

France, Nov. 24th

We had a very hot time last night. I was on sentry during the hottest part, and I was not allowed off during the firing step. They sent over eight rifle grenades in three minutes, as well as some trench mortars. I am enclosing a cutting out of the ‘Weekly News’, which I found in the firing line. It has a photograph of St Clement’s Hill, with a tree blown across the road, and the College boys, I see are there. It brought back to me pleasant memories of days gone by – of past football matches, when “George” was our captain – of hot weeks in Cambridge Locals. It all came back to me like a flash. I am trying my best to follow in the footsteps of the Old Boys – Robert Gilpin, Millard etc. It seemed rather strange to think of those things in such a place, with death staring you in the face two feet above your head. They were happy thoughts, and they helped to drive away an aching back and two cold, tired feet. The French I learnt at the College has come in very handy, and I don’t experience much difficulty. I am sorry that Mr Greenfield has gone; I always held him in great esteem. I have last term’s magazine out here, and I am glad to see that everything is going on as usual.

Truro College Magazine, December 1916

FE Gilpin, 2nd Lt, France

…We have had rather a rough time ourselves of late, and it is rather marvellous that I am alive to-day… my splinter-proof dug-out [was destroyed] by… an 8in. armour piercing shell [dropped] on to the roof, which was only 6 in. deep and made of clay and sheet-iron. I’m pleased to say I was not there when that one fell, although I was in it when a previous shell came five yards away…  we scrambled out after having been rattled like army biscuits in a biscuit tin! The blast of the explosion blew out the candle and threw it with a smack on to my face. The other poor fellow just out from England was scarred terribly, and, as Tito Tregea would say, he was ‘tremblin’’ like a leaf! I was badly frightened myself, but somehow sub-consciously I seemed to have experienced the same incident before, and I ‘sort of’ knew the programme of what was to follow immediately. Shortly after we’d got away the dug-out was destroyed, and the next day we were digging out remnants of clothing and the remains of three pairs of footwear. I rescued several things which had been hurled about in all directions, but I had not much except what I was wearing at the time. … Our battery was mentioned in despatches for the Somme fighting, as we did some jolly good work. Will’s battery is a few miles further up the line, and I am afraid he is in for a rough time. …I am sick of the horrible sights and the awfulness of war. …With all the best wishes for a successful term.

Truro College Magazine, April 1917


Flt Sub-Lt JC Akester, RN, RNAS, POW in Germany

On the morning of the 26th September, the day of the big pushes at Ypres, I set off in a triplane (by myself) to do my little bit, and a very little bit it was, too. The sky was very cloudy, the clouds being about 2,000 feet high. I crossed the lines above the clouds, and coming down below the clouds I found myself rather too far over the lines, for there was a strong west wind blowing above which, of course, was against my getting back to our side quickly. After a little firing with my machine-gun at some German anti-aircraft batteries which did their best to bring me down, four German aeroplanes came down out of the clouds behind me. I turned round and started fighting them. After scrapping around for two or three minutes my machine-gun jammed. I cleared that jamb, when the blessed thing jammed again, and being unable to clear the second jamb I decided to escape if possible. I was under 2,000 feet high, and being five miles over the lines stood very little chance of escaping. The only thing for me to do was to dodge in and out of the clouds, shaking off my pursuers, if possible, and so worm my way back to our side. For almost half-an-hour the chase kept up, and my machine was riddled with bullets, but so far I was untouched. Anti-aircraft guns and machine guns were firing at me from the ground, too. At last I came to a big clear space in the sky through which I must go to reach our lines. The Germans put up a barrage of shells in front of me to prevent me from going straight ahead, but I managed to dodge them for a few minutes. Sometimes they would burst only a few yards in front of me, and one of them took a bit of my right wing away. But dodging anti-aircraft shells and the four aeroplanes, which were about 50 to 100 yards behind me all the time, was a bit too much for me at any rate. Finally I was hit in my left arm, and the bullet passed straight on and pierced my petrol tank. My cockpit was simply alive with bullets, and how I escaped being hit in at least a hundred places, goodness only knows. About two minutes later a bullet struck my engine and my revs dropped considerably, and therefore my speed.

I saw that at last I must come down on the German side of the lines, that which I had worked so hard to avoid. The ground was totally unsuitable for landing, so I ran into a whole heap of telegraph wires at over 100 miles an hour. I thought it would cut up their communications as well as smash up my machine for them. I don’t remember anything after charging those wires until I was picking myself up off the ground (a ploughed field) and finding a crowd of Germans around me. I could not see my machine at all; goodness knows where it had landed. One thing, though, I was sure of, and that was that it must be smashed to atoms. Then I fainted; when I came round again my arm was bandaged, and a German Captain, the Commandant of Menin, was near me – a very nice fellow he was, too.

He took me in his motor-car to his house, and gave me some wine and pears, which he peeled for me. From there he took me to a hospital, where my arm was dressed again. I was then taken in a staff motor-car along with a German officer, who could speak English very well, to another place, where I had tea with some other German officers, and also another RNAS pilot whom I knew at Cranwell and who had been taken prisoner the day before. About 6 o’clock I was put in a Red Cross ambulance along side a number of German wounded en route for a hospital in Coutrai. In four or five hours we arrived at the hospital, and before much longer I was in bed and fast asleep.

Truro College Magazine, April 1918


The Military Cross

2nd Lieutenant John Harold Wellington, East Yorks regt., attached K.O.Y.L.I., was informed on June 24th, 1917, that he had been awarded the above decoration for the following action:

On the 29th May, 1917, near Bullecourt, this officer showed great gallantry and courage. He took out a patrol at 11.30p.m. of 10 other ranks from the Sunken Road west of Bullecourt and reached the German wires. The patrol passed through the wire. When near the trench the enemy commenced to bomb the patrol and fire on them. One of the enemy made off up the trench, blowing a horn and shouting for assistance. Second Lieutenant Wellington led his patrol on and entered the trench, bombing the enemy at the same time and making them scatter. He endeavoured to follow them up, but owing to the wretched condition of the trench and the darkness he was unable to locate them. He then brought his patrol back from the trench to the Sunken Road in safety; both the outward and the inward journey being made under considerable shelling. Throughout the whole operations he showed great coolness and excellent leadership.

Truro College Magazine, July 1917