Quentin George Murray Smythe VC

Name: Quentin George Murray Smythe

Conflict: Second World War

Gazetted: September 11, 1942

Service: South African Forces

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Quentin George Murray Smythe VC
Quentin George Murray Smythe Medals
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Place/date of birth: Natal, South Africa/August 6, 1916

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Sergeant (later Captain)

Date of bravery: June 5, 1942

London Gazette citation:

No. 4458 Sergeant Quentin George Murray Smythe, South African Forces.

For conspicuous gallantry in action in the Alem Hamza area on the 5th June, 1942.

During the attack on an enemy strong point in which his officer was severely wounded, Sergeant Smythe took command of the platoon although suffering from a shrapnel wound in the forehead. The strong point having been overrun, our troops came under enfilade fire from an enemy machine-gun nest. Realising the threat to his position, Sergeant Smythe himself stalked and destroyed the nest with hand grenades, capturing the crew. Though weak through loss of blood, he continued to lead the advance, and on encountering and anti-tank gun position again attacked it single-handed and captured the crew. He was directly responsible for killing several of the enemy, shooting some and bayonetting another as they withdrew.

After consolidation he received orders for a withdrawal, which he successfully executed, defeating skilfully an enemy attempt at encirclement.

Throughout the engagement Sergeant Smythe displayed remarkable disregard for danger, and his leadership and courage were an inspiration to his men.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death: Durban, South Africa/October 22, 1997

Grave/memorials: Durban Crematorium, South Africa

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 1999

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum