Lot Archive


№ 735


19 April 1995

Hammer Price:

An exceptional ‘Vaagso’ D.C.M. group of seven awarded to Corporal E. G. “Knocker” White, 3 Commando and Royal West Kent Regiment
Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V1.R. (6341647 Cpl., R.W.Kent R.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; France & Germany Star; Defence and War Medals, the first somewhat polished and with edge bruises and contact marks, better than good fine (7)

D.C.M. London Gazette 3 April, 1942 - For gallant and distinguished services in successful combined operations against the enemy at Vaagso and Maaloy.
‘Throughout the operations at Vaagso in South Norway on 27th December 1941, Cpl White displayed leadership of a very high order coupled with a remarkable spirit. When his Troop Commander had been shot, the other officers in his troop put out of action and the Troop Sgt.-Major delayed, Cpl White took command of the remnants of the troop. He carried out a series of assaults and proceeded in destroying a hotel which was manned as a strong point and continued in charge until the end of the operation. He personally accounted for some fourteen of the enemy. His gallantry and leadership were of a high order, and had a direct bearing on the allotted tasks being carried out, within the time limit which had been laid down.’
Corporal Ernest George White is mentioned in several printed sources, not only for his actions at Vaagso, but also in Italy where 3 Commando held the bridge at Ponte dei Malati, renamed, by order of Montgomery, “No. 3 Commando Bridge”:-
‘Napoleon once remarked that every soldier carries a Field-Marshal’s baton in his knapsack. Now as 4 Troop lay stunned and leaderless the baton from an unlikely knapsack indeed : Corporal “Knocker” White, one of those soldiers who give their superior officers ulcers in peacetime but are a joy to command in action when the enemy is at hand, watched the attack lose its momentum and gradually peter out as the officers fell before the German positions. Not even a sergeant was left on his feet within White’s vision and the hated Germans seemed to be getting the best of the encounter. Taking a deep breath, White stood up and began giving orders - tentatively at first, then with growing assurance as he saw them obeyed. The transformation was amazing; the surviving members of 4 Troop reloaded their weapons, grouped around White, and then went at the Germans with renewed fury. At this critical moment Sergeant Ramsey appeared with the 1 Troop mortar detachment and lobbed ten rounds through the roof of the hotel. White and his men, accompanied by two vengeful Kompani Linge who had seen their Captain die, threw a shower of grenades into exposed doors and windows and charged. 4 Troop’s attack overran the blazing building at last.’
‘White, who had won the D.C.M. at Vaagso, was by this time T.S.M. of 4 Troop. He had seized the Italian Headquarters near the beach. This was a very heavily defended building held by a dozen or so of our people, and about a dozen wounded, and an M.M.G. Section of the Parachute Regiment.’ (Ref “Storm from the Sea” by Brig-Gen. Peter Young).
Only two D.C.M.’s awarded for the Commando operations against Vaagso and Maaloy.