An exceptional Northern Ireland D.C.M., B.E.M. group of four awarded to Staff Sergeant Michael Rattigan, The Royal Green Jackets
Distinguished Conduct Medal, E.II.R., 2nd issue (23738257 A/Cpl., R.G.J.); British Empire Medal (Military) E.II.R. (23738257 S.Sgt., D.C.M., R.G.J.); General Service 1962, 1 clasp, Northern Ireland (23738257 Cpl., R.G.J.); Sultanate of Oman, 10th Anniversary Medal, the group mounted court style as worn and sold with two original letters of congratulation on the award of the D.C.M., and a photograph of the recipient, extremely fine and rare (4)
D.C.M. London Gazette 24 July, 1973.
“On the afternoon of 28 August 1972 LCpl RATTIGAN was a member of a foot patrol in the BEECHMOUNT area of BELFAST. Beechmount Avenue is notoriously dangerous as it gives gunmen and snipers long fields of fire and easy escape routes. At 1530 hours the patrol reached Beechmount Avenue and split up; one section moved on across the Avenue and up Beechmount Grove; the other carried on along the Avenue prior to taking up a parallel route up Beechmount Pass.
At this stage LCpl RATTIGAN’s Section Commander stopped and searched a passer by. He was about to release him when six high velocity shots were fired at the patrol from the western end of Beechmount Avenue. The patrol returned fire and, under the direction of the Platoon Commander began to manoeuvre out of their extremely exposed position on the Avenue and into the building site. The Section Commander had been fatally wounded in this first burst of fire. As soon as he realised this, and saw that the Section Commander was being given such medical assistance as was possible, LCpl RATTIGAN immediately took over command of the section, nominated a Rifleman as his second in command, and supervised the move to better fire positions. In order to locate the gunmen and to improve individual fire positions LCpl RATTIGAN exposed himself to fire several times. He acted decisively and with considerable courage throughout this incident and commanded his section with skill in the ensuing hot pursuit.
Later that same day, at 2230 hrs, he was on patrol in Locan Street. Two gunmen were seen at the top of St. Mary’s Practising Primary School. Under his direction the section sniper fired two shots at the gunmen. Eight shots were immediately returned. Throughout the gun battle which followed LCpl RATTIGAN kept a very firm grip on his section and gave excellent fire control orders.
On the afternoon of 22 October LCpl RATTIGAN (by now promoted to Cpl) was on a mobile patrol on the Springfield Road when he noticed three men standing by a bus stop. He thought there was something suspicious about them and decided to investigate. The first man he searched, a Protestant, was found to be carrying a loaded Luger pistol with a round up the breach. One of the other men was a Catholic. These men were subsequently screened and the Protestant duly charged. It seems likely that he was the gunman of an assassination squad and the Catholic was his intended victim who owes his life to Cpl RATTIGAN’s alertness.
These three incidents typify Cpl RATTIGAN’s success as a section commander. But in addition to specific acts of leadership in difficult and dangerous situations Cpl RATTIGAN was first class in his dealings with the local population. As a result he was held in very high regard as a tough, able but also reasonable and courteous NCO by both the Catholic and Protestant communities in his platoon and section area on the Lower Woodvale interface.
Cpl RATTIGAN’s all round performance throughout the four month operational tour in BELFAST has been outstanding.”
B.E.M. (Military) London Gazette 31 December, 1985, for services in training the Sultan of Oman’s Land Forces.
Sixteen D.C.M.’s were awarded for service in Northern Ireland in the period 1972-92.