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Brunt, John Henry Cound

Date of birth:
December 6th, 1922 (Priest Weston/Shropshire, Great Britain)
Date of death:
December 10th, 1944 (Faenza, Italy)
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Cemetery Faenza
Plot: III. Row: A. Grave: 8.
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Captain Brunt was killed in action by mortar fire near Faenza on 10 December 1944.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Lieutenant
Unit:
The Sherwood Foresters, British Army
Awarded on:
February 24th, 1944
Action:
"In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy."
Details:
"Between December 1943 and January 1944, during the Bernhardt Line fighting, Brunt commanded a battle patrol and saw near-constant action. In the early hours of 15 December, they received orders to destroy an enemy post based in some houses 200 yards (180 m) north of the River Peccia. In efforts to break the enemy line, he crossed and re-crossed the river so many times that the troops took to calling it "Brunt's Brook". After an intense five-minute bombardment, Brunt led a section into an assault. The first two houses contained two enemy soldiers, but it was the third house that provided the most resistance. Using grenades and Tommy guns, they managed to kill eight enemy troops outside the house, as well as those inside, all belonging to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Hermann Goering Panzer Grenadier Regiment. After thirty minutes of intense fighting, the patrol withdrew, having had one man killed and six wounded. While the rest of the section pulled back, Brunt remained behind with his sergeant and a private to retrieve a wounded soldier."
Military Cross (MC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Temporary Captain
Unit:
The Sherwood Foresters, British Army
Awarded on:
February 8th, 1945
Victoria Cross (VC)
Action:
Citation:
"In Italy, on the 9th December, 1944, the Platoon commanded by Captain Brunt was holding a vital sector of the line.
At dawn the German 90 Panzer Grenadier Division counter-attacked the Battalion's forward positions in great strength with three Mark IV tanks and infantry. The house, around which the Platoon was dug in, was destroyed and the whole area was subjected to intense mortar fire. The situation then became critical, as the anti-tank defences had been destroyed and two Sherman tanks knocked out. Captain Brunt however, rallied his remaining men, and, moving to an alternative position, continued to hold the enemy infantry, although outnumbered by at least three to one. Personally firing a Bren gun, Captain Brunt killed about fourteen of the enemy. His wireless set was destroyed by shell-fire, but on receiving a message by runner to withdraw to a Company locality some 200 yards to his left and rear, he remained behind to give covering fire. When his Bren ammunition was exhausted, he fired a Piat and 2 in.Mortar, left by casualties, before he himself clashed over the open ground to the new position. This aggressive defence caused the enemy to pause, so Captain Brunt took a party back to his previous position, and although fiercely engaged toy small arms fire, carried away the wounded who had been left there.'
Later in the day, a further counter-attack was put in by the enemy on two axes. Captain Brunt immediately seized a spare Bren gun and, going round his forward positions, rallied his men. Then, leaping on a Sherman tank supporting the Company, he ordered the tank commander to drive from one fire position to another, whilst he sat, or stood, on the turret, directing Besa fire at the advancing enemy, regardless of the hail of small arms fire. Then, seeing small parties of the enemy, armed with bazookas, trying to approach round the left flank, he jumped off the tank and, taking a Bren gun, stalked these parties well in front of the Company positions, killing more and causing the enemy finally to withdraw in great haste leaving their dead behind them.
Wherever the fighting was heaviest, Captain Brunt was always to be found, moving from one post to another, encouraging the men and firing any weapon he found at any target he could see. The magnificent action fought by this Officer, his coolness, bravery, devotion to duty and complete disregard of his own personal safety under the most intense and concentrated fire was beyond praise. His personal example and individual action were responsible to a very great extent for the successful repulse of these fierce enemy counter-attacks.
The next day Captain Brant was killed by mortar fire."
Details:
On 18 December 1945, King George VI presented Brunt's VC and MC to his parents at Buckingham Palace.

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