Tirrell, Thomas Joseph "Jack"
- Date of birth:
- October 1909
- Date of death:
- January 1995
- Service number:
- British (1801-present, Kingdom)
? Warrant Officer Class II
28 March, 1941: 2nd Lieutenant
? Captain (war sub)
11 December, 1945: Lieutenant
12 December, 1945: Captain
6 October, 1946: Major
31 December, 1952: Lieutenant-Colonel
6 October, 1957: placed on the retired list
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- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Warrent Officer 2nd Class
- Royal Artillery
- Awarded on:
- August 27th, 1940
"Battery Sergeant-Major T. J. Tirrell did outstanding work as G.P.O. [Gun Position Officer] of ‘L’ Troop throughout the three weeks. He showed great courage on the Mont des Cats on 29 May, continuing to control the fire of the gun under heavy and accurate fire. After all the detachment had been wounded, he went on the gun himself and continued to fire."
"On 2 June 42 at El Tamar, his Battery was attacked by 80 German tanks. When the nearest two enemy tanks were within 400 yards of the Battery, the order was given to withdraw. The Battery was at that time under heavy and close range fire of all arms. Captain Tirrell interposed his own tank successively between the enemy and each gun in order to allow each gun to limber up under cover. In this way all guns remaining in action were successfully withdrawn. Had Captain Tirrell's tank been hit he and his crew would have stood very little chance of getting away. Captain Tirrell's gallant action undoubtedly saved the guns from being overrun by the enemy. Throughout the fighting of this last six months Captain Tirrell has consistently acted with similar gallantry. At the Observation Post he has inflicted very heavy damage to enemy material and personnel. His conduct has been an inspiration not only to his own Battery but to the armed Regiments with whom he has been co-operating."
"Captain Tirrell has been a Troop Commander throughout recent operations. His work at the Observation Post has been most outstanding, resulting in the knocking out of at least twelve enemy anti-tank guns, including five 88.mm. D.P. [Dual Purpose] guns, the silencing of three enemy batteries, and the capture intact of one Battery of guns. By his quick eye and decision, by his rapid and correct application of fire, and by his leadership and example, Captain Tirrell not only contributed very materially to the defeat of the enemy, but has also on several occasions saved the Armoured Regiment with which he was working from serious casualties. In addition to this, on the morning of 24 October, when owing to heavy enemy anti-tank and M.G. fire it became necessary to withdraw through a narrow gap in the enemy minefield, Captain Tirrell made two trips through the mines with his tank, carrying wounded to safety. On one of these trips above, 18 badly wounded men were saved, both from the Armoured Regiment and from his own Battery.
On 2 November 1942, a tank of the light Squadron was disabled by anti-tank fire. Captain Tirrell took his own tank in, using ground with the utmost skill, picked up the Officer from the disabled tank and carried him to safety. At the same time Captain Tirrell was able to locate the gun which had caused the damage, and later neutralise it. On the same day he neutralised two 88 mm. D.P. [Dual Purpose] guns, one 50 mm. anti-tank gun and one H.B. [Hostile Battery], in addition to assisting in the capture of a second H.B. and causing heavy casualties to the enemy by well directed harassing fire. It was due to his fine work on this day that it was possible to reach Tel Ed Aqqajir next morning. At Fuka Captain Tirrell silenced two enemy Batteries which had come into action in the open. By doing so, he enabled our forces to take Fuka escarpment almost without loss. Captain Tirrell's work has been beyond all praise, and has very materially contributed to the present victory."
Bar to the Military Cross.
"During the night 17-18 January 1945, Major Tirrell, commanding ‘D’ Battery R.H.A., was in close support of the 1/5 Battalion, Queen’s for their attack on Susteren. To get to their start line the Battalion had to cross the half-completed bridges between Bakenhoven and Dieteren. A heavy enemy counter-attack developed in the bridge area at this time, holding up the advance of 1/5 Queens. Major Tirrell moved up under heavy small arms and mortar fire and positioned himself in the immediate vicinity of the bridge. He then gave orders to bring down the fire of the Regiment on to the leading enemy infantry, who were by this time within 200 yards of his vehicle. He continued to direct the fire from his vehicle and so successful was this that the enemy counter-attack was broken up with very heavy casualties and the 1/5 Queens were able to continue their advance.
While on the start line for their attack on Susteren the infantry were being fired upon at short range by an S.P. [Self-Propelled] gun. Major Tirrell moved forward to a position where he could observe this gun and despite casualties around him continued to observe and bring down fire until the gun was silenced. He also arranged and controlled a most successful fire-plan for the attack on Susteren.
The attack by the 1/5 Queens on Susteren was successful, but soon after first-light a strong enemy counter-attack of battalion strength, supported by tanks and S.P. guns developed against the part of the town already held by the Queens. Our own tanks had not then been able to cross the last obstacle. Though he was in a forward and exposed position, and under constant mortar and small arms fire, Major Tirrell continued throughout a period of more than an hour to bring down the fire of the supporting artillery group with such accuracy and effect that the counter-attack was held in check and finally driven back.
Throughout this long and difficult operation Major Tirrell showed great coolness and personal bravery. His determination always to be where he could best control the supporting fire undoubtedly played a major part in the success of the various phases. Major Tirrell's magnificent example was a great inspiration to all ranks and will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it."
Second bar to the Military Cross