Harley (Cheese), Ronald Victor

Date of birth:
August 2nd, 1919
Date of death:
August 19th, 2010 (Devon, United Kingsom)
Service number:
243086
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Major Ronald Cheese (changed into Harley after the war) served as officer in the Royal Sussex Regiment and also fought in Malaya.

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Rank:
Captain
Unit:
No. 3 Central Ammunition Sub-Depot, The Royal Sussex Regiment, Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Awarded on:
July 31st, 1951
Action:
Captain Ronald Victor Harley (243086), The Royal Sussex Regiment. On the 21st February, 1951, No. 243086, Captain R. V. Harley, Royal Sussex Regiment, attached Royal Army Ordnance Corps, was on duty at No. 3 Central Ammunition Sub-Depot, Hampstead Norris (Bramley), supervising the receipt of ammunition. He was in the sorting shed when a round of 25 Pdr. Ammunition exploded and injured six soldiers of the Royal Pioneer Corps, one of whom died later. The blast was so violent that it blew other shell to pieces, reduced many more to a very dangerous condition, started a fire, and blanketed the area with smoke.

Captain Harley immediately ordered all men out of the building, leaving it himself only when he could see no more personnel. He re-entered the building almost immediately to find some injured men running out. Without hesitation he went right up to the scene of the explosion which was still enveloped in smoke, and saw flames. He ordered a soldier who was at his side (No. 14441727) Pte. McGarrigle, Royal Pioneer Corps, to fetch fire appliances, and himself went further into the smoke where he found a badly injured soldier staggering about. By this time another helper had arrived and Captain Harley, after seeing that the injured soldier was being evacuated, ran to the office next door to call the ambulance and fire brigade. Next he saw that all the casualties were being attended to, and ordered the most serious cases to be taken to hospital straight away in a unit vehicle. Then he again went to the scene of the explosion to check up that the fire was out and that there were no further casualties, and finally ordered a roll call to see that all his personnel had been accounted for.

Captain Harley, owing to his proximity to the explosion suffered considerably from its effects; he had seen the wounded men and heard their screams, and was fully aware of the possibility of further detonations taking place. In spite of this he showed bearing and leadership of the very highest order, and undoubtedly his exemplary behaviour affected the discipline of the men under his command in their efforts to extinguish the fire and succour the casualties under very hazardous circumstances.
George Medal

Sources