Like many young men of his time, my dad served his country as a soldier in World War 2. Like most of the veterans of this conflict, he hardly spoke about his service, preferring to keep his experiences to himself. In modern parlance, what happened on the battlefield, stayed on the battlefield.
We did know that he had been decorated for his exploits in Italy during the Italian Campaign, but never imagined what I would find when I researched his military service record.
My dad was a hero.
In three seperate actions, fighting in a South African Regiment under the command of the US 5th Army, he performed acts of valour that resulted in his decoration.
In the first action he volunteered to be part of multiple fighting patrols to stop the retreating Germans laying mines and other booby-traps to halt the advancing Allied Troops.
In the second action, despite intense and withering enemy fire, he risked his life to rescue his commander from where he fell, wounded, on the battlefield
In the third action, he singlehandedly destroyed a pocket of 10 enemy soldiers who posed a threat to his comrades.
He was cited for valour, but died in 1988, never having received the medal or recognition that he deserved.
In February 2012 I held in my hands a United States Bronze Star for valour, awarded posthumously to my dad for these deeds.
For 66 years his heroism was unsung. It will now be made known through my writing.