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George Fawcett WW2 hero from roscrea

History > History 4

A Roscrea War Hero.      By Joe Coughlan
 In 1942 in the Middle East during World War 2 Second Lieutenant George Edward Pincent Fawcett from Roscrea was awarded the Military Cross for outstanding bravery.
   The Fawcett family were a prominent family in Roscrea during the 19th and early 20th century but the name seems to have disappeared from the area since the mid-1900s.  In 1823 they owned four businesses on Main St namely Wine and Spirit merchants, Haberdashery, Linen Drapers and Grocers. By 1889 they were also farmers in Monte Video. And in the 1901 census Aileen, Eliza and George Fawcett were living in Clybanane.
   In 1941 General Rommel attacked hard into Cyrenaica Libya and in the desperate fighting that took place at this time there were many acts of gallantry. Among them was Second Lieutenant Fawcett who was commanding a troop of Bofors (artillery guns) of 170th Battery, 57th LAA (Light Anti -Aircraft) who was providing anti-aircraft defence for a field gun near Carmusa. On January 31st 1942 they were assisting the withdrawal of the Eight Army from the area. However the position came under attack from enemy forces with a strong column of army and infantry sweeping down on them. Fawcett and his men appeared to be in a dire predicament but he proved to be a soldier of outstanding quality who kept his cool in spite of the confusion of the battle that was going on around him. One witness described what happened.
  “The gun in which he positioned himself was subjected to heavy fire from an anti-tank gun, but due to Fawcett’s determination and cheerful encouragement the gun continued to bring fire to bear on the enemy. This gun alone fought a rear-guard action which delayed the enemy infantry and caused them to call up their anti-tank gun. The delay though of a short duration enabled the rest of the field battery and other vehicles to get clear, Second Lieutenant Fawcett himself took the most exposed duty at the gun.”
 Eventually the gun was hit by enemy fire and knocked out of action. To prevent his gun falling into enemy hands in tact Fawcett ordered his men to escape and then proceeded to disable the gun. Under heavy machine gun fire he took the breech out of the gun and buried it some distance away. He then managed to slip through the enemy lines and trudge 80 miles to safety along with three Indian soldiers who he met also trying to escape.
Throughout this action Second-Lieutenant Fawcett showed great resourcefulness and devotion to duty, and due to his inspiring courage and determination undoubted saved the greater part of his troop from capture. For this he was awarded the Military Cross.

Below is his Military record.
Name Fawcett, George Edward Pinsent
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Service No: 155220
Regiment: 170 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery Royal Artillery, 57 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery
Theatre of Combat or Operation: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)
Award: Military Cross
Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 23 April 1942
Date 1942
Catalogue reference WO 373/19

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