Personal info

  • Name: Reginald Roy RATTEY
  • D.O.B: 28th Mar, 1918
  • D.O.A: 22nd Mar, 1945
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Corporal
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 3
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Near Tokinotu, Bougainville, Solomon Islands

22 March 1945

More details about:
The Second World War 1945 

The Japanese had a large military base at Buin in the south of Bougainville, Solomon Islands. In March 1945 the Australians began to advance south towards it. The 25th Battalion crossed the Puriata River, north-west of Tokinotu on 4 March but their way was barred by strong Japanese defences. They launched a series of attacks against these including that on 22 March. The Japanese mounted a ferocious counter-attack at Slater’s Knoll on the Puriata River between 28 March and 6 April 1945 but were driven off.


 In the South West Pacific, on 22nd March, 1945, a Company of an Australian Infantry Battalion was ordered to capture a strongly held enemy position astride Buin Road, South Bougainville. The attack was met by extremely heavy fire from advanced enemy bunkers, slit trenches and fox holes sited on strong ground, and all forward movement was stopped with casualties mounting rapidly among our troops. Corporal Rattey quickly appreciated that the serious situation delaying the advance could only be averted by silencing enemy fire from automatic weapons in bunkers, which dominated all lines of approach by our troops. He calculated that a forward move by his section would be halted by fire with heavy casualties and he determined that a bold rush by himself alone would surprise the enemy and offered the best chance for success. With amazing courage he rushed forward firing his Bren gun from the hip into the openings under the head cover of three forward bunkers. This completely neutralized enemy fire from these positions. On gaining the nearest bunker he hurled a grenade among the garrison, which completely silenced further enemy aggressive action. Corporal Rattey was now without grenades but without hesitation he raced back to his section under extremely heavy fire and obtained two grenades with which he again rushed the remaining bunkers and effectively silenced all opposition by killing seven of the enemy garrison. This led to the flight of the remaining enemy troops, which enabled his Company to continue its advance. A little later the advance of his Company was again held up by a heavy machine gun, firing across the front. Without hesitation Corporal Rattey rushed the gun and silenced it with fire from his Bren gun used from his hip. When one had been killed and another wounded, the remainder of the enemy gun crew broke and fled. The machine gun and 2,000 rounds of ammunition were captured and the Company again continued its advance and gained its objective, which was consolidated. The serious situation was turned into a brilliant success, entirely by the courage, cool planning and stern determination of Corporal Rattey. His bravery was an incentive to the entire Company, who fought with inspiration derived from the gallantry of Corporal Rattey, despite the stubborn opposition to which they were subjected. 

(Supplement to The London Gazette of 24 July 1945. 26 July 1945, Numb. 37194, p. 3857)

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