Personal info

  • Name: Richard Henry BURTON
  • D.O.B: 29th Jan, 1923
  • D.O.A: 8th Oct, 1944
  • D.O.D: 11th Jul, 1993
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding), 1st Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 3
View On Interactive Map

Sources & Acknowledgements

Province of Rovigo, Italy 29 August-20 December 1944

29 August-20 December 1944

More details about:
The Second World War 1944 

After the loss of Central Italy, the Germans had withdrawn to the Gothic (or Green) Line. In the east this reached the Adriatic coast at Pesaro. The British 8th Army launched its attack on the eastern section of the line on 25 August 1944. The Germans resisted strongly and did not evacuate Rimini until 21 September. By late December the Allies had captured Ravenna and reached Porto Corsini on the coast, south of Lake Comacchio. They still had to advance into Lombardy-Venetia. After rescuing Mussolini from imprisonment the Germans had installed him as leader of the Italian Social Republic (the Salo Republic). With his Fascist Party, he was in nominal charge of all territory under German control. Ariano nel Polesine, where Sergeant A Banks was imprisoned, is south of the main channel of the Po, just west of the delta where the river flows into the Adriatic.


 In Italy on 8th October, 1944, two Companies of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment moved forward to take a strongly held feature 760 metres high. The capture of this feature was vital at this stage of the operation as it dominated all the ground on the main axis of advance. The assaulting troops made good progress to within twenty yards of the crest when they came under withering fire from Spandaus on the crest. The leading platoon was held up and the Platoon Commander was wounded. The Company Commander took another platoon, of which Private Burton was a runner, through to assault the crest from which four Spandaus at least were firing. Private Burton rushed forward and, engaging the first Spandau position with his Tommy gun, killed the crew of three. When the assault was again held up by murderous fire from two more machine guns Private Burton, again showing complete disregard for his own safety, dashed forward toward the first machine gun using his Tommy gun until his ammunition was exhausted. He then picked up a Bren gun and firing from the hip succeeded in killing or wounding the crews of the two machine guns. Thanks to his outstanding courage the Company was then able to consolidate on the forward slope of the feature. The enemy immediately counter-attacked fiercely but Private Burton, in spite of most of his comrades being either dead or wounded, once again dashed forward on his own initiative and directed such accurate fire with his Bren gun on the enemy that they retired leaving the feature firmly in our hands. The enemy later counter-attacked again on the adjoining platoon position and Private Burton, who had placed himself on the flank, brought such accurate fire to bear that this counter-attack also failed to dislodge the Company from its position. Private Burton’s magnificent gallantry and total disregard of his own safety during many hours of fierce fighting in mud and continuous rain were an inspiration to all his comrades. 

(Supplement to The London Gazette of 2 January1945. 4 January1945, Numb. 36876, p. 207)

Copyright © 2023 VC and GC Association. All Rights Reserved. Created by Glide.Design