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OBITUARIES The Regiment extends sincere condolences to the families of all those named below:


company in the hard contested campaign up Italy and into the assault on the Gothic Line in the North. It was during the Battalion’s final attack on the village of San Savino and shortly before it was disbanded that the then Temporary Major Becke won the DSO, the citation for which read:


BECKE William Hugh Adamson DSO CMG Lt Col


Of Victoria, Australia, on 3 April 2009 aged 92. Bill was commissioned into The Sherwood Foresters from RMC Sandhurst in 1937 and joined the 2nd Battalion in Guernsey. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion as Signals Officer stationed first in Cyprus and then in Egypt. In May 1942, a month before the battalion was taken into German captivity on the fall of Tobruk, he was posted to the Middle East OCTU for six months before joining the 14th Battalion in January 1943, first as a Company 2ic and then as a Company Commander. During his tour with the Battalion, he served in Iraq, Syria and Algeria before landing at Anzio in February 1944. Following the breakout, having survived the bitter fighting of the Beachhead, he commanded a rifle


“On the night of 5/6th September 1944, during an attack on San Savino, Italy, Major Becke was leading his Company in advance from the Cemetery to the Church under considerable enemy fire. On reaching the Church, he sent a section commanded by Lt B A Hardy to enter some houses behind it whilst he, armed with a Thompson Sub-Machine Carbine, entered the Church by the main door. He was wounded in the head by a grenade thrown from within the building by one of the enemy who numbered approximately 50. He left the Church to re-load and then re-entered killing at least four enemy and receiving further wounds in the shoulder and arm. He left the Church again and went to the aid of a section under command of Lt J B Livesey who had entered the houses at the rear of the Church and was being machine-gunned. He silenced the machine gun and, in so doing, was again wounded in the leg. But for Major Becke’s prompt action, the section would certainly have sustained several casualties. Having silenced the machine gun, Major Becke went to a window at the back of the Church where he fired his TSMG through the window to cover a further assault on the main door by Lt Livesey who was killed. Major Becke then collapsed but continued to give orders for the capture and evacuation of enemy prisoners and directed the movements of the Company until Capt G T Hart, the Company second in command, came up to take over. This officer was an inspiration not only to his own Company but also to other troops in the vicinity. His actions were directly


responsible for the capture of the Church and its occupants, some 50 Germans including a Battalion Commander and his staff. During the action round the Church the commanders of both leading platoons were killed, Major Becke had, therefore, to control both these platoons as well as lead his own personal assault on the Church. In the course of his action, Major Becke was wounded on three different occasions and sustained a total of four wounds but he refused to be evacuated until his Company had secured the Church and he was able to hand over to his second in Command.”


At the end of the war, he rejoined the 1st Battalion before attending Staff College after which there followed a series of staff and regimental appointments which took him to Greece, Pakistan and BAOR. In 1962, he was Military Attaché to the British Embassy in Djakarta, Indonesia, when the Embassy was attacked and burnt during the September riots. He, with the then Major Rory Walker a former Sherwood Forester playing the bagpipes, strode up and down in front of the Embassy and faced the rioters down. He was awarded the CMG in the 1964 New Year’s Honours list. He retired from the Army in 1966 following a final tour in MOD (PR). In 1969, he took up the appointment of Private Secretary and Comptroller to the Governor of Victoria, Australia until 1974 when he became the Personnel Officer of the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria until retirement in 1982. A fellow officer in the 14th Battalion said that Bill “Beckey” Becke was perhaps the most modest man he knew and certainly the coolest under fire. His father, Brigadier General J H W Becke CMG DSO AFC, was also a Sherwood Forester serving with the 1st Battalion from 1899 until 1912 when he was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps transferring to the RAF in 1918 for two years.


WALKER Roderick Muir Bamford “Rory” OBE MC Brig


Of Dunning, Perthshire, on 17 October 2008 aged 76. He was commissioned from RMA Sandhurst into The Sherwood Foresters in February 1952 and joined the 1st Battalion; shortly afterwards, he moved to the 2nd Battalion on its formation. He then transferred to The Intelligence Corps before joining 22 SAS as a Troop Commander. He was awarded the MC for his actions in an operation against rebels in the Oman in 1958 which was


considered daunting even by SAS standards. In 1963, he was Assistant Military Attaché at the British Embassy in Djakarta, Indonesia during the September riots which led to the storming and burning of the Embassy. He played the bagpipes to deter the rioters and later guarded the Embassy strong room with Lt Col Bill Becke. He went on to command 23 SAS (V) and was awarded the OBE. Subsequently, he returned to Intelligence work and, following promotion to Brigadier, his last appointment was as Deputy Commander District HQ.


The Mercian Eagle


October 2009 113


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