The Wilcox Citation

There are few surviving accounts of 87th’s war in Tunisia. The Devons by Jeremy Taylor offers little beyond the content of the War Diary. What I can find, I will share.

The Wilcox citation came from the National Archives. It’s not a great copy, so I will transcribe what I think it says.

The Gazette entry for Wilcox’s medal award states his name was Ernest Wilcox.

5618762 Gunner Charles Wilcox

“Near Pichon at about 1500hrs on April 8th, 1943, Gunner Wilcox volunteered to assist in mopping up an enemy M.G (Machine Gun) post and a small pocket of enemy resistance, which were in the area where the anti-tank guns of his troop were to be sited. Under enemy small arms fire, Gunner Wilcox advanced, firing his L.M.G (Ed: Light Machine Gun – likely Bren) from the hip, showing great courage and lack of regard for his personal danger. As a result of the part Gunner Wilcox played, the M.G post was captured and several prisoners taken. Since 8th April, Gunner Wilcox has continually displayed the greatest keenness and willingness to undertake any task to be accomplished, regardless of his personal safety.”

“Awarded M.M (Ed: Military Medal).”

It appears to say “Previous Awards” but the text isn’t clear.

The war diary doesn’t record Wilcox’s Military Medal. The diary notes that at 1400 that day (8th April) Lt Meredith on recce “surprised an enemy MG post, capturing two prisoners and the machine gun, not to be outdone at 1430 Major Edmunds & DR(Driver?) killed 2 enemy, took one prisoner and another MG.”

8th April was the day of 87th’s first combat. Lt Kent was killed. According to Freddie Friend this was not a result of enemy action.


87th Anti-Tank Casualties

This post has been edited as it does not reflect the casualties of 7th Devons prior to the unit change to the anti-tank role. The number of wounded is currently unknown.


The unit history (contained in The Devons by Jeremy Taylor) lists the following personnel as having died in service with 87th Anti-Tank Regiment.

1137989 Gunner H.Farrington, 9th July 1942. Interred in United Kingdom. Cause of death currently unknown.

149244 Lieutenant J.A.C Kent, 8th April 1943. Interred in Tunisia.

4126455 Gunner H.Marsh, 24th April 1943. Interred in Tunisia.

149243 Lieutenant T.N Gray, 4th May 1943. Interred in Tunisia.

4127623 Gunner A.J Richardson, 4th May 1943. Interred in Tunisia.

4130883 Gunner A.T Jefferiss, 25th September 1943. Interred in United Kingdom. Cause of death currently unknown.

10 Platoon, C Coy, 7th Battalion, Devons, 1941

10 Platoon, C Coy, 7th Battalion, Royal Devonshire Regiment. Bulford Camp, 1941. (Photo from the collection of the late Mr Freddie Friend)

Back Row Left to Right.


4Th Row Left to Right.

R.Webber,W.Locke,R.Tyler,J.Bulley,R.Smerdon,B. Lorraine,D.Gunter,T. Elton.

3rd Row Left to Right.


2nd Row Left to Right.

Cpl. Elison,G.Walker,J.Mollholand, Henry ‘Harry’ Marsh,T.Merrifield,C. Merrifield,L.Febe(?),T.Tweedle.

Front Row Left to Right.

Cpl.Macmillan,Cpl.Newman,Sgt Friend,Lt.Gordon-Edmunds,Sergt.Ford,Cpl.Stainforth,Cpl.Leigh.