Percival Eric Gratwick VC
WX 10426 Private Percival Eric GRATWICK
2/48th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF
Night 25th-26th October 1942, at Miteiriya Ridge, Egypt
Percival Erie GRATWICK was born on 19th October, 1902 at Katanning (Western Australia). He is buried in the War Cemetery at El Alamein.
London Gazette: 28th January, 1943:"During the attack on Trig 29 at Miteiriya. Ridge on the night of 25th-26th October, 1942, the Company to which Private Gratwick belonged, met with severe opposition from strong enemy positions which delayed capture of the Company's objective and caused a considerable number of casualties. Private Gratwick's Platoon was directed at these strong positions but its advance was stopped by intense enemy fire at short range. Withering fire of all kinds killed the platoon commander, the platoon sergeant and many other ranks and reduced the total strength of the Platoon to seven. Private Gratwick grasped the seriousness of the situation and acting on his own initiative, with utter disregard for his own safety at a time when the remainder of the Platoon were pinned down, charged the nearest post and completely destroyed the enemy with hand grenades, killing amongst others a complete mortar crew. As soon as this task was completed, and again under heavy machine-gun fire, he charged the second post with rifle and bayonet. It was from this post that the heaviest fire had been directed. He inflicted further casualties, and was within striking distance of his objective, when he was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire. By his brave and determined action, which completely unnerved the enemy, and by his successful reduction of the enemy's strength, Private Gratwick's Company was able to move forward and mop up its objective. Private Gratwick's unselfish courage, his gallant and determined efforts against the heaviest opposition, changed a doubtful situation into the successful capture of his Company's final objective."
[Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial]