This page is dedicated to the memory of:
Stephen Thomas Illingsworth, DCM
2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
HONOURS AND AWARDS
MONDAY, 11th OCTOBER 1982
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the Posthumous award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the undermentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during the operations in the South Atlantic:
24579367 Private Stephen ILLINGSWORTH, The Parachute Regiment
In the early hours of 28th May 1982, the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment launched an attack on enemy positions in the area of the Darwin and Goose Green settlements on the Island of East Falkland. The enemy were thought to be entrenched in battalion strength. In the event, their numbers were far greater and fierce fighting ensued all day.
Private Illingsworth was a member of 5 Platoon, which was the depth platoon in B Company’s advance. At one point the advance came under heavy and accurate enemy fire, and OC B Company attacked the enemy position with his leading platoons, leaving 5 Platoon to provide covering fire. Dawn was growing stronger and it became clear that 5 Platoon was in fact exposed on a long forward slope without protection and very vulnerable to increasingly heavy enemy machine gun and rifle fire. Its position became untenable and it was ordered to withdraw back over the crest. It was during this manoeuvre that one of their number was hit in the back.
Private Illingsworth, who had already reached comparative safety himself, immediately rushed forward in full view and fire of the enemy, accompanied by another soldier, to help their wounded comrade. In an effort to locate the wound they removed his weapon and webbing equipment, and having administered First Aid, dragged the soldier back over the crest line, despite a hail of enemy fire which miraculously missed them. Once in a position of safety, Private Illingsworth continued to tend the injured man’s wounds.
The fire fight continued intensively, and 5 Platoon began to run short of ammunition. Remembering that he had left the webbing equipment with ammunition in it, lying on the exposed forward slope, Private Illingsworth decided to go forward alone to collect it. Disregarding the enemy fire, which was still extremely heavy he broke cover and advanced once again down the forward slope. As he did so he was killed.
In these two acts of supreme courage Private Illingsworth showed a complete disregard for his own safety, and a total dedication to others. Whilst his action in coming to the help of a wounded soldier may have been almost instinctive on seeing the plight of a comrade, his move forward to collect much need ammunition for his beleaguered platoon was a display of coolly-calculated courage and heroism of the very highest order.
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