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Town hero has his name added to war memorial

Cambridgeshire Times
15 October 2004

THE name of a March war hero is to be added to the town's war memorial, almost 60 years after he died of injuries sustained

fighting the Japanese in Burma.

Percy Partridge had won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry in action only a few weeks previously.

His name is commemorated on the war memorial inside Peterborough Cathedral, but not on the memorial in his home town. Fenland District Council is now about to remedy that oversight.

Percy Partridge, born at March in 1909, enlisted aged 19 into the Royal Norfolk Regiment and in 1940 was one of the 338,000 troops evacuated from the Dunkirk beaches.

Records show he also served in India from 1929 to 1936, in Palestine in 1936 and in India and Burma from 1942 to 1945. He was promoted to lance corporal in May 1941 and became a company sergeant major in 1944.

In February 1945, during the 2nd Battalion's assault on the village of Saye, his company ran into a strongly entrenched machine gun post. An individual attempt by CSM Partridge to cross the ridge failed because his Sten gun jammed. But he went back and signalled to two tanks to cover him in his second attempt. When they were in position he charged again with rifle and bayonet, killing the Japanese in their foxholes.

Fifty-four Japanese were killed. CSM Partridge's battalion's casualties were in single figures.

For his gallantry he was recommended for the award of the military medal, but his divisional commander upgraded it to the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Less than two months later, CSM Partridge was again in action in Burma, and was wounded during hand-to-hand fighting with the Japanese. He died next day and is buried in Taukkan War Cemetery, Burma.

In July this year, his only son, Norman Partridge, applied to Fenland District Council for his father's name to be added to the March town memorial. After research, led by Brian Krill, field officer for the friends of War Memorials, the council has confirmed that, subject to listed building consent being granted, the words 'Partridge P A DCM' will be added to the memorial.

This item is reproduced by kind permission of the Editor of the Cambridgeshire Times.

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