Malvern College Second World War Casualty

Capt. John Norfolk Rostron D.S.O.

House and time at Malvern: 5, 1933 - 1938.

Regiment: Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Died: 22 April 1944 aged in Burma. Killed in action.
Battle: Burma Campaign 1942–1945. Cemetery: Rangoon Memorial Face 9.

Son of N. W. R., Sedgwick, 126 Fog Lane, Didsbury, Manchester
Hist. VI. School Prefect
Styring School. (Hist.)
Queen's College, Oxford.
1st Bn. Royal Welch Fusiliers
Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in Burma. Killed in action, May, 1944.

'Donbaik, Burma. 18th March 1943.
14 Pl. ‘C’ Coy. Under comd. of Lt Rostron, was ordered to attack an enemy strong point, S 16.
Lt Rostron reached his objective, suffering heavy casualties in his advance, only five of his Pl. arriving on the objective with him, the remainder having fallen to heavy mortar and machine gun fire.
The objective itself was found to be unoccupied by the enemy and Lt Rostron pushed further on toward his Coy. objective. When continuous enemy mortar and M.G. fire made further advance impossible, he commenced to dig in. During the whole of the day his position was subjected to frequent mortaring and M.G. fire. Enemy snipers killed two of his party.
Toward the end of the day, Lt. Rostron succeeded in contacting elements of D Coy. who had reached their objective, M 16. Lt Rostron took command of this party, and though isolated by enemy fire from any source of reinforcements, continued to hold his position throughout the remainder of the day until 0430 hrs, on 19th March, when he was ordered by loudspeaker to withdraw.
Lt Rostron then organised the withdrawal of the whole party, including several wounded and making his way round an enemy M.G. post eventually reached our lines.
Throughout the day and night this officer had set a magnificent example of leadership and devotion to duty.'
(Awarded D.S.O. – London Gazette 1-6-43)
DSO Citation WO-373_30_1

Speaking after the War, Field Marshal Sir William Slim said of this last attack on Donbaik:¬“It was a battle which should never have been fought, It is a hard thing to say but it is so .... The last and final assault.... were led by the Royal Welch Fusiliers and on that day they showed valour which I think has rarely been surpassed. They stormed the position, they took it and were on top of those bunkers but they could not get inside them. They stood there until, I am afraid, most of them had been knocked out by the machine guns and artillery. As a place of sheer courage, I do not think it has ever been surpassed…”
Battle of Donbaik at burmastar

The following is an extract form the unit war diary a year later in April 1944:
Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 22 Apr 1944 – 1100hrs. Earlier this morning D Company, led by Capt John Rostron DSO were ordered to move forward and take up a position on the ridge line at Gr 471667. They are now under enemy fire. 2 x enemy reported killed.
1130hrs. Capt John Rostron DSO killed by sniper.
RWF forum

Tweet