2718820 Desmond Thomas Lee LYNCH, MBE, DCM, 1 Irish Guards

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Aug 16, 2011.

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    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name Lynch, Desmond
    Rank: Serjeant
    Service No: 2718820
    Regiment: 1 Battalion Irish Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia)
    Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 08 July 1943
    Date 1943
    Catalogue reference WO 373/1

    LG - Viewing Page 3088 of Issue 36083

    24th Guards Brigade, 1st British Division, 5th Corps
    2718820 Serjeant Desmond LYNCH, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS


    Attack on Pt 212 & 214 April 27th - May 1st.

    The 1st Bn Irish Guards were right hand Battalion in a Brigade attack on April 27. No. 4 Company, in which Sergeant LYNCH is a Platoon Sergeant, was leading with its objective Pt 212 & 214. The company came under very heavy fire at the start line and had considerable casualties inflicted on it. The company commander and 2 platoon commanders were wounded or killed and the C.S.M. killed. Sgt. LYNCH looked after his wounded Platoon commander and then took charge of the company or what was left of it.

    When the advance continued he organised his company and assaulted and gained his objective. Throughout the period of 28th - 30th when the force was being continually attacked he remained in command of No. 4 company, except for a brief period when Captain ISMAY was there. He was throughout an outstanding figure and his smart soldierly appearance under the most difficult circumstances created an impression amongst the men equalled only by his constant calm and bravery. No. 4 Company held the West of the ridge forward towards Pt 214 and was continually under shell and mortar fire even when infantry attacks were not in progress. That the men never wavered under the fire was largely due to his example and in particular to his prompt action at the beginning.

    At 1100 hrs Wednesday 28th, enemy 88 mm guns opened up on the West of the ridge with a violence that was as unexpected as its effects were unpleasant. Casualties were caused and some of the men badly shaken. Sergeant LYNCH was at the time at Force H.Q. without hesitation he ran up through the heavy fire to his coy, held the men steady in their positions, moved a Bren gun forward, at great personal risk to meet the first infantry assault and gave the first fire order. The initial success gained by this Sergeant in beating back the first German assault raised morale to the highest possible peak by proving conclusively by his own example that the fiercest fire could be endured and a determined attack broken by small arms fire. This Sergeant consistently showed the greatest devotion to duty and even when half blinded by blast on Friday 30th, the continued to command and encourage his rapidly dwindling coy. I strongly recommend this Sergeant for gallantry and good example.

    STRONGLY RECOMMENDED

    C.A. Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding 1st Battalion Irish Guards


    From PoW Questionnaire:
    Escaped 18/4/45 from Luckenwalde. Reached a place called Dueben near the River Elbe. Captured by Volksturm and handed over to the S.S. I was hit. C.S.M. T. Unwin, Leicestershire Reg., escaped with me.


    From The Guards and Caterham:
    An Irish Example
    The reputation of Captain Desmond Lynch, DCM, was earned in the ranks and as an RSM who got the best out of his men by setting a startling example in all aspects of soldiering, particularly courage.

    An officer who served with him in the Irish Guards during WW2 recalled: ‘He had a reputation for ferocity which was unequalled in the Micks. All I can say is, than God Lynch was on our side.’

    He won the Distinguished Conduct Medal in April, 1943, in North Africa. He was platoon sergeant in the leading company during an attack which sustained considerable casualties. His company commander and two platoon sergeants were killed or wounded, and the company sergeant-major killed. After laying his wounded platoon officer in a slit trench, Lynch saluted and requested: ‘leave to carry on, sir,’ then took charge of what was left of the company. Under his command, its remnants attacked and gained its objective. His small force was continually attacked for three days and dwindled further. But Lynch, who was half-blinded by blast, moved a Bren gun to an advanced position to anticipate and beat bak the main German infantry attack which followed.

    The son of a soldier, Desmond Lynch was born in Dublin, joined the Irish Guards in 1937 at Caterham an saw service in Egypt and Palestine in the following year. After a spell as instructor at the Royal Military College of Science, he returned to the Guards and rapidly gained promotion. At 6ft 3ins and heavily built, Lynch was always immaculate, with a strong Irish brogue, even in his words of command. Before the engagement which led to his DCM, he led his platoon in an attack on a German position, taking prisoner an artillery officer and two sergeant majors, and leaving most of the other dead. It was reported that the German officer wept uncontrollably and when asked why, replied that he was mourning his dead companions. Lynch urged him to be a man and accept things philosophically, advice which gave the German little consolation as Lynch had killed most of them himself.

    Wounded twice in North Africa, Lynch nevertheless took part in the Anzio landings and the Italian campaign which followed.

    Wounded again, he was taken prisoner, nursed by nuns in Rome, then moved to Stalag 7A in Germany. It was said that he escaped by strangling his guard.

    After the war, he had postings in Europe and West Africa, then became the first drill sergeant at the All Arms Wing, Caterham. A spell at Pirbright followed, then three years as RSM by invitation at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.

    Lynch proved himself tactful as well as resourceful when he did a tour of duty at Eaton Hall and Mons Officer Cadet School in the ‘50s. The adjutant had to drive in each day, over roads subject to frequent traffic delays, but RSM Lynch ensured that he was never late for parade by having the clock strike the hour when the adjutant had arrived. Appointed MBE in 1960, he was commissioned the following year and joined the Commonwealth Brigade at Taiping and Malacca in Malaya for three years. Later, he was adjutant of the Singapore Guard Regiment. Final posting before he retired in 1973 was to be the Ministry of Defence as staff captain.

    Even in his retirement, he was active. He was assistant adjutant and security officer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He enforced regulations impartially. Breaking the 15-miles-per-hour speed limit meant the offender’s car being banned for two weeks. The Commandant’s wife once incurred the full penalty herself.

    Despite his reputation, Lynch had a great sense of humour as well as a strong humanitarian streak. In retirement, he did much valuable work for charities and as a prison visitor.

    When he died in 1997, aged 75, he was widely mourned in the Guards Division, and among many who had the privilege of knowing him in many other spheres of his activities.

    Screen shot 2011-08-20 at 01.55.28.png Screen shot 2011-08-20 at 01.55.37.png
     
  2. dbf

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  3. dbf

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    Army Number: 2718820
    Rank: Guardsman
    Name: D LYNCH
    Unit: 1 Irish Guards
    GSM & Clasp: GSM, Palestine Clasp 1936 - 1939
    TNA Reference: WO 100/503
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Army Number: 2718820
    Rank: Company Serjeant-Major
    Name: Desmond Thomas Lee LYNCH, DCM
    Unit: 1 Irish Guards
    Theatre: Italy
    Missing Personnel file: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Italy, Missing Personnel file
    TNA Reference: WO 361/784
    Notes: Date of Payment 14 January 1944, 1500 Local Currency, 1 C.R.U.
    Missing, POW announced by Rome radio 9 February 1944

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    PERSONAL INFORMATION

    Name: LYNCH, Desmond Thomas Lee
    DOB: 1 January 1921
    Place of Birth: Dublin, Ireland
    Residence: 2 West Terrace Birtley, Co Durham, England.
    Died: 1997, Brighton, aged 75
    Trade before enlistment: Student
    Parents: Thomas Lynch and Elizabeth Lynch nee Lee
    Wife:
    Photo:
    LYNCH D T.png


    SERVICE
    Army/Personal Number: 2718820
    Rank: Company Serjeant-Major
    Regiment/Battalion: Irish Guards, 1st Battalion
    As at 01/09/1939: Irish Guards
    Enlisted: 14 October 1937
    Discharged:

    Promotions:
    London Gazette
    2nd December 1966
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/44188/supplement/13081/data.pdf
    Short Serv. Commns.
    Capt. D. T. LYNCH, M.B.E., D.C.M. (468892), with effect from 7th Nov. 1966, seniority in the rank of Capt. is granted to 12th May 1963.

    Retirement:
    15th May 1973
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/45976/supplement/6077/data.pdf
    REGULAR ARMY Short Serv. Commn.
    Capt. D. T. LYNCH, M.B.E., D.C.M. (468892) retires on retired pay, 12th May 1973.


    Aquittance Roll:
    WO 361/784
    2718820 Company Serjeant Major LYNCH D T 1st Bn. Irish Guards, Date of Payment 14 Jan 1944, 1500 Local Currency, 1 C.R.U. 4 Coy. Missing, POW announced by Rome radio 9 Feb 1944 127889 Stalag VIIA


    OFFICER
    Commission:
    London Gazette:
    16th June 1961
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/42386/supplement/4492/data.pdf
    Short Serv. Commn.
    2718820 W.O. Cl. I Desmond Thomas LYNCH, M.B.E., D.C.M. (468892), to be 2nd Lt., 12th May 1961. To be Lt., 12th May 1961.

    Promotions:


    Army Casualty List (WO 417):
    2718820 Serjeant LYNCH D, 1943 Irish Guards
    2718820 Serjeant LYNCH DCM, D T 1944 Irish Guards
    2718820 Company Sergeant-Major LYNCH D T 1944 Irish Guards
    2718820 Company Sergeant-Major LYNCH D T 1945 Irish Guards

    The Times Casualty List: published


    PRISONER/MISSING
    Prisoner of War Number: 127889
    Date of Capture: 10 February 1944
    Place of Capture: Anzio, Italy

    POW Liberation Report:
    General Questionnaire for British Ex-Prisoners of War
    PART I

    1. No.: 2718820
    Rank: Company Sergeant Major
    Surname: LYNCH
    Christian Names: Desmond Thomas
    Decorations:

    2. Unit (Army): 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    3. Division (Army):
    4. Date of Birth: 1 January 1921
    5. Date of Enlistment: 14 October 1937
    6. Civilian Trade: Student
    7. Private Address: 2 West Terrace Birtley, Co Durham, England.

    8. Place of Capture: Anzio, Italy
    Date of Capture: 10 February 1944

    9. Were you Wounded when Captured: No

    10. Main Camps or Hospitals in which imprisoned
    Camp No. Location From & To
    STALAG VIIA, Moosburg, 10/2/1945 to 15/11/1944
    STALAG IIIA, Luckenwald, Berlin 1, 15/11/1944 to 21/4/1945

    11. Were you in a Working Camp?
    Location From & To Nature of Work
    Augsburg, 05/1944 to 07/1944, Camp Leader

    12. Did you suffer from any Serious Illnesses while a P/W?:
    Nature of Illness Cause Duration
    -
    Did you receive adequate Medical Treatment?:
    Yes

    PART II

    2. Lectures before Capture
    (State where, when and by whom)
    (a) Were you lectured in your unit on how to behave in the event of capture?:
    Yes
    (b ) Were you lectured on escape and evasion?:
    Yes

    3. Interrogation after Capture
    (State where, when and methods employed by enemy)
    Were you specially interrogated by the enemy?:
    Yes, general interrogation

    4. Escapes attempted.
    Did you make any attempted or party successful escapes?
    (Give details of each attempt separately, stating where, when, method employed, names of your companions, where and when captured and by whom. Were you physically fit? What happened to our companions?)
    Escaped 13/4/1945 from Luckenwalde. Reached a place called Dueben near the River Elbe. Captured by Volkssturm and handed over to S.S. I was fit. C.S.M. T. Unwin Leicestershire Reg. escaped with me.

    5. Sabotage.
    Did you do any sabotage or destruction of enemy factory plant, war material, communications, etc., when employed on working-parties or during escape?
    (Give details, places and dates).
    -

    6. Collaboration with enemy.
    Do you know of any British or American personnel who collaborated with the enemy or in any way helped the enemy against other Allied PoWS?
    (Give details, names of person(s) concerned, camp(s), dates and nature of collaboration or help given to enemy).
    -
    Missing Personnel File Details:


    MEDALS
    Gallantry Award/Honour: Distinguished Conduct Medal
    The Times, 9th July, 1943
    Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 13.51.33.png
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Italy
    London Gazette: 8th July 1943 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36129/page/3626/data.pdf
    TNA Link: Recommendation for Award for Lynch, Desmond Rank: Serjeant Service No: ... | The National Archives

    Citation:
    "Attack on Pt 212 & 214 April 27th - May 1st.
    The 1st Bn Irish Guards were right hand Bn in a Bde attack on April 27. No. 4 Coy, in which Sgt Lynch is a Pl Sgt, was leading with its objective Pt 212 & 214. The company came under very heavy fire at the start line and had considerable casualties inflicted on it. The company comd and 2 platoon comds were wounded or killed and the C.S.M. killed. Sgt. Lynch looked after his wounded Pl comd and then took charge of the company or what was left of it. When the advance continued he organised his coy and assaulted and gained his objective. Throughout the period of 28th - 30th when the force was being continually attacked he remained in command of No. 4 coy, except for a brief period when Captain Ismay was there. He was throughout an outstanding figure and his smart soldierly appearance under the most difficult circumstances created an impression amongst the men equalled only by his constant calm and bravery. No. 4 Coy held the West of the ridge forward towards Pt 214 and was continually under shell and mortar fire even when infantry attacks were not in progress. That the men never wavered under the fire was largely due to his example and in particular to his prompt action at the beginning. At 1100 hrs Wednesday 28th, enemy 88 mm guns opened up on the W of the ridge with a violence that was as unexpected as its effects were unpleasant. Casualties were caused and some of the men badly shaken. Sgt Lynch was at the time at Force H.Q. without hesitation he ran up through the heavy fire to his coy, held the men steady in their positions, moved a Bren gun forward, at great personal risk to meet the first infantry assault and gave the first fire order. The initial success gained by this Sgt in beating back the first German assault raised morale to the highest possible peak by proving conclusively by his own example that the fiercest fire could be endured and a determined attack broken by S.A. fire. This Sgt. consistently showed the greatest devotion to duty and even when half blinded by blast on Friday 30th, the continued to command and encourage his rapidly dwindling coy. I strongly recommend this Sgt for gallantry and good example. L.G. 8-7-43."
    Recommendation:
    LYNCH D T 1.png LYNCH D T 2.png

    Gallantry Award/Honour: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Birthday Honours
    London Gazette: date & link
    TNA Link: Recommendation for Award for Lynch, Desmond Thomas Lee Rank: Warrant Officer... | The National Archives
    Citation:
    Recommendation:

    Campaign Medals:
    Medal Roll Details:
    WO 100/503 2718820 Guardsman LYNCH D, 1st Bn. Irish Guards Palestine Clasp 1936 - 1938

    REFERENCES
    War Diaries: War Diary: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, September 1939 - July 1944
    Archive Files: WO 417, WO 100/503, WO 344, WO 361/784
    Publications:
    Accounts:
    War Memorial:
    Newspaper:
    Websites:
    Irish Guards: Medal Roll Palestine Clasp 1936 - 1939 - WWII Open Resource Group
    Irish Guards: Gallantry Awards & Honours - WWII Open Resource Group
    1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Italy, Missing Personnel file
    LYNCH, DESMOND THOMAS, MBE, DCM, 1BN
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From my father's own photo album; Dad greatly admired Lynch, who at one point was his CSM.

    Des Lynch, Hamburg c. 1946/7, seated far right, with dog.
    6jpgoriginal.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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    Sergeant's Mess, Hamburg, c. 1946/7
    Rear Row: D/Sgt 'Pinkie' Stewart , CSM Samuel 'Maxi' McComish MM, C/Sgt John Kenneally VC, P/Maj Reggie Batt.
    Front Row: Cooper?, RSM Teddy Nye, Martin Campbell, Des Lynch DCM.

    3839745034_94b2d3a00c_o.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
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    181.jpg
    182.jpg

    From The Guards and Caterham:
    An Irish Example
    The reputation of Captain Desmond Lynch, DCM, was earned in the ranks and as an RSM who got the best out of his men by setting a startling example in all aspects of soldiering, particularly courage.

    An officer who served with him in the Irish Guards during WW2 recalled: ‘He had a reputation for ferocity which was unequalled in the Micks. All I can say is, than God Lynch was on our side.’

    He won the Distinguished Conduct Medal in April, 1943, in North Africa. He was platoon sergeant in the leading company during an attack which sustained considerable casualties. His company commander and two platoon sergeants were killed or wounded, and the company sergeant-major killed. After laying his wounded platoon officer in a slit trench, Lynch saluted and requested: ‘leave to carry on, sir,’ then took charge of what was left of the company. Under his command, its remnants attacked and gained its objective. His small force was continually attacked for three days and dwindled further. But Lynch, who was half-blinded by blast, moved a Bren gun to an advanced position to anticipate and beat bak the main German infantry attack which followed.

    The son of a soldier, Desmond Lynch was born in Dublin, joined the Irish Guards in 1937 at Caterham an saw service in Egypt and Palestine in the following year. After a spell as instructor at the Royal Military College of Science, he returned to the Guards and rapidly gained promotion. At 6ft 3ins and heavily built, Lynch was always immaculate, with a strong Irish brogue, even in his words of command. Before the engagement which led to his DCM, he led his platoon in an attack on a German position, taking prisoner an artillery officer and two sergeant majors, and leaving most of the other dead. It was reported that the German officer wept uncontrollably and when asked why, replied that he was mourning his dead companions. Lynch urged him to be a man and accept things philosophically, advice which gave the German little consolation as Lynch had killed most of them himself.

    Wounded twice in North Africa, Lynch nevertheless took part in the Anzio landings and the Italian campaign which followed.

    Wounded again, he was taken prisoner, nursed by nuns in Rome, then moved to Stalag 7A in Germany. It was said that he escaped by strangling his guard.

    After the war, he had postings in Europe and West Africa, then became the first drill sergeant at the All Arms Wing, Caterham. A spell at Pirbright followed, then three years as RSM by invitation at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.

    Lynch proved himself tactful as well as resourceful when he did a tour of duty at Eaton Hall and Mons Officer Cadet School in the ‘50s. The adjutant had to drive in each day, over roads subject to frequent traffic delays, but RSM Lynch ensured that he was never late for parade by having the clock strike the hour when the adjutant had arrived. Appointed MBE in 1960, he was commissioned the following year and joined the Commonwealth Brigade at Taiping and Malacca in Malaya for three years. Later, he was adjutant of the Singapore Guard Regiment. Final posting before he retired in 1973 was to be the Ministry of Defence as staff captain.

    Even in his retirement, he was active. He was assistant adjutant and security officer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He enforced regulations impartially. Breaking the 15-miles-per-hour speed limit meant the offender’s car being banned for two weeks. The Commandant’s wife once incurred the full penalty herself.

    Despite his reputation, Lynch had a great sense of humour as well as a strong humanitarian streak. In retirement, he did much valuable work for charities and as a prison visitor.

    When he died in 1997, aged 75, he was widely mourned in the Guards Division, and among many who had the privilege of knowing him in many other spheres of his activities.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From 1997

    Scans20012.jpg

    Scans20013.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Army Number: 2718820
    Rank: Company Sergeant Major
    Name: Desmond Thomas Lee LYNCH
    Unit: 1 Irish Guards
    Theatre: Italy
    POW Number: 127889
    Date of Capture:
    Place of Capture:
    Camp: Stalag VIIA
    TNA Reference:
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Army Number: 2718820
    Rank: Company Serjeant Major
    Name: D LYNCH, DCM
    Unit: 1 Irish Guards
    Theatre: Italy
    Missing Personnel file: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Italy, Missing Personnel file
    TNA Reference: WO 361/784
    Notes: Date of Payment 14 Jan 1944, 1500 Local Currency, 1 C.R.U.
    4 Coy. 1st Bn. Irish Guards
    Missing, POW announced by Rome radio 9 Feb 1944
    127889 Stalag VIIA
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  13. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Diane,

    Thanks so much for these IG postings. Splendid work.

    I noticed the 2 wound stripes on his left cuff, below his rank badge, in the 46/47 photo. I've rarely seen wound stripes on WW2 era photo's.

    Regards

    Steve
     
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks Steve, I've a long ways to go yet, with some 3,800 identified individuals on my list. (Although for most of them there is very little other than a name/number.)


    From what Dad told me about the man, CSM Lynch knew his KRs inside out & back to front and would have made sure everything was as per Regs... so I wonder what went on here...

    Something similar here with 51Highland's father ...Wound Stripes
     

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