255172 John Reginald GORMAN, CVO, CBE, MC, DL, 2 Irish Guards

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Personal Number: 255172
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Name: John Reginald GORMAN
    Unit: Irish Guards

    London Gazette : 12 January 1943
    The undermentioned Cadets to be 2nd Lts. 5th Dec 1942 —
    I. G'ds
    John Reginald GORMAN (255172)

    London Gazette : 29 January 1943
    The undermentioned Cadets to be 2nd Lts.:—
    19th Dec. 1942:-
    Dominick Mdore SARSFIELD (253924), with precedence next below 2nd Lt. J. R. Gorman (255172).

    London Gazette : 19 October 1944
    Military Cross
    Lieutenant John Reginald Gorman (225172), Irish Guards.

    London Gazette : 20 May 1949
    I. G'ds
    The undermentioned Lts. from Emerg. Commns. to be Lts., 1st Jan. 1949, and are granted the hon. rank of Capt.:—
    J. R. GORMAN, M.C. (255172).
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    :poppy: RIP


    Sir John Gorman: War hero and unionist politician dies aged 91

    Sir John Gorman was a former Irish Guards officer who was awarded the British military cross and the French Croix de Guerre

    The former Ulster Unionist politician and decorated World War II veteran Sir John Gorman has died.

    The 91-year-old Catholic from County Tyrone represented North Down in the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998.

    He served as an officer in the Irish Guards in World War II and was awarded the British military cross and the French Croix de Guerre.

    After the war he joined the RUC, rising to the rank of district inspector during his 17 years in the force.

    Sir John was educated at Loreto Convent grammar school in Omagh, Glasgow University and Harvard Business School.

    He was a captain in the Irish Guards from 1944-1946, a district inspector of the RUC until 1969 and chief of security at BOAC from 1960-1963.

    He was also a regional manager for British Airways from 1969-1979 and president of the British Canadian Trade Association from 1972-1974.

    Sir John was knighted in the Queen's Birthday honours list in 1998.

    Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt described him as "one of a kind".

    "It is rather poignant that on the very day we complete a European election count to return Northern Ireland's MEPs to Brussels, we should learn of the death of a man who liberated that city 70 years ago," Mr Nesbitt said.

    "Sir John achieved success in a number of fields. He was a war hero who was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in Normandy."

    Mr Nesbitt said he last met Sir John at a party meeting in Killyleagh in 2013.

    "He was barely mobile and said he was there simply to support me. I was humbled by that gesture and in his death I am inspired to deliver better politics as a tribute to his memory.

    "He truly was one of a kind and we are all the poorer for his passing. My deepest sympathies go out to his family and many friends."
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Screen shot 2014-07-05 at 09.13.51.png


    “225172 Lieutenant John Reginald GORMAN, 2nd Armoured Bn, IRISH GUARDS
    On 18 Jul 44 near CAGNY in NORMANDY, Lieutenant J.R. GORMAN, whilst on the flank of his Squadron, which was attacking South-East from that village, encountered 3 concealed PANTHERS at a range of 100 yards. Lieutenant GORMAN fired 3 75mm rounds at the leading PANTHER. Seeing that these had no apparent effect and despite the fact that the PANTHER was covered by the other two tanks, he charged the leading tank with such force that it was unable to fire and its crew baled out.

    Lieutenant GORMAN and his driver then ran back to where they had seen a ditched SHERMAN 17-pr. He found the commander dead and having removed him with help of his driver and having told the gunner to get into the tank again, Lieutenant GORMAN returned to stalk the 3 PANTHERS in the 17-pr SHERMAN. He scored several hits and the rammed PANTHER was found the next day burnt out beside his own tank. Lieutenant GORMAN then dealt with the wounded and returned to his Squadron.

    Throughout this whole action Lieutenant GORMAN showed exceptional initiative and determination with a complete disregard for his own safety.”

    N.B. The account in the citation is incorrect the German tank which was rammed was a King Tiger and not a Panther.

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Armoured Micks:
    In an interview on BBC Radio, John Gorman described how, shortly after joining the battalion at Warminster, No. 2 Squadron was driving, at night, from the barracks to Warminster Goods Yard to put our Covenanter tanks onto railway flats for transport to the tank-firing ranges at Linney Head in Pembrokeshire. Unfortunately the engine of John's tank stalled, the tail-lights of the rest of the squadron disappeared and when John and his troop arrived at the station he found himself at the passenger station rather than the Goods Yard ...

    "... This high wall round the courtyard, you see ... well, it wasn't very easy to turn a tank, especially with not a very good driver. There was a certain amount of panic going on now, and my other tanks were waiting for me, the new officer, to do something. So I said to Golding: "Reverse!" So he reversed and knocked down the wall. It was a twelve-foot wall, and the whole wall came down. At this moment a staff officer in a little pick-up truck, as they were called, drove up, in a panic about all this. I said to Golding: "Forward!" or whatever the command was. These tanks jumped a lot, and it jumped on the bonnet of this little car and crushed it into the ground. That was my first military experience."
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    From The History of the Irish Guards in the Second World War; FitzGerald, pages 378-383:

    “Cagny itself is a long, straggling village with the houses, as in an Irish village, scattered along the side of the main road from Caen to Vimont. East of Cagny the ground rises gently up to the low ridge which runs from Emieville southwards, dominating the left flank and hiding Vimont. Between Cagny and the top of the ridge the ground was open. The top, however, was festooned with thick hedges which merge into a strip of wood just where the road from Cagny passes by the village of Frenouville, a mile farther south-east. The German tanks and tractor-drawn 88-mm. guns were established along tihis ridge; it was from here that they had been shooting the Grenadiers in the flank as the advanced due south towards Cagny. Infantry and more guns were concentrated at the southern end of Frenouville and the strip of wood; and it was they who had halted the Coldstreamers.

    The squadrons formed up in a line ahead - No. 2, No. 1, Battalion H.Q., and No. 3 Squadron. In every tank the words were repeated again and again - “Follow the pylons.” Lieutenant Anthony Dorman’s troop led the Battalion down the slope, passing some Grenadier tanks, to a ford across a small stream. Crossing the stream, No. 2 Squadron raced off to climb the ridge north of the road. Major Nial O’Neill led his squadron (No. 1) farther south and crossed the road in Cagny before he swung left and headed for Frenouville. Half-way up the slope the leading troop of No. 2 Squadron came under fire from the bulge in the ridge around Emieville. Lieutenant Anthony Dorman drove hastily into a little hollow, traversing his gun to the left to cover flank. The squadron veered off the right, while he unhooked his binoculars and prepared for one of the long-range gun duels he had heard so much about on training. Beginning his formal “anticipatory fire order,” “Seventy-five, traverse left, fire when …” he ended “straight ahead, let him have it!” A German 88-mm. gun tractor was backing noisily out of the hedge just forward of the crest 300 yards away. With one shot the gunner destroyed it, and Lieutenant Dorman started his formal order once again. When No. 2 Squadron reached this hedge farther to the right, they halted to let No. 1 Squadron in the orchards south-east of Cagny come up level with them. Then, together, they plunged forward to fight their way into Frenouville. Major John Madden, No. 2 Squadron commander, only now noticed that his second troop was missing. “What happened to John Gorman?”

    Lieutenant John Gorman had bogged his tank while crossing the stream and his troop had stayed with him. It was firmly stuck, and there was nothing to do but leave it there and transfer himself into “Ballyragget,” one of his two other 75-mm. tanks. By the time he had cautiously negotiated the stream there was no sign of the rest of the squadron. He could get no reply to his wireless appeals - “the air was bedlam” - so, being a simple, straightforward young man, he put his head down and charged straight ahead. As he came up the hill he saw Lieutenant Dorman busily engaging the gun tractor and anther gun. “Where are they?” shouted Gorman. Dorman, interested only in Germans, waved towards the hill. Happy again, Gorman continued up the hill - if he did not find the squadron there at least he would be able to look around for them. Dorman watched him go, wondering what “Blockhead” Gorman was up to, but he soon thought of something else when he was wounded in the foot by a mortar bomb.

    Lieutenant John Gorman, earnestly following the pylons, struck the lane from Cagny to Emieville and swung cheerfully up it with his second tank just behind him. As he came over the brow he gave a wild cry “Gunner!” Two hundred yards away were four German tanks - a Royal Tiger, an old-fashioned Tiger, a Panther and an old Mark IV - “having a conference they were, sitting in the middle of the field.” The Germans were equally surprised and were all facing the wrong direction. “Gun’s jammed, sir.” Guardsman Schole’s voice was despairing. “Oh, Christmas, why?” The nearest German tank was slowly traversing its massive gun. It was a Royal Tiger, the first seen on the Western Front. “Driver, ram!” shouted Gorman, and Lance-Corporal Baron saw what he must do. “Ballyragget” crashed through the thin hedge and careered down the slope towards the Tiger. It slid down beside the long barrel of the 88mm. and struck the Tiger at the rear of its right track. The muzzle of the 88 projected two feet beyond the Sherman, so Gorman and crew were like birds sitting on a sportsman’s gun. The Tiger’s crew jumped out with their hands up; but the other Germans turned their attention to the second Sherman. Sergeant Harbinson, its commander, hadn’t a chance. Three shots struck it as it came over the crest and it burst into flames. The driver, Lance-Corporal Watson, and operator, Guardsman Davis, were killed instantly, and the three others wounded and burnt. Guardsmen Melville and Walsh were able to climb out, but only Walsh had the strength to go back again into the blazing hill and extricate the dying Sergeant Harbinson.

    This distraction gave Lieutenant Gorman and his crew a moment to get away from the tanks and run to a cornfield on the other side of the lane. “Corporal Baron.” “Sir.” “Melville.” “Sir.” “Scholes.” “Sir.” “Agnew” - there was no reply. The voices of the driver, co-driver and gunner all answered from the depths of the corn, but there was no sign of the operator. In a minute he came crashing through the corn to join them. Guardsman Agnew was the last man out of the tank. As he dropped to the ground he saw four men rushing for a ditch and promptly joined them. They were the German crew; after an exchange of cold stares, Agnew moved out to join his own side.

    When Lieutenant John Gorman got an idea into his head he clung to it stubbornly. His present idea was to destroy those German tanks. “You stay here while I get a Firefly,” and he slid away leaving Lance-Corporal Baron and the Guardsmen lying in the cornfield. They lay there in the corn for some time and then began to crawl. They must have crawled in the wrong direction - which is easy enough to do when all you can see is a jungle of stalks - for they got caught in an artillery barrage. They continued to crawl till Melville and Scholes were both wounded by shell splinters. Corporal Baron beat down the bloodstained, shell-torn corn to make a rough bed and stayed to guard and tend his wounded friends until they were picked up by a passing tank. Lieutenant Gorman walked back alone to the orchards round Cagny. There he found what he wanted, his own 17-pdr. gun, which alone would penetrate the heavy armour of a Tiger or Panther. It looked undamaged, but there was no sign of life in or around it. He hammered on the hull. “Sergeant! Sergeant Workmann!” A face popped out of the turret. “He‘s inside, sir. He is dead, sir.” The solid shot that killed the Troop Sergeant had thrown his body back on top of the crew, but had left them and the tank undamaged. They lifted the poor body and Lieutenant Gorman clambered in through the turret. It was no use trying to report to Squadron H.Q. - the air was full of voices all reporting “hornets” - so he returned on his “remount” to the battle.

    Lieutenant Anthony Dorman had by now moved up to the ridge and was sitting there nursing his foot and directing the fire of his tank. In Wiltshire he had spent most of his time on training studying dippers and writing long letters to The Field describing the peculiar habits of these birds. But now, in Normandy, “Dipper” Dorman was busy watching “hornets” - the trade name for enemy tanks - and had little time for nature study. Gorman knew exactly where the “hornets” were. Covered by Dorman he moved cautiously forward, avoiding the lane this time and following the line of a thick hedge. The hedge reached up above the level of the turret, so he nosed the Firefly gently forward through it till he could just see the Germans. “Gunner.” Five shots went high and wide, rocketing up into the sky. The gunner’s hand was shaking and the sights were smeared with blood, but five misses in succession was too much. “Take it easy, boy, and have a go at the old Tiger.” The gunner was years older than he, but Lieutenant John Gorman had the paternal manner of a policeman, for he had been reared in, and was going back to, the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The gunner took a deep breath and tried again. “Well done! Two hits on the turret; now put one into the new Tiger.” Three seconds later both the disabled Tiger and the Sherman were burning brightly. The following day, and the following year, they were still there, to be seen by the curious. Lieutenant Gorman, like every other tank officer, had often been told that naval tactics applied to armour, but he was the only one who practised this theory literally. It was a remarkable sight - the Sherman jammed into the side of the Tiger, its turret only a few inches from the barrel of the 88-mm. gun. The German gunner had a power traverse to swing his heavy gun and given another second he could have blown the Sherman to pieces, but he saw it just too late. In size there is not really much to choose between a Tiger and a Sherman, but at close quarters the Tiger completely overshadows the Sherman. It is indeed a few inches taller, but it is the length of the 88-mm. gun and the general impression of the massive power that seem to crush the Sherman.

    As too many Germans were now firing at him from all directions, Lieutenant Gorman reversed out of the hedge and turned back to look for Sergeant Harbinson and his crew. He found them by their burnt-out tank and carried them back to the Regimental Aid Post. In his search for the Regimental Aid Post, he found the tanks of Brigade H.Q. lined up in a wood in Cagny. “This made me feel I was very far back,” he said. “It was a most confusing day.” “
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Times of My Life: an Autobiography by Sir John Gorman:

    From CWGC records, those men who were killed in action that day or who subsequently died of wounds:

    Lance Corporal HORACE JOHN WATSON 2721048, 2nd Bn., Irish Guards who died age 28 on 18 July 1944
    Son of George Herbert and Agnes Bertha Watson, of Harlow, Essex.
    Remembered with honour BAYEUX MEMORIAL
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 12, Column 2.

    Guardsman WILLIAM THOMAS DAVIES Mentioned in Despatches 2719685, 2nd Bn., Irish Guards who died age 26 on 18 July 1944
    Son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Davies; husband of Kathleen Mary Davies, of Kettering, Northamptonshire.
    Remembered with honour BAYEUX MEMORIAL
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 12, Column 2.

    Lance Serjeant HUGH PATRICK HARBINSON 2719491, 2nd Bn., Irish Guards who died age 38 on 28 July 1944
    Son of James W. Harbinson and Emily Harbinson, of Newry.
    Remembered with honour DONAGHMORE (ST. BARTHOLOMEW) CHURCH OF IRELAND CHURCHYARD [Died of wounds]

    Lance Serjeant GEOFFREY GEORGE WORKMAN 2719982, 2nd Bn., Irish Guards who died age 26 on 18 July 1944
    Son of George and Ruby Gladys Workman, of Kilpuk, Madras, India.
    Remembered with honour
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From A Soldier's Story, J.O.E. Vandeleur:

    "In the afternoon prior to our advance John Gorman of the 2nd Battalion had an extraordinary experience. He ran straight into a German Tiger tank, saw its enormous gun traversing to bear upon him, ordered his driver to ram. Both the German crew and his baled out together. He then ran across to a Firefly (Sherman mounting a 17-pounder) and knocked out another Tiger at point-blank range."
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    From Belfast Newsletter, 10 November 2003:
    by Ian Starrett

    “Age Shall Not Wither Them . . .

    SECOND World War tank commander Sir John Gorman comes from a fighting family. Both he and his father won the Military Cross, one of his sons won the George Cross and his grandson, James, saw action in Iraq - all of them with the Irish Guards. Here, the 80-year-old talks about what Remembrance Day means to him.

    Us old soldiers and sailors and airmen have all got memories of gallantry, hardship, fear and pride at this time.

    Jeremy Clarkson's VC programme this week showed the extraordinary story of Major Kane of the South Staffordshire Regiment at Arnhem in 1944 who, at times single-handed, took on a German tank division which was threatening to destroy Colonel Frost's capture of the ''bridge too far''.

    He used a little anti-tank weapon, the PIAT, an almost pathetic mortar-type tube against modern armour, was wounded several times, his uniform in rags, without food or sleep for five days, and resulted in saving many hundreds of British airborne soldiers by getting them away over the Rhine to fight again.

    One remembers such men at this time. Their selflessness and devotion to their regiment, in my own case the Irish Guards, who had succeeded in getting to the Rhine having captured the four bridges south of Arnhem with many casualties.

    It was ''the Micks'', as we were called, who had captured the first bridge over the Escaut, a feat which led to the Arnhem thrust of over 50 miles by three Allied airborne divisions dropping on the bridges.

    One recalls, so vividly, those men who died and the many who were grievously wounded then and earlier in Normandy.

    *Sergeant James Baron MM, my tank driver, who died two years ago, *Guardsman Charlton VC, Sergeant Harbinson of Kilrea, Guardsman Cuthbertson, the great footballer who lost his legs, Captain Hugh Dormer DSO, Captain Tony Dorman, aka the Dipper, Tinker Taylor, whom we buried this year, hundreds of them - good friends and trained soldiers, able to cope with triumph and disaster and treating ''those imposters just the same''.

    We who are left grow old and we scan the paper every day to see the obituaries. Even after 60 years, the memories are as fresh as ever and the ''craic'' at our old comrades' events is full of laughter as well as sadness.

    How lucky we are to have had the experience of serving in the British forces which, for much of the war, fought alone against the Nazi dictatorship.

    We remember them.”
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  13. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    :poppy: good day d.b.f.m.yesterday.11:04 pm.re:sir john reginald gorman C.V.B C.B.E.A.C. DL.2ND BN IRISH GUARDS.a fine soldier a true hero.may he rest in peace.a great post and tribute,thank you.regards bernard85 :poppy: :poppy:
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks Bernard.
    Some more links:


    Sir John Gorman in 1999
    sir john.JPG


    Sir John Gorman death: Tributes to politician and war hero who left a lasting legacy
    sir john-1.JPG sir john.JPG
    A prominent Catholic unionist, Sir John Gorman was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly as an Ulster Unionist in 1998 and served as Deputy Speaker during his term

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Leading UUP member Sir John Gorman dies

  16. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    :poppy: Sir John Gorman. MC. CBE. R.I.P. :poppy:


    I have just noticed that Diane had started a thread and so perhaps a moderator can merge them.

  17. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    :poppy: Sir John Gorman. MC. R.I.P :poppy:

  18. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    :poppy: Sir John Gorman. MC. CBE. RIP :poppy:

  19. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day jedburgh22.very senior member.yesterday.06:32.re:sir john gorman mc.irish guards-t,o, died may 26th.2014.may he rest in peace.condolences to his family.regards bernard85 :poppy: :poppy:
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I'm unsure of the criteria under which the Telegraph have highlighted Gorman's MC as a "first". It most certainly was not the first one associated with the Regiment, and not the first one during WW2 as their campaigning had started in 1940.

    Major Eardley-Wilmot 3rd Bn Irish Guards was also awarded MC for action on 18/19th Aug '44 and is recorded in the WD as being the first of that particular battalion to be given a gallantry award in WW2. (3rd Bn being designated until fairly late on in the war as the Training Bn.)

    Both Gorman's and Eardley-Wilmot's Military Crosses are gazetted on the same LG date.

    Perhaps then they mean the first for Gorman's unit as an Armoured battalion, since the 2nd Bn had also been in action at the Hook of Holland and Boulogne in May 1940 as infantry.

    Or, they simply went by the date of the relevant actions and deemed Gorman's on the 18th July '44 to be a touch earlier in that respect.

    According to Gorman's autobiography his son who also served with the Irish Guards was the first in the RegIment to be awarded a GM.

    Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 09.40.39.png


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