John Clifford 'Cliff' Meredith (4192789) enlisted into The Royal Welch Fusiliers (RWF) in 1938, and was serving with its 10th Battalion as a Sergeant when it was turned over to airborne duties and redesignated as 6th (Royal Welch) Parachute Battalion to form part of the 2nd Parachute Brigade.
After preparatory ground training at Hardwick Hall, he attended Parachute Course 25 which ran at RAF Ringway from 30 August to 8 September 1942 with other battalion members.
As Platoon Sergeant of 12 Platoon C Company, he embarked with other members of the battalion for the Italian port of Taranto in September 1943 on board HMS Abdiel which struck a mine causing significant loss of life (see short account). He survived this ordeal and went on to serve with the battalion in Italy, Southern France, Greece and Palestine.
When 4/6th Battalion was redesignated as 1 PARA in 1948, he became the first Company Sergeant Major of C Coy and later became Battalion Drill Sergeant in HQ Coy. A very keen sportsman, he trained the Battalion boxing team, won his Battalion colours for football and was also recorded as completing four miles of a seven mile cross country event wearing only one gym shoe!
He was posted to 2nd RWF in 1952 and promoted to Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) before receiving a short service commission as Lt Quartermaster (450106) on 30 August 1956. He was awarded the MBE the following year. and the citation for this award records:
"Lt and QM JC Meredith enlisted into The Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1938. His outstanding qualities were quickly recognised and he was promoted to the rank of sergeant at the age of twenty one.
During the Second World War he commanded a parachute rifle platoon throughout the campaigns in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy and the South of France. After the war he continued to serve with The Parachute Regiment in Egypt, Palestine and Cyprus and attained accelerated promotion to CSM in 1945.
In 1952 he was posted to 2nd RWF and promoted to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM). He soon showed that he possessed all the qualities required of a RSM in peacetime and set an irreproachable standard of efficiency and military bearing both in barracks and on training.
In 1954 2 RWF moved to Malaya, and started anti-terrorist operations. RSM Meredith quickly made himself expert in jungle warfare and applied his immense energy to the training of young NCOs and drafts of National Servicemen. By his personal leadership of patrols in the jungle and his resolution and discipline in the command of ambushes, he set an example for all to follow.
His success as a leader, in anti-terrorist operations culminated in his exemplary command of an ambush whereby three notorious terrorists were killed near Gemas, Negri Sembilan. The orders to mount this ambush as soon as possible were issued after dark on the 23rd April 1956. The party which had been trained for such an opportunity personally by RSM Meredith was briefed, equipped, and left camp within an hour. The ambush was sited in an unreconnoitred position in the dark and remained undetected until 15.45 hours the next day, when three terrorists, who had kept the area under observation since dawn, entered the killing area. Fire was withheld until escape was impossible and all three were killed.
Throughout his 18 years of service Lt and QM Meredith has served with great distinction in many theatres both in peace and on active service"
Cliff Meredith was promoted to Captain in September 1960 and retired from the Army on 30 August 1961.
Cliff Meredith died om 6 October 2016, aged 94.
Compiled by Harvey GrenvilleRead More