Robert Dickson Martin was the son of R. L. Martin, of Ryecroft Road, London, SW 16. He was born in west Norwood, London in 1921. He was granted a commission and was posted to 1st (Airborne) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles and took part in Operation Overlord (D Day Landings), the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) and Operation Varsity (Rhine Crossing).
Captain Martin was killed in action on 24 March 1945, age 24, and was given a field burial at Hamminkeln, Germany and was re-interred to Reichswald Forest War Cemetery on 12 November 1946.
For continuous gallantry, conspicuous bravery in the field and complete disregard of his own personal safety. During the period 1st August to 21st October 1944 this officer commanded the Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon.
During the advance from the River Orne to the River Seine the Reconnaissance Platoon was in the forefront during the whole advance and on many occasions Captain Martin, by his determination, cool leadership and conspicuous bravery, overcame many obstacles that would otherwise have held the Battalion up for a considerable time.
For example near Cabourg on 18th August 1944 the Reconnaissance Platoon led by Captain Martin came under fire from two machine guns and rifles. Owing to minefields on either side the platoon went to ground and returned fire. Captain Martin immediately laid on an attack which by its swiftness overcame the enemy. Shortly after this the Reconnaissance Platoon was held up by a determined enemy manning a Pillbox.
Casualties were occurring and Captain Martin went back to organise smoke and covering fire as well as stretcher bearers and the collection of casualties. A stretcher bearer was wounded and Captain Martin took over the bearer's job.
An hour ensued during which the wounded men were slowly dragged into some kind of cover. During this time Captain Martin was an inspiration to the entire party. The smoke lessened and the enemy mortaring grew heavier. Captain Martin then crossed the open a second time and organised further covering fire and 3" Mortar Smoke.
He then returned once more and saw his casualties out and finally came out himself helping to carry a stretcher and crossing a minefield in the process. By his great courage, Captain Martin was directly responsible for inspiring his Platoon to an effort which meant the recovery of wounded, the maintenance of unity and the infliction of casualties on the enemy who started the battle from an extremely advantageous position.
By Rod GibsonRead More