William James (Billy) McCutcheon was one of 9 children, 7 boys, 2 girls, of Hugh and Rose Ann (Wier) McCutcheon, of Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland; husband of Vera Amy McCutcheon, of Harpenden, Hertfordshire. They married on 13 July 1941 in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
Warrant Officer Class II McCutcheon enlisted in the Royal Ulster Rifles and took part in Operation Overlord (Normandy Landings) and Operation Varsity (Rhine Crossing). He was awarded the M. M. for his actions on 18 August 1944 in Normandy.
CSM McCutcheon was killed in action on 24 March 1945, aged 27, and was given a field burial at Ringenburg, Germany and was re-interred to Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany, on 8 April 1947.
For gallantry, devotion to duty and conspicuous bravery in the field. Near Cabourg on 18th August 1944, the Reconnaissance Platoon while leading the Battalion, came under heavy fire from Machine Guns, mortars and rifles. It suffered casualties and with minefields on both its flanks was in a very difficult position. The Reconnaissance Platoon Commander called for assistance and CSM McCutcheon went forward with stretcher-bearers. Two hours ensued during which time the stretcher-bearers slowly dragged the wounded into what cover there was, immediate covering fire being provided together with 2″ and 3″ mortar smoke from “C” Company. The whole operation was organised by Captain Martin, the Reconnaissance Platoon Commander, who was frequently absent organising further smoke and covering fire. During these absences CSM McCutcheon took over command and assisted in the carriage of stretchers. He also repulsed an attack, on the Platoon flank, by a German patrol. Throughout the operation he showed a complete disregard for his own personal safety, his coolness and tenacity made a difficult operation possible, and he finally came out himself carrying a stretcher with the Platoon Commander, crossing a minefield in the process. Over the whole period his bravery, as always with this Warrant Officer, was absolute, and he was an inspiration to all, officers and men alike.
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By Rod Gibson
Additional information and photos from Margaret McCutcheonRead More