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Noel Swales

Area: Knottingley
Regiment: Royal Artillery
Family information: Second son of Mr J H Swales of Marsh End, Knottingley
Rank: Sergeant

War Service

Pontefract & Castleford Express 12 March 1943 p 6 (+ photo)
Official news has been received by his father of the award of the Military Medal to Sergeant Noel Swales RA, now in the Middle East, the second son of Mr J H Swales of Marsh End, Knottingley and the late Mrs Swales. The citation of the incidents leading to the award says: This NCO has been in charge of a Bofors Gun Detachment for a long period and during which time assisted in the defence of various vulnerable points in the Island. Over this long period he has shown particularly outstanding ability both in and out of action. As a result of his excellent leadership and coolness the firing of his detachment, whatever the conditions of the enemy attack may have been, was always of the very highest quality and has resulted in considerable damage to the enemy. In the April of 1942 when his gun was located near an aerodrome, a friendly plane crashed near his position and at once burst into flames. Despite the danger involved from live ammunition and exploding petrol tanks, this NCO rushed to the assistance of the pilot, who, unconscious, was trapped in the cockpit. With assistance he managed to remove the pilot, but he unfortunately died on his way to hospital. Whilst acting as an anti-aircraft gunner in a merchant ship in Sept 1941, Sergt Swales rendered excellent service in the destruction of a torpedo bomber, which action saved the ship. At all times this NCO has shown a superb fighting spirit and his coolness and courage have resulted in much damage to the enemy and a high state of morale amongst his men. Sergt Swales was previously employed by Messrs Bagley and Co, Knottingley. He volunteered for service in August 1940 and served in an anti-aircraft unit during the heavy London blitz. In July 1941 he was posted to Malta. He has two brothers in the Services, one with the Royal Navy and the other in the West Yorks Regt. In the announcement of the award in the “London Gazette” on February 18th his address was given in error as Pontefract.”

Pontefract & Castleford Express 9 June 1944 p 3 (+ photo)
Sergeant Noel Swales MM who is the second son of Mr J H Swales, Marsh End, Knottingley, still finds time to read the “Express”, even though he is having a busy time keeping up with the enemy in Italy. In a letter home Sergeant Swales says he still enjoys reading the “Express” after three years abroad, but he has only been lucky enough to meet one other Knottingley chap, Jack Clough, but hopes to meet more now that they are on the move again.”

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