Daily Telegraph, 11 October 2000

The death has been announced of Colonel Patrick ( 'Pat' ) Porteous, Royal Artillery, and No. 4 Commando, who earned his Victoria Cross during the famous raid on Dieppe in 1942. He was buried in his home village of Funtingdon, West Sussex.

On the morning of 19th August 1942 the Allies made an amphibious assault on the port of Dieppe, partly to test the German defences along the 'Atlantic Wall', partly to try out their own tactics. In effect, it was a large raid rather than a serious attack because the entire force consisted of only 5,000 Canadians, and 1,000 British Commandos and American Rangers. Dieppe was a debacle relieved only by the courage of the men involved, as the landing force withdrew, it had suffered 3,670 casualties, lost 29 tanks, 106 aircraft and a destroyer. The Germans had lost 591 men.

No 4 Commando, commanded by Lord Lovat, numbered 252-soldiers. It landed three and a half miles west of the main attack and advanced in two sections. One was to make its way up a river valley, climb a slope, push on through a wood, and overcome defended positions and demolish the six-gun German battery which had been sited at Varengeville. The battery was stubbornly defended by 250 Germans, behind concrete, wire, landmines, mortars and concealed machine-gun posts. The other section of the Commandos was to make a slightly more direct approach on the target.

The Commandos crept forward in the dark and destroyed barbed wire, telephone lines and some German defences, and succeeded in crossing a minefield. When daylight came they were confronted by 35 German assault troops, whom they killed, but others soon took their place and the Commandos began to lose men.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 2 October 1942 ], Dieppe, France, 19 August 1942, T / Major Patrick Anthony Porteous, Royal Regiment of Artillery & No. 4 Commando.

At Dieppe on the 19th August 1942, Major Porteous was detailed to act as Liaison Officer between the two detachments whose task was to assault the heavy coast defence guns.

In the initial assault Major Porteous, working with the smaller of the two detachments, was shot at close range through the hand, the bullet passing through his palm and entering his upper arm. Undaunted, Major Porteous closed with his assailant, succeeded in disarming him and killed him with his own bayonet thereby saving the life of a British Sergeant on whom the German had turned his aim.

In the meantime the larger detachment was held up, and the officer leading this detachment was killed and the Troop Sergeant- Major fell seriously wounded. Almost immediately afterwards the only other officer of the detachment was also killed. Major Porteous, without hesitation and in the face of a withering fire, dashed across the open ground to take over the command of this detachment.

Rallying them, he led them in a charge which carried the German position at the point of the bayonet, and was severely wounded for the second time. Though shot through the thigh he continued to the final objective where he eventually collapsed from loss of blood after the last of the guns had been destroyed.

Major Porteous's most gallant conduct, his brilliant leadership and tenacious devotion to a duty which was supplementary to the role originally assigned to him, was an inspiration to the whole detachment.

Patrick Porteous was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the 27th October 1942.

After the landing force had withdrawn from Dieppe, Captain Pat Porteous received news of the award of his Victoria Cross from his mother while in hospital recovering from his wounds.

Medal entitlement of Colonel Patrick Porteous VC - Royal Regiment of Artillery & No. 4 Commando

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1939 - 45 Star
  • France & Germany Star
  • Defence Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • War Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • General Service Medal ( 1918-62 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Palestine 1945-48" - "Malaya"
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ( 1977 )

VC Deaths

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Iain Stewart, 11 October 2000