This date is more likely to be remembered forever in the minds of the Westminster regiment and the Lord Strathconas. It was at the Melfa where a Lt Perkins from the Lord Strathconas and Major Mahony from the Westies made such a gallant stand and swung the tide of battle in our favour.
I have had the good fortune to know this past few years a survivor of the Westies. He is Fred West, who, at the time of this heroic battle, was a carrier Sergeant with Major Mahony at the Melfa. How these few were able to hold the bridgehead across the Melfa is something that will never be known! How the individual acts of bravery which were many are not recorded in any history books but remain in the hearts and minds of those few that were there. Only by writing a line or two will help their stand being remembered.
I had the occasion to have known Major Mahony as he was the officer in charge of B wing at the Fifth Division assault course that I attended in Dec. 1942. At the Melfa, Major Mahony, a quiet spoken chap from Westminster, rose to great heights and through his example and leadership along with such fellows as Fred West held the bridgehead under extreme conditions thus enabling the advance to continue. For this devotion to duty and heroics Major Mahony was awarded the Victoria Cross and was decorated by King George V1 on 31st July. Lt Perkins from the Lord Strathcona's was decorated with the DSO.
Just about then along came a BCD officer with three other troopers. The officer stopped to talk to us and we gave them a shot of rum also. This officer told us that he and each of the troopers with him were lone survivors of four tanks. The first trooper came from a different Squadron. The officer, on finding out that he was a tank driver finished the rum and said now I have a full crew of survivors. Let us get that tank out of the soft spot and return to the battle, which they did.