Charles Littleboy

Medals awarded

  • Distinguished Service Order
  • Military Cross (and Bar)
  • British War Medal 1914-20
  • Victory Medal 1914-19
  • 1939-45 Star
  • Africa Star 1940-43
  • British War Medal 1939-45
    MID oak leaf
  • King George V Silver Jubilee Medal 1935
  • King George VI Coronation Medal 1937
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953
  • Territorial Decoration

One of the generation of soldiers, who by accident of the birth, ended up veterans of both the First and Second World Wars.

Charles Norman Littleboy was born in 1894 in Stockton, County Durham, his successful father running a shipbuilding business near Thornaby. Charles was educated at Rugby school and went on to Cambridge University.

In the First World War he served initially with the Durham Light Infantry and later with the Sherwood Foresters. He was awarded the Military Cross in December 1917 for conspicuous gallantry at Ramicourt. He had taken command when his Battalion Commander was wounded, and by his ‘fine leadership and dash’ the Battalion achieved its final objective. Later, while forming a defensive flank in the face of a strong enemy counter-attack, he was severely wounded in the abdomen, but refused to leave until the position was secure.

When the Territorial Army was formed from the Territorial Force in 1920, he joined the 4th Battalion The Green Howards and commanded ‘C’ Company, then based in Skelton. In 1924 he married Violet Pratt in London; in 1928 he became second in command of the Battalion and in 1931 he was appointed Commanding Officer. In 1939 he was recalled from the Reserve and re-assumed command of the 4th Battalion.

He commanded the Battalion in France in 1940 and took part in the Arras counter attack on the 21st of May and the battle on the Ypres-Comines canal; a key action helping save the British Expeditionary force at Dunkirk. He was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

In 1941-42 he led the Battalion in the Western Desert operations. Here he saw action preceding Rommel’s victorious thrust through the Gazala line. He was forced to return to England because of his age just before his Battalion was forced to surrender due to lack of supplies and heavy casualties.

When the war ended Colonel Littleboy and his wife settled in Howe near Thirsk.  He kept in close touch with regimental affairs for the rest of his life. He died on the 7th of April 1966.