Derek Cartmel

Medals awarded

  • Military Cross
  • 1939-45 Star
  • Africa Star 1940-43
  • Defence Medal 1939-45
  • War Medal 1939-45
  • General Service Medal 1918-62

Clasp Malaya

Derek Cartmel was born in India in 1922. During the Second World War he had served with the 3/18th Royal Garhwal Rifles and was awarded the Military Cross for his leadership in Italy in numerous battles and grinding out victories from defensive positions: ‘his excellent work and throughout the campaign his leadership, initiative, and handling of his Company have been of the highest order’.

Cartmel joined the 1st Battalion Green Howards in Malaya in 1950. Described as ‘Fair, Firm, Fun, Fearless, and at times Fierce and Formidable’, during his service in Malaya he fulfilled several roles; Company Commander, Company second-in-command, Detachment Commander and Battalion Mortar Officer.

In command of ‘C’ Company, he was tasked with keeping the railway line between Gemas and Batang Malake clear of bandit derailment and did so for nine months. The previous year there had been 17 derailments in the space of seven weeks.

Whilst commanding the Detachment Company in Hong Kong, his verbal reports, submitted at the weekly Commanding Officer’s conference were worth a ‘guinea a minute’ and generally consisted of reports on newly-joined officers: WEEK 1: No B…… good! WEEK 2: Better than useless. WEEK 3: Improving WEEK 4: Excellent!

After spells in the Sierra Leone Regiment and on the Staff, Cartmel retired in 1968. He died in 2005. Lieutenant-Colonel G Wesley would remember Derek as ‘A fun and fearless person – just the person you would want to serve with when the going was tough and nerves needed to be steadied.’