1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment 1944-45 - Awards and Citations

WS/Capt. T/Major Bryan Norman Rawnsley ELDER, M.B.E. (130065)

Bryan Elder was recommended by Lieut.-Col. M. R. J. Hope-Thomson on the 8th May 1945 for a periodical Military Cross.

Military Cross (London Gazette date 11th October 1945.)


“On 14th April 1945 Major ELDER commanded the Battalion Advance Guard, a force of all arms, with the task of opening the road from CLOPPENBURG to AHLHORN. His quick appreciation and decisions, the result of personal reconnaissance with his leading troops, and in each case exposed to fire from nearby woods, enabled his men rapidly to overcome each of the many craters and road blocks impeding the advance. The bridge over the R. LETHE had been blown and the far bank was firmly held by the enemy.

Realising the importance of enabling the rapid construction of a crossing, Maj. ELDER immediately led two Platoons on foot through the river, in the face of heavy enemy fire, and seized and consolidated a vital bridgehead. While passing among his men, quite regardless of the still heavy fire, supervising the consolidation, and obliteration of attempted enemy counter attacks, Maj. ELDER was severely wounded. Although in great pain he would not be evacuated until assured that his Battalion HQ knew his situation, and that the command of the so important bridgehead had been properly provided for.

The courage, and total disregard of his personal safety shown this day by Maj. ELDER are but typical of his conduct throughout the six months he has commanded ‘D’ Coy. Previously during the battles past CLEVE down to GOCH, and immediately after crossing the R. RHINE, his cheerful and inspiring leadership led his company from success to success.

His bearing, cheerful personality, and dash – (always taking that “extra personal risk”) – have throughout been the greatest asset to his battalion, and marked him as an outstanding leader who men will follow anywhere.”

Major B. N. R. Elder, M.B.E.



Bryan Elder was born on 17th June 1916 at The Vicarage, Denby Lane, Codnor, Derby. He was educated at St. John’s School, Leatherhead. When war broke out he made an application to the War Office to attend an Officers Training Company and received a posting to 8 weeks Army Training at Maidstone with the Royal West Kent Regiment. Later he moved to an Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) at Colchester. He was finally commissioned in to the Sherwood Foresters in May 1940 and was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters in Scotland. He was then posted with them to Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and later to Iceland.

In August 1944 he was posted to the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment at Berjou on the 15th August 1944 as 2i/c of ‘D’ Company.

After Major Mowbray Souper, his commanding officer, was killed by machine gun fire at Elst on the 24th September 1944, he took over command of ‘D’ Company and continued to command ‘D’ Company until he received a machine gun wound to the right leg at Ahlhorn, Germany on the 14th April 1945. He was evacuated to a field hospital where his wounds were attended to, and then flown back to Basingstoke to the Park Prewett Army Hospital for further treatment.

After the war he became a Chartered Surveyor and J.P. He died at Matlock on the 8th February 2000, age 83.


Major Bryan Elder on the River Maas at Afferden (March 1945)