1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment 1944-45 - Awards and Citations
T/Major Jack Dillon RICKETTS (66129)
John Ricketts as he liked to be known was recommended by Lieut.-Col. A. W. N. L. Vickers on the 3rd January 1945 for an immediate Distinguished Service Order.
Distinguished Service Order (London Gazette date 5th April 1945)
"On 18th November 1944, Major Ricketts was commanding the leading Company of the Battalion in the attack on RISCHDEN and TRIPSRATH. The tanks and FOO supporting the attack were unable to reach the F.U.P. owing to the mud and the leading Platoon of his Company were engaged in close quarter fighting in the woods near the F.U.P.
Enemy shell fire was intense, but major RICKETTS moved freely about in the operation with utter disregard for his own safety. He organised fire support for the attack on RISCHDEN from a Platoon of another Battalion. He found one tank and personally ordered the commander to support the attack, he then returned to his Company and led them into RISCHDEN in the face of intense enemy fire. He moved with the leading sections and by his example swept the enemy from the village. On consolidation, the village was under intense fire from mortars and heavy guns of the SIEGFRIED Line, but Major RICKETTS was continually around his men encouraging them and organising the consolidation. At this time the Commanding Officer was wounded and Major RICKETTS took over command of the Battalion for the attack on TRIPSRATH. Again he moved about under fire arranging the fire plan with the FOO, organising tank support and moving the assaulting Companies on to the Start Line. The attack on TRIPSRATH succeeded, again Major RICKETTS was tireless in his organisation of the consolidation. He personally led the FOO and one Anti-Tank gun up to TRIPSRATH under fire.
Major J. D. Ricketts
Three times during the night under intense mortar fire he visited all Platoon areas and encouraged and cheered the men.
At 0800 hours the next morning the enemy launched a counter attack on both RISCHDEN and TRIPSRATH. Once again Major RICKETTS, under short range fire from five German S.P. guns, went round the position at RISCHDEN and by his magnificent example, so inspired the men that the counter attack was driven off with heavy casualties to the enemy.
During the whole of this operation Major RICKETTS by his superb leadership and devotion to duty inspired all ranks of the Battalion. He was absolutely fearless and at the crisis of the battle accepted great responsibility. Without previous experience he commanded the Battalion and led them through a most difficult attack. His conduct was of the very highest order."
John Ricketts was commissioned into the Worcestershire Regiment from Sandhurst on 29th August 1935. After 15 months' service with the 1st Battalion in Aldershot he was posted to the 2nd Battalion in Sialkot, India, until going on leave to the UK just before the outbreak of war. On mustering for mobilisation at Norton Barracks he was made Assistant Adjutant and Signals Officer of the ITC, The Worcestershire Regiment. In May 1941 he became Adjutant of 10th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment in Northern Ireland and from January 1942 to July 1944 was a Company Commander in that Battalion.
In September 1944 he was posted to the 1st Battalion, as ‘B’ Company Commander. During the attack on Rischden and Tripsrath he took command of the Battalion when the CO was wounded. At an investiture on the 18th March 1945, at Afferden, The Netherlands, he received his D.S.O.
From August 1945 he spent five months as a Company Commander with the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwicks before he became DAAG HQ 3 Infantry Division in Palestine. In June 1946 he attended the Staff College Course at Quetta, from which he was appointed Brigade Major of, successively, 6 British Independent Parachute Brigade in India and 3 Parachute Brigade in Palestine. He then spent three years as a GSO II with the Ministry of Supply in London.
In May 1951 he rejoined the 1st Battalion as a Company Commander on operations in Malaya where he was Mentioned in Dispatches. In September 1953 he returned to London to become DAQMG Quartering at the War Office from where he was appointed to command the Regimental Depot at Norton Barracks. At the conclusion of his tour in January 1958 he was promoted Lieut.-Col to command The Hong Kong Regiment, which appointment he held until returning to the UK in April 1960 to retire.
After retirement he began a remarkable 20 years at RHQ, first as Assistant Regimental Secretary and for the last five years as Regimental Secretary The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant (Worcestershire) in 1984 and he spent much time on the County Bench as a Magistrate.
Lieut.-Colonel John Ricketts died on the 22nd November 1992.