From the Publication Volunteers from Eire who have won Distinctions while serving with the British Forces:

[From Medal Recommendation]

“[24th Guards Brigade, 1st British Division, 6 American Corps

2718785 Guardsman, Lance-Corporal Maurice O'BRIEN, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS]

Lance-Corporal Maurice Terence O'Brien, Irish Guards, was awarded the Military Medal.

On the night attack of January 29/30, 1944, Lance-Corporal O'BRIEN was NCO in command of the 2-inch mortar of a forward platoon.  The company came up against strenuous enemy resistance, which included eight machine-gun posts, between the main ANZIO-ALBANO road and the railway which was the company's axis of advance.

The platoon suffered heavy casualties from the machine-guns and from enemy mortar fire.  The platoon was in danger of being pinned by the machine-guns and destroyed by the mortars, when Lance-Corporal O'BRIEN advanced towards the nearest stream of tracer and brought his mortar into action, totally ignoring his own great danger.  He effectively silenced the left-hand machine-gun post, thus enabling the remainder of his platoon to get round the flank.

This most courageous and inspiring example and the quick rallying of his platoon through the gap he had made, undoubtedly played a major part in helping his company to reach its objective and saved a great many lives.

The following day, when, owing to the presence of enemy tanks in the company's position, the company was ordered to withdraw to another position, Lance-Corporal O'BREN assumed command of a party of men whom he had found had been cut off, and by his initiative, gallantry and example fought his way back with this party. The party was under heavy machine-gun fire from both flanks and all the way this NCO provided, with a Bren gun, the covering fire for the bounds  by which the party made its way back, himself running the gauntlet each time to catch up with them and cover them over the next stretch of open country.

Lance-Corporal O'BRIEN comes from DUBLIN.

[For his continued gallantry and leadership in action I strongly recommend this N.C.O. be awarded the Military Medal.

Signed C.A. Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS]”

Click here to view 1Bn group photo, Chelsea Barracks, 1944

Sources: TNA; The Times; IG Journal, 1960

Photos: B. Sims