MCNINCH, William Matthew
Royal Armoured Corps
Sangro River War Cemetery
Aged 31. Son of James and Elizabeth Bridget McNinch, St Gabriel's, barr's Brae, Port Glasgow. WHERE WILLIE McNINCH SLEEPS IN PEACE UNTIL THE DAWN. 1939-1943 With a gift for leadership and a great sense of humour, "Sergeant Bill" was worshipped by the men of the sub-section he led in the SRS (Special Raiding Squadron) unit of the SAS. See the map on this page for the raids he took part in, and the books "Stirling's Men" and "Paddy's Men" for the story of their service.
For outstanding courage under enemy fire in the battle for Bagnara, Italy in September 1943, he was awarded the Military Medal. The announcement in London Gazette appeared on January 13, 1944.
Sadly, earlier, during the battle of Termoli on Oct 4-6, Bill McNinch, absent from the initial landing raid due to a fresh wound, returned to his unit as a driver. He took his place in the cabin of a lorry about to take his unit to support the front line. The men piled in, armed to the teeth, the tailgate was fastened. Seconds later, the lorry received a direct hit from a German shell, which detonated the men's own explosives and caused terrible carnage. The SRS men who rushed in to sort things out, saw Sergeant McNinch still sitting upright in his cabin. But when the door was pulled open they saw that William McNinch was pierced through from the back by a huge piece of shrapnel, which had killed him and kept him upright. He was one of the 17 men who died by that shell�
Gravesite Details Lance Serjeant, Royal Armoured Corps. Att'd 1 Special Air Service Regiment. Unit: Special Raiding Squadron. Age: 29