Tiplady Ronald L/Cpl 4452858

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Personnel Entry

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Name Tiplady Ronald
Army number 4452858
Rank Lance Corporal.
Decorations Military Medal - gazetted 6/6/1946 (awarded for escaping - see details below) ? T.D. Service Awards.
Date of birth Not yet known.
Age (At the time of his death). Not yet known.
Unit Enlisted in The Durham Light Infantry, no enlistment date as yet, but his number suggests 1938. Posted to the 8th Battalion. Posted to the 11th Battalion DLI - probably 1/9/1939. Served with the B.E.F. in Northern France. Reported missing 10/5/1940 - 16/6/1940. Known to have been taken Prisoner of War - notification dated 13/8/1940. Serial Escaper. Posted ? Bn DLI on return to the UK. Relegated to the Class Z Army Reserve 6/7/46, O/S Exe 1955 N/E. Commissioned General List - Army Cadet Force as a 2/Lt London 17/5/1949, Durham Acting Captain 1/7/1950.
Company/Battery 8th Battalion - B Company based at Chester-le-Street. 11th Battalion - Battalion HQ.
Platoon or other sub-unit 11th Battalion - probably Administration Platoon.
Task or role Initially Rifleman and possibly Rifle Section Commander. 11th Battalion - Provost Sergeant.
Joined Brigade Probably 1/9/1939.
Promotions Possibly Sergeant. Lieutenant 14/11/1952, Acting Captain 14/2/1953.
Wounded Not yet known.
Prisoner of War Yes - Stalag 21B, PoW Number 3883. (Escaper - reported to Odessa 1/4/1945).
Died/Killed in action Date of death not yet known.
Home address Joined Durham Police - Plawsworth - 1946, served London 1952. No family details as yet.
Source table 11DLI

When Captain Tiplady's Decorations were listed for sale by auction the catalogue entry read:-

'A scarce Second World War `POW Escapee` MM group to Captain R Tiplady, Durham Light Infantry, who was captured in France 1940 and over a period of five years escaped and was recaptured at least seven times and finally making it back through Russia in April 1945. Military Medal, G VI R. (4452858 R Tiplady. Durh LI), 1939-1945 Star, War Medal, rank erased to first, minor contact marks, good very fine and better, sold with copied research including debriefing report and recommendation. MM London Gazette 6/6/1946, No 4452858 Lance-Corporal Ronald Tiplady, The Durham Light Infantry

`For distinguished services rendered while Prisoners of War and for gallant and distinguished services whilst engaged in special and secret operations`.

The debriefing report on the award of the Military Medal incorporates the official citation and states: 4452858 L/Cpl Tiplady, Ronald, 11 Bn Durham Light Inf. Tiplady was captured in France in May 1940. His first escape was from a working camp in October 1941 when, having obtained civilian clothing, he cut his way through the roof of his hut. With the aid of Polish farmers he reached Gutenhaven where he hoped to get a boat to Sweden, but he was picked up by the police. A year later he made a similar attempt from Lichnau and was at liberty for 3-4 weeks getting as far as Kammin, travelling chiefly by rail. Between November 1942 and January 1943 he escaped three times. On one of these occasions he was with another soldier and once he climbed out of Fort 13 by rope and tied up the guard. These periods of liberty varied from three to eight days. He made several other partly successful attempts later and in July 1944 he and another soldier escaped from the working party at Weichselgard and after five days reached Thorn where they expected to get civilian clothes, but they were arrested by the police. In January 1945 on the march back to Germany Tiplady and another soldier broke away and were sheltered by a Polish family together with two others till the Russians arrived. They then all made their way to Odessa where they contacted the British on 1 April 1945. Captain Ronald Tiplady, commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the County of London TA, 17/5/49 (404367), Captain 14/2/53, it is therefore probable that Tiplady erased his rank on obtaining his promotion.'