Lionel Ernest Queripel VC, 1920-1944

Lionel, son of Leslie Queripel CMG DSO and Sybil Queripel née Kidner, was born on 13 July 1920 at Winterborne Monkton, Dorset, in the shadow of Maiden Castle.

War Office,
1st February 1945

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:

No. 108181 Captain Lionel Ernest Queripel The Royal Sussex Regiment (1st Airborne Division) (Dorchester)

In Holland on the 19th September 1944, Captain Queripel was acting as Company Commander of a composite Company composed of three Parachute Battalions. At 14.00 hours on that day, his Company was advancing along a main road which ran on an embankment towards Arnhem. The advance was conducted under continuous medium machine-gun fire which, at one period, became so heavy that the Company became split up on either side of the road and suffered considerable losses. Captain Queripel at once proceeded to reorganize his force, crossing and recrossing the road whilst doing so, under extremely heavy and accurate fire. During this period he carried a wounded Sergeant to the Regimental Aid Post under fire and was himself wounded in the face. Having reorganized his force, Captain Queripel personally led a party of men against the strong point holding up the advance. This strong point consisted of a captured British anti-tank gun and two machine-guns. Despite the extremely heavy fire directed at him, Captain Queripel succeeded in killing the crews of the machine guns and recapturing the anti-tank gun. As a result of this, the advance was able to continue.

Later in the same day, Captain Queripel found himself cut off with a small party of men and took up a position in a ditch. By this time he had received further wounds in both arms. Regardless of his wounds and of the very heavy mortar and spandau fire, he continued to inspire his men to resist with hand grenades, pistols and the few remaining rifles. As, however, the enemy pressure increased, Captain Queripel decided that it was impossible to hold the position any longer and ordered his men to withdraw. Despite their protests, he insisted on remaining behind to cover their withdrawal with his automatic pistol and a few remaining hand grenades. This is the last occasion on which he was seen. During the whole of a period of nine hours of confused and bitter fighting Captain Queripel displayed the highest standard of gallantry under most difficult and trying circumstances. His courage leadership and devotion to duty were magnificent and an inspiration to all. This officer is officially reported to be wounded and missing.

Transcribed from the original London Gazette citation, Thursday 1 February 1945

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