75129 Bombardier Thomas Sawley.

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Royal Field Artillery.

Awarded the Military Medal in the London Gazette of 22 January 1917.

Sawley was a native of Nelson, Lancashire.

The Burnley Express of 22 June 1917 reported, A NELSON MILITARY MEDALLIST. In the issue of February 23rd last, the following announcement appeared, 'Bombardier Thomas Sawley, of the R.F.A., son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Sawley of 23, Wilkinson Street, Nelson has been awarded the Military Medal for rescuing a wounded comrade from a gun pit, whilst under heavy fire in November last'. This soldier is 25 years of age, and enlisted on the 10 January 1915. He has been in France for eighteen months and has been favoured with exceptionally good luck, as all his former comrades have been killed and he has not received a scratch. Bombardier Sawley was formerly employed has a warp dresser at Barden Mills, Burnley.

The official record for his award reads, 'For conspicuous gallantry on the 6 November 1916 at Bienvillers. The battery whilst in action came under heavy 5.9 shell fire. Bombardier Sawley was acting as number 1 at the time and continued firing his gun with great coolness. Later, the detachments were ordered to withdraw, and Bombardier Sawley, having seen his men clear of the position, returned to the gun pit that had been knocked in and helped to get all the wounded men away. He helped Lieutenant Stephens to dig out a badly wounded gunner who was half buried inside the pit. During all this time the fire on his position was extreemly heavy. This N.C.O, has shown himself to be worthy of recognition on previous occasions for gallantry and devotion to duty'.