b. 13/04/1920 Bexhill, Sussex. d. 10/07/1943 M'Saken, Tunisia.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 10/07/1943 M'Saken, Tunisia.
Charles Alfred Duncan (1920-1943) was born on 13th April 1920 in Bexhill on Sea, Sussex, one of eleven children born to Sidney John and Elizabeth Duncan (nee Waters). He grew up in the village of Sidley. Little is known about his childhood, though he did enlist in the Army prior to the outbreak of World War II, serving with The Buffs Regiment.
On the outbreak of hostilities, he had transferred into the Signal Platoon, 4th Parachute Battalion in the 2nd Parachute Brigade, which was posted to North Africa in April 1943. On the 10th July 1943, the 1st Air Landing Brigade was to capture the bridge at Ponte Grande, Italy, and the 2nd Parachute Brigade a bridge near Augusta, Italy. Thus, the Parachute Brigade waited at M’Saken Airfield, Tunisia for the order to fly to Sicily.
On the 10th July 1943, Private Duncan, on returning to his camp near M’Saken airfield, after the postponement of an airborne operation, was removing primed grenades from his equipment in the company of a number of his comrades. One grenade fell to the ground and Duncan noticed that the safety pin was out. Realising the danger to the men he threw himself on to the ground and held the grenade until it exploded. He saved all the other men at the cost of his own life. Duncan was posthumously awarded the GC on 9th November 1943. He was buried in Enfidaville War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Charles’ medals including his GC, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star with “1st Army” clasp, Defence Medal 1939-45 and War Medal 1939-45 were presented to the Airborne Forces Museum in Aldershot in 1972. The Museum is now at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: AIRBORNE FORCES MUSEUM, DUXFORD.
BURIAL PLACE: ENFIDAVILLE WAR CEMETERY, TUNISIA.
PLOT 3, ROW B, GRAVE 28.
Charles Alfred Duncan GC is buried in Plot III, B. 28
Picture - Thomas Stewart