DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL, G.VI.R. ‘P.O., G. A. LOCK. R/JX.222155’; 1939-45 STAR; BURMA STAR; ITALY STAR; FRANCE AND GERMANY STAR; DEFENCE AND WAR MEDALS 1939-45.
D.S.M. London Gazette 6 November 1945:
‘For bravery, skill and great devotion to duty in the reconnaissance and destruction of unknown obstacles and mines, and in the rescue of survivors whose craft had been destroyed in a minefield, during the landing in the Baie de Cavallaire in the South of France, June to August, 1944,, and for similar good services in the landings in Normandy.’
The recommendations for this batch of awards are in Admiralty Honours and Awards file H&A 940/45 in the National Archives under reference ADM1/30497 which reads:
‘The Honours and Awards Committee has considered the good services of certain ratings in the destruction of underwater obstacles and mines during the invasion of the South of France, and submits that the King may be asked to approve the Awards set forth below. During the landings in the Baie de Cavallaire in the South of France these ratings successfully carried out under fire the initial reconnaissance of unknown obstacles and mines and achieved their destruction. They also did good work in helping to save the lives of wounded soldiers of the United States Army when the craft in which they were embarked struck mines and was sunk.’
The individual recommendation for Petty Officer Lock adds to this…
Lock, George Arthur, Petty Officer, R.N.
“For Gallantry and Devotion to Duty as Section Leader of “B” Section L.C.O.C.U. Unit No:1 in that,
during the landings in the “Baie de Cavallaire” South of France, he did on arrival at the beach carry out
the pre-arranged plan without further orders, and
1. Did successfully carry out the initial reconnaissance of unknown obstacles and mines in his area.
2. Did work continuously throughout the day on the destruction of the obstacles and mines until the job was completed.
3. Did assist in the saving of the lives of wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army 1st Division when the craft in which they were embarked struck mines and were sunk.
4. Did render valuable assistance of a similar nature during the landings in Normandy.”
Remarks of the Immediate Authority, Naval Officer in Charge, Appledore:
“Forwarded for favourable consideration. Although a long time has elapsed since the occurrences leading to the recommendation, it is understood that no such recommendation was forwarded by the Force Commander, and there is no doubt that much coolness and courage under fire was displayed in the course of the operations which are described.”
Petty Officer Lock’s recommendation is signed by Lieutenant R.E. Billington, D.S.C., who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his gallant service in the Normandy Landings, and a Bar to the D.S.C. for similar service in the Landings in the South of France whilst in specific command of L.C.O.C. Unit No. 1 and in overall charge of all four L.C.O.C. Units of Force “J”. The recommendation for Billington’s Bar to the D.S.C. is supported by an extract from a letter from Vice Admiral H.K. Hewitt, U.S.N. Commander United States Eighth Fleet, which describes the hazardous work of this L.C.O.C. Unit:
‘For distinguishing himself by heroic and meritorious achievement as officer in charge of a Naval Combat Demolition Unit on 15th August 1944. Lieutenant Billington, displaying the utmost skill and energy, organized and trained his unit in the hazardous procedure of clearing underwater obstacles, beach obstructions and reinforced defence positions to enable the initial boat waves to land and discharge assault troops, equipment and supplies over the selected beaches. Despite the experimental nature of demolitions in amphibious warfare and the heavily obstructed approaches encountered during the assault operations, he successfully led his unit to the assigned beach and by means of hand placed charges, cleared the approach channels of obstacles and shallow mines for the early and relatively safe passage of assault traffic. His expert and fearless action in clearing and widening their approaches contributed materially to the expeditious launching of the assault and the prompt establishment of the beachhead.’
More details on the L.C.O.C.U.’s can be found here:
The award of Lock’s D.S.M. is mentioned in the above link and presuming he had served with Unit 1 in both landings, this would mean he was landed to clear mines at Juno Beach with the Canadians The Landing Craft Obstacle Clearing units had previously been known as the Boom Commandos. Given his position as a section leader, it is likely Lock had served with this unit from near its inception. However his full service will require further research. Whether his Burma Star is for earlier Naval service or as a Frogmen; units were sent to the Far East later in the War, again needs to be researched. A most interesting Thesis can be downloaded here below and a great deal of information on L.C.O.C.U.’s can be found on the online:
And a Pathe News film on the L.C.O.C.U. Frogmen can be viewed here:
Regarding the landing in Southern France, this will require more research. What is know is since Lock’s recommendation states his gallantry took place at “Baie de Cavallaire” , we can see this was the area that the 3rd U.S. Infantry Division landed, part of VI Corps, not the 1st Infantry Division, which was a Division that landed at Normandy. His duties will have been the same for both the Southern France and D-Day landings, worth of which form part of his recommendation and since D-Day is far more widely written about, the following experiences at D-Day by other members of the L.C.O.C.U.’s are pertinent………
Seedies roll lists a total of only 10 D.S.M.s, 3 D.S.C.s, and one D.S.C. and Bar to L.C.O.C. Units during the Second War, mostly for the landings in Normandy and the South of France. For two other examples of D.S.M.s awarded to frogmen in L.C.O.C. Units see Dix Noonan Webb May 2017 (Lot 52, £16, 200) and July 2019 (Lot 81, £9.750). These latter specifically for D-Day, Lock’s for both landings:
Condition EF and rare. Mounted on card for display. Sold with a research, including the above recommendations. Also two books; ‘Beachhead Assault, the story of the Royal Navy Commandos in World War II’ and ‘The Frogmen, the story of the wartime underwater operators’.
A rare and quite outstanding Royal Navy Commando Frogman’s group.