THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
PAGE James Russell
1524, Lieutenant Colonel, 26 Battalion, New Zealand Infantry, WW2

CITATION
Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Gazetted


Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 17 March 1942, p1261
This Officer has commanded 26 (NZ) Battalion since its formation in May 1940.  He led it in action during the Greek campaign with marked success and again during the campaign in Libya.  On 23 November 1941 his Battalion was in a position some 7 miles south west of Sidi Rezegh when it was attacked by a much larger enemy force including a number of tanks.  In the course of this engagement some of our forward defended localities under a mistaken interpretation of an order began to withdraw.  On seeing this Lieutenant Colonel Page immediately rushed to the affected area and with a fine courage and total disregard for danger he rallied his troops who retook their former positions in the face of enemy opposition and in one case by a bayonet charge.  But for Lieutenant Colonel Page’s prompt and courageous action and the great confidence of the troops in his leadership the enemy penetration of the position would have had very serious consequences. The battalion continued to hold its ground and inflicted very severe losses on the enemy.  That same night 26 Battalion was ordered to rejoin the Brigade Group in the vicinity of Hill 176.  Lieutenant Colonel Page skillfully disengaged from the enemy and though he had to fight a rearguard action on the way he bought his force to the positioning perfect order and with surprisingly few casualties considering the losses he had inflicted on the enemy.  On the night of 24/25 November, 26 Battalion made a successful advance against considerable enemy opposition for a distance of about three miles in the direction of Sidi Rezegh Aerodrome. 

Mention in Despatches
Gazetted


AWARDS
Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
1939-45 Star
Africa Star
War Medal 1939-45
      Mention in Despatches
New Zealand War Service Medal
Coronation Medal 1953

NOTES
Born 10 May 1908, Dunedin, New Zealand
Died 22 May 1985, Auckland, New Zealand