PURCELL Harold Albert
7176, Lieutenant Colonel, 20 Armoured Regiment, WW2
30045 Brigadiers List (Regular Force)

Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Gazetted 1 January 1968, p42

Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 30 April 1946
Lieutenant Colonel H.A PURCELL has commanded an Armoured Regiment from May 1944 until the end of March 1945, and in all the numerous engagements in which his Regiment has taken part has led them with outstanding skill and gallantry.  In the Advance from Pisciatello in the Savio, despite very heavy going and heavy determined resistance , by his skillful maneuver and tactical handling of the Regiment, he drove a determined enemy back over four thousand yards inflicting heavy casualties upon them.  This necessitated numerous foot reconnaissances under heavy shell, mortar and machinegun fire but through his personal drive and courage all difficulties were successfully overcome.  Again north of Route 9 in the Faenza sector in December 1944 Lieutenant Colonel PURCELL played a major part in his Regiment’s share of forcing a stubborn enemy from well defended dug-in positions along the liner of the railway embankment.  Numerous reconnaissances, all under heavy mortar and shell fire, both by day and night had to be undertaken to find tank routes as the ground was extremely soggy and under snow.  This officer played a most important part in all this work and when our attack eventuated was able to give the closest tnk support to our infantry.  It was at this time that Lieutenant Colonel PURCELL was wounded.  After returning from hospital he commanded his Regiment again the arduous campaign from January to March 1945.  Conditions for soldiering were extremely difficult and trying, but his cheerfulness, courage and organizing ability proved of inestimable value to the Regiment and an inspiration to all his men.

Mention in Despatches

Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Distinguished Service Order
1939-45 Star
Africa Star
Italy Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
      Mention in Despatches
New Zealand War Service Medal
General Service Medal
Coronation Medal 1953
Efficiency Decoration and bar

Born 18 January 1915, Dunedin, New Zealand
Retired as Brigadier 1970
Died 27 March 2003 New Zealand