On 31 July 2020 the town of Waroona in WA held a funeral service for HMAS Shropshire veteran Mr Forrest (Mick) Jenkins, DSM who, at 97, was Waroona’s last surviving Australian WWII veteran and one of the last living former WWII sailors in Australia to hold a Distinguished Service Medal.
The DSM was only awarded for bravery in the face of the enemy. Forrest was in A turret of the Australian heavy cruiser when a mechanical failure to the gun’s loading mechanism meant that the cordite charges could only be got into the gun’s breech by hand. It was AB Jenkins who enabled his gun to keep firing by repeatedly lifting the cordite bags into the hot breach of his 8 inch gun.
This occurred during the heat of battle at Lingayen Gulf when Shropshire was providing vital naval gunfire support to the beach landing of American troops. He served onboard HMAS Shropshire from 1943-46 throughout the Pacific campaign including service in New Guinea, Borneo, Brunei, and the Philippines, including the Battles of Leyte Gulf and Lingayen Gulf.
Mr Jenkins was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for ‘gallantry, skill and devotion to duty shown during the assault at Lingayen Gulf on 6th January 1945.’