D.C.M. (GV1), 1939/45 Star, Africa Star, clasp, 1st Army, France & Germany Star, War Medal
A.Sjt. J. Stephenson. Gordons.
D.C.M. L.G. 14/1/1943, 1st. Btn. Gordon Highlanders, (Ballykinlen, Co. Down)
Immediate award for El Alamein.
'On the night of 27th October 1942, A/Sgt. Stephenson located an enemy sniper and accompanied by an officer, stalked and killed him. The following morning A/Sgt. Stephenson discovered that another sniper had moved up to the same position and was firing at the Coy. on his right. Without hesitation and regardless of his own safety, A/Sgt. Stephenson jumped from his trench and crawled across 100 yards of open, bullet swept ground, and shot the sniper with his Tommy gun. This was in broad daylight and despite the fact that the sniper continued to fire at him.'
Sgt. Stephenson was killed in action, Normandy, 23.8.1944, ironically by a sniper.' He wass 31, he left a widow, Mary Ann Stephenson of Lisburn, Co. Antrim. He is buried in St. Desir War Cemetery, Calvados, France.
His platoon commander recalled the battle of El Alamein ‘The next day I had only one NCO left in the platoon, a corporal who was not suitable to be my sergeant. So after an argument, I had managed to get Pte. Stephenson to be my sergeant instead of the corporal who retired to the rear. Stephenson was Officer’s Mess Sergeant in the South Staffordshire Depot but he wanted action, which was refused, so he collected the Christmas turkey too late to be cooked! He therefore joined us as a private. He was the greatest support I ever had. Unfortunately he was killed by a sniper in Normandy when I was not there……….That morning we were bothered by a sniper, that night we dealt with him and his telephone. By night we patrolled and Sergeant Stephenson dealt with two more snipers………I did alternate nights on deep patrols. I always took Sergeant Stephenson and Pte. Laurie but the CO told me to take different men on each patrol – these patrols meant going behind the enemy isolated forward positions and as we three knew each others moves I suggested he gave me some easier patrols to teach others”.