Lance Bombardier Edward Wait, 25 and from Southsea, was serving with 444 Field Battery in 64 Field Regiment Royal Artillery, a London-based Territorial Army unit. The Regiment was part of the 56th (London Division) during the war in Italy in 1943. As an Observation Post Assistant to the Battery Commander, Wait had an important role in keeping communications flowing between the Observation Post, the Guns and the Infantry that the Battery was commanding. Frequently in the Second World War the Royal Artillery were called upon to provide support to Infantry attacks, and the Artillery Signals network often provided a link not only for the Gunners but other units too.
The Reccomendation for his Military Medal takes up the story:
On the night of 29 October 1943 444 Field Battery RA were supporting the 7th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the attack on the Tranzi feature 0492. Lance Bombardier Wait was performing the duties of O.P.A. to the Battery Commander’s party. In about the area 047916 the wireless set which was carried by a signaller got struck by a piece of shell which damaged the terminal wire and rendered the set unserviceable. At this particular moment, approximately 0230 hours, this set was the only means of communication to Brigade HQ as the Battalion set was disserviceable. To repair the wireless set was a delicate operation which entailed removing minute screws from the control panel. Lance Bombardier Wait worked coolly and patiently in the dark under heavy mortar and shelling and made good the repair in 15 minutes. The shelling was so intense that the Infantry were forced to take cover but Lance Bombardier Wait remained in the open with his set. Later on the set gave further trouble; infiltrating enemy made things very confused and Lance Bombardier Wait and one signaller got separated and lost touch with the rest of the party. He knew that the objective was a certain feature and through his determination to succeed at all costs he rejoined his Battery Commander on the feature at first light with his set through to the Battery. His complete disregard for personal safety was most noticeable, he is a young NCO and this was his first experience of an attack and his behaviour throughout was very fine indeed.
Lance Bombardier Wait’s Military Medal was announced in the London Gazette on 21 March 1944. He did not live to learn of the award, however. Wait was killed on 20 February 1944, during the amphibious assault in the Anzio Beachead. He is buried at Anzio War Cemetery.