All The George Crosses of World War Two

Discussion in 'General' started by Drew5233, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Donald Owen Clarke

    Title/Rank: Apprentice

    Unit/Occupation: M.V. San Emiliano (London), Merchant Navy

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: August 1942, off Trinidad, Caribbean

    The citation in the London Gazette of 20th July 1943, gives the following particulars:

    No Citation listed.

    Circumstances of Clarke’s George Cross:

    The San Emiliano was a tanker sailing out of Trinidad with a cargo of petrol. She was around 48 hours out of port when she was hit by two torpedoes (U-155). Fire broke out from the bridge to the poop.

    Severely burned Clarke struggled to the deck from the accommodation quarters and got in the only lifeboat that left the ship. The boat was crammed with crew members, all were suffering from burns.

    The lifeboat started to drift back towards the burning ship and many were unable to help due to their injuries so Clarke took up one of the oars and started pulling for two hours.

    When the boat was clear of danger the others realised how badly Clarke was injured. His hands had to be cut away from the oar, as the burnt flesh had stuck to it.

    Lying in the bottom of the boat Clarke sang songs to his ship mates to help keep their spirits up.

    Clarke died the following day of his wounds.


    Additional Information:

    Clarke joined the MN aged 16.

    Also awarded Liverpool Shipowners' Silver Medal and Brave Conduct Badge.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Tower Hill Memorial
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    William George Foster

    Title/Rank: Lieutenant

    Unit/Occupation: 7th Wiltshire (Salisbury) Battalion, Home Guard

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 13th September 1942 at Ashley Hill, near Salisbury, Wiltshire

    The citation in the London Gazette of 27th November 1942, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found

    Circumstances of Foster’s George Cross:

    Foster was training a section of new recruits in the Home Guard and demonstrating how to throw hand grenades.

    The recruits took it in turn to throw a grenade to practise the required technique. One of the recruits failed to throw it far and high enough which resulted in the hand grenade rolling back down the parapet into the trench.

    The fuse of the grenade and seconds to go and without hesitation Foster hurled himself onto the grenade before it exploded.

    The grenade exploded and killed Foster instantly and by sacrificing himself Foster saved all the other men from death and injury.



    Additional Information:

    Lieutenant Foster is the oldest direct recipient of the George Cross.

    Foster fought in the Boer War with the 2nd Imperial Light Horse returning to Britain seriously wounded.

    Foster was medically discharged but joined the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers and fought at Ypres and Mons and was mentioned in dispatches three times.

    Foster won the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Cross in 1916 while serving with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He was commissioned in 1916 and retired in 1919 as a Captain.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Graham Leslie Parish

    Title/Rank: Sergeant

    Unit/Occupation: Observer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 16th September 1942, Kartoum Airfield, Sudan

    The citation in the London Gazette of 2nd April 1943, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found

    Circumstances of Parish’s George Cross:

    Parish was a Navigator on a bomber and shortly after take-off the aircraft’s Port engine failed so the pilot attempted to return to the airfield and land.

    Unfortunately the aircraft struck a building and burst into flames due to the pilot being unable to make full use of the brakes because of the nature of the ground.

    All of the crew scrambled free of the aircraft except a passenger who had suffered two broken legs and Parish. At the time of the crash Parish was at the Astro-Hatch and could have escaped but he opted to go to the aid of the passenger who was unable to escape due to his injuries and the fact that the aircrafts undercarriage had collapsed preventing any escape from the emergency door in the floor of the fuselage.

    Parish carried the man some eight yards to the rear turret and the plan was quickly devoured in flames. Both men were overcome by the flames and fumes and burned to death.

    When the fire was extinguished both men were found in the rear of the aircraft with Parish supporting the injured man. Parish could have escaped through the Astro-Hatch at the time of impact but he chose to help the injured passenger.

    As in the case of many George Cross awards Parish’s selflessness sadly cost him his life.


    Additional Information:

    Parish enlisted into the RAFVR in August 1940.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Both pictures supplied by Chris (WW2Talk)

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    Khartoum War Cemetery
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Francis Anthony Blair Fasson

    Title/Rank: Lieutenant

    Unit/Occupation: H.M.S. Petard, Royal Navy

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 30th October 1942, Mediterranean

    The citation in the London Gazette of 14th September 1943, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found

    Circumstances of Fasson’s George Cross:

    On 30th October 1942 U-559 was spotted by a British Sunderland Aircraft off Haifa and its location was reported to the Royal Navy’s Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla which initiated a search of the area.

    HMS Petard, sailing towards Haifa, was ordered to the boat's suspected position. Three other destroyers, Pakenham, Dulverton and Hurworth joined in the search. Asdic contact was made shortly after midday, Petard attacked first, dropping five depth charges at 12:57. Dulverton then joined in the attack, this continued for several hours. Although oil was sighted and escaping air heard there was no sign of the sub. Eventually contact was lost. It was suspected the U-boat was silent below 500 feet, beyond the fuze range of the depth charges.

    Permission was sought to block up the depth fuzes with soap to increase their working range, Petard fired off ten soaped up charges at 6:42. This caused the sub to move, contact was regained and the attack continued. At 10:42 the sub finally surfaced in the darkness and was soon under the destroyers searchlights. By that time a total of 288 depth charges had been fired at the sub. Gunfire soon fell on the U-boat but is was clear she was being abandoned and a cease fire order was given. Lt. Fasson started lowering the starboard boat. Petard's commander (Lt. Cmd. Mark Thornton DSC) ordered Sub. Lt. G. Gordon Connell to make his way to the U-boat. He was joined by Able Seaman Colin Grazier who had stripped off to enter the water. Lt. Fasson then apeared and ordered Connell to stay in the whaler and take it towards the U-boat. The other two swam towards the sub, by then joined by 15 year old Tommy Brown, a canteen assistant. When the men reached the boat, they found lights still on and two bodies inside. Water was pouring into the conning tower from shell holes in the plates. Fasson and Grazier climbed into the control room and made towards the captain's quarters. Breaking into cabinets, they retrieved some papers and a wooden case fixed to a wall. These were passed along to Brown who was inside the tower. He made his way up the ladder and handed the material to the whaler which was now alongside. Brown went down again to bring up more documents. On the third trip the men were ordered out, Brown shouted to them to come up. They had just started out when the submarine swiftly sank. Fasson and Grazier had not been able to overcome the inrush of water.

    On 1st February 1942, the German Navy had added a fourth rotor to the Enigma machine. Bletchley Park codebreakers were unable to read the new U-boat ciphers. From January to December, 239 Allied ships in convoys had been sunk by U-boat and a further 840 independently sailed sinkings. Although the wiring of the fourth rotor had been recovered by Bletchley the previous year when it had been used in error, they were unable to break into the new codes, there were just too many variables.

    The material captured from the U-boat included the short weather code book 'Wetterkurzschluessel' and 'Kurzsignalheft', a short signal codebook. These two books contained codes for reporting weather, ship sightings and position reports, before being enciphered with the Enigma machine. These short signals were used to minimise direction finding bearings being taken on long radio transmissions from U-boats. These documents arrived at Bletchley Park on 24 November. On Sunday 13 December, the cryptanalysts in Hut 8 broke back into the naval codes. A telephone call to the Submarine Tracking room reported the position of over 12 U-boats. Convoys could be re-routed past these. Ship sinkings halved in January and February 1943. This U-boat key (Shark) continued to be read until the end of the war in Europe.

    Fasson and Grazier, a native of Tamworth, Staffordshire, both received posthumously The George Cross and Brown received The George Medal for their actions that day. When it was discovered he was underage, Brown was sent home. He died two years later while attempting to rescue his younger sister from their burning home.




    Additional Information:

    Also received a MiD in 1940.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:



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    Portsmouth Naval Memorial

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    Bedrule Parish Church
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Colin Grazier

    Title/Rank: Able Seaman

    Unit/Occupation: H.M.S. Petard, Royal Navy

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 30th October 1942, Mediterranean

    The citation in the London Gazette of 14th September 1943, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found

    Circumstances of Grazier’s George Cross:

    U-559 was spotted by a British Aircraft and its location was reported to the Royal Navy’s Twelfth Destroyer Flotilla which initiated a search of the area.

    The submarine was located and attacked with depth charges either to sink or cause the craft to surface and surrender. The U-Boat was damaged and caused the Captain to surface with all the destroyers guns bought to bare on the crew promptly surrendered.

    With time against Grazier and Lieutenant Fasson they stripped off and swam to the submarine with the view of retrieving any secret documents or equipment with the help of NAFFI canteen assistant Tommy Brown who was later awarded a George Medal.

    On boarding the U-Boat they found that she was taking on water and to add to the difficulty there was no lighting.

    Whilst conducting the search the submarine suddenly started to submerge beneath the waves and the submarine sunk without further warning giving no chance for Grazier or Fasson to effect an escape.


    Additional Information:

    There is some speculation that the two men were to be awarded VC’s but due to the secrecy of Enigma it was turned down.

    It is more likely the circumstances did not fit the VC criteria.

    In Grazier's hometown of Tamworth there is now a Hotel, Avenue, office block and a beer named in his honour.

    In 2003, a statue of 3 anchors was sculpted in their honour.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Portsmouth Naval Memorial
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Lionel Colin Matthews

    Title/Rank: Captain

    Unit/Occupation: 2nd Battalion, 8 Division Signals, Australian Corps of Signals, Australian Military Forces

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Australian

    Date and Place of GC Action: August 1942 - November 1942, PoW, Sandakan, Borneo

    The citation in the London Gazette of 28th November 1947, gives the following particulars:

    Captain Matthews was as a prisoner of war held by the Japanese in Sandakan, Borneo between August 1942 and March 1944.
    During this period although in captivity he directed personally an underground intelligence organization. By sheer determination and organization he arranged through native contacts for the delivery of sorely needed medical supplies, food and money into the camp - factors which not only kept up the morale of courage of the prisoners but which undoubtedly saved the lives of many.

    He was instrumental in arranging a radio link with the outside world and was able to send weekly news bulletins to the civil internees on Berhala Island. He was also responsible for arranging for the delivery of fire arms to a secret rendezvous for future use.
    Captain Matthews gained the confidence of H.E. the Governor of British North Borneo - himself an internee in that area - and was appointed to Command (although still a PW) the North British Armed Constabulary. At great danger he organized that body in readiness for a rising against the Japanese and also organized a movement amongst the loyal native population in Sandakan for a similar purpose. He gained contact with the Guerrilla Forces in the Phillipines and successfully organized escape parties. His ultimate object was to link up with outside forces and to stage eventually a resistance movement and insurrection at the first opportunity.

    These activities of Captain Matthews were carried out at the greatest peril to himself at all times. His contact with the natives was on a doubtful basis and he was in constant danger of betrayal and death. He accepted these risks fearlessly and showed the greatest courage and enterprise, although beaten and tortured by the Japanese.

    He was in a position where he could have escaped on numerous occasions by means of the help of an organization set up by the Chinese but he declined, electing to remain where his efforts could alleviate the sufferings of his fellow prisoners.

    He displayed the greatest gallantry in circumstances of the gravest danger. His leadership conduct, unflagging optimism and impertability were an inspiration to all closely associated with him in the resistance organization and to his fellow prisoners.

    After his arrest by the Kempei Tai Capt. Matthews showed courage of the highest order. He steadfastly refused to make admissions under brutal torture, beatings and starvation to implicate or endanger the lives of his associates. His conduct at all times was that of a very brave and courageous gentleman and he worthily upheld the highest traditions of an Australian Officer.



    Additional Information:

    Matthews joined the Australian Army on 10th June 1940.

    Matthews was also awarded the MC.

    Matthews was shot by firing squad, along with two members of the Borneo constabulary and six other Asians on 2nd March 1944.

    Matthews’s body was exhumed in 1946 and laid to rest in the Labuan War Cemetery.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Labuan War Cemetery, Malaysia
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cyril Arthur Joseph Martin

    Title/Rank: Captain, Temporary Major

    Unit/Occupation: Corps of Royal Engineers

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 17/18th January 1943, Battersea, London

    The citation in the London Gazette of 11th March 1943, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found

    Circumstances of Martin’s George Cross:

    A bomb had fallen into a warehouse in Battersea packed with vital tools and machinery recently delivered from America and failed to explode.

    By this stage in the war Martin was one of the most experienced bomb disposal officers in London and was an obvious selection for the task of making this bomb safe.

    On examination Martin discovered the bomb had a completely new kind of fuse so he decided to steam out the explosive rather than dismantle to fuse system. Martin softened the explosive bit by bit scraping the soft substance out of the casing.

    After working on the bomb for an incredible 16 hours Martin managed to extract all the explosive from the bombs casing.



    Additional Information:

    Martin was commissioned 17th August 1940.

    Also awarded MC.

    Martin was the first honorary secretary of the VC and GC Association from 1961 to 1970.
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    George Preston Stronach

    Title/Rank: Chief Officer

    Unit/Occupation: SS Ocean Voyager, Merchant Navy

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 19th March 1943, Tripoli Harbour

    The citation in the London Gazette of 23rd November 1943, gives the following particulars:

    When the ship was lying in harbour, a severe aircraft attack developed and she was hit and at once caught fire. The vessel had a large consignment of petrol and ammunition on board, which was exploding heavily all the time and in spite of strenuous efforts which were made to fight the fire she had to be abandoned. The Master was killed by the explosion and the responsibility for further operations devolved on the Chief Officer.

    He had been rendered temporarily unconscious but recovered almost immediately and went forward to look for survivors. He found a number of the crew sheltering in the alley way and, braving the exploding ammunition, led them to a boat alongside which took them to safety. In order to provide for the transport of any other survivors who might be found, he then lowered another boat and brought it alongside the ship. Although the vessel was now burning furiously Mr Stronach made his way to the officer’s accommodation amidships. Finding a hose with a trickle of water coming through, he held this over his head and so kept himself sufficiently wet to protect him from the worst of the heat and flames. With great difficulty he climbed into the collapsed accommodation and found one of the deck officers, unconscious and badly burned. Mr Stronach pulled him clear and dragged him along the deck to the lowered boat. Returning to the accommodation, he began to remove the debris from another officer who was trapped. By almost superhuman efforts he dragged the man through the porthole and along the deck. He then tied a rope around his waist and lowered him over the side to the boat. As the situation was becoming desperate Mr Stronach ordered a man to take the boat to safety and once again he returned amidships where he discovered an officer who had been severely injured. Dragging him along the deck to the side of the ship, he tied a rope around him and lowered him over the side on to a raft which had returned to the ship in response to his calls. Again Mr Stronach continued his search for survivors and, taking a final look round aft, he saw a greaser lying unconscious in the scuppers. He dragged this man to the side of the ship, but finding there was no raft or boat alongside, put a lifebelt around him and threw him overboard. When he was satisfied that there were no further survivors the Chief Officer jumped overboard and swam to a raft which, under his direction, returned to pick up the injured greaser. In the full knowledge that she was likely to blow up at any moment Chief Officer Stronach stayed on this burning vessel searching for survivors for an hour and twenty minutes. His inspiring leadership induced a number of the crew to get away and so saved their lives and by his gallant efforts, undertaken with utter disregard of his personal safety, he saved the lives of three officers and a greaser, all of whom were badly hurt. His action equals any in the annals of the Merchant Navy for great and unselfish heroism and determination in the face of overwhelming odds.


    Additional Information:
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Frederick John Cradock

    Title/Rank: Mr.

    Unit/Occupation: Boiler man

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 4th May 1943, Glemsford, Suffolk

    The citation in the London Gazette of 10th September 1943, gives the following particulars:

    An explosion occurred, with the result that a boiler house was filled with scalding steam and water, and a man was trapped in a well between the furnace and the boiler. Cradock, who was on top of the furnace, could have jumped to safety on the side away from the steam, but he refused to do so and, calling for a ladder, turned into the escaping steam and attempted to get down into the well to haul out his workmate. Before he could do so he was overcome and severely scalded. He staggered away from, the steam and at this point could still have jumped to safety but, despite his terrible injuries, he returned to make a second gallant effort to get down into the well.

    He died in making the attempt. Cradock showed outstanding heroism and gave his life in an endeavour to save his workmate.



    Additional Information:

    Cradock enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in 1915.

    Cradock served with 156th Bde in France and Belgium during WW1.
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Kenneth Gerald Spooner

    Title/Rank: Leading Aircraftman

    Unit/Occupation: Student Navigator, Royal Canadian Air Force

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Canadian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 14th May 1943, Lake Erie, Ontario, Canada

    The citation in the London Gazette of 7th January 1944, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found.

    Circumstances of Spooner’s George Cross:

    Spooner was one of four men on a training flight near Lake Erie on 14th May 1943. A short while after the aircraft took off the pilot passed out. After failing in trying to revive the pilot Spooner took control of the aircraft have no flying experience to speak of and told the other three men to bail out.

    All three men landed safely by parachute and Spooner attempted to land the aircraft. Having never attempted to land an aircraft before Spooner tried to line the aircraft up with the correct approach but unfortunately the aircraft crashed killing Spooner and the unconscious pilot.


    Additional Information:

    Spooner enlisted in the RCAF in July 1942.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Charles Alfred Duncan

    Title/Rank: Private

    Unit/Occupation: 4th Bn., Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 10th July 1943, M'Saken, North Africa

    The citation in the London Gazette of 9th November 1943, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found.

    Circumstances of Duncan’s George Cross:

    On the 10th July 1943, the Battalion were at M'Saken Airfield in Tunisia, awaiting the order to fly to Sicily, where the First Air-Landing Brigade was to capture the bridge at Ponte Grande, and the Second Parachute Brigade were to capture a bridge near Augusta.

    It was decided the 2nd Brigade was not required due to the Eighth Army having already linked up ahead of schedule at Augusta with the S.R.S. The Brigade returned to camp, where they began to store their arms. All the parachutists had live grenades, which had to be rendered safe by unscrewing the base plate and removing the fuse. Private Duncan was doing this when one of his grenades fell on the floor and, as he went to pick it up, he noticed that the safety pin was missing and the fuse was burning. Duncan immediately threw himself on top of the grenade which resulted in his death but saved his colleagues from injury.



    Additional Information:

    Duncan was a member of the Battalions Signal Platoon.

    Duncan’s medal was presented to the Airborne Forces Museum in 1972.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:



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    Enfidaville War Cemetery
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    John Samuel Rowlands

    Title/Rank: Acting Wing Commander

    Unit/Occupation: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    Awarded: 20th July 1945

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: Various bomb disposal work over a two year period

    The citation in the London Gazette of 10th August 1943, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found.

    Circumstances of Rowland’s George Cross:

    Rowland’s was awarded the George Cross for conspicuous courage in bomb disposal for a period of two years. Making safe various types of bombs over this period and his total tally ran into hundreds including American and British bombs from Allied aircraft that had crash landed or for various reasons had to release their bombs over the UK.

    One example of note was a weapon in a substantial RAF ammunition dump exploded affecting many types of bombs prepared for use. A large quantity of bombs were damaged and rendered unsafe. Rowland’s made many weapons safe having to contend with continuing fire and some armaments randomly going off. He successfully completed this task as he did throughout the war.


    Additional Information:

    Rowland’s joined the RAFVR in 1939.

    By the end of 1941 Rowland had received his pilot wings and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.

    Also awarded an OBE and KBE.

    Rowland’s was given a permanent commission in 1945.

    In the 1950s he was senior RAF advisor for the development of the H-bomb.

    Rowland’s Later promoted Air Marshall.
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Andre Gilbert Kempster formerly Andre' Gilberto Coccioletti

    Title/Rank: Captain (Temporary Major)

    Unit/Occupation: 8th Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's Regiment; West Riding Regiment, attd. Royal Armoured Corps

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 21st August 1943, Philippeville, Algeria

    The citation in the London Gazette of 9th November 1943, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found.

    Circumstances of Kempster’s George Cross:

    Ironically this is another award for a mishap involving a hand grenade. On 21st August 1943 Major Kempster was carrying out grenade throwing practice with two colleagues in the same pit. A grenade thrown by Kempster rolled back into the pit. Kempster attempted to scoop the grenade out of the pit but failed to do so and it was obvious it was about to detonate. Without hesitation Kempster threw himself on the grenade just before it exploded and suffered fatal injuries.

    By his self-sacrifice, Major Kempster undoubtedly saved the lives of the two other occupants of the pit. Kempster’s act meant certain death, and he must have known this at the time.


    Additional Information:

    Major Kempster's George Cross was sold by Spinks on 28th March 1995 for an expected price of £2,800 - £3,200.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Bone War Cemetery, Annaba
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    John Bridge

    Title/Rank: Temporary Lieutenant

    Unit/Occupation: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: August 1943, Messina Harbour, Italy

    The citation in the London Gazette of 20th June 1944, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found.

    Circumstances of Bridge’s George Cross:

    By August 1943 the Allies were in Messina at the foot of Italy. The harbour had be left by the enemy littered with depth charges and other ordnance all designed to hinder the use of the harbour by the Allies.

    Initially a pattern of six charges went off killing the whole bomb disposal team. Bridge fully aware of this and the danger took command of the clearance of the remainder of the devices. This task took more than 28 dives to locate and render the remaining devices safe before the actual Allied landing of mainland Italy.

    Bridge and his team dismantled and or made safe over 200 devices in the harbour and were able to give the all clear in time for the mass landings of Allied troops.


    Additional Information:

    Also awarded a George Medal and Bar.

    He served as a naval bomb safety officer during the Normandy Landings.

    Later promoted to Lieutenant Commander.

    After the war Bridge returned to teaching ending up as director of education for Sunderland borough council.

    After retiring he wrote a book called ‘Trip to Nijmegen’.
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Matreen Ahmed Ansari

    Title/Rank: Acting Captain

    Unit/Occupation: 5th Bn., 7th Rajput Regiment, Indian Army, and a member of the British Army Aid Group

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Indian

    Date and Place of GC Action: January 1942 - 29th October 1943, POW Camp, Hong Kong

    The citation in the London Gazette of 18th April 1946, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed/found.

    Circumstances of Ansari’s George Cross:

    From the time of Hong Kong’s surrender, Captain Ansari was separated from his fellow officers and confined with Indian Other Ranks. As soon as the his captor’s discovered that he was related to the ruler of one of the Princely States they demanded that he renounce his allegiance to the British and foment discontent in the ranks of Indian prisoners in the prison camps. Every effort was made to seduce him and so obtain his influence to lead others away from their allegiance. He steadfastly continued both by word and example to counter-act all traitorous propaganda and resolutely opposed all attempts at undermining the loyalty of his compatriots.

    In May 1942, after warnings and beatings had produced no effect, he was thrown into Stanley Jail where he remained until September 1942, by which time owing to starvation and brutal ill-treatment, which is alleged to have included mutilations, he had become unable to walk. He was released to a camp hospital. On recovering sufficiently he returned to an Indian Other Ranks camp and not only resumed his previous efforts but also organised a system for aiding escapers.

    In May 1943, he was betrayed and again thrown into Stanley Jail where he was starved and brutally tortured for several months. Fellow prisoners, both British and Indian, have testified that during this period his outstanding courage and defiance were such as to excite the admiration of all. Finally he was tried and beheaded.

    Throughout his long and terrible ordeal his loyalty, courage and endurance never wavered. His example undoubtedly assisted many to remain loyal in spite of sufferings and privation and his name became a by-word for deliberate and cold-blooded heroism.


    Additional Information:

    Captain Ansari was beheaded on 29th October 1943 in a Hong Kong POW Camp.

    Ansari is buried in Stanley Military Cemetery 1.E.Coll. Grave 1. Hong Kong.

    Ansari's George Cross was presented to his sister by Lord Wavell.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Stanley Military Cemetery
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    John Rennie

    Title/Rank: Corporal, Acting Sergeant

    Unit/Occupation: D Company, 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's), Royal Canadian Infantry Corps

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Canadian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 29th October 1943, Slough, Buckinghamshire

    The citation in the London Gazette of 26th May 1944, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Rennie’s George Cross:

    On 29th October 1943 Sergeant Rennie was overseeing training in grenade throwing at a Canadian camp in Slough, Buckinghamshire. Preparations for D-Day were well under way and men were training for the liberation of Europe.

    Rennie noticed one of the hand grenades had not carried clear of the trench and he could see it was rolling back towards the Canadian soldiers.

    Rennie ran towards the grenade to intercept it as quickly as possible so he could throw it clear. Sadly as he reached the grenade the fuse time had expired and the grenade exploded in his possession. The grenade killed Rennie but by his actions he had saved the three Canadian soldiers standing less than six paces from the explosion.


    Additional Information:

    "Jock" Rennie was born in Scotland in 1920.

    Rennie’s family immigrated to Canada in 1924.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Brookwood Military Cemetery

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    Hamilton, Canada
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Joseph Henry Silk

    Title/Rank: Private

    Unit/Occupation: 1st Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert’s)

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 4th December 1943, Burma (Myanmar)

    The citation in the London Gazette of 13th June 1944, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Silk’s George Cross:

    On 4th December 1943 in Burma Private Silk and other members of his platoon were having a respite from fighting and making the most of the time available to them. At the time of this incident the men were engaged in cleaning their weapons in the jungle and the terrain was far from even.

    All of a sudden one of Silk’s hand grenades started to fizz. In what must have been a split second Silk shouted for everyone to take cover and he fell onto the grenade pressing it as tightly as possible into his body to reduce the risk of injury to his colleagues. The Grenade went off killing Silk and slightly wounding two of his mates.

    Silk knew there was no option to throw the grenade as there were other members of the platoon scattered all around him within the range of such a weapon. Silk sacrificed his own life to save others was the only option.



    Additional Information:

    Silk is remembered in Rangoon.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Douglas Ford

    Title/Rank: Acting Captain

    Unit/Occupation: 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots and a member of the British Army Aid Group

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: July-December 1943, Sham Shui POW Camp, Hong Kong

    The citation in the London Gazette of 18th April 1946, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Ford’s George Cross:

    During December 1941 Hong Kong fell and both Captain’s Douglas Ford and James Ford were captured along with Colonel Lanceray Newnham and Flight Lieutenant Gray.

    Whilst in captivity at Sham Shui Po POW camp Ford with his fellow prisoners made contact with British Agents outside of the prison and started to plan a mass break out. Unfortunately some written notes between the prisoners and the agents were intercepted and the plans for an escape were discovered.

    Ford, Newnham and Gray suffered arrest, questioning, starvation and torture. This all began on 10 July 1943 and drew to an end with the sentence of death to try and force them to disclose the names of the others involved in the breakout plans. Ford, Newnham and Gray resisted to the end and the officers were executed at Sham Shui Po Prisoner Camp on 18 December 1943.

    All three officers are remembered in the Stanley Military Cemetery in Hong Kong.


    Additional Information:

    Ford joined the Royal Scots at the outbreak of war.

    Ford’s brother, James Allan Ford, was also a captain in the Royal Scots.

    This was the first time that two brothers in the Royal Scots had served together in Hong Kong.

    It is believed Ansari and Fraser were part of the same investigations and executions.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Stanley Military Cemetery
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Lanceray Arthur Newnham

    Title/Rank: Temporary Colonel

    Unit/Occupation: The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) and British Army Aid Group

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: July-December 1943, Sham Shui POW Camp, Hong Kong

    The citation in the London Gazette of 18th April 1946, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Newnham’s George Cross:

    During December 1941 Hong Kong fell and Colonel Newnham, Captain Ford and Flight Lieutenant Gray were captured as were many others.

    Whilst in captivity at Sham Shui Po POW camp Newnham with his fellow prisoners made contact with British Agents outside of the prison and started to plan a mass break out. Unfortunately some written notes between the prisoners and the agents were intercepted and the plans for an escape were discovered.

    Newnham, Ford and Gray suffered arrest, questioning, starvation and torture. This all began on 10 July 1943 and drew to an end with the sentence of death to try and force them to disclose the names of the others involved in the breakout plans. Newnham, Ford and Gray resisted to the end and the officers were executed at Sham Shui Po Prisoner Camp on 18 December 1943.

    All three officers are remembered in the Stanley Military Cemetery in Hong Kong.


    Additional Information:

    Also awarded the MC during WW1

    It is believed Ansari and Fraser were part of the same investigations and executions.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Stanley Military Cemetery
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hector Bertram Gray

    Title/Rank: Flight Lieutenant

    Unit/Occupation: Royal Air Force, and a member of the British Army Aid Group

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: July-December 1943, Sham Shui POW Camp, Hong Kong

    The citation in the London Gazette of 19th April 1946, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Gray’s George Cross:

    During December 1941 Hong Kong fell and Flight Lieutenant Gray, Colonel Newnham and Captain Ford were captured as were many others.

    Whilst in captivity at Sham Shui Po POW camp Gray smuggled medicine and other medical supplies into the prison for the many sick prisoners and also circulated news from the outside to keep up morale.

    The Japanese captors became increasingly suspicious and Gray, Newnham and Ford were arrested and endured questioning, starvation and torture. This all began on 10 July 1943 and drew to an end with the sentence of death to try and force them to disclose the names of the others involved in the breakout plans. Newnham, Ford and Gray resisted to the end and the officers were executed at Sham Shui Po Prisoner Camp on 18 December 1943.

    All three officers are remembered in the Stanley Military Cemetery in Hong Kong.


    Additional Information:

    Gray was born in Gillingham, Kent.

    It is believed Ansari and Fraser were part of the same investigations and executions.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Stanley Military Cemetery
     

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