All The George Crosses of World War Two

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

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    John Alexander Fraser

    Title/Rank: Mr

    Unit/Occupation: Assistant Attorney General, Colonial Service, Hong Kong; Volunteer, serving with the British Army Aid Group

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 1942 to 1943 Civil Internment Camp, Stanley

    The citation in the London Gazette of 29th October 1946, gives the following particulars:

    Fraser was interned by the Japanese in the Civilian Internment Camp, Stanley, and immediately organized escape plans and a clandestine wireless service. He was fully aware of the risks that he ran but engaged continuously in, most dangerous activities and was successful, not only in receiving news from outside, but also in getting important information out of the Camp. Eventually he was arrested and subjected to prolonged and severe torture by the Japanese who were determined to obtain information from him and to make him implicate the others who were working with him. Under this treatment he steadfastly refused to utter one word that could help the Japanese investigations or bring punishment to others. His fortitude under the most severe torture was such that it was commented upon by the Japanese prison guards. Unable to break his spirit the Japanese finally executed him.

    His devotion to duty, outstanding courage and endurance were the source of very real inspiration to others and there can be no doubt the lives of those whom the Japanese were trying to implicate were saved by his magnificent conduct.



    Additional Information:

    Fraser was born in Scotland.

    Fraser was commissioned into the Royal Scots Fusiliers during WW1.

    Also awarded an MC and Bar for his actions in WW1.

    Fraser finished WW1 a Major.

    Fraser was called to the Bar in 1931.

    The Japanese, unable to break his resistance, put him before a firing squad on 29 October 1943.

    Fraser is buried in Stanley Military Cemetery.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Stanley Military Cemetery
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Jenkin Robert Oswald Thompson

    Title/Rank: Captain

    Unit/Occupation: Royal Army Medical Corps

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: May 1940-Jan 1944, HM Hospital Carriers Paris and St David at Dunkirk, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio

    The citation in the London Gazette of 2nd February 1945, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Thompson’s George Cross:

    Thompson was recommended for the George Cross for gallantry on four separate occasions from 1940 to 1944. The first was during the evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940 through to the Anzio landings off the west coast of Italy in 1944.

    During the Anzio operations Captain Thompson was onboard HM Hospital Carrier St. David when she sustained an intentional direct hit from a dive bomber and began to sink. Thompson saw to it that the most severely wounded patients in his charge were loaded into life boats safely. A quick check of numbers revealed to Thompson that all his patients had been accounted for except one. With the only a short time left before the ship was taken by the sea Thompson went below to save his last outstanding patient.

    It is believed Thompson found the man and was unable to move him therefore he decided to stay with him until the end.


    Additional Information:

    Thompson was the son of a doctor.

    Thompson registered as a Doctor himself on the 7th February 1939.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Brookwood Memorial, Surrey
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Arthur Frederick Crane Nicholls

    Title/Rank: Major (T/Lieutenant Colonel & Acting Brigadier)

    Unit/Occupation: Coldstream Guards, attached to the Special Operations Executive

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action:October 1943 - January 1944, Albania

    The citation in the London Gazette of 1st March 1946, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Nicholls’s George Cross:

    In October 1943 Nicholls parachuted into Albania with a view of joining the local resistance and the task of inciting resistance to the German occupation and tying down enemy forces. Nicholls linked up with the resistance and became a staff officer to Brigadier 'Trotsky' Davis.

    In January 1944 their Headquarters was attacked and they were forced to go on the run followed and harassed by the Germans. Davis was wounded and captured so Nicholls took command of what was left of the men and led them to safety. Unfortunately frostbite had attacked Nicholls so badly that he ordered one of his men to cut off his feet without any anaesthetic. Nicholls was then dragged across the mountains on his great coat by his men.

    Nicholls goal was the nearest British Mission in the area and by sheer willpower made it to the Mission. Nicholls gave the local commander a full debrief regarding enemy forces and activities so they had a full appreciation of the situation that would undoubtedly have an effect of future Allied operations. One this was done Nicholls gave up his fight for life and died from heart failure and gangrene on 11 February 1944.


    Additional Information:

    Nicholls studied Law before the war.

    Nicholls joined the Royal Artillery TA in 1933.

    He transferred to the Coldstream Guards in 1937.

    Joined the SOE in 1942.

    Also awarded an ERD in 1991.

    Nicholls is the only member of the Coldstream Guards to have won the medal.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Leslie Owen Fox

    Title/Rank: Deputy Party Leader

    Unit/Occupation: London County Council Heavy Rescue Service

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 20th February 1944, Fulham, London

    The citation in the London Gazette of 20th February 1945, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Fox’s George Cross:

    No sooner had 1944 arrived so had the raids returned to London. On 20th February 1944 bombs fell in the Fulham part of London. A specific house in Fulham that was demolished was well alight and the remaining walls near to collapse. Cries for help could be heard underneath the rubble. Leslie Fox began to tunnel his way towards the sounds. Much of the masonry and other material passed back by Fox were too hot to handle and some of his team doused him with water in an attempt to keep down the almost unbearable heat.

    After about two hours of tunnelling and near exhaustion Fox found the casualty. Fox refused to be relieved by any of his men and he continued with the rescue. All of a sudden one of the walls collapsed blocking the entrance to the tunnel and causing the whole structure to subside. Fox started to tunnel again and another two hours later in a state of near collapse he reached the trapped man’s head some fifteen feet from the tunnel entrance. The casualty was still trapped by a mound of rubble on his feet. Fox covered the man with some sort of protection and a Medical Officer came through to administer some much needed medical aid.

    The man was eventually recovered from the rubble who would have undoubtedly have died if it was not for the persistence of Fox and his rescue team.


    Additional Information:
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    [/CENTER]

    Richard Arthur Samuel Bywater

    Title/Rank: Factory Development Officer

    Unit/Occupation: Ministry of Supply

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 22nd February 1944, Kirkby near Liverpool

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

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Bywater’s George Cross:

    With the invasion of Europe nearing all the supply factories across the UK were working at double the pressure to make and supply all the ordinance required by the Allies for the Normandy invasion. One of these factories was in Kirkby near Liverpool and had some 10,000 employee’s producing a variety of munitions including a weekly turnover of 150,000 anti-tank mine fuses.

    On the morning of 22nd February 1944 nineteen operators were working on a late stage of the production which involved filling the anti-tank mine fuses. Each worker had around 25 fuses on a work bench with more on mobile trolleys around them. Each trolley carried around 40 trays which equated to around a 1,000 fuses per worker either filled with explosives or waiting to be filled. At around 8.20am one of the fuses suddenly exploded which in turn exploded a tray of some 25 fuses. The worker was instantly killed and several of her colleagues were injured one fatally. The building was badly damaged including part of the roof blown off with live wires dangling from the hole.

    The factory superintendant arrived with Bywater and it was soon realised that there was several thousand filled fuses that were unstable and could detonate. Bywater took over and led everyone out of the building and arranged for the surrounding buildings to be evacuated. Bywater then led a team of volunteers to remove any damaged or defective fuses and move all the stable ones to a safer location.

    It was thought the explosion was caused by a defective striker which made the job all the more hazardous as it could happen again with one of the other fuses. Bywater encouraged the volunteers to work day and night and by 5.00 pm the following evening 4,000 fuses with defective strikers had been identified and moved to a burning ground to be disposed of. In the end after working for 72 hours the team had removed 12.724 fuses from the factory.

    Seven months later another explosion occurred at the same factory and again Bywater showed the same leadership and courage qualities that won him the George Cross. This time he was awarded the George Medal making him the only civilian to be awarded both medals.


    Additional Information:

    Bywater was also awarded a GM in 1944.

    The only civilian to be awarded a GC and GM.
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Anthony Smith

    Title/Rank: Mr

    Unit/Occupation: Civil Defence Rescue Service, Chelsea and Chimney Sweep

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 23rd February 1944, World's End, Chelsea, London

    The citation in the London Gazette of 30th May 1944, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Smith’s George Cross:

    On 25th February 1944 a stick of bombs fell on the ‘World’s End’ area of Chelsea destroying a four storey building. Only the shell was left standing and gas and water mains had been fractured with the gas ignited and causing rubble and neighbouring buildings to catch fire. Two floors of the building had pan caked.

    Smith went into the rubble and started to tunnel reaching a casualty trapped in the front basement. Having released the victim from the debris the buildings condition had become even more precarious with the front of the building now a solid sheet of flame added with the building still crumbling around him his escape route was now blocked.

    Smith carried the casualty to the rear through the smoke and fire of the building where he found a small hole to freedom. Smith again frantically burrowed away to make a whole big enough to escape the inferno. After passing the casualty through the hole, one of the main walls of the building collapsed. Smith escaped but most of his hair and eyebrows had been burned from his head.

    Almost overcome by the fumes and smoke Smith went to the next building to help a colleague who was attempting to rescue a women who was trapped in that building’s basement. The building was in a similar condition to the first one Smith had entered and he worked for up to an hour in waist deep water to help effect the rescue of the women.

    Smith carried on working with the rest of his crew throughout the rest of his shift until they were relieved sometime later.


    Additional Information:

    Smith left school at 14.

    In 1914 he joined the RMLI.
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Subramanian

    Title/Rank: Subadar

    Unit/Occupation: 11 Field Park Company, Queen Victoria's Own Madras Sappers and Miners, Indian Army

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Indian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 24th February 1944, Mignano, Italy

    The citation in the London Gazette of 30th June 1944, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Subramanian’s George Cross:

    On 24th February 1944 the Allies were advancing up Italy towards Rome. At Mignano Monte Lungo and small town some 50 miles north of Napoli, Subedar Subramanian a Lieutenant in the QVOMSAM was working in Mignano with his team of Sappers and Miners. The very nature of the terrain had made the place perfect for booby traps and other explosive devices left by the retreating Germans. The devices had to be cleared and the area made safe, not just for the safety of advancing troops moving into the area but also for the civilians living in the town.

    A British Officer became trapped in a German minefield near the Mignano rail head and another British Officer along with 5 OR’s attempted to extract him. Whilst they were doing this one of the Sappers stepped on the prongs of a shrapnel mine. Subramanian saw that the mine was about to explode. Without hesitation Subramanian ran over to the mine and dived onto it before it sprung into the air, spreading himself over it as best he could before it exploded to contain the blast.

    Subramanian was killed but by his selfless actions. He undoubtedly saved the lives of the Officers, Sappers and Miners who all escaped unhurt.


    Additional Information:

    Also awarded ISDM.

    Name spelt "Subramaniyam" in several well authenticated documents.

    The first Indian to be awarded a GC.

    Subramanian was cremated in Italy.

    He is remembered on the Sangro River Cremation Memorial.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Title/Rank: Temporary Lieutenant


    Leon Verdi Goldsworthy

    Unit/Occupation: Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve, attached to HMS Vernon, Royal Naval base, Portsmouth (Mine Clearance Specialist)

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Australian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 12th June 1943 - 10th April 1944, UK Mine disposal

    The citation in the London Gazette of 19th September 1944, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Goldsworthy’s George Cross:

    Goldsworthy specialized in recovering mines and making them safe whilst underwater. He made a number of such discoveries over a ten month period from June ’43 to April ’44 which included ground mines, magnetic mines and acoustic mines.

    On 13 August 1943, Goldsworthy defused a German mine in the water off Sheerness using a special diving suit which Armitage and Mould, both recipients of the George Cross, developed which Goldsworthy was helping to test and develop too.

    Goldsworthy also defused four German ground mines, three magnetic mines and one acoustic mine during this period. Whilst he was defusing the acoustic mine which had laid in the water off Milford Haven Wales for some two and a half years he banged his head on the foot of a ladder attached to the diving boat while underwater and injured his back while trying to get clear. Despite his injured back he still managed to make the mine safe and made a full recovery.

    He was awarded the DSC for the work he undertook at Cherbourg harbour in helping to make it safe for Allied shipping. At one point during this operation he disarmed a new ‘K’ type mine in 15 meters of water whilst under shell fire.

    After finishing his work in France he was sent to the Far East where he worked with the USN. This work involved dealing with Japanese mines and booby-traps during the invasion of the Philippines and Borneo. Goldsworthy was among the first to enter and search the caves in Correigidor.


    Additional Information:

    Goldsworthy was initially refused entry into the RANVR due to being short.

    He successfully re-applied on 24th March 1941.

    Goldsworthy was also awarded the DSC and GM.

    Goldsworthy was one of only eight individuals who were awarded both the GC and GM.

    Goldsworthy achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was Australia's most highly decorated naval officer.
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Benjamin Gimbert

    Title/Rank: Mr.

    Unit/Occupation: Locomotive Driver, London & North Eastern Railway (LNER)

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: In the early hours of 2nd June 1944, Soham Railway Station, Cambridgeshire

    The citation in the London Gazette of 25th July 1944, gives the following particulars:

    As an ammunition train was pulling into a station in Cambridgeshire, the driver, Gimbert, discovered that the wagon next to the engine was on fire. He immediately drew Nightall's attention to the fire and brought the train to a standstill. By the time the train had stopped the whole of the truck was enveloped in flames and, realising the danger, the driver instructed the fireman to try to uncouple the truck immediately behind the blazing vehicle. Without the slightest hesitation Nightall, although he knew that the truck contained explosives, uncoupled the vehicle and rejoined his driver on the footplate.

    The blazing van was close to the station buildings and was obviously liable to endanger life in the village. The driver and fireman realised that it was essential to separate the truck from the remainder of the train and run it into the open. Driver Gimbert set the engine in motion and as he approached a signal box he warned the signalman to stop any trains which were likely to be involved and indicated what he intended to do. Almost immediately the vehicle blew up. Nightall was killed and Gimbert was very severely injured.

    Gimbert and Nightall were fully aware of the contents of the wagon which was on fire and displayed outstanding courage and resource in endeavouring to isolate it. When they discovered that the wagon was on fire they could easily have left the train and sought shelter, but realising that if they did not remove the burning vehicle the whole of the train, which consisted of 51 wagons of explosives, would have blown up, they risked their lives in order to minimise the effect of the fire. There is no doubt that if the whole train had been involved, as it would have been but for the gallant action of the men concerned, there would have been serious loss of life and property.


    Additional Information:

    The wagon on fire contained some 40 500lb bombs.

    A 20 foot deep and 60 foot wide crater was blown in the track as a result of the explosion.

    All the buildings at Soham Rail Station were destroyed and some 600 surrounding buildings were damaged.

    Fireman Nightall was killed instantly and the signalman later died of his injuries.

    The train's guard, Herbert Clarke, survived although he was very badly shaken.

    Gimbert survived the explosion but had a 6-week stay in hospital where some 32 assorted pieces of glass, gravel and metal were removed from his body.
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    James William Nightall

    Title/Rank: Mr.

    Unit/Occupation: Fireman, London & North Eastern Railway (LNER)

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: In the early hours of 2nd June 1944, Soham Railway Station, Cambridgeshire

    The citation in the London Gazette of 25th July 1944, gives the following particulars:

    As an ammunition train was pulling into a station in Cambridgeshire, the driver, Gimbert, discovered that the wagon next to the engine was on fire. He immediately drew Nightall's attention to the fire and brought the train to a standstill. By the time the train had stopped the whole of the truck was enveloped in flames and, realising the danger, the driver instructed the fireman to try to uncouple the truck immediately behind the blazing vehicle. Without the slightest hesitation Nightall, although he knew that the truck contained explosives, uncoupled the vehicle and rejoined his driver on the footplate.

    The blazing van was close to the station buildings and was obviously liable to endanger life in the village. The driver and fireman realised that it was essential to separate the truck from the remainder of the train and run it into the open. Driver Gimbert set the engine in motion and as he approached a signal box he warned the signalman to stop any trains which were likely to be involved and indicated what he intended to do. Almost immediately the vehicle blew up. Nightall was killed and Gimbert was very severely injured.

    Gimbert and Nightall were fully aware of the contents of the wagon which was on fire and displayed outstanding courage and resource in endeavouring to isolate it. When they discovered that the wagon was on fire they could easily have left the train and sought shelter, but realising that if they did not remove the burning vehicle the whole of the train, which consisted of 51 wagons of explosives, would have blown up, they risked their lives in order to minimise the effect of the fire. There is no doubt that if the whole train had been involved, as it would have been but for the gallant action of the men concerned, there would have been serious loss of life and property.


    Additional Information:

    On 28 September 1981 two Class 47 locomotives were named in honour of the two railwaymen: No. 47577 was named "Benjamin Gimbert, GC" and No. 47579 "James Nightall, GC".
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Arthur Dwight Ross

    Title/Rank: Air Commodore

    Unit/Occupation: Royal Canadian Air Force

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Canadian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 28th June 1944, RAF Station, Tholthorpe, Yorkshire

    The citation in the London Gazette of 27th October 1944, gives the following particulars:

    One night in June, 1944, an aircraft, while attempting to land, crashed into another which was parked in the dispersal area and fully loaded with bombs. The former aircraft had broken into 3 parts and was burning furiously. Air Commodore Ross was at the airfield to attend the return of aircraft from operations and the interrogation of aircrews. Flight Sergeant St. Germain a bomb aimer, had just returned from an operational sortie and Corporal Marquet was in charge of the night ground crew, whilst leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe were members of the crew of the crash tender. Air Commodore Ross with the assistance of Corporal Marquet, extricated the pilot who had sustained severe injuries. At that moment ten 500 lb bombs in the second aircraft, about 30 yards away, exploded, and this officer and airman were hurled to the ground. When the hail of debris had subsided, cries were heard from the rear turret of the crashed aircraft. Despite further explosions from bombs and petrol tanks which might have occurred, Air Commodore Ross and Corporal Marquet returned to the blazing wreckage and endeavoured in vain to swing the turret to release the rear gunner. Although the port tail plane was blazing furiously, Air Commodore Ross hacked at the Perspex with an axe and then handed the axe through the turret to the rear gunner who enlarged the aperture. Taking the axe again the air commodore, assisted now by Flight Sergeant St. Germain as well as by Corporal Marquet, finally broke the Perspex steel frame supports and extricated the rear gunner. Another 500 lb bomb exploded which threw the 3 rescuers to the ground. Flight Sergeant St. Germain quickly rose and threw himself upon a victim in order to shield him from flying debris. Air Commodore Ross's arm was practically severed between the wrist and elbow by the second explosion. Pie calmly walked to the ambulance and an emergency amputation was performed on arrival at station sick quarters. Meanwhile, Corporal Marquet had inspected the surroundings, and seeing petrol running down towards two nearby aircraft, directed their removal from the vicinity by tractor. Leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe rendered valuable assistance in trying to bring the fire under control and they also helped to extricate the trapped rear gunner both being seriously injured by flying debris.

    Air Commodore Ross showed fine leadership and great heroism in an action which resulted in the saving of the lives of the pilot and rear gunner. He was ably assisted by Flight Sergeant St. Germain and Corporal Marquet who both displayed courage of a high order. Valuable service was also rendered by Leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe in circumstances of great danger.


    Additional Information:

    Also awarded a CBE, CD and Two Bars

    There was also two George Medals and two British Empire Medals awarded in this incident.

    Ross later went on to command the 5th Royal Canadian Air Force.

    Retired in 1959.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

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    Ditto Ram

    Title/Rank: Sowar

    Unit/Occupation: Central India Horse, (21st King George V's Own Horse), Indian Armoured Corps

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Indian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 23rd July 1944, Monte Cassino, Italy

    The citation in the London Gazette of 13th December 1945, gives the following particulars:

    In Italy on 23rd July, 1944, Sowar DITTO RAM was a member of a patrol which had been ordered to occupy a hill. On reaching the objective the patrol ran on to an enemy Schu minefield suffering casualties amounting to five men injured Sowar DITTO RAM was among those wounded, his left leg having been blown off below the knee. He applied a field dressing and on hearing calls for help from another Sowar who had also been wounded, he crawled forward through the minefield to assist him. Sowar DITTO RAM was fully aware of the danger to which he was subjecting himself.

    On reaching the other Sowar, whose left thigh had been shattered, lie applied a field dressing to his comrade's wound. He was in the greatest pain throughout, which made the operation both difficult and protracted. Having completed his task, he lost consciousness and died a few minutes later. Sowar DITTO RAM was a very young soldier with only two years service, nevertheless, besides showing the greatest personal courage and disregard for pain, by crawling through a minefield to help a wounded companion he set the finest example of soldierly comradeship and self sacrifice. He maintained consciousness only long enough to finish the bandaging of his comrade before he died without a murmur of complaint.



    Additional Information:

    Also known as Ram Ditto.

    Ditto Ram is one of two GC’s awarded on the same night in the same area.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Cassino Memorial
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    St. John Graham Young

    Title/Rank: Lieutenant

    Unit/Occupation: Royal Tank Regiment, attached The Central Indian Horse (21st King George V's Own Horse), Indian Armoured Corps

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 23rd July 1944, Monte Cassino, Italy

    The citation in the London Gazette of 20th July 1945, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Young’s George Cross:

    Not only was Young’s George Cross on the same night and place as Ditto Ram but the circumstances were very similar too.

    Young was leading a night patrol which Ditto Ram was part of when the men in the patrol found themselves in a German minefield. Young crawled forward to one of his wounded men making 3 mines safe on the way. Unfortunately he then knelt on another mine which severed his right leg; despite his injury he continued forward to dress the wounded soldier.

    For the remaining five hours of darkness Young continued to control and extract his men from the minefield until he was reached at dawn. Young soon fell unconscious from the loss of blood and died on 24th July 1944.


    Additional Information:

    Young was commissioned into the RTR in 1942.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Arezzo War Cemetery
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Benjamin Gower Hardy

    Title/Rank: Private

    Unit/Occupation: 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion, Australian Military Forces

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Australian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 4th-5th August 1944, No. 12, Prisoner-of-War Camp, Cowra, NSW, Australia

    The citation in the London Gazette of 1st September 1950, gives the following particulars:

    No. N. 103951 Private Benjamin Gower HARDY, 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion, Australian Military Forces.

    No. N.244527 Private Ralph JONES, 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion, Australian Military Forces.

    The above named soldiers were on duty at the No. 12 Prisoner of War Camp, Cowra, as members of a Vickers Machine Gun crew, guarding the Prisoner of War compound, in which were interned over 1,100 Japanese prisoners of war.

    On the night of the 4th/5th August, 1944, the Japanese prisoners, armed with knives, baseball clubs and other weapons, staged a mass outbreak, stormed over the perimeter and bore down on the Machine Gun crew. Privates Hardy and Jones stood their ground and continued to work the gun until bashed to death, displaying outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty in their fight against an overwhelming onslaught of fanatical Japanese. They met their deaths in the true British spirit of sacrifice for their country.


    Additional Information:

    Two hundred and thirty-one prisoners were killed during the ensuing fighting and 108 wounded.

    All the escapee’s were re-captured within 36 hours.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Cowra War Cemetery
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Ralph Jones

    Title/Rank: Private

    Unit/Occupation: 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion, Australian Military Forces

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Australian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 4th-5th August 1944, No. 12, Prisoner-of-War Camp, Cowra, NSW, Australia

    The citation in the London Gazette of 1st September 1950, gives the following particulars:

    No. N. 103951 Private Benjamin Gower HARDY, 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion, Australian Military Forces.

    No. N.244527 Private Ralph JONES, 22nd Australian Garrison Battalion, Australian Military Forces.

    The above named soldiers were on duty at the No. 12 Prisoner of War Camp, Cowra, as members of a Vickers Machine Gun crew, guarding the Prisoner of War compound, in which were interned over 1,100 Japanese prisoners of war.

    On the night of the 4th/5th August, 1944, the Japanese prisoners, armed with knives, baseball clubs and other weapons, staged a mass outbreak, stormed over the perimeter and bore down on the Machine Gun crew. Privates Hardy and Jones stood their ground and continued to work the gun until bashed to death, displaying outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty in their fight against an overwhelming onslaught of fanatical Japanese. They met their deaths in the true British spirit of sacrifice for their country.



    Additional Information:

    Jones’s medals were sold at Sotheby’s on 3rd July 1986 for £11,000.

    Jones served for 3 years in the British Army from 1918 serving in Germany.

    He immigrated to Australia in 1921.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Cowra War Cemetery
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Kenneth Horsfield

    Title/Rank: Corporal

    Unit/Occupation: The Manchester Regiment, attached Special Air Service

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 18th August 1944, Brindisi or Bari, Italy

    The citation in the London Gazette of 23rd March 1945, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Horsfield’s George Cross:

    Whilst attached to the Special Air Service Horsfield was working in Italy at what is believed to be Military Establishment 54 (ME 54, Mil. Est. 54) which was a demolition area possibly for training. The area has been quoted as either in Bari or Brindisi which one has never been confirmed but the most likely explanation appears to be Brindisi as ME 54 was effectively a factory for packing containers for parachute drops in support of SOE operations in Eastern Europe and Horsfield is buried in Bari War Cemetery which is possibly where the confusion comes from.

    On 18th August 1944 Horsfield was working in the demolition area with some colleagues from the SAS when suddenly there was an explosion when some ammunition or explosives went off by accident trapping one of Horsfield’s colleagues under a considerable amount of rubble. Horsfield ran to the man’s aid and attempted to effect a rescue with the risk of further explosions. Whilst trying to free the man from the rubble a second explosion shook the area inflicting numerous wounds to Horsfield. Horsfield was rushed to the nearest medical station but he died of his wounds.



    Additional Information:

    Horsfield enlisted in 1939 and also fought in North Africa.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Supplied by EnglandPhil
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    Bari War Cemetery
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Roderick Borden Gray

    Title/Rank: Flying Officer

    Unit/Occupation: 172 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Canadian

    Date and Place of GC Action: 26th / 27th August 1944, Atlantic Ocean

    The citation in the London Gazette of 13th March 1945, gives the following particulars:

    One night in August, 1944, this officer was the navigator of a Wellington aircraft which was shot down into the sea by a U-boat in the Atlantic. Flying Officer Gray and 3 other members of the crew managed to extricate themselves from the aircraft. Despite a severe wound in the leg, Flying Officer Gray succeeded in inflating his own dinghy and then assisted his captain, who had also been wounded, into it. Shortly afterwards cries were heard from another member of the crew, who had broken his arm, and Flying Officer Gray also helped him into the dinghy Knowing that it could not hold more than 2 persons, Flying Officer Gray, although suffering intense pain, refused to get into the dinghy. Assisted by another member of the crew and by an occupant of the dinghy he held on to its side for some hours. The pain from his leg (it is thought that the lower part had been shot off) was increasing in intensity and he was becoming exhausted. He steadfastly refused however, to endanger his comrades by entering the dinghy. He eventually lost consciousness and died. When it became light, his companions realised that he was dead and they were forced to let his body sink. The survivors were rescued later. Flying Officer Gray displayed magnificent courage and unselfish heroism, thus enabling the lives of his comrades to be saved.


    Additional Information:

    Originally recommended for the Albert Medal.

    The 155 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron is named in his honour.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Runnymede Memorial
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Noor Inayat-Khan

    Title/Rank: Assistant Section Officer

    Unit/Occupation: Women's Auxiliary Air Force, seconded to Women's Transport Service (FANY)

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: Unknown. Could be British or Indian

    Date and Place of GC Action: June 1943 to September 1944. France and Germany

    The citation in the London Gazette of 5th April 1949, gives the following particulars:

    Assistant Section Officer Nora INAYAT-KHAN was the first woman operator to be infiltrated into enemy occupied France, and was landed by Lysander aircraft on 16th June, 1943. During the weeks immediately following her arrival, the Gestapo made mass arrests in the Paris Resistance groups to which she had been detailed. She refused however to abandon what had become the principal and most dangerous post in France, although given the opportunity to return to England, because she did not wish to leave her French comrades without communications and she hoped also to rebuild her group. She remained at her post therefore and did the excellent work which earned her a posthumous Mention in Despatches.

    The Gestapo had a full description of her, but knew only her code name "Madeleine". They deployed considerable forces in their effort to catch her and so break the last remaining link with London. After 3 months she was betrayed to the Gestapo and taken to their H.Q. in the Avenue Foch. The Gestapo had found her codes and messages and were now in a position to work back to London. They asked her to co-operate, but she refused and gave them no information of any kind. She was imprisoned in one of the cells on the 5th floor of the Gestapo H.Q. and remained there for several weeks during which time she made two unsuccessful attempts at escape. She was asked to sign a declaration that she would make no further attempts but she refused and the Chief of the Gestapo obtained permission from Berlin to send her to Germany for "safe custody". She was the first agent to be sent to Germany.

    Assistant Section Officer INAYAT-KHAN was sent to Karlsruhe in November, 1943, and then to Pforzheim where her cell was apart from the main prison. She was considered to be a particularly dangerous and unco-operative prisoner. The Director of the prison has also been interrogated and has confirmed that Assistant Section Officer INAYAT-KHAN, when interrogated by the Karlsruhe Gestapo, refused to give any information whatsoever, either as to her work or her colleagues.

    She was taken with three others to Dachau Camp on the 12th September, 1944. On arrival, she was taken to the crematorium and shot.

    Assistant Section Officer INAYAT-KHAN displayed the most conspicuous courage, both moral and physical over a period of more than 12 months.



    Additional Information:

    Born in Moscow, Russia in 1914

    Sometime in 1939-40 Noor and her sister joined the nursing volunteers "Union des Femmes de France" and worked in hospitals as the Germans invaded.

    Known as Nora to her friends.

    The family moved back to England in 1940.

    Noor joined the WAAF as an Aircraftswoman 2nd Class (ACW2) (Wireless) on 19th November 1940, and underwent training at Harrogate as a Wireless Operator.

    The following month she was posted to No.34 Barrage Balloon Sqn.

    In April 1941 she was moved to No.929 Balloon Sqn, prior to her appointment the following month to No. 6 Group Bomber Command as Wireless Op, ACW1.

    She was there a year before undertaking an advanced wireless course No. 3 Signals School.

    On 12th August 1942 Noor rejoined No.6 Group Bomber Command, and on 1st December 1942, she was promoted Leading Aircraftswoman (LACW).

    It was at about this time she applied to join SOE.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Runnymede Memorial
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hugh Paul Seagrim

    Title/Rank: Temporary Major

    Unit/Occupation: 19th Hyderabad Regiment, Indian Army, attached to Force 136, SOE

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: February 1943 to September 1944, Burma

    The citation in the London Gazette of 12th September 1946, gives the following particulars:

    No citation listed or found.

    Circumstances of Seagrim’s George Cross:

    Between February 1943 and February 1944 Seagrim was cut off in the Karen Hills of Burma with a special group of mixed nationalities called Force 136 fighting the Japanese.

    They operations were very successful until the enemy became aware of this band of men around the end of 1943. The Japanese set about hunting them down showing no mercy to local villagers who were suspected of helping the force. It was only a matter of time before they would be found and during February 1944 the Japanese ambushed them killing the majority of the force. However Seagrim and a local Karen officer managed to escape into the jungle.

    The Japanese were so angry that two of the original four officers had escaped they rounded up 270 local Karen villagers including elders and headmen. They then started to torture and slaughter the Karen’s. Despite this the villagers kept Seagrim and the Karen officer’s location a secret from the Japanese. Seagrim was fully aware of what was going on and decided that he could not allow the slaughter of innocent villagers anymore in his name so on 15th March 1944 he surrendered himself to the Japanese.

    The Japanese moved Seagrim to Rangoon along with eight other men and they were sentenced to death. Seagrim pleaded with the Japanese not to execute the other men stating that they were only following his commands and thus should be spared. The eight Karen’s insisted that they should suffer the same fate as their commander and if he was going to be executed they should be too. During September 1944 Seagrim and the eight Karen’s were executed.


    Additional Information:

    Also awarded the DSO and MBE.

    H. Seagrim’s brother was Derek Anthony Seagrim VC.

    Seagrim was 6’ 4” tall and was sometimes referred to as Grandfather Longlegs.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Rangoon War Memorial
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Arthur Banks

    Title/Rank: Sergeant

    Unit/Occupation: 112 Squadron, Desert Air Force, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    Awarded: Date unknown

    Nationality: British

    Date and Place of GC Action: 8th December to 19th December 1944, Italy.

    The citation in the London Gazette of 5th November 1946, gives the following particulars:

    On 29th August, 1944, this airman took part in an armed reconnaissance of the Ravenna and Ferrara areas. During the sortie, his aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and he was compelled to make a forced landing. After the aircraft had been destroyed, Sergeant Banks decided to try to reach the Allied lines. He made contact with a group of Italian partisans, amongst whom, during the following months, he became an outstanding figure, advising and encouraging them in action against the enemy.

    Early in December, 1944, an attempt at crossing into allied territory by boat was planned. Sergeant Banks and a number of partisans assembled at the allotted place, but the whole party was surrounded and captured. Sergeant Banks was handed over to the German commander of the district, who presided at his interrogation. During the questioning, Sergeant Banks was cruelly tortured. At one stage, he succeeded in getting hold of a light machine gun, with which he might have killed most of his captors, had not one of the partisans, fearing more severe torture, intervened and pinned his arms to his sides. Sergeant Banks was badly knocked about before he was taken to another prison.

    On 8th December, 1944, Sergeant Banks was taken, with a number of partisans, to a prison at Adria. He remained there until 19th December, 1944, when he was handed over to the commander of a detachment of the '' Black Brigade ''. He was then transferred to another prison at Ariano Polesine. Here, in the presence of Italian Fascists, he was stripped of his clothing and again tortured. Sergeant Banks was eventually bound and thrown into the River Po. Despite his wounds, even at this stage, he succeeded in reaching the river bank. The Fascists then took him back to the prison, where he was shot through the head. At the time of his capture, Sergeant Banks was endeavouring to return to the Allied lines, so that he might arrange for further supplies to the partisans. He endured much suffering with stoicism, withholding information which would have been of vital interest to the enemy. His courage and endurance were such that they impressed even his captors. Sergeant Banks conduct was, at all times, in keeping with the highest traditions of the Service, even in the face of most brutal and inhuman treatment.


    Additional Information:

    Banks enlisted in June 1942.

    Bank’s was stripped, doused in petrol and was then set on fire before being throw into the River Po.

    Bank’s captors were tried by a War Crimes Tribunal and were imprisoned for between 4.5 and 20 years.

    The captor who directed his torture was shot after being captured by Italians.

    The man who murdered Arthur Banks was LT Turati. Turati had been a member of the infamous Brigada Nera.

    After the war Ian Bell, a Nazi hunter, captured Turati at his home in Italy.


    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Agenta Gap War Cemetery
     

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