All The Victoria Crosses of World War Two

Discussion in 'General' started by Drew5233, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Charles Grove Wright Anderson

    Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

    Unit: 2/19th Battalion, Australian Army

    Awarded: 8th January 1947

    Nationality: Australian

    The citation in the London Gazette of13th February 1942, gives the following particulars:

    During operations in Malaya from 18th to 22nd January, 1942, Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, in command of a small force, was sent to restore a vital position and to assist a Brigade. His force destroyed ten enemy tanks. When later cut off, he defeated persistent attacks on his position from air and ground forces and forced his way through the enemy line to a depth of fifteen miles. He was again surrounded and subjected to very heavy, frequent attacks, resulting in severe casualties to his force. He personally led an attack with great gallantry on the enemy, who were holding a bridge, and succeeded in destroying four guns. Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, throughout all this fighting, protected his wounded and refused to leave them. He obtained news by wireless of the enemy position and attempted to fight his way back through eight miles of enemy occupied country. This proved to be impossible, and the enemy were holding too strong a position for any attempt to be made to relieve him. On 19th January, Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson was ordered to destroy his equipment and make his way as best he could around the enemy position.

    Throughout the fighting, which lasted for four days, he set a magnificent example of brave leadership, determination and outstanding courage. He not only showed fighting qualities of very high order but throughout exposed himself to danger without any regard for his own personal safety.


    Additional Infomation:

    Born in South Africa.

    Also awarded the Miliatary Cross.

    After the war he spent a large part of his life in politics.


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    Norwood Park Cemetery, Canberra, Australia
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Eugene Kingsmill Esmonde


    Rank: Lieutenant-Commander


    Unit: No.825 Squadron, H.M.S. Daedalus, Royal Navy


    Awarded: 17th March 1942

    Nationality: Irish


    The following details are given in the London Gazette of 3rd March, 1942:

    On 12th February, 1942, Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde was in command of a squadron of six Swordfish ordered to attack the German battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the cruiser Prinz Eugene, which were entering the Straits of Dover strongly escorted by some thirty surface craft. After ten minutes flight his squadron was attacked by a strong force of enemy fighters. Touch was lost with his fighter escort and all his aircraft were damaged. Nevertheless, cool and resolute, challenging hopeless odds, he flew on towards the target through the deadly fire of the battle-cruisers and their escorts. The port wing of his aircraft was shattered, but still he led his squadron on, only to be quickly shot down. His high courage and splendid resolution will live in the traditions of the Royal Navy and remain for many generations a fine and stirring memory.


    Additional Infomation:

    Awarded a DSO for his part in sinking the Bismarck and a MiD for helping to save crew members when HMS Ark Royal was sunk.

    Thomas Esmonde, Eugene's great uncle was also awarded a VC in the Crimean War.

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    Woodlands Cemetery, Kent
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Thomas Wilkinson

    Rank: Lieutenant

    Unit: HMS Li-Wo, Royal Navy Reserve

    Awarded: 28th January 1947

    Nationality: British


    The citation in the London Gazette of 13th December 1946 contains the following details:

    On 14th February, 1942, H.M.S. Li Wo, a patrol vessel of 1,000 tons, formerly a passenger steamer on the Yangtse River, was on passage from Singapore to Batavia. Her company consisted of eighty-four officers and men, mainly survivors from H.M. ships and Army and Air Force units. Her armament was one 4-inch gun (with 13 practice shells) and two machine-guns. Since leaving Singapore she had beaten off four air attacks and had suffered considerable damage. Late in the afternoon she sighted two enemy convoys, the larger being escorted by Japanese fleet units, including a heavy cruiser and some destroyers. Lieutenant Wilkinson, with the unanimous backing of his mixed company, decided to engage the convoy and to fight to the last, inflicting what damage he could. He knew that his ship faced certain destruction. In the action that followed the machine-guns were used effectively, and a volunteer gun-crew fought the 4-inch gun to such purpose that they hit and set on fire a Japanese transport. After a little more than an hour, H.M.S. Li Wo was critically damaged and was sinking.

    Lieutenant Wilkinson decided to ram the damaged transport. It is known that this ship burned throughout the night and was probably sunk. Having ordered his ship to be abandoned, Lieutenant Wilkinson himself went down with her. Lieutenant Wilkinson's valour was equalled only by the skill with which he fought his ship. The Victoria Cross is bestowed upon him posthumously in recognition of the heroism and self-sacrifice displayed not only by himself but by all who fought and died with him.


    Additional Infomation:

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:



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    Liverpool Naval Memorial
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Robert Edward Dudley Ryder

    Rank: Commander

    Unit: HMS Campbeltown, Royal Navy

    Awarded: 14th July 1942

    Nationality: British


    The citation in the London Gazette of 19th May 1942 contains the following details:

    For great gallantry in the attack on St. Nazaire. He commanded a force of small unprotected ships in an attack on a heavily defended port and led H.M.S. Campbeltown in under intense fire from short range weapons at point blank range. Though the main object of the expedition had been accomplished in the beaching of Campbeltown, he remained on the spot conducting operations, evacuating men from Campbeltown and dealing with strong points and close range weapons while exposed to heavy fire for one hour and sixteen minutes, and did not withdraw till it was certain that his ship could be of no use in rescuing any of the Commando Troops who were still ashore. That his Motor Gun Boat, now full of dead and wounded, should have survived and should have been able to withdraw through an intense barrage of close range fire was almost a miracle.


    Additional Infomation:

    Ryder also took part in the attack on Dieppe in 1942.

    Later achieved the rank of Captain.

    After the war Ryder became a MP.

    Ryder died on a sailing trip to France in 1986.

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    Cremated and ashes scattered within grounds
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    Oxford Crematorium, Oxfordshire
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Stephen Halden Beattie

    Rank: Lieutenant-Commander

    Unit: HMS Campbeltown, Royal Navy

    Awarded: 22nd June 1945

    Nationality: Britsih


    The citation in the London Gazette of 19th May 1942 contains the following details:

    For great gallantry and determination in the attack on St. Nazaire in command of H.M.S. Campbeltown. Under intense fire directed at the bridge from point blank range of about loo yards, and in the face- of the blinding glare of many searchlights, he steamed her into the lock-gates and beached and scuttled her in the correct position.

    This Victoria Cross is awarded to Lieutenant-Commander Beattie in recognition not only of his own valour but also of that of the unnamed officers and men of a very gallant ship's company, many of whom have not returned.


    Additional Infomation:

    Beattie received this award not only for himself but for the Officers and other ranks of the ships comapny that did not survive.

    Beattie later achieved the rank of Captain.

    Beattie later became the Naval Adviser to the Ethiopian Government.

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    Ruan Minor Churchyard, Cornwall
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    William Alfred Savage

    Rank: Able Seaman

    Unit: MGB.314, Royal Navy

    Awarded: 23rd June 1942

    Nationality: British


    The citation in the London Gazette of 19th May 1942 contains the following details:

    For great gallantry, skill and devotion to duty as gun layer of the pom-pom in a motor gun boat in the St. Nazaire raid. Completely exposed, and under heavy fire he engaged positions ashore with cool and steady accuracy. On the way out of the harbour he kept up the same vigorous and accurate fire against the attacking ships, until he was killed at his gun.

    This Victoria Cross is awarded in recognition not only of the gallantry and devotion to duty of Able Seaman Savage, but also of the valour shown by many others, unnamed, in Motor Launches, Motor Gun Boats and Motor Torpedo Boats, who gallantly carried out their duty in entirely exposed positions against Enemy fire at very close range.


    Additional Infomation:

    Like Beattie's VC, Savage was awarded a VC for his actions and that of all the Motor Launches, Motor Torpedo Boats and Motor Gun Boats.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Falmouth Town Cemetery, Cornwall
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Augustus Charles Newman

    Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

    Unit: Essex Regiment Attached No.2 Commando, British Army

    Awarded: 11th December 1945

    Nationality: British


    The citation in the London Gazette of 15th June 1945 contains the following details:

    On the night of 27th/28th March, 1942, Lieutenant-Colonel Newman was in command of the military force detailed to land on enemy occupied territory and destroy the dock installations of the German controlled naval base at St. Nazaire.

    This important base was known to be heavily defended and bomber support had to be abandoned owing to bad weather. The operation was therefore bound to be exceedingly hazardous, but Lieutenant-Colonel Newman, although empowered to call off the assault at any stage, was determined to carry to a successful conclusion the important task which had been assigned to him.

    Coolly and calmly he stood on the bridge of the leading craft, as the small force steamed up the estuary of the River Loire, although the ships had been caught in the enemy searchlights and a murderous crossfire opened from both banks, causing heavy casualties.

    Although Lieutenant-Colonel Newman need not have landed himself, he was one of the first' ashore and, during the next five hours of bitter fighting, he personally entered several houses and shot up the occupants and supervised the operations in the town, utterly regardless of his own safety, and he never wavered in his resolution to carry through the operation upon which so much depended.

    An enemy gun position on the roof of a U-boat pen had been causing heavy casualties to the landing craft and Lieutenant-Colonel Newman directed the fire of a mortar against this position to such effect that the gun was silenced. Still fully exposed, he then brought machine gun fire to bear on an armed trawler in the harbour, compelling it to withdraw and thus preventing many casualties in the main demolition area.

    Under the brilliant leadership of this officer the troops fought magnificently and held vastly superior enemy forces at bay, until the demolition parties had successfully completed their work of destruction.

    By this time, however, most of the landing craft had been sunk or set on fire and evacuation by sea was no longer possible. Although the main objective had been achieved, Lieutenant-Colonel Newman nevertheless was now determined to try and fight his way out into open country and so give all survivors a chance to escape.

    The only way out of the harbour area lay across a narrow iron bridge covered by0 enemy machine guns and although severely shaken by a German hand grenade, which had burst at his feet, Lieutenant-Colonel Newman personally led the charge which stormed the position and under his inspiring leadership 'the small force fought its way through the streets to a point near the open country, when, all ammunition expended, he and his men were finally overpowered by the enemy.

    The outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty of this fearless officer, his brilliant leadership and initiative, were largely responsible for the success of this perilous operation which resulted in heavy damage to the important naval base at St. Nazaire.


    Additional Infomation:

    Also awarded an OBE and a TD

    Cremated at Barham Crematorium, Kent. Ashes scattered by beech tree in garden of remembrance.
    Tree was lost in the 1987 storm.
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Thomas Frank Durrant

    Rank: Sergeant

    Unit: Corps of Royal Engineers Attached No.2 Commando, British Army

    Awarded: 29th October 1946

    Nationality: British

    The citation in the London Gazette of 15th June 1945 contains the following details:

    For great gallantry, skill and devotion to duty when in charge of a Lewis gun in H.M. Motor Launch 306 in the St. Nazaire raid on the 28th March, 1942.

    Motor Launch 306 came under heavy fire while proceeding up the River Loire towards the port. Sergeant Durrant, in his position abaft the bridge, where he had no cover or protection, engaged enemy gun positions and searchlights on shore. During this engagement he was severely wounded in the arm but refused to leave his gun.

    The Motor Launch subsequently went down the river and was attacked by a German destroyer at 50-60 yards range, and often closer. In this action Sergeant Durrant continued to fire at the destroyer's bridge with the greatest coolness and with complete disregard of the enemy's fire. The Motor Launch was illuminated by the enemy searchlight and Sergeant Durrant drew on himself the individual attention of the enemy guns, and was again wounded, in many places. Despite these further wounds he stayed in his exposed position, still firing his gun, although after a time only able to support himself 'by holding on to the gun mounting.

    After a running fight, the Commander of the German destroyer called on the Motor Launch to surrender. Sergeant Durrant's answer was a further burst of fire at the destroyer's bridge. Although now very weak he went on firing, using drums of ammunition as fast as they could be replaced. A renewed attack by the enemy vessel eventually silenced the fire of the Motor Launch but Sergeant Durrant refused to give up until the destroyer came alongside, grappled the Motor Launch and took prisoner those who remained alive.

    Sergeant Durrant's gallant fight was commended by the German officers on boarding the Motor Launch.

    This very gallant Non-Commissioned Officer later died of the many wounds received in action.


    Additional Infomation:

    Taken Prisoner, Durrant died of his wounds the following day.

    Durrant is one of very few men to have received their Victoria Cross on the recommendation of an enemy officer. Kapitänleutnant F.K Paul was the one who singled out Durrant for his bravery.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:


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    Escoublac-la-Baule War Cemetery, France
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    John Dering Nettleton

    Rank: Squadron Leader

    Unit: No.44 Squadron, Royal Air Force

    Awarded: 1st November 1942

    Nationality: Rhodesian

    The London Gazette for 24th April, 1942, contains the following particulars:

    Squadron Leader Nettleton was the leader of one of two formations of six Lancaster heavy bombers detailed to deliver a low-level attack in daylight on the diesel engine factory at Augsburg in Southern Germany on April 17th, 1942. The enterprise was daring, the target of high military importance. To reach it and get back, some 1,000 miles had to be flown over hostile territory.

    Soon after crossing into enemy territory his formation was engaged by 25 to 30 fighters. A running fight ensued. His rear guns went out' of action. One by one the aircraft of his formation were shot down until in the end only his own and one other remained. The fighters were shaken off but the target was still far distant. There was formidable resistance to be faced.

    With great spirit and almost defenceless, he held his two remaining aircraft on their perilous course and after a long and arduous flight, mostly at only 50 feet above the ground, he brought them to Augsburg. Here anti-aircraft fire of great intensity and accuracy was encountered. The two aircraft came low over the roof tops. Though fired at from point blank range, they stayed the course to drop their bombs true on the target.
    The second aircraft, hit by flak, burst into flames and crash-landed. The leading aircraft, though riddled with holes, flew safely back to base, the only one of the six to return.

    Squadron Leader Nettleton, who has successfully undertaken many other hazardous operations, displayed unflinching determination as well as leadership and valour of the highest order.


    Additional Infomation:

    Later promoted to the rank of Wing-Commander.

    Nettleton has no known grave.

    A school was named after Nettleton but sadly due to politics it has now been named after Tsitsi Munyati, a former Zimbabwean minister of education.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Runnymede Memorial
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Henry Robert Bowreman Foote

    Rank: Major Temporary Lieutenant Colonel

    Unit: 7th Royal Tank Regiment, British Army

    Awarded: 12th December 1944

    Nationality: British


    The citation in the London Gazette of 16th May 1944 gives the following details:

    For outstanding gallantry during the period 27th May to 15th June, 1942.

    On the 6th June, Lieutenant-Colonel Foote led his Battalion, which had been subjected to very heavy artillery fire, in pursuit of a superior force of the enemy. While changing to another tank after his own had been knocked out, Lieutenant-Colonel Foote was wounded in the neck. In spite of this he continued to lead his Battalion from an exposed position on the outside of a tank.

    The enemy, who were holding a strongly entrenched position with anti-tank guns, attacked his flank. As a further tank had been disabled he continued on foot under intense fire encouraging his men by his splendid example. By dusk, Lieutenant-Colonel Foote by his brilliant leadership had defeated the enemy's attempt to encircle two of our Divisions.

    On 13th June, when ordered to delay the enemy tanks so that the Guards Brigade could be withdrawn from the Knightsbridge escarpment and when the first wave of our tanks had been destroyed, Lieutenant-Colonel Foote re-organised the remaining tanks, going on foot from one tank to another to encourage the crews under intense artillery and anti-tank fire.

    As it was of vital importance that his Battalion should not give ground, Lieutenant-Colonel Foote placed his tank, which he had then entered, in front of the others so that he could be plainly visible in the turret as an encouragement to the other crews, in spite of the tank being badly damaged by shell fire and all its guns rendered useless. By his magnificent example the corridor was kept open and the Brigade was able to march through.

    Lieutenant-Colonel Foote was always at the crucial point at the right moment, and over a period of several days gave an example of outstanding courage and leadership which it would have been difficult to surpass.

    His name was a by-word for bravery and leadership throughout the Brigade.


    Additional Infomation:

    Also awarded The Most Honourable Order of the Bath and a DSO

    Retired a Major-General.

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    St Mary's Churchyard, West Chiltington
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Leslie Thomas Manser

    Rank: Flying Officer

    Unit: No.50 Squadron, Royal Air Force Reserve

    Awarded: 3rd March 1943

    Nationality: British

    The citation in the London Gazette of 20th October, 1942 gives the following details:

    Flying Officer Manser was captain and first pilot of a Manchester aircraft which took part in the mass raid on Cologne on the night of May 30th, 1942.

    As the aircraft was approaching its objective it was caught by searchlights and subjected to intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire. Flying Officer Manser held on his dangerous course and bombed the target successfully from a height of 7,000 feet. Then he set course for base. The Manchester had been damaged and was still under heavy fire. Flying Officer Manser took violent evasive action, turning and descending to under 1,000 feet. It was of no avail. The searchlights and flak followed him until the outskirts of the city were passed. The aircraft was hit repeatedly and the rear gunner was wounded. The front cabin filled with smoke; the port engine was over-heating badly.

    Pilot and crew could all have escaped safely by parachute. Nevertheless, Flying Officer Manser, disregarding the obvious hazards, persisted in his attempt to save aircraft and crew from falling into enemy hands. He took the aircraft up to 2,000 feet. Then the port engine burst into flames. It was ten minutes before the fire was mastered, but then the engine went out of action for good, part of one wing was burnt, and the air-speed of the aircraft became dangerously low.

    Despite all the efforts of pilot and crew, the Manchester began to lose height. At this critical moment, Flying Officer Manser once more disdained the alternative of parachuting to safety with his crew. Instead, with grim determination, he set a new course for the nearest base, accepting for himself the prospect of almost certain death in a firm resolve to carry on to the end.

    Soon, the aircraft became extremely difficult to handle and, when a crash was inevitable, Flying Officer Manser ordered the crew to bail out. A sergeant handed him a parachute but he waved it away, telling the non-commissioned officer to jump at once as he could only hold the aircraft steady for a few seconds more. While the crew were descending to safety they saw the aircraft, still carrying their gallant captain, plunge to earth and burst into flames.

    In pressing home his attack in the face of strong opposition, in striving, against heavy odds, to bring back his aircraft and crew and, finally, when in extreme peril, thinking only of the safety of his comrades, Flying Officer Manser displayed determination and valour of the highest order.


    Additional Infomation:

    Brother-in-law of Captain John Neil Randle, VC.

    The Leslie Manser Primary School was built on part of the airfield where Manser flew his last sortie from.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    Heverlee War Cemetery, Leuven, Belgium
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts

    Rank: Lieutenant

    Unit: HM Submarine Thrasher, Royal Navy

    Awarded: 4th July 1942

    Nationality: British

    The citation in the London Gazette of 5th June 1942 contains the following details:

    The King has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross for great valor while serving in HM Submarine Thrasher to Lieutenant Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts, RN and Petty Officer Thomas William Gould. On February 16th, in daylight, HM Submarine Thrasher attacked and sank a heavily escorted supply ship. She was at once attacked by depth-charges and was bombed by aircraft.

    The presence of two unexploded bombs in the gun-casing was discovered when after dark the submarine surfaced and began to roll.

    Lieutenant Roberts and Petty Officer Gould volunteered to remove the bombs, which were of a type unknown to them. The danger in dealing with the second bomb was very great. To reach it they had to go through the casing, which was so low that they had to lie at full length to move in it. Through this narrow space, in complete darkness, they pushed and dragged the bomb for a distance of some 20 feet until it could be lowered over the side. Every time the bomb was moved there was a loud twanging noise as of a broken spring which added nothing to their peace of mind.

    This deed was more gallant as HM Submarine Thrasher's presence was known to the enemy; she was close to the enemy coast and in waters where his patrols were known to be active day and night. There was a very great chance, and they knew it, that the submarine might have to crash-dive while they were under the casing. Had this happened they must have been drowned.

    Additional Infomation:

    Also awarded the DSC.

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    Holy Cross Churchyard, Newton Ferrers, Devon
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Thomas William Gould

    Rank: Petty Officer

    Unit: HM Submarine Thrasher, Royal Navy

    Awarded: ?

    Nationality: British

    The citation in the London Gazette of 5th June 1942 contains the following details:

    The King has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross for great valor while serving in HM Submarine Thrasher to Lieutenant Peter Scawen Watkinson Roberts, RN and Petty Officer Thomas William Gould. On February 16th, in daylight, HM Submarine Thrasher attacked and sank a heavily escorted supply ship. She was at once attacked by depth-charges and was bombed by aircraft.

    The presence of two unexploded bombs in the gun-casing was discovered when after dark the submarine surfaced and began to roll.

    Lieutenant Roberts and Petty Officer Gould volunteered to remove the bombs, which were of a type unknown to them. The danger in dealing with the second bomb was very great. To reach it they had to go through the casing, which was so low that they had to lie at full length to move in it. Through this narrow space, in complete darkness, they pushed and dragged the bomb for a distance of some 20 feet until it could be lowered over the side. Every time the bomb was moved there was a loud twanging noise as of a broken spring which added nothing to their peace of mind.

    This deed was more gallant as HM Submarine Thrasher's presence was known to the enemy; she was close to the enemy coast and in waters where his patrols were known to be active day and night. There was a very great chance, and they knew it, that the submarine might have to crash-dive while they were under the casing. Had this happened they must have been drowned.


    Additional Infomation:

    Gould was the only Jewish recipient of the VC during WW2

    Gould's VC was bought at auction for £44,000 by the Association of Jewish Ex-Serviceman in 1987.

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    Peterborough Crematorium, Huntingdonshire.
    Location of ashes unknown.
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Quentin George Murray Smythe

    Rank: Sergeant

    Unit: Royal Natal Carabineers, South African Forces

    Awarded: 1st September 1943

    Nationality: South African

    The citation in the London Gazette of 11th September 1942 gives the following details:

    For conspicuous gallantry in action in the Alem Hamza area on the 5th June 1942.

    During the attack on an enemy strong point in which his officer was severely wounded; Sergeant Smythe took command of the platoon although suffering from a shrapnel wound in the forehead. The strong point having been overrun, our troops came under enfilade fire from an enemy' machine-gun nest! Realising, the threat to' his position, Sergeant Smythe himself stalked and destroyed the nest with hand grenades, capturing, the crew. Though weak from loss of blood, he continued to lead the advance, and on encountering an anti-tank gun position again attacked it single-handed and captured the crew. He was directly responsible for killing several of the enemy, shooting some and bayoneting another as they withdrew.

    After consolidation he received orders for a withdrawal, which he successfully executed, defeating skilfully an enemy attempt at encirclement.

    Throughout the engagement Sergeant Smythe displayed remarkable disregard for danger, and his leadership and courage were an inspiration to his men.


    Additional Infomation:

    Later promoted to Captain.

    Smythe was the grandson of the last Prime Minister of Natal.

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    Durban Crematorium, South Africa.
    Ashes scattered on his farm in Nottingham Road, SA.
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Adam Herbert Wakenshaw

    Rank: Private

    Unit: 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, British Army

    Awarded: 3rd March 1943

    Nationality: British

    The London Gazette for 8th September, 1942, gives the following details:
    On the 27th June, 1942,. South of Mersa Matruh, Private Wakenshaw was a member of the crew of a 2-pounder anti-tank gun that was sited on a forward slope in front of the infantry position.

    Shortly after dawn the enemy attacked and an enemy tracked vehicle towing a light gun was brought to within short range of ,the position. The gun crew opened fire and succeeded in putting a round through the engine immobilising the enemy vehicle.

    Another mobile gun then came into action. All members of the crew manning the 2 pounder including Private Wakenshaw were killed or seriously wounded and the 2 pounder was silenced. In this respite the enemy moved forward towards their damaged tractor in order to get the light gun into action against our infantry.

    Realising the danger to his comrades, under intense mortar and artillery fire which swept the gun site, Private Wakenshaw crawled back to his gun. Although his left arm was blown off above the elbow, he loaded the gun with one arm and fired five more rounds. These succeeded in setting the tractor on fire and damaged the light gun. A near miss then killed the gun aimer and blew Private Wakenshaw away from the gun giving him further severe wounds. Undeterred he slowly dragged himself back to the gun placed a round in the breach, and was preparing to fire when a direct hit on the ammunition killed him and destroyed the gun.

    In the evening after the action the body of Private Wakenshaw was found stretched out at the back of the breach block beside the ammunition box.

    This act of conspicuous gallantry prevented the enemy from using their light gun on the infantry Company which was only 200 yards away. It was through the self sacrifice and courageous devotion to duty of this infantry anti-tank gunner that the Company was enabled to withdraw and to embus in safety.


    Additional Infomation:

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    El Alamein War Cemetery, Eygpt
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Anthony Cecil Capel Miers

    Rank: Commander

    Unit: HM Submarine Torbay, Royal Navy

    Awarded: 28th July 1942

    The citation in the London Gazette of 3rd July 1942 contains the following details:

    For valor in command of H.M. Submarine Torbay in a daring and successful raid on shipping in a defended enemy harbour, planned with full knowledge of the great hazards to be expected during seventeen hours in waters closely patrolled by the enemy. On arriving in the harbour he had to charge his batteries lying on the surface in full moonlight, under the guns of the enemy. As he could not see his target he waited several hours and attacked in full daylight in a glassy calm. When he had fired his torpedoes he was heavily counter-attacked and had to withdraw through a long channel with anti-submarine craft all round and continuous air patrols overhead.


    Additional Infomation:

    In July 1941 Miers was accused of war crimes.

    Allegedly, Miers machine-gunned several shipwrecked German soldiers after his submarine had sunk their fishing craft.

    Later became Sir Anthony and was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral.

    Also awarded KBE, CB and DSO and Bar.

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    Tomnahurich Cemetery, Inverness, Scotland
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Charles Hazlitt Upham

    Rank: Captain

    Unit: 20th Battalion, 2nd N.Z.E.F. Canterbury Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

    Awarded: 1st January 1946. This was Captain Upham’s Bar to a VC he was awarded in October 1941.

    Nationality: New Zealander

    The citation in the London Gazette of 25th September, 1945, gives the following particulars:

    Captain C. H. Upham, V.C. was commanding a Company of New Zealand troops in the Western Desert during the operations which culminated in the attack on El Ruweisat Ridge on the night of 14th-15th July, 1942.

    In spite of being twice wounded, once when crossing open ground swept by enemy fire to inspect his forward sections guarding our mine-fields and again when he completely destroyed an entire truck load of German soldiers with hand grenades, Captain Upham insisted on remaining with his men to take part in the final assault.

    During the opening stages of the attack on the ridge Captain Upham's Company formed part of the reserve battalion, but, when communications with the forward troops broke down and he was instructed to send up an officer to report on the progress of the attack, he went out himself armed with a Spandau gun and, after several sharp encounters with enemy machine gun posts, succeeded in bringing back the required information.

    Just before dawn the reserve battalion was ordered forward, but, when it had almost reached its objective, very heavy fire was encountered from a strongly defended enemy locality, consisting of four machine gun posts and a number of tanks.

    Captain Upham, without hesitation, at once led his Company in a determined attack on the two nearest strong points on the left flank of the sector. His voice could be heard above the din of battle cheering on his men and, in spite of the fierce resistance of the enemy and the heavy casualties on both sides, the objective was captured.

    Captain Upham, during the engagement, himself destroyed a German tank and several guns and vehicles with grenades and although he was shot through the elbow by a machine gun bullet and had his arm broken, he went on again to a forward position and brought back some of his men who had become isolated. He continued to dominate the situation until his men had beaten off a violent enemy counter-attack and consolidated the vital position which they had won under his inspiring leadership.

    Exhausted by pain from his wound and weak from loss of blood Captain Upham was then removed to the Regimental Aid Post but immediately his wound had been dressed he returned to his men, remaining with them all day long under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire, until he was again severely wounded and being now unable to move fell into the hands of the enemy when, his gallant Company having been reduced to only six survivors, his position was finally over-run by superior enemy forces, in spite of the outstanding gallantry and magnificent leadership shown by Captain Upham.

    The Victoria Cross was conferred on Captain Upham for conspicuous bravery during the operations in Crete in May, 1941, and the award was announced in the London Gazette dated I4th October, 1941.

    Additional Infomation:

    Upham already had five years experience in New Zealand's Territorial Army, in which he held the rank of sergeant but he signed on as a private in 1939.

    Upham is the only combatant to receive a Bar to his VC. The other two were both doctors in the RAMC.

    Branded 'Dangerous' as a PoW by the Germans he was sent to Colditz on 14 October 1944.

    When Colditz was liberated by American forces, most of the inmates made their own way home immediately. Upham broke into a German armoury, helped himself to weaponry, and went out hunting Germans.

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    St Paul's Churchyard, Papanui, New Zealand
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Keith Elliott

    Rank: Sergeant

    Unit: 22nd Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force

    Awarded: 1st September 1944

    Nationality: New Zealander


    The London Gazette for 22nd September 1942 gives the following details:

    At Ruweisat at dawn on the 15th July, 1942, the Battalion to which Sergeant Elliott belonged was attacked on three flanks by tanks. Under heavy tank, machine-gun and shell fire, Sergeant Elliott led the platoon he was commanding to the cover of a ridge 300 yards away, during which he sustained a chest wound.

    Here he reformed his men and led them to a dominating ridge a further 500 yards away where they came under heavy enemy machine-gun and mortar fire. He located enemy machine-gun posts on his front and right flank and while one section attacked on the right flank, Sergeant Elliott led seven men in a bayonet charge across 500 yards of open ground in the face of heavy fire and captured four enemy machine-gun posts and an anti-tank gun, killing a number of the enemy and taking fifty prisoners.

    His section then came under fire' from a machine-gun post on his left flank. He immediately charged this post single handed and succeeded in capturing it, killing several of the enemy and taking fifteen prisoners.
    During these two assaults he sustained three more wounds in- the back and legs.

    Although badly wounded in four places Sergeant Elliott refused to leave his men until he had reformed them, handed over his prisoners which were now increased to 130 and had arranged for his men to rejoin their Battalion.

    Owing to Sergeant Elliott's quick grasp of the situation, great personal- courage and leadership, nineteen men who were the only survivors of "B" Company of his Battalion captured and destroyed five machine-guns, one anti-tank gun, killed a great number of the enemy and captured 130 prisoners. Sergeant Elliott sustained only one casualty among his men and brought him back to the nearest advanced dressing station.


    Additional Infomation:

    After the War Elliott was ordained as a Minister in the Anglican Church

    He later became a Welfare Officer for the Fire Service.

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    Paraparaumu, Lower Hutt, Returned Servicemans' Lawn Section, New Zealand
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Arthur Stanley Gurney

    Rank: Private

    Unit: 2/48th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

    Awarded: 11th June 1943

    Nationality: Australian.

    The citation in the London Gazette of 8th September, 1942, gives the following details:

    For gallant and unselfish bravery in silencing enemy machine-gun posts by bayonet assault at Tell El Eisa on the 22nd July, 1942, thus allowing his Company to continue the advance.

    During an attack on strong German positions in the early morning of the 22nd July, 1942, the Company to which Private Gurney belonged was held up by intense machinegun fire from posts less than 100 yards ahead, heavy casualties being inflicted on our troops, all the officers being killed or wounded.

    Grasping the seriousness of the situation and without hesitation, Private Gurney charged the nearest enemy machine-gun post, bayoneted three men and silenced the post. He then continued on to a second post, bayoneted two men and sent out a third as a prisoner. At this stage a stick grenade was thrown at Private Gurney which knocked him to the ground. He rose again, picked up his rifle and charged a third post using the bayonet with great vigour. He then disappeared from view, and later his body was found in an enemy post.

    By this single-handed act of gallantry in the face of a determined enemy, Private Gurney enabled his Company to press forward to its objective, inflicting heavy losses upon the enemy. The successful outcome of this engagement was almost entirely due to Private Gurney's heroism at the moment when it was needed.


    Additional Infomation:

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

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    El Alamein War Cemetery, Eygpt
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

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    Patrick Anthony Porteous

    Rank: Captain Temporary Major

    Unit: Royal Regiment of Artillery, British Army

    Awarded: 27th October 1942

    Nationality: British

    The citation in the London Gazette of 2nd October 1942, gives the following details:


    At Dieppe on the 19th August, 1942, Major Porteous was detailed to act as Liaison Officer between the two detachments whose task was to assault the heavy coast defence guns.

    In the initial assault Major Porteous, working with the smaller of the two detachments, was shot at close range through the hand, the bullet passing through his palm and entering his upper arm. Undaunted, Major Porteous closed with his assailant, succeeded in disarming him and killed him with his own bayonet thereby saving the life of a British Sergeant on whom the German had turned his aim.

    In the meantime the larger detachment was held up, and the officer leading this detachment was killed and the Troop Sergeant-Major fell seriously wounded. Almost immediately afterwards the only other officer of the detachment was also killed.

    Major Porteous, without hesitation and in the face of a withering fire, dashed across the open ground to take over the command of this detachment. Rallying them, he led them in a charge which carried the German position at the point of the bayonet, and was severely wounded for the second time. Though shot through the thigh he continued to the final objective where he eventually collapsed from loss of blood after the last of the guns had been destroyed.

    Major Porteous's most gallant conduct, his brilliant leadership and tenacious devotion to a duty which was supplementary to the role originally assigned to him, was an inspiration to the whole detachment.


    Additional Infomation:

    Promoted to the Colonel before retirement in 1970.

    Porteous had the honour of being in the lead car at the Queen Mother's 100th Birthday Parade.

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    St. Mary's Churchyard, West Chiltington, West Sussex
     
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