Armed Forces Week and Bill Speakman VC

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by en830, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. en830

    en830 Member

    A small ceremony was held at the Cenotaph in Jersey, to mark the start of Armed Forces Week here in the Channel Islands, with the raising of the official Armed Forces Day Flag.

    The ceremony was made special by the attendance of Bill Speakman VC. Bill is one of nine surviving VC holders, the oldest being John Cruickshank VC the Catalina pilot and the youngest, and arguable most controversial, Johnson Gideon Beharry VC.

    Bill won his VC in 1951 during the Korean as a 24 yr old Private in The Black Watch which was attached to the 1st Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers in an engagement at United Hill,

    4 November 1951 his section holding the left flank of the company's position had been reduce to approx 140 by casualties and was being over-run by the enemy.

    Private Speakman collected six men, a pile of grenades and undertook a series of charges which broke up several enemy attacks and caused heavy casualties on the enemy. In spite of being wounded in the leg he continued to lead charge after charge and kept the enemy at bay long enough to enable his company to withdraw safely.

    What makes the account more remarkable is that Bill and his 5 colleagues were charging a Chinese and North Korean contingent of approx 6,000.

    There is an account that when the 6 ran out of grenades, they resorted to throwing empty beer bottles, however in the conversation I had with Bill he refutes this as pure fiction, the source of which is unknown.

    A few images from today

    Bill Speakman VC

    dbf and Smudger Jnr like this.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Superb photographs. Looks like you had a great day.

    Thank you for posting.

  4. en830

    en830 Member

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers, Never heard of that before (from what I can recall). I can't see how it would be political either.

    Cheers anyway.

    Looks like you and them (in the pics) had a great day.

    Thanks again for posting the pics.
  6. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    From what I understand, it has been considered, by some, to be a political award rather than for out right bravery.
    If you read his citation I dont see how there can be any doubt it was awarded for bravery.
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Owen likes this.

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