VC Winners - Your Country's Recipients

Discussion in 'General' started by spidge, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. spidge


    This is a list of the 20 Australian Victoria Cross recipients in WW2.

    From: List of Australian winners of the Victoria Cross

    World War 2
    KENNA E [​IMG]
  2. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    On 4 March 1943, Dorothy Wakenshaw stood outside Buckingham Palace with Thomas, her young son. The King had just presented her with the Victoria Cross awarded to her husband. But he was not with her. He had been killed in battle
    in Egypt winning the VC - the last DLI soldier to gain this supreme award.
    Adam Herbert Wakenshaw was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1914.
    After he left school, he worked as a miner and in 1939, when WW2 began, he joined the 9th Battalion DLI. In June 1942, the German Army in North Africa was pushing east towards the Suez Canal. At Mersa Matruh, the British 8th Army tried to stop them. Before dawn on 27 June, a German force moved against the
    151st (Durham) Brigade. The blow landed first on 9DLI defending a rocky hill. The Durhams had been unable to dig-in.
    Instead, they lay behind low stone walls. In front of them were The 9th DLI`s
    anti-tank guns. Each of the guns had its own crew. One crew included Private Wakenshaw.
    Just after 5 o'clock, the Germans attacked. As they advanced, a tracked vehicle towing a gun came within range of Adam's gun. His gun opened fire and hit the vehicle. Then another German gun opened fire and all the Durhams manning the anti-tank guns, including Adam, were killed or wounded.
    With the anti-tank guns silenced, German soldiers moved towards the damaged vehicle. If that gun could be brought into action, 9 DLI's infantry would suffer heavy casualties. This was seen by Adam as he lay near his gun. Though he had been terribly wounded, he crawled back to his gun.
    There, with the help of 4458979 Pte Eric Mohn, who had also been badly wounded, Adam loaded the shells with one arm and 5 more rounds were fired,
    setting the German vehicle on fire. Then a shell burst near by.Pte Eric Mohn was killed and Adam, wounded again, was thrown from the gun. Unbelievably, he then dragged himself back to his place by the gun. There he placed one more round in the breech and was preparing to fire, when a direct hit killed him and silenced his
    gun for ever.
    There was nothing then to hold up the German attack and within a few hours the Durhams were surrounded. On that day, 9DLI lost 20 men killed and 300 taken prisoner. That evening, after the Germans had withdrawn, the body of
    Adam Wakenshaw was found next to the wreckage of his gun.He was 28 years old. Adam Wakenshaw was awarded the Victoria Cross for his “conspicuous gallantry” and “self sacrifice and courageous devotion to duty”. Today Adam Wakenshaw's gun, still bearing the scars of battle, rests in the DLI Museum in Durham, where his Victoria Cross is also on display

    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. An enemy tracked vehicle towing a light gun came within short range. The gun crew opened fire and succeeded in immobilising the enemy vehicle. Another mobile gun came into action, killed or seriously wounded the crew manning the 2-pounder, including Private Wakenshaw, and silenced the 2-pounder. Under intense fire, Private Wakenshaw crawled back to his gun. Although his left arm was blown off, he loaded the gun with one arm and fired five more rounds, setting the tractor on fire and damaging the light gun. A direct hit on the ammunition finally killed him and destroyed the gun. 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.:poppy::poppy::poppy:

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  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    George Arthur Knowland VC (16 August 1922 - 31 January 1945) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross during the Second World War, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
    He was born on 16 August 1922 in Catford, Kent and attended Elmwood Primary School in Croydon. He joined the British Army, the Royal Norfolk Regiment, in 1941 as a private and was commissioned before the end of the year.
    At 22 years old, and a lieutenant in the Royal Norfolks but now attached to No. 1 Commando in Burma, he took part in an action that won him the VC.
    On 31 January 1945 near Kangaw, Burma (now known as Myanmar), Lieutenant Knowland was in command of a forward platoon of a troop which was being heavily attacked - some 300 of the enemy concentrating on his 24 men. During the attacks he moved among the men distributing ammunition and contributing with rifle fire and throwing grenades at the enemy. When the crew of one of his forward Bren light machine guns had been wounded, he rushed forward to man it himself. The enemy was only 10 yards (9.1 m) away but below the level of the trench so to fire into them he stood up. He continued to fire until the casualties had been evacuated. A replacement gun team that had been sent for were injured while moving up and he stayed with the gun until a third team arrived. In a subsequent attack he took over a 2 inch (51 mm) mortar which he fired from the hip directly into the enemy. He returned to the trench for more ammunition and fired the mortar from out in the open. When this was used up he fired his rifle. The enemy were now very close and without time to reload his rifle, he picked up a "Tommy gun" (sub machine gun) and used. He killed more of the enemy but receiving mortal wounds. Despite over 50% losses in the platoon the remainder held on. By the time they were relieved the men had held the ground for 12 hours; preventing the enemy from advancing further on that hill.
    His grave is in the Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma.

    The portrait below shows a fresh-faced young George Knowland, recently promoted and proudly displaying his lieutenant’s pips. He wears a jungle warfare cob hat and on his breast is the ribbon of the newly issued Defence Medal. Tragically, he would never live to wear the crimson ribbon of the Victoria Cross.
    Artist’s impression of Lt. George Knowland defending Hill 170
    Hill 170 in more recent times
  4. AndyBaldEagle

    AndyBaldEagle Very Senior Member

    War Office, 2nd November 1944
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the
    No. 5057916 Lance-Sergeant John Daniel Baskeyfield
    The South Staffordshire Regiment
    (1st Airborne Division) (Stoke-on-Trent)
    On 20th September 1944, during the battle of Arnhem, Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield was the
    NCO in charge of a 6-pounder anti-tank gun at Oosterbeek. The enemy developed a major
    attack on this sector with infantry, tanks and self-propelled guns with the obvious intent to
    break into and overrun the Battalion position. During the early stage of the action the crew
    commanded by this NCO was responsible for the destruction of two Tiger tanks and at least
    one self propelled gun, thanks to the coolness and daring of this NCO who, with complete
    disregard for his own safety, allowed each tank to come well within 100 yards of his gun
    before opening fire. In the course of this preliminary engagement Lance-Sergeant
    Baskeyfield was badly wounded in the leg and the remainder of his crew were either killed or
    badly wounded.
    During the brief respite after this engagement Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield refused to be
    carried to the Regimental Aid Post and spent his time attending to his gun and shouting
    encouragement to his comrades in neighbouring trenches.
    After a short interval the enemy renewed the attack with even greater ferocity than before,
    under cover of intense mortar and shellfire. Manning his gun quite alone Lance-Sergeant
    Baskeyfield continued to fire round after round at the enemy until his gun was put out of
    action. By this time his activity was the main factor in keeping the enemy tanks at bay. The
    fact that the surviving men in his vicinity were held together and kept in action was
    undoubtedly due to his magnificent example and outstanding courage. Time after time
    enemy attacks were launched and driven off. Finally, when his gun was knocked out,
    Lance Sergeant Baskeyfield crawled under intense enemy fire to another 6-pounder gun
    nearby, the crew of which had been killed and proceeded to man it single-handed. With this
    gun he engaged an enemy self propelled
    gun which was approaching to attack. Another soldier crawled across the open ground to
    assist him but was killed almost at once. Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield succeeded in firing two
    rounds at the self propelled gun, scoring one direct hit which rendered it ineffective. Whilst
    preparing to fire a third shot, however, he was killed by a shell from a supporting enemy tank.
    The superb gallantry of this NCO is beyond praise.

    He has no know grave and is commemorated on the Groesbeek memorial, Holland

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  5. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Here is a well known one I saw at Arnhem Oosterbeek.

    David Samuel Anthony Lord VC, DFC (18 October 1913 – 19 September 1944) was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

    He was 30 years old, and a Flight Lieutenant in 271 Squadron, Royal Air Force during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. On 19 September 1944 during the Battle of Arnhem in the Netherlands, the British 1st Airborne Division was in desperate need of supplies. Flight Lieutenant Lord, flying Dakota KG374 through intense enemy anti-aircraft fire was twice hit and had one engine burning. He managed to drop his supplies, but at the end of the run found that there were two containers remaining. Although he knew that one of his wings might collapse at any moment he nevertheless made a second run to drop the last supplies, then ordered his crew to bail out. A few seconds later the Dakota crashed in flames with its pilot.
    Only the navigator, F/Lt Harold King survived, becoming a prisoner of war. It was only on his release in mid 1945 that the story of Lord's action was known, and David Lord was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. David Lord is buried alongside his crew in Oosterbeek Military Cemetery, near Arnhem.

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  6. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Not really at country or county level, but here is an image of the memorial to the 3 local VC recipitants in my local park, which is next to the cenotaph.

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  7. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member

    I read somewhere years ago, that one street in a small Canadian village produced 3 VC winners.

    Anyone know the details?

  8. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    I read somewhere years ago, that one street in a small Canadian village produced 3 VC winners.

    Anyone know the details?


    John, these are the Three Halton (Widnes & Runcorn) VC's. anyone interested can read more at the Haltonrbl website, which I think is
  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    It might be of interest to earn that "Smokey" Smith V.C. of "C' Company of the Seaforths of Canada would - now and again - ride on the back of my Tank going into battle.

    The action in which he earned his V.C. was when we - as 145th RAC Tanks - were bogged down in the flood plain of the Savio River - and so Smokey's section went on alone to deal with a troop of Panthers and P.G's - he killed off one Panther and killed a few of their P.G.'s - ditched another and the third retreated.

    Next day we retrieved the ditched Panther and had fun in stonking the makers with their own special 75mm gun - until our gunner was killed after stepping on a shu mine..he is buried at Cesena.... and "Smokey" died in Vancouver in 2005 and was buried with a full military funeral when thousands turned out to pay their respects to the last Canadian V.C. of WW2, after lying in state in Ottawa for a few days.

    he was quite the character and always laughing !
    Owen and von Poop like this.
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Ozjohn 39 -
    regarding the three V.C.'s who lived on Pine Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba - check out - or give him a call - SPIDGE message #1 of 12- 12- 2007 - he has all the details - the street has now been renamed Valour Road., Winnipeg.

    Frankly all the citizens of that City need a medal for living through the winter there....
  11. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    This is my grandmothers Uncle and he won his in 1917
    the medal is now in the IWM


    Private Ryder when his company was held up by heavy rifle fire, and all his officers had become casualties, dashed absolutely alone at the enemy trench, and, by skilful manipulation of his Lewis gun, succeeded in clearing the trench. This gallant act not only made possible, but also greatly inspired the subsequent advance of his comrades, and turned possible failure into success
    Roxy likes this.
  12. Cracker1

    Cracker1 Junior Member

  13. Cracker1

    Cracker1 Junior Member

    Nigel Gray Leakey VC (1 January 1913 - 19 May 1941) was a Kenyan recipient of the Victoria Cross.

    On 19 May 1941, in World War II, at Kolito, Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), when the Allied forces had made a bridgehead against the strong Italian opposition, the enemy made a sudden counterattack with both light and medium tanks. In the face of withering fire, Sergeant Leakey leaped on top of one of the tanks, wrenched open the turret and shot all the crew except the driver, whom he forced to drive the tank to cover. Along with three others, he tried to repeat this with another tank, but just as he opened the turret, he was killed. The confusion and loss of armour Leakey caused was critical to the Italian defeat in the battle.[2] Captain David Hines witnessed the event through binoculars, as did other soldiers.[3][4]
    Leakey has no known grave but he is commemorated on the East Africa Memorial, near Nairobi, Kenya.[5]

    Copied from Wikipedia
  14. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    In the Norwegian Sea on 8th April 1940, the destroyer HMS Gloworm under command of Commander Gerard Roope Attacked a far superior German squadron lead by the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. Having expended all her torpedoes; on fire and sinking, Gloworm finally rammed the Hipper.

    This was the first VC of WWII and, uniquely, was awarded on the recommendation of the enemy commander who wrote his recommendation to the Admiralty via the Red Cross. Commander Roope did not survive the action.

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  15. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    The 50th (Northumbrian) Division VC's in WWII:

    All from Wiki:

    The Victoria Cross was awarded 182 times to 181 recipients for valour in WWII.

    Here are the four awarded to soldiers of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division in WWII, which I understand was unsurpassed by any other British Infantry Division. Three of the recipents are from the historical recruitment area of the Division; the then Northumberland, Co Durham, and North & East Yorkshire.

    Jim (handle: Verierres) has already posted re Adan Wakenshaw at Message #22.

    Any narrative in square brackets is mine.

    Adam Wakenshaw VC

    Adan Herbert Wakenshaw VC (9 June 1914 - 27 June 1942) [of Newcastle Upon Tyne] was 28 years old, and a Private in the 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry. On 27 June 1942 south of Mersa Matruh, Egypt, Private Wakenshaw was a member of a crew of a 2 pounder (907g) anti-tank gun, when the enemy attacked, silencing the gun and killing or seriously wounded all the crew. Private Wakenshaw's left arm was blown off but he crawled back to his gun, loaded it with one arm and fired five more rounds with considerable effect. He was then blown away from the gun by an enemy shell and was again severely wounded, but he still managed to crawl back and was preparing to fire again when a direct hit on the ammunition killed him and destroyed the gun.

    Derek Seagrim VC

    Derek Anthony Seagrim VC (24 September 1903 - 6 April 1943) [born in Bournemouth, but living in Norfolk] was 39 year old [was] a Temporary Lieutenant Colonel in the 7th Bn, The Green Howards. On 20/21 March 1943 at the Mareth Line, Tunisia, Lieutenant Colonel Seagrim's courage and leadership led directly to the capture of an important objective. When it appeared that the attack on the position would fail owing to the intensity of enemy fire, he placed himself at the head of his battalion and led them forward. He personally helped to place a scaling ladder over an anti-tank ditch and was the first across. Leading an attack on two machine-gun posts, he accounted for 20 of the enemy and when a counter-attack was launched next day he moved from post to post quite unperturbed, until it was defeated.

    [He died on 6 April 1943 after being badly wounded at Wadi Akarit and before receiving his VC].

    [His brother was Hugh Seagrim GC. He and his brother have the distinction of being the only siblings awarded the VC and the George Cross; both posthumously].

    Eric Anderson VC

    Eric Anderson (15 September 1915 – 6 April 1943) [of Hull] was 27 years old and a Private in the 5th Bn, The East Yorkshire Regiment. On 6 April 1943 on the Wadi Akarit, Tunisia, when a company of The East Yorkshire Regiment had to withdraw temporarily behind the crest of a hill, Private Anderson, a stretcher-bearer, went forward alone through heavy fire to rescue the wounded. Three times he brought in wounded comrades, and was rendering first aid to a fourth when he was mortally wounded.

    Stanley Elton Hollis VC

    Stanley Elton Hollis VC (21 September 1912 - 8 February 1972) [of Middlesbrough] has the unique distinction of winning the only Victoria Cross awarded on D-Day (6 June 1944). On 6 June 1944, [CSM] Stanley Hollis [of the 6th Bn,] Green Howards, went with his company commander to investigate two German pill-boxes which had been by-passed as the company moved inland from the beaches. He rushed forward to the first pill-box, taking all but five of the occupants prisoner and then dealt with the second, taking 26 prisoners. Then he cleared a neighbouring trench. Later that day, he led an attack on an enemy position which contained a field gun and Spandau machine guns. After withdrawing he learned that two of his men had been left behind and told Major Lofthouse, his commanding officer, "I took them in. I will try to get them out." Taking a grenade from one of his men, Hollis carefully observed the enemy's pattern of behaviour and threw [the grenade] at the most opportune moment. Unfortunately, he had forgotten to prime the grenade, but the enemy didn't know this and kept their heads down waiting for it to explode. By the time they realised their mistake Hollis was on top of them and had shot them.

    NB. There is a separate thread on this forum which discusses Hollis in more detail!


  16. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    'The 6 VC's before Breakfast'


    London Gazette 24.08.1915 'Richard Raymond Willis, Capt.; Alfred Richards, No. 1293, Sergt., William Keneally, No. 1809, Private, 1st Battn. The Lancashire Fusiliers. Date of Acts of Bravery: 25 April 1915.
    On the 25th of April 1915, three Companies and the Headquarters of the 1st Battn. Lancashire Fusiliers, in effecting a landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula to the west of Cape Helles, were met by very deadly fire from hidden machine guns which caused a great number of casualties. The survivors, however, rushed upto and cut the wire entanglements, notwithstanding the terrific fire from the enemy, and after overcoming supreme difficulties, the cliffs were gained and the position maintained.

    Amongst the very gallant officers and men engaged in this most hazardous undertaking, Capt. Willis, Sergt. Richards and Private Keneally have been selected by their comrades as having performed the most signal acts of bravery and devotion to duty.'

    The citation for Bromley, Stubbs, and Grimshaw was not issued until March 15, 1917 and was worded in exactly the same way with just the three names being altered.
  17. Poor Old Spike

    Poor Old Spike Discharged

    As EmmersonBigguns said earlier, 5 Americans won the VC.
    A Swede, Swiss and Ukrainian also won it.
    I found this article-


    THE 5 US VC's
  18. kiwigeordie

    kiwigeordie Senior Member

    Geoff (Spidge) has already posted NZ's double VC recipient, Charles Upham but there were two more from the North African Campaign.

    Kieth Elliott for action at Ruweisat Ridge
    Keith Elliott - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    2nd Lt. Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu (posth.) for action at Tebaga Gap
    NGARIMU, Second Lieutenant Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, V.C. - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

    We also shouldn't forget Lt. Gen. Bernard Freyberg who led the NZEF in WW2 and won his VC in WW1. He was British born and moved to NZ aged 2 years. He served in the Dardanelles Campaign before transferring to the British Army (Queens Regiment - Royal West Surrey). He was awarded the VC for action at Beaucourt Village.
    Bernard Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  19. kiwigeordie

    kiwigeordie Senior Member

  20. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    Re the award to Seeley:
    First American citizen to win the Victoria Cross, it is also unique in that it is (from memory) the only battle award (as opposed to those for saving life eg: Andaman islands) where no campaign medal was instigated for the action.

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