All The Victoria Crosses of World War Two

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

  1. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    For your mighty effort with this thread Drew5233,

    From "THE BRONZE CROSS - A Tribute to Those who Won the Supreme Award for Valour in the years 1940-45" Historical Text by F. GORDON ROE F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S. Published December 1945.

    Always remember, never forget,

    Jim.

    The Bronze Cross Lt Raymond.jpg
     
  2. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    From "THE BRONZE CROSS - A Tribute to Those who Won the Supreme Award for Valour in the years 1940-45" Historical Text by F. GORDON ROE F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S. Published December 1945.

    Faces to names of brave men.

    Always remember, never forget,

    Jim.

    The Bronze Cross Naik Agansingh Rai MM 1.jpg
     
  3. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

  4. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Great to see these last two Gurkhas mentioned once again Jim. Bhanbhagta served on Operation Longcloth the year before with No. 4 Column. There are some more images at the foot of this page on my website:

    Gurkha Citations
     
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  6. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    For Drew5233's mighty effort here, and as the late chap's poor departed dog's resting place has been in the news only yesterday.

    Wing Commander G. P. Gibson; All The Victoria Crosses of World War Two

    Always remember, never forget,

    Jim.

    Guy Gibson 1.jpg

    Guy Gibson 2.jpg

    Guy Gibson 3.jpg
     
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  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    and Charles Upham
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    ......A relative by marriage to Noel Chavasse VC and Bar
     
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  8. Roger Freeman

    Roger Freeman Member

    Although this post is several years old now I thought my story of one of the last named on the list of Victoria Cross awards during WW2 might interest some readers still today.

    The Search for Naik 9192 Yeshwant Ghadge VC.

    This is the story of the friendship of two young men, one Indian and the other British who fought together as soldiers of the 10th Indian Division in Italy during the Second World War. The young Indian soldier was sadly killed in July 1944 winning the highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. The British soldier survived the war but the friendship between these two men endured in spirit long after the Second World War had finished.

    The Indian soldier 9192 Naik Yeshwant Ghadge fought with the 3/5 Mahrattas Regiment through North Africa and Southern Italy. The British soldier, my Uncle, had also fought in North Africa and Italy and was with the 30th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, the regiment was allocated to the 8th and 10th Indian Divisions in Italy in early 1944. The two men established their friendship at Taranto after meeting there in early January 1944. They subsequently both fought at the Battles of Cassino before advancing with the 8th Army and 10th Indian Division to the Upper Tiber Valley in Italy by July 1944.

    It was here in the mountains to the South East of the ancient walled town of Citta di Castello that Naik 9192 Yeshwant Ghadge was killed on the Tuesday morning the 10th July 1944, he was just 23 years old.

    My Uncle last saw his friend Yeshwant Ghadge that same morning in the early dawn light as he left an old farmhouse named ‘Morlupo’ perched high above the Torrent Lana gorge in the mountains North of the walled village of Montone. My Uncle had been attached to the 3/5 Mahrattas as an artillery observer to assist with RA support for the advancing Mahrattas.

    Yeshwant Ghadge was part of Company ‘C’ of the 3/5 Mahrattas commanded by a Lieutenant R S Madiman. Company ‘C’ had been ordered to attack German held positions located on the hill known locally as the Colle dei Sorci and by the army as Point 624 to the North East of the Torrent Lana gorge. At 05.30hr at dawn on Tuesday 10th July the company advanced from ‘Morlupo’ to another hill known as Point 613 then attacked Point 624.

    During the attack on Point 624 Lieutenant R S Madiman and six Mahratta NCO’s were killed by German machine gun cross fire leaving only Naik Yeshwant Ghadge alive, Ghadge, then completely alone, rushed the German Machine Gun position on Point 624 killing the machine gun crew before being shot in the chest by German snipers and falling over those he had just slain. For this action he was later awarded posthumously the Victoria Cross.

    My Uncle knew his friend had been killed that July morning in 1944 but could not determine exactly where his body had been eventually buried. For many years after the war he visited Italy and the mountains near Citta di Castello searching for his grave. He was assisted over the years by Alvaro Tacchini, a local historian, and local Italians he had been billeted with at Citta di Castello in 1944. They however had no success. During the 1960’s on one of his visits to the Cassino Veterans Association gatherings he found an epitaph on Plinth 17 at the Cassino War Memorial stating that 9192 Naik Yeshwant Ghadge VC had been posted as ‘missing with no known grave’. This he did not believe however knowing that he had been buried in the vicinity of Morlupo.

    My Uncle eventually made contact after the war with Yeshwant Ghadge’s widow Laxmibai Ghadge (they had no children) in India through the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association in London and for many years wrote to her and in a small way assisted her financially. He also fought long and hard with the UK Government of the day (John Major) in order to try and obtain equivalent pension rights for Mrs Ghadge, similar to those given to British widows of VC awards. Sadly, after many letters and visits to London he was not entirely successful achieving only a nominal one-off financial award for the family from the UK Government. The Indian Government did however increase Mrs Ghadge’s pension an equally small amount later based on my Uncles continued persuasion with the UK Government and the War Office. My Uncle continued visiting Italy right up to a year or so before his death a few years ago but unfortunately never discovered the whereabouts of his friend Yeshwant Ghadge’s remains while he was alive.

    After my Uncles death I continued to visit Italy and Citta di Castello from my home in South Australia over the years with the hope that I may be able to fulfill my Uncle’s wish of finding exactly what happened to his friend after he was killed. Although I searched diligently, assisted by the local historian Alvaro Tacchini in Citta di Castello I still left Italy several times unfulfilled and disappointed knowing no more than my Uncle had discovered in his search over many years previous. As a matter of record many ‘field graves’ of both allied and German personnel have been found in the Upper Tiber Valley since 1945, and still are to this day. Many of these remains however have no precise identification (e.g. identity Disc). Often the local Italian town comune records and those of the Roman Catholic Church recorded in 1945 (after area liberation) actually contain map references for ‘field graves’ both allied and German and they can be collated against official War Diaries of KIA in specific areas. Most British Regimental War Dairies however only name officers and not ‘other ranks’.

    Then while on a business trip to London a few years later I visited the British National Archives at Kew and read and photographed the ‘War Diaries’ of the 3/5 Mahratta Regiment for July 1944.

    Upon my return to South Australia, and having reread the Mahratta ’War Diary’, I noticed a number of anomalies between what had been written in July 1944 regarding the units actions and my Uncle’s own account in his own diaries. Interestingly the report and records of the action on July 10th 1944 from the National Army Museum in Chelsea also gave a different account.

    Bisheshwar Prasad, the noted Indian Editor of the official Indian Armed Forces History ‘The Campaign in Italy 1943-45’also gives a different account of the 3/5 Mahratta’s activities on the 10th July 1944 and specifically those of Company ‘C’ and 9192 Naik Yeshwant Ghadge VC.

    Based on these separate accounts, and writing several letters myself, I eventually visited the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in Maidenhead near London explaining the events to them and asking if they could search their files for any further information on Yeshwant Ghadge VC. A few months later their Senior Curator wrote to me in Australia and told me that they had found an old, typed record in their files relating to the death of Yeshwant Ghadge VC. They duly sent me a copy of an Indian Army ‘Graves Registration Report’ (10th Ind Div) dated October 1945. In the report it stated clearly that the remains of ten soldiers of the 3/5 Mahratta Regiment, including a Lieutenant R S Madiman and 9192 Naik Yeshwant Ghadge, had been found in ‘field graves’ in the vicinity of the Colle dei Sorci (Point 624) on the 25th October 1945. Over a year after they had been killed. The Registration Report also contained map coordinates of the actual location of the ‘field graves’ in October 1945 (based on the GSGS 4229 1:50000 Series Sheet 115). The report went on to state that all the remains of the ten soldiers had been exhumed and duly cremated the same day, according to their Hindu Faith, at Arezzo Commonwealth Cemetery (now CWGC Arezzo) and their ashes scattered.

    As a matter of record many ‘field graves’ of both allied and German personnel have been found in the Upper Tiber Valley since 1945, and still are to this day. Many of these remains however have no precise identification (e.g. identity Disc). Often the local Italian town comune records and those of the Roman Catholic Church recorded in 1945 (after area liberation) actually contain map references for ‘field graves’ both allied and German and they can be collated against official War Diaries of KIA in specific areas. Most British Regimental War Dairies however only name officers and not ‘other ranks’.

    In retrospect Plinth 17 at Cassino CWGC is correct in that 9192 Naik Yeshwant Ghadge has ‘no known grave’ but it is a proven fact that his remains were cremated and his ashes scattered at the Arezzo Commonwealth Cemetery (CWGC) along with a number of his comrades of the 3/5 Mahrattas who are also posted ‘as missing with no known graves’.

    Remarkably I learnt only this year that Mrs Laximbai Ghadge is still alive and must be 94-95 years old, she lives with her sisters’ sons family. The Indian Government has also substantially increased her widows’ pension with retrospective effect from the 1st April 2018.

    In more recent years Senoir Alvaro Tacchini in Citta di Castello and myself have discussed with the municipal council of the town (comune) the possibility of erecting a memorial to Yeshwant Ghadge and his fellow Mahratta comrades. We have learnt only recently (2020) that the proposal has now been approved. Since early 2020 however all such projects in Italy have been on hold due to the pandemic.

    I have attached the only photo that I have of Yeshwant Ghadge's family plus a photo of an old water colour painting my Uncle had done of his friend (not very flattering however). I now own this painting.




    Roger H Freeman
    McLaren Vale
    South Australia.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, Victoria Cross Medals, 1857-2007
    Name: Ghadge Yeshwant
    Birth Date: 16 Nov 1921
    Birth Place: Palasgaon, Near Amnechiwadi, Colaba District, Bombay, India
    Death Date: 10 Jul 1944
    Death Place: Upper Tiber Valley, Italy
    40104_258646-n1281.jpg

    You now have another image of him

    TD
     
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