Victoria Cross

Apr

9

1944

Victoria Cross as the Siege of Kohima begins

British infantrymen use a dismounted tank machine gun at Kohima.

Sergeant Tacon shouted out ‘Hang on,Taffy, I’m coming’, but as he crawled towards him he [Tacon] was hit in the arm and leg, fracturing it. He just managed to roll out of the danger area.Although we cou1dn’t help Taffy we did start talking to him because he was only about 2 yards from us down in a dip. He told us that he was paralysed. He was soon delirious and for eight hours he was screaming, shouting and calling for his Mum and Dad and praying, until he died.

Apr

6

1944

Islamic warrior earns VC leading counter-attack

Portrait of Abdul Hafiz, awarded the Victoria Cross: Burma, 6 April 1944.

Jemadar Abdul Hafiz then took a Bren gun from a wounded man and advanced against the enemy, firing as he advanced, and killing several of the enemy. So fierce was the attack, and all his men so inspired by the determination of Jemadar Abdul Hafiz to kill all enemy in sight at whatever cost, that the enemy, who were still in considerable numbers on the position, ran away down the opposite slope of the hill.

Mar

31

1944

Heavy losses as RAF Bomber Command targets Nuremberg

Halifax B Mark III, LV857, in flight shortly after completion by the Handley Page Ltd works at Radlett, Hertfordshire. In its brief service life, this aircraft served with Nos. 35, 10 and 51 Squadrons RAF before crashing at Schwarzbad while returning from a raid on Nuremberg on 31 May 1944.

Pilot Officer Barton faced a situation of dire peril. His aircraft was damaged, his navigational team had gone and he could not communicate with the remainder of the crew. If he continued his mission, he would be at the mercy of hostile fighters when silhouetted against the fires in the target area, and if he survived he would have to make a 4 1/2 hours journey home on three engines across heavily-defended territory.

Mar

17

1944

Officer’s VC after arm hacked off by Jap’s sword

Major General O C Wingate (1903 - 1944): One of the last pictures of Wingate, with his rifle, on board a Dakota of 1 Air Commando, during the second 'Chindit' expedition.

Some shots had come down at us but not as many as I had expected, which probably meant we had regained the initiative by then and taken them unawares. Then, to my surprise, the Japs leapt up as we went at them and charged into us. Two sides charging at each other was certainly not going according to the military rule books.

Mar

11

1944

Indian Army VC for bayonet attack

Nand Singh VC pictured in 1944.

Although wounded in the thigh he rushed ahead of his section and took the first enemy trench with the bayonet by himself. He then crawled forward alone under heavy fire and though wounded again in the face and shoulder by a grenade which burst one yard in front of him, took the second trench at the point of the bayonet.

Feb

7

1944

Victoria Cross for ‘tommy’ gun stand at Anzio

4.2-inch mortar of 15th Brigade (5th Division) Mortar Support Company in action, Anzio bridgehead, 16 March 1944.

Satisfied that no further attack would be made, he made his way to a nearby cave to have his wound dressed, but before this could be done the enemy attacked again. He at once returned to his post and continued to engage the enemy for another hour, by which time the left of the battalion position was consolidated and the enemy was finally driven off.

Dec

24

1943

Irish Guards celebrate Christmas Eve in a brothel

Portrait of Sergeant J P Kenneally, VC, by Henry Carr, 1943.

The bastards opened up on us — .45 slugs slammed into the rear doors they even fired at us from the upstairs windows of the brothel. Monty rounded the corner and we were away with no harm done; there were bullet holes in the roof but no one was hit so we proceeded on our merry way back to Canosa. We parked the wagon about half a mile from the granaries and walked back just in time to join midnight mass in the chapel attached to the farm house. It had been a good night out.

Nov

24

1943

Sergeant Derrick’s grenade attacks earns V.C.

An Australian casualty is brought down from the battle of Sattleberg.

Moving ahead of his forward section he personally destroyed, with grenades, an enemy post which had been holding up this section. He then ordered his second section around on the right flank. This section came under heavy fire from light machine-guns and grenades from, six enemy posts. Without regard for personal safety he clambered forward well ahead of the leading men of the section and hurled grenade after grenade, so completely demoralising the enemy that they fled leaving weapons and grenades.

Nov

3

1943

William Reid wins VC in raid on Dusseldorf

William Reid VC

During the fight with the Messerschmitt, Flight Lieutenant Reid was wounded in the head, shoulders and hands. The elevator trimming tabs of the aircraft were damaged and it became difficult to control. The rear turret, too, was badly damaged and the communications system and compasses were put out of action. Flight Lieutenant Reid ascertained that his crew were unscathed and, saying nothing about his own injuries, he continued his mission.

Sep

25

1943

Sergeant Major Wright wins VC on Hill 207

A 3-inch mortar of the 5th Hampshire Regiment in action at Salerno, 15 September 1943.

As No. 1 Company broke cover, and emerged into the more open ground around the farm, the Germans opened up with every weapon they had. We followed. The row grew more intense. There must have been a dozen Spandaus firing at once, now: ‘a team of giants ripping up a tarpaulin’ had become standard verbiage. It was impossible to distinguish individual shots.