Victoria Cross

Sep

22

1943

X craft – midget submarine – attack on the Tirpitz

X-Craft 25 underway in Loch Striven, near Rothesay with Lieut J E Smart, RNVR, the Commanding Officer on deck by the conning tower.

We actually hit the target’s side obliquely at twenty feet and slid underneath, swinging our fore-and-aft line to the line of her keel. The first charge was let go – as I estimated, under the Tirpitz’s bridge – and X7 was taken about 200 feet astern to drop the other charge under the after turrets. The time was 0720. It was just as we were letting go the second charge that we heard the first signs of enemy counter-attack – but, oddly enough, we were wrong in assuming they were meant for us.

Sep

13

1943

Australian 7th Division close in on Japanese

Richard Kelliher V.C. in 1946

I wanted to bring [wounded] Cpl Richards back, because he was my cobber, so I jumped out from the stump where I was sheltering and threw a few grenades over into the position where the Japanese were dug in. I did not kill them all, so went back, got a Bren gun and emptied the magazine in the post. That settled the Japanese. Another position opened up when I went on to get Cpl Richards, but we got a bit of covering fire and I brought him back to our lines.

Aug

11

1943

Lloyd Trigg and crew die as they sink U-Boat

A Lockheed Hudson 'J-Jig' of No 200 Squadron, Royal Air Force, in flight over a coastal region of Gambia.

Flying Officer Trigg had rendered outstanding service on convoy escort and antisubmarine duties. He had completed 46 operational sorties and had invariably displayed skill and courage of a very high order. One day in August 1943, Flying Officer Trigg undertook, as captain and pilot, a patrol in a Liberator although he had not previously made any operational sorties in that type of aircraft. After searching for 8 hours a surfaced U-boat was sighted. Flying Officer Trigg immediately prepared to attack.

Apr

30

1943

John Keneally’s second attack from the ‘Bou’

Sergeant J P Kenneally, VC - 1 Battalion, Irish Guards. Artist: Henry Carr 1943

The air was full of the chatter of machine and the ground we lay on trembled with the explosions of grenades. There was no time for fear; a strange ‘don’t-give-a-damn’ feeling took a grip — something every infantryman feels when he is constantly exposed to death in brutal and violent forms. Two German figures loomed over us and I cut one of them in half with the Bren. Pollock shot the other in the face

Apr

28

1943

John Kenneally’s one man attack on German positions

Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vbs of No. 417 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, flying in loose formation over the Tunisian desert on a bomber escort operation, April 1943.

I achieved complete surprise. I hose-piped them from the top of the gully. They were being bowled over like nine-pins and were diving in all directions. I had time to clip on another magazine and I gave them that too. Enough was enough, and I fled back to the boulders and safety. The remaining Germans had scattered and were firing everywhere, even at each other. Bullets were shattering off the boulder in front of me.

Apr

27

1943

Another posthumous V.C. In Tunisia

Men of the 2nd Sherwood Foresters firing a captured German MG42 machine gun, Tunisia, 27 April 1943.

So quickly had this officer acted that he was in among the crew with the bayonet before they had time to fire more than one shot. He killed a number of them before being overwhelmed and killed himself. The few survivors of the gun crew then left the pit, some of them being killed while they were retiring, and both the heavy machine gun and 88 millimetre gun were silenced.

Apr

23

1943

Two V.C.s in fierce Tunisian battles

Priest 105mm self-propelled gun of 11th Royal Horse Artillery (Honourable Artillery Company), 1st Armoured Division, 22 April 1943.

On the first objective and still under continual enemy fire, Major Anderson re-organised the Battalion and rallied men whose Commanders, in most cases, had been either killed or wounded. The Commanding Officer having been killed, he took command of the Battalion and led the assault on the second objective. During this assault he received a leg wound, but in spite of this he carried on and finally captured ” Longstop ” Hill with a total force of only four officers and less than forty other ranks.

Apr

20

1943

Indian and Gurkha troops attack Germans in Tunisia

Ghurkas advance through a smokescreen up a steep slope in Tunisia, 16 March 1943.

I was challenged in a foreign language. I felt it was not the British language or I would have recognised it. To make quite sure I crept up and found myself looking into the face of a German. I recognised him by his helmet. He was fumbling with his weapon so I cut off his head with my kukri. Another appeared from a slit trench and I cut him down also. I was able to do the same to two others, but one made a great deal of noise, which raised the alarm.

Apr

6

1943

Two VCs following fierce battle at Wadi Akarit

Men of the 7th Battalion, The Green Howards, stage a re-enactment of the storming of Point 85 during the Gabes Gap battles, 11 April 1943.

Knowing that more men were lying wounded in the open he again went out to the bullet swept slope, located a second wounded man and carried him to safety. Private Anderson went forward once again and safely evacuated a third casualty. Without any hesitation or consideration for himself he went out for a fourth time but by now he was the only target the enemy had to shoot at and when he reached the fourth wounded man, and was administering such first aid as he could to prepare for the return journey, he was himself hit and mortally wounded.

Mar

29

1943

Australian VC hero beheaded by Japanese

RAAF Boston aircraft as flown by No. 22 Squadron.

Flight Lieutenant Newton maintained control and calmly turned his aircraft away and flew along the shore. He saw it as his duty to keep the aircraft in the air as long as he could so as to take his crew as far away as possible from the enemy’s positions. With great skill, he brought his blazing aircraft down on the water.