Victoria Cross

Oct

31

1942

El Alamein – Australians begin to break through

31st October 1942: El Alamein – Australians begin to break through

But with a scream and a crash another shell arrived. Something glanced along the side of my boot and two or three more pieces hit on the tank with a clang. Evan rolled sideways off the back of the tank and fell to the ground. ‘Are you all right?’ I asked him. ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘Well get back in the turret, I’m not going to muck about digging in this stuff.”

Oct

26

1942

Rommel returns to the El Alamein battlefield

26th October 1942: Rommel returns to the El Alamein battlefield

Unfortunately, the attack gained ground very slowly. The British resisted desperately. Rivers of blood were poured out over miserable strips of land which, in normal times, not even the poorest Arab would have bothered his head about. Tremendous British artillery fire pounded the area of the attack. In the evening part of the Bersaglieri Battalion succeeded in occupying the eastern and western edges of the hill. The hill itself remained in British hands and later became the base for many enemy operations.

Sep

5

1942

Japanese defeated at Milne Bay

5th September 42: Japanese defeated at Milne Bay

He returned to his section for more grenades and again advanced and silenced the second post. Armed with a Thomson submachine-gun, he then attacked the third post, firing from the hip as he went forward. He was seen to be badly hit by the fire from this post, but he continued to advance.

Aug

29

1942

Victoria Cross won on the Kokoda Track

29th August 42: Victoria Cross won on the Kokoda Track

He rushed forward firing his Bren Gun from the hip through terrific machine-gun fire and succeeded in clearing a path through the enemy. Continuing to sweep the enemy positions with his fire and inflicting an extremely high number of casualties on them

Jul

15

1942

Two New Zealand V.C.s in one day


15th July 1942: Two New Zealand V.C.s in one day

In spite of being twice wounded, once when crossing open ground swept by enemy fire to inspect his forward sections guarding our mine-fields and again when he completely destroyed an entire truck load of German soldiers with hand grenades, Captain Upham insisted on remaining with his men to take part in the final assault.

During the opening stages of the attack on the ridge Captain Upham’s Company formed part of the reserve battalion, but, when communications with the forward troops broke down and he was instructed to send up an officer to report on the progress of the attack, he went out himself armed with a Spandau gun and, after several sharp encounters with enemy machine gun posts, succeeded in bringing back the required information.

Jun

27

1942

Adam Wakenshaw mans his gun to the end

27th June 1942: Adam Wakenshaw mans his gun to the end

About 5.15am, the German infantry attacked supported by tanks and artillery. As they advanced, a tracked vehicle towing a light gun came to within close range of Private Wakenshaw’s anti-tank gun. The 2-pounder gun opened fire and a direct hit on the vehicle’s engine stopped it dead.

Jun

5

1942

The battle for the Gazala Line continues

5th June 1942: The battle for the Gazala Line continues

10th Indian Infantry Brigade was completely destroyed. 16 Platoon being on the extreme left flank of the action, took up position behind a small ridge, we had no trenching tools, picks or shovels, and being under continuous fire from a group of Armoured Cars supporting heavy machine guns, we could not inflict much damage to them, having only Bren Guns and Rifles, and there was no artillery support (there was supposed to be artillery support but none was forthcoming). Communications were bad, West Yorks having no wireless sets and as fast as the Signals Platoon laid telephone cables Tanks in the rear chewed them up so any link up was just non existent.

Shortly after mid-day “D” Companies 16 Platoon were ordered to withdraw as did the rest of the Battalion, leap frogging one platoon after another, tanks and trucks that had been knocked out were given the final treatment by grenade and fire, ensuring that they would be of no use to the enemy forces.

Late in the afternoon we passed through the artillery lines, the enemy in close pursuit, the darkness was closing in now when we reached fairly safe area and here we were served with a hot bully beef stew, once more we were under attack from artillery fire, our artillery was retalliating, we then received orders to dig in and be prepared for a tank attack.

Apr

17

1942

Low level Lancaster raid on Augsberg

17th April 1942: Low level Lancaster raid on Augsberg

Soon after crossing into enemy territory his formation was engaged by 25 to 30 fighters. A running fight ensued. His rear guns went out of action. One by one the aircraft of his formation were shot down until in the end only his own and one other remained. The fighters were shaken off but the target was still far distant. There was formidable resistance to be faced.

Mar

28

1942

The Commando raid on St. Nazaire

28th March 1942: The Commando raid on St. Nazaire

After about three or four minutes of this brisk action there was a perceptible slackening in the enemy’s fire. This was a triumph for the many gun-layers in the coastal craft and in the Campbeltown. It was, at this stage, a straight fight between the carefully sited enemy flak emplacements ashore, enjoying all the protection which concrete could afford, and the gun-layers, handling the short-range weapons on the exposed decks of their small and lively craft.

Mar

4

1942

HMS Torbay slips into Corfu harbour for sneak attack

4th March 1942: HMS Torbay slips into Corfu harbour for sneak attack

0734 hours – Fired two torpedoes at the destroyer / torpedo boat which unfortunately ran under. At this moment one torpedo struck the first ship fired at. Torbay went deep and turned at full speed to 145º. This was the direct course for the South channel. Cdr. Miers thought it was now time to get out and not to overstay their ‘welcome’.