28 November 2010

Victoria Cross: A. K. Wilson and W. T. Marshall


Captain, Royal Navy; attached Naval Brigade

Born: 4 March 1842, Swaffham, Norfolk
Died: 25 May 1921, Swaffham, Norfolk

Citation: This Officer, on the staff of Rear-Admiral Sir William Hewett, at the Battle of El-Teb, on the 29th February [1884] attached himself during the advance to the right half battery, Naval Brigade, in the place of Lieutenant Royds, R.N., mortally wounded.
As the troops closed on the enemy's Krupp battery the Arabs charged out on the corner of the square and on the detachment who were dragging the Gardner gun. Captain Wilson then sprang to the front and engaged in single combat with some of the enemy, thus protecting his detachment till some men of the York and Lancaster Regiment came to his assistance with their bayonets. But for the action of this Officer Sir Redvers Buller thinks that one or more of his detachment must have been speared.
Captain Wilson was wounded but remained with the half battery during the day.

[London Gazette issue 25356 dated 21 May 1884, published 21 May 1884.]

Notes: He was Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Wilson VC GCB OM GCVO at the time of his death.
The two battles of El Teb (4 Feb 1884 and 29 Feb 1884) were fought in the Sudan as part of the campaign against the followers of the Mahdi.
A Gardner gun was an early type of crank-operated machine gun.


Quartermaster-Sergeant, 19th Hussars

Born: 5 December 1854, Newark, Nottinghamshire
Died: 11 September 1920, Kirkcaldy, Fife

Citation: For his conspicuous bravery during the Cavalry charge at El-Teb, on 29th February last, in bringing Lieutenant-Colonel Barrow, 19th Hussars, out of action. That officer having been severely wounded, and his horse killed, was on the ground surrounded by the enemy, when Quartermaster-Sergeant Marshall, who stayed behind with him, seized his hand and dragged him through the enemy back to the regiment. Had Lieutenant-Colonel Barrow been left behind he must have been killed.

[London Gazette issue 25356 dated 21 May 1884, published 21 May 1884.]

Medal of Honor: D. T. Craw and P. M. Hamilton


Colonel, US Army Air Corps

Born: 9 April 1900, Traverse City, Michigan
Died: 8 November 1942, near Port Lyautey, French Morocco

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 8 November 1942, near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, Col. Craw volunteered to accompany the leading wave of assault boats to the shore and pass through the enemy lines to locate the French commander with a view to suspending hostilities. This request was first refused as being too dangerous but upon the officer's ins1stence that he was qualified to undertake and accomplish the mission he was allowed to go. Encountering heavy fire while in the landing boat and unable to dock in the river because of shell fire from shore batteries, Col. Craw, accompanied by 1 officer and 1 soldier, succeeded in landing on the beach at Mehdia Plage under constant low-level strafing from 3 enemy planes. Riding in a bantam truck toward French headquarters, progress of the party was hindered by fire from our own naval guns. Nearing Port Lyautey, Col. Craw was instantly killed by a sustained burst of machinegun fire at pointblank range from a concealed position near the road.


Major, US Army Air Corps

Born: 3 August 1898, Tuxedo Park, New York
Died: 4 March 1982, Los Angeles (?), California

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 8 November 1942, near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, Lt. Col. Hamilton volunteered to accompany Col. Demas Craw on a dangerous mission to the French commander, designed to bring about a cessation of hostilities. Driven away from the mouth of the Sebou River by heavy shelling from all sides, the landing boat was finally beached at Mehdia Plage despite continuous machinegun fire from 3 low-flying hostile planes. Driven in a light truck toward French headquarters, this courageous mission encountered intermittent firing, and as it neared Port Lyautey a heavy burst of machinegun fire was delivered upon the truck from pointblank range, killing Col. Craw instantly. Although captured immediately, after this incident, Lt. Col. Hamilton completed the mission.

21 November 2010

Victoria Cross: G. S. Henderson


Captain, 2nd Battalion The Manchester Regiment

Born: 5 December 1893, East Gordon, Berwick
Died: 24 July 1920, Hillah, Mesopotamia

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice.
On the evening of the 24th July, 1920, when about fifteen miles from Hillah (Mesopotamia), the Company under his command was ordered to retire. After proceeding about 500 yards a large party of Arabs suddenly opened fire from the flank, causing the Company to split up and waver. Regardless of all danger, Capt. Henderson at once reorganised the Company, led them gallantly to the attack and drove off the enemy.
On two further occasions this officer led his men to charge the Arabs with the bayonet and forced them to retire. At one time, when the situation was extremely critical and the troops and transport were getting out of hand, Capt. Henderson, by sheer pluck and coolness, steadied his command, prevented the Company from being cut up, and saved the situation.
During the second charge he fell wounded, but refused to leave his command, and just as the Company reached the trench they were making for he was again wounded. Realising that he could do no more, he asked one of his N.C.O.'s to hold him up on the embankment, saying, "I'm done now, don't let them beat you." He died fighting.

[London Gazette issue 32106 dated 29 Oct 1920, published 29 Oct 1920.]

Note: Henderson's DSO was gazetted on 31 May 1916, with a Bar gazetted on 25 Aug 1917. His MC was gazetted on 3 Jul 1915.
Al-Hillah is in central Iraq, some 60 miles south of Baghdad.

Medal of Honor: R. Harvey


Captain, US Army; Company C, 17th Infantry Regiment

Born: 1 March 1920, Ford City, Pennsylvania
Died: 18 November 1996, Scottsdale, Arizona

Citation: Capt. Harvey, Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action [in the vicinity of Taemi-Dong, Korea, on 9 March 1951]. When his company was pinned down by a barrage of automatic weapons fire from numerous well-entrenched emplacements, imperiling accomplishment of its mission, Capt. Harvey braved a hail of fire and exploding grenades to advance to the first enemy machine gun nest, killing its crew with grenades. Rushing to the edge of the next emplacement, he killed its crew with carbine fire. He then moved the 1st Platoon forward until it was again halted by a curtain of automatic fire from well fortified hostile positions. Disregarding the hail of fire, he personally charged and neutralized a third emplacement. Miraculously escaping death from intense crossfire, Capt. Harvey continued to lead the assault. Spotting an enemy pillbox well camouflaged by logs, he moved close enough to sweep the emplacement with carbine fire and throw grenades through the openings, annihilating its 5 occupants. Though wounded he then turned to order the company forward, and, suffering agonizing pain, he continued to direct the reduction of the remaining hostile positions, refusing evacuation until assured that the mission would be accomplished. Capt. Harvey's valorous and intrepid actions served as an inspiration to his company, reflecting the utmost glory upon himself and upholding the heroic traditions of the military service.

19 November 2010

Medal of Honor awarded for Afghanistan

ZUI this article from the US Army's home page:
President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor Tuesday to the first active-duty servicemember in nearly 40 years.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta was described as a humble, low-key Soldier –- one that shies away from the limelight. But his actions on Oct. 25, 2007, were anything but low-key when he refused to let enemy fighters carry off a fellow wounded Soldier in Afghanistan.

Giunta, then a specialist, individually pursued two insurgents who had captured a badly wounded Sgt. Joshua Brennan during a deadly firefight. Giunta killed one insurgent and injured the other, and immediately began to administer first aid to Brennan, all while under heavy enemy fire.

It was this act of rare bravery that saved lives and warranted receipt of the Medal, Obama explained.

ZUI also this article:
Top DoD and Army officials inducted Staff Sgt. Salvatore "Sal" Giunta of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes Wednesday, making him the first active-duty servicemember added to the hallowed chamber in a generation.

Giunta's name was enshrined on a plaque that will hang in the Pentagon hallway commemorating Medal of Honor recipients, and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates presented Giunta with a Medal of Honor flag, while Secretary of the Army John McHugh gave him a framed photo and citation during the ceremony.

"While we can never fail or forget to honor the fallen, we also need living heroes - men and women who overcame every fear and every obstacle - to inspire, to teach, and to ennoble us by what they have done," Gates said. "Heroes like Sal Giunta."

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., chief of staff of the Army, noted that of the 389 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who have received the Medal of Honor since World War II, including 15 other paratroopers from the 173rd, only one third have received it in person.

"This is an incredible occasion," McHugh told the standing-room-only crowd that included Giunta's battle buddies from the 173rd and past Medal of Honor recipien

A slideshow of photos from the award presentation can be found here, and one from the induction ceremony is here.

************* *** *************


Staff Sergeant (then Specialist), US Army; Company B, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment

Born: 21 January 1985, Hiawatha, Iowa
Died: TBD

Citation: Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, in action, with an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2007.
While conducting a patrol as team leader, with Company B, 2d Battalion Airborne, 503d Infantry Regiment, Specialist Giunta and his team were navigating through harsh terrain when they were ambushed by a well-armed and well-coordinated insurgent force.
While under heavy enemy fire, Specialist Giunta immediately sprinted towards cover and engaged the enemy. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen, and believing that he had been injured, Specialist Giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and raced towards his squad leader, helped him to cover and administered medical aid.
While administering first aid, enemy fire struck Special Giunta’s body armor and his secondary weapon. Without regard to the ongoing fire, Specialist Giunta engaged the enemy before prepping and throwing grenades, using the explosions for cover in order to conceal his position.
Attempting to reach additional wounded fellow soldiers who were separated from the squad, Specialist Giunta and his team encountered a barrage of enemy fire that forced them to the ground. The team continued forward, and upon reaching the wounded soldiers, Specialist Giunta realized that another soldier was still separated from the element. Specialist Giunta then advanced forward on his own initiative. As he crested the top of a hill, he observed two insurgents carrying away an American soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. Upon reaching the wounded soldier, he began to provide medical aid, as his squad caught up and provided security.
Specialist Giunta’s unwavering courage, selflessness and decisive leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon’s ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from the enemy.
Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 2d Battalion Airborne, 503d Infantry Regiment and the United States Army.

14 November 2010

Victoria Cross: W. J. Maillard


Surgeon, Royal Navy

Born: 10 March 1863, Banwell, Somerset
Died: 10 September 1903, Bournemouth, Dorsetshire

Citation: On the 6th September, 1898, [at Heraklion, Crete,] during the landing of seamen from Her Majesty’s Ship “Hazard,” Surgeon Maillard, who had disembarked and reached a place of safety, returned through a perfect deluge of bullets to the boat and endeavoured to bring into safety Arthur Stroud, Ordinary Seaman, who had fallen back wounded into the boat as the other men jumped ashore. Surgeon Maillard failed to bring Stroud in only through the boat being adrift, and it being beyond his strength to lift the man (who was almost dead) out of so unstable a platform. Surgeon Maillard returned to his post with his clothes riddled with bullets, though he himself was unhurt.

[London Gazette issue 27019 dated 2 Dec 1898, published 2 Dec 1898.]

Note: Maillard is the only RN medical officer to have received the VC.

Medal of Honor: J. F. O'Conner and W. Sweeney


Landsman, Engineer's Force, US Navy; USS Jean Sands

Born: 28 November 1861, Portsmouth, Virginia
Died: 17 September 1940

Citation: For jumping overboard from the U.S.S. Jean Sands, opposite the Norfolk Navy Yard, on the night of 15 June 1880, and rescuing from drowning a young girl who had fallen overboard.


Landsman, Engineer's Force, US Navy; USS Jean Sands

Born: 1856, Boston, Massachusetts
Died: Unknown

Citation: For jumping overboard from the U.S.S. Jean Sands, opposite the Navy Yard, Norfolk, Va., on the night of 15 June 1880, and rescuing from drowning a young girl who had fallen overboard.

09 November 2010

Marine recommended for Medal of Honor

ZUI this article from the Marine Corps Times:
The Marine Corps has recommended that a former corporal receive the Medal of Honor for braving a hail of enemy fire in September 2009 to pull the bodies of four U.S. troops from a kill zone in eastern Afghanistan, Marine Corps Times has learned.

Dakota Meyer, 22, of Greensburg, Ky., was recommended for the nation’s highest award for valor, according to a source with knowledge of the process, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Meyer could become the first living Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Only one Marine, Cpl. Jason Dunham, has received the award for actions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was honored posthumously after throwing himself on a grenade in Karabilah, Iraq, in 2004 to save the lives of fellow Marines.


Meyer was recommended for his actions on Sept. 8, 2009, near the village of Ganjgal in Kunar province. He charged into a kill zone on foot and alone to find three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman who had been pinned down under enemy fire for hours by about 150 well-armed insurgents. Already wounded by shrapnel before braving enemy fire, he found them dead and stripped of their gear and weapons, and carried them out of the kill zone with the help of Afghan soldiers, according to military documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.

Reached for comment Monday, Meyer was unaware he has been recommended for the Medal of Honor, saying he does not feel like a hero and still dwells on what happened that day. He was a member of Embedded Training Team 2-8 training Afghan forces when the ambush occurred, and good friends with the troops he pulled from the kill zone. He left the Corps in June after his four-year contract with the service expired.


A spokesman for [Marine Corps Commandant General Jim] Amos ... declined to discuss the recommendation Monday, saying it is Marine Corps policy to handle deliberations over awards internally until the Defense Department makes an announcement. A spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Capt. Beci Brenton, declined to comment.

If approved by Mabus, the nomination would be pushed to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. With his approval, it would go to President Obama. Traditionally, Marine Corps approval is considered the largest hurdle in the nomination process.


Killed in the battle were Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson, 31; Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, 30, 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, 25; and Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Layton, 22. A U.S. soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook, 41, died Oct. 7, 2009, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington from medical complications tied to wounds he sustained in the attack. About a dozen Afghan soldiers in training with U.S. forces also were cut down by gunfire, according to military documents outlining the attack.


In a five-page hand-written statement ... Meyer describes attempting to get to his missing buddies with another service member and being turned back by enemy fire at least twice in an armored vehicle equipped with a .50-caliber machine gun. He was wounded by shrapnel after an enemy rifle round hit the vehicle’s gun turret, he says in the statement.

Meyer, then 21, went into the kill zone on foot after helicopter pilots called on to respond said they could not help because the fighting on the ground was too fierce, the statement said. He found his buddies in a trench where the pilots had spotted them.

RIP: Eugénie Blanchard

Eugénie Blanchard
16 February 1896 - 4 November 2010

The oldest person in the world has died. ZUI this article from the BBC News:
French nun Eugenie Blanchard, certified as the world's oldest person, has died at the age of 114 on the French Caribbean island of Saint-Barthelemy.

She was born on 16 February 1896, when the opera La Boheme was in its first season and just after the first X-ray machine had been unveiled.


Miss Blanchard died just after 0300 local time (0700 GMT) in hospital in Gustania, Saint-Barthelemy's capital, local sources told the AFP news agency.

She had retired to the island of her birth 30 years ago, having passed much of her religious vocation a few hundred kilometres away on Curacao, a Dutch island territory off Venezuela.


Eugenie Blanchard was 114 years, eight months and 20 days old when she died.

It appears that she has been succeeded as the world's verified oldest living person by Texan woman Eunice Sanborn, who was born on 20 July 1896.

The oldest human being on record was also a Frenchwoman. Jeanne Louise Calment died in 1997 at the age of 122 years.

Mlle Blanchard is the 22nd supercentenarian listed by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) to die since the death of Kama Chinen on 2 May; the others were Nyleptha Roberts of Tennessee (12 Mar 1898-5 May 2010), Florrie Baldwin of England (31 Mar 1896-8 May 2010), Edna Smith of Louisiana (30 Aug 1899-15 May 2010), Bernice Bach of Texas (17 Dec 1899-7 Jun 2010), Gudrun Omdahl Onshuus of Norway (17 Jul 1899-9 Jun 2010), Mona Agnew of England (29 Dec 1899-17 Jun 2010), Stanley Lucas of England (15 Jan 1900-21 Jun 2010), Eunice Bowman of England (23 Aug 1898-16 Jul 2010), Shika Shimada of Japan (7 Jul 1898-20 Jul 2010), Andresa Guerrero-Ortiz of Spain (30 Nov 1898-5 Aug 2010), Caroline Dott of France (5 Feb 1900-8 Aug 2010), Jeanne Gagnard of France (20 Oct 1899-14 Aug 2010), Agnes Wetzel of Pennsylvania (18 Oct 1899-21 Aug 2010), Katarina Marinic of Slovenia (30 Oct 1899-2 Sep 2010), Annie Turnbull of Scotland (21 Sep 1898-3 Sep 2010), Elsie Ward of England (24 Jul 1899-21 Sep 2010), Fannie Buten of Pennsylvania (13 Apr 1899-24 Sep 2010), Elin Karlsson of Sweden (21 Apr 1900-27 Sep 2010), Nobu Abe of Japan (3 Feb 1900-27 Sep 2010), Elsie Steele of England (6 Jan 1899-18 Oct 2010) and Riu Kato of Japan (5 Nov 1899-27 Oct 2010).

The GRG's list of validated living supercentenarians (people who have reached their 110th birthday) currently includes 80 people (4 men and 76 women), ranging from Mrs Sanborn (born 20 Jul 1896) to Germaine Degueldre of Belgium (born 26 Sep 1900). Five of them live in France.

07 November 2010

Victoria Cross: G. N. Channer


Captain (later Brevet Major), Bengal Staff Corps

Born: 7 January 1843, Allahabad, India
Died: 13 December 1905, Westward Ho!, Devonshire

Citation: For having, with the greatest gallantry, been the first to jump into the Enemy's Stockade [in Perak, Malaya], to which he had been dispatched with a small party of the 1st Ghoorkha Light Infantry, on the afternoon of the 20th December, 1875, by the Officer commanding the Malacca Column, to procure intelligence as to its strength, position, &c.
Major Channer got completely in rear of the Enemy's position, and finding himself so close that he could hear the voices of the men inside, who were cooking at the time, and keeping no look out, he beckoned to his men, and the whole party stole quietly forward to within a few paces of the Stockade. On jumping in, he shot the first man dead with his revolver, and his party then came up, and entered the Stockade, which was of a most formidable nature, surrounded by a bamboo palisade; about seven yards within was a log-house, loop-holed, with two narrow entrances, and trees laid latitudinally, to the thickness of two feet.
The Officer commanding reports that if Major Channer, by his foresight, coolness and intrepidity, had not taken this Stockade, a great loss of life must have occurred, as from the fact of his being unable to bring guns to bear on it, from the steepness of the hill, and the density of the jungle, it must have been taken at the point of the bayonet.

[London Gazette issue 24314 dated 12 Apr 1876, published 14 Apr 1876.]

Medal of Honor: R. Winans and J. A. Glowin


First Sergeant (later Brigadier General), US Marine Corps

Born: 9 December 1887, Brookville, Indiana
Died: 7 April 1968, San Diego, California

Citation: During an engagement at Guayacanas [Dominican Republic] on 3 July 1916, 1st Sgt. Winans participated in action against a considerable force of rebels on the line of march. During a running fight of 1,200 yards, our forces reached the enemy entrenchments and Cpl. Joseph A. Glowin, U.S.M.C., placed the machinegun, of which he had charge, behind a large log across the road and immediately opened fire on the trenches. He was struck once but continued firing his gun, but a moment later he was again struck and had to be dragged out of the position into cover. 1st Sgt. Winans, U.S.M.C., then arrived with a Colt's gun which he placed in a most exposed position, coolly opened fire on the trenches and when the gun jammed, stood up and repaired it under fire. All the time Glowin and Winans were handling their guns they were exposed to a very heavy fire which was striking into the logs and around the men, 7 men being wounded and 1 killed within 20 feet. 1st Sgt. Winans continued firing his gun until the enemy had abandoned the trenches.


Corporal, US Marine Corps; 13th Company, Artillery Battalion, 1st Brigade

Born: 14 March 1892, Detroit, Michigan
Died: 22 August 1952, Detroit, Michigan

Citation: During an engagement at Guayacanas on 3 July 1916, Cpl. Glowin participated in action against a considerable force of rebels on the line of march.

Note: Winans, presumably, was a member of the same unit as Glowin.

01 November 2010

Book list - Oct 10

Merlin's Mirror - SF, by Andre Norton
Bill Bergson, Master Detective - children's mystery, by Astrid Lindgren *
Everything on a Waffle - children's, by Polly Horvath
The Lantern Bearers - children's historical fiction, by Rosemary Sutcliff (Carnegie Medal, 1959)
'48 - AH, by James Herbert
Heir Apparent - YA SF, by Vivian Vande Velde
My One Hundred Adventures - children's, by Polly Horvath
Lulu and the Brontosaurus - children's, by Judith Viorst
Tom Tiddler's Ground - children's mystery, by John Rowe Townsend
The Kingdom and the Cave - children's fantasy, by Joan Aiken
The Missing Persons League - children's SF, by Frank Bonham
Northward to the Moon - children's, by Polly Horvath
The Lark in the Morn - children's, by Elfrida Vipont
The Lark on the Wing - children's, by Elfrida Vipont (Carnegie Medal, 1950)
Zombies vs Unicorns - YA fantasy (short stories), edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront - US history, by Nathan Ward
It All Started with Eve - humour, by Richard Armour *
Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure - WW II, by Don and Petie Kladstrup
The Time Patrol - time travel (short stories), by Poul Anderson *
Mystery at the Villa Caprice - children's mystery, by Elizabeth Honness
Penny Dreadful - children's, by Laurel Snyder

21 books last month, only three of them rereads (marked by asterisks). I'll have to read 51 books in November and December in order to reach my goal of 210 books this year, so I probably won't make it.

I also started reading Witch's Business (children's, by Diana Wynne Jones), but didn't finish it. Jones (Archer's Goon, Lord Howl's Castle) is normally very good reading, but one of the characters in this book got on my nerves a little too much.

The two Carnegie Medal winners bring me up to 44 of 71. My thanks to the New Haven Free Public Library, New Haven CT, and the Simmons College Library, Boston MA, for the ILLs.

The Armour book could also be classed as history. Its full title, for those who have time to read it, is It All Started with Eve: Being a Brief Account of Certain Famous Women, Each of Them Richly Endowed with Some Quality That Drives Men Mad, Omitting No Impertinent and Unbelievable Fact and Based Upon a Stupendous Amount of Firsthand and Secondhand Research, Some of It in Books.