30 October 2011

Victoria Cross: J. P. Carne


Lieutenant-Colonel, The Gloucestershire Regiment

Born: 11 April 1906, Falmouth, Cornwall
Died: 19 April 1986, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Citation: The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to: —
Lieutenant-Colonel James Power CARNE, D.S.O. (33647), The Gloucestershire Regiment, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Korea.
On the night 22nd-23rd April, 1951, Lieutenant-Colonel CARNE'S battalion, 1 Glosters, was heavily attacked and the enemy on the Imjin River were repulsed, having suffered heavy casualties. On 23rd, 24th and 25th April, 1951, the Battalion was heavily and incessantly engaged by vastly superior numbers of enemy who repeatedly launched mass attacks, but were stopped at close quarters.
During the 24th and 25th April, 1951, the Battalion was completely cut off from the rest of the Brigade, but remained a fighting entity, in face of almost continual onslaughts from an enemy who were determined at all costs and regardless of casualties, to over-run it. Throughout, Lieutenant-Colonel CARNE'S manner remained coolness itself, and on the wireless, the only communication he still had with Brigade, he repeatedly assured the Brigade Commander that all was well with his Battalion, that they could hold on and that everyone was in good heart.
Throughout the entire engagement Lieutenant-Colonel CARNE, showing a complete disregard for his own safety, moved among the whole Battalion under very heavy mortar and machine gun fire, inspiring the utmost confidence and the will to resist, amongst his troops.
On two separate occasions, armed with a rifle and grenades he personally led assault parties which drove back the enemy and saved important situations.
Lieutenant-Colonel CARNE'S example of courage, coolness and leadership was felt not only in his own Battalion, but throughout the whole Brigade.
He fully realised that his flanks had been turned, but he also knew that the abandonment of his position would clear the way for the enemy to make a major breakthrough and this would have endangered the Corps.
When at last it was apparent that his Battalion would not be relieved and on orders from higher authority, he organised his Battalion into small, officer-led parties, who then broke out, whilst he himself in charge of a small party fought his way out but was captured within 24 hours.
Lieutenant-Colonel CARNE showed powers of leadership which can seldom have been surpassed in the history of our Army.
He inspired his officers and men to fight beyond the normal limits of human endurance, in spite of overwhelming odds and ever increasing casualties, shortage of ammunition and of water.

[London Gazette issue 39994 dated 27 Oct 1953, published 23 Oct 1953.]

Medal of Honor: J. G. B. Adams


Second Lieutenant, Company I, 19th Massachusetts Infantry

Born: 6 October 1841, Groveland, Massachusetts
Died: 19 October 1900, Massachusetts(?)

Citation: Seized the 2 colors from the hands of a corporal and a lieutenant as they fell mortally wounded [at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on 13 December 1862], and with a color in each hand advanced across the field to a point where the regiment was reformed on those colors.

23 October 2011

Victoria Cross: G. Onions


Major, 1st Battalion The Devonshire Regiment

Born: 2 March 1883, Bilston, Staffordshire
Died: 2 April 1944, Birmingham

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery and initiative south of Achiet-le-Petit on 22nd August, 1918, when, having been sent out with one man to get touch with the battalion on the right flank, he observed the enemy advancing in large numbers to counter-attack the positions gained on the previous day.
Realising his opportunity, he boldly placed himself with his comrade on the flank of the advancing enemy, and opened rapid fire when the target was most favourable. When the enemy were about 100 yards from him, the line wavered and some hands were seen to be thrown up. L./Cpl. Onions then rushed forward, and, with the assistance of his comrade, took about 200 of the enemy prisoners and marched them back to his company commander.
By his magnificent courage and presence of mind he averted what might have been a very dangerous situation.

[London Gazette issue dated 14 Dec 1918, published 14 Dec 1918.]

Medal of Honor: B. Lopez


First Lieutenant, US Marine Corps; Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced)

Born: 23 August 1925, Tampa, Florida
Died: 15 September 1950, Inchon, South Korea

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a marine platoon commander of Company A, in action against enemy aggressor forces. With his platoon 1st Lt. Lopez was engaged in the reduction of immediate enemy beach defenses after landing with the assault waves [at Inchon, South Korea, on 15 September 1950]. Exposing himself to hostile fire, he moved forward alongside a bunker and prepared to throw a hand grenade into the next pillbox whose fire was pinning down that sector of the beach. Taken under fire by an enemy automatic weapon and hit in the right shoulder and chest as he lifted his arm to throw, he fell backward and dropped the deadly missile. After a moment, he turned and dragged his body forward in an effort to retrieve the grenade and throw it. In critical condition from pain and loss of blood, and unable to grasp the hand grenade firmly enough to hurl it, he chose to sacrifice himself rather than endanger the lives of his men and, with a sweeping motion of his wounded right arm, cradled the grenade under him and absorbed the full impact of the explosion. His exceptional courage, fortitude, and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon 1st Lt. Lopez and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Note: USNS 1st Lt Baldomero Lopez (T-AK 3010) was named in his honour.

16 October 2011

HMS Ambush

ZUI this article from the Daily Mail, which has some really nice pictures, both exterior and interior, of HMS Ambush, the Royal Navy's second Astute-class submarine.

Victoria Cross: H. J. Knight


Corporal, 1st Battalion Liverpool Regiment; No. 1 Company, 4th Division Mounted Infantry

Born: 5 November 1878, Yeovil, Somerset
Died: 24 November 1955, Winterborne Anderson, Dorsetshire

Citation: On the 21st August, [1900,] during the operations near Van Wyk's Vlei, Corporal Knight was posted in some rocks with four men covering the right rear of a detachment of the same Company who, under Captain Ewart, were holding the right of the line.
The enemy, about 50 strong, attacked Captain Ewart's right and almost surrounded, at short range, Corporal Knight's small party. That Non-Commissioned Officer held his ground, directing his party to retire one by one to better cover, where he maintained bis position for nearly an hour, covering the withdrawal of Captain Ewart's force, and losing two of his four men.
He then retired, bringing with him two wounded men. One of these he left in a place of safety, the other he carried himself for nearly two miles.
The party were hotly engaged during the whole time.

[London Gazette issue 27263 dated 4 Jan 1901, published 4 Jan 1901.]

Medal of Honor: W. W. Bradley, Jr.


Lieutenant (later Commander), US Navy; USS Pittsburgh (CA 4)

Born: 28 June 1884, Ransomville, New York
Died: 27 August 1954, Santa Barbara, California

Citation: For extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving on the U.S.S. Pittsburgh, at the time of an accidental explosion of ammunition on that vessel. On 23 July 1917, some saluting cartridge cases were being reloaded in the after casemate: through an accident an explosion occurred. Comdr. Bradley (then Lieutenant), who was about to enter the casemate, was blown back by the explosion and rendered momentarily unconscious, but while still dazed, crawled into the casemate to extinguish burning materials in dangerous proximity to a considerable amount of powder, thus preventing further explosions.

Note: USS Bradley (FF 1041) was named in his honour.

09 October 2011

Victoria Cross: C. J. Melliss


Captain (local Major), Indian Staff Corps; attached West African Frontier Force

Born: 12 September 1862, Mhow, India
Died: 6 June 1936, Camberley, Surrey

Citation: On the 30th September, 1900, at Obassa, Major Melliss, seeing that the enemy were very numerous, and intended to make a firm stand, hastily collected all stray men and any he could get together, and charged at their head, into the dense bush where the enemy were thick. His action carried all along with him ; but the enemy were determined to have a hand-to-hand fight. One fired at Major Melliss, who put his sword through the man, and they rolled over together. Another Ashanti shot him through the foot, the wound paralysing the limb. His wild rush had, however, caused a regular panic among the enemy, who were at the same time charged by the Sikhs, and killed in numbers.
Major Melliss also behaved with great gallantry on three previous occasions.

[London Gazette issue 27266 dated 15 Jan 1901, published 15 Jan 1901.]

Note: Obassa is now in Ghana.

Medal of Honor: R. R. Leisy


Second Lieutenant, US Army; Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division

Born: 1 March 1945, Stockton, California
Died: 2 December 1969, Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 2d Lt. Leisy, Infantry, Company B, distinguished himself while serving as platoon leader during a reconnaissance mission [in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 2 December 1969]. One of his patrols became heavily engaged by fire from a numerically superior enemy force located in a well-entrenched bunker complex. As 2d Lt. Leisy deployed the remainder of his platoon to rescue the beleaguered patrol, the platoon also came under intense enemy fire from the front and both flanks. In complete disregard for his safety, 2d Lt. Leisy moved from position to position deploying his men to effectively engage the enemy. Accompanied by his radio operator he moved to the front and spotted an enemy sniper in a tree in the act of firing a rocket-propelled grenade at them. Realizing there was neither time to escape the grenade nor shout a warning, 2d Lt. Leisy unhesitatingly, and with full knowledge of the consequences, shielded the radio operator with his body and absorbed the full impact of the explosion. This valorous act saved the life of the radio operator and protected other men of his platoon who were nearby from serious injury. Despite his mortal wounds, 2d Lt. Leisy calmly and confidently continued to direct the platoon's fire. When medical aid arrived, 2d Lt. Leisy valiantly refused attention until the other seriously wounded were treated. His display of extraordinary courage and exemplary devotion to duty provided the inspiration and leadership that enabled his platoon to successfully withdraw without further casualties. 2d Lt. Leisy's gallantry at the cost of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

02 October 2011

George Cross: D. A. Copperwheat


Lieutenant, Royal Navy; HMS Penelope

Born: 23 May 1914
Died: 8 September 1992

Citation: The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the Award of the GEORGE CROSS to -
Lieutenant Dennis Arthur Copperwheat, Royal Navy, H.M.S. Penelope.
For great bravery at Malta. During heavy air attacks on Valletta [on 22 March 1942], Lieutenant Copperwheat was sent in charge of a party of men from H.M.S. Penelope to scuttle a Merchantman, laden with ammunition, which was burning in the harbour. Owing to the fires, it was impossible to place scuttling charges in the holds, and they had to be slung over the side of the ship. As they worked, ammunition was exploding all round them from burning stowages on deck. The ship lay 40 yards from the shore, to which the electric cables for firing the scuttling charges could only just reach. Lieutenant Copperwheat sent his working party to shelter, and stayed himself to fire the charges from a position where he was exposed to the full blast of the explosion, which lifted him bodily. But for his brave action the ship must have blown up, and grave damage would have been done to the harbour.
Moreover, much of the ammunition was saved and some very heavy bombs, part of the cargo, were soon afterwards dropped in Italy.

[London Gazette issue 35788 dated 17 Nov 1942, published 13 Nov 1942.]

Note: The ship in question was a Norwegian merchantman, SS Talabot.

Victoria Cross: J. Sinnott


Lance-Corporal, 84th Regiment

Born: 1829, Wexford, County Wexford, Ireland
Died: 20 July 1896, Clapham, Southwest London

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry at Lucknow, on the 6th of October, 1857, in going out with Serjeants Glinn and Mullins and Private Mullins, to rescue Lieutenant Gibaut, who, in carrying out water to extinguish a fire in the breastwork, had been mortally wounded, and lay outside. They brought in the body under a heavy fire. Lance-Corporal Sinnott was twice wounded. His comrades unanimously elected him for the Victoria Cross, as the most worthy. He had previously repeatedly accompanied Lieutenant Gibaut when he carried out water to extinguish the fire.
Despatch from Lieutenant-General Sir James Outram, Bart., G.C.B., dated 2nd December 1857.

[London Gazette issue 22212 dated 24 Dec 1858, published 24 Dec 1858.]

Medal of Honor: J. H. Howard


Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Air Corps

Born: 8 April 1913, Canton, China
Died: 18 March 1995, Bay Pines, Florida

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Oschersleben, Germany, on 11 January 1944. On that day Col. Howard was the leader of a group of P51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. As Col. Howard's group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Col. Howard, with his group, at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME. 110. As a result of this attack Col. Howard lost contact with his group, and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand. While Col. Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed 3 enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement 3 of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insuperable odds against him, Col. Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity on this occasion set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Note: Howard was originally a Navy pilot, flying Grumman F3F-1 fighters aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6). He left the Navy in June of 1941 to join the American Volunteer Group (AVG) - the Flying Tigers. Flying a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, he completed 56 missions and was credited with shooting down six Japanese aircraft. After the Flying Tigers were officially absorbed by the Army Air Corps in 1942, he returned to the United States and joined the Army Air Corps.
His memoir, Roar of the Tiger, was published in 1991.

01 October 2011

Carnegie Medal books

Having finished reading the Newbery Medal winners in August of '09, I'm continuing with the books which have been awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal - the British equivalent of the Newbery Medal, now awarded by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

The medal was first awarded in 1937, for the best children's book of 1936, but there have been three years when no book was considered suitable, so there are only 72 winners thus far. In addition to the gold medal, the winner receives £500 worth of books to donate to a library of his/her/their choice.

Here's the list. (Dates marked in red indicate the six books I had already read before last year; dates in purple indicate the ones I've read since.)

1936: Pigeon Post, by Arthur Ransome
1937: The Family from One End Street, by Eve Garnett
1938: The Circus is Coming (aka Circus Shoes), by Noel Streatfield
1939: Radium Woman, by Eleanor Doorly
1940: Visitors from London, by Kitty Barne
1941: We Couldn't Leave Dinah, by Mary Treadgold
1942: The Little Grey Men, by 'BB' (D J Watkins-Pitchford)
1943: Prize withheld as no book was considered suitable
1944: The Wind on the Moon, by Eric Linklater
1945: Prize withheld as no book was considered suitable
1946: The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge
1947: Collected Stories for Children, Walter De La Mare
1948: Sea Change, by Richard Armstrong
1949: The Story of Your Home, by Agnes Allen
1950: The Lark on the Wing, by Elfrida Vipont
1951: The Wool-pack, by Cynthia Harnett
1952: The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
1953: A Valley Grows Up, by Edward Osmond
1954: Knight Crusader, by Ronald Welch (Felton Ronald Oliver)
1955: The Little Bookroom, by Eleanor Farjeon
1956: The Last Battle, by C S Lewis
1957: A Grass Rope, by William Mayne
1958: Tom's Midnight Garden, by Philipa Pearce
1959: The Lantern Bearers, by Rosemary Sutcliff
1960: The Making of Man, by Dr I W Cornwall
1961: A Stranger at Green Knowe, by Lucy M Boston
1962: The Twelve and the Genii, by Pauline Clarke
1963: Time of Trial, by Hester Burton
1964: Nordy Bank, by Sheena Porter
1965: The Grange at High Force, by Philip Turner
1966: Prize withheld as no book was considered suitable
1967: The Owl Service, by Alan Garner
1968: The Moon in the Cloud, by Rosemary Harris
1969: The Edge of the Cloud, by Kathleen Peyton
1970: The God Beneath the Sea, by Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen
1971: Josh, by Ivan Southall
1972: Watership Down, by Richard Adams
1973: The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, by Penelope Lively
1974: The Stronghold, by Mollie Hunter
1975: The Machine Gunners, by Robert Westall
1976: Thunder and Lightnings, by Jan Mark
1977: The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler, by Gene Kemp
1978: The Exeter Blitz, by David Rees
1979: Tulku, by Peter Dickinson
1980: City of Gold and Other Stories from the Old Testament, by Peter Dickinson
1981: The Scarecrows, by Robert Westall
1982: The Haunting, by Margaret Mahy
1983: Handles, by Jan Mark
1984: The Changeover, by Margaret Mahy
1985: Storm, by Kevin Crossley-Holland
1986: Granny was a Buffer Girl, by Berlie Doherty
1987: The Ghost Drum, by Susan Price
1988: A Pack of Lies, by Geraldine McCaughrean
1989: Goggle-eyes, by Anne Fine
1990: Wolf, by Gillian Cross
1991: Dear Nobody, by Berlie Doherty
1992: Flour Babies, by Anne Fine
1993: Stone Cold, by Robert Swindells
1994: Whispers in the Graveyard, by Theresa Breslin
1995: Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman*
1996: Junk, by Melvin Burgess
1997: River Boy, by Tim Bowler
1998: Skellig, by David Almond
1999: Postcards From No Man's Land, by Aidan Chambers
2000: The Other Side of Truth, by Beverley Naidoo
2001: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, by Terry Pratchett
2002: Ruby Holler, by Sharon Creech
2003: A Gathering Light, by Jennifer Donnelly**
2004: Millions, by Frank Cottrell Boyce
2005: Tamar, by Mal Peet
2006: ***
2007: Just in Case, by Meg Rosoff
2008: Here Lies Arthur, by Philip Reeve
2009: Bog Child, by Siobhan Dowd
2010: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
2011: Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness

So the count now is 56 down, 16 to go. The ILLs are still coming in - My thanks to the J Eugene Smith Library, Eastern Connecticut State College, Willimantic CT; the Connecticut State Library Library Service Centre, Willimantic CT; the Fletcher Memorial Library, Hampton CT; and one other library, which I forgot to record.

* His Dark Materials, Book 1. Published in the US as The Golden Compass.

** Published in the US as A Northern Light.

*** Up through the award for 2005, the winners were referred to by the year of publication. Beginning in 2007, the winners were referred to by the year the award was given, as with the American Newbery Medal. Thus there is no "2006 winner" of the Carnegie Medal. Tamar, the 2005 winner, was published in '05, and received the medal in '06. Just in Case, the 2007 winner, was published in '06 and received the award in '07.

Book list - Sep 11

The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson - humour, by Mark Twain
The Snowstorm (aka The Snow Ghosts) - children's time travel, by Beryl Netherclift
Over the Wine-Dark Sea - historical fiction, by H N Turteltaub
The Guns of the South - AH, by Harry Turtledove *
The Sky Took Him - historical mystery, by Donis Casey
Crying Blood - historical mystery, by Donis Casey
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - YA, by Ransom Riggs
The Gryphon's Skull - historical fiction, by H N Turteltaub
Grierson's Raid: A Daring Cavalry Strike Through the Heart of the Confederacy - USCW, by Tom Lalicki
The Trouble with Humans - SF (short stories), by Christopher Anvil

Ten books last month, with only one reread (marked by an asterisk). I'm not setting an official goal this year, though I do expect to read around 150 books.

No Carnegie Medal winners this time round, so I'm still at 56 of 72.

Words of wisdom

October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.
-- Mark Twain
The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson