27 June 2011

Carnegie and Greenaway Medal winners announced

The winners are:
The Carnegie Medal, for an outstanding book for children: Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness.

(Reviews here and here. Series review here.)

The Kate Greenaway Medal, for distinguished illustration in a book for children: FArTHER, by Grahame Baker-Smith.

(Review here and author/illustrator interview here.)

ZUI this article from The Guardian.

26 June 2011

Victoria Cross: Guise, Hill and Graham


Major, 90th Regiment

Born: 27 July 1826, Highnam, Gloucestershire
Died: 5 February 1895, Gorey, County Wexford, Ireland

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry in action on the 16th and 17th of November, 1857, at Lucknow.
Elected by the Officers of the Regiment.

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


Serjeant, 90th Regiment

Born: 1826, Glenavy, County Antrim, Ireland
Died: 21 February 1863, Meerut, India

Citation: For gallant conduct on the 16th and 17th of November, 1857, at the storming of the Secundra Bagh at Lucknow, in saving the life of Captain Irby, warding off with his firelock a tulwar cut made at his head by a sepoy, and in going out under a heavy fire to help two wounded men. Also for general gallant conduct throughout the operations for the relief of the Lucknow garrison.
Elected by the non-commissioned officers of the Regiment.

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


Private, 90th Regiment

Born: 1837, Dublin, Ireland
Died: 3 June 1875, Dublin, Ireland

Citation: For bringing in a wounded comrade under a very heavy fire, on the 17th of November, 1857, at Lucknow.
Elected by the private soldiers of the Regiment.

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

Medal of Honor: J. P. Fleming


Captain (then First Lieutenant), US Air Force; 20th Special Operations Squadron

Born: 12 March 1943, Sedalia, Missouri
Died: TBD

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Fleming (then 1st Lt.) distinguished himself as the Aircraft Commander of a UH-1F transport Helicopter. Capt. Fleming went to the aid of a 6-man special forces long range reconnaissance patrol that was in danger of being overrun by a large, heavily armed hostile force [near Duc Co, Republic of Vietnam, on 26 November 1968]. Despite the knowledge that 1 helicopter had been downed by intense hostile fire, Capt. Fleming descended, and balanced his helicopter on a river bank with the tail boom hanging over open water. The patrol could not penetrate to the landing site and he was forced to withdraw. Dangerously low on fuel, Capt. Fleming repeated his original landing maneuver. Disregarding his own safety, he remained in this exposed position. Hostile fire crashed through his windscreen as the patrol boarded his helicopter. Capt. Fleming made a successful takeoff through a barrage of hostile fire and recovered safely at a forward base. Capt. Fleming's profound concern for his fellowmen, and at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

19 June 2011

Victoria Cross: T. Wilkinson


Bombardier, Royal Marine Artillery

Born: 1831, York, Yorkshire
Died: 22 September 1887, York, Yorkshire

Citation: Specially recommended for gallant conduct in the advanced Batteries, 7th June, 1855, in placing sand-bags to repair the work under a galling fire; his name having been sent up on the occasion, as worthy of special notice, by the Commanding Officer of the Artillery of the Right Attack.
(Letter from Colonel Wesley, Deputy Adjutant-General, Royal Marines.)

[London Gazette issue 21971 dated 24 Feb 1857, published 24 Feb 1857.]

Medal of Honor: A. J. Tomlin


Corporal, US Marine Corps; USS Wabash

Born: 15 March 1845, Goshen, New Jersey
Died: 1 November 1906, Goshen, New Jersey

Citation: As corporal of the guard on board the U.S.S. Wabash during the assault on Fort Fisher, on 15 January 1865. As 1 of 200 marines assembled to hold a line of entrenchments in the rear of the fort which the enemy threatened to attack in force following a retreat in panic by more than two-thirds of the assaulting ground forces, Cpl. Tomlin took position in line and remained until morning when relief troops arrived from the fort. When one of his comrades was struck down by enemy fire, he unhesitatingly advanced under a withering fire of musketry into an open plain close to the fort and assisted the wounded man to a place of safety.

13 June 2011

Give a girlfriend a book

15 June, in case you weren't aware (you probably weren't) is
National Give A Girlfriend A Book Day.

Make it happen.

12 June 2011

Victoria Cross: J. W. Foote


Honorary Captain, Canadian Chaplain Services

Born: 5 May 1904, Madoc, Ontario, Canada
Died: 2 May 1988, Norwood, Ontario, Canada

Citation: At Dieppe, on 19th August, 1942, Honorary Captain Foote, Canadian Chaplain Services, was Regimental Chaplain with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.
Upon landing on the beach under heavy fire he attached himself to the Regimental Aid Post which had been set up in a slight depression on the beach, but which was only sufficient to give cover to men lying down. During the subsequent period of approximately eight hours, while the action continued, this officer not only assisted the Regimental Medical Officer in ministering to the wounded in the Regimental Aid Post, but time and again left this shelter to inject morphine, give first-aid and carry wounded personnel from the open beach to the Regimental Aid Post. On these occasions, with utter disregard for his personal safety, Honorary Captain Foote exposed himself to an inferno of fire and saved many lives by his gallant efforts. During the action, as the tide went out, the Regimental Aid Post was moved to the shelter of a stranded landing craft. Honorary Captain Foote continued tirelessly and courageously to carry wounded men from the exposed beach to the cover of the landing craft. He also removed wounded from inside the landing craft when ammunition had been set on fire by enemy shells. When landing craft appeared he carried wounded from the Regimental Aid Post to the landing craft through very heavy fire.
On several occasions this officer had the opportunity to embark but returned to the beach as his chief concern was the care and evacuation of the wounded. He refused a final opportunity to leave the shore, choosing to suffer the fate of the men he had ministered to for over three years.
Honorary Captain Foote personally saved many lives by his efforts and his example inspired all around him. Those who observed him state that the calmness of this heroic officer, as he walked about, collecting the wounded on the fire-swept beach will never be forgotten.

[London Gazette issue 34766 dated 14 Feb 1946, published 12 Feb 1946.]

Medal of Honor: W. D. Halyburton, Jr.


Pharmacist's Mate Second Class, US Naval Reserve; 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division

Born: 2 August 1924, Canton, North Carolina
Died: 10 May 1945, Okinawa

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a Marine Rifle Company in the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 10 May 1945. Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of Japanese counterfire as his unit pushed the attack through a strategically important draw, Halyburton unhesitatingly dashed across the draw and up the hill into an open fire-swept field where the company advance squad was suddenly pinned down under a terrific concentration of mortar, machinegun and sniper fire with resultant severe casualties. Moving steadily forward despite the enemy's merciless barrage, he reached the wounded marine who lay farthest away and was rendering first aid when his patient was struck for the second time by a Japanese bullet. Instantly placing himself in the direct line of fire, he shielded the fallen fighter with his own body and staunchly continued his ministrations although constantly menaced by the slashing fury of shrapnel and bullets falling on all sides. Alert, determined and completely unselfish in his concern for the helpless marine, he persevered in his efforts until he himself sustained mortal wounds and collapsed, heroically sacrificing himself that his comrade might live. By his outstanding valor and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of tremendous odds, Halyburton sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Note: USS Halyburton (FFG 40) was named in his honour.

07 June 2011

RIP: John Alison

John R Alison
21 Nov 1912 - 6 Jun 2011

ZUI this article from the Wall Street Journal:
John Alison was a U.S. combat ace in World War II and an innovator in developing Air Force commando tactics.

Maj. Gen. Alison, who died Monday at age 98, served in the China-Burma-India and Pacific theaters, was shot down at least twice and had seven confirmed kills as well as a number of probable kills.

An intimate of Air Force commander Henry "Hap" Arnold, he also advised Gen. Dwight Eisenhower on using gliders to ferry troops on D-Day.


...Mr. Alison initiated a daring night interception of Japanese bombers, downing two. His P-40 fighter—ill-equipped for night fighting—was badly shot up and Mr. Alison ended up ditching in a river. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for the action, in part because of the novelty of the night kills.

In 1944, as co-commanders of the first Air Commando Force, Mr. Alison and Lt. Col. Philip Cochran organized an unprecedented operation inside Burma—now Myanmar—then occupied by experienced Japanese jungle fighters.

Using a combined force of fighter planes, bombers, transports, gliders, ambulance planes and newfangled helicopters, the commanders established fortified bases behind Japanese lines in Burma, greatly facilitating a larger assault from British forces. Mr. Alison personally led the force into action, piloting a glider and 15 men to an improvised landing area in a teak forest.

In June 1942, he reported to China to serve as deputy squadron commander in Maj David Lee "Tex" Hill's 75th Fighter Squadron, the USAAF successor to the American Volunteer Group (the Flying Tigers). I remember reading about Alison in a book about the AVG when I was a kid - a long time ago, but I recognised his name immediately when I saw it in the obituaries list.

Left to right: Maj John Alison, Major "Tex" Hill, Capt "Ajax" Baumler
and Lt Mack Mitchell

05 June 2011

George Cross: K. Smith


Signalman, Royal Corps of Signals; attached Long Range Desert Group

Born: 7 December 1920, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire
Died: 10 January 1945, Ist, Yugoslavia

Citation: The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the George Cross, in recognition of most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner, to: —
No. 2328696 Signalman Kenneth SMITH, Royal Corps of Signals (Humby, near Grantham, Lincs.).

[London Gazette issue 37311 dated 19 Oct 1945, published 16 Oct 1945.]

Note: Smith was attached to an LRDG patrol based on the Adriatic island of Ist. Sabotage was a daily occurance. He found a time-bomb on a table at his detachment's billet, which was shared with civilians and their children. Realising that the bomb was ticking and could explode at any moment, he carried it out of the building. It exploded while he was still carrying it, and he was blown to pieces. He was the only casualty of the blast, and undoubtably saved many lives.

The island of Ist is now part of Croatia.

Victoria Cross: P. J. Badcoe


Major, Royal Australian Infantry Corps; Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

Born: 11 January 1934, Malvern, South Australia, Australia
Died: 7 April 1967, Phú Thọ, Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, South Vietnam

Citation: 41400 Major PETER JOHN BADCOE was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Australian Staff Corps in December 1952. He was allotted to the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery in which he served in a number of Regimental and Staff postings until August 1965. He then transferred to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and joined the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam in August 1966. He was posted as Sector Operations Officer in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam.
On 23rd February 1967 he was acting as an Advisor to a Regional Force Company in support of a Sector operation in Phu Thu District. He monitored a radio transmission which stated that the Subsector Adviser, a United States Army Officer, had been killed and that his body was within 50 metres of an enemy machine gun position; further, the United States Medical Adviser had been wounded and was in immediate danger from the enemy. Major BADCOE with complete disregard for his own safety moved alone across 600 metres of fire-swept ground and reached the wounded Adviser, attended to him and ensured his future safety. He then organised a force of one platoon and led them towards the enemy post. His personal leadership, words of encouragement, and actions in the face of hostile enemy fire forced the platoon to successfully assault the enemy position and capture it, where he personally killed the machine gunners directly in front of him. He then picked up the body of the dead officer and ran back to the Command post over open ground still covered by enemy fire.
On 7th March 1967, at approximately 0645 hours, the Sector Reaction Company was deployed to Quang Dien Subsector to counter an attack by the Viet Cong on the Headquarters. Major BADCOE left the Command group after their vehicle broke down and a United States Officer was killed; he joined the Company Headquarters and personally led the company in an attack over open terrain to assault and capture a heavily defended enemy position. In the face of certain death and heavy losses his personal courage and leadership turned certain defeat into victory and prevented the enemy from capturing the District Headquarters.
On 7th April 1967, on an operation in Huong Tra District, Major BADCOE was with the 1st A.R.V.N. Division Reaction Company and some armoured personnel carriers. During the move forward to an objective the company came under heavy small arms fire and withdrew to a cemetery for cover, this left Major BADCOE and his radio operator about 50 metres in front of the leading elements, under heavy mortar fire. Seeing this withdrawal, Major BADCOE ran back to them, moved amongst them and by encouragement and example got them moving forward again. He then set out in front of the company to lead them on; the company stopped again under heavy fire but Major BADCOE continued on to cover and prepared to throw grenades, when he rose to throw, his radio operator pulled him down as heavy small arms fire was being brought to bear on them; he later got up again to throw a grenade and was hit and killed by a burst of machine gun fire. Soon after, friendly artillery fire was called in and the position was assaulted and captured.
Major BADCOE'S conspicuous gallantry and leadership on all these occasions was an inspiration to all, each action, ultimately, was successful, due entirely to his efforts, the final one ending in his death. His valour and leadership were in the highest traditions of the military profession and the Australian Regular Army.

[London Gazette issue 44431 dated 17 Oct 1967, published 13 Oct 1967.]

Medal of Honor: B. F. Hilliker


Musician, Company A, 8th Wisconsin Infantry

Born: 23 May 1843, Golden, New York
Died: 18 October 1916, Los Angeles, California

Citation: When men were needed to oppose a superior Confederate force [at Mechanicsburg, Mississippi, on 4 June 1863,] he laid down his drum for a rifle and proceeded to the front of the skirmish line which was about 120 feet from the enemy. While on this volunteer mission and firing at the enemy he was hit in the head with a minie ball which passed through him. An order was given to "lay him in the shade; he won't last long." He recovered from this wound being left with an ugly scar.

04 June 2011

R-12 wreck located

According to this article from the International Business Times, an exploration team has located and documented the wreck of USS R-12 (SS 89) in 600 feet of water off the Florida Keys. R-12, in use as a training submarine, was lost for unknown reasons on 12 June 1943. Her CO, another officer and three enlisted men who were on watch on the bridge survived; the other 27 crewmen on board were lost, as were 13 trainees and two Brazilian Navy officers who were there to observe a torpedo exercise.

03 June 2011

The Backstroke of the West

What do you get when you take Revenge of the Sith, add Chinese subtitles, and then translate them into English? This....

02 June 2011

FY12 MCPO and SCPO selectees

This year's SCPO list was released today - which reminded me that I hadn't seen the MCPO list.

The MCPO list, dated 4 May, is here. I see two names I recognise - an MS a CS and a nuke ET from Providence.

The SCPO list is here. I see three or four names on this list - another MS CS, an SK LS and one or two A-gangers, all from Prov. (One A-ganger I'm sure of; the other has both a common first name and a common surname, but is probably the one I know.)

Belated congratulations to all selectees!

Medal of Honor to be awarded for Afghanistan

ZUI this article from the Tacoma (WA) News-Tribune:
A Joint Base Lewis-McChord Ranger who lost his right hand while protecting fellow soldiers from a live grenade will become the second living service member to earn a Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, the White House announced Tuesday.

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry, 31, will receive his medal from President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony July 12. He continues to serve at Lewis-McChord with a 75th Ranger Regiment headquarters unit.


Petry is not available for other interviews, and his regiment is not discussing his honor for now, a Ranger spokeswoman said.

Petry lost his hand and suffered shrapnel injuries during an operation in Paktya, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008.

He was already wounded when an enemy fighter tossed a grenade into a chicken coop where he was taking cover with two other soldiers. He picked up the weapon, which exploded as he threw it and severed his hand.


Petry, a New Mexico native, will be the ninth service member to earn a Medal of Honor during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seven of those were awarded posthumously.

Last year, Staff Sgt. Salvator Giunta became the first living, active-duty soldier to earn the military’s highest honor when Obama awarded him a Medal of Honor for his heroism in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.


Petry has deployed eight times in his Army career. He has received two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and three Army Commendation Medals.

He and his wife, Ashley, have four children, Brittany, Austin, Reagan and Landon.

01 June 2011

Book list - May 11

Dragonquest - SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
Doggirl - YA, by Robin Brande
Everybody Sees the Ants - YA, by A S King (ARC)
Owls Well That Ends Well - mystery, by Donna Andrews
Thumbs, Toes, and Tears: And Other Traits That Make Us Human - palaeoanthropology, by Chip Walter
The White Dragon - SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
Vet in the Vestry - memoirs, by Alexander Cameron *
Other Worlds Than Ours - SF (short stories), by Nelson Bond

Eight books last month, with three rereads (marked by asterisks). I'm not setting an official goal this year, though I do expect to read around 150 books. And I'm still at 50 of 71 on the Carnegie Medal books.