19 December 2012

RIP: Daniel K. Inouye

ZUI this article from The Atlantic:
Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii and the president pro-tempore of the Senate, died at Walter Reed Medical Center Monday evening. He was 88. Officials said the cause of death was respiratory complications.

With Inouye's death, the Senate -- and the nation -- lose more than just a long-serving senator. His death signals the end of an era for his state, too. It's tough to overstate the association between Inouye and his home state. Not only was his last word "Aloha," he also represented Hawaii in Congress -- first as a representative, from 1959 to 1963, and then as a senator -- for the archipelago's entire history as a state.


Although his father was born in Japan, Inouye was not interned [after the Pearl Harbor attack] because Hawaii immediately came under military government, he told NPR in 2011, but he was declared an "enemy alien." He and others petitioned the government for the right to serve in the military to prove their allegiance, and in late 1942, at age 17, he enlisted. Serving in Europe, he rose quickly to become a non-commissioned and later a commissioned officer. On one occasion, he said a silver dollar in his shirt pocket stopped a bullet in France.

Inouye's greatest moment of heroism came in April 1945, near the end of the war, and he was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for it, later upgraded by President Clinton to a Medal of Honor.

Wikipedia gives further details regarding Inouye's Medal of Honor action:
On April 21, 1945, Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, Italy called Colle Musatello. The ridge served as a strongpoint along the strip of German fortifications known as the Gothic Line, which represented the last and most unyielding line of German defensive works in Italy. As he led his platoon in a flanking maneuver, three German machine guns opened fire from covered positions just 40 yards away, pinning his men to the ground. Inouye stood up to attack and was shot in the stomach; ignoring his wound, he proceeded to attack and destroy the first machine gun nest with hand grenades and fire from his Thompson submachine gun. After being informed of the severity of his wound by his platoon sergeant, he refused treatment and rallied his men for an attack on the second machine gun position, which he also successfully destroyed before collapsing from blood loss.

As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, eventually drawing within 10 yards. As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside the bunker fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively "clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore". Inouye's horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye pried the live grenade from his useless right hand and transferred it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye tossed the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroyed it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them to return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, "nobody called off the war!"

The remainder of Inouye's mutilated right arm was later amputated at a field hospital without proper anesthesia, as he had been given too much morphine at an aid station and it was feared any more would lower his blood pressure enough to kill him.

Although Inouye had lost his right arm, he remained in the military until 1947 and was honorably discharged with the rank of captain.

There are now 79 surviving Medal of Honor recipients.

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


Second Lieutenant, US Army; 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Born: 7 September 1924, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii
Died: 17 December 2012, Bethesda, Maryland

Citation: Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper's bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

02 December 2012

George Cross: H. H. Reed


Bombardier, No 2 Battery, 1 Maritime AA Regt, Royal Artillery; SS Cormount

Born: 1911, Sunderland
Died: 20 June 1941, at sea (aboard SS Cormount)

Citation: The KING has been graciously pleased to award the GEORGE CROSS to: —
Henry Herbert Reed (deceased), Gunner.
The ship was attacked [on 20 June 1941] by enemy aircraft with cannon, machine-guns and bombs. She replied at once with her defensive armament and the men at the guns went on firing despite the hail of bullets and cannon shell.
Gunner Reed behaved with the utmost gallantry. He was badly wounded but when the Master asked how he was, he said that he would carry on. The Chief Officer was also badly wounded. Reed carried him from the bridge down two ladders to the deck below and placed him in shelter near a lifeboat. Gunner Reed then died. It was afterwards found that his stomach had been ripped open by machine-gun bullets.
By his gallant and utterly selfless action Gunner Reed saved the life of the Chief Officer.

[London Gazette issue 35280 dated 23 Sep 1941, published 19 Sep 1941.]

Victoria Cross: T. de C. Hamilton


Captain, 68th Regiment

Born: 20 July 1825, Stranraer, Galloway, Scotland
Died: 3 March 1908, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Citation: For having, on the night of the llth May, 1855, during a most determined sortie, boldly charged the enemy, with a small force, from a battery of which they had obtained possession in great numbers, thereby saving the works from falling into the hands of the enemy.
He was conspicuous on this occasion for his gallantry, and daring conduct.

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

30 November 2012

Alba gu bràth

Alba gu brath!

If the Irish can go around saying "Erin go bragh" on St Patrick's Day, then I can say "Alba gu bràth" on St Andrew's....

14 November 2012

RIP: James L. Stone

ZUI this article from the Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald:
On the evening of Nov. 21, 1951, James L. Stone looked out from his hilltop outpost in Korea and sensed what was coming. He was an Army lieutenant whose eight months of combat experience were enough to alert him to the imminence of an enemy assault.

The attack began at 9 p.m. with artillery and mortar fire and raged through the night as hundreds of Chinese stormed the hill. By the next day, half the men in the platoon were dead and their 28-year-old lieutenant had been shot three times.

But the lieutenant survived to spend nearly 30 years in the Army, rising to the rank of colonel and receiving the nation's highest military decoration for valor.


Stone died Nov. 9 in Arlington, Texas, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced. The cause was not disclosed. He was 89.


When U.S. reinforcements retook the hill the next day, Collier wrote, they found 545 enemy dead.

"I am not proud of that," Stone told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2005. "I hate to see men killed. But, it's either you or them."

James Lamar Stone was born Dec. 27, 1922, in Pine Bluff, Ark. He studied chemistry and zoology at the University of Arkansas, where he received a bachelor's degree, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

After the Korean War, Col. Stone served in Germany, oversaw ROTC units and served a year in Vietnam. A complete list of survivors could not be determined.

There are now 80 surviving Medal of Honor recipients.

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


First Lieutenant, US Army; Company E, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division

Born: 27 December 1922, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Died: 9 November 2012, Arlington, Texas

Citation: 1st Lt. Stone distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy [near Sokkogae, Korea, on the night of 21-22 November 1951]. When his platoon, holding a vital outpost position, was attacked by overwhelming Chinese forces, 1st Lt. Stone stood erect and exposed to the terrific enemy fire calmly directed his men in the defense. A defensive flame-thrower failing to function, he personally moved to its location, further exposing himself, and personally repaired the weapon. Throughout a second attack, 1st Lt. Stone, though painfully wounded, personally carried the only remaining light machine gun from place to place in the position in order to bring fire upon the Chinese advancing from 2 directions. Throughout he continued to encourage and direct his depleted platoon in its hopeless defense. Although again wounded, he continued the fight with his carbine, still exposing himself as an example to his men. When this final overwhelming assault swept over the platoon's position his voice could still be heard faintly urging his men to carry on, until he lost consciousness. Only because of this officer's driving spirit and heroic action was the platoon emboldened to make its brave but hopeless last ditch stand.

11 November 2012

Medal of Honor: The Unknown Americans

Left to right: Army, Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force Medals of Honor

By virtue of an act of Congress approved 24 August 1921, the Medal of Honor, emblem of highest ideals and virtues is bestowed in the name of the Congress of the United States upon the unknown American, typifying the gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, of our beloved heroes who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War. They died in order that others might live (293.8, A.G:O.) (War Department General Orders, No. 59, 13 Dec. 1921, sec. I).


AN ACT To authorize the President to award the Medal of Honor to the unknown American who lost his life while serving overseas in the armed forces of the United states during the Second World War.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is hereby authorized and directed to award, in the name of Congress, a Medal of Honor to the unknown American who lost his life while serving overseas in the armed forces of the United States during the Second World War, and who will lie buried in the Memorial Amphitheater of the National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia, as authorized by the Act of June 24, 1946, Public Law 429, Seventy-ninth Congress.

Approved March 9, 1948. Public Law 438, 80th Congress.


AN ACT To authorize the President to award the Medal of Honor to the unknown American who lost his life while serving overseas in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Korean conflict.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is hereby authorized and directed to award, in the name of the Congress, a Medal of Honor to the unknown American who lost his life while serving overseas in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Korean conflict, and who will lie buried in the Memorial Amphitheater of the National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia, as authorized by the Act of August 3, 1956, Public Law 975, Eighty_fourth Congress.

Approved August 31, 1957. Public Law 85_251.


AN ACT To authorize the President to award the Medal of Honor to the unknown American who lost his life while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era and who has been selected to be buried in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is hereby authorized and directed to award, in the name of the Congress, a Medal of Honor to the unknown American who lost his life while serving in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States and who has been selected to lie buried in the Memorial Amphitheater of the National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia, as authorized by the National Cemeteries Act of 1973.

07 November 2012

Australian VC awarded for Afghanistan

ZUI this article (dated 1 Nov 12) from the Melbourne Herald Sun:
AN AUSTRALIAN infantry soldier who repeatedly broke cover in a hail of Taliban gunfire and helped clear the way for the rescue of casualties has been awarded the nation's highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
Corporal Daniel Keighran, 29, from Nambour in Queensland, had the medal pinned on his chest by the Governor-General at a ceremony in Canberra today attended by the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, military top brass and other dignitaries.
Corporal Keighran was involved in a firefight between Taliban fighters and Australian and Afghan troops. He repeatedly broke cover to draw fire, allowing the enemy locations to be identified and neutralised.


Defence force chief David Hurley said the battle near the village of Derapet in Oruzgan province showed there was nothing simple about war.
"Battles are frightening, confusing and confronting. But there are also moments of crystal clarity.''
Corporal Keighran "deliberately and repeatedly'' drew intense enemy fire away from other members of his patrol, General Hurley said.
"Despite the enemy bullets biting into the dirt at his feet he returned fire and provided critical information about the insurgents' positions,'' he said.
Corporal Keighran acted with exceptional clarity and composure and helped turn the fight in our favour, General Hurley said.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who met with Corporal Keighran and his wife yesterday, expressed a "tremendous sense of pride".
Corporal Keighran had been modest about his "amazing acts of valour", Ms Gillard said.
"To you Corporal Keighran, here today, despite your modesty we acknowledge those acts of valour," the Prime Minister said.
"We acknowledge them because it is always important to accurately record the history of our nation and what makes our nation and these acts of courage speak to who we are as Australians."


Warrant Officer Keith Payne, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for acts of gallantry in the Vietnam War, also attended the ceremony.
Corporal Mark Donaldson, who was awarded the honour in 2009, attended the ceremony. SAS Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, the last recipient, was unable to attend but his wife Emma was at the ceremony.
The Victoria Cross for Australia is the "decoration for according recognition to persons who in the presence of the enemy, perform acts of the most conspicuous gallantry, or daring or pre-eminent acts of valour or self-sacrifice or display extreme devotion to duty."

 ZUI also this article  from news.com.au. The citation for Keighran's VC, along with his official biography, can be found here.

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


Corporal, 6th Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment

Born: 18 June 1983, Nambour, Queensland
Died: TBD

Citation: For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan as part of the Mentoring Task Force One on Operation SLIPPER.
Corporal Keighran deployed to Afghanistan in February 2010 with the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. On 24 August 2010 he was a member of a partnered fighting patrol with soldiers of the Afghan National Army’s 1st Kandak, 4th Brigade, 205th (Hero) Corps which was engaged by a numerically superior and coordinated enemy attack from multiple firing points in three separate locations. The attack was initiated by a high volume of sustained and accurate machine-gun and small-arms fire which pinned down the combined Australian and Afghan patrol and caused a loss of momentum.
In the early stages of the attack, and upon realising that the forward elements of the patrol needed effective fire support, Corporal Keighran and another patrol member moved under sustained and accurate enemy fire to an exposed ridgeline to identify enemy locations and direct the return fire of both Australian and Afghan machine guns.
On reaching this position and with complete disregard for his own wellbeing, Corporal Keighran deliberately drew enemy fire by leaving the limited cover he had and moved over the ridgeline in order to positively identify targets for the machine gunners of the combined patrol. After identifying some of the enemy firing positions, Corporal Keighran, under persistent enemy fire continued to lead and mentor his team and move around the ridge to both direct the fire of the Afghan and Australian machine gunners and to move them to more effective firing positions.
As the intensity of enemy fire grew, Corporal Keighran returned to the crest of the ridgeline to identify targets and adjust the fire of Australian Light Armoured vehicles. His actions resulted in the effective suppression of enemy firing points, which assisted in turning the fight in the favour of the combined patrol. Moving to a new position, Corporal Keighran deliberately and repeatedly again exposed himself to heavy enemy fire to assist in target identification and the marking of the forward line of troops for fire support elements whilst simultaneously engaging the enemy. Realising that the new position provided a better location for the patrol’s joint fire controller, Corporal Keighran moved over 100 metres across exposed parts of the ridgeline, attracting a high volume of accurate enemy fire, to locate and move the fire controller to the new position. He then rose from cover again to expose his position on four successive occasions, each movement drawing more intense fire than the last in order to assist in the identification of a further three enemy firing points that were subsequently engaged by fire support elements.
During one of these occasions, when his patrol sustained an Australian casualty, Corporal Keighran with complete disregard for his own safety, left his position of cover on the ridgeline to deliberately draw fire away from the team treating the casualty. Corporal Keighran remained exposed and under heavy fire while traversing the ridgeline, in order to direct suppressing fire and then assist in the clearance of the landing zone to enable evacuation of the casualty.
Corporal Keighran’s acts of the most conspicuous gallantry to repeatedly expose himself to accurate and intense enemy fire, thereby placing himself in grave danger, ultimately enabled the identification and suppression of enemy firing positions by both Australian and Afghan fire support elements. These deliberate acts of exceptional courage in circumstances of great peril were instrumental in permitting the withdrawal of the combined Australian and Afghan patrol with no further casualties. His valour is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

Photograph © Commonwealth of Australia 2012

21 October 2012

Victoria Cross: F. E. H. Farquharson


Lieutenant, 42nd Regiment

Born: 25 March 1837, Glasgow, Scotland
Died: 12 September 1875, Haberton, Devonshire

Citation: THE Queen has been graciously pleased to confirm the grant of the decoration of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officer of Her Majesty's Army, which decoration has been provisionally conferred upon him by the Commander-in-Chief in India, in accordance with the rules laid down in Her Majesty's Warrant instituting the same, for an Act of Bravery performed by him in that country, when serving under his personal Command, as recorded against his name; viz.:

For conspicuous bravery, when engaged before Lucknow, on the 9th March, 1858, in having led a portion of his Company, stormed a bastion mounting two guns, and spiked the guns, by which the advanced position, held during the night of the 9th of March, was rendered secure from the fire of Artillery.
Lieutenant Farquharson was severely wounded, while holding an advanced position, on the morning of the 10th of March.

[London Gazette issue 22278 dated 21 Jun 1859, published 21 Jun 1859.]

14 October 2012

Victoria Cross: R. Humpston and J. Bradshaw


Private, 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade

Born: 1832, Derby, Derbyshire
Died: 22 December 1884, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Citation: A Russian Rifle Pit, situated among the rocks overhanging the Woronzoff Road, between the 3rd parallel, Right Attack, and the Quarries (at that period in possession of the enemy), was occupied every night by the Russians, and their Riflemen commanded a portion of the Left Attack, and impeded the work in a new battery then being erected on the extreme right front of the 2nd parallel, Left Attack.
It was carried in daylight on the 22nd of April, 1855, by two riflemen, one of whom was Private Humpston; he received a gratuity of 5l., and was promoted.
The Rifle Pit was subsequently destroyed on further support being obtained.

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


Private, 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade

Born: 1835, Dromkeen, County Limerick, Ireland
Died: 29 August 1893, St Johns, Limerick, County Limerick, Ireland

Citation: A Russian Rifle Pit, situated among the rocks overhanging the Woronzoff Road between the 3rd parallel, Right Attack, and the Quarries, (at that period in possession of the enemy), was occupied every night by the Russians, and their Riflemen commanded a portion of the Left Attack, and impeded the work in a new Battery then being erected on the extreme right front of the 2nd parallel, Left Attack.
It was carried in daylight on the 22nd of April, 1855, by two Riflemen, one of whom was Private Bradshaw; he has since received the French War Medal.
The Rifle Pit was subsequently destroyed on further support being obtained.

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

07 October 2012

Book list - Apr-Sep 12

Empress of Outer Space - SF, by A Bertram Chandler *
Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945 - WW II, by Evan Thomas
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - children's poetry, by T S Eliot
A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals - agriculture, by Juliet Clutton-Brock
Cold War Hot: Alternate Decisions of the Cold War - AH, by Peter Tsouras
Cathedral, Forge and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages - history, by Frances and Joseph Gies *
The Callahan Cousins - children's, by Elizabeth Doyle Carey
Time Crime - SF/AH, by H Beam Piper
Null-ABC - SF, by H Beam Piper
Rendezvous with Rama - SF, by Arthur C Clarke *
The Blue-Eyed Aborigine - children's historic fiction, by Rosemary Hayes
In the Courts of the Crimson Kings - AH/SF, by S M Stirling *
Some Like It Hawk - mystery, by Donna Andrews
1632 - AH, by Eric Flint *
1633 - AH, by David Weber and Eric Flint *
The Grange at High Force - children's, by Philip Turner (Carnegie Medal, 1965)
The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler - children's, by Gene Kemp (Carnegie Medal, 1977)
1634: The Baltic War - AH, by David Weber and Eric Flint
1634: The Bavarian Crisis - AH, by Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce
1635: The Eastern Front - AH, by Eric Flint

Only 20 books in the last six months, including six rereads (marked, as usual, by asterisks). After I finished rereading Rendezvous with Rama, I tried reading its first sequel, Rama II (by Arthur C Clarke and Gentry Lee), but I just couldn't get interested in any of the characters so I gave up on it after a few chapters. The two Carnegie Medal winners bring me up to 58 of 73.

02 September 2012

George Cross: M. P. Benner


Second Lieutenant, Royal Engineers

Born: 14 April 1935
Died: 1 July 1957, The Großglockner, Austria

Citation: The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE GROSS to the undermentioned in recognition of great gallantry:—

Second Lieutenant Michael Paul BENNER (448764), Corps of Royal Engineers.

In Austria during the summer of 1957, Second Lieutenant BENNER was in command of a party of noncommissioned officers and men training in moving and living in mountainous country. On the 1st July, after a week in the mountains, he led six of his men on a traverse of the 12,400 feet Grossglockner. The summit was successfully reached at 6 p.m. after the long ascent but a storm had caused delay and made conditions unexpectedly difficult. In preparation for a descent by the ordinary route, which normally is not difficult, the party unroped.
Second Lieutenant BENNER led the way down a ridge closely followed by Sapper Phillips. The storm and the lateness of the hour made the steps, kicked in the snow, icy and slippery. Sapper Phillips missed his foothold and began to slide down a fairly steep snow slope. Seeing this, BRENNER [sic] jumped out of his own secure foothold on to the open slope and caught the falling man, holding him with one hand and endeavouring with the other to dig his ice-axe into the snow. This he could not succeed in doing. Both men slid down the slope together until they disappeared to their death over the steep face of the mountain.
In making his attempt to intercept Sapper Philips this gallant young officer took, as he well knew, a desperate risk. As the two gathered speed down the slope he must have realised that he could save himself only by releasing his grasp of Sapper Phillips' arm but he did not do so. He held on to the last, struggling to obtain a grip in the snow with his feet and axe.
With supreme courage and devotion he sacrificed his life endeavouring to save his companion.

[London Gazette issue 41421 dated 17 Jun 1958, published 13 Jun 1958.]

Victoria Cross: Home, Salkeld, Smith and Hawthorne


Lieutenant, Bengal Engineers

Born: 10 June 1828, Jubbelpore, India
Died: 1 October 1857, Malagarh, India


Lieutenant, Bengal Engineers

Born: 13 October 1830, Fontmell Magna, Dorset
Died: 10 October 1857, Bulandshahr, India

Lieutenants Duncan Charles Home and Philip Salkeld, Bengal Engineers, upon whom the Victoria Cross was provisionally conferred by Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson, Bart., K.C.B., for their conspicuous bravery in the performance of the desperate duty of blowing in the Cashmere Gate of the Fortress of Delhi, in broad daylight, under a heavy fire of musketry, on the morning of the 14th September, 1857, preparatory to the assault, would have been recommended to Her Majesty for confirmation in that distinction, had they survived.

[London Gazette issue 22154 dated 18 Jun 1858, published 18 Jun 1858.]

Note: As originally established in 1856, the Victoria Cross was only awarded to living recipients. This rule was not changed until 1905, by King Edward VII. However, as Home and Salkeld had actually been notified of the award by Major-General Wilson before their deaths, in their case the medals were presented posthumously. (There does not seem to have been any other announcement in the Gazette regarding this.)


Serjeant, Bengal Sappers and Miners

Born: February 1814, Ticknall, Derbyshire
Died: 26 June 1864, Jullunder, India

Citation: " For conspicuous gallantry, in conjunction with Lieutenants Home and Salkeld, in the performance of the desperate duty of blowing in the Cashmere Gate of the fortress of Delhi in broad daylight, under a heavy and destructive fire of musketry, on the morning of the 14th September, 1857, preparatory to the assault."
(General Order of Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson, Bart., K.C.B., dated Head Quarters, Delhi City, September 21, 1857.

[London Gazette issue 22131 dated 27 Apr 1858, published 27 Apr 1858.]


Bugler, 52nd Regiment

Born: 1822, Maghera, County Londonderry, Ireland
Died: 2 February 1879, Manchester, Lancashire

Citation: " Bugler Hawthorne, who accompanied the explosion party, not only performed the dangerous duty on which he was employed, but previously attached himself to Lieutenant Salkeld, of the Engineers, when dangerously wounded, bound up his wounds under a heavy musketry fire, and had him removed without further injury."
(General Order of Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson, Bart., K.C.B., dated Head Quarters, Delhi City, September 21, 1857.

[London Gazette issue 22131 dated 27 Apr 1858, published 27 Apr 1858.]

Medal of Honor: J. L. Levitow


Airman First Class (later Sergeant), US Air Force; 3d Special Operations Squadron

Born: 1 November 1945, Hartford, Connecticut
Died: 8 November 2000, Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty [at Long Binh Army post, Republic of Vietnam, on 24 February 1969]. Sgt. Levitow (then A1c.), U.S. Air Force, distinguished himself by exceptional heroism while assigned as a loadmaster aboard an AC-47 aircraft flying a night mission in support of Long Binh Army post. Sgt. Levitow's aircraft was struck by a hostile mortar round. The resulting explosion ripped a hole 2 feet in diameter through the wing and fragments made over 3,500 holes in the fuselage. All occupants of the cargo compartment were wounded and helplessly slammed against the floor and fuselage. The explosion tore an activated flare from the grasp of a crewmember who had been launching flares to provide illumination for Army ground troops engaged in combat. Sgt. Levitow, though stunned by the concussion of the blast and suffering from over 40 fragment wounds in the back and legs, staggered to his feet and turned to assist the man nearest to him who had been knocked down and was bleeding heavily. As he was moving his wounded comrade forward and away from the opened cargo compartment door, he saw the smoking flare ahead of him in the aisle. Realizing the danger involved and completely disregarding his own wounds, Sgt. Levitow started toward the burning flare. The aircraft was partially out of control and the flare was rolling wildly from side to side. Sgt. Levitow struggled forward despite the loss of blood from his many wounds and the partial loss of feeling in his right leg. Unable to grasp the rolling flare with his hands, he threw himself bodily upon the burning flare. Hugging the deadly device to his body, he dragged himself back to the rear of the aircraft and hurled the flare through the open cargo door. At that instant the flare separated and ignited in the air, but clear of the aircraft. Sgt. Levitow, by his selfless and heroic actions, saved the aircraft and its entire crew from certain death and destruction. Sgt. Levitow's gallantry, his profound concern for his fellowmen, 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.

26 August 2012

Victoria Cross: A. Henry


Serjeant-Major, G Battery, Royal Artillery (later Captain, Land Transport Corps)

Born: 1 November 1823, Woolwich, Southeast London
Died: 14 October 1870, Plymouth, Devonshire

Citation: For defending the guns of his battery against overwhelming numbers of the enemy at the Battle of Inkerman, and continuing to do so until he had received twelve bayonet wounds. He was at the time Serjeant-Major of G. Battery, 2nd Division.

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

Go Topless Day

...is today!

19 August 2012

Go Topless Day

In conjunction with Women's Equality Day, next Sunday - 26 Aug 2012 - is Go Topless Day.

29 July 2012

Victoria Cross: G. G. E. Wylly and J. H. Bisdee


Lieutenant, Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen

Born: 17 February 1880, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Died: 9 January 1962, Camberley, Surrey

Citation: On the 1st September, 1900, near Warm Bad, Lieutenant Wylly was with the advanced scouts of a foraging party. They were passing through a narrow gorge, very rocky and thickly wooded, when the enemy in force suddenly opened fire at short range from hidden cover, wounding six out of the party of eight, including Lieutenant Wylly. That Officer, seeing that one of his men was badly wounded in the leg, and that his horse was shot, went back to the man's assistance, made him take his (Lieutenant Wylly's) horse, and opened fire from behind a rock to cover the retreat of the others, at the imminent risk of being cut off himself. Colonel T. E. Hickman, D.S.O., considers that the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Wylly saved Corporal Brown from being killed or captured, and that his subsequent action in firing to cover the retreat was "instrumental in saving others of his men from death or capture."

[London Gazette issue 27249 dated 23 Nov 1900, published 23 Nov 1900.]


Private, Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen

Born: 28 September 1869, Melton Mowbray, Tasmania, Australia
Died: 14 January 1930, Jericho, Tasmania, Australia

Citation: On the 1st September, 1900, Private Bisdee was one of an advanced scouting party passing through a rocky defile near Warm Bad, Transvaal. The enemy, who were in ambuscade, opened a sudden fire at close range, and six out of the party of eight were hit, including two Officers. The horse of one of the wounded Officers broke away and bolted. Private Bisdee gave the Officer his stirrup leather to help him out of action, but finding that the Officer was too badly wounded to go on, Private Bisdee dismounted, placed him on his horse, mounted behind him, and conveyed him out of range.
This act was performed under a very hot fire, and in a very exposed place.

[London Gazette issue 27246 dated 13 Nov 1900, published 13 Nov 1900.]

16 July 2012

I side with....

Election year again (already?) and therefore time for another of those polls to see which presidential candidates I agree with. I like this one because it lets you give more than just Yes/No answers.

Mitt Romney - 90% on domestic policy, foreign policy, economic, healthcare, immigration, and environmental issues.
Ron Paul - 66% on domestic policy, immigration, social, and environmental issues.
Barack Obama - 65% on foreign policy, economic, science, and social issues.
Gary Johnson - 63% on domestic policy, healthcare, and environmental issues.
Virgil Goode - 30% on domestic policy and healthcare issues.
Jimmy McMillan - 19% on no major issues.
Jill Stein - 18% on no major issues.
Stewart Alexander - 4% on no major issues.
Connecticut Voters - 44% on social issues.
American Voters - 59% on social and environmental issues.

90% Republican
65% Democratic
64% Libertarian
18% Green

Immigration: I side the most with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul on 94% of immigration issues.
Science: I side the most with Barack Obama on 80% of science issues.
Healthcare: I side the most with Mitt Romney on 100% of healthcare issues.
Domestic Policy: I side the most with Mitt Romney on 95% of domestic policy issues.
Foreign Policy: I side the most with Mitt Romney on 90% of foreign policy issues.
The Economy: I side the most with Mitt Romney on 91% of economic issues.
Social: I side the most with Ron Paul on 92% of social issues.
The Environment: I side the most with Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney on 96% of environmental issues.

15 July 2012

Victoria Cross: Harrington, Jennings, Park, Laughnan and McInnes


Lieutenant, Bengal Artillery

Born: 9 November 1832, Hinton Parva, Wiltshire
Died: 20 July 1861, Agra, India


Rough-Rider, Bengal Artillery

Born: 1820, Ballinrobe, County Mayo, Ireland
Died: 10 May 1889, North Shields, Northumberland


Gunner, Bengal Artillery

Born: 1835, Glasgow, Scotland
Died: 14 June 1858, Lucknow, India


Gunner, Bengal Artillery

Born: August 1824, Kilmadaugh, County Galway
Died: 23 July 1864, County Galway, Ireland


Gunner, Bengal Artillery

Born: October 1835, Glasgow, Scotland
Died: 7 December 1879, Glasgow, Scotland

Joint Citation: Elected respectively, under the 13th clause of the Royal Warrant of the 29th of January, 1856, by the Officers and non-commissioned officers generally, and by the private soldiers of each troop or battery, for conspicuous gallantry at the relief of Lucknow, from the 14th to the 22nd of November, 1857

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

08 July 2012

Victoria Cross: M. C. Dixon


Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Regiment of Artillery

Born: 5 February 1821, Avranches, Brittany, France
Died: 8 January 1905, Pembury, Kent

Citation: On the 17th April, 1855, about 2 P.M., when the battery he commanded was blown up by a shell from the enemy, which burst in the Magazine, destroyed the parapets, killed and wounded ten men, disabled five guns, and covered a sixth with earth; for most gallantly re-opening fire with the remaining gun before the enemy had ceased cheering from their parapets (on which they had mounted) and fighting it until sunset, despite the heavy concentrated fire of the enemy's batteries, and the ruined state of his own.

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

04 July 2012

Words of wisdom

July 4. Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than in all the other days of the year put together. This proves, by the number left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.
-- Mark Twain
The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

24 June 2012

Victoria Cross: H. A. Carter


Lieutenant, Number 6 Company, Indian Mounted Infantry

Born: 26 May 1874, Exeter, Devon
Died: 13 January 1916, St Erth, Cornwall

Citation: During a reconnaissance near Jidballi, on 19th December, 1903, when the two Sections of the Poona Mounted Infantry and the Tribal Horse were retiring before a force of Dervishes which outnumbered them by thirty to one, Lieutenant Carter rode back alone, a distance of four hundred yards, to the assistance of Private Jai Singh, who had lost his horse, and was closely pursued by a large number of the enemy, and, taking the Sepoy up behind him, brought him safely away.
When Lieutenant Carter reached Private Jai Singh, the Sections were several hundred yards off.

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

In consequence of the above, the appointment of this Officer to the Distinguished Service Order, which was notified in the London Gazette of 7th June, 1904, is cancelled.

[London Gazette issue 27742 dated 9 Dec 1904, published 9 Dec 1904.]

Note: Jidballi, or Jidbaale, is in the Sanaag region of what was then Somaliland, and is now part of northern Somalia.

10 June 2012

Medal of Honor: C. A. Lindbergh


Captain, US Army Air Corps Reserve

Born: 4 February 1902, Detroit, Michigan
Died: 26 August 1974, Kipahulu, Hawaii

Citation: For displaying heroic courage and skill as a navigator, at the risk of his life, by his nonstop flight in his airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, from New York City to Paris, France, 20-21 May 1927, by which Capt. Lindbergh not only achieved the greatest individual triumph of any American citizen but demonstrated that travel across the ocean by aircraft was possible.

03 June 2012

Medal of Honor: W. Smith


Quartermaster, US Navy; USS Kearsarge

Born: 1838, Ireland
Died: 12 January 1902, Merrimack County, New Hampshire

Citation: Served as second quartermaster on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as captain of the 11-inch pivot gun of the second division, Smith carried out his duties courageously and deserved special notice for the deliberate and cool manner in which he acted throughout the bitter engagement. It is stated by rebel officers that this gun was more destructive and did more damage than any other gun of Kearsarge.

Note: One of 17 Kearsarge crewmen who were awarded the Medal of Honor for this action.

27 May 2012

Victoria Cross: W. F. W. Waller


Lieutenant, 25th Bombay Light Infantry

Born: 20 August 1839, Dagoolie, India
Died: 29 January 1885, Bath, Somerset

Citation: For great gallantry at the capture by storm of the fortress of Gwalior, on the 20th June, 1858. He and Lieutenant Rose, who was killed, were the only Europeans present, and, with a mere handful of men, they attacked the fortress, climbed on the roof of a house, shot the gunners opposed to them, carried all before them and took the fort, killing every man in it.

[London Gazette issue 22601 dated 25 Feb 1862, published 25 Feb 1862.]

Medal of Honor: S. E. Manning


Corporal, US Army; Company G, 167th Infantry, 42d Division

Born: 17 July 1892, Butler County, Alabama
Died: 15 December 1960, Alabama(?)

Citation: When his platoon commander and platoon sergeant had both become casualties soon after the beginning of an assault on strongly fortified heights overlooking the Ourcq River [near Breuvannes, France, on 28 July 1918], Cpl. Manning took command of his platoon, which was near the center of the attacking line. Though himself severely wounded he led forward the 35 men remaining in the platoon and finally succeeded in gaining a foothold on the enemy's position, during which time he had received more wounds and all but 7 of his men had fallen. Directing the consolidation of the position, he held off a large body of the enemy only 50 yards away by fire from his automatic rifle. He declined to take cover until his line had been entirely consolidated with the line of the platoon on the front when he dragged himself to shelter, suffering from 9 wounds in all parts of the body.

20 May 2012

Victoria Cross: F. Wheatley


Private, 1st Battalion The Rifle Brigade

Born: 1826, Ruddington, Nottinghamshire
Died: 21 May 1865, Westminster, London

Citation: For throwing a live shell over the parapet of the trenches.

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

Medal of Honor: D. P. Matthews


Sergeant, US Marine Corps; Company F, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced)

Born: 31 December 1931, Van Nuys, California
Died: 28 March 1953, Korea

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader of Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces [at Vegas Hill, Korea, on 28 March 1953]. Participating in a counterattack against a firmly entrenched and well-concealed hostile force which had repelled 6 previous assaults on a vital enemy-held outpost far forward of the main line of resistance Sgt. Matthews fearlessly advanced in the attack until his squad was pinned down by a murderous sweep of fire from an enemy machine gun located on the peak of the outpost. Observing that the deadly fire prevented a corpsman from removing a wounded man lying in an open area fully exposed to the brunt of the devastating gunfire, he worked his way to the base of the hostile machine gun emplacement, leaped onto the rock fortification surrounding the gun and, taking the enemy by complete surprise, single-handedly charged the hostile emplacement with his rifle. Although severely wounded when the enemy brought a withering hail of fire to bear upon him, he gallantly continued his valiant l-man assault and, firing his rifle with deadly effectiveness, succeeded in killing 2 of the enemy, routing a third, and completely silencing the enemy weapon, thereby enabling his comrades to evacuate the stricken marine to a safe position. Succumbing to his wounds before aid could reach him, Sgt. Matthews, by his indomitable fighting spirit, courageous initiative, and resolute determination in the face of almost certain death, served to inspire all who observed him and was directly instrumental in saving the life of his wounded comrade. His great personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

17 May 2012

Medal of Honor awarded for Vietnam


Specialist Four, US Army; 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division

Born: 22 February 1948, Kufstein, Tirol, Austria
Died: 10 May 1970, Se San, Cambodia

Citation: Specialist Four Leslie H. Sabo Jr. distinguished himself by conspicuous acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his own life while serving as a rifleman in Company B, 3d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division in Se San, Cambodia, on May 10, 1970. On that day, Specialist Four Sabo and his platoon were conducting a reconnaissance patrol when they were ambushed from all sides by a large enemy force. Without hesitation, Specialist Four Sabo charged an enemy position, killing several enemy soldiers. Immediately thereafter, he assaulted an enemy flanking force, successfully drawing their fire away from friendly soldiers and ultimately forcing the enemy to retreat. In order to re-supply ammunition, he sprinted across an open field to a wounded comrade. As he began to reload, an enemy grenade landed nearby. Specialist Four Sabo picked it up, threw it, and shielded his comrade with his own body, thus absorbing the brunt of the blast and saving his comrade's life. Seriously wounded by the blast, Specialist Four Sabo nonetheless retained the initiative and then single-handedly charged an enemy bunker that had inflicted severe damage on the platoon, receiving several serious wounds from automatic weapons fire in the process. Now mortally injured, he crawled towards the enemy emplacement and, when in position, threw a grenade into the bunker. The resulting explosion silenced the enemy fire, but also ended Specialist Four Sabo's life. His indomitable courage and complete disregard for his own safety saved the lives of many of his platoon members. Specialist Four Sabo's extraordinary heroism and selflessness, above and beyond the call of duty, at the cost of his life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 3d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, and the United States Army.

Note: The President's remarks at the award ceremony can be found here.

13 May 2012

Victoria Cross: A. Chowne


Lieutenant, 2 /2 Australian Infantry Battalion, Australian Military Forces

Born: 19 July 1920, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died: 25 March 1945, Dagua, New Guinea

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery, brilliant leadership and devotion to duty during an attack on an enemy position on a narrow ridge near Dagua, New Guinea, on 25th March, 1945.
After the capture of Dagua, the main enemy force withdrew southwards from the beach to previously prepared positions on the flank of the Division. Further movement towards Wewak was impossible while this threat to the flank existed and the Battalion was ordered to destroy the enemy force.
'A' Company, after making contact with the enemy on a narrow ridge, was ordered to attack the position. The leading Platoon in the attack came under heavy fire from concealed enemy machine guns sited on a small rise dominating the approach. In the initial approach one member of this Platoon was killed and nine wounded, including the Platoon Commander, and the enemy continued to inflict casualties on our troops. Without awaiting orders, Lieutenant Chowne, whose Platoon was in reserve, instantly appreciated the plight of the leading Platoon and rushed the enemy's position. Running up a steep, narrow track, he hurled grenades which knocked out two enemy Light Machine Guns. Then, calling on his men to follow him and firing his submachine gun from the hip, he charged the enemy's position. Although he sustained two serious wounds in the chest, the impetus of his charge carried him 50 yards forward under the most intense machine gun and rifle fire. Lieutenant Chowne accounted for two more Japanese before he was killed standing over three foxholes occupied by the enemy.
The superb heroism and self-sacrifice of this officer, culminating in his death, resulted in the capture of this strongly-held enemy position, ensured the further immediate success of. his Company in this area and paved the way directly for the continuance of the Division's advance to Wewak.

[London Gazette issue 37253 dated 6 Sep 1945, published 4 Sep 1945.]

Medal of Honor: C. E. Lassen


Lieutenant, US Navy; Helicopter Support Squadron 7, Detachment 104, embarked USS Preble (DLG 15)

Born: 14 March 1942, Fort Myers, Florida
Died: 1 April 1994

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as pilot and aircraft commander of a search and rescue helicopter, attached to Helicopter Support Squadron 7, during operations against enemy forces in North Vietnam [on 19 June 1968]. Launched shortly after midnight to attempt the rescue of 2 downed aviators, Lt. (then Lt. (J.G.)) Lassen skillfully piloted his aircraft over unknown and hostile terrain to a steep, tree-covered hill on which the survivors had been located. Although enemy fire was being directed at the helicopter, he initially landed in a clear area near the base of the hill, but, due to the dense undergrowth, the survivors could not reach the helicopter. With the aid of flare illumination, Lt. Lassen successfully accomplished a hover between 2 trees at the survivors' position Illumination was abruptly lost as the last of the flares were expended, and the helicopter collided with a tree, commencing a sharp descent. Expertly righting his aircraft and maneuvering clear, Lt. Lassen remained in the area, determined to make another rescue attempt, and encouraged the downed aviators while awaiting resumption of flare illumination. After another unsuccessful, illuminated rescue attempt, and with his fuel dangerously low and his aircraft significantly damaged, he launched again and commenced another approach in the face of the continuing enemy opposition. When flare illumination was again lost, Lt. Lassen, fully aware of the dangers in clearly revealing his position to the enemy, turned on his landing lights and completed the landing. On this attempt, the survivors were able to make their way to the helicopter. En route to the coast he encountered and successfully evaded additional hostile antiaircraft fire and, with fuel for only 5 minutes of flight remaining, landed safely aboard U.S.S. Jouett (DLG-29).

Note: USS Lassen (DDG 82) was named in his honour.

11 May 2012

Medal of Honor to be awarded for Vietnam

ZUI this article from the Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette:
"There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty," Alexander Hamilton observed, "that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism."


On May 10, 1970, {Specialist Fourth Class Leslie H] Sabo, a rifleman in Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, was roused to such conspicuous acts of courage that a Congress and president of the United States generations later would be moved to correct an oversight of history.

President Barack Obama will honor Sabo with the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor, making him another hero in a region that has swelled the ranks of conspicuous heroes. Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland has inducted more than 80 recipients of the Medal of Honor from Western Pennsylvania into its Hall of Valor.


Incredibly, although the medal request was submitted at the time, his paperwork was lost in the bureaucratic labyrinth, only to be found in 1999 by a veteran of the 101st Airborne, who was doing research in the military repository of the National Archives. Even then it took many years of effort, and special legislation by Congress, to do justice to Sabo's forgotten sacrifice.

When the president presents the medal on May 16 to Sabo's widow, Rose Mary Sabo Brown, with his brother George and 50 men from his old unit in attendance, that too can be ascribed to a certain enthusiasm in liberty that lifts human nature above the ordinary. For just as an effort is made to retrieve fallen American troops from the battlefield, so an effort was made to retrieve one soldier's lost glory for posterity.

06 May 2012

George Cross: A. D. Merriman


Born: 25 November 1892, South Manchester
Died: 1972

Citation: The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the GEORGE CROSS to:—
Arthur Douglas Merriman, Part-time Experimental Officer, Directorate of Scientific Research, Ministry of Supply.
For conspicuous bravery in connection with bomb disposal.

[London Gazette issue 35006 dated 3 Dec 1940, published 3 Dec 1940.]

Victoria Cross: H. Jones


Lieutenant Colonel, commanding 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment

Born: 14 May 1940, Putney, London
Died: 28 May 1982, Darwin Hill, East Falklands

Citation: On 28th May 1982 Lieutenant Colonel JONES was commanding 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment on operations on the Falkland Islands. The Battalion was ordered to attack enemy positions in and around the settlements of Darwin and Goose Green.
During the attack against an enemy who was well dug in with mutually supporting positions sited in depth, the Battalion was held up just South of Darwin by a particularly well-prepared and resilient enemy position of at least eleven trenches on an important ridge. A number of casualties were received. In order to read the battle fully and to ensure that the momentum of his attack was not lost, Colonel Jones took forward his reconnaissance party to the foot of a re-entrant which a section of his Battalion had just secured. Despite persistent, heavy and accurate fire the reconnaissance party gained the top of the re-entrant, at approximately the same height as the enemy positions. From here Colonel Jones encouraged the direction of his Battalion mortar fire, in an effort to neutralise the enemy positions. However, these had been well prepared and continued to pour effective fire onto the Battalion advance, which, by now held up for over an hour and under increasingly heavy artillery fire, was in danger of faltering.
In his effort to gain a good viewpoint, Colonel Jones was now at the very front of his Battalion. It was clear to him that desperate measures were needed in order to overcome the enemy position and rekindle the attack, and that unless these measures were taken promptly the Battalion would sustain increasing casualties and the attack perhaps even fail. It was time for personal leadership and action. Colonel Jones immediately seized a sub-machine gun, and, calling on those around him and with total disregard for his own safety, charged the nearest enemy position. This action exposed him to fire from a number of trenches. As he charged up a short slope at the enemy position he was seen to fall and roll backward downhill. He immediately picked himself up, and again charged the enemy trench, firing his sub-machine gun and seemingly oblivious to the intense fire directed at him. He was hit by fire from another trench which he outflanked, and fell dying only a few feet from the enemy he had assaulted. A short time later a company of the Battalion attacked the enemy, who quickly surrendered. The devasting display of courage by Colonel Jones had completely undermined their will to fight further.
Thereafter the momentum of the attack was rapidly regained, Darwin and Goose Green were liberated, and the Battalion released the local inhabitants unharmed and forced the surrender of some 1,200 of the enemy.
The achievements of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment at Darwin and Goose Green set the tone for the subsequent land victory on the Falklands. They achieved such a moral superiority over the enemy in this first battle that, despite the advantages of numbers and selection of battle-ground, they never thereafter doubted either the superior fighting qualities of the British troops, or their own inevitable defeat.
This was an action of the utmost gallantry by a Commanding Officer whose dashing leadership and courage throughout the battle were an inspiration to all about him.

[London Gazette issue 49134 dated 11 Oct 1982, published 8 Oct 1982.]

Medal of Honor: A. W. Greely


Major General, US Army; retired

Born: 27 March 1844, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Died: 20 October 1935, Washington, District of Columbia

Citation: For his life of splendid public service, begun on 27 March 1844, having enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army on 26 July 1861, and by successive promotions was commissioned as major general 10 February 1906, and retired by operation of law on his 64th birthday.

Notes: USS General A W Greely (AP 141) was named in his honour.
The medal was awarded by act of Congress on 21 Mar 1935.

29 April 2012

Victoria Cross: F. C. Roberts


Captain (acting Lieutenant-Colonel), Worcestershire Regiment

Born: 2 June 1891, Highbury, Middlesex
Died: 12 January 1982, Stanhope Bretby, Derbyshire

Citation: During continuous operations which covered over twelve days Lt-Col Roberts showed most conspicuous bravery, exceptional military skill in dealing with the many very difficult situations of the retirement, and amazing endurance and energy in encouraging aud inspiring all ranks under his command.
On one occasion the enemy attacked a village and had practically cleared it of our troops, when this officer got together an improvised party and led a counter-attack which temporarily drove the enemy out of the village, thus covering the retirement of troops on their flanks who would otherwise have been cut off.
The success of this action was entirely due to his personal valour and skill.

[London Gazette issue 30675 dated 8 May 1918, published 7 May 1918.]

Medal of Honor: T. B. McGuire, Jr.


Major, US Army Air Corps; commanding 431st Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, 13th Air Force

Born: 1 August 1920, Ridgewood, New Jersey
Died: 7 January 1945, Los Negros Island, Philippines

Citation: He fought with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity over Luzon, Philippine Islands. Voluntarily, he led a squadron of 15 P-38's as top cover for heavy bombers striking Mabalacat Airdrome [on 25 December 1944], where his formation was attacked by 20 aggressive Japanese fighters. In the ensuing action he repeatedly flew to the aid of embattled comrades, driving off enemy assaults while himself under attack and at times outnumbered 3 to 1, and even after his guns jammed, continuing the fight by forcing a hostile plane into his wingman's line of fire. Before he started back to his base he had shot down 3 Zeros. The next day he again volunteered to lead escort fighters on a mission to strongly defended Clark Field. During the resultant engagement he again exposed himself to attacks so that he might rescue a crippled bomber. In rapid succession he shot down 1 aircraft, parried the attack of 4 enemy fighters, 1 of which he shot down, single-handedly engaged 3 more Japanese, destroying 1, and then shot down still another, his 38th victory in aerial combat. On 7 January 1945, while leading a voluntary fighter sweep over Los Negros Island, he risked an extremely hazardous maneuver at low altitude in an attempt to save a fellow flyer from attack, crashed, and was reported missing in action. With gallant initiative, deep and unselfish concern for the safety of others, and heroic determination to destroy the enemy at all costs, Maj. McGuire set an inspiring example in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

Note: In 1948, Fort Dix Army Air Base, at Fort Dix, New Jersey, was renamed McGuire Air Force Base in his honour.

22 April 2012

Victoria Cross: H. R. Martineau


Sergeant, Protectorate Regiment

Born: 31 October 1871, London
Died: 7 April 1916, Dunedin, New Zealand

Citation: On the 26th December, 1899, during the fight at Game Tree, near Mafeking, when the order to retire had been given, Sergeant Martineau stopped and picked up Corporal Le Camp, who had been struck down about 10 yards from the Boer trenches, and half dragged, half carried, him towards a bush about 150 yards from the trenches. In doing this Sergeant Martineau was wounded in the side, but paid no attention to it, and proceeded to stanch and bandage the wounds of his comrade, whom he, afterwards, assisted to retire. The firing while they were retiring was very heavy and Sergeant Martineau was again wounded. When shot the second time he was absolutely exhausted from supporting his comrade, and sank down unable to proceed further. He received three wounds, one of which necessitated the amputation of his arm near the shoulder

[London Gazette issue 27208 dated 6 Jul 1900, published 6 Jul 1900.]

Medal of Honor: R. D. De Wert


Hospital Corpsman, US Navy; 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines

Born: 17 November 1931, Taunton, Massachusetts
Died: 5 April 1951, North Korea

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a HC, in action against enemy aggressor forces [in North Korea on 5 April 1951]. When a fire team from the point platoon of his company was pinned down by a deadly barrage of hostile automatic weapons fired and suffered many casualties, HC Dewert rushed to the assistance of 1 of the more seriously wounded and, despite a painful leg wound sustained while dragging the stricken marine to safety, steadfastly refused medical treatment for himself and immediately dashed back through the fireswept area to carry a second wounded man out of the line of fire. Undaunted by the mounting hail of devastating enemy fire, he bravely moved forward a third time and received another serious wound in the shoulder after discovering that a wounded marine had already died. Still persistent in his refusal to submit to first aid, he resolutely answered the call of a fourth stricken comrade and, while rendering medical assistance, was himself mortally wounded by a burst of enemy fire. His courageous initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the highest credit upon HC Dewert and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Note: USS De Wert (FFG 45) was named in his honour.

15 April 2012

Victoria Cross: R. K. Ridgeway


Captain, Bengal Staff Corps; attached 8th Gurkha Rifles

Born: 18 August 1848, Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland
Died: 11 October 1924, Harrogate, Yorkshire

Citation: THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross upon the undermentioned Officer, whose claim to the same has been submitted for Her Majesty's approval, for his gallant conduct at Konoma, on the Eastern Frontier of India, as recorded against his name; viz.:—
For conspicuous gallantry throughout the attack on Konoma, on the 22nd November, 1879, more especially in the final assault, when, under a heavy fire from the enemy, he rushed up to a barricade and attempted to tear down the planking surrounding it, to enable him to effect an entrance, in which act he received a very severe rifle shot wound in the left shoulder.

[London Gazette issue 24843 dated 11 May 1880, published 11 May 1880.]

Medal of Honor: G. Jordan


Sergeant, Company K, 9th US Cavalry

Born: 1847, Williamson County, Tennessee
Died: 24 October 1904

Citation: While commanding a detachment of 25 men at Fort Tularosa, N. Mex., [on 14 May 1880,] repulsed a force of more than 100 Indians. At Carrizo Canyon, N . Mex., while commanding the right of a detachment of 19 men, on 12 August 1881, he stubbornly held his ground in an extremely exposed position and gallantly forced back a much superior number of the enemy, preventing them from surrounding the command.

13 April 2012

Five new submarines named

ZUI this DoD press release:
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next five Virginia-class attack submarines will be named the USS Illinois, the USS Washington, the USS Colorado, the USS Indiana, and the USS South Dakota.

Mabus named the Virginia-class submarines to honor the great contributions and support these states have given the military through the years.

“Each of these five states serves as home to military bases that support our national defense and provides men and women who volunteer to serve their country,” Mabus said. “I look forward to these submarines joining the fleet and representing these great states around the world.”

None of the five states has had a ship named for it for more than 49 years. The most recent to serve was the battleship the USS Indiana, which was decommissioned in October 1963.

The selection of Illinois, designated SSN 786, is the second ship to bear the state name and is home to the Navy’s one and only Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes where every enlisted sailor begins his or her service.

The selection of Washington, designated SSN 787, is the third ship to bear the state name and the state’s Puget Sound area, where the Navy’s third-largest fleet concentration is located.

The selection of Colorado, designated SSN 788, is the third ship to bear the state name. The second ship was a battleship that stood as the lead ship of her class and took part in the Tarawa invasion.

The selection of Indiana, designated SSN 789, is the third ship to bear the state name and is the home to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the Navy’s premier engineering, acquisition and sustainment organization which supports our maritime warriors.

The selection of South Dakota, designated SSN 790, is the third ship to bear the state name. The second ship was a battleship that also stood as the lead ship of her class and fought extensively in the Pacific theater during World War II.

“Prior ships carrying the names of these five states stood as defenders of freedom on the water. Now these states will represent the latest and greatest technology ever assembled to submerge below the surface and project power forward,” Mabus said.

So, just for the record....

USS Illinois (BB 7) - one of three Illinois-class battleships, commissioned 16 Sep 1901
Illinois (BB 65) - one of six Iowa-class battleships, laid down 15 Jan 1945 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; canceled 12 Aug 1945

USS Washington (ACR 11) - one of four Tennessee-class armoured cruisers, commissioned 7 Aug 1906
USS Washington (BB 56) - one of two North Carolina-class battleships, commissioned 15 May 1941
(There were six previous ships named USS Washington, but according to DANFS they were named after the president, not the state.)

USS Colorado (ACR 7) - one of six Pennsylvania-class armoured cruisers, commissioned 19 Jan 1905
USS Colorado (BB 45) - one of three Colorado-class battleships, commissioned 30 Aug 1923
(There was one previous USS Colorado, named for the river rather than the state.)

USS Indiana (BB 1) - one of three Indiana-class battleships, commissioned 20 Nov 1895
Indiana (BB 50) - one of six South Dakota-class battleships, laid down 1 Nov 1920 at the New York Navy Yard; construction was cancelled 8 Feb 1922 in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty.
USS Indiana (BB 58) - one of four South Dakota-class battleships, commissioned 30 Apr 1942

USS South Dakota (ACR 9) - one of six Pennsylvania-class armoured cruisers, commissioned 27 Jan 1908
South Dakota (BB 49) - one of six South Dakota-class battleships, laid down 15 Mar 1920 at the New York Navy Yard; construction was suspended 8 Feb 1922 in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty and the unfinished hull was sold 25 Oct 1923
USS South Dakota (BB 57) - one of four South Dakota-class battleships, commissioned 20 Mar 1942

08 April 2012

Victoria Cross: J. Pearson


Private, 86th Regiment

Born: 2 October 1822, Rathdowney, Queen's County, Ireland
Died: 23 January 1900, near Madras, India

Citation: THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the under-mentioned Soldier, whose claim to the same has been submitted for Her Majesty's approval, on account of an Act of Bravery performed by him in India, as recorded against his name; viz.:
For having gallantly attacked a number of armed rebels, on the occasion of the storming of Jhansi, on the 3rd April, 1858, one of whom he killed, and bayonetted two others. He was himself wounded in the attack.
Also, for having brought in, at Calpee, under a heavy fire, Private Michael Burns, who afterwards died of his wounds.

[London Gazette issue 22381 dated 1 May 1860, published 1 May 1860.]

Notes: Jhansi and Calpee (now Kalpi) are in Uttar Pradesh, in northern India near Nepal.
Queen's County is now known as County Laois.

Medal of Honor: A. E. Schwab


Private First Class, US Marine Corps Reserve; Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines

Born: 17 July 1920, Washington, District of Columbia
Died: 7 May 1945, Okinawa

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a flamethrower operator in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Rykuyu Islands, 7 May 1945. Quick to take action when his company was pinned down in a valley and suffered resultant heavy casualties under blanketing machinegun fire emanating from a high ridge to the front, Pfc. Schwab, unable to flank the enemy emplacement because of steep cliffs on either side, advanced up the face of the ridge in bold defiance of the intense barrage and, skillfully directing the fire of his flamethrower, quickly demolished the hostile gun position, thereby enabling his company to occupy the ridge. Suddenly a second enemy machinegun opened fire, killing and wounding several marines with its initial bursts. Estimating with split-second decision the tactical difficulties confronting his comrades, Pfc. Schwab elected to continue his l-man assault despite a diminished supply of fuel for his flamethrower. Cool and indomitable, he moved forward in the face of a direct concentration of hostile fire, relentlessly closed the enemy position and attacked. Although severely wounded by a final vicious blast from the enemy weapon, Pfc. Schwab had succeeded in destroying 2 highly strategic Japanese gun positions during a critical stage of the operation and, by his dauntless, single-handed efforts, had materially furthered the advance of his company. His aggressive initiative, outstanding valor and professional skill throughout the bitter conflict sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

01 April 2012

Book list - Mar 12

Metzger's Dog - thriller, by Thomas Perry *
Poor Tom's Ghost - children's time travel, by Jane Louise Curry
Case for Three Detectives - mystery, by Leo Bruce
A Century of Progress - SF/AH, by Fred Saberhagen
Eye of the Storm - thriller, by Jack Higgins

Again, only five books last month, with the one reread marked by an asterisk. I did reread most of It Can't Happen Here - fiction, by Sinclair Lewis - but didn't get it finished before I had to return it to the library. (It was an ILL, so I couldn't renew it.)

George Cross: B. Spillett


Born: 1937
Died: 16 January 1965

Citation: The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to make the undermentioned award:
Brian SPILLETT (deceased), Detail Fitter, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire.

A fire broke out at a house, the home of a man and his wife and their child and the grandfather. The fire had reached an advanced stage when the family were aroused and it was only with great difficulty that the wife and child and the grandfather escaped. The father was still in the house when Mr. Spillett, attracted by shouting, came from his house a few doors away. He arrived only partly dressed. When he reached the door of the house both downstairs and upstairs were a mass of flames. Mr. Spillett enquired whether everyone was out of the house and on learning the father was still in it on the first floor, he ran straight into the flames. Attempts to hold him back were brushed aside. Mr. Spillett reached the first floor but was unable to rescue the father. By now the inside of the house was a blazing inferno and he only managed to escape himself by jumping through a first floor window. He was found some time later in the garden of an adjoining house, very extensively burnt and with other serious injuries. He died in hospital a week later. Mr. Spillett sacrificed his life in an effort to save that of a neighbour.

[London Gazette issue 43698 dated 29 June 1965, published 25 June 1965.]

Note: A detail fitter in civilian life, Mr Spillett was also a Lance-Bombardier in the Territorial Army (P Battery, 289 Parachute Light Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery).

Victoria Cross: J. Shepherd


Boatswain, Royal Navy; HMS St Jean d'Acre (attached Naval Brigade)

Born: 22 September 1817, Hull, East Yorkshire
Died: 17 December 1884, Padstow, Cornwall

Citation: Recommmended by Captain Keppel, for on the 15th July, 1855, while serving as Boatswain's Mate of the St. Jean d'Acre (attached to the Naval Brigade) proceeding in a punt with an exploding apparatus into the harbour of Sebastopol, to endeavour to blow up one of the Russian line-of-battle ships.
This service, which was twice attempted, is described by Lord Lyons "as a bold one, and gallantly executed." On the first occasion, Mr. Shepherd proceeded past the enemy's steam-boats, at the entrance of Careening Bay; but was prevented penetrating further by the long string of boats that were carrying troops from the south to the north side of Sebastopol. The second attempt was made on the 16th August, from the side of Careening Bay, in the possession of the French.
(Despatches from Captain Honourable H. Keppel in Admiral Lord Lyons' letter 10th May, 1856, and Admiral Lord Lyons, 4th October, 1855.)

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

Medal of Honor: R. J. Keppler


Boatswain's Mate First Class, US Navy; USS San Francisco (CA 38)

Born: 22 January 1918, Ralston, Washington
Died: 15 November 1942, off Guadalcanal

Citation: For extraordinary heroism and distinguished courage above and beyond the call of duty while serving aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands, 12-13 November 1942. When a hostile torpedo plane, during a daylight air raid, crashed on the after machine-gun platform, Keppler promptly assisted in removal of the dead and, by his capable supervision of the wounded, undoubtedly helped save the lives of several shipmates who otherwise might have perished. That night, when the ship's hangar was set afire during the great battle off Savo Island, he bravely led a hose into the starboard side of the stricken area and there, without assistance and despite frequent hits from terrific enemy bombardment, eventually brought the fire under control. Later, although mortally wounded, he labored valiantly in the midst of bursting shells, persistently directing fire-fighting operations and administering to wounded personnel until he finally collapsed from loss of blood. His great personal valor, maintained with utter disregard of personal safety, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Note: USS Keppler (DE 311), USS Keppler (DE 375) and USS Keppler (DD 765) were named in his honour (though the first two were cancelled during construction).

Words of wisdom

April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.
-- Mark Twain
The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

25 March 2012

Victoria Cross: D. E. Garland and T. Gray


Flying Officer, Royal Air Force; 12 Squadron

Born: 28 June 1918, Ballinacor, County Wicklow, Ireland
Died: 12 May 1940, near Maastricht, The Netherlands


Sergeant, Royal Air Force; 12 Squadron

Born: 17 May 1914, Devizes, Wiltshire
Died: 12 May 1940, near Maastricht, The Netherlands

Joint Citation: Flying Officer Garland was the pilot and Sergeant Gray the observer of the leading aircraft of a formation of five aircraft that attacked a bridge over the Albert Canal which had not been destroyed and was allowing the enemy to advance into Belgium. All the air crews of the squadron concerned volunteered for the operation and, after five crews had been selected by drawing lots, the attack was delivered at low altitude against this vital target. Orders were issued that this bridge was to be destroyed at all costs. As had been anticipated, exceptionally intense machine gun and anti-aircraft fire was encountered, and the bridge area was heavily protected by enemy fighters. In spite of this the formation successfully delivered a dive bombing attack from the lowest practicable altitude and British fighters in the vicinity reported that the target was obscured by the bombs bursting on it and in its vicinity. Only one aircraft returned from this mission out of the five concerned. The pilot of this aircraft reports that in addition to the extremely heavy antiaircraft fire, through which our aircraft dived to attack the objective, they were also attacked by a large number of enemy fighters after they had released their bombs on the target. Much of the success of this vital operation must be attributed to the formation leader, Flying Officer Garland, and to the coolness and resource of Sergeant Gray, who navigated Flying Officer Garland's aircraft under most difficult conditions in such a manner that the whole formation was able successfully to attack the target in spite of subsequent heavy losses. Flying Officer Garland and Sergeant Gray unfortunately failed to return from the mission.

[London Gazette issue 34870 dated 11 Jun 1940, published 11 Jun 1940.]