01 December 2013

George Cross: G. I. Richardson and C. Walker


Superintendent, Lancashire Constabulary

Born: 2 November 1932, Blackpool, Lancashire
Died: 23 August 1971, Blackpool, Lancashire


Constable, Lancashire Constabulary

Born: 31 March 1934
Died: TBD

Joint Citation: The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following awards of the George Cross, the George Medal and the British Empire Medal for Gallantry (Civil Division) and for the publication in the London Gazette of the name of the person specially shown below as having received an expression of Commendation for Brave Conduct.

George Cross

Gerald Irving RICHARDSON (Deceased), Superintendent, Lancashire Constabulary.
Carl WALKER, Constable, Lancashire Constabulary.

Awarded the George Medal:

Ian HAMPSON, Constable, Lancashire Constabulary.
Andrew HILLIS, Constable, Lancashire Constabulary.
Patrick JACKSON, Constable, Lancashire Constabulary.
Kenneth MACKAY, Sergeant, Lancashire Constabulary.

Awarded the British Empire Medal for Gallantry (Civil Division):

Edward GRAY, Inspector, Lancashire Constabulary.
Edward HANLEY, Constable, Lancashire Constabulary.

Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct:

Stephen Drummond REDPATH, Inspector, Lancashire Constabulary.

Following an armed robbery at a jewellers in Blackpool [on 23 August 1971], Constable Walker, having been directed to the scene by radio, arrived to see the bandits running towards a Triumph Estate car. All the men succeeded in getting into the car and a shotgun was pointed through the window at P.C. Walker; the car was then driven away followed by the Constable. A chase at high speeds then ensued; at several stages Constable Walker lost contact briefly with the Triumph but came upon it stationary in a blind alley. All the occupants were out of the car; the Constable remained in his Panda car which he parked at right angles to the alley, thus blocking the exit. The men then climbed back into the Triumph which was reversed at a fast speed down the alley into the side of the Panda car. As the car drove away from the alley Constable Hampson arrived on the scene in his Panda car. He saw Constable Walker sitting in his car, in a shocked condition, and he followed the Triumph. The bandit's car was driven in a fast and dangerous manner through various streets and Constable Hampson during the whole of this chase remained five to ten yards behind the Triumph relaying his position to Blackpool Central by personal radio. The Triumph suddenly screeched to a halt and Constable Hampson pulled up about five or six yards behind it. One of the gunmen ran back to the Panda car and shot the Constable through the passenger door window of the Panda car. The Constable, who was badly wounded in the chest, fell from the car into the roadway but managed to raise himself, reached his radio transmitter and gave his position to Control Room. A number of police cars were now in the area and Constable Walker, who had resumed the pursuit in his damaged Panda car saw the Triumph, and positioned his Panda at a junction to block its route. As he did so Constable Jackson in a Panda car, and Constable Hillis in a C.I.D. car, drove either side of his Panda, trapping the Triumph between them. Constable Jackson collided with the offside of the Triumph and Constable Hillis with the front nearside. All the gunmen climbed out of the Triumph. Constable Jackson was thrown across the front seat of his Panda car by the force of the collision and the driver of the Triumph threatened him and then ran towards an alley to the next street. Constable Hillis got out of his police car and saw the five men who were then retreating from the crashed car. The officer ran towards them and the driver of the Triumph pointed a pistol at him and fired two or three shots from a distance of about six feet, but did not hit him. Constable Hillis raised his arm in front of his face and when at this stage one of the robbers broke away, he ran after him and caught him after a violent struggle. In the meantime, another police car had arrived at the scene with Inspector Gray, Inspector Redpath and Superintendent Richardson. Inspector Redpath got out of the car and then the officers saw three of the gunmen, running towards an alley. Inspector Redpath ran after them. Inspector Gray with Superintendent Richardson drove into the next road in an effort to head them off. The three men were by now running along the alley, followed by Constables Walker and Jackson and when Constable Walker was about ten yards from the bandits the driver of the Triumph turned and fired a shot at him. The officer carried on running towards him, and when the man reached the end of the alley he turned to face the Constable and fired a second time; at a distance of about six feet he fired a third time and hit him in the groin. The man pointed the gun at Constable Walker again, looked at the officer who was clutching his injured leg, then turned away towards a Ford Transit delivery van which was parked outside a butcher's shop. The man jumped into the driving seat of the butcher's van, and two of the men ran to the back of the van and jumped in just as Inspector Gray and Superintendent Richardson arrived on the scene in their police car; the butcher's van moved off rapidly. Constable Jackson got into the police car with Superintendent Richardson and Inspector Gray, who then drove off in pursuit of the butcher's van which attempted to turn into an alley, collided with a garden wall and stopped. The police car stopped behind the van and Inspector Gray went to the rear of the van, attempting to keep the doors closed and trap the men inside. Superintendent Richardson and Constable Jackson ran to the front passenger door and saw that the front of the van was empty, the driver having clambered out and run to the rear of the van. The Superintendent and the Constable then went to the rear of the van just as the doors burst open and the men appeared and jumped out; two of the men ran off down the alley. Superintendent Richardson and Inspector Gray tried to talk the driver into surrendering his gun; but he continued to threaten the officers, turned round and ran off. The Police Officers ran after him, Superintendent Richardson leading, followed by Inspector Gray. A few yards into the alley Superintendent Richardson caught hold of the gunman. The man turned, thrust his gun into the Superintendent's stomach and fired. Before Inspector Gray could reach them the man fired a second time as Superintendent Richardson was falling to the ground. The man then escaped in a stolen van. Superintendent Richardson was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where he died later the same morning. The other two bandits were seen by Sergeant Mackay and Constable Hanley, who had just arrived in the area in a C.I.D. car. These officers, still in their car, entered the pursuit and caught up with the two fugitives, one of whom levelled his pistol at Sergeant Mackay's head as the C.I.D. car drew alongside him. The Sergeant swung the driver's door open and it struck the man, knocking him off balance. The police car stalled and Constable Hanley, who was getting out of the passenger door, stumbled and fell. Both men ran off with Constable Hanley and other officers chasing them on foot Sergeant Mackay re-started the police car and drove after them, he quickly overtook the men and they turned round; one, who was only about six feet from the front of the car, levelled the revolver at Sergeant Mackay and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire. The Sergeant drove the car directly at the two men knocking them off balance, he knocked them off their feet several times by driving at them, he then got out of the police car and ran towards one of the men. During the chase through the alleys the men had run almost all the way back to the butcher's shop where Constable Walker had been shot. Inspector Redpath, who was still outside the butcher's shop, saw them emerge from the end of the alley, running directly towards him. Sergeant Mackay was immediately behind one of them and closing on him. The Inspector saw that he was carrying a revolver but he stood his ground waiting for him to come closer. The Sergeant then crash-tackled the man and brought him to the ground with his arms sprawled out in front of him, immediately in front of Inspector Redpath, who kicked the gun out of his hand. Constable Hanley, who was chasing the other man, knocked him down and arrested him. Throughout the pursuit which followed the robbery, all the police officers concerned were aware that they faced the threat of death or serious injury, but gave no thought to their own safety in their efforts to effect the arrest of armed and dangerous criminals.

[London Gazette issue 45826 dated 14 Nov 1972, published 13 Nov 1972.]

Medal of Honor: Kirby, Elson, Higgins and Cox


Major, 8th Missouri Infantry

Born: 15 September 1835
Died: 18 April 1922

Citation: Seized the colors when the color bearer was killed and bore them himself in the assault [at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 22 May 1863].


Sergeant, Company C, 9th Iowa Infantry

Born: 6 November 1838, Coshocton, Ohio
Died: 26 March 1894, Shellsburg, Iowa

Citation: Carried the colors in advance of his regiment and was shot down while attempting to plant them on the enemy's works [at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 22 May 1863].


Sergeant, Company D, 99th Illinois Infantry

Born: 8 June 1831
Died: 15 August 1917

Citation: When his regiment fell back in the assault, repulsed, this soldier continued to advance and planted the flag on the parapet [at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 22 May 1863], where he was captured by the enemy.

Note: Sgt Higgins was recommended for the Medal of Honor by men of the 2nd Texas Infantry.


Corporal, Company K, 55th Illinois Infantry

Born: 1845
Died: 1932

Citation: Bravely defended the colors planted on the outward parapet of Fort Hill [at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 22 May 1863].

19 November 2013

Living Medal of Honor recipients

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

In this morning's post about John Hawk, I said that there are now 78 surviving MoH recipients. The complete list, with links to individual pages, can be found at the CMOHS site here; below is a simplified list, like that which I posted two years ago.

World War II

Charles H Coolidge, Technical Sergeant, US Army
Francis S Currey, Sergeant, US Army
Walter D Ehlers, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Arthur J Jackson, Private First Class, US Marine Corps
Robert D Maxwell, Technician Fifth Grade, US Army
Wilburn K Ross, Private, US Army
George T Sakato, Private, US Army
Hershel W Williams, Corporal, US Marine Corps

Korean War

Hector A Cafferata Jr, Private, US Marine Corps
Duane E Dewey, Corporal, US Marine Corps
Rodolfo P Hernandez, Corporal, US Army
Thomas J Hudner Jr, Lieutenant, US Navy
Einar H Ingman Jr, Sergeant, US Army
Hiroshi H Miyamura, Corporal, US Army
Ola L Mize, Master Sergeant, US Army
Ronald E Rosser, Corporal, US Army
Tibor Rubin, Corporal, US Army
Robert E Simanek, Private First Class, US Marine Corps
Ernest E West, Private First Class, US Army

Vietnam War

John P Baca, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
Donald E Ballard, Hospital Corpsman Second Class, US Navy
Harvey C Barnum Jr, Captain, US Marine Corps
Gary B Beikirch, Sergeant, US Army
Patrick H Brady, Major, US Army
Paul W Bucha, Captain, US Army
Jon R Cavaiani, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Bruce P Crandall, Major, US Army
Sammy L Davis, Sergeant, US Army
Drew D Dix, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Roger H C Donlon, Captain, US Army
Frederick E Ferguson, Chief Warrant Officer, US Army
Bernard F Fisher, Major, US Air Force
Michael J Fitzmaurice, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
James P Fleming, Captain, US Air Force
Robert F Foley, Captain, US Army
Wesley L Fox, Captain, US Marine Corps
Harold A Fritz, Captain, US Army
Charles C Hagemeister, Specialist Fifth Class, US Army
Frank A Herda, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
Robert R Ingram, Hospital Corpsman Third Class, US Navy
Joe M Jackson, Lieutenant Colonel, US Air Force
Jack H Jacobs, Captain, US Army
Don J Jenkins, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Thomas G Kelley, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy
Allan J Kellogg Jr, Gunnery Sergeant, US Marine Corps
Joseph R Kerrey, Lieutenant (Junior Grade), US Navy
Thomas J Kinsman, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
Howard V Lee, Major, US Marine Corps
Peter C Lemon, Sergeant, US Army
Angelo J Liteky, Captain, US Army
Gary L Littrell, Sergeant First Class, US Army
James E Livingston, Captain, US Marine Corps
Allen J Lynch, Sergeant, US Army
Walter J Marm Jr, First Lieutenant, US Army
John J McGinty III, Second Lieutenant, US Marine Corps
Robert J Modrzejewski, Major, US Marine Corps
Thomas R Norris, Lieutenant, US Navy
Robert E O'Malley, Sergeant, US Marine Corps
Robert M Patterson, Sergeant, US Army
Richard A Pittman, Sergeant, US Marine Corps
Alfred V Rascon, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
Ronald E Ray, Captain, US Army
Gordon R Roberts, Sergeant, US Army
Clarence E Sasser, Specialist Fifth Class, US Army
James M Sprayberry, Captain, US Army
Kenneth E Stumpf, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
James A Taylor, Captain, US Army
Brian M Thacker, First Lieutenant, US Army
Michael E Thornton, Engineman Second Class, US Navy
Leo K Thorsness, Lieutenant, US Air Force
Jay R Vargas, Major, US Marine Corps
Gary G Wetzel, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army


Ty M Carter, Specialist, US Army
Salvatore A Giunta, Specialist, US Army
Dakota Meyer, Corporal, US Marine Corps
Leroy A Petry, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Clinton Romesha, Staff Sergeant, US Army
William D Swenson, Captain, US Army

That breaks down to:
8 World War II (6 Army, 2 Marine Corps)
11 Korean War (7 Army, 1 Navy and 3 Marine Corps)
53 Vietnam War (33 Army, 6 Navy, 10 Marine Corps and 4 Air Force)
6 Afghanistan (5 Army, 1 Marine Corps)

51 Army
7 Navy
16 Marine Corps
4 Air Force
(The only Coast Guardsman ever to be awarded the Medal, Signalman First Class Douglas A Munro, received it posthumously after his death at Guadalcanal in 1942.)

RIP: John D. Hawk

ZUI this article from the Kitsap (WA) Sun:
World War II hero and longtime educator John “Bud” Hawk, 89, died Monday morning.

One of the area’s most renowned residents, Hawk received the Medal of Honor and France’s Legion of Honor awards. Named after him were the Rollingbay post office on Bainbridge Island, where he grew up, and an education center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.


After returning to Bremerton, Hawk earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Washington. He was a teacher and principal in the Central Kitsap School District for 31 years, retiring in 1983.


Son Mark, of Des Moines, also survives Hawk. Another son was killed in an accident while walking to school in 1956.

Hawk’s wife died several years ago.
There are now 78 surviving Medal of Honor recipients, eight of whom were awarded the medal for WWII service.

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Sergeant, US Army; Company E, 359th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division

Born: 30 May 1924, San Francisco, California
Died: 4 November 2013, Bremerton, Washington

Citation: He manned a light machinegun on 20 August 1944, near Chambois, France, a key point in the encirclement which created the Falaise Pocket. During an enemy counterattack, his position was menaced by a strong force of tanks and infantry. His fire forced the infantry to withdraw, but an artillery shell knocked out his gun and wounded him in the right thigh. Securing a bazooka, he and another man stalked the tanks and forced them to retire to a wooded section. In the lull which followed, Sgt. Hawk reorganized 2 machinegun squads and, in the face of intense enemy fire, directed the assembly of 1 workable weapon from 2 damaged guns. When another enemy assault developed, he was forced to pull back from the pressure of spearheading armor. Two of our tank destroyers were brought up. Their shots were ineffective because of the terrain until Sgt. Hawk, despite his wound, boldly climbed to an exposed position on a knoll where, unmoved by fusillades from the enemy, he became a human aiming stake for the destroyers. Realizing that his shouted fire directions could not be heard above the noise of battle, he ran back to the destroyers through a concentration of bullets and shrapnel to correct the range. He returned to his exposed position, repeating this performance until 2 of the tanks were knocked out and a third driven off. Still at great risk, he continued to direct the destroyers' fire into the Germans' wooded position until the enemy came out and surrendered. Sgt. Hawk's fearless initiative and heroic conduct, even while suffering from a painful wound, was in large measure responsible for crushing 2 desperate attempts of the enemy to escape from the Falaise Picket and for taking more than 500 prisoners.

10 November 2013

Medal of Honor: Jordan, Martin, Young and Gardner


Quartermaster, US Navy; USS Galena

Born: 12 April 1840, Portsmouth, Virginia
Died: 17 July 1930

Citation: On board the U.S.S. Galena during the attack on enemy forts at Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Securely lashed to the side of the Oneida which had suffered the loss of her steering apparatus and an explosion of her boiler from enemy fire, the Galena aided the stricken vessel past the enemy forts to safety. Despite heavy damage to his ship from raking enemy fire, Jordan performed his duties with skill and courage throughout the action.


Quartermaster, US Navy; USS Galena

Born: 1840, Ireland
Died: 23 December 1901

Citation: On board the U.S.S. Galena during the attack on enemy forts at Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Securely lashed to the side of the Oneida which had suffered the loss of her steering apparatus and an explosion of her boiler from enemy fire, the Galena aided the stricken vessel past the enemy forts to safety. Despite heavy damage to his ship from raking enemy fire, Martin performed his duties with skill and courage throughout the action.


Coxswain, US Navy; USS Galena

Born: 1835, Bergan, New Jersey
Died: 24 February 1867

Citation: On board the U.S.S. Galena during the attack on enemy forts at Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Securely lashed to the side of the Oneida which had suffered the loss of her steering apparatus and an explosion of her boiler from enemy fire, the Galena aided the stricken vessel past the enemy forts to safety. Despite heavy damage to his ship from raking enemy fire, Young performed his duties with skill and courage throughout the action.


Born: 1832, Ireland
Died: Unknown

Citation: As seaman on board the U.S.S. Galena in the engagement at Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Serving gallantly during this fierce battle which resulted in the capture of the rebel ram Tennessee and the damaging of Fort Morgan. Gardner behaved with conspicuous coolness under the fire of the enemy.

Note: USS Galena was a wooden-hulled broadside ironclad - one of the first three ironclads built for the US Navy - commissioned in 1862.

03 November 2013

George Cross: J. Hendry


Corporal, 1 Tunnelling Company, Royal Canadian Engineers

Born: 20 December 1911, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Died: 13 June 1941

Citation: The KING has been graciously pleased, on the advice of Canadian Ministers, 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: —
B.28593 Corporal James Hendry, The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers

[London Gazette issue 35962 dated 2 Apr 1943, published 30 Mar 1943.]

Note: No 1 Tunnelling Company was digging a tunnel between Loch Spey and Loch Laggan, to supply water to the British Aluminium works at Fort William, when a fire broke out in a explosive store near Loch Laggan. Cpl Hendry ordered his mates to run to safety and attempted to extinguish the blaze, but was killed in the ensuing explosion.

27 October 2013

Medal of Honor: J. P. Fleming


First Lieutenant (later Captain), 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.

06 October 2013

George Cross: R. J. H. Ryan and R. V. Ellingworth


Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Navy; HMS Vernon

Born: ca 1903
Died: 21 September 1940, Dagenham, Essex


Chief Petty Officer, Royal Navy; HMS Vernon

Born: ca 1898
Died: 21 September 1940, Dagenham, Essex

Joint Citation: The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS, for great gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty, to :
Lieutenant-Commander Richard John Hammersley Ryan, Royal Navy.
Chief Petty Officer Reginald Vincent Ellingworth, P/J.26011.

[London Gazette issue 35018 dated 20 Dec 1940, published 17 Dec 1940.]

Note: Lt-Cdr Ryan and CPO Ellingworth were part of the Rendering Mines Safe team at HMSVernon (a stone frigate located at Portsmouth, Hampshire). They were attempting to defuse a parachute mine which had fallen onto a warehouse in Dagenham when it exploded, killing them both.

Victoria Cross: Burslem, Lane and Chaplin


Lieutenant, 67th Regiment

Born: 2 February 1837, Limerick, County Limerick, Ireland
Died: July 1865, Thames (Waihou) River, New Zealand


Private, 67th Regiment

Born: May 1836, Cork, County Cork, Ireland
Died: 12 April 1889, Kimberley, South Africa

Joint Citation: For distinguished gallantry in swimming the Ditches of the North Taku Fort [on 21 August 1860], and persevering in attempting during the assault, and before the entrance of the Fort had been effected by any one, to enlarge an opening in the Wall, through which they eventually entered, and, in doing so, were both severely wounded.

[London Gazette issue 22538 dated 13 Aug 1861, published 13 Aug 1861.]

Note: Lane, one of eight men whose VCs were forfeited, was stripped of the medal on 7 April 1881 after being convicted of desertion and of theft of a "horse, arms and accoutrements".


Ensign, 67th Regiment

Born: 23 July 1840, Ewhurst Park, Hampshire
Died: 18 August 1920, Market Harborough, Leicestershire

Citation: For distinguished gallantry at the North Taku Fort [on 21 August 1860]. This Officer was carrying the Queen's Colour of the Regiment, and first planted the Colours on the breach made by the storming party, assisted by Private Lane, of the 67th Regiment, and subsequently on the cavalier of the Fort, which he was the first to mount. In doing this, he was severely wounded.

[London Gazette issue 22538 dated 13 Aug 1861, published 13 Aug 1861.]

Note: The Taku Forts are located by the Hai (Pei Ho) River estuary, in Tanggu District, 60 km southeast of Tianjin (Tientsin). The action described here took place during the Second Opium War (1856-60).

Medal of Honor: W. P. Brownell


Coxswain, US Navy; USS Benton

Born: 12 July 1839
Died: 26 April 1915

Citation: Served as coxswain on board the U.S.S. Benton during the attack on Great Gulf Bay, 2 May 1863, and Vicksburg, 22 May 1863. Carrying out his duties with coolness and courage, Brownell served gallantly against the enemy as captain of a 9-inch gun in the attacks on Great [sic] Gulf and Vicksburg and as a member of the Battery Benton before Vicksburg.

Note: USS Benton was an ironclad river gunboat, converted from a center-wheel catamaran snagboat and named for American senator Thomas Hart Benton.
Grand Gulf is on the Mississippi River, downstream from Vicksburg.

01 October 2013

Book list - Jul-Sep 13

Little Myth Marker - fantasy, by Robert Lynn Asprin
The Windsor Knot - mystery, by Sharyn McCrumb
The Weans - humour, by Robert Nathan *
Partners in Crime - mystery (short stories), by Agatha Christie
A Slice of Murder - mystery, by Chris Cavender
Class Dis-Mythed - fantasy, by Robert Lynn Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye
Death in the Air (aka Death in the Clouds) - mystery, by Agatha Christie
The Hen of the Baskervilles - mystery, by Donna Andrews
Myth-Chief - fantasy, by Robert Lynn Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye
11 Birthdays - children's, by Wendy Mass
Presumed Lost: The Incredible Ordeal of America's Submarine POWs During the Pacific War - WW II, by Stephen L Moore
Eggs Benedict Arnold - mystery, by Laura Childs
Finally - children's, by Wendy Mass
Blondie & Dagwood's America - comics, by Dean Young and Rick Marschall
The Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food - WW II, by Lizzie Collingham
13 Gifts - children's, by Wendy Mass
The Barsoom Project - SF, by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
The Long Earth - SF, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

18 books this time round, only one of them a reread (marked by an asterisk). And I'm still at 58 of 74 on the Carnegie Medal winners.

29 September 2013

Victoria Cross: J. Leith


Lieutenant, 14th Light Dragoons

Born: 26 May 1826, Glenkindie, Aberdeenshire
Died: 13 May 1869, Paddington, London

Citation: For conspicuous bravery at Betwah, on the 1st of April, 1858, in having charged alone, and rescued Captain Need, of the same Regiment, when surrounded by a large number of rebel Infantry.
Despatch from Major-General Sir Hugh Henry Rose, G.C.B., dated 28th April, 1858.

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

22 September 2013

Victoria Cross: A. Madden


Serjeant-Major, 41st Regiment

Born: 1820, Cork, County Cork, Ireland
Died: 1 January 1863, Jamaica

Citation: For having headed a party of men of the 41st Regiment [at Little Inkerman, in the Crimea, on 26 October 1854], and having cut off and taken prisoners one Russian Officer and fourteen privates, three of whom he, personally and alone, captured.

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

15 September 2013

Victoria Cross: J. N. Randle


Lieutenant (temporary Captain), The Royal Norfolk Regiment

Born: 22 Dec 1917, Benares, British India
Died: 6 May 1944, Kohima, Assam

Citation: On the 4th May, 1944, at Kohima in Assam, a Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment attacked the Japanese positions on a nearby ridge. Captain Randle took over command of the Company which was leading the attack, when the Company Commander was severely wounded. His handling of a difficult situation in the face of heavy fire was masterly and although wounded himself in the knee by grenade splinters he continued to inspire his men by his initiative, courage and outstanding leadership, until the Company had captured its objective and consolidated its position. He then went forward and brought in all the wounded men who were lying outside the perimeter.
In spite of his painful wound Captain Randle refused to be evacuated and insisted on carrying out a personal reconnaissance with great daring in bright moonlight prior to a further attack by his Company on the positions to which the enemy had withdrawn.
At dawn on 6th May the attack opened led by Captain Randle and one of the platoons succeeded in reaching the crest of the hill held by the Japanese. Another platoon, however, ran into heavy medium machine gun fire from a bunker on the reverse slope of the feature. Captain Randle immediately appreciated that this particular bunker covered not only the rear of his new position but also the line of communication of the Battalion and therefore the destruction of the enemy post was imperative if the operation was to succeed.
With utter disregard of the obvious danger to himself Captain Randle charged the Japanese machine gun post single-handed with rifle and bayonet. Although bleeding in the face and mortally wounded by numerous bursts of machine gun fire he reached the bunker and silenced the gun with a grenade thrown through the bunker slit. He then flung his body across the slit so that the aperture should be completely sealed.
The bravery shown by this officer could not have been surpassed and by his self sacrifice he saved the lives of many of his men and enabled not only his own Company but the whole Battalion to gain its objective and win a decisive victory over the enemy.

[London Gazette issue 36833 dated 12 Dec 1944, published 8 Dec 1944.]

Note: Benares, now known as Varanasi, is a city on the Ganges, in northern India. Assam is the northeastern area of India, to the northeast of Bangladesh; Kohima is a town in the Indian state of Nagaland. (The modern state of Assam is just to the west of Nagaland.)

Medal of Honor: D. L. Truesdale


Corporal, US Marine Corps

Born: 8 August 1906, Lugoff, South Carolina
Died: 21 September 1993, Lugoff, South Carolina

Citation: Citation: Cpl. Truesdale was second in command of a Guardia Nacional Patrol in active operations against armed bandit forces in the vicinity of Constancia, near Coco River, northern Nicaragua, on 24 April 1932. While the patrol was in formation on the trail searching for a bandit group with which contact had just previously been made, a rifle grenade fell from its carrier and struck a rock, igniting the detonator. Several men close to the grenade at the time were in danger. Cpl. Truesdale, who was several yards away, could easily have sought cover and safety for himself. Knowing full well the grenade would explode within 2 or 3 seconds, he rushed for the grenade, grasped it in his right hand, and attempted to throw it away from the patrol. The grenade exploded in his hand, blowing it off and inflicting serious multiple wounds about his body. Cpl. Truesdale, in taking the full shock of the explosion himself, saved the members of the patrol from loss of life or serious injury.

12 September 2013

Medal of Honor found at church sale

ZUI this article from Fox News:
A Medal of Honor awarded to a Civil War general has been returned to a Maine town after it was found inside a book at a church fundraising sale.

The Times Record of Brunswick, Maine reports Civil War Gen. Joshua Chamberlain's original Congressional Medal of Honor has been verified as authentic after it was sent anonymously in July to the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick.

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Colonel, 20th Maine Infantry

Born: 8 September 1828, Brewer, Maine
Died: 24 February 1914, Portland, Maine

Citation: Daring heroism and great tenacity in holding his position on the Little Round Top against repeated assaults, and carrying the advance position on the Great Round Top [at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on 2 July 1863].

08 September 2013

Victoria Cross: P. A. Kenna and R. H. L. J. de Montmorency


Captain, 21st Lancers

Born: 16 August 1862, Everton, Liverpool
Died: 30 August 1915, Suvla Bay, Turkey

Citation: At the Battle of Khartum on the 2nd September, 1898, Captain P. A. Kenna assisted Major Crole Wyndham, of the same Regiment, by taking him on his horse, behind the saddle (Major Wyndham's horse having been killed in the charge), thus enabling him to reach a place of safety; and, after the charge of the 21st Lancers, Captain Kenna returned to assist Lieutenant de Montmorency, who was endeavouring to recover the body of Second Lieutenant R. G. Grenfell.

[London Gazette issue 27023 dated 15 Nov 1898, published 15 Nov 1898.]


Lieutenant, 21st Lancers

Born: 5 February 1867, Montreal, Canada
Died: 23 February 1900, Stormberg, Cape Colony

Citation: At the Battle of Khartum on the 2nd September, 1898, Lieutenant de Montmorency, after the charge of the 21st Lancers, returned to assist Second Lieutenant R. G. Grenfell, who was lying surrounded by a large body of Dervishes. Lieutenant de Montmorency drove the Dervishes off, and, finding Lieutenant Grenfell dead, put the body on his horse which then broke away. Captain Kenna and Corporal Swarbrick then came to his assistance, and enabled him to rejoin the Regiment, which had begun to open a heavy fire on the enemy.

[London Gazette issue 27023 dated 15 Nov 1898, published 15 Nov 1898.]

Medal of Honor: J. M. Sprayberry


Captain (then First Lieutenant), US Army; Company D, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

Born: 24 April 1947, LaGrange, Georgia
Died: TBD

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty [in the Republic of Vietnam, on 25 Apr 1968]. Capt. Sprayberry, Armor, U.S. Army, distinguished himself by exceptional bravery while serving as executive officer of Company D. His company commander and a great number of the men were wounded and separated from the main body of the company. A daylight attempt to rescue them was driven back by the well entrenched enemy's heavy fire. Capt. Sprayberry then organized and led a volunteer night patrol to eliminate the intervening enemy bunkers and to relieve the surrounded element. The patrol soon began receiving enemy machinegun fire. Capt. Sprayberry quickly moved the men to protective cover and without regard for his own safety, crawled within close range of the bunker from which the fire was coming. He silenced the machinegun with a hand grenade. Identifying several l-man enemy positions nearby, Capt. Sprayberry immediately attacked them with the rest of his grenades. He crawled back for more grenades and when 2 grenades were thrown at his men from a position to the front, Capt. Sprayberry, without hesitation, again exposed himself and charged the enemy-held bunker killing its occupants with a grenade. Placing 2 men to cover his advance, he crawled forward and neutralized 3 more bunkers with grenades. Immediately thereafter, Capt. Sprayberry was surprised by an enemy soldier who charged from a concealed position. He killed the soldier with his pistol and with continuing disregard for the danger neutralized another enemy emplacement. Capt. Sprayberry then established radio contact with the isolated men, directing them toward his position. When the 2 elements made contact he organized his men into litter parties to evacuate the wounded. As the evacuation was nearing completion, he observed an enemy machinegun position which he silenced with a grenade. Capt. Sprayberry returned to the rescue party, established security, and moved to friendly lines with the wounded. This rescue operation, which lasted approximately 71/2 hours, saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. Capt. Sprayberry personally killed 12 enemy soldiers, eliminated 2 machineguns, and destroyed numerous enemy bunkers. Capt. Sprayberry's indomitable spirit and gallant action at great personal risk to his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

02 September 2013

The photographer and the leopard seal

This is several years old, but I'd never seen it before tonight. A National Geographic photographer goes to Antarctica to take pictures of leopard seals - one of the region's top predators - only to have one of them spend four days trying to teach him to feed himself....

01 September 2013

George Cross: R. P. Goad


Explosives Officer, Metropolitan Police

Born: ca 1935
Died: 29 August 1975, London

Citation: The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to make the undermentioned award:


Captain Roger Philip GOAD, B.E.M. (Deceased), Explosives Officer, Metropolitan Police.

On 29th August, 1975, a telephone call was made to the office of a national newspaper stating that a bomb had been left in a shop doorway. This information was immediately passed to the Police and two police officers patrolling in the vicinity went to the scene. The officers found a plastic bag in a shop doorway; one of them examined the bag and saw a pocket watch fixed to the top of the contents by adhesive tape. It was almost certainly a bomb and the officers raised the alarm.
The street was taped off, cleared of pedestrians and the occupants of surrounding buildings were warned to keep to the rear of premises and away from windows.
Captain Goad was returning to London after having dealt with a suspect parcel and accepted the call to deal with this device. On his arrival he was briefed by a senior police officer while they walked towards the shop. Some distance from the bomb the police officer stopped and Captain Goad walked on alone and entered the shop doorway. He was seen to bend over the bomb and was in the process of defusing it when it exploded. Captain Goad was killed instantly by the force of the explosion.
Captain Goad displayed exceptional gallantry and devotion to duty in circumstances of extreme danger. He showed no regard for his personal safety when without hesitation he attempted to defuse the bomb.

[London Gazette issue 47027 dated 1 Oct 1976, published 30 Sep 1976.]

Victoria Cross: M. Magner and J. Bergin


Drummer, 33rd Regiment

Born: 21 June 1840, County Fermanagh, Ireland
Died: 6 February 1897, Melbourne, Australia


Private, 33rd Regiment

Born: 29 June 1845, Killbriken, Queens County, Ireland
Died: 1 December 1880, Poona, India

Joint Citation:  For their conspicuous gallantry in the assault of Magdala on the 13th of April last.
Lieutenant-General Lord Napier reports that, whilst the head of the column of attack was checked by the obstacles at the gate, a small stream of Officers and men of the 33rd Regiment, and an Officer of Engineers, breaking away from the main approach to Magdala, and climbing up a cliff, reached the defences, and forced their way over the wall, and through the strong and thorny fence, thus turning the defenders of the gateway.
The first two men to enter, and the first in Magdala, were Drummer Magner and Private Bergin, of the 33rd Regiment.

[London Gazette issue 23405 dated 28 Jul 1868, published 28 Jul 1868.]

Note: Magdala is in northern Ethiopia.

Medal of Honor: F. J. Pierce


Pharmacist's Mate First Class, US Navy; 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division

Born: 7 December 1924, Earlville, Iowa
Died: 21 December 1986, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, during the Iwo Jima campaign, 15 and 16 March 1945. Almost continuously under fire while carrying out the most dangerous volunteer assignments, Pierce gained valuable knowledge of the terrain and disposition of troops. Caught in heavy enemy rifle and machinegun fire which wounded a corpsman and 2 of the 8 stretcher bearers who were carrying 2 wounded marines to a forward aid station on 15 March, Pierce quickly took charge of the party, carried the newly wounded men to a sheltered position, and rendered first aid. After directing the evacuation of 3 of the casualties, he stood in the open to draw the enemy's fire and, with his weapon blasting, enabled the litter bearers to reach cover. Turning his attention to the other 2 casualties he was attempting to stop the profuse bleeding of 1 man when a Japanese fired from a cave less than 20 yards away and wounded his patient again. Risking his own life to save his patient, Pierce deliberately exposed himself to draw the attacker from the cave and destroyed him with the last of his ammunition Then lifting the wounded man to his back, he advanced unarmed through deadly rifle fire across 200 feet of open terrain. Despite exhaustion and in the face of warnings against such a suicidal mission, he again traversed the same fire-swept path to rescue the remaining marine. On the following morning, he led a combat patrol to the sniper nest and, while aiding a stricken marine, was seriously wounded. Refusing aid for himself, he directed treatment for the casualty, at the same time maintaining protective fire for his comrades. Completely fearless, completely devoted to the care of his patients, Pierce inspired the entire battalion. His valor in the face of extreme peril sustains and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

25 August 2013

Victoria Cross: Rogers, M'Dougall and Lenon


Lieutenant, 44th Regiment

Born: 4 September 1834, Dublin, Ireland
Died: 5 February 1895, Maidenhead, Berkshire


Private, 44th Regiment

Born: 1839, Edinburgh
Died: 10 March 1869, Edinburgh


Lieutenant, 67th Regiment

Born: 25 August 1833, Mortlake, Surrey
Died: 15 April 1893, Lambeth, South London

Joint Citation: THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the under-mentioned Officers and Soldiers, whose claims to the same have been submitted for Her Majesty's approval, on account of Acts of Bravery performed by them in China, on the occasion of the assault and capture of the North Taku Fort on the 21st of August, 1860, as recorded against their several names; viz.:

For distinguished gallantry in swimming the Ditches, and entering the North Taku Fort by an embrasure during the assault. They were the first of the English .established on the walls of the Fort, which they entered in the order in which their names are here recorded, each one being assisted by the others to mount the embrasure.

[London Gazette issue 22538 dated 13 Aug 1861, published 13 Aug 1861.]

Note: The Taku Forts are located by the Hai (Pei Ho) River estuary, in Tanggu District, 60 km southeast of Tianjin (Tientsin). The action described here took place during the Second Opium War (1856-60).

Medal of Honor: E. C. Allworth


Captain, US Army; 60th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division

Born: 6 July 1895, Battle Ground, Washington
Died: 24 June 1966, Portland, Oregon

Citation: While his company was crossing the Meuse River and canal at a bridgehead opposite Clery-le-Petit [on 5 November 1918], the bridge over the canal was destroyed by shell fire and Capt. Allworth's command became separated, part of it being on the east bank of the canal and the remainder on the west bank. Seeing his advance units making slow headway up the steep slope ahead, this officer mounted the canal bank and called for his men to follow. Plunging in he swam across the canal under fire from the enemy, followed by his men. Inspiring his men by his example of gallantry, he led them up the slope, joining his hard-pressed platoons in front. By his personal leadership he forced the enemy back for more than a kilometer, overcoming machinegun nests and capturing 100 prisoners, whose number exceeded that of the men in his command. The exceptional courage and leadership displayed by Capt. Allworth made possible the re-establishment of a bridgehead over the canal and the successful advance of other troops.

18 August 2013

Victoria Cross: Kulbir Thapa


Rifleman, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles

Born: 15 December 1889, Nigalpani, Nepal
Died: 3 October 1956, Nigalpani, Nepal

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery during operations against the German trenches south of Mauquissart.
When himself wounded, on the 25th September, 1915, he found a badly wounded soldier of the 2nd Leicestershire Regiment behind the first line German trench, and, though urged by the British soldier to save himself, he remained with him all day and night. In the early morning of the 26th September, in misty weather, he brought him out through the German wire, and, leaving him in a place of comparative safety, returned and brought in two wounded Gurkhas one after the other. He then went back in broad daylight for the British soldier and brought him in also, carrying him most of the way and being at most points under the enemy's fire.

[London Gazette issue 29371 dated 18 Nov 1915, published 16 Nov 1915.]

Medal of Honor: E. J. Kapaun


Captain, US Army; 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division

Born: 20 April 1916, Pilsen, Kansas
Died: 23 May 1951, Pyoktong, North Korea

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Unsan, Korea, from November 1-2, 1950. On November 1, as Chinese Communist Forces viciously attacked friendly elements, Chaplain Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades and rescue friendly wounded from no-man's land. Though the Americans successfully repelled the assault, they found themselves surrounded by the enemy. Facing annihilation, the able-bodied men were ordered to evacuate. However, Chaplain Kapaun, fully aware of his certain capture, elected to stay behind with the wounded. After the enemy succeeded in breaking through the defense in the early morning hours of November 2, Chaplain Kapaun continually made rounds, as hand-to-hand combat ensued. As Chinese Communist Forces approached the American position, Chaplain Kapaun noticed an injured Chinese officer amongst the wounded and convinced him to negotiate the safe surrender of the American Forces. Shortly after his capture, Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety and unwavering resolve, bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller. Not only did Chaplain Kapaun's gallantry save the life of Sergeant Miller, but also his unparalleled courage and leadership inspired all those present, including those who might have otherwise fled in panic, to remain and fight the enemy until captured. Chaplain Kapaun's extraordinary heroism and selflessness, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army.

Note: In 1993, Kapaun was named a Servant of God by the Roman Catholic Church, the first step toward possible canonization.

11 August 2013

Victoria Cross: J. Watt


Skipper, Royal Naval Reserve; HM Drifter Gowan Lea

Born: 25 June 1887, Gardenstown, Banffshire
Died: 13 February 1955, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire

Citation: For most conspicuous gallantry when the Allied Drifter line in the Straits of Otranto was attacked by Austrian light cruisers on the morning of the 15th May, 1917.
When hailed by an Austrian cruiser at about 100 yards range and ordered to stop and abandon his drifter the "Gowan Lea," Skipper Watt ordered full speed ahead and called upon his crew to give three cheers and fight to the finish. The cruiser was then engaged, but after one round had been fired, a shot from the enemy disabled the breech of the drifter's gun. The gun's crew, however, stuck to the gun, endeavouring to make it work, being under heavy fire all the time. After the cruiser had passed on Skipper Watt took the "Gowan Lea" alongside the badly damaged drifter "Floandi" and assisted to remove the dead and wounded.

[London Gazette issue 30258 dated 28 Aug 1917, published 28 Aug 1917.]

Medal of Honor: Wood, Carmin, Trogden and Brown


Captain, Company A, 97th Illinois Infantry

Born: 15 November 1833, Cumberland, New Jersey
Died: 8 March 1903

Citation: Led the "volunteer storming party," [at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 22 May 1863,] which made a most gallant assault upon the enemy's works.


Corporal, Company A, 48th Ohio Infantry

Born: 17 November 1841, Monmouth County, New Jersey
Died: 3 June 1919, Washington Court House, Ohio

Citation: Saved his regimental flag [at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 22 May 1863]; also seized and threw a shell, with burning fuse, from among his comrades.


Private, Company B, 8th Missouri Infantry

Born: 24 October 1840/41, Cedar Falls, North Carolina
Died: 2 December 1910, Los Angeles, California

Citation: Gallantry in the charge [at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 22 May 1863,] of the "volunteer storming party." He carried his regiment's flag and tried to borrow a gun to defend it.


Private, Company G, 30th Ohio Infantry

Born: 1840, Miami County, Ohio
Died: 24 January 1927, Holliday's Cove, West Virginia

Citation: Despite the death of his captain at his side during the assault [at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on 22 May 1863,] he continued carrying his log to the defense ditch. While he was laying his log in place he was shot down and thrown into the water. Unmindful of his own wound he, despite the intense fire, dragged 5 of his comrades from the ditch, wherein they lay wounded, to a place of safety.

08 August 2013

Darths & Droids: Episode V

The first strip of Darths & Droids Episode V: The Enemy Let Slip was posted today. For those who aren't familiar with Darths & Droids, it's a webcomic using screencaps from the Star Wars films; the idea is that the movies are episodes of a science-fiction role-playing game, played (of course) in a world where said movies don't exist.

The first four episodes were:

I. The Phantasmal Malevolence
II. The Silence of the Clones
III. Revelation of the Sith
IV. A New Generation

Darths & Droids is a branch, so to speak, of Irregular Webcomic!, a largely Lego-based webcomic created by Australian optical engineer David Morgan-Mar. He and his friends (known collectively as the Comic Strip Irregulars) began Darths & Droids as a response to Shamus Young's DM of the Rings, which used screencaps to treat the Lord of the Rings movies as episodes of a fantasy RPG.

04 August 2013

George Cross: A. M. Osborne


Leading Aircraftman, Royal Air Force

Born: 19 October 06, Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Died: 2 April 1942, Malta

Citation: During a period of fierce enemy air attacks on Malta, Leading Aircraftman Osborne has displayed unsurpassed courage and devotion to duty. In circumstances of the greatest danger he was always first at hand to deal with emergencies, whether in fire fighting operations or in rescue work. The following are examples of his promptitude and gallantry: —
Rendered safe the torpedo of a burning torpedo aircraft, working 3 feet from the main petrol tank for ten minutes.
Extinguished a burning aircraft during a heavy bombing attack.
Attempted to save a burning aircraft and subsequently removed torpedoes from the vicinity.
Assisted in saving the pilot of a burning aircraft and extinguishing the fire.
Saved an aircraft from destruction by fire.
Attempted for six hours to extricate airmen from a bombed shelter, despite continued heavy bombing and danger, from falling stone-work.
Fought fires in two aircraft, his efforts resulting in the saving of one.
Freed the parachute of a burning flare caught in an aircraft, enabling the pilot to taxy clear.
Checked the fire in a burning aircraft, the greater part of which was undamaged.
The last three incidents occurred on the same day. Leading Aircraftman Osborne was unfortunately killed on 2nd April, 1942. During an intense, air attack he led a party to extinguish the flames of a burning aircraft. A petrol tank exploded and he was injured and affected by the fumes. On recovery, he returned to fight the fire and was killed by the explosion of an air vessel while attempting to pour water over torpedoes which were in danger of exploding. This airman's fearless courage and great leadership on all occasions have been beyond praise. The Air Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Mediterranean, has stated that he was "one of the bravest airmen it has been my privilege to meet".

[London Gazette issue 35625 dated 10 Jul 1942, published 7 Jul 1942.]

Victoria Cross: J. T. D. Ashworth


Lance Corporal, Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards

Born: 26 May 1989, Kettering, Northamptonshire
Died: 13 June 2012, Nahr-e Saraj District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Citation: On the 13th June 2012 the conspicuous gallantry under fire of Lance Corporal Ashworth, a section second-in-command in 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards Reconnaissance Platoon, galvanised his platoon at a pivotal moment and led to the rout of a determined enemy grouping in the Nahr-e-Saraj District of Helmand Province.
The two aircraft inserting the Reconnaissance Platoon on an operation to neutralise a dangerous insurgent sniper team, were hit by enemy fire as they came into land. Unflustered, Ashworth - a young and inexperienced noncommissioned officer - raced 300 metres with his fire-team into the heart of the insurgent dominated village. Whilst two insurgents were killed and two sniper rifles recovered in the initial assault, an Afghan Local Police follow-up attack stalled when a patrolman was shot and killed by a fleeing enemy. Called forward to press-on with the attack, Ashworth insisted on moving to the front of his fire team to lead the pursuit. Approaching the entrance to a compound from which enemy machine gun fire raged, he stepped over the body of the dead patrolman, threw a grenade and surged forward. Breaking into the compound Ashworth quickly drove the insurgent back and into an out-building from where he now launched his tenacious last stand.
The village was now being pressed on a number of fronts by insurgents desperate to relieve their prized sniper team. The platoon needed to detain or kill the final sniper, who had been pinned down by the lead fire team, and extract as quickly as possible. Ashworth realised that the stalemate needed to be broken, and broken quickly. He identified a low wall that ran parallel to the front of the outbuilding from which the insurgent was firing. Although only knee high, he judged that it would provide him with just enough cover to get sufficiently close to the insurgent to accurately post his final grenade. As he started to crawl behind the wall and towards the enemy, a fierce fire fight broke out just above his prostrate body. Undaunted by the extraordinary danger - a significant portion of his route was covered from view but not from fire - Ashworth grimly continued his painstaking advance. After three minutes of slow crawling under exceptionally fierce automatic fire he had edged forward fifteen metres and was now within five metres of the insurgent’s position. Desperate to ensure that he succeeded in accurately landing the grenade, he then deliberately crawled out from cover into the full view of the enemy to get a better angle for the throw. By now enemy rounds were tearing up the ground mere centimetres from his body, and yet he did not shrink back. Then, as he was about to throw the grenade he was hit by enemy fire and died at the scene. Ashworth’s conspicuous gallantry galvanised his platoon to complete the clearance of the compound.
Despite the ferocity of the insurgent’s resistance, Ashworth refused to be beaten. His total disregard for his own safety in ensuring that the last grenade was posted accurately was the gallant last action of a soldier who had willingly placed himself in the line of fire on numerous occasions earlier in the attack. This supremely courageous and inspiring action deserves the highest recognition.

[London Gazette issue 60455 dated 21 Mar 2013, published 22 Mar 2013.]

Medal of Honor: A. Jones and J. Seanor


Chief Boatswain's Mate, US Navy; USS Chickasaw

Born: 1835, Ireland
Died: Unknown

Citation: Although his enlistment was up, Jones volunteered for the battle of Mobile Bay, going on board the Chickasaw from the Vincennes where he then [on 5 August 1864] carried out his duties gallantly throughout the engagement with the enemy which resulted in the capture of the rebel ram Tennessee.


Master-at-Arms, US Navy; USS Chickasaw

Born: 1833, Boston, Massachusetts
Died: Unknown

Citation: Served as master-at-arms on board the U.S. Ironclad Chickasaw, Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Although his enlistment was up, Seanor volunteered for the battle of Mobile Bay, going on board the Chickasaw from the Vincennes where he carried out his duties gallantly throughout the engagement which resulted in the capture of the rebel ram Tennessee.

31 July 2013

Medal of Honor to be awarded for Afghanistan

ZUI this White House press release:
On August 26, 2013, President Barack Obama will award Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Staff Sergeant Carter will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a cavalry scout with Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations in Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2009.

Staff Sergeant Carter will be the fifth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.
This will bring the number of living Medal of Honor recipients to 79.

28 July 2013

RIP: Bud Day

ZUI this article from the New York Times:
Col. Bud Day, an Air Force fighter pilot who was shot down in the Vietnam War, imprisoned with John McCain in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton,” and defiantly endured more than five years of brutality without divulging sensitive information to his captors, earning him the Medal of Honor, died on Saturday in Shalimar, Fla. He was 88.


Colonel Day was among America’s most highly decorated servicemen, having received nearly 70 medals and awards, more than 50 for combat exploits. In addition to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the highest combat award specifically for airmen.


George Everette Day, known as Bud, was born on Feb. 24, 1925, in Sioux City, Iowa. He quit high school to join the Marines in 1942 and served with an antiaircraft battery on Johnston Island in the Pacific during World War II.


In addition to his wife, Colonel Day is survived by his sons Steven and George Jr; his daughters Sandra Hearn and Sonja LaJeunesse, and 14 grandchildren.

Wikipedia's article is here.

There are currently 78 living Medal of Honor recipients.

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


Colonel (then Major), US Air Force; Detachment 1, 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 37th Tactical Fighter Wing

Born: 24 February 1925, Sioux City, Iowa
Died: 27 July 2013, Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Citation: On 26 August 1967, Col. Day was forced to eject from his [North American F-100 Super Sabre] aircraft over North Vietnam when it was hit by ground fire. His right arm was broken in 3 places, and his left knee was badly sprained. He was immediately captured by hostile forces and taken to a prison camp where he was interrogated and severely tortured. After causing the guards to relax their vigilance, Col. Day escaped into the jungle and began the trek toward South Vietnam. Despite injuries inflicted by fragments of a bomb or rocket, he continued southward surviving only on a few berries and uncooked frogs. He successfully evaded enemy patrols and reached the Ben Hai River, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the aid of a bamboo log float, Col. Day swam across the river and entered the demilitarized zone. Due to delirium, he lost his sense of direction and wandered aimlessly for several days. After several unsuccessful attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and recaptured by the Viet Cong, sustaining gunshot wounds to his left hand and thigh. He was returned to the prison from which he had escaped and later was moved to Hanoi after giving his captors false information to questions put before him. Physically, Col. Day was totally debilitated and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. Despite his many injuries, he continued to offer maximum resistance. His personal bravery in the face of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were still flying against the enemy. Col. Day's conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity 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 U.S. Armed Forces.

01 July 2013

Book list - Apr-Jun 13

Galactic Derelict - SF, by Andre Norton *
The Wrong Hill to Die On - mystery, by Donis Casey
The Defiant Agents - SF, by Andre Norton *
Worlds of the Imperium - SF/AH, by Keith Laumer *
The Other Side of Time - SF/AH, by Keith Laumer *
Key out of Time - SF, by Andre Norton *
Myth-Quoted - fantasy, by Jody Lynn Nye
Assignment in Nowhere - SF/AH, by Keith Laumer
The ABC Murders - mystery, by Agatha Christie
Myth-ion Improbable - fantasy, by Robert Lynn Asprin
Thirteen at Dinner (aka Lord Edgware Dies) - mystery, by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express (aka Murder in the Calais Coach) - mystery, by Agatha Christie
Cards on the Table - mystery, by Agatha Christie
Myth-Fortunes - fantasy, by Robert Lynn Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye
The Secret Adversary - mystery, by Agatha Christie
Myth-ing Persons - fantasy, by Robert Lynn Asprin *

Doing much better - 16 books this time round, with six of them rereads (marked by asterisks). And I'm still at 58 of 74 on the Carnegie Medal winners.

13 June 2013

RIP: Jiroemon Kimura

Jiroemon Kimura
19 April 1897 – 12 June 2013

ZUI this article from the Daily Mirror:
The world’s oldest person has died of natural causes at the age of 116.

Jiroemon Kimura who had seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren, passed away at a hospital yesterday.
Kimura was not only the oldest living person in the world - he was also the last surviving man born in the 19th century, and the only man verified by the Gerontology Research Group to have reached the age of 116.

According to this Wikipedia article, Kimura became the oldest living man on the death of Walter Breuning (21 Sep 1896-14 Apr 2011), and the oldest living person on the death of Dina Manfredini (4 Apr 1897-17 Dec 2012). He became the oldest man ever on 28 Dec 12, when he passed the age reached by Christian Mortensen (16 Aug 1882-25 Apr 1998).

According to the GRG, Kimura was the 27th supercentenarian (person who had reached the age of 110) to die in 2013. There are now 59 living supercentenarians: 55 women and four men, ranging from Japan's Misao Okawa (born 5 Mar 1898) to Pennsylvania's Ida Schlesinger (born 7 Nov 1902). 19 of these people - all women - were born in the 19th century. The oldest living man is now Newfoundland-born James McCoubrey (born 13 Sep 1901), who is the 32nd-oldest living person.

This article from Japan Today, posted three days before Kimura's death, talks about the changes in the world during his lifetime.

01 April 2013

Book list - Jan-Mar 13

Cold Days - urban fantasy, by Jim Butcher
The Ram Rebellion - AH (short stories), edited by Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce
Dream Park - SF, by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
Ice Crown - SF, by Andre Norton *
Forerunner - SF, by Andre Norton

Only five books this time round, one of them a reread (marked by an asterisk). And I'm still at 58 of 73 on the Carnegie Medal winners.

31 March 2013

Medal of Honor: M. H. Dethlefsen


Captain (later Major), US Air Force; 333rd Fighter Squadron

Born: 29 June 1934, Greenville, Iowa
Died: 14 December 1987

Citation: Maj. Dethlefsen was 1 of a flight of F-105 aircraft engaged [on 10 March 1967] in a fire suppression mission designed to destroy a key antiaircraft defensive complex containing surface-to-air missiles (SAM), an exceptionally heavy concentration of antiaircraft artillery, and other automatic weapons. The defensive network was situated to dominate the approach and provide protection to an important North Vietnam industrial center that was scheduled to be attacked by fighter bombers immediately after the strike by Maj. Dethlefsen's flight. In the initial attack on the defensive complex the lead aircraft was crippled, and Maj. Dethlefsen's aircraft was extensively damaged by the intense enemy fire. Realizing that the success of the impending fighter bomber attack on the center now depended on his ability to effectively suppress the defensive fire, Maj. Dethlefsen ignored the enemy's overwhelming firepower and the damage to his aircraft and pressed his attack. Despite a continuing hail of antiaircraft fire, deadly surface-to-air missiles, and counterattacks by MIG interceptors, Maj. Dethlefsen flew repeated close range strikes to silence the enemy defensive positions with bombs and cannon fire. His action in rendering ineffective the defensive SAM and antiaircraft artillery sites enabled the ensuing fighter bombers to strike successfully the important industrial target without loss or damage to their aircraft, thereby appreciably reducing the enemy's ability to provide essential war material. Maj. Dethlefsen's consummate skill and selfless dedication to this significant mission were 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.

17 February 2013

Victoria Cross: O. C. S. Watson


Major (acting Lieutenant-Colonel), King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Born: 7 September 1876, Cavendish Square, London
Died: 28 March 1918, Rossignol Wood, near Hebuterne, France

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery, self-sacrificing devotion to duty, and exceptionally gallant leading during a critical period of operations.
His command was at a point where continual attacks were made by the enemy in order to pierce the line [at Rossignol Wood, north of Hebuterne, France], and an intricate system of old trenches in front, coupled with the fact that his position was under constant rifle and machine-gun fire, rendered the situation still more dangerous.
A counter-attack had been made against the enemy position, which at first achieved its object, but as they were holding out in two improvised strong points, Lt-Col Watson saw that immediate action was necessary, and he led his remaining small reserve to the attack, organising bombing parties and leading attacks under intense rifle and machinegun fire.
Outnumbered, he finally ordered his men to retire, remaining himself in a communication trench to cover the retirement, though he faced almost certain death by so doing. The assault he led was at a critical moment, and without doubt saved the line. Both in the assault and in covering his men's retirement, he held his life as nothing, and his splendid bravery inspired all troops in the vicinity to rise to the occasion and save a breach being made in a hardly tried and attenuated line.
Lt-Col Watson was killed while covering the withdrawal.

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

03 February 2013

George Cross: R. T. Donoghue


Tram Conductor, Metropolitan Transport Trust

Born: 10 December 1920, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Died: 29 April 1960, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Citation: During a peak traffic period, Mr. Donoghue was on duty as a tram conductor. As a result of an accident the tram became out of control and started to run backwards, rapidly gaining speed, on a steep hill. He could easily have saved his life, either by leaving the tram or by passing into the rear of the compartment to which he had moved the passengers. Realising the danger in the dense traffic, he deliberately scorned the way of safety so that he might, by continuous ringing of the alarm bell, warn other traffic, while attempting by the use of the brake to arrest the vehicle. At the bottom of the hill the runaway tram collided with a stationary tram. Donoghue was still at his post at the moment of impact and was killed. By sacrificing his life Donoghue was responsible for saving the lives of a number of other persons.

[London Gazette issue 42162 dated 11 Oct 1960, published 7 Oct 1960.]

Note: Donoghue served with 2nd/12th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force in Britain, the Middle East and Greece, where he was captured by the Germans on 28 April 1941, remaining a POW until 8 May 1945.

20 January 2013

Victoria Cross: J. Prettyjohn


Bombardier, Royal Marine Artillery

Born: 11 June 1823, Dean Prior, Devon
Died: 20 January 1887, Manchester

Citation: Reported for gallantry at the Battle of Inkerman, having placed himself in an advanced position; and noticed, as having himself shot four Bussians.
(Despatch from Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkine, Senior Officer of Marines, engaged at Inkerman, and letter from Colonel Wesley, Deputy Adjutant-General.)

16 January 2013

Medal of Honor to be awarded for Afghanistan

ZUI this article from the Pueblo (Colorado) Chieftain:
Clinton Romesha, the newest recipient of the Medal of Honor, insists "any other soldier would have done the same things" but the former Pueblo man is slowly coming to grips with the attention that comes with the nation's highest award for bravery in combat.

Romesha (pronounced Rome-e-shay) will receive the medal from President Barack Obama on Feb. 11 at the White House. The award honors Romesha for his bravery and leadership during a vicious, daylong battle with Taliban fighters on Oct. 3, 2009, in Afghanistan. Eight U.S. soldiers were killed in the fight.


Romesha was a section leader in the 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team. He went from position to position under fire, is credited with killing numerous Taliban attackers inside the outpost and, despite his own wounds, rescued wounded U.S. soldiers without regard for his own safety.
The official White House press release can be found here.

08 January 2013

100 best children's novels

A couple years ago Betsy, at A Fuse #8 Production, did a poll, asking readers to nominate the best children's chapter books. She repeated it again last year. Unfortunately, I almost completely missed it - in fact, by the time I found out about it she was already almost through reporting the results.

Here (finally) is the new list:

1. Charlotte’s Web, by E B White (#1 in 2010)
2. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle (#2)
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J K Rowling (#3)
4. The Giver, by Lois Lowry (#7)
5. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C S Lewis (#4)
6. Holes, by Louis Sachar (#6)
7. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E L Konigsburg (#5)
8. Anne of Green Gables, by L M Montgomery (#9)
9. The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin (#11)
10. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson (#13)
11. When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead (#39)
12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J K Rowling (#14)
13. The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner (#83)
14. The Hobbit, by J R R  Tolkien (#12)
15. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (#8)
16. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt (#20)
17. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh (#16)
18. The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander (#82)
19. Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (#23)
20. Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo (#15)
21. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster (#10)
22. The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper (#29)
23. Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen (#26)
24. Ramona the Pest, by Beverly Cleary (#43)
25. The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis (#34)
26. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A A Milne (#30)
27. Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (#42)
28. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman (#45)
29. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall (#48)
30. Matilda, by Roald Dahl (#18)
31. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (#27)
32. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor (#37)
33. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C O’Brien (#32)
34. Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls (#46)
35. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume (#44)
36. The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare (#41)
37. The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D Schmidt (--)
38. Frindle, by Andrew Clements (#49)
39. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick (#52)
40. Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli (#17)
41. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L Frank Baum (#40)
42. Gone-Away Lake, by Elizabeth Enright (#63)
43. Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson (--)
44. Okay for Now, by Gary D Schmidt (--)
45. Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell (#50)
46. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi (#60)
47. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (#25)
48. The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket (the series as a whole was #71)
49. My Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett (#72)
50. Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry (#56)
51. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread, by Kate DiCamillo (#22)
52. Betsy-Tacy, by Maud Hart Lovelace (#70)
53. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (#80)
54. Half Magic, by Edward Eager (#31)
55. All-of-a-Kind Family, by Sydney Taylor (#79)
56. A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (#28)
57. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, by Joan Aiken (#58)
58. Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome (#94)
59. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo (#97)
60. Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis (#47)
61. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl (#19)
62. Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker (#107)
63. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson (#55)
64. The Twenty-One Balloons, by William Pene du Bois (--)
65. Wonder, by R J Palacio (--)
66. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly (--)
67. A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck (#64)
68. The High King, by Lloyd Alexander (#88)
69. The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan (--)
70. Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech (#68)
71. Each Little Bird That Sings, by Deborah Wiles (--)
72. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin (#81)
73. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson (--)
74. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume (#36)
75. The Saturdays, by Elizabeth Enright (#51)
76. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney (--)
77. My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George (#73)
78. Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild (#65)
79. The Egypt Game, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (#100)
80. The Four-Story Mistake, by Elizabeth Enright (--)
81. The Witches, by Roald Dahl (#96)
82. The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden (#108)
83. Ozma of Oz, by L Frank Baum (--)
84. The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (--)
85. Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine (#92)
86. Peter Pan, by J M Barrie (--)
87. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger (--)
88. The BFG, by Roald Dahl (#54)
89. The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary (--)
90. The Children of Green Knowe, by Lucy M Boston (#98)
91. Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren (#95)
92. Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanen (--)
93. Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson (--)
94. Ramona and her Father, by Beverly Cleary (#89)
95. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (--)
96. The Horse and His Boy, by C S Lewis (--)
97. The Diamond in the Window, by Jane Langton (--)
98. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J K Rowling (#35)
99. The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner (#117)
100. Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech (#75)

I think I've read 58 of these.

There was a big turnover between the two polls - 24 of the 100 books on this list weren't on the 2010 list (though three of them were on Betsy's additional post which listed the books that almost made the top 100 -  numbers 101-120).  Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, was #21 in the previous poll; it's the highest-ranked book from last time that fell off the list completely. Other books that appeared last time but don't here are:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J K Rowling (#24)
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl (#33)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J K Rowling (#38)
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (#53)
Ramona Quimby, Age 8, by Beverly Cleary (#57)
Inkheart, by Cordelia Funke (#59)
Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli (#61)
The Secret of the Old Clock, by "Carolyn Keene" (#62)
Henry Huggins, by Beverly Cleary (#66)
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, by Bruce Coville (#67)
The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trentoon Lee Stewart (#69)
The Borrowers, by Mary Norton (#74)
Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse (#76)
The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau (#77)
Johnny Tremaine, by Esther Forbes (#78)
The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge (#84)
On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (#85)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J K Rowling (#86)
The View from Saturday, by E L Konigsburg (#87)
Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan (#90)
Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar (#91)
Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink (#93)
The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks (#99)

(I've read 15 of those.)

Note: I actually started writing this post several months ago, but got bogged down in deleting all the superfluous HTML which Blogger had for some bizarre reason inserted into the list - there was actually far more HTML than list. (Was it really necessary to specify "style="background-color: white; line-height: 15px; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;" twice - once before the item number and again before the book's title - for each of the 100 books??) Apologies to Betsy and everyone else for the delay....