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.