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.