Victoria Cross (VC) Medals and stories of the most decorated soldiers and heroes of the Second World War.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
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Gurkha warrior Tul Bahadur Pun won Victoria Cross during the Second Chindit Expedition in Burma in 1944
Tul Bahadur Pun, a Gurkha soldier who won the Victoria Cross while serving with the Second Chindit Expedition in Burma in 1944 and later became the figurehead for a campaign on Gurkha`s rights to settle in the UK, has passed away at 88.
On May 27, 1944, the 77th Indian Brigade was ordered to capture the Japanese supply centre of Mogaung. After almost a month of fierce fighting, the 3rd Battalion 6th Gurkha Rifles was ordered to attack the railway bridge at Mogaung. Pun`s section - apart from himself, the section commander and one rifleman - was wiped out. The commander led his two remaining riflemen in a charge on The Red House, but he was at once severely wounded. Pun and his comrade continued the charge - but the latter, too, fell badly wounded. Pun then seized the Bren gun and, firing from the hip as he ran, continued the charge on the heavily bunkered position capturing two machine guns.
The Victoria Cross medal of Wing Commander Hugh Malcolm for sale
A Victoria Cross medal awarded to a Scottish World War II pilot killed in a "suicide mission" could fetch up to £220,000 at auction. Wing Commander Hugh Malcolm flew to "almost certain disaster" when his 10-bomber squadron set off on a mission without fighter escort on an enemy airfield near Chougui, Tunisia, in 1942. They were all killed when they met an overwhelming force of Luftwaffe fighters from 11 Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 2. Hugh saw the other bombers destroyed one by one before his Blenheim was shot down. His Victoria Cross and other military medals are up for sale at Spink of London on April 22.
World War II bomber pilot`s Victoria Cross fetches record price: 335,000 pounds
A Victoria Cross granted to a World War II bomber pilot has sold at auction for 335,000 pounds. The VC, presented to Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid in 1944 by King George VI, was purchased by an anonymous bidder. Flt Lt Reid was given the Victoria Cross for his part in a bombing raid on Third Reich in 1943. He flew his Lancaster bomber 200 miles towards its target over Düsseldorf despite being wounded in two attacks. After suffering wounds to his head, shoulders and hands in the air attack over the Dutch coast and a second attack by a Focke Wulf 190, Flt Lt Reid carried out his mission and returned. Flt Lt Reid later joined the RAF`s 617 Squadron (the Dam Busters).
Australia`s last World War II Victoria Cross winner Ted Kenna passes away at 90
Edward "Ted" Kenna was granted the Army`s greatest honour, the Victoria Cross medal, after risking his life to save his platoon during a heavy machine gun attack in New Guinea on May 15, 1945. 50 metres from a Japanese machine gun crew, Private Kenna stood up in full view and fired upon the enemy gunner to save his comrades. As bullets flew next to him, he kept on firing - and when his machine gun ran empty called for a rifle to continue his assault. He took down the enemy gunner but was fired upon from a second position as another enemy soldier tried to seize the machine gun. Kenna remained standing and killed the man with his next round.
Eric Wilson, the oldest Victoria Cross holder, passes away at 96
Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Wilson was granted a Victoria Cross for his defence against a large Italian force during the East African campaign in August 1940. When Italians invaded British Somaliland, attacking 350,000 soldiers faced a weak Allied force (just 1,500 men strong). Most of the terrain was flat, but parallel to the sea lay the Golis hills, with an 8,000ft pass, where the Allies made their stand. Wilson, an acting captain with the Somaliland Camel Corps, was given the key task of placing the corps` machine guns on 4 small hills of the Tug Argan Pass. His position, which commanded the widest arc of fire, he was extremely exposed.
Blair Mayne, one of the most decorated SAS soldiers, was never granted Victoria Cross
Lieutenant-Colonel Blair Mayne was recommended for the Britain`s highest award for heroism in 1945 after he launched repeated, single-handed attacks on Nazi troops to allow his unit to be evacuated under heavy fire. "Paddy" Mayne, one of the founder-members of the SAS, personally destroyed 130 German and Italian aircraft during behind-the-lines raids in North Africa, as well as leading countless Special Forces operations. But his reputation for resisting authority and drunken quarreling preceded him and he was given only a bar to his 3 Distinguished Service Orders (DSOs). Now a campaign has been launched to award him a posthumous Victoria Cross.
A daring wing walk by Victoria Cross winner Sergeant Jimmy Ward
During WWII one member of an RAF Wellington bomber that crash-landed was rewarded for his bravery with the ultimate honour. Sergeant Jimmy Ward was granted the Victoria Cross after enemy aircraft fire had severed his plane`s fuel line and caused the fabric on the wing to ignite. Pilot Capt R P Widdowson asked his men to deal with the fire. Sgt Ward climbed out on the wing. Secured by a rope, he crawled to the engine but realised the fight against the slipsteam was becoming tiring. Wearing a chest parachute and held by a fellow crew member, he battled against the air current and put out the flames. But his daring walk only delayed the inevitable...
World`s largest Victoria Cross collection to go on show in the Imperial War Museum (Article no longer available from the original source)
The world`s largest collection of Victoria Crosses, belonging to Lord Ashcroft, is to be put on permanent display in the Imperial War Museum. He will also pay for a new £5 million gallery to house his collection, worth millions of pounds. The 152 military medals, which range from the Crimean to the Falklands wars, will be exhibited alongside the 50 Victory Crosses (VCs) and 29 George Crosses (GCs) already held by the Museum. The gallery will examine the creation of the VC and the George Cross and the stories behind the award of the medals. The VC is Britain and the Commonwealth`s premier award for valour, while the GC is the most prestigious civil decoration.
The daughters of Charles Upham want medals in a vault and replicas on display
The daughters of NZ war hero Charles Upham want his military medals locked in a vault and replicas put on show at the Army Museum in Waiouru. Upham`s 2 Victoria Crosses were among 96 historical medals returned after robbers gave them back to authorities. However, the army wants the medals back on display. "New Zealanders should be able to see the original medals..." says Major General Lou Gardiner. Virginia McKenzie did not want to see her father`s historical medals put at risk again after learning that overseas replicas were displayed. "People from overseas couldn`t believe we didn`t have replicas. They were saying they should be kept in a vault."
$300,000 reward for info leading to the return of 9 Victoria Crosses
The biggest reward in New Zealand history has been put up for information resulting the return of the Waiouru Army Museum`s stolen war medals. $300,000 reward was now on offer to anyone who gave tips about the missing military decorations, including 9 Victoria Crosses, 2 George Crosses and an Albert Medal -- won by some of the country`s greatest war heroes. British medals collector Lord Michael Ashcroft and a NZ businessman have provided the money. "By golly, if $300,000 doesn`t make someone talk about providing information about the return of these medals, I`m not sure what will," said Raymond Seymour, the museum director.
WWII Gurkha hero now wants his Victoria Cross medal back
World War Two Gurkha hero Tul Bahadur Pun is now trying to get his Victoria Cross medal back from the British authorities, who took it away from him 30 years ago because it required "safekeeping." Pun, who came to Britain from Nepal for medical treatment, went to see his medal on display in a case at the Gurkha Museum in Winchester. Museum chiefs use a picture of Pun on their leaflet - but when asked if he could hold the medal, they refused. A sad Pun said: "It is mine. I want it back. I must have it back." He won Victoria Cross in Burma in 1944 after he charged a Japanese machine gun nest that had wiped out his platoon.
U-boat captain Klemens Schamong who shot down NZ Victoria Cross-winner found
The captain of the U-Boat whose anti-aircraft fire shot down New Zealand Victoria Cross winner Lloyd Trigg`s Royal Air Force Liberator is still alive in Germany, an aviation researcher has discovered. Arthur "Digger" Arculus has also unearthed fresh details about the fierce Atlantic action that cost the lives of Trigg, his 7 crew and many of the submarine`s complement. Uniquely, it was the testimony of the enemy skipper Klemens Schamong, and the other few survivors from U-468, destroyed by Trigg`s exploding depth charges as his aircraft plunged into the sea, that led to the posthumous bravery award.
Reluctant Hero - Charles Upham - New Zealand`s best soldier (Article no longer available from the original source)
Although he was treated as a hero Captain Charles Upham refused to take on the mantle he`d earned as New Zealand`s best soldier. Wounded many times, famous for taking risks others would not, he is the most highly decorated Commonwealth soldier of WWII. Upham won the Victoria Cross twice, the highest commendation a Kiwi soldier could win. He is the only man among millions of Allied troops to be awarded both the Victoria Cross `and Bar`. 1941 Crete campaign was a 10-day pitched battle in which allied troops were slowly over run by the Nazis. Upham repeatedly saved the lives of his men by sneaking up on German positions.
Stamps for the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross Medal
A Scottish war hero has launched a set of stamps to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross Medal. Flight Lieutenant John Cruickshank is the only living Scottish holder of the bravery medal. The Victoria Cross is the highest recognition for valour that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces. He was an RAF flying officer during the Second World War when he earned the cross during an attack on a German U-boat. He was piloting a Consolidated Catalina flying boat as part of an anti-submarine patrol.
Gurkhas and VC ceremony - Solo stand against 200 soldiers
Two Nepalese Gurkha Victoria Cross (VC) winners have attended a ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of the medal. 4 of 12 living VC holders are Gurkhas from Nepal. Gurkha soldiers were first recruited by imperial Britain in 1815, and are admired for their fearlessness. Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung made a solo stand against 200 Japanese troops during the Second World War after being blinded in one eye. In recent years, some Gurkhas have been involved in disputes over retirement issues. Captain Limbu led a group petitioning British PM to demand the same rights as British-born soldiers.
Victoria Cross Lieutenant`s story told - historian found documents
The lost story of a Welsh wartime hero, who lived and died by the toss of a coin, is told for the first time, after new documents were uncovered by a historian researching for a new book, Dunkirk: Fight To The Last Man. Lieutenant Christopher "Dickie" Furness of the Welsh Guards was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery, in sacrificing his life to remove a German machine gunner attacking British patrols at Arras in May 1940. He led a mission of 10 men to attack the German position. Only one returned unscathed.
Family offered more than $1m for Victoria Cross (Article no longer available from the original source)
A world record price of more than $1 million has been offered for the double Victoria Cross awarded to New Zealand military hero Charles Upham during World War Two. Only three people have been awarded two Victoria Crosses, which is likely to make it very attractive to collectors. Captain Upham`s is the only one awarded to a combat soldier.
When orders for the battalion to withdraw were not received
In 1944 Major Tasker Watkins won the Victoria Cross - only the second Welshman in the WWII to do so. While commanding a company of the Welch Regiment, the battalion was ordered to attack objectives near Balfour. Company had to cross open cornfields in which booby traps had been set. The company came under fire, and the only officer left, Major Watkins, charged two posts in succession. When he found an anti-tank gun his Sten gun jammed, so he threw it in the German`s face and shot him with his pistol. The company had only some 30 men left and was counter-attacked by 50 enemy infantry, and orders for the battalion to withdraw were not received by company...