World War II

Victoria Cross Recipients

The Victoria Cross medal is one of the most prestigious awards in the world. The brave recipients have all done something exceptional, and this page is to commemorate the Victoria Cross winners of World War 2.

23 VC’s were awarded at Sea, 127 to Land actions and 32 to valour in the Air.
Broken down across the six years of fighting:
1940 – 16, 1941 – 22, 1942 – 33, 1943 – 25, 1944 – 52, 1945 – 34.

Credit to ww2talk.com forum

World War II Victoria Cross Recipients

Gerard Broadmead Roope

Rank: Lieutenant-Commander
Unit: HMS Glowworm, Royal Navy
Awarded: 12th February 1946
Nationality: British

The citation in the London Gazette of 6th July 1945, gives the following details:

On the 8th April, 1940, H.M.S. Glowworm was proceeding alone in heavy weather towards a rendezvous in West Fjord, when she met and engaged two enemy destroyers, scoring at least one hit on them. The enemy broke off the action and headed North, to lead the Glowworm on to his supporting forces. The Commanding Officer, whilst correctly appreciating the intentions of the enemy, at once gave chase.

On the 8th April, 1940, H.M.S. Glowworm was proceeding alone in heavy weather towards a rendezvous in West Fjord, when she met and engaged two enemy destroyers, scoring at least one hit on them. The enemy broke off the action and headed North, to lead the Glowworm on to his supporting forces. The Commanding Officer, whilst correctly appreciating the intentions of the enemy, at once gave chase. The German heavy cruiser, Admiral Hipper, was sighted closing the Glowworm at high speed and an enemy report was sent which was received by H.M.S. Renown. Because of the heavy sea, the Glowworm could not shadow the enemy and the Commanding Officer therefore decided to attack with torpedoes and then to close in order to inflict as much damage as possible. Five torpedoes were fired and later the remaining five, but without success. The Glowworm was badly hit; one gun was out of action and her speed was much reduced, but with the other three guns still firing she closed and rammed the Admiral Hipper. As the Glowworm drew away, she opened fire again and scored one hit at a range of 400 yards. The Glowworm, badly stove in forward and riddled with enemy fire, heeled over to starboard, and the Commanding Officer gave the order to abandon her. Shortly afterwards she capsized and sank. The Admiral Hipper hove to for at least an hour picking up survivors but the loss of life was heavy, only 31 out of the Glowworm's complement of 149 being saved. Full information concerning this action has only recently been received and the VICTORIA CROSS is bestowed in recognition of the great valour of the Commanding Officer who, after fighting off a superior force of destroyers, sought out and reported a powerful enemy unit, and then fought his ship to the end against overwhelming odds, finally ramming the enemy with supreme coolness and skill.

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Bernard Armitage Warburton-Lee

Rank: Captain
Unit: HMS Hardy, Royal Navy
Awarded: 2nd July 1940
Nationality: British

The citation in the London Gazette for 7th June, 1940, gives the following information:

For gallantry, enterprise and daring in command of the Force engaged in the first Battle of Narvik, on the 10th of April, 1940. On being ordered to carry out an attack on Narvik, he learned from Tranoy that the enemy held the place in much greater force than had been thought.

For gallantry, enterprise and daring in command of the Force engaged in the first Battle of Narvik, on the 10th of April, 1940. On being ordered to carry out an attack on Narvik, he learned from Tranoy that the enemy held the place in much greater force than had been thought. He signalled to the Admiralty that the enemy were reported to be holding Narvik in force, that six Destroyers and one Submarine were there, that the channel might be mined, and that he intended to attack at dawn, high water. The Admiralty replied that two Norwegian Coast Defence Ships might be in German hands that he alone could judge whether to attack and that whatever decision he made would have full support. Captain Warburton-Lee gave out the plan for his attack and led his Flotilla of five Destroyers up the Fjord in heavy snowstorms, arriving off Narvik just after daybreak. He took the enemy completely by surprise and made three successful attacks on warships and merchantmen in the harbour. The last attack was made only after anxious debate. On the Flotilla withdrawing, five enemy Destroyers of superior gun-power were encountered and engaged. The Captain was mortally wounded by a shell which hit "Hardy's" bridge. His last signal was "Continue to engage the enemy".

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Richard Wallace Annand

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Unit: 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, British Army
Awarded: 3rd September 1940
Nationality: British

The citation in "The London Gazette," for 23rd August 1940, gives the following details:

For most conspicuous gallantry on the 15th-16th May 1940 when the platoon under his command was on the south side of the River Dyle, astride a blown bridge. During the night a strong attack was beaten off, but about 11 a.m. the enemy again launched a violent attack and pushed forward a bridging party into the sunken bottom of the river.

For most conspicuous gallantry on the 15th-16th May 1940 when the platoon under his command was on the south side of the River Dyle, astride a blown bridge. During the night a strong attack was beaten off, but about 11 a.m. the enemy again launched a violent attack and pushed forward a bridging party into the sunken bottom of the river. Second Lieutenant Annand attacked this party, but when ammunition ran out he went forward himself over open ground, with total disregard for enemy mortar and machine-gun fire. Reaching the top of the bridge, he drove out the party below, inflicting over twenty casualties with hand grenades. Having been wounded he rejoined his platoon, had his wound dressed, and then carried on in command. During the evening another attack was launched and again Second Lieutenant Annand went forward with hand grenades and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. When the order to withdraw was received, he withdrew his platoon, but learning on the way back that his batman was wounded and had been left behind, he returned at once to the former position and brought him back in a wheelbarrow, before losing consciousness as the result of wounds.

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George Gristock

Rank: Warrant Officer II (CSM)
Unit: 2nd Battalion, The Royal Norfolk Regiment, British Army
Awarded: 24th June 1940
Nationality: British

The following details are given in the London Gazette of 23rd August, 1940:

For most conspicuous gallantry on the 21st May 1940 when his company was holding a position on the line of the River Escaut, south of Tournai. After a prolonged attack, the enemy succeeded in breaking through beyond the company's right flank which was consequently threatened. Company Sergeant-Major Gristock having organised a party of eight riflemen from company headquarters, went forward to cover the right flank.

For most conspicuous gallantry on the 21st May 1940 when his company was holding a position on the line of the River Escaut, south of Tournai. After a prolonged attack, the enemy succeeded in breaking through beyond the company's right flank which was consequently threatened. Company Sergeant-Major Gristock having organised a party of eight riflemen from company headquarters, went forward to cover the right flank. Realising that an enemy machine-gun had moved forward to a position from which it was inflicting heavy casualties on his company, Company Sergeant-Major Gristock went on, with one man as connecting file, to try to put it out of action. Whilst advancing, he came under heavy machine-gun fire from the opposite bank and was severely wounded in both legs, his right knee being badly smashed. He nevertheless gained his fire position, some twenty yards from the enemy machine-gun post, undetected, and by well aimed rapid fire killed the machine-gun crew of four and put their gun out of action. He then dragged himself back to the right flank position from which he refused to be evacuated until contact with the battalion on the right had been established and the line once more made good. By his gallant action, the position of the company was secured, and many casualties prevented. Company Sergeant-Major Gristock has since died of his wounds.

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Harry Nicholls

Rank: Lance Corporal
Unit: 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, British Army
Awarded: 22nd June 1945
Nationality: British

The following details are given in the London Gazette of 26th July, 1940:

On the 21st May, 1940, Lance-corporal Nicholls was commanding a section in the right-forward platoon of his company when the company was ordered to counter-attack. At the very start of the advance he was wounded in the arm by shrapnel, but continued to lead his section forward; as the company came over a small ridge, the enemy opened heavy machine-gun fire at close range.

On the 21st May, 1940, Lance-corporal Nicholls was commanding a section in the right-forward platoon of his company when the company was ordered to counter-attack. At the very start of the advance he was wounded in the arm by shrapnel, but continued to lead his section forward; as the company came over a small ridge, the enemy opened heavy machine-gun fire at close range. Lance-corporal Nicholls, realising the danger to the company, immediately seized a Bren gun and dashed forward towards the machine guns, firing from the hip. He succeeded in silencing first one machine-gun and then two other machine guns, in spite of being again severely wounded. Lance-corporal Nicholls then went on up to a higher piece of ground and engaged the German infantry massed behind, causing many casualties, and continuing to fire until he had no more ammunition left. He was wounded at least four times in all, but absolutely refused to give in. There is no doubt that his gallant action was instrumental in enabling his company to reach its objective, and in causing the enemy to fall back across the River Scheldt. Lance-Corporal Nicholls has since been reported to have been killed in action.*

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The Hon. Christopher Furness

Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, British Army
Awarded: 30th July 1946
Nationality: British

The citation in the London Gazette of 5th February, 1946, gives the following details:

Lieutenant the Honourable C Furness was in command of the Carrier Platoon, Welsh Guards, during the period 17th-24th May, 1940, when his Battalion formed part of the garrison of Arras. During this time his Platoon was constantly patrolling in advance of or between the widely dispersed parts of the perimeter, and fought many local actions with the enemy Lieutenant Fumess displayed the highest qualities of leadership and dash on all these occasions and imbued his command with a magnificent offensive spirit.

Lieutenant the Honourable C Furness was in command of the Carrier Platoon, Welsh Guards, during the period 17th-24th May, 1940, when his Battalion formed part of the garrison of Arras. During this time his Platoon was constantly patrolling in advance of or between the widely dispersed parts of the perimeter, and fought many local actions with the enemy Lieutenant Fumess displayed the highest qualities of leadership and dash on all these occasions and imbued his command with a magnificent offensive spirit. During the evening of 23rd May, Lieutenant Furness was wounded when on patrol but he refused to be evacuated By this time the enemy, considerably reinforced, had encircled the town on three sides and withdrawal to Douai was ordered during the night of 23rd-24th May. Lieutenant Furness's Platoon, together with a small force of light tanks, were ordered to cover the withdrawal of the transport consisting of over 40 vehicles. About 0230 hours, 24th May, the enemy attacked on both sides of the town. At one point the enemy advanced to the road along which the transport columns were withdrawing, bringing them under very heavy small arms and anti-tank gun fire. Thus the whole column was blocked and placed in serious jeopardy Immediately Lieutenant Furness, appreciating the seriousness of the situation, and in spite of his wounds, decided to attack the enemy, who were located in a strongly entrenched position behind wire. Lieutenant Furness advanced with three carriers, supported by the light tanks At once the enemy opened up with very heavy fire from small arms and anti-tank guns. The light tanks were put out of action, but Lieutenant Furness continued to advance. He reached the enemy position and circled it several times at close range, inflicting heavy losses. All three Carriers were hit and most of their crews killed or wounded. His own Carrier was disabled and the driver and Bren gunner killed. He then engaged the enemy in personal hand-to-hand combat until he was killed. His magnificent act of self sacrifice against hopeless odds, and when already wounded, made the enemy withdraw for the time being and enabled the large column of vehicles to get clear unmolested and covered the evacuation of some of the wounded of his own Carrier Platoon and the light tanks.

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Harold Marcus Ervine-Andrews

Rank: Lieutenant Acting Captain
Unit: The East Lancashire Regiment, British Army
Awarded: 6th August 1940
Nationality: Irish

The citation in the London Gazette of 30th July, 1940, gives the following details:

For most conspicuous gallantry on active service on the night of the 31st May/1st June 1940. Captain Ervine-Andrews took over about a thousand yards of the defences in front of Dunkirk, his line extending along the Canal de Bergues, and the enemy attacked at dawn. For over ten hours, notwithstanding intense artillery, mortar, and machine-gun fire, and in the face of vastly superior enemy forces, Captain Ervine-Andrews and his company held their position.

For most conspicuous gallantry on active service on the night of the 31st May/1st June 1940. Captain Ervine-Andrews took over about a thousand yards of the defences in front of Dunkirk, his line extending along the Canal de Bergues, and the enemy attacked at dawn. For over ten hours, notwithstanding intense artillery, mortar, and machine-gun fire, and in the face of vastly superior enemy forces, Captain Ervine-Andrews and his company held their position. The enemy, however, succeeded in crossing the canal on both flanks; and, owing to superior enemy forces, a company of Captain Ervine-Andrews' own battalion, which was despatched to protect his flanks; was, unable to gain contact with him. There being danger of one of his platoons being driven in, he called for volunteers to fill the gap, and then, going forward, climbed on to the top of a straw-roofed barn, from which he engaged the enemy with rifle and light automatic fire, though, at the time, the enemy were sending mortar-bombs and armour-piercing bullets through the roof. Captain Ervine-Andrews personally accounted for seventeen of the enemy with his rifle, and for many more with a Bren gun. Later, when the house which he held had been shattered by enemy fire and set alight, and all his ammunition had been expended, he sent back his wounded in the remaining carrier. Captain Ervine-Andrews then collected the remaining eight men of his company from this forward position, and when almost completely surrounded, led them back to the cover afforded by the company in the rear, swimming or wading up to the chin in water for over a mile; having brought all that remained of 'his company safely back, he once again took up position. Throughout this action, Captain Ervine-Andrews displayed courage, tenacity, and devotion to duty, worthy of the highest traditions of the British Army, and his magnificent example imbued his own troops with the dauntless fighting spirit which he himself displayed.

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Donald Garland

Rank: Flying Officer
Unit: No.12 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded: 11th June 1940
Nationality: Irish

The citation in "The London Gazette”, for 11th June, 1940, gives the following details:

Flying Officer Garland was the pilot and Sergeant Gray the observer of the leading aircraft of a formation of five aircraft that attacked a bridge over the Albert Canal which had not been destroyed and was allowing the enemy to advance into Belgium.

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

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Thomas Gray

Rank: Sergeant (Observer)
Unit: No.12 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded: 11th June 1940
Nationality: British

The citation in "The London Gazette”, for 11th June, 1940, gives the following details:

Flying Officer Garland was the pilot and Sergeant Gray the observer of the leading aircraft of a formation of five aircraft that attacked a bridge over the Albert Canal which had not been destroyed and was allowing the enemy to advance into Belgium.

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

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Jack Foreman Mantle

Rank: Acting Leading Seaman
Unit: HMS Foylebank, Royal Navy
Awarded: 21st June 1941
Nationality: British

The following details are given in the London Gazette of 4th September, 1940:

Leading Seaman Jack Mantle was in charge of the Starboard pom-pom when FOYLEBANK was attacked by enemy aircraft on the 4th of July, 1940. Early in the action his left leg was shattered by a bomb, but he stood fast at his gun and went on firing with hand-gear only; for the ship's electric power had failed. Almost at once he was wounded again in many places. Between his bursts of fire he had time to reflect on the grievous injuries of which he was soon to die; but his great courage bore him up till the end of the fight, when he fell by the gun he had so valiantly served.

Leading Seaman Jack Mantle was in charge of the Starboard pom-pom when FOYLEBANK was attacked by enemy aircraft on the 4th of July, 1940. Early in the action his left leg was shattered by a bomb, but he stood fast at his gun and went on firing with hand-gear only; for the ship's electric power had failed. Almost at once he was wounded again in many places. Between his bursts of fire he had time to reflect on the grievous injuries of which he was soon to die; but his great courage bore him up till the end of the fight, when he fell by the gun he had so valiantly served.

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Eric Charles Twelves Wilson

Rank: Lieutenant Acting Captain
Unit: The East Surrey Regiment (Attached Somaliland Camel Corps) , British Army
Awarded: 28th July 1942
Nationality: British

The following details are given in "The London Gazette," of 11th October 1940:

For most conspicuous gallantry on active service in Somaliland. Captain Wilson was in command of machine-gun posts manned by Somali soldiers in the key position of Observation Hill, a defended post in the defensive organisation of the Tug Argan Gap in British Somaliland. The enemy attacked Observation Hill on August 11th, 1940. Captain Wilson and Somali gunners under his command beat off the attack and opened fire on the enemy troops attacking Mill Hill, another post within his range. He inflicted such heavy casualties that the enemy, determined to put his guns out of action, brought up a pack battery to within seven hundred yards, and scored two direct hits through the loopholes of his defences, which, bursting within the post, wounded Captain Wilson severely in the right shoulder and in the left eye, several of his team being also wounded. His guns were blown off their stands but he repaired and replaced them and, regardless of his wounds, carried on, whilst his Somali sergeant was killed beside him.

For most conspicuous gallantry on active service in Somaliland. Captain Wilson was in command of machine-gun posts manned by Somali soldiers in the key position of Observation Hill, a defended post in the defensive organisation of the Tug Argan Gap in British Somaliland. The enemy attacked Observation Hill on August 11th, 1940. Captain Wilson and Somali gunners under his command beat off the attack and opened fire on the enemy troops attacking Mill Hill, another post within his range. He inflicted such heavy casualties that the enemy, determined to put his guns out of action, brought up a pack battery to within seven hundred yards, and scored two direct hits through the loopholes of his defences, which, bursting within the post, wounded Captain Wilson severely in the right shoulder and in the left eye, several of his team being also wounded. His guns were blown off their stands but he repaired and replaced them and, regardless of his wounds, carried on, whilst his Somali sergeant was killed beside him. On August 12th and 14th the enemy again concentrated field artillery fire on Captain Wilson's guns, but he continued, with his wounds untended, to man them. On August 15th two of his machine-gun posts were blown to pieces, yet Captain Wilson, now suffering from malaria in addition to wounds, still kept his own post in action. The enemy finally over-ran the post at 5 p.m. on the 15th August when Captain Wilson, fighting to the last, was killed.*

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Roderick Alistair Brook Learoyd

Rank: Acting Flight Lieutenant
Unit: No.49 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded: 9th September 1940
Nationality: British

The following details are given in the London Gazette of 20th August, 1940:

This officer, as first pilot of a Hampden aircraft, has repeatedly shown the highest conception of his duty and complete indifference to personal danger in making attacks at the lowest altitudes regardless of opposition.

This officer, as first pilot of a Hampden aircraft, has repeatedly shown the highest conception of his duty and complete indifference to personal danger in making attacks at the lowest altitudes regardless of opposition. On the night of I2th August, 1940, he was detailed to attack a special objective on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. He had attacked this objective on a previous occasion and was well aware of the risks entailed. To achieve success it was necessary to approach from a direction well known to the enemy, through a lane of especially disposed anti-aircraft defences, and in the face of the most intense point blank fire from guns of all calibres. The reception of the preceding aircraft might well have deterred the stoutest heart, all being hit and two lost. Flight Lieutenant Learoyd nevertheless made his attack at 150 feet, his aircraft being repeatedly hit and large pieces of the main planes torn away. He was almost blinded by the glare of many searchlights at close range but pressed home this attack with the greatest resolution and skill. He subsequently brought his wrecked aircraft home and, as the landing flaps were inoperative and the undercarriage indicators out of action, waited for dawn in the vicinity of his aerodrome before landing, which he accomplished without causing injury to his crew or further damage to the aircraft. The high courage, skill and determination, which this officer has invariably displayed on many occasions in the face of the enemy, sets an example which is unsurpassed.

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