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

James Joseph Magennis

Rank: Temporary Acting Leading Seaman
Unit: XE-3 (Midget Submarine), Royal Naval
Awarded: 11th December 1945
Nationality: British

The citation in the London Gazette of 18th January 1946 gives the following details:

Leading Seaman Magennis served as Diver in His Majesty's Midget Submarine XE-3 for her attack on 31st July, 1945, on a Japanese cruiser of the Atago class. Owing to the fact that XE-3 was tightly jammed under the target the diver's hatch could not be fully opened, and Magennis had to squeeze himself through the narrow space available.

Leading Seaman Magennis served as Diver in His Majesty's Midget Submarine XE-3 for her attack on 31st July, 1945, on a Japanese cruiser of the Atago class. Owing to the fact that XE-3 was tightly jammed under the target the diver's hatch could not be fully opened, and Magennis had to squeeze himself through the narrow space available. He experienced great difficulty in placing his limpets on the bottom of the cruiser owing both to the foul state of the bottom and to the pronounced slope upon which the limpets would not hold. Before a limpet could be placed therefore Magennis had thoroughly to scrape the area clear of barnacles, and in order to secure the limpets he had to tie them in pair’s by a line passing under the cruiser keel. This was very tiring work for a diver, and he was moreover handicapped by a steady leakage of oxygen which was ascending in bubbles to the surface. A lesser man would have been content to place a few limpets and then to return to the craft. Magennis, however, persisted until he had placed his full outfit before returning to the craft in an exhausted condition. Shortly after withdrawing Lieutenant Fraser endeavoured to jettison his limpet carriers, but one of these would not release itself and fall clear of the craft. Despite his exhaustion, his oxygen leak and the fact that there was every probability of -his being sighted, Magennis at once volunteered to leave the craft and free the carrier rather than allow a less experienced diver to undertake the job. After seven minutes of nerve racking work he succeeded in releasing the carrier. Magennis displayed very great courage and devotion to duty and complete disregard for his own safety.

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Robert Hampton Gray

Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: No.1841 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Awarded: 1st February 1946
Nationality: Canadian

The citation in the London Gazette of 18th January 1946 gives the following details:

For great valour in leading an attack on a Japanese destroyer in Onagawa Wan on 9th August, 1945. In the face of fire from shore batteries and a heavy concentration of fire from some five warships Lieutenant Gray pressed home his attack, flying very low in order to ensure success, and, although he was hit and his aircraft was in flames, he obtained at least one direct hit, sinking the destroyer. Lieutenant Gray has consistently shown a brilliant fighting spirit and most inspiring leadership.

For great valour in leading an attack on a Japanese destroyer in Onagawa Wan on 9th August, 1945. In the face of fire from shore batteries and a heavy concentration of fire from some five warships Lieutenant Gray pressed home his attack, flying very low in order to ensure success, and, although he was hit and his aircraft was in flames, he obtained at least one direct hit, sinking the destroyer. Lieutenant Gray has consistently shown a brilliant fighting spirit and most inspiring leadership.

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