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

Richard Been Stannard

Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: HM Trawler Arab, Royal Navy Reserve
Awarded: 3rd September 1940
Nationality: British

The citation in the London Gazette for 16th August, 1940, gives the following information:

For outstanding valour and single devotion to duty at Namsos. When enemy bombing attacks had set on fire many tons of hand grenades on Namsos wharf, with no shore water supply available, Lieutenant Stannard ran Arab's bows against the wharf and held her there. Sending all but two of his crew aft, he then endeavoured for two hours to extinguish the fire with hoses from the forecastle. He persisted in this work till the attempt had to be given up as hopeless.

For outstanding valour and single devotion to duty at Namsos. When enemy bombing attacks had set on fire many tons of hand grenades on Namsos wharf, with no shore water supply available, Lieutenant Stannard ran Arab's bows against the wharf and held her there. Sending all but two of his crew aft, he then endeavoured for two hours to extinguish the fire with hoses from the forecastle. He persisted in this work till the attempt had to be given up as hopeless. After helping other ships against air attacks, he placed his own damaged vessel under shelter of a cliff, landed his crew and those of two other trawlers, and established an armed camp. Here those off duty could rest while he attacked enemy aircraft which approached by day, and kept anti-submarine watch during the night. When another trawler near-by was hit and set on fire by a bomb, he, with two others, boarded Arab and moved her 100 yards before the other vessel blew up. Finally, when leaving the fjord, he was attacked by a German bomber which ordered him to steer East or be sunk. He held on his course, reserved his fire till the enemy was within 800 yards, and then brought the aircraft down. Throughout a period of five days Arab was subjected to 31 bombing attacks and the camp and Lewis gun positions ashore were repeatedly machine-gunned and bombed; yet the defensive position was so well planned that only one man was wounded. Lieutenant Stannard ultimately brought his damaged ship back to an English port. His continuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy was magnificent, and his enterprise and resource not only caused losses to the Germans but saved his ship and many lives.

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James Brindley Nicolson

Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Unit: No.249 Squadron, RAF
Awarded: 25th November 1940
Nationality: British

The citation in the London Gazette of 15th November, 1940, gives the following details:

During an engagement with the enemy near Southampton on 16th August, 1940, Flight Lieutenant Nicolson's aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, two of which wounded him whilst another set fire to the gravity tank.

During an engagement with the enemy near Southampton on 16th August, 1940, Flight Lieutenant Nicolson's aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, two of which wounded him whilst another set fire to the gravity tank. When about to abandon his aircraft owing to flames in the cockpit, he sighted an enemy fighter. This he attacked and shot down; although as a result of staying in his burning aircraft he sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck and legs. Flight Lieutenant Nicolson has always displayed great enthusiasm for air fighting and this incident shows that he possesses courage and determination of a high order. By continuing to engage the enemy after he had been wounded and his aircraft set on fire, he displayed exceptional gallantry and disregard for the safety of his own life.

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John Hannah

Rank: Sergeant
Unit: No.83 Squadron, RAF
Awarded: 1st October 1940
Nationality: British

The following details are given in the London Gazette of October 1st, 1940:

On the night of 15th September, 1940, Sergeant Hannah was the wireless operator/air gunner in an aircraft engaged in a successful attack on enemy barge concentrations at Antwerp. It was then subjected to intense anti-aircraft fire and received a direct hit from a projectile of an explosive and incendiary nature, which apparently burst inside the bomb compartment.

On the night of 15th September, 1940, Sergeant Hannah was the wireless operator/air gunner in an aircraft engaged in a successful attack on enemy barge concentrations at Antwerp. It was then subjected to intense anti-aircraft fire and received a direct hit from a projectile of an explosive and incendiary nature, which apparently burst inside the bomb compartment. A fire started which quickly enveloped the wireless operator's and rear gunner's cockpits, and as both the port and starboard petrol tanks had been pierced, there was grave risk of the fire spreading. Sergeant Hannah forced his way through the fire to obtain two extinguishers and discovered that the rear gunner had had to leave the aircraft. He could have acted likewise, through the bottom escape hatch or forward through the navigator's hatch, but remained and fought the fire for ten minutes with the extinguishers, beating the flames with his log book when these were empty. During this time thousands of rounds of ammunition exploded in all directions and he was almost blinded by the intense heat and fumes, but had the presence of mind to obtain relief by turning on his oxygen supply. Air admitted through the large holes caused by the projectile made the bomb compartment an inferno and all the aluminium sheet metal on the floor of this airman's cockpit was melted away, leaving only the cross bearers. Working under these conditions which caused burns to his face and eyes, Sergeant Hannah succeeded in extinguishing the fire. He then crawled forward, ascertained that the navigator had left the aircraft, and passed the latter's log and. maps to the pilot. This airman displayed courage, coolness and devotion to duty of the highest order and, by his action in remaining and successfully extinguishing the fire under conditions of the greatest danger and difficulty, enabled the pilot to bring the aircraft safely to its base.

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Edward Stephen Fogarty Fegen

Rank: Commander Acting Captain
Unit: HMS Jarvis Bay, Royal Navy
Awarded: 12th June 1941
Nationality: Irish

The citation in the London Gazette for 26th November, 1940, reads:

For valour in challenging hopeless odds and giving his life to save the many ships it was his duty to protect. On the 5th of November, 1940, in heavy seas, Captain Fegen, in His Majesty's Armed Merchant Cruiser Jervis Bay, was escorting thirty-eight Merchantmen. Sighting a powerful German warship he at once drew clear of the Convoy, made straight for the Enemyand brought his ship between the Raider and her prey, so that they might scatter and escape. Crippled, in flames, unable to reply, for nearly an hour the Jervis Bay held the German's fire. So she went down but of the Merchantmen all but four or five were saved.

For valour in challenging hopeless odds and giving his life to save the many ships it was his duty to protect. On the 5th of November, 1940, in heavy seas, Captain Fegen, in His Majesty's Armed Merchant Cruiser Jervis Bay, was escorting thirty-eight Merchantmen. Sighting a powerful German warship he at once drew clear of the Convoy, made straight for the Enemyand brought his ship between the Raider and her prey, so that they might scatter and escape. Crippled, in flames, unable to reply, for nearly an hour the Jervis Bay held the German's fire. So she went down but of the Merchantmen all but four or five were saved.

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Premindra Singh Bhagat

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Unit: Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners, Corps of Indian Engineers, Indian Army
Awarded: 10th November 1941
Nationality: Indian

The citation in the London Gazette of 6th June 1941, gives the following details:

For most conspicuous gallantry on active service in the Middle East. During the pursuit of the enemy following the capture of Metemma on the night 31st January-1st February, 1941, Second-Lieutenant Bhagat was in command of a section of a Field Company, Sappers and Miners, detailed to accompany the leading mobile troops (Bren Carriers) to clear the road and adjacent areas of mines.

For most conspicuous gallantry on active service in the Middle East. During the pursuit of the enemy following the capture of Metemma on the night 31st January-1st February, 1941, Second-Lieutenant Bhagat was in command of a section of a Field Company, Sappers and Miners, detailed to accompany the leading mobile troops (Bren Carriers) to clear the road and adjacent areas of mines. For a period of four days and over a distance of 55 miles this officer in the leading carrier led the Column. He detected and supervised the clearing of fifteen minefields. Speed being essential he worked at high pressure from dawn to dusk each day. On two occasions when his carrier was blown up with casualties to others and on a third occasion when ambushed and under close enemy fire, he himself carried straight on with his task. He refused relief when worn out with strain and fatigue and with one ear-drum punctured by an explosion, on the grounds that he was now better qualified to continue his task to the end. His coolness, persistence over a period of 96 hours and gallantry, not only in battle, but throughout the long period when the safety of the Column and the speed at which it could advance were dependent on his personal efforts, were of the highest order.

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Richhpal Ram

Rank: Subadar
Unit: 4th Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles, Indian Army
Awarded: 10th November 1941
Nationality: Indian

The citation in the London Gazette of 6th June 1941, gives the following details:

During the assault on enemy positions in front of Keren, Eritrea, on the night of 7-8th February, 1941, Subadar Richpal Ram, who was second-in-command of a leading .company, insisted on accompanying the forward platoon and led its attack on the first objective with great dash and gallantry.

During the assault on enemy positions in front of Keren, Eritrea, on the night of 7-8th February, 1941, Subadar Richpal Ram, who was second-in-command of a leading .company, insisted on accompanying the forward platoon and led its attack on the first objective with great dash and gallantry. His company commander being then wounded, he assumed command of the company, and led the attack of the remaining two platoons to the final objective. In face of heavy fire, some thirty men with this officer at their head rushed the objective with the bayonet and captured it. The party was completely isolated, but under the inspiring leadership of Subadar Richpal Ram, it .beat back six enemy counter-attacks between midnight and 0430 hours. By now, ammunition had run out, and this officer extricated his command and fought his way back to his battalion with a handful of survivors through the surrounding enemy. Again, in the attack on the same position on 12th February, this officer led the attack of his company. He pressed on fearlessly and determinedly in the face of heavy and accurate fire, and by his personal example inspired his company with his resolute spirit until his right foot was blown off. He then suffered further wounds from which he died. While lying wounded he continued to wave his men on, and his final words were "We'll capture the objective ". The heroism, determination and devotion to duty shown by this officer were beyond praise, and provided an inspiration to all who saw him.

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Kenneth Campbell

Rank: Flying Officer
Unit: No.22 Squadron, RAFVR
Awarded: 23rd June 1943
Nationality: British

The following details are given in The London Gazette of 13th March, 1942:

This officer was the pilot of a Beaufort aircraft or Coastal Command which was detailed to attack an enemy battle cruiser in Brest Harbour at first night on the morning of 6th April, 1941. The aircraft did not return but it is now known that a torpedo attack was carried out with the utmost daring.

This officer was the pilot of a Beaufort aircraft or Coastal Command which was detailed to attack an enemy battle cruiser in Brest Harbour at first night on the morning of 6th April, 1941. The aircraft did not return but it is now known that a torpedo attack was carried out with the utmost daring. The battle cruiser was secured alongside the wall on the north shore of the harbour, protected by a stone mole bending round it from the west. On rising ground behind the ship stood protective batteries of guns. Other batteries were clustered thickly round the two arms of land which encircle the outer harbour. In this outer harbour near the mole were moored three heavily-armed antiaircraft ships, guarding the battle cruiser. Even if an aircraft succeeded in penetrating these formidable defences, it would be almost impossible, after delivering a low level attack, to avoid crashing into the rising ground beyond. This was well known to Flying Officer Campbell who, despising the heavy odds went cheerfully and resolutely to the task. He ran the gauntlet of the defences. Coming in almost at sea level, he passed the anti aircraft ships at less than mast-height in the very mouths of their guns, and skimming over the mole launched a torpedo at point blank range. The battle cruiser was severely damaged below the water-line, and was obliged to return to the dock whence she had come only the day before. By pressing home his attack at close quarters in the face of a withering fire on a course fraught with extreme peril, Flying Officer Campbell displayed valour of the highest order.

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John Hurst Edmondson

Rank: Corporal
Unit: 2/17 Australian Infantry Battalion, Australian Military Forces
Awarded: 27th September 1941
Nationality: Australian

The citation in the London Gazette of 4th July, 1941, gives the following particulars:

On the night of the 13-14th April, 1941, a party of German infantry broke through the wire defences at Tobruk and established themselves with at least six machine guns, mortars and two small field pieces. It was decided to attack them with bayonets and a party consisting of one officer,

On the night of the 13-14th April, 1941, a party of German infantry broke through the wire defences at Tobruk and established themselves with at least six machine guns, mortars and two small field pieces. It was decided to attack them with bayonets and a party consisting of one officer, Corporal Edmondson and five privates took part in the charge. During the counter-attack Corporal Edmondson was wounded in the neck and stomach but continued to advance under heavy fire and killed one enemy with his bayonet. Later, his officer had his bayonet in one of the enemy and was grasped about the legs by him, when another attacked him from behind. He called for help, and Corporal Edmondson, who was some yards away, immediately came to his assistance and in spite of his wounds, killed both of the enemy. This action undoubtedly saved his officer's life. Shortly after returning from this successful counter-attack, Corporal Edmondson died of his wounds. His actions throughout the operations were outstanding for resolution, leadership and conspicuous bravery.

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John Daniel Hinton

Rank: Sergeant
Unit: 20th Battalion, 2nd N.Z.E.F. Canterbury Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
Awarded: 11th May 1945
Nationality: New Zealander

The citation in the London Gazette of 14th October, 1941, gives the following particulars:

On the night of 28th-29th April, 1941 during the fighting in Greece, a column of German armoured forces entered Kalamai; this column, which contained several armoured cars, 2" guns and 3" mortars, and two 6" guns, rapidly converged on a large force of British and New Zealand troops awaiting embarkation on the beach.

On the night of 28th-29th April, 1941 during the fighting in Greece, a column of German armoured forces entered Kalamai; this column, which contained several armoured cars, 2" guns and 3" mortars, and two 6" guns, rapidly converged on a large force of British and New Zealand troops awaiting embarkation on the beach. When the order to retreat to cover was given, Sergeant Hinton, shouting "To Hell with this, who'll come with me", ran to within several yards of the nearest gun; the gun fired, missing him, and he hurled two grenades, which completely wiped out the crew. He then came on with the bayonet followed by a crowd of New Zealanders. German troops abandoned the first 6" gun and retreated into two houses. Sergeant Hinton smashed the window and then the door of the first house and dealt with the garrison with the bayonet. He repeated the performance in the second house and as a result, until overwhelming German forces arrived, the New Zealanders held the guns. Sergeant Hinton then fell with a bullet wound through the lower abdomen and was taken prisoner.

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Nigel Gray Leakey

Rank: Sergeant
Unit: 1/6th Battalion, King’s Africa Rifles, British Army
Awarded: 9th July 1946
Nationality: Kenyan

The citation in the London Gazette of 15th November, 1945, gives the following particulars:

On the 19th of May, 1941, at Colito, Abyssinia, two companies of the 1st/6th The King's African Rifles successfully crossed the Billate River in the face of strong enemy opposition, and established a precarious bridgehead without hope of immediate reinforcement.

On the 19th of May, 1941, at Colito, Abyssinia, two companies of the 1st/6th The King's African Rifles successfully crossed the Billate River in the face of strong enemy opposition, and established a precarious bridgehead without hope of immediate reinforcement. Throughout the operation, Sergeant Leakey had been supporting the crossing with 3 inch mortar fire, and having expended all his ammunition, he went forward to see what he could do. Suddenly, the enemy launched a surprise counter-attack with medium and light tanks which emerged from the bush threatening to over-run the two companies of the 1st/6th The King's African Rifles. Advancing from the rear, one of these tanks was bearing down on the troops, who had no anti-tank weapons for their defence. With complete disregard for his own safety, and in the face of withering machine gun and rifle fire from the enemy's ground troops, and from more tanks in front, Sergeant Leakey leaped on top of the tank which was coming in from behind our position and wrenched open the turret. With his revolver he shot the Commander of this tank and the crew with the exception of the driver whom he forced to drive in to cover. Having failed to get the cannon of this tank to fire he dismounted, calling out I'll get them on foot, and charged across ground which was being swept by machine gun and shell fire from the other enemy tanks which were advancing and causing casualties to our infantry. In company with an African C.S.M. and two other Askari, he proceeded to stalk these tanks. The first two tanks passed, but Sergeant Leakey managed to jump on to the third tank and opened the turret and killed one of the crew before the fourth tank opened fire with a machine gun and shot him off the tank. Sergeant Leakey throughout the action displayed valour of the highest order, his determination and his initiative were entirely responsible for breaking up the Italian tank attack; by his own individual action he saved what would have undoubtedly developed into a most critical situation, for had the Italian tanks succeeded the result would have been the loss of a most valuable bridgehead which would have had most far reaching results on the subsequent operations. The superb courage and magnificent fighting spirit which Sergeant Leakey displayed, facing almost certain death, was an incentive to the troops who fought on with inspiration after witnessing the gallantry of this N.C.O.'s remarkable feat, and succeeded in retaining their positions in face of considerable odds.

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Alfred Clive Hulme

Rank: Sergeant
Unit: 23rd Battalion, 2nd N.Z.E.F. Canterbury Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
Awarded: 7th October 1941
Nationality: New Zealander

The citation in the London Gazette of 14th October, 1941, gives the following particulars:

Sergeant Hulme exhibited most outstanding and inspiring qualities of leadership, initiative; skill, endurance and most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty from the commencement of the heavy fighting in CRETE, on 20th May, 1941, until he was wounded in action 28th May, 1941.

Sergeant Hulme exhibited most outstanding and inspiring qualities of leadership, initiative; skill, endurance and most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty from the commencement of the heavy fighting in CRETE, on 20th May, 1941, until he was wounded in action 28th May, 1941. On ground overlooking MALEME Aerodrome on 20th and 21st May he personally led parties of his men from the area held by the forward position and destroyed enemy organised parties who had established themselves out in front of our position, from which they brought heavy rifle, machine-gun and mortar fire to bear on our defensive posts. Numerous snipers in this area were dealt with by Sergeant Hulme personally; 130 dead were counted here. On 22nd, 23rd and 24th May Sergeant Hulme was continually going out alone or with one or two men and destroying enemy snipers. On 25th May, when Sergeant Hulme had rejoined his Battalion, this unit counter-attacked GALATOS village. The attack was partially held up by a large party of the enemy holding the school, from which they were inflicting heavy casualties on our troops. Sergeant Hulme went forward alone, threw grenades into the school and so disorganised the defence that the counterattack was able to proceed successfully. On Tuesday, 27th May, when our troops were holding a defensive line at SUDA BAY during the final retirement, five enemy snipers had worked into position on the hillside overlooking the flank of the Battalion line. Sergeant Hulme volunteered to deal with the situation, and stalked and killed the snipers in turn. He continued similar work successfully through the day. On 28th May at STYLOS, when an enemy heavy mortar was severely bombing a very important ridge held by the Battalion rearguard troops, inflicting severe casualties, Sergeant Hulme, on his own initiative, penetrated the enemy lines, killed the mortar crew of four, put the mortar out of action, and thus very materially assisted the withdrawal of the main body through STYLOS. From the enemy mortar position he then worked to the left flank and killed three snipers who were causing concern to the rearguard. This made his score of enemy snipers 33 stalked and shot. Shortly afterwards Sergeant Hulme was severely wounded in the shoulder whilst stalking another sniper. When ordered to the rear, in spite of his wound, he directed traffic under fire and organised stragglers of various units into section groups.

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Charles Hazlitt Upham

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Unit: 20th Battalion, 2nd N.Z.E.F. Canterbury Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
Awarded: 11th May 1945
Nationality: New Zealander

The citation in the London Gazette of 14th October, 1941, gives the following particulars:

During the operations in Crete this officer performed a series of remarkable exploits, showing outstanding leadership, tactical skill and utter indifference to danger. He commanded a forward platoon in the attack on MALEME on 22nd May and fought his way forward for over 3,000 yards unsupported by any other arms and against a defence strongly organised in depth. During this operation his platoon destroyed numerous enemy posts but on three occasions sections were temporarily held up.

During the operations in Crete this officer performed a series of remarkable exploits, showing outstanding leadership, tactical skill and utter indifference to danger. He commanded a forward platoon in the attack on MALEME on 22nd May and fought his way forward for over 3,000 yards unsupported by any other arms and against a defence strongly organised in depth. During this operation his platoon destroyed numerous enemy posts but on three occasions sections were temporarily held up. In the first case, under a heavy fire from a machine gun nest he advanced to close quarters with pistol and grenades, so demoralizing the occupants that his section was able to "mop up" with ease. Another of his sections was then held up by two machine guns in a house. He went in and placed a grenade through a window, destroying the crew of one machine gun and several others, the other machine gun being silenced by the fire of his sections. In the third case he crawled to within 15 yards of an M.G. post and killed the gunners with a grenade. When his Company withdrew from MALEME he helped to carry a wounded man out under fire, and together with another officer rallied more men together to carry other wounded men out. He was then sent to bring in a company which had become isolated. With a Corporal he went through enemy territory over 600 yards, killing two Germans on the way, found the company, and brought it back to the Battalion's new position. But for this action it would have been completely cut off. During the following two days his platoon occupied an exposed position on forward slopes and was continuously under fire. Second Lieutenant Upham was blown over by one mortar shell, and painfully wounded by a piece of shrapnel behind the left shoulder, by another. He disregarded this wound and remained on duty. He also received a bullet in the foot which he later removed in Egypt. At GALATOS on 25th May his platoon was heavily engaged and came under severe mortar and machine-gun fire. While his platoon stopped under cover of a ridge Second-Lieutenant Upham went forward, observed the enemy and brought the platoon forward when the Germans advanced. They killed over 40 with fire and grenades and forced the remainder to fall back. When his platoon was ordered to retire he sent it back under the platoon Serjeant and he went back to warn other troops that they were being cut off. When he came out himself he was fired on by two Germans. He fell and shammed dead, then crawled into a position and having the use of only one arm rested his rifle in the fork of a tree and as the Germans came forward he killed them both. The second to fall actually hit the muzzle of the rifle as he fell. On 30th May at SPHAKIA his platoon was ordered to deal with a party of the enemy which had advanced down a ravine to near Force Headquarters. Though in an exhausted condition he climbed the steep hill to the west of the ravine, placed his men in positions on the slope overlooking the ravine and himself went to the top with a Bren Gun and two riflemen. By clever tactics he induced the enemy party to expose itself and then at a range of 500 yards shot 22 and caused the remainder to disperse in panic. During the whole of the operations he suffered from dysentery and was able to eat very little, in addition to being wounded and bruised. He showed superb coolness, great skill and dash and complete disregard of danger. His conduct and leadership inspired his whole platoon to fight magnificently throughout, and in fact was an inspiration to the Battalion.

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