Lance/Sgt John D. Baskeyfield V.C.

article-2588890-1C8CB46600000578-517_306x423A betrayal too far: Lance Sergeant. John Baskeyfield V.C. (22 years-old) died holding off German tanks single-handedly at Arnhem. 70 years on the school named in his honour have ‘re-branded the schools name’ to end ‘the schools legacy of failure’. A primary school named in honour of a Second World War hero killed in action is facing criticism after changing its name to shake off its ‘association with failure’. John Baskeyfield V.C. Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was placed in special measures in 2012 and has since been renamed Saint Nathaniel’s Academy. Trustees at the school have said they decided on the rebrand because they believed the school’s name was associated with ‘a legacy of failure’. But angry parents, historians and relatives of the gallant soldier – who sacrificed his life for his country aged just 22 – have hit out at the move and branded it an insult to his memory. MORE HERE: Utter betrayal of Lance/ Sgt John Baskeyfield V.C.The_British_Airborne_Division_at_Arnhem_and_Oosterbeek_in_Holland_BU1091Above: Men of the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment (1st Airborne Division) advance toward Arnhem, towing a 6 pounder anti–tank gun, 18 September 1944. Below: Operation Market Garden. In the Oosterbeek pocket, a six-pounder anti-tank gun of 1st Battalion Border Regiment knocks out an attacking German tank, 20 September 1944.largeThe full citation for Lance Sergeant Baskeyfield’s Victoria Cross appeared in a supplement to the London Gazette on 23 November 1944, reading:

War Office, 23rd November, 1944.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the VICTORIA CROSS to: –

No. 5057916 Lance-Sergeant John Daniel Baskeyfield, The South Staffordshire- Regiment (1st Airborne Division) (Stoke-on-Trent).

On 20th September, 1944, during the battle of Arnhem, Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield was the N.C.O. in charge of a 6-pounder anti-tank gun at Oosterbeek. The enemy developed a major attack on this sector with infantry, tanks and self-propelled guns with the obvious intent to break into and overrun the Battalion position. During the early stage of the action the crew commanded by this N.C.O. was responsible for the destruction of two Tiger tanks and at least one self propelled gun, thanks to the coolness and daring of this N.C.O., who, with complete disregard for his own safety, allowed each tank to come well within 100 yards of his gun before opening fire.

In the course of this preliminary engagement Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield was badly wounded in the leg and the remainder of his crew were either killed or badly wounded. During the brief respite after this engagement Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield refused to be carried to the Regimental Aid Post and spent his time attending to his gun and shouting encouragement to his comrades in neighbouring trenches.

After a short interval the enemy renewed the attack with even greater ferocity than before, under cover of intense mortar and shell fire. Manning his gun quite alone Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield continued to fire round after round at the enemy until his gun was put out of action. By this time his activity was the main factor in keeping the enemy tanks at bay. The fact that the surviving men in his vicinity were held together and kept in action was undoubtedly due to his magnificent example and outstanding courage. Time after time enemy attacks were launched and driven off. Finally, when his gun was knocked out, Lance Sergeant Baskeyfield crawled under intense enemy fire to another 6-pounder gun nearby, the crew of which had been killed, and proceeded to man it single-handed. With this gun he engaged an enemy self propelled gun which was approaching to attack. Another soldier crawled across the open ground to assist him but was killed almost at once. Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield succeeded in firing two rounds at the self propelled gun, scoring one direct hit which rendered it ineffective. Whilst preparing to fire a third shot, however, he was killed by a shell from a supporting enemy tank.

“The superb gallantry of this N.C.O. is beyond praise. During the remaining days at Arnhem stories of his valour were a constant inspiration to all ranks. He spurned danger, ignored pain and, by his supreme fighting spirit, infected all who witnessed his conduct with the same aggressiveness and dogged devotion to duty which characterised his actions throughout.”

The ‘School Trust’ as well as the principle of the school should all hang their heads in shame. It beggars belief that the school holding such a proud name was placed into ‘special measures,’ as it allowed itself to drop below the required educational standard in the first place. I accuse the ‘trust’ as well as the school ‘principal’ of being cowardly snivelling wretches who should have fought on; just as 22 year-old Lance Sergeant. John Baskeyfield V.C. did 70-years-ago when he made the ultimate sacrifice. “Each betrayal begins with trust.” In this case the term refers to the trustees of the Schools Trust!            Yours Aye.

‘Billie Boy … One of the very best.’

article-2583029-1C5C3E3700000578-517_634x633A first class posting for teenage hero of the Somme: Private who lied about his age to join up before being killed in action is commemorated on stamp bearing his image Private William ‘Billie’ Tickle was just 15 when he signed up, convincing recruiters he was 18. Two years later he died at the Battle of the Somme while charging enemy lines.They never found his body in the cloying, blood-drenched mud of the Somme. But nearly a century after a young soldier died fighting for king and country, he is about to see service again. Private William Tickle, who lied about his age to join the Army at just 15, is to be immortalised on a Royal Mail stamp bearing his image. His photograph will form part of a five-year commemoration of the First World War, honouring the millions of ordinary people who gave their lives for freedom or answered the patriotic call. The stamp – first class, of course – is one of a series being issued ahead of the centenary of the outbreak of war this summer. It uses a portrait of the private in uniform, donated decades ago by his proud mother to the Imperial War Museum so he would not be forgotten.  The original photograph  of ‘Billie Boy’ with his Mothers written note.Billie TickleThe picture was taken a few days before he was killed and originally bore her poignant, handwritten note beneath: ‘Billie Boy … One of the very best.’ Had she not labelled it so, few would surely remember the name of a young man whose sacrifice echoed that made by so many in ‘the war to end all wars’. William Cecil Tickle was only 15 when he signed up, convincing recruiting officers he was 18. He lived with his family in Hornsey, Middlesex, and joined the Essex Regiment in September 1914. By the time the 9th Battalion was mobilised in France the following spring, the keen young infantryman would have found himself in the company of countless ‘boy soldiers’ who signed up as teenagers.bildeThey landed in Boulogne on May 31 and instantly found themselves thrust into battle. After three months they would also fight in the Battle of Loos, among the biggest confrontations of the campaign, in which 16,000 died and 25,000 were wounded among British troops alone. The regiment fought heroically in the Somme, a landscape stripped bare by artillery,  and ferocious fighting. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a British ‘Tommy’ named Tickle, the private still managed a smile. In the last photograph of him, sent home to his mother, he is beaming with pride. Shortly after she received it, in July 1916, Private 13510 Tickle was killed in a charge against German lines at Ovillers. Like scores of others, his body was swallowed by the mud and never traced.wwi-mudElizabeth Tickle never got over the loss of her beloved son but was determined he should be remembered. In 1920 she answered an appeal for photographs of the fallen and it eventually became part of an exhibition in honour of the dead. ‘I should like to feel I can tell my friends that he is there with all his comrades,’ she wrote at the time. ‘He was only a boy but, God love him, he well did his duty.’ Now his image will appear next to the Queen’s head in a series that will also include stamps to commemorate war artists, and the role of women and civilians, among others. The stamps will be issued each year to 2018, starting in July.FWWboy1Theipeville memorial








Private 13510 William C. Tickle is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France, which stands for soldiers with no known grave. ‘Billie’ was one of 250,000 boy soldiers who lied about their age and volunteered to fight for King and Country. Well done ‘Billie Boy’ you will always be remembered.      Yours Aye.

Irving Milchberg Sep 15 1927 ~ January 26 2014

Irving Milchberg – obituary. Irving Milchberg was a cigarette seller in Warsaw who smuggled arms to the Jewish resistance to aid the Ghetto uprising

Irving Milchberg, who has died aged 86, was the wartime leader of the “Cigarette sellers of Three Crosses Square”, a gaggle of Jewish youths who sold smokes to German officers in wartime Warsaw while covertly spiriting food into the city’s ghetto and smuggling arms to the resistance.                                                               Irving Milchberg in 1944


For four years Milchberg’s survival, along with approximately 20 other youngsters, relied on a balancing act of “extreme fear and extreme hubris”. By hiding in plain sight they went unnoticed even to the hawkish SS who were garrisoned at the heart of their trading patch. In occupied territory a Jewish surname could be a death sentence, so Milchberg adopted the gentile name “Henrik Rozowski” and later the nickname “Bull”. His friends were safely known by the Polish versions of Toothy, Hoppy, Conky, Baldy, Whitey, Carrot Top and Chopper. Like the Baker Street Irregulars, this gang of street urchins “bargained, haggled and under sold each other eagerly” while helping others in need.

After the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto in November 1940 the Jewish community, approximately 30 per cent of the city’s population, had been jemmied into a district representing less than three per cent of the city’s space. Three Crosses Square sat in the Aryan area in the Central District, where a triumvirate of crosses capped St Alexander’s Church and two facing columns. It had been a major thoroughfare from the 18th century and during the occupation became a hub for the Nazi machine. The SS, German gendarmerie and Gestapo were all stationed in its vicinity. Yet Three Crosses Sqaure was something of a haven from the horrors of war and the nearby ghetto. According to Joseph Ziemian, in his memoir The Cigarette Sellers of Three Crosses Square (1970), life there was “relatively normal”; and Milchberg and the crew bartered packets of cigarettes and theatre tickets. Even so, it was a dangerous business. Milchberg was careful and resourceful, acquiring a work permit for the Ostbahn railway yard, where he unloaded coal trucks. Three Crosses SquareIrvingMilchbergsqu_2838040c

The Ostbahn workers became a channel to resistance units within the ghetto. Using a network of contacts, including an uncle and a tram-conductor , Milchberg smuggled in small arms hidden in hollowed-out loaves (the only food allowed through the barricades). The weapons added to the cache used by the Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Uprising of April and May 1943. To the other boys and girls he was a natural chief. “In their eyes he was grown-up and experienced,” wrote Ziemian. “Bull had authority.” Milchberg, however, took a practical view of his wartime bravery. “To tell you the truth, I never thought much,” he said last year. “If I had to do something, I did it. I didn’t have time to analyse it.”

Ignac Milchberg (later known as Irving) was born in Warsaw on September 15 1927 into a merchant family which traded in household goods. His upbringing was a happy and relatively affluent one. “Warsaw was once the centre of my universe,” recalled Milchberg late in life. After the invasion his family was rounded up and placed in the segregated quarter, crammed into a single room above a grocery. His father “appraised the situation correctly early on and was among the first of the ‘outside’ workers” – those allowed beyond the walls to work in the lumber yards. This kept the family in food. “The very idea of going to a favourite football field only five blocks away was like going to the moon,” Irving later recalled.  Below: Whitey, far right, and two other cigarette sellers during the warBook - The Cigarette Sellers of Three Crosses Square

Milchberg lost his entire immediate family in the war. His father was executed in 1942 by a German gendarme after attempting to smuggle a packet of saccharine into the Ghetto. The sentry told him to run and then shot him in the back. “At this tragic moment, although only 15 years old, Bull showed a surprising energy and ability to cope. He established contact with other outside workers and through them exchanged clothes and other articles for food,” noted Ziemian. In the wake of his father’s murder Milchberg was detained, but he managed to escape in the swirling crowds in the Umschlagplatz, which had become a holding pen for the Treblinka trains. On returning to the family’s room he found the door wide open – a bad sign. Inside, however, nothing had been touched. He cried out for his family, but there was no response. His mother and three sisters had been sent to Treblinka where they all perished. From 1940 to 1943, more than 400,000 of Warsaw’s Jews died in the walled Ghetto or in the camps.

Milchberg escaped two further deportation attempts, finding safety in the kindness of strangers: he was taken on as an apprentice to a cobbler then as assistant to an ice cream maker. The threat of death hung over all parties. While being chased in the street by anti-Semitic Poles he fell and seriously injured his leg. The cobbler, once again, hid him (this time in his attic) against the objections of his terrified wife, before delivering him to a sympathetic doctor. Milchberg and ‘Conky’Milchbergandconky_2838164c

After the war Milchberg relocated to Canada, where he settled in Niagara Falls and opened a jewellery store. It was there, in 1953, that he met his wife, Renee, a visiting tourist. Renee’s war had been similarly dramatic, as she had managed to survive for years in a Russian labour camp. In 1993 Milchberg travelled to Warsaw, in the company of his daughter Anne, for the first time since emigrating. He was accompanied by a Canadian film crew. In Return To The Warsaw Ghetto, an hour-long documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Uprising, he was left visibly shaken by the ghosts of his wartime youth. Hoppy (Josef Szindler) and Frenchy (Kazik Gelblum) were just two of the cigarette boys killed by the Germans. “You handle it by having a family, by creating a new life for yourself,” he declared in defiance. “We need to show those murderers that we survived, in spite of them.” He is survived by his wife Renee, along with a son and a daughter. Irving Milchberg, born September 15 1927, died January 26 2014


“It is a stunning book, not only for the subject matter, but for its testament to the human spirit. These children didn’t just survive. They lived.”
We should never forget any of those poor souls who suffered in such a way.            Yours Aye.

‘fight to the last man and the last round’

article-2566096-1BC27C3900000578-845_634x421The last soldier to fire on advancing German troops in one of the Second World War’s most important battles has died aged 94. Ray Ellis, who died in Nottingham, was also the last surviving veteran of the famous ‘Battle of Knightsbridge’ in 1942. The battle – one of the most celebrated acts of bravery in the Royal Artillery’s history – saw the 107th Regiment of the South Nottinghamshire Hussars virtually wiped out. Former Hussar Captain Gil Aldridge hailed Mr Ellis as the last soldier to fire on the Germans at the end of the battle. Ordered to ‘fight to the last man and the last round’, they stuck to their guns as their comrades fell around them. For three days, the band of Desert Rats suffered relentless Panzer attacks and mounting casualties as they held the line in North Africa from German Field Marshal Erwin ‘Desert Fox’ Rommel’s advancing tanks. Their heroism during one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War was later immortalised on canvas.             Click on image to enlargeKnightsbridgeMr Ellis was captured and taken to a prisoner of war camp, but launched a daring escape and found shelter with a sympathetic family. He was shipped from Libya to the camp in Italy but escaped by marching out of the main gate as if on a work party and hid in the mountains for a year. A young girl discovered him and led him to the farming family who sheltered him. Mr Ellis named one of his daughters, Nerina, after her, and has returned regularly to the hill village of Massa Fermana, near Ancona, to visit the family who kept him alive.               The last round fired, Sergeant Ellis. Royal Horse Artillery article-2566096-18FD562A000005DC-243_634x356Describing the events of the last day of the battle on June 6, 1942, Mr Ellis told how he remained at his 25-pounder gun and witnessed the death of the shirtless comrade beside him. He said: ‘My regiment had been given the order to fight to the last man and the last round and not to retire, and this painting shows our position after a long day’s battle. I fought in that battle. ‘The regiment was almost wiped out – but by some miracle, I was the last man virtually, and I fired the last round. That round, which was at about six o’clock at night, hit a Mark IV tank. More HereLast soldier to fire on advancing Nazi troops during WWII Battle of Knightsbridge dies aged 94

Yet another great man has crossed the bar, a humble modest man whose action in 1942 is remembered and traditionally celebrated annually by the Royal Horse Artillery. Rest In Peace Sgt Ray Ellis RHA.      Yours Aye.

Righting a wrong

article-2565490-1BBC41F900000578-642_636x382Vietnam war hero Melvin Morris, 72, will receive a Medal of Honor more than 40 years after he was passed over because he was African-American. The Floridian is among 24 Hispanic, Jewish and African-American recipients who were initially overlooked because of their ethnicity. The ceremony comes after a decade-long congressionally mandated review of minorities who may have been passed over for the U.S. military’s highest honor because of long-held prejudices. The Special Forces hero who will get the Medal of Honor more than 40 years after he was ‘passed over because he was black’

Thankfully times have changed for the better. Sadly the review has taken a decade, which means some medals will now be issued posthumously. Well deserved Staff Melvin Sergeant Morris, I for one look forward to reading your Citation.       Yours Aye.

One of the Greatest Generation

article-2564838-1BB53B1100000578-579_634x529The last of the living Medal of Honor recipients that stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day has crossed the bar. Staff Sergeant Walter Ehlers, 92, of Buena Park, CA., earned the nation’s highest honor and multiple other medals for his heroic actions during the taking of the small sliver of French beach from German soldiers. He also received three purple hearts and a silver star. One of the Greatest Generation.


CitationFor conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 9-10 June 1944, near Goville, France. S/Sgt. Ehlers, always acting as the spearhead of the attack, repeatedly led his men against heavily defended enemy strong points exposing himself to deadly hostile fire whenever the situation required heroic and courageous leadership. Without waiting for an order, S/Sgt. Ehlers, far ahead of his men, led his squad against a strongly defended enemy strong point, personally killing 4 of an enemy patrol who attacked him en route. Then crawling forward under withering machine-gun fire, he pounced upon the gun crew and put it out of action. Turning his attention to 2 mortars protected by the crossfire of 2 machineguns, S/Sgt. Ehlers led his men through this hail of bullets to kill or put to flight the enemy of the mortar section, killing 3 men himself. After mopping up the mortar positions, he again advanced on a machine-gun, his progress effectively covered by his squad. When he was almost on top of the gun he leaped to his feet and, although greatly outnumbered, he knocked out the position single-handed. The next day, having advanced deep into enemy territory, the platoon of which S/Sgt. Ehlers was a member, finding itself in an untenable position as the enemy brought increased mortar, machine-gun, and small arms fire to bear on it, was ordered to withdraw. S/Sgt. Ehlers, after his squad had covered the withdrawal of the remainder of the platoon, stood up and by continuous fire at the semicircle of enemy placements, diverted the bulk of the heavy hostile fire on himself, thus permitting the members of his own squad to withdraw. At this point, though wounded himself, he carried his wounded automatic rifleman to safety and then returned fearlessly over the shell-swept field to retrieve the automatic rifle which he was unable to carry previously. After having his wound treated, he refused to be evacuated, and returned to lead his squad. The intrepid leadership, indomitable courage, and fearless aggressiveness displayed by S/Sgt. Ehlers in the face of overwhelming enemy forces serve as an inspiration to others. The last Medal of Honor recipient to have stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day dies at 92

Rest In Peace Staff Sergeant Walter Ehlers, Your Duty is Done.                Yours Aye.

A Very Gallant Gentleman

Oates-in-UniformCaptain Lawrence Edward Grace (“Titus”) Oates (17 March 1880 –16 March 1912). Born 17th March 1880, in Putney, London.

In 1898 after leaving Eton, Oates joined the 3rd West Yorkshire (Militia) Regiment, and two years later joined the army, being posted to the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons. In 1901 he went on active service in the South African War. He served with distinction, and was mentioned in dispatches for gallantry in the field. He was severely wounded in March 1901, and was invalided home for a short period, but returned to the front before the end of the year.

In 1902 he was promoted Lieutenant, and successively served with his regiment in Ireland, Egypt, and India, and promoted Captain in 1906. In 1910, Oates applied for a post on the Antarctic expedition under Captain Robert Falcon Scott. He was accepted and with his knowledge of horses, was put in charge of nineteen ponies, which were to be used for sledge haulage.images

The expedition sailed in June 1910 on the Terra Nova, and leaving New Zealand in November reached the Ross Sea and established a base at Cape Evans on Ross Island, in January 1911. In November 1911, Oates formed part of the sledging party under Scott, which set out for the South Pole. The South Pole was reached on the 18th January 1912, after an arduous journey, thirty-four days after Roald Amundsen had planted the Norwegian flag there. The return journey was begun the same day, temperatures were extremely low and weather conditions were adverse. Oates showed signs of feeling the cold severely, but the party made good progress to the Beardmore Glacier. On the 17th February, Petty Officer Evans was the first to succumb to the cold, and died. The four remaining men in the party continued to the next depot, but travelling conditions worsened and temperatures fell to below minus forty-seven degrees. Survival depended on the ability of the men to reach each depot before their food and fuel supplies were exhausted.26

Oates was suffering from frost-bitten feet, but he continued for as long as he was able. As travelling conditions worsened, Oates realised he could go no further and asked to be left behind, as he feared he would hold up the progress of the rest of the party, lessening their chance of survival. His request was refused, and for another day he struggled on. On the morning of March 17th , during a blizzard, Oates said to Scott “I’m just going outside and may be some time”. He was never seen again. The self-sacrifice of Oates enabled the three men to push on, and there was a possibility that, in spite of their extreme exhaustion, they might cover the thirty miles to the food supplies at One Ton depot. However, a heavy blizzard held them up eleven miles from the depot, and, unable to proceed, the three men perished on the 29th March 1912.

A search party found the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers on the 12th November 1912, but never found that of Oates. Near the site of his death they erected a cairn and cross bearing the inscription, ‘Hereabouts died a very gallant gentleman, Captain L. E. G. Oates, of the Inniskilling Dragoons. In March 1912, returning from the Pole, he walked willingly to his death in a blizzard, to try and save his comrades, beset by hardships.’ Oates Land, part of the Antarctic coastline discovered by the Terra Nova in February 1911, was named in Oates’ honour.      “I am just going outside and may be some time”.oates_272191cScott wrote in his diary on 18 March: “Should this be found I want these facts recorded: Oates’ last thoughts were of his Mother, but immediately before he took pride in thinking that his regiment would be pleased with the bold way in which he met his death. We can testify to his bravery. He has borne suffering for weeks without complaint, and to the very last was able and willing to discuss outside subjects. He did not – would not – give up hope to the very end. He was a brave soul. This was the end. He slept through the night before last, hoping not to wake; but he woke in the morning – yesterday. It was blowing a blizzard. He said, ‘I am just going outside and may be some time’. He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since.”

Information sourced from the Royal Naval Museum Library 2004.

Everywhere Where Duty and Glory Lead

Major-General Logan Scott-Bowden. CBE, DSO, MC and Bar. Royal Engineers. Ubique (Everywhere) Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt (Where Duty and Glory Lead)Logan-ScottBowden_2825603bAs a 24-year-old, ‘Major’ Logan Scott-Bowden was a ‘sapper’ who carried out daring missions to ensure the Normandy beaches were ready for D-Day.

Major-General Logan Scott-Bowden, who has died aged 93, carried out secret reconnaissance missions to the Normandy beaches which paved the way for the D-Day landings. Scott-Bowden was a member of the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP), a small unit which specialised in the clandestine survey of potential sites for the Allied landings in Italy and later France. On the night of New Year’s Eve 1943, he and Sergeant Bruce Ogden-Smith, clad in rubber swimsuits, swam for 400 yards from a landing craft to the area west of Ver-Sur-Mer, later known as Gold Beach. Each carried a Colt 45, a commando knife, wire cutters, wrist compass, emergency rations, waterproof torch and an earth auger for testing the bearing capacity of the beach. The objective of their mission was to determine whether the landing area would stand up to the weight of heavy vehicles disembarking in great numbers. If armour and supply vehicles became bogged down in a hitherto undetected substratum of clay or peat bog, it would put the whole operation in jeopardy. Combined Operations Badge that remains in use today.images-1

As they moved along the beach, they had to flatten themselves on the ground every minute as the beam from the local lighthouse swept over them. Heavy rain arrived to provide some very welcome cover and, encouraged by the sounds of New Year celebrations, the pair spent several hours collecting samples in bandoliers. Heavily laden by the time they attempted the return journey, they were thrown back many times by the rough sea before they managed to get through the surf. Scott-Bowden thought that his companion was in trouble when he heard him shouting, but when he turned to help he found Ogden-Smith wishing him a happy New Year. “Swim, you bastard,” yelled Scott-Bowden, “or we will land back on the beach.” One of them dropped an auger, which was found by a Frenchman who – realising its significance – hid it until after the war. On their return, the samples were rushed to scientists for assessment. Scott-Bowden was awarded an MC.X-25Their next assignment, in an X-Craft midget submarine commanded by Nigel Willmott, the founder of COPP, was to survey Omaha Beach, near Vierville. After boarding at Gosport, they were towed to mid-Channel by an armed trawler before starting their diesel engine and travelling on the surface during the hours of darkness. At dawn on January 18 1944, they submerged and, with Scott-Bowden at the helm, soon found their way partly blocked by a French fishing fleet with armed guards. As they threaded their way through the nets, they raised the periscope. Scott-Bowden found himself staring at the face of a German soldier perched on the stern of a boat, puffing away at his pipe. They beached at periscope depth in seven feet of water. Scott-Bowden snatched a look through the periscope and was astonished to see hundreds of soldiers at work. He later reported that the Germans were establishing an immensely strong defensive position.X crat breaking surface

The submarine withdrew offshore using its electric motor, surfaced and recharged its batteries. For the night reconnaissance, the eastern sector of the beach was chosen. Scott-Bowden and Ogden-Smith swam ashore. They checked for obstacles and mines above the high-water mark. A patrol passed nearby but they were not interrupted. The area was destined to be used on D-Day by the US (1st) Division. After a daylight reconnaissance the following day, at nightfall the two men made another sortie, this time to the adjoining sector. As they reached shallow water, a powerful torch was beamed straight at them. They kept their faces down and, after a nerve-wracking wait, the sentry switched it off. They swam away to the east and examined a beach in detail. Stones from a shingle bank that might cause problems to tanks were retrieved and the locations of wire and a suspected minefield noted. Bomber Command laid on a raid on the river Orne to divert the sentries’ attention. They had spent three nights on the beaches and four days on the seabed. Scott-Bowden was appointed DSO for the operation. Ogden-Smith, a veteran of the Special Boat Service, finished the war with an MM and a DCM. 

Logan Scott-Bowden was born at Whitehaven, Cumberland, on February 21 1920 and educated at Malvern and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, where he was an accomplished athlete and swimmer. Commissioned into the Corps of Royal Engineers, in 1940 he served with 162 Independent Company in the Norwegian Campaign. The following year he was posted to 53 (Welsh) Division RE as adjutant. After a spell in Canada and America on liaison duties, in May 1943 he joined COPP and was based at Hayling Island.                COPP Memorial Hayling Island, click to enlargeCOPP MemorialOn D-Day he was assigned to Naval Force “O” and took station at the head of the fleet and immediately in front of landing craft carrying amphibious Sherman tanks. His task was to observe the first assault wave on Omaha Beach and report to his Force Commander, Rear Admiral Hall. He had been ordered to return to England but his job with COPP was finished and, on June 10, he risked being court martialled by taking command of 17th Field Company (17FC), whose commander had been badly wounded. He was soon busy laying 5,000 mines across the expected axis of an enemy counter-attack. For the next 10 months, he led his Company in every action. When his men were responsible for “gapping” large and treacherous minefields, invariably Scott-Bowden carried out the reconnaissance himself and directed the work, often under heavy fire. In April 1945, at Lingen, 17FC was building a bridge over the Dortmund-Ems canal when a self-propelled gun opened up at close range. Scott-Bowden directed the operation, standing on the bridge, until he was wounded. The citation for the award to him of a Bar to his Military Cross stated that “his individual feats of gallantry are almost too numerous to record”.s189899After the war he was posted to the Far East, briefly as GSO2 in Singapore, then as brigade major of 98th Indian Infantry Brigade who were countering insurgency in Burma. Two years in the Middle East with 1st Division, commanding 12 Field Company RE, were followed by an appointment as DAQMG at the War Office. He reassumed command of 12 Field Company in Korea and, on returning to England, became brigade major of the Training Brigade at Aldershot. After a course at the Joint Services Staff College, in 1956 he was posted as DCRE (Works) Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg. During this appointment, he was honorary secretary of the British Kiel Yacht Club. Two years in Aden followed, and he then returned to the 1st Division in Germany as CRE. After appointments as head of the UKLF Planning Staff and Assistant Director of Defence Plans at the new Ministry of Defence, he returned to Aldershot in 1966 to command the Training Brigade.

In 1970-71 he raised and commanded the Ulster Defence Regiment, a force of seven battalions drawn from all sections of the community. He was then appointed head of the British Defence Liaison Staff in India. Having retired in 1974 he farmed in Oxfordshire. Holidays were spent in Italy, camping in Bavaria and skiing in Austria. Appointed CBE in 1972, he was Colonel Commandant RE from 1975 to 1980. Logan Scott-Bowden married, in 1950, Jocelyn Rose Price. She predeceased him and he is survived by their three sons, all of whom served in the Army, and three daughters.

Logan Scott-Bowden, born February 21 1920, died February 9 2014

Major General Logan Scott-Bowden has crossed many sand bars, this being his final one.

I have the greatest respect for the ‘Sappers’ having worked alongside side them many times in past years, my son also served as one.            Yours Aye.

Military Obituary The Telegraph

For the benefit of others…

Last night I watched a program that I heard is referred to as a ‘docudrama’, which in simplistic terms is a factual documentary set around people & their social inadequacies, who dwell and survive in James Turner Street, Winson Green, a deprived inner-city area  of Birmingham; where drama is an everyday occurrence, or so we are led to believe. Described by the small clip in the following link. Channel 4 ‘Benefits Street’ James Turner StEvery major town throughout the UK, Europe and the Western world suffers the same as depicted within the ‘docudrama’, though the levels of despair can vary dramatically. In all fairness to the people concerned in James Turner Street, the camera does lie, and with some fancy cutting and jaunty camera angles, it portrays the street in a far worse light than what appears in reality. In addition to this, there are thoroughly decent hard-working people who live along the street who are rarely shown, sadly they are now suffering the stigma associated with the socially inadequate portrayed, of whom live on government benefit, and survive through the murky world of fraud, theft, and drug dealing. Under these circumstances, the young have very little chance of breaking away from the legacy handed down by their parents, who in turn are part of a vicious circle of generations that have lived their whole lives on benefits, whose contribution is purely to the black economy that surrounds them. Two residents with their shoplifting spoils, as shown on the program supporting the black economy…Benefits-Street-2997886

I despair at the youth of today, who allow themselves to be dragged down by their parents, who should know better through attending a digitally enhanced educational system, but continue with the hand that life dealt them. There are those special few who sign on for a military life, who do break free of the chain, and go on to make a true life for themselves, and for their children that follow. Additionally there are those who seek work further afield, and break free of the conditions encircling them. 

Just recently I was privy to a collection of conversations, that took place between several ‘mid-teen’ potential candidates for a job opening. During the verbal interview each candidate was asked if they had a role model in life, and if so who, and why? All except one quoted a celebrity. The ‘one’ in particular mentioned a school friend, who had scrimped and saved to pay her own way towards a six month voluntary position working with a humanitarian group in Greece. The ‘one’ secured the vacant post, mainly due to her qualifications, but also supported by her verbal interview, and work ethics, which impressed the three person panel. After the interview my good friend asked who her school friend used as a role model, her reply was “Kate Nesbitt, the first female in the Royal Navy to win a Military Cross.” Kate Nesbitt receives M.C.  A 21-year-old, five foot tall sailor, with a heart of oak…Kate_NesbittMedical Assistant Able Seaman Class 1. Kate Nesbitt M.C. Royal Navy Whose Citation reads ”Under fire and under pressure her commitment and courage were inspirational and made the difference between life and death. She performed in the highest traditions of her service.”watson_2779776b 

A few days ago ‘The Jolly Roger’ sent a link referring to Drever Watson (formerly Ms. Drever Belle McDonald), who had recently died aged 89.  A Royal Naval nurse, who in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War cared for former prisoners of the Japanese who were too traumatised to return to normal life in Britain. At the outbreak of war, Drever’s mother, Stewartina McDonald, was in charge of the Red Cross in Dartmouth, and at 16-years-old Drever was recruited as a Red Cross volunteer. On her first day she was put on what were called “special duties” — sitting for hours with a mortally wounded young sailor until he died. Only in 1944, when she was 20, was Drever allowed to join a Voluntary Aid Detachment (or VAD) and be sent overseas. She became a theatre nurse at the Royal Naval Hospital Bighi in Malta, but it was after the war that she saw the severest casualties. These included some wounded from Burma and PoWs of the Japanese who were landed in Malta to be treated for trauma.  A compassionate caring woman from a generation sadly leaving us, the same generation who would be proud of those stepping into their footsteps today…Operational Awards List

Indeed, only this morning I had a reply from ‘Coffeypot‘ that included a link to  Lance Corporal Kylie Watson M.C. Royal Army Medical Corps  who was summoned to the office of her Commanding Officer for a ‘fireside chat’ she feared the worst. ‘Do you know why you are here?’ he asked the combat medic. ‘Am I in trouble, Sir?’ she enquired. ‘No,’ he told her, ‘You’ve been awarded the Military Cross.’ The 23-year-old, whose tour of Afghanistan’s Helmand province was her first as a fully qualified battlefield medic, was stunned. ‘Are you sure you’ve got the right soldier?’ she asked. But there was no mistake. The extraordinary heroism she displayed by twice running into Taliban fire to treat wounded comrades had been recognised with one of the UK’s highest honours. A 21-year-old, five foot tall soldier, with nerves of steel…

All is not lost when we have past and present role models such as these, and there are so many more untold heroes who make up for the ‘ill disposed’ found in our inner-cities, not all of which have a military background. There are decent folk who give their time, as well as their money to assist those in need.socialist chamagne   The two champagne socialist clowns to the right are NOT classed as decent folk. They are as GUILTY as hell, and should be tried for treason for trying to destroy the country, and its economy when they were in power.

No doubt there will be a few socialist left-wing ‘nutters’ reading this who will pour scorn over my scribing’s, who will state that the right-wing Tory government are at fault! When in fact the same nutters stayed silent over the same diseased streets that existed under the last Socialist Labour government, who added to the problem by opening our borders to a mass influx of economic and social immigrants without back ground checks. And then blatantly lied over the numbers involved, who were then allowed to bleed the benefit system dry.  ‘Gawd’ knows what the second episode will bring, but I, yours truly, will watch it, even though I know it will only get worse…            Yours Aye.

Please do not think that I infer for one minute, that the heroines mentioned come from such a background as the ‘ill-disposed’ accredited to James Turner Street. 

Boycott this despicable woman

Natasha Leggero, the comic who was slammed as ‘disgusting’ for making a joke that World War II veterans are so old they are only able to chew SpaghettiOs during NBC’s New Year’s Eve coverage, says she is not sorry for the jab that created controversy for the TV network. Born in Rockford, Illinois, of Italian descent… article-2532278-1A5D257900000578-230_634x420

The 31-year-old comedian angered some audience members during NBC’s ‘New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly’ when she made an offhand remark in regard to a tasteless tweet that SpaghettiOs had posted on Pearl Harbor Day. ‘I mean, it sucks that the only survivors of Pearl Harbor are being mocked by the only food they can still chew,’ Leggero quipped. Deluged in angry Tweets, most of which can’t be published, Leggero responded in a post on her blog on Friday,  when she wrote ‘I’m not sorry’: Comedian Natasha Leggero refuses to apologize mocking Pearl Harbor survivors on NBC


Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.                 President Ronald Reagan

This woman can express herself in any which way she chooses, purely because decent men and women sacrificed all that was dear to them throughout WWII. Her comment was unjust, despicable, and cruel. I trust the decent American public treat her with the utter contempt she deserves. Her career should cease with immediate effect, and those sharing in her laughter on the same platform should hang their heads in shame!   Yours Aye.

1944. Pilot Officer W. Overstreet Jr, visits Paris, in style…

imagesA World War II fighter pilot who gained fame for dramatically flying beneath the Eiffel Tower’s arches to take down a German Messerschmitt 109, has died aged 92. William Overstreet Jr. died on Sunday at a hospital in Roanoke, Virginia. Pilot Officer W. Overstreet Jr famously flew his P-51C ‘Berlin Express’ beneath the Eiffel Tower in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, which has been credited with lifting the spirits of Free French Resistance troops on the groundarticle-2533373-1A67091C00000578-219_634x484.

For his valiant service, the French ambassador to the United States presented Overstreet with France’s Legion of Honor at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford in 2009. WWII fighter pilot who flew THROUGH the Eiffel Tower dies in Virginia aged 92 In the spring of 1944, he was following a German Messerschmitt 109 over Paris, when the two planes entered into a duelling dog-fight.035

High up over Paris ‘Overstreet’ eventually hit the Messerschmitt’s engine. As the German pilot desperately sought to out-maneuver ‘Overstreet’, he flew beneath the Eiffel Tower – but the brave American Pilot flew directly beneath it and continued to press home his attack with withering fire. The Messerschmitt crashed, and Overstreet was able to escape back to the skies over the city, from where he made his way back to base.

As each day passes we lose true heroes from WWII. We should never forget any of them. Yours Aye.

Gone, now never forgotten…

article-2532589-1A6212E400000578-802_634x515An IT expert has fitted a barcode to his father’s gravestone which when scanned reveals the story of the war hero’s part in the Arctic Convoys of the Second World War. Developer Joe Davies used QR code technology to install the bar-code on the headstone, giving those who visit former Merchant Seaman Charles Davies’s final resting place, an interactive guide of his life.Anyone with a smart phone or tablet computer can scan the barcode, which then takes them to a specially created memorial webpage on the site Forever Missed. article-2532589-1A623A2500000578-297_634x421Read more here:

Son installs interactive bar-code on his father’s gravestone so cemetery visitors can learn about his brave service in Arctic Convoys during World War Two

I often visit memorial cemeteries to visit and pay respect to those I have known who have passed before me. On several occasions I have witnessed unknown ‘Ex Bootneck graves, and wondered of their past, and what actions or operations they served in. Personally I think this is a great idea, we must never forget those who served, in addition to family, and friends alike. This is done with the dignity & respect it deserves.  Yours Aye.

Maj. Robb T. McDonald USMC “Fear not, I’m here”

Major Robb McDonald USMC was awarded a Silver Star Monday for his bravery during the September 2012 attack on Camp Bastion, which apparently targeted Prince Harry. The Marine Corps air base in Afghanistan had been raided by 15 heavily armed Taliban insurgents, jets were exploding and a lake of fuel was aflame when McDonald arrived on the scene, and found his commanding officer dead.article-0-19FECDD600000578-927_634x424With some 50 Marines holed up in an aluminum-sided building that officials later called indefensible, the former force reconnaissance Marine who already has two Bronze Star medals for valor in combat, took the helm and led a counterattack, which ended in 14 of the enemy dead and one wounded. Hero Marine who fought back attack on Afghan base is awarded Silver Star   ’But despite the horror, a hero emerged that night.’      Yours  Aye

R.I.P. Edward J. ‘Babe’ Heffron, Easy Company-Band of Brothers

avn120313aWe few, we happy few, ‘we band of brothers‘ For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother. Edward J ‘Babe’ Heffron, whose Second World War service as a member of the 101st Airborne famed Easy Company was recounted in the book and TV miniseries Band Of Brothers, has died, aged 90. ‘Babe’ Heffron died Sunday 1st December 2013, at Kennedy Hospital in Stratford, New Jersey, said his daughter, Patricia Zavrel. Foreground, ‘Babe’ Heffron (machine gunner). Rear George Luz

Geroge Luz & 'Babe' Heffron Easy Coy 506th PIR Airborne

As Private Heffron, he and the rest of his Band Of Brothers fought through some of war’s fiercest European battles starting with the parachute landings of Operation Market Garden. Although there are 20 surviving members of Easy Company, there are just four members of the original Band Of Brothers – all in their late 80s or early 90s. One of the last of Easy Company stands down: Second World veteran Edward ‘Babe’ Heffron dies at 90 after being immortalised in Band Of Brothers  Edward “Babe” Heffron, May 16, 1923 – December 1, 2013

 I want people to know we’re not heroes. We did our duty, just like sixteen million others who fought in the war. Everyone, including the families, sacrificed in some way. The kids who didn’t come home are the heroes. They’re the ones who gave their lives. Their parents are the heroes, because they gave a child.”    ‘Babe’ Heffron also appeared in the miniseries ‘Band of Brothers’ as an extra, in the scene of Eindhoven, from the Dutch episode.

tumblr_mx5e2hNoWp1qzxop4o1_500Pass friend, and stand down, you have done more than your share of duty.   Yours Aye.

The soldier who just refused to give up

The soldier who just refused to give up: Awe-inspiring spirit of WWI hero who lost two brothers in action, and a sister in a Zeppelin raid but survived being left for dead in a heap of bodies at Passchendale.article-2516471-19C2C80C00000578-510_636x382A soldier who survived the Somme and fought at Ypres was left for dead after being shot in the stomach at Passchendale, his son has revealed. The body of Robert Collie was then thrown onto a heap of corpses while he was still alive and he was only saved after a passing India medic saw him twitching. He survived his wounds and returned to the fighting, serving in India after World War I finished, and rose through the ranks from Private to Major.

Sadly Robert Collie lost both of his brothers after they were wounded in action during the war, and his sister who was killed by a Zeppelin during a bombing raid in London. The story of the Scottish soldier who refused to die has only now come to light after his son, also called Robert, decided to sell his 13 medals. Robert, 75, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, said: ‘My father was a tough Scotsman and not a lot phased him.article-2516471-19C163B000000578-540_634x303Major Collie earned 13 medals during his service. From left to right, they are: MBE, 1914 Star, 1914-18 War medal, Victory medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, World War II War medal, 1939-45 India medal, 1935 and 1937 Commemorative medals,George IV and Queen Elizabeth Coronation medal, George V Long Service medal, George V Meritorious Service medal. Major Collie served in two World Wars and served with distinction.

Robert, a semi-retired accountant, added: ‘My father met and married my mother, Kathleen, while she worked as a children’s nurse in Calcutta in 1937 and I was born a year later. ’I inherited the medals from him. My two children don’t really want them and I thought I would look to give them a good home now.  The soldier who just refused to give up: Awe-inspiring spirit of WWI hero who lost two brothers in action and a sister in a Zeppelin raid but SURVIVED being left for dead in a heap of bodies at Passchendale… 

UNBELIEVABLE ! “My two children don’t really want them and I thought I would look to give them a good home now?”  Robert Collie (Jr) PIN YOUR EARS BACK & LISTEN IN! Your children, the Grandchildren of a brave man, should hang their heads in shame, they are not fit to carry his name, nor do they warrant any association with him. If it is not about money, then donate the medals to your fathers Regimental Museum, where future generations who do care about past sacrifice, can read about your Fathers heroic exploits.

I am utterly disgusted by the thought; that a man who is prepared to give his all for his country, can have his memory tossed to one side by his own family.             Yours Aye.

Sefton, a cavalry horse who refused to die

Air_Raid_Damage_in_London,_1940_HU36206Throughout WWII Hitler tried to destroy the morale of the British people by blitzing London and major British cities around the United Kingdom. He did so in the hope that Great Britain would capitulate through the fierce fire storms, death and destruction dropped from above. He failed, and he failed miserably. It made the British stand stronger, and bond closer together.  Below: 1996. Manchester city centre, aftermath of an IRA 1000 Ib bomb1996-manchester-bombing-iraIn the 70′s, 80′s & 90′s, Irish terrorists brought their indiscriminate bombing campaign to mainland Britain; they took many innocent lives, and destroyed many more, as well as severely damaged property and infrastructure. They failed miserably in their effort to make the British public cower, they only succeeded in strengthening their resolve. The cowardly terrorists had obviously learned nothing from their history lessons at school. This was proven more so when they left a large remote IED, packed heavily with ‘dockyard confetti’ at Horse guards parade in London on the 20th July 1982. Several minutes after the blast1816240__415642cHidden in a blue Austin car parked on South Carriage Drive in Hyde Park, the IED was detonated remotely, as Queen Elizabeth II’s official bodyguard regiment, the Household Cavalry rode past it during the Changing of the Guard procession from their barracks in Knightsbridge to Buckingham Palace. Three soldiers of the Blues & Royals were killed instantly, another died three days later from his injuries. The other soldiers in the procession were all badly wounded as shrapnel and nails sprayed them as well as the crowd of tourists assembled to watch the parade, causing further injuries. Seven of the regiment’s horses were also killed or had to be euthanised because of their injuries.SeftonAmong the horses that were seriously wounded and peppered with shrapnel was one that stood out more than any other. Sefton, a strong but gentle black gelding. Sefton’s injuries were serious. They included a severed jugular vein, wounded right eye and 34 wounds covering his body. Sergeant Michael Pedersen, who was riding him, noted that Sefton responded so competently that when the bomb exploded there was no chance of him being thrown off. But Sgt Pedersen, who, in full state uniform and in severe shock, could do little to help Sefton. Another Trooper, one of many who had run down from the barracks after hearing the huge explosion, took off his shirt and used it to apply pressure to Sefton’s severe neck wound to staunch the blood flowing from it.


Sefton went through eight hours of surgery. Each of his 34 wounds were potentially life-threatening, in some cases shrapnel had to be taken out of his bones. Veterinary surgeons gave him a 50/50 chance of surviving the shock and extreme blood loss. Yet over the coming months he made good progress .

During his time in the veterinary hospital he received thousands of cards (and mints) from the public. Donations amounting to almost £620,000 (over £ One Million today) were collected to build a new surgical wing at the Royal Veterinary College, which was named the Sefton Surgical Wing. Sefton & Sgt Pederson  In August 1984 he retired from the Household Cavalry, and moved to the Home of Rest For Horses in Speen, Buckinghamshire, where he lived until the age of 30. He finally had to be put to sleep on the 9th of July 1993, due to lameness, a complication of the injuries he suffered during the bombing. When the horse died Michael Pedersen was left in floods of tears and uttered the immortal line: “St Peter won’t need to open the pearly gates, because old Sefton will fly over them.” Sgt Pederson & Sefton on duty Sefton has once again been remembered, as Princess Anne is due to unveil a life-sized statue of him. The horse that symbolised hope after 1982 IRA Hyde Park bomb attack article-2462123-18BE7B2800000578-118_634x417Born in Ireland, Sefton joined the Army in 1967. He was 16 hands high and spent the early years of his army career as a school horse, teaching new recruits to ride. In 1975, despite having socks and a blaze, he found his way into the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, which normally recruited only totally black horses. The Household Cavalry chartered and recorded that he was a horse of great courage and character. bigdayHousehold Cavalry tradition dictates that horses’ names are re-used, which ensures that Sefton’s memory will always be honoured. A monument to the atrocity was erected on the spot where the bomb went off in Hyde Park.

July 20 Bombings.IMAG0101 Each day, on the Changing of the Guard procession from their barracks in Knightsbridge to Buckingham Palace, the mounted guard honours it with an eyes left, and a salute with drawn swords.   Click to enlarge

We will never be beaten by extremists & terrorists, they may claim short victories over their cowardly attacks, after which they slither away to hide under slime covered rocks. But we will never leave any rock unturned in finding them, and bringing them to justice.            Yours Aye.