job maseko

Just watched ITV news there is a campaign for Job Maseko to be awarded a VC


I've never heard his story before,

However the author Bill Gillespie says he was awarded only the lowly Military Medal ? (cause he's a black afican)

& showed his grandad rack to prove the point,

In addition to the MM Job must have been eligible for an Africa Star & War Medal at least ?

(yes I Have searched before posted but could not "Maseko" in the forums) ?
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
That's nice. I'm sure that someone who has been dead 58 or so years probably isn't that fussed.
 
Just watched ITV news there is a campaign for Job Maseko to be awarded a VC


I've never heard his story before,

However the author Bill Gillespie says he was awarded only the lowly Military Medal ? (cause he's a black afican)

& showed his grandad rack to prove the point,

In addition to the MM Job must have been eligible for an Africa Star & War Medal at least ?

(yes I Have searched before posted but could not "Maseko" in the forums) ?

Who nominated him for a VC?
 
Job Maseko MM was clearly a very brave man who deserves greater public recognition, but as for a Victoria Cross, would a white man who performed a similarly courageous and devoted act as a POW have been awarded a VC? That is in no way to doubt his heroism or his achievement, the facts of which were recognised by his MM. The campaigner who was interviewed on ITN News at Ten tonight showed his own father's campaign medals and appeared to be implying that Job by contrast "only" received the MM, but like anyone else he would have been entitled to all the war and campaign medals appropriate to his service.

Apart from long established practice there are obvious strong arguments anyway against retrospective discretionary awards so long after the event. Where would it stop?
 
It doesn’t read like an action worthy of a VC.
 
Job Maseko MM was clearly a very brave man who deserves greater public recognition, but as for a Victoria Cross, would a white man who performed a similarly courageous and devoted act as a POW have been awarded a VC? That is in no way to doubt his heroism or his achievement, the facts of which were recognised by his MM. The campaigner who was interviewed on ITN News at Ten tonight showed his own father's campaign medals and appeared to be implying that Job by contrast "only" received the MM, but like anyone else he would have been entitled to all the war and campaign medals appropriate to his service.

Apart from long established practice there are obvious strong arguments anyway against retrospective discretionary awards so long after the event. Where would it stop?

Did any SOE and similar types receive VC's? The only difference I can see here is that he was in captivity rather than being a volunteer.

He was thoroughly failed in life, an "upgrade" would mean nothing now but a scholarship or bursary might be a fitting tribute.
 
This isn't new - the South African Legion had an article about Job Maseko in one of its online journals some years ago (my former next door neighbour [in leafy Oxfordshire] wrote the article , IIRC).

The evidence that Maseko was recommended for the VC seems patchy, at least based on an very quick online archival trawl. The problem is that the 'he didn't get it because he was black' narrative seems more predictable than likely (although it may have been a factor, I can quite readily accept). The evidence, as it stands is hearsay, as is the war artist's claim it was downgraded.

I suspect that one of three things happened

One: there was recommendation for a VC went up the chain of command, but was either not well written enough to make clear that a VC was the correct recognition/ as it went up the chain it stalled upon someone concluding it didn't cross the bar for a VC award.

Two: the recommendation went all the way up the chain, but at the final hurdle was thought to be below the very high standard set by the warrant.

Three: there was, in fact, no VC recommendation and the stories relating to it are hearsay based upon what officers thought had happened rather than what had actually occurred.

Also, the story completely omits the fact that a downgrading of the award from a VC would probably be to a DCM. The Native Military Corps saw personnel being awarded about 20 MMs, and one DCM (reading the citation for Lucas Majozi's DCM, one does wonder whether, if race played any part, it's Majozi who missed out rather than Maseko).

That DCM citation was accompanied with glowing praise from General Daniel Pienaar, GOC 1st S African Dvn. There's no sense of 'Well, I suppose we have to give him a medal, even though he's black' about it; far from it.

If a VC recommendation were made for Job Maseko, then he might have overseen it (he died in an air crash in December '42), or it might have been Evered Poole, GOC 6th S African Armoured Dvn which was the successor formation to 1st S African Dvn). Poole was deliberately passed over for the job of Chief of Staff of the Army by the National Government and sent off to Germany on the grounds that he was an untrustworthy officer of English rather than Afrikaans background and not 'sound' enough on racial matters. The evidence tends to suggest that while they might have downgraded a VC, a DCM would've been the more logical outcome of that downgrade as the S African authorities were clearly willing to see that awarded to members of the NMC.

As Hackle says, though - where do you stop? I can think off the top of my head of at least four men for whom retrospective VCs might be in order: Paddy Mayne, Willie Tait, Talaiasi Labalaba and John Sherwood. Sherwood led the elements of 97 Squadron which participated in the Augsburg raid. He was shot down and when the recommendations for awards were made, John Nettleton (leading the 44 Squadron contribution to the attack) was awarded a VC. Sherwood's recommendation was marked to the effect 'approved VC - but to be DSO if PoW' - his award was downgraded on the basis that he was alive... Having mentioned 'Laba', Mike Kealy probably needs consideration; the utterly bonkers Basil Embry likewise. And what about....? You get the point.
 
Last edited:
POW blows up enemy ship, undoubtedly a daring and bold act, but VC worthy???

When you consider that Blondie Hasler received ‘only’ (quotation marks in slightly sarcastic font there) a DSO for Op Frankton, you do begin to suspect that a VC for Job Maseko might be overkill.

No denying he merited a gallantry award for his actions, but I can’t help feeling that were a retrospective award made, it would quickly end up as being cited as an undeserved award when comparisons were drawn with other VC actions or other cases where a VC wasn’t awarded.

Only if evidence exists which makes clear that a VC was deemed appropriate but then downgraded purely on terms of race would there appear to be any basis for amending the award - otherwise MoD is going to be inundated with demands that DSOs, DCMs, posthumous MiDs be upgraded and that someone’s hitherto unrecognised Great Uncle Bert be awarded, etc, etc.
 
1st WW2 MM for a Black South African-


isn't strange that our evil colonial empire, took lads from racial segregation places like USA & SA

gave medals & stuff, the racist gits...
 
Top