L/Cpl Johnson Beharry VC

#1
L/Cpl Johnson Beharry VC is featured in the 60 second interview in today's Metro Free newspaper - page 10.

Excellent interview.

Incidentally, his book 'Barefoot Soldier' is a splendid read.
 
#2
Is this the one?

Private Johnson Beharry is the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross since 1969, for 'repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour' while serving in Iraq. Born in Grenada, he grew up in poverty with a violent, alcoholic father, then moved to Britain and joined the British Army. His biography, Barefoot Soldier, is out now.

What did you get the Victoria Cross for?
It was for saving the lives of soldiers from my regiment in Iraq. I was driving a Warrior armoured vehicle out there. One of our foot patrols on the ground got pinned down by the enemy. Someone got injured and I was called in to assist. On the way, the route was blocked so we took an alternative route and drove straight into an ambush. The vehicle got hit about four times by rocket-propelled grenades. After I broke through the ambush, I lifted out the whole platoon. We got to safer ground but were still under small arms fire. I got out and helped the commander and then went back in to get our gunner.

Your medal was for repeated bravery. What else did you do?
The next event was six weeks later. I can’t say exactly what happened because I can’t remember. Our camp got attacked and we went out looking in the Warrior because we had an idea where the attacker came from. On the way out to the spot, there was another ambush. Rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the Warrior and detonated 15cm from my face. I can’t remember how many people were in the vehicle but I managed to get us out of the conflict and on to safe ground before I became unconscious

How badly were you hurt?
I had a massive piece of shrapnel in my shoulder. I’m not sure what happened inside my head but I later had brain surgery. They had to clean my brain of shrapnel and smashed pieces of skull.

What does the medal mean to you?
It means a lot because it represents the guys who were saved in Iraq. I was in a position to help and today they’re all alive.

What was your childhood like in Grenada?
My mother had eight children but we didn’t all live together. I lived with my gran. When she got sick, I lived with my aunt. We were poor and school was a long walk away. I didn’t get enough time to go to school when I lived with my aunt. School started at 9am but I could only get there at noon so it didn’t make sense going to class.

Square sausages – I love them. My grandad used to be a butcher and he does the best square sausage ever

Were you and your brothers and sisters afraid of your father?
I don’t know if we feared for our safety. I just couldn’t take it. When he’d been drinking, he was a different person. When he’s not drinking, everything is fine.

Have you been in touch with him since being awarded the medal?
Yes, my dad was here not long ago. I don’t think my parents really understand what the medal is about but they’re proud of me. Things are a lot better now we’ve all grown up.

As an immigrant to Britain, did you find the country welcoming?
Everything was fine. Right up to today, I’ve never had a problem but I did get in with a bad crowd here. I was around drink and drugs and that kind of thing.

What was the turning point?
It didn’t get that bad but it wasn’t for me. I’m still in touch with the same people and still say hello to them but this was not the way I was brought up. It was down to my gran. She always said: ‘Stay away from drugs and alcohol.’ I wasn’t getting anything from it so I thought I should stop.

Why did you choose the Army?
I thought it would be good to be away from it all. I enjoy the Army. We’re a team. We work together and we look after each other.

Many say that the Iraq war has led to more terrorism in Britain and America. What do you think?
I can’t comment on that. I’m a soldier in the British Army and I have to go where they tell me, whether I like it or not. I don’t get involved in politics. I just do the job they send me to do.

Were most of the Iraqis you came into contact with friendly or hostile?
It’s different everywhere you go. You meet people who want you to be there – they see you doing something to help them and they appreciate that. Then there are others who don’t want you there at all.

Are you still in the Army?
I’m in but I’m still having treatment. I hope to continue in the Army but I won’t be able to do active service again so it’s a matter of finding something that I can do that I can cope with. Things are looking up.
 
#3
I did notice the eBay user selling 24 of these books "Signed"

No where in his item description dose it state he will make a donation to the RBL!.

Some folk sure know how to make a quick buck!!.
 
#5
Forces_Sweetheart said:
Is this the one?

[
Thanks FS, the very one.

I noted your Ebay comment Mad Moriarty; no doubt you refer to the seller not contributing rather than L/Cpl Beharry :)

Think there was a thread on that seller.....

I have read JB's book; it is excellent and reminds me of my time in Guyana with his vivid descriptions.

I very much suspect JB is in the Albert Hall at the moment as they are setting up for the Festival tomorrow. He was previously interviewed on LBC 97.3.
 

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