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Lt Reginald Battersby was, at the age of 15, the youngest known commissioned officer of the British Army of the First World War. He enlisted in the Manchester Regiment at the age of 14 and was promoted to lance corporal within a week. When his father realised what Battersby had done, he intervened and had him commissioned as an officer in the East Lancashire Regiment. Battersby was wounded in action leading a platoon over the top on the first day of the Somme but returned to duty to fight in the 1917 Operations on the Ancre. It was here that he was struck by shrapnel from a German shell, resulting in the amputation of his left leg. Battersby was asked to resign his commission owing to disability but insisted he could still be of use to the army if fitted with a prosthetic leg and successfully returned to duty with a Royal Engineers transport unit. After the war he studied theology and became a vicar at Chittoe, Wiltshire. During the Second World War he organised the local Home Guard unit and between 1943 and 1945 served as a chaplain to the Royal Marines at Chatham Dockyard.


If he was alive today, I reckon he might just win it on one of these reality TV shows.
 
I was going on Wikipedia, which says he was only attached and implies it was for the duration of his Korea service only. Presumably when he became one of them his parent unit would have been the Black Watch and not the King's Own...?

Edited to add: Found this Guardian obituary:-


"Bill was born in Altrincham, Cheshire (now Greater Manchester) to Hannah Speakman, an unmarried domestic servant; he never knew his father and she never named him. About seven years later she married Herbert Houghton, a veteran of the first world war, who became his stepfather. Bill left Wellington Road secondary school in Timperley aged 14 and held various ordinary jobs before volunteering for the Scottish Black Watch regiment at the age of 17 near the end of the second world war, seeing service in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong. Returning to Germany in 1950, he volunteered for Korea and was detached to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

A month after he received his VC, Speakman returned to Korea at his own request, to get away from all the adulation. Demobilised in 1953, the year the Korean war ended in an armistice, he could not settle down to civilian life without qualifications and volunteered for the army again, to fight the communist insurrection in Malaya. In 1955 he served for a short period with the SAS, rejoining the King’s Own Scottish Borderers when they arrived in Malaya and rising to his final rank of sergeant.
"

So his final unit wasn't the SAS, then...
I think he completed his full 22 years. I saw an article in an old 1960s edition of Soldier magazine with him in it in Aden I think in about 1965.
 

NSP

LE
I think he completed his full 22 years. I saw an article in an old 1960s edition of Soldier magazine with him in it in Aden I think in about 1965.
For me it's only an issue so as to show the correct regimental nomenclature. I think I've got it right now (revised image added to original post).

Google offers several sources to suggest that primary service should be given first and then "occasional" service beneath. Others suggest that units served should be shown n chronological order. Yet more suggest that it should be recruit unit then all others. For a dickhead civvy like me it's all very confusing.

On the balance of probablilities I think I've got it right now, if not formally correct - King's Own as the predominant unit with his shorter BW and SAS service shown below in parentheses, in chronological order - even though his recruit/initial unit was BW).
 
If he complete his full Army service in the 1960s, and wasn't employed otherwise afterwards, how come he has the three Jubilee medals? Have seen another on this thread with the full Jubilee medals within their rack.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
If he complete his full Army service in the 1960s, and wasn't employed otherwise afterwards, how come he has the three Jubilee medals? Have seen another on this thread with the full Jubilee medals within their rack.
VC holders never quite retire and are eligible for sovereigns graces
 
I was going on Wikipedia, which says he was only attached and implies it was for the duration of his Korea service only. Presumably when he became one of them his parent unit would have been the Black Watch and not the King's Own...?

Edited to add: Found this Guardian obituary:-


"Bill was born in Altrincham, Cheshire (now Greater Manchester) to Hannah Speakman, an unmarried domestic servant; he never knew his father and she never named him. About seven years later she married Herbert Houghton, a veteran of the first world war, who became his stepfather. Bill left Wellington Road secondary school in Timperley aged 14 and held various ordinary jobs before volunteering for the Scottish Black Watch regiment at the age of 17 near the end of the second world war, seeing service in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong. Returning to Germany in 1950, he volunteered for Korea and was detached to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

A month after he received his VC, Speakman returned to Korea at his own request, to get away from all the adulation. Demobilised in 1953, the year the Korean war ended in an armistice, he could not settle down to civilian life without qualifications and volunteered for the army again, to fight the communist insurrection in Malaya. In 1955 he served for a short period with the SAS, rejoining the King’s Own Scottish Borderers when they arrived in Malaya and rising to his final rank of sergeant.
"

So his final unit wasn't the SAS, then...

Lots of misinformation about Big Bill. He rebadged to the KOSB not long after posting in from the Black Watch, as, in his own words, "They (KOSB) were a lovely regiment." Bill had experienced many ups and downs prior to arriving in in 1KOSB.
Apparently he was told, when being welcomed into B Company (in which he was awarded the VC), his prior conduct sheet was of no consequence, that he would be judged on his performance - he was immediately assigned as Company Runner under the benevolent eye of Major Phillip Harrison and CSM 'Busty' Murdoch (who were to be awarded the DSO and DCM respectively during the 'Guy Fawkes battle - the latter having been recommended for the VC).

While serving with Bill he told me he immediately felt 'at home' and thus began an affection for and loyalty to his beloved KOSB.
Speakman was basically a shy man and did not relish the limelight he found himself in on returning to the UK following 1KOSB's return from Hong Kong end of '52 and volunteered for the SAS in Malaya. Following his tour with the SAS he rejoined 1KOSB on their arrival in Malaya in 1955.
He remained with the KOSB until his retirement.
 
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Lots of misinformation about Big Bill. He rebadged to the KOSB not long after posting in from the Black Watch, as, in his own words, "They (KOSB) were a lovely regiment." Bill had experienced many ups and downs prior to arriving in in 1KOSB.
Apparently he was told, when being welcomed into B Company (in which he was awarded the VC), his prior conduct sheet was of no consequence, that he would be judged on his performance - he was immediately assigned as Company Runner under the benevolent eye of Major Phillip Harrison and CSM 'Busty' Murdoch (who were to be awarded the DSO and DCM respectively during the 'Guy Fawkes battle - the latter having been recommended for the VC).

While serving with Bill he told me he immediately felt 'at home' and thus began an affection for and loyalty to his beloved KOSB.
Speakman was basically a shy man and did not relish the limelight he found himself in on returning to the UK following 1KOSB's return from Hong Kong end of '53 and volunteered for the SAS in Malaya. Following his tour with the SAS he rejoined 1KOSB on their arrival in Malaya in 1955.
He remained with the KOSB until his retirement.
As I posted in the linked articles, he finally found his peace when he returned to Korea in 2010 and 2015. In 1961 South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world joint equal with Sudan and Ethiopia. In 1969 the North was slightly richer than the South.

Now it is a full democracy with full rights for women, one of the worlds highest GDP and economy. Two former Presidents have been jailed for corruption, and several chairmen of big companies. Korean food, music, films and drama are a big hit in Asia and and a lot of asians look to Korea as a role model.

Koreans have a huge respect for any Korean war veterans. For them for soldiers to come half way around the world to fight the way they did for a country which they knew little about and which Britain and the Commonwealth had little prior interest in, is still a marvel to them which is why President Moon ordered special treatment such as his ashes lying in state overnight in the National cemetery, which is normally reserved for former presidents and such like.

The Korean war was a savage war with both sides, North and South committing atrocities against the civilian population. Mountainous with tropical summers and Siberian winters.

When veterans like Bill return to Korea they are treated like VIPs and when they see what success the country is and the gratitude that the Koreans have for the soldiers of the UNC who fought in that war, and that they could not have achieved it without their sacrifice, for most of them it makes it all worth while. Especially when compared to North Korea. A lot of the veterans I spoke to were upset that they couldn't liberate the whole country.
 
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As I posted in the linked articles, he finally found his peace when he returned to Korea in 2010 and 2015. In 1961 South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world joint equal with Sudan and Ethiopia. In 1969 the North was slightly richer than the South.

Now it is a full democracy with full rights for women, one of the worlds highest GDP and economy. Two former Presidents have been jailed for corruption, and several chairmen of big companies. Korean food, music, films and drama are a big hit in Asia and and a lot of asians look to Korea as a role model.

Koreans have a huge respect for any Korean war veterans. For them for soldiers to come half way around the world to fight the way they did for a country which they knew little about and which Britain and the Commonwealth had little prior interest in, is still a marvel to them which is why President Moon ordered special treatment such as his ashes lying in state overnight in the National cemetery, which is normally reserved for former presidents and such like.

The Korean war was a savage war with both sides, North and South committing atrocities against the civilian population. Mountainous with tropical summers and Siberian winters.

When veterans like Bill return to Korea they are treated like VIPs and when they see what success the country is and the gratitude that the Koreans have for the soldiers of the UNC who fought in that war, and that they could not have achieved it without their sacrifice, for most of them it makes it all worth while. Especially when compared to North Korea. A lot of the veterans I spoke to were upset that they couldn't liberate the whole country.
Aye, Par, all the Korean War Veterans I served with took great pride and satisfaction in South Korea's success... it was as if they thought they had a hand in it... which, indeed, they all had!
 
Lots of misinformation about Big Bill. He rebadged to the KOSB not long after posting in from the Black Watch, as, in his own words, "They (KOSB) were a lovely regiment." Bill had experienced many ups and downs prior to arriving in in 1KOSB.
Apparently he was told, when being welcomed into B Company (in which he was awarded the VC), his prior conduct sheet was of no consequence, that he would be judged on his performance - he was immediately assigned as Company Runner under the benevolent eye of Major Phillip Harrison and CSM 'Busty' Murdoch (who were to be awarded the DSO and DCM respectively during the 'Guy Fawkes battle - the latter having been recommended for the VC).

While serving with Bill he told me he immediately felt 'at home' and thus began an affection for and loyalty to his beloved KOSB.
Speakman was basically a shy man and did not relish the limelight he found himself in on returning to the UK following 1KOSB's return from Hong Kong end of '53 and volunteered for the SAS in Malaya. Following his tour with the SAS he rejoined 1KOSB on their arrival in Malaya in 1955.
He remained with the KOSB until his retirement.
Bill, RIP, was a regular guest in the 21 SAS / Artist Rifles bar for a period, pushed along in his wheelchair by Alastair Rose. A lovely gent to have a social conversation with.
 
Hubert Faure, N°4 Commando, one of the last 2 survivors, with Léon Gauthier, of the 177 French Commandos who landed on D-day on Sword Beach in Normandy.

He turned 106 today.

Happy Birthday Monsieur Faure.

1590688480348.png
 
And as a result, there is a Commando Hubert, part of Commandos Marine.

The unit specialises in combat swimming, and more broad CT work (akin to the SBS).

Their last mission was a hostage rescue in Burkina Faso - Burkina Faso hostage rescue - Wikipedia

Two Commando Hubert personnel died in the recovery of 4 hostages: Petty Officers Alain Bertoncello and Cedric de Pierrepoint

1590691784368.jpeg
 
Commando Hubert is named after LT Augustin Hubert who was a K-Gun Troop Cdr and was shot and KIA by a sniper in Ouistreham on 6 June 1944.

His father had been KIA during WW1 as a pilot on 20 August 1917.

1590692163467.png
 
Gunnery Sgt. Hathcock, wiki entry here


What isn't in that entry is how he identified the General he killed in Vietnam, this is from an article about why you don't salute officers in warzones.

"While there are many officers who've lost their lives to enemy snipers, it's unclear just how many were killed directly after some moron announced their importance to the rest of the world. What we do know, however, is that the most famous American sniper took out a high-ranking enemy with the help of a salute.

Gunnery Sgt. Hathcock made his legendary shot at an NVA general from over two miles away. He was too far away to accurately tell which enemy was the general at a glance, especially when several people walked in a group. Take a single guess at how he identified who was who."

And the man himself
1590715253686.png
 
Gunnery Sgt. Hathcock, wiki entry here


What isn't in that entry is how he identified the General he killed in Vietnam, this is from an article about why you don't salute officers in warzones.

"While there are many officers who've lost their lives to enemy snipers, it's unclear just how many were killed directly after some moron announced their importance to the rest of the world. What we do know, however, is that the most famous American sniper took out a high-ranking enemy with the help of a salute.

Gunnery Sgt. Hathcock made his legendary shot at an NVA general from over two miles away. He was too far away to accurately tell which enemy was the general at a glance, especially when several people walked in a group. Take a single guess at how he identified who was who."

And the man himself
View attachment 477477
That is amazing because it clearly shows the limitations of Wikipedia. It suggests the entry was written by a fanboi.
From the book, Carlos Hathcock White Feather, written by the Chandler brothers who knew Hathcock well and who participated in the writing, describes the shot being taken from 800 yards, the maximum at which he could guarantee a hit, at a target who was clearly visible as he dressed differently from his soldiers. His only problem in hitting the general was that other troops were milling around him.
 

Bodenplatte

Old-Salt
Bill Speakman was BW att 1KOSB when he won his Cross, though he subsequently transferred permanently. He had a lot of ups and downs in life, that's for sure.
Interestingly enough, in the same action where Speakman won the VC, there was another attached individual in the battalion who became the last British soldier to be tried and convicted by Court Martial for the offence of cowardice.
Fusilier Patrick Lydon, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, court-martialled at Catterick October 1953.
 
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