Unfeasibly large pair!

#1
I stumbled over this obituary for Capt Charles Upham VC & bar who passed in 1994. OK two VC's, one of only 3 people to have been awarded that honour, but he must have carried a big brass pair in a wheelbarrow! Captain Charles Upham VC & Bar - Telegraph

"The next day Upham was wounded in the shoulder by a mortar burst and hit in the foot by a bullet. Undeterred, he continued fighting and, with his arm in a sling, hobbled about in the open to draw enemy fire and enable their gun positions to be spotted."
"During the retreat from Crete, Upham succumbed to dysentery and could not eat properly. The effect of this and his wounds made him look like a walking skeleton, his commanding officer noted. Nevertheless he found the strength to climb the side of a 600 ft deep ravine and use a Bren gun on a group of advancing Germans.
At a range of 500 yards he killed 22 out of 50. His subsequent VC citation recorded that he had "performed a series of remarkable exploits, showing outstanding leadership, tactical skill and utter indifference to danger". Even under the hottest fire, Upham never wore a steel helmet, explaining that he could never find one to fit him."

"His second VC was earned on July 15 1942, when the New Zealanders were concluding a desperate defence of the Ruweisat ridge in the 1st Battle of Alamein. Upham ran forward through a position swept by machine-gun fire and lobbed grenades into a truck full of German soldiers.
When it became urgently necessary to take information to advance units which had become separated, Upham took a Jeep on which a captured German machine-gun was mounted and drove it through the enemy position.
At one point the vehicle became bogged down in the sand, so Upham coolly ordered some nearby Italian soldiers to push it free. Though they were somewhat surprised to be given an order by one of the enemy, Upham's expression left them in no doubt that he should be obeyed.
By now Upham had been wounded, but not badly enough to prevent him leading an attack on an enemy strong-point, all the occupants of which were then bayoneted. He was shot in the elbow, and his arm was broken. The New Zealanders were surrounded and outnumbered, but Upham carried on directing fire until he was wounded in the legs and could no longer walk."


 
#4
Nevertheless he found the strength to climb the side of a 600 ft deep ravine and use a Bren gun on a group of advancing Germans. At a range of 500 yards he killed 22 out of 50.
You wouldn't do that with an SA80 :wink:
 
#6
I think the powers that be have just erected a statue to him in his home town....... complete with tin lid :)
You'd bloody want a tin hat in Christchurch.
 
#8
Tell me about it... ;)
MrsPlume is from there & still has a lot of family in the city. We're visiting at Christmas & I'm considering packing all manner of PPE.

Will have to make a pilgrimage to see the statue!
 
#10
Upham was unusual amongst the three double VCs in being awarded his pair for fighting, rather than gallantly tending to the wounded. He went into the bag, and as one might imagine, was a thorn in his captors' side. He ended up in Colditz.

When Colditz Castle was liberated by American forces, most of the inmates made their own way home immediately. Upham broke into a German armoury, helped himself to weaponry, and went out hunting Germans.
A veritable Germanophobe indeed - it is said, possibly apocryphally, that he would not allow a German vehicle on his farm!

Oh and Mr D - he was born in Christchurch, educated in NZ and lived all of his non-war lifetime in NZ. So not really a Brit/Kiwi but a proper old colonial type!
 
#11
Cuddles ok but he father was a Brit and went to NZ to practice as a solicitor there. So British father anyway. I'm thinking Dad was probably a bit of a tough guy as well somehow.
Anyone who went over there & thrived has to have been a bit of a tough nut. MrsPlume's Grandfather's ship took something like an extra month to get to NZ and for the last three weeks they lived on ship's biscuits & apricot jam. His only weakness after that was not being able to stand apricots...
 
#12
Bloody hell! Of course, nowadays, he'd be disciplined for not wearing a helmet and mistreatment of POWs.
I note that they found him one for his photograph!

And, the man was clearly a chap of great foresight - In 1962, he was persuaded to denounce the British government's attempt to enter the Common Market: "Britain will gradually be pulled down and down," Upham admonished, "and the whole English way of life will be in danger." He reiterated the point in 1971: "Your politicians have made money their god, but what they are buying is disaster."

He added: "They'll cheat you yet, those Germans."
How bloody true is that?
 
#13
Do I see a bit of UNAUTHORISED SCRIM on that pic of him at Swampy's avatar? Tsch - we have standards for that sort of thing now. AND, I wonder if he was in date with his TOETs and APWT on the Bren. Or am I taking this line a little too far now?
 
#15
Upham was so hard he called Paras hats!
He was so hard he would have called Chuck norris a bit of an effete, thespian pansy but because Upham was a gent he didn't. He did, however, blackball Chuck for the club because he had a beard.
 
#16
Cuddles ok but he father was a Brit and went to NZ to practice as a solicitor there. So British father anyway. I'm thinking Dad was probably a bit of a tough guy as well somehow.
It is true to say the acorn does not often fall far from the tree!

FYI "The son of a civil servant, John Hazlitt Upham was born in London in 1867 and educated in England and France. After working on a Queensland sugar plantation he visited his older brother, the much-loved Winchester Street, Lyttelton doctor, Charles Hazlitt Upham (1863-1950). John stayed on in Canterbury, graduating in Law from Canterbury University College in 1902. He married Agatha Mary Coates, grand daughter of William Guise Brittan, two years later.

Upham eventually became a partner in the legal practice of Harper, Pascoe, Buchanan and Upham, which in 2008 is known as Anthony Harper and Company. He retired in 1949 and after a short illness, died on the 12th of June 1951. Seventeen years his junior John Upham's wife lived on until 1975, dying at the age of 91."
 
#18
The credit goes to the son indeed but the pride I am sure was all John Hazlitt Upham's. I imagine he didn't have to put his hand in his pocket at the club for a number of weeks when the first Cross was awarded and for several more for the bar!
 

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