VCs & GCs 1964

Robme

On ROPS
On ROPs
I met Peter Badcoe, an Australian who won the VC in the Vietnam War. Around 1964/5, he won his postumous Medal in 1966. He had come to the British Army Jungle Warfare School at Kota Tingie, prior to his 1st tour in the Provence. And dad brought him home for a bit of home life, where as was normal he regaled me and my brother with tales of daring do and severed ears (or bits of leather?). Later mum used to write to his wife, after WO Badcoe died, and eventually wen to Oz to. Stay for a holiday. Have to say it was only after his was awarded his medal, that we were reminded of who he was, by dad.
The only other contact with one I had, was a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, who had stuck mines to Japanese Warships using a miniature Sub, the sub had become stuck I recall and he and an officer had to do something to free the Sub. He was head honcho at the British Legion in Peterborough. Have to say, his reputation wasn't much to hang your hat on, post the war but a VC winner is entitled to behave how they want in my opinion.
 
And apparently utterly leathered when he was winging grenades at the Chinese!
Incorrect. He was stone cold sober at the time, and the beer bottle thing is probably a myth. The RSM, who got the DCM in the same action, was priming the grenades for Speakman and would probably have noticed.

Because of his size Speakman was able to throw grenades about twice as far as normal people and made about ten trips up the hill to clear away the Chinese with grenades, getting wounded in the process.
 

syrup

LE
Incorrect. He was stone cold sober at the time, and the beer bottle thing is probably a myth. The RSM, who got the DCM in the same action, was priming the grenades for Speakman and would probably have noticed.

Because of his size Speakman was able to throw grenades about twice as far as normal people and made about ten trips up the hill to clear away the Chinese with grenades, getting wounded in the process.

I do believe the myth came about due to Max Hastings book on Korea who indicated that Pvt Speakman (as was) took beer bottles with him after they ran out of grenades.
It was inferred he emptied the bottles before throwing them.
It has been debunked since by guys who were there who stated he was raging not pissed

Also to correct the film you don't win the V.C you are awarded it
You win a raffle.
 

Union Jack

Clanker
I met Peter Badcoe, an Australian who won the VC in the Vietnam War. Around 1964/5, he won his postumous Medal in 1966. He had come to the British Army Jungle Warfare School at Kota Tingie, prior to his 1st tour in the Provence. And dad brought him home for a bit of home life, where as was normal he regaled me and my brother with tales of daring do and severed ears (or bits of leather?). Later mum used to write to his wife, after WO Badcoe died, and eventually wen to Oz to. Stay for a holiday. Have to say it was only after his was awarded his medal, that we were reminded of who he was, by dad.
The only other contact with one I had, was a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, who had stuck mines to Japanese Warships using a miniature Sub, the sub had become stuck I recall and he and an officer had to do something to free the Sub. He was head honcho at the British Legion in Peterborough. Have to say, his reputation wasn't much to hang your hat on, post the war but a VC winner is entitled to behave how they want in my opinion.
Robme, I believe that you have unintentionally conflated two separate events, both of which led separately to the award of a total of four VCs.

The event in the first half of the quotation from your post above relates to the attack on the Japanese cruiser TAKAU by HMSM XE3 off Singapore in 1945, by Lieutenant Ian Edward Fraser, Royal Naval Reserve and Temporary Acting Leading Seaman James Joseph Magennis whilst the second, the italicised half, relates to the successful freeing and disposal over the side of two unexploded bombs which had penetrated the casing of HMSM THRASHER off Crete in 1942, by Lieutenant Ian Edward Fraser, Royal Naval Reserve and
Petty Officer Thomas William Gould

Since I see that the former Petty Officer Gould VC died at Peterborough on 6 December 2001, I am fairly confident that that he is the extremely brave man to whom you refer. I count myself fortunate enough to have met four of the nine submariners who won the VC in the Second World War, some at greater length than others, and they were indeed all very different characters - and I don't disagree with the last few words of your post.

Jack
 

Robme

On ROPS
On ROPs
Robme, I believe that you have unintentionally conflated two separate events, both of which led separately to the award of a total of four VCs.

The event in the first half of the quotation from your post above relates to the attack on the Japanese cruiser TAKAU by HMSM XE3 off Singapore in 1945, by Lieutenant Ian Edward Fraser, Royal Naval Reserve and Temporary Acting Leading Seaman James Joseph Magennis whilst the second, the italicised half, relates to the successful freeing and disposal over the side of two unexploded bombs which had penetrated the casing of HMSM THRASHER off Crete in 1942, by Lieutenant Ian Edward Fraser, Royal Naval Reserve and
Petty Officer Thomas William Gould

Since I see that the former Petty Officer Gould VC died at Peterborough on 6 December 2001, I am fairly confident that that he is the extremely brave man to whom you refer. I count myself fortunate enough to have met four of the nine submariners who won the VC in the Second World War, some at greater length than others, and they were indeed all very different characters - and I don't disagree with the last few words of your post.

Jack
Yep, you have hit the nail on the head. PO Gould was the individual.
As I recall it, Magennis was a Catholic native of Belfast. As was tradition for Belfast, VC winners were faited by the City fathers, with a parade and dinner at the town hall in the winners honour.
However for Magennis, there was no such adulation, no parade, no dinner and certainly no £100 which was also traditional and muppets like Carson were quoted, as saying ‘they would have been better awarding the medal to a Pig’, such was their contempt for Catholics. The Belfast Telgraph, carried his award on Page 1 until they realised that he was a Catholic, when the story was buried in the inside pages.
And people wonder why the nationalists kicked off in 1969 etc?
 
Brilliant! Sobering to think that the date of the film (1964) is farther away in history from now than it was from 1914.
 

Auld-Yin

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I do believe the myth came about due to Max Hastings book on Korea who indicated that Pvt Speakman (as was) took beer bottles with him after they ran out of grenades.
It was inferred he emptied the bottles before throwing them.
It has been debunked since by guys who were there who stated he was raging not pissed

Also to correct the film you don't win the V.C you are awarded it
You win a raffle.
Max Hastings making things up - never! The man is a cnut. IMHO.
 
Max Hastings making things up - never! The man is a cnut. IMHO.
The exact quote on page 358 of "The Korean War" by Max Hastings.

"The story of his lonely action - and the legend of the alcoholic stimulus that played some part in it - passed into the history of the British Army."

Further up the page is the only reference to alcohol, where the mortar platoon commander ordered that the beer ration was poured down the mortar tubes to cool them down.

Now the press at the time referred to Speakman as the "Beer Bottle VC". Now whether Speakman threw anything other than grenades is debatable, although other troops are known to have thrown empty beer bottles, presumably from the mortar platoon area, bully beef tins and rocks at the Chinese. To imply that Speakman was pissed at the time, as some of the UK press did at the time, detracts from his bravery. He was stone cold sober.
 
Yep, you have hit the nail on the head. PO Gould was the individual.
As I recall it, Magennis was a Catholic native of Belfast. As was tradition for Belfast, VC winners were faited by the City fathers, with a parade and dinner at the town hall in the winners honour.
However for Magennis, there was no such adulation, no parade, no dinner and certainly no £100 which was also traditional and muppets like Carson were quoted, as saying ‘they would have been better awarding the medal to a Pig’, such was their contempt for Catholics. The Belfast Telgraph, carried his award on Page 1 until they realised that he was a Catholic, when the story was buried in the inside pages.
And people wonder why the nationalists kicked off in 1969 etc?
Years ago I read that Magennis was refused work in Belfast shipyards because of his faith and that he was forced to sell his VC because of hardship, for £10. I have no reason to doubt that.
However it's unlikely that he would have been denied the £100 as this was the annuity awarded by the British Government to all VC winners.

But there are differing viewpoints in Northern Ireland and this one is from the book
Culture, Northern Ireland, and the Second World War
By Guy Woodward.
.......Magennis, a diver on a midget submarine, had carried out a daring and physically demanding underwater raid on a Japanese heavy cruiser moored off Singapore. His Victoria Cross citation came through from Buckingham Palace on 13 November 1945, while Magennis was stationed at a submarine base in Sydney, Australia, and the news broke in Belfast the same day.

The Belfast Telegraph carried an interview with Magennis's mother, said to be 'the proudest woman in Ulster today', and the following day 'Heartiest congratulations' were sent to the diver in a telegram by the prime minister of Northern Ireland, Basil Brooke. The celebrations continued on Magennis's return to Belfast on 14 December. The next day he was mobbed by crowds outside the City Hall as he arrived at a reception given by the Lord Mayor and corporation.

The Mayor, Sir Crawford McCullagh, told him that he had 'added lustre to the annals of the British Empire', and Magennis was later presented with a gift of £3066 that had been collected by the people of Northern Ireland. Sectarian tensions do not seem to have surfaced in these civic responses to the hero's return, but when Magennis visited his old school, the Catholic St Finian's on the Falls Road, children reportedly refused to stand to welcome the uniformed sailor. Magennis's biographer George Fleming claims that:

It was clear that he was not wanted in Protestant Unionist East Belfast and neither was he wanted in Catholic Nationalist West Belfast. "That uneasiness about a former pupil winning a high decoration for bravery in the British armed forces felt even by the teachers and pupils in his old school St Finian's was hardening into something else, as attitudes in Northern Ireland themselves hardened. He was the little guy in the middle caught in a strange religious and political trap.
 

Robme

On ROPS
On ROPs
Years ago I read that Magennis was refused work in Belfast shipyards because of his faith and that he was forced to sell his VC because of hardship, for £10. I have no reason to doubt that.
However it's unlikely that he would have been denied the £100 as this was the annuity awarded by the British Government to all VC winners.

But there are differing viewpoints in Northern Ireland and this one is from the book
Culture, Northern Ireland, and the Second World War
By Guy Woodward.
.......Magennis, a diver on a midget submarine, had carried out a daring and physically demanding underwater raid on a Japanese heavy cruiser moored off Singapore. His Victoria Cross citation came through from Buckingham Palace on 13 November 1945, while Magennis was stationed at a submarine base in Sydney, Australia, and the news broke in Belfast the same day.

The Belfast Telegraph carried an interview with Magennis's mother, said to be 'the proudest woman in Ulster today', and the following day 'Heartiest congratulations' were sent to the diver in a telegram by the prime minister of Northern Ireland, Basil Brooke. The celebrations continued on Magennis's return to Belfast on 14 December. The next day he was mobbed by crowds outside the City Hall as he arrived at a reception given by the Lord Mayor and corporation.

The Mayor, Sir Crawford McCullagh, told him that he had 'added lustre to the annals of the British Empire', and Magennis was later presented with a gift of £3066 that had been collected by the people of Northern Ireland. Sectarian tensions do not seem to have surfaced in these civic responses to the hero's return, but when Magennis visited his old school, the Catholic St Finian's on the Falls Road, children reportedly refused to stand to welcome the uniformed sailor. Magennis's biographer George Fleming claims that:

It was clear that he was not wanted in Protestant Unionist East Belfast and neither was he wanted in Catholic Nationalist West Belfast. "That uneasiness about a former pupil winning a high decoration for bravery in the British armed forces felt even by the teachers and pupils in his old school St Finian's was hardening into something else, as attitudes in Northern Ireland themselves hardened. He was the little guy in the middle caught in a strange religious and political trap.
The £100 I was referring to was in addition to the Government's Gratuity (which I beleave is in the region of £10k pa these days) which as you pointed out was also £100. But that was PA, Belfast’s £100 was a one-off. I was pleased to note your quote that he received £3k later. However I am sure the snubbing of him was as I have noted. So we will have to agree to disagree.
 

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