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When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

calendar   Friday - July 10, 2009

PAST HEROS ….. WARRIORS BOTH.  ONE BRIT … ONE AUSSIE … RIP

I don’t do these every day or even every week.  I suppose I could do one every day as those old soldiers fade away.
I think they belong in the blog world and as far as I am aware, nobody else is doing it.  They belong to a past generation who have made today possible.
And so I honor them as I can.

This was not a ‘politically correct’ generation.  They can not have been happy to see the mess following generations have made of the world they helped to save.

RIP

Major Roy Vallance, who has died aged 86, commanded a tank in every battle from Normandy to the Baltic and won a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Published: 6:50PM BST 09 Jul 2009

In the last days of the campaign in Germany, Vallance, then a sergeant serving with the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps (2 F&FY), was patrolling the banks of the River Elbe, north of Winsen, when his troop was attacked by a bazooka patrol of 20 SS.

It was first light and in wooded country. Vallance, as point tank, allowed the SS to infiltrate past him before moving his guns under fire and at close range into a position where they covered all the enemy’s lines of withdrawal. None of the SS got back with any information.

On another occasion, his tank and another were guarding an important road junction on the main line of advance. They were without infantry support and, as darkness fell, a car full of the enemy – armed with bazookas and supported by infantry – approached his position.

image

Unwilling to reveal his precarious situation, Vallance dismounted from the tank and went forward with a Bren gun.

He set the car ablaze from a range of 10 yards, killing all the occupants and, using the light from the flames, swept the wood with bullets, dispersing the infantry and accounting for three of them.

The citation for his DCM stated that he had been subject to anti-tank and bazooka fire on many occasions but that he had deployed his small force with such cunning that he had never been knocked out and his troop had suffered the fewest casualties in the squadron.

Royston Ivor Vallance, always known as Roy, was born near Aldeburgh, Suffolk, on June 8 1922 and educated locally. By the time he was seven, both his parents had died and he had a lonely childhood. Aged 15, he left his foster parents and went to London, where he did any job that he could and attended night school to learn bookbinding.

During the Blitz he worked in a printing factory and served as fire warden. After being called up in March 1942 he was posted to the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, but could not, at first, understand a word that they spoke. In June 1944, while waiting for its invasion orders, 2 F&FY was at Aldershot.

The hours dragged by and nerves were taut. When, for the umpteenth time, Vallance was told to clean his tank, he refused.

He was put on a charge and was under close arrest when he landed on the Normandy beaches with an advance party on D+3. The charge was subsequently dropped.

On July 18 Operation Goodwood, launched to the east of Caen, ran into fierce German resistance. By mid-afternoon, Vallance’s troop was out of ammunition and the barrels of their machine guns were worn out. Hulks of tanks were raided for replenishments. The Yeomanry lost 54 of its 60 tanks. Vallance, with a resourcefulness which became a byword, put out smoke, ran his tanks into the shelter of a railway cutting and so saved most of his.

In the battle of the Falaise Gap, he picked up an enemy uniform and cap. His crew, for a prank, marched him to their squadron leader kitted out as a German officer – but the joke nearly turned sour when Vallance narrowly avoided being shot by a sentry.

2 F&FY fought a series of fierce engagements – including the battle for the liberation of Asten, near Eindhoven – before finishing the war near the Danish border. After the German surrender, Vallance and his fellow survivors celebrated by setting fire to a petrol tanker and galloping around it on horseback, bottles in hand.

After the war he saw active service in Korea with the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars and, in 1951, fought at the battle of the Imjin river.

Following its amalgamation with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars to form the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars, he became the first RSM and was promoted to quartermaster in 1959.

Vallance served subsequently in BAOR, Aden and Malaya. He was appointed MBE in 1970 and was medically discharged from the Army the next year. He then moved to Nostell Priory, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, the family seat of Lord St Oswald, as estate factor.

In 1982, after the death of his first wife, he settled in Norfolk, where he enjoyed watching cricket and reading military history.

Roy Vallance died on June 5. He married first, in 1947, Peggy Paling, who predeceased him. He married secondly, in 1990, Audrey Spellar. She too predeceased him, and he is survived by a daughter of his first marriage.

end

VC ... That’s THE VICTORIA CROSS my fellow Americans.  They are not given lightly or in any great numbers.

The last surviving Australian VC recipient of the Second World War.

Ted Kenna, who died on July 8 aged 90, won the Victoria Cross on May 15 1945 while serving with the 2nd/4th Australian Infantry Battalion in the South West Pacific. He was

Published: 6:06PM BST 08 Jul 2009

Japanese troops had established a defensive line in rugged terrain south of Wewak, New Guinea, and were shelling the Australians from the missionary station at Wirui. After a sharp battle on May 14, the 2nd/4th had captured all but the north-western spur. The only position from which supporting fire could be obtained was continuously swept by heavy machine-gun fire, making it impossible to bring artillery or mortars into action.

On May 15, Private Kenna’s platoon was ordered forward to deal with three enemy machine-gun posts. Kenna moved his support section as close as possible to the bunkers in order to provide covering fire for a flank attack by the rest of the platoon.

image

Two sections of the platoon attacked, but as soon as the enemy spotted them they were pinned down with heavy automatic fire from a position which had not previously revealed itself. With several of the men already wounded, Kenna endeavoured to bring his gunner to bear on one of the bunkers but was unable to bring down effective fire because of the difficult ground.

On his own initiative and without orders, Kenna stood up in full view of the enemy less than 50 yards away and engaged the bunker, firing his Bren gun from the hip. Fire was returned at once, bullets passing between his arms and his body but somehow missing him. Undeterred, Kenna continued to fire at the enemy until his ammunition was exhausted. He then discarded his Bren gun, called for a rifle and despite intense machine-gun fire killed the enemy gunner with his first round.

When a machine gun opened up on him from a second position, Kenna, who had remained standing, killed the gunner with his next round. The bunker was captured without further loss, the company attack went forward and the enemy position was carried.

The citation declared: “There is no doubt that the success of the company attack would have been seriously endangered and many casualties sustained but for Private Kenna’s magnificent courage and complete disregard for his own safety.” Kenna was invested with the Victoria Cross by the Governor-General of Australia, the Duke of Gloucester, at Government House, Melbourne, on January 6 1947.

Edward Kenna, always known as Ted, was born on July 6 1919 at Hamilton, Victoria, the fourth child of a family of seven. He went to St Mary’s Convent, Hamilton, but left at 14 and worked as a plumber to look after his mother when his father fell ill. He was an accomplished sportsman and a keen cyclist and sportsman.

Kenna served in the Citizen Military Forces before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Forces in 1940. He served initially in the 23rd/21st Battalion but was posted to the 2nd/4th in 1943. In October 1944 he embarked from Cairns with his unit bound for New Guinea.

In June 1945, three weeks after the attack on the Wirui Mission feature, Kenna was taking part in a similar operation when he was hit in the mouth by an explosive bullet and evacuated. When told he was likely to die he simply exclaimed: “Pigs”. But he recovered and in December 1946 he was discharged.

Kenna returned to work in Hamilton at the Borough hall and then as curator of the Melville Oval. He was presented to the Queen when she visited the newly-restored Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra in March 2000; he appeared on a postage stamp in the same year. A portrait of Kenna by Sir William Dargie hangs in the Borough hall.

Ted Kenna married, in 1947, Marje Rushberry, who had nursed him in hospital. They had two sons and two daughters, one of whom predeceased him.

end


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/10/2009 at 12:41 PM   
Filed Under: • HeroesUKWar-Stories •  
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