VICTORIA CROSS
Data: 23-03-2003Autore: VALENTINO ROSSETTICategorie: SpigolatureTag: decorazioni

Victoria Cross

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La Victoria Cross è la più alta onorificenza militare assegnata per il valore "di fronte al nemico" ai membri delle forze armate di alcune nazioni del Commonwealth e di alcuni territori dell'ex Impero britannico. Questa decorazione ha la precedenza su ogni altro ordine, decorazione e medaglia. Può essere assegnata ad una persona di qualunque grado militare in qualunque servizio e ai civili sotto comando militare. Viene conferita dalla Monarchia britannica durante una investitura che si tiene a Buckingham Palace. È la decorazione più elevata assieme alla George Cross, l'equivalente onorificenza per il valore mostrato non "di fronte al nemico".

La Victoria Cross fu introdotta il 29 gennaio 1856 dalla Regina Vittoria per ricompensare le azioni valorose durante la Guerra di Crimea. Da allora la medaglia è stata conferita 1356 volte a 1353 persone. Solo 14 medaglie sono state assegnate dopo la Seconda Guerra Mondiale. Si racconta che il metallo di cui è composta proviene da un cannone russo catturato durante l'Assedio di Sebastopoli, ma delle ricerche recenti hanno sollevato dei dubbi e suggeriscono altre origini. A causa della sua rarità, è molto preziosa e può raggiungere un valore di 200.000 sterline all'asta. Esistono varie collezioni pubbliche e private, la più famosa delle quali appartiene a Lord Ashcroft e comprende più di un decimo di tutte le Victoria Cross assegnate.

Fonte: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Cross

Durante la campagna d'Italia la Victoria Cross è stata conferita a venti membri delle forze armate britanniche e del Commonwealth.
Cinque di queste onoreficenze sono state assegnate per azioni svolte durante le battaglie per Cassino e i tentativi di forzare la linea Gustav.

MITCHELL, George Allan

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Private, The London Scottish (Gordon Highlanders), British Army - Damiano Ridge, Italy.

Age: 32, nationality: english.

On 23/24 January 1944 at Damiano Ridge, Italy, when an advance was held up by enemy machine-guns firing at point-blank range, Private Mitchell charged alone up the hill through intense Spandau fire, jumped into the weapon pit and killed the crew. The advance then continued, but shortly afterwards was again held up and this time Private Mitchell's assault on the position resulted in six of the enemy killed and 12 taken prisoner. He led two more successful attacks before falling dead, shot by one of the enemy who had surrendered.

Mitchell, George Allan on Wikipedia

WAKEFORD, Richard

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Lieutenant (temporary Captain), 2/4th Bn., The Hampshire Regiment, British Army - Cassino, Italy.

Age: 22, nationality: english.

13 May 1944 near Cassino, Italy, Capt. Wakeford accompanied only by his orderly and armed with a revolver went forward a killed several of the enemy and took twenty prisoners, his orderly being killed. When attacking a hill the following day his company came under heavy fire, although wounded in the face and both arms, Capt. Wakeford pressed home the attack, wounded again but reached the objective and consolidated his position.
Remarks: later achieved rank of Major.

Wakefort, Richard on Wikipedia

KAMAL RAM

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Sepoy, 8th Punjab Regiment, Indian Army - River Gary, Italy.

Age: 19, nationality: indian.

On 12 May 1944 at the River Gari, Italy, the company advance was held up by heavy machine-gun fire from four posts on the front and flanks. The capture of the position was essential and Sepoy Kamal Ram volunteered to get round the rear of the right post and silence it. He attacked the first two posts single-handed, killing or taking prisoner the occupants and together with a havildar he then went on and completed the destruction of a third. His outstanding bravery unquestionably saved a difficult situation at a critical period of the battle.
Remarks: later achieved rank of Subadar.

Kamal Ram on Wikipedia

MAHONY, John Keefer

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Major, The Westminster Regiment, Canadian Army - River Melfa, Italy.

Age: 32, nationality: canadian.

On 24 May 1944 at the River Melfa, Italy, Major Mahony and his company were ordered to establish the initial bridgehead over the river. This was accomplished and for five hours the company maintained its position in the face of enemy fire and attack until the remaining companies and supporting weapons were able to reinforce them. Early in the action Major Mahony was wounded in the head and twice in the leg, but he refused medical aid and continued to direct the defence of the bridgehead. The enemy saw that this officer was the soul of the defence and consequently made him their particular target.

Mahony, John Keefer on Wikipedia

JEFFERSON, Francis Arthur

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Fusilier, 2nd Bn., The Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army - Montecassino, Italy.

Age: 22, nationality: english.

On 16 May 1944 during an attack on the Gustav Line, Monte Cassino, Italy, the leading company of Fusilier Jefferson's battalion had to dig in without protection. The enemy counter-attacked opening fire at short range, and FusilierJefferson, on his own initiative, seized a P.I.A.T. gun and, running forward under a hail of bullets, fired on the leading tank. It burst into flames and all the crew were killed. The fusilier then reloaded and went towards the second tank which withdrew before he could get within range. By this time our own tanks had arrived and the enemy counter-attack was smashed.

Jefferson, Francis Arthur on Wikipedia

More informations on JEFFERSON, Francis Arthur
http://www.lancs-fusiliers.co.uk/feature/jefferson/Frankjeffersonvc.htm

Una onoreficenza assegnata per un'azione svolta durante la battaglia di Anzio.

SIDNEY, William Philip

Captain (temporary Major), 5th Bn., Grenadier Guards, British Army - Anzio, Italy.

Age: 34, nationality: english.

Extract from the London Gazette, 30 March 1944:
During the period 7 – 8 February 1944 at the Anzio Beach Head, Italy, Major Sidney led a successful attack which drove the enemy out of a gully. Later he led another counter-attack and dashed forward, engaging the enemy with his Tommy gun at point-blank range, forcing a withdrawal. When the attack was renewed, Major Sidney and one guardsman were wounded and another killed, but he would not consent to have his wounds dressed until the enemy had been beaten off and the battalion's position was consolidated. During this time, although extremely weak from loss of blood he continued to encourage and inspire his men.

Sidney, William Philip on Wikipedia

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