On this day – Queen Victoria approves the introduction of the Victoria Cross (VC) awarded for gallantry ‘in the face of the enemy’ – 29 January 1856

Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross, Britain’s (and some Commonwealth countries) highest award for gallantry for members of the Armed Forces, was officially constituted by warrant on this day in 1856.

Since that time the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients. Only 15 medals have been awarded since the Second World War.

As of 2018, there are six (6) living recipients of the Victoria Cross, three (3) living recipients of the Victoria Cross for Australia and one (1) living recipient of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand. They are:

  • Flight Lieutenant John Cruickshank VC, 210 Sqn RAF (awarded  for his actions in the Battle of the Atlantic in 1944)
  • Sergeant Bill Speakman VC, Black Watch attached to King’s Own Scottish Borderers (awarded for his actions in Korea in 1951)
  • Captain Rambahadur Limbu, VC, MVO, 2nd Battalion, 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles (awarded for his actions in Borneo in 1965)
  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Keith Payne VC, AM, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (awarded for his actions in South Vietnam in 1969)
  • Corporal Willie Apiata VC, New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment (awarded for his actions in Afghanistan in 2004
  • Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry, VC, CNG, 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (awarded for his actions in Iraq in 2005)
  • Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, Australian Special Air Service Regiment (awarded for his actions in Afghanistan in 2008)
  • Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG, Australian Special Air Service Regiment (awarded for his actions in Afghanistan in 2010)
  • Corporal Dan Keighran VC, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (awarded for his actions in Afghanistan in 2010)
  • Corporal Joshua Leakey VC (shown below), 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (awarded for his actions in Afghanistan in 2015)

Joshua Leakey VC

The largest collections of VCs in the world are held by the Ashcroft Collection in Britain (established in 1986) which now contains 210 medals and the Australian War Memorial, which has 69 medals on public display.

You can find out more about the Ashcroft Collection here: http://www.lordashcroftmedals.com/

You can find out more about the AWM collection here: https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/vic_cross

 

 

 

Air Force News – 12 (Bomber) Squadron RAF to transition from Tornado to Typhoon and integrate with Qataris

UK Minister for Defence Procurement Harriet Baldwin announced on Thursday 14 December 2017 that 12 (B) Sqn RAF, currently equipped with the Tornado GR4 at RAF Marham, will transition to Typhoon and integrate with the Qatar Emiri Air Force in preparation for its introduction into service with the QEAF. The new Squadron will be based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

Record exercise for RAF Typhoon force

12 (B) Sqn disbanded in March 2014 only to be reformed in January 2015 at RAF Marham after the decision to disband 2 Sqn RAF was cancelled in order to allow the retention of Tornado to participate in Op SHADER, the air campaign in Iraq against ISIL (on 1 April 2015 the “new” 2 Sqn RAF became the fifth Typhoon squadron and the “old” 2 Sqn RAF rebadged as 12 Sqn equipped with Tornados).

12 (B) Sqn RAF has a long and proud history, including being the first fast jet RAF Squadron commanded by a woman, Wing Commander Nikki Thomas, who took command when the Squadron was reformed in 2015. Some more information on the history of the Squadron is shown below:

Formed: 14 February 1915

12 Squadron RAF Badge

Badge: A fox’s mask – approved by King George VI in February 1937. Based on a suggestion when the squadron was equipped with the Fairey Fox, an aircraft of which they were proud and the sole operators.

Motto: ‘Leads the Field

Battle Honours: 18

Western Front 1915-1918, Loos*, Somme 1916, Arras, Cambrai 1917*, Somme 1918*, Hindenburg Line, France and Low Countries 1939-1940*, Meuse Bridges*, Fortress Europe 1940-1944, German Ports 1941-1945, Biscay Ports 1940-1945, Berlin 1941-1945*, Ruhr 1941-1945*, France and Germany 1944-1945, Rhine*, Gulf 1991*, Iraq 2003*.

(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)

Roundel:     12 Squadron RAF Roundel

You can find out more about 12 Sqn here: https://www.raf.mod.uk/rafmarham/aboutus/12sqnhome.cfm

Air Force News – Battle Honours awarded to Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadrons for operations in Iraq and Libya

II AC Sqn Standard.jpg

The UK Ministry of Defence announced on 11 October 2017 that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of the Royal Air Force.

The Battle Honour “IRAQ 2003-2011” was approved for 27 operational flying squadrons and eight Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons for their service during Operation TELIC in Iraq. Those with the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on their Standard are:

  • No 7 Squadron RAF
  • No XXIV Squadron RAF
  • No 33 Squadron RAF
  • No 47 Squadron RAF
  • No 230 Squadron RAF
  • No 1 Squadron RAF Regiment
  • No 26 Squadron RAF Regiment
  • No 34 Squadron RAF Regiment.

For Operation DEFERENCE and Operation ELLAMY in Libya, the Battle Honour “LIBYA 2011” was approved for 13 operational flying squadrons. Those with the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on their Standard are:

  • No II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF
  • No IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF
  • No 47 Squadron RAF.