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First Victoria Cross awarded since 1982

Published Thursday 17th March 2005

Pte JG Beharry VC, MoD Main Building, 18th March 2005
Pte JG Beharry VC, MoD Main Building, 18th March 2005 Col PA Jobbins GM OBE RD, MoD Main Building, 18th March 2005
Col PA Jobbins GM OBE RD, MoD Main Building, 18th March 2005 Pte and Mrs JG Beharry VC, MoD Main Building, 18th March 2005
Pte and Mrs JG Beharry VC, MoD Main Building, 18th March 2005 Pte JG Beharry VC and Chief of the General Staff Sir Mike Jackson
Pte JG Beharry VC and Chief of the General Staff Sir Mike Jackson Pte JG Beharry VC meets members of the press, MoD Main Building, 18th March 2005
Pte JG Beharry VC meets members of the press, MoD Main Building, 18th March 2005 The Cascabel from which Victoria Crosses are cast
The Cascabel from which Victoria Crosses are cast Pte JG Beharry VC meets Lt Col ECT Wilson VC, the only two living holders of the Victoria Cross from the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment, in MOD Main Building, Whitehall, 18th March 2005
Pte JG Beharry VC meets Lt Col ECT Wilson VC, the only two living holders of the Victoria Cross from the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment, in MOD Main Building, Whitehall, 18th March 2005 Pte JG Beharry VC and General Sir Mike Jackson with members of The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, MOD Main Building, Whitehall, 18th March 2005
Pte JG Beharry VC and General Sir Mike Jackson with members of The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, MOD Main Building, Whitehall, 18th March 2005

A Victoria Cross is to be awarded for the first time in over 20 years. Private Johnson Gideon Beharry from 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment is the first person to receive the Victoria Cross since 1982 and the first non-posthumous British Forces recipient since 1965.

More than 140 UK Servicemen and women are to be honoured in this list for their role in operations around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, Liberia, the Congo and Sierra Leone.  Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, said:

“These individuals have performed truly exceptional acts of gallantry. Britain’s Armed Forces face significant challenges, often in difficult circumstances, in their varied roles across the world. These honours and awards recognise the outstanding achievements of these extraordinary men and women and their acts of great courage, bravery and determination.”

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Michael Walker, said:

“I am particularly proud, not only of the conspicuous bravery of the Service men and women which is being recognised with the announcement of these honours today, but also of the remainder of the Armed Forces who have continued to perform so well in such varied roles around the world. These honours are testimony to the quality of our training, and to the character, ability and determination of our people.”

See the bottom of this page for the complete list of operational honours and awards released on 18 March 2005 and additional information about the recipients.


Private Johnson Gideon Beharry - Victoria Cross

Pte Beharry receives the Victoria Cross for two separate acts of outstanding gallantry of the highest order whilst based in Al Amarah, Maysan Province, Iraq, in 2004.

In the first incident on 1 May 2004, Pte Beharry was driving the Platoon Commander’s Warrior armoured vehicle that had been called to the assistance of a foot patrol caught in a series of ambushes. The Warrior vehicle was hit by multiple rocket propelled grenades, causing damage and resulting in the loss of radio communications. The platoon commander, the vehicle’s gunner and a number of other soldiers in the vehicle were injured. Pte Beharry showed initiative and great courage driving through the ambush, taking his own crew and leading five other Warriors to safety. He then demonstrated outstanding bravery by extracting his wounded colleagues from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire. He is cited on this occasion for “valour of the highest order”.

Whilst back on duty on 11 June 2004, Pte Beharry was again driving the lead Warrior vehicle of his platoon through Al Amarah when this vehicle was ambushed. A rocket propelled grenade hit the vehicle and Pte Beharry received serious head injuries. Other rockets hit the vehicle incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew. Despite his very serious injuries, from which he is still recovering, Pte Beharry showed great strength of character, taking control of his vehicle and driving it out of the ambush area before losing consciousness. His citation reads:

“For his repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour, despite intense direct attacks, personal injury and damage to his vehicle in the face of relentless enemy action, Private Beharry deserves the highest possible recognition.”


Col Paul Anthony Jobbins - George Medal

Receiving one of the next highest awards in this list, The George Medal, is Colonel Paul Anthony Jobbins, a Royal Marine Reserve, who is honoured for his actions in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2004. Col Jobbins was responsible for tactical control of all UN forces in Bukavu, the major city in the eastern Congo, when serious fighting broke out and the city fell to insurgents in June 2004. Women were raped, innocent children murdered and homes pillaged. Throughout this dangerous period, unarmed and at great personal risk, Col Jobbins worked ceaselessly to conduct negotiations with faction commanders, arrange the withdrawal of all forces and rescue UN personnel and Congolese civilians. Col Jobbins drove through crossfire to meet with a dissident General, persuaded him to halt his advance, and personally rescued many terrified civilians, often under fire. He personally ensured the safety of thousands of civilians and is cited for his commitment and courage, and his gallant leadership under fire. The citation reads:

“Unarmed, Col Jobbins’ repeatedly gallant actions throughout the crisis were in the finest traditions of the British Armed Forces and clearly went well beyond the normal limits of UN peacekeeping.”


Sgt Terry Bryan - Conspicuous Gallantry Cross

A Conspicuous Gallantry Cross is awarded to Sergeant Terry Bryan, Royal Regiment of Artillery, for his bravery in Basra, Iraq, in August 2004. Sgt Bryan was leading a patrol that became engaged in a gunfight with Muqtada Al Sadr’s militia after their vehicles were ambushed. Forced to abandon their vehicles and still under heavy fire, Sgt Bryan took control of the situation and engaged in fire that enabled his patrol to escape to a nearby house. Joining them in their position, Sgt Bryan checked for casualties, redistributed ammunition and encouraged and reassured his soldiers. As they came under small arms, rocket propelled grenade and heavy machine gun fire from over forty militia surrounding the house, Sgt Bryan suffered injuries to his legs and eye. Despite this, Sgt Bryan continued to take time to be with each of his men at their individual positions, lending a hand in the fierce fire fight and encouraging and supporting the young. His citation states that:

“The quite exceptional leadership, professionalism and individual bravery of Sgt Bryan stood out that day. He is a quiet man, a communications specialist by trade but, in a particularly dangerous and dynamic situation, he demonstrated outstanding skill and personal qualities. He held his men together as they fought for their lives. He is also a modest man but 8 others owe him their lives. His gallantry and leadership speak for themselves.”


LCpl Andrew George Dickson - Military Cross

The Military Cross is awarded to Lance Corporal Andrew George Dickson, a TA soldier with the Royal Logistic Corps. On his first operational tour and with only five days in theatre, LCpl Dickson was part of a convoy escorting water tankers in Basra, Iraq, on 8 May 2004. LCpl Dickson was providing top cover in an unarmoured Land Rover when the convoy was ambushed. As infantry escorts engaged the enemy from their armoured vehicles, LCpl Dickson did not hesitate in joining them, returning fire from his exposed position. Despite being wounded by a rifle shot to his left shoulder LCpl Dickson took up a defensive position to ensure the safety of the tankers and drivers.

“His selfless disregard for his own safety and prompt action undoubtedly saved lives.”


Further operational honours and awards

Black Watch soldier Corporal Peter William Laing MC receives the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his bravery following a suicide bomb attack in North Babil, Iraq, on 4 November 2004. Despite sustaining serious injuries himself, Cpl Laing dragged each of his wounded colleagues to safety, taking charge of the situation and administering first aid.

“Corporal Laing demonstrated considerable personal bravery, firm leadership and a complete absence of self-interest in the successful treatment and recovery of his section.”

His actions

“were in the highest traditions of the Black Watch and of the service.”

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is also awarded to Private Jonetani Matia Lawaci of the Black Watch. Pte Lawaci is cited for his brave rescue of three colleagues who almost drowned when their Warrior plunged off a bridge into deep water in North Babil on 29 October 2004. Pte Lawaci is commended for demonstrating

“the highest form of courage and quick thinking.”

Chief Petty Officer Matthew Stephen Fisher is awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his actions in Grenada following the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. With law and order rapidly breaking down following the hurricane, CPO Fisher seized the initiative and created a path to the main hospital, ensuring the safe arrival of first aid teams and the maintenance of medical supplies. The citation praises his:

 “calm demeanour, exemplary leadership and bravery in the face of adversity.”

The Air Force Cross is awarded to Lieutenant Commander Martin John Ford, the aircraft commander and observer of a Search and Rescue helicopter, for bravery and professionalism demonstrated following the Boscastle flooding in August 2004. Despite rapidly deteriorating weather, severely decreased visibility and failed communications due to water ingress, Lt Cdr Ford decided to continue with the rescue operation. After a demanding operation lasting almost five hours, which included Lt Cdr Ford having to instruct his pilots through hand signals, the helicopter returned safely to base having evacuated 23 casualties to safety. Lt Cdr Ford is commended for his

“inspiration to his crew, displaying incredible leadership under enormous pressure, selfless bravery and absolute professionalism.”

Captain Peter Holmes McLelland RM and Lieutenant Michael Scott receive the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air for their contribution as the helicopter pilots in this incident.

The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air is also awarded to Royal Air Force winch men, Master Aircrew Clive Andrew MacDonald Chapman, Sergeant Mario Alessandro Testa and Sergeant Martin Peter Thompson for their actions rescuing trapped civilians during the Boscastle flooding.

Other honours and awards reflect the full range of ranks and expertise of the Armed Forces. Lieutenant Colonel James Michael Cowan, receives the OBE for his command and leadership of 1st Battalion The Black Watch in Iraq between June and December 2004. The citation praises his

“clear and decisive leadership.”

Captain Jacqueline Alexandra Jane Rowe receives an MBE for her outstanding contribution in her role as Officer Commanding the UK National Intelligence Centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Captain Rowe is cited for her

“attitude, example and pure devotion to duty” and is deserving of recognition for her “exceptional effort and skill far beyond that which might be expected of one of her rank and experience.”

Awards to members of the Armed Forces are published on 18 March 2005 in the London Gazette. The ranks and other personal details shown are those current at the time the awards were recommended.


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