When Gods Walked the Earth

I've been trying to get this together for ages, and I wanted to put it up for Remembrance Day last year but I didn't, and even though it's barely started if I don't do it this year I probably won't ever.

It's just a list of links to cool war hero obituaries that happen to have caught my eye from time to time, to be read when in need of uplift and inspiration. I'd like to do some more systematic and comprehensive listing at some point, but, lack of time. I haven't even managed to find my particular favourite ones, though, so I might add to it occasionally when I have a moment. Anyway here's the small handful I already had.

Wing Commander Nicky Barr

Shot down three times, escaped three times

Staff Sergeant Geoff Barkway

Lost an arm in Normandy; after the war used to drive around with his false arm dangling out of the boot of his car

Captain Piers St Aubyn

Read Trollope at the Battle of Arnhem. The skiving bastard

Colonel David Sutherland

SBS commando upon whose exploits on Rhodes the film 'They Who Dare' was based. Once captured two Germans and stood them tea at a restaurant in Cairo before handing them over for interrogation. Blew an operation by oversleeping. My kind of man

Major Roy Farran

Wounded in three limbs, escaped from POW hospital in Athens and reached Egypt by sailing a boat across the Med with blankets for sails. Thrown from a horse at the age of 80, breaking his back for the sixth time

Major Bill Close

Had 11 tanks shot from under him. Bit of a jinx really

Major-General Frantisek Perina

Shot down four Stukas in four minutes. Shot down three bombers and managed to make two of them fall on Switzerland, which gets double points in my book.

Major 'Trof' Trofimov

SOE behind-the-lines type. Price put on his head by the Japanese. MC and Croix de Guerre. Parachuted into Burma and fell down a 30 foot ravine with his first step. Parachuted into Brittany, hit himself on the chin with the butt of his own gun on landing and found himself dazed and unable to remember the password for his secret contacts. Also my kind of man. But killed more fascists than I've had hot dinners

Lt-Cdr John Wellham

Navy flier. Sunk four ships with three torpedoes. 'Visited by a premonition that he would not die flying' although he seems to have tried his damnedest to prove it wrong

Lt-Colonel Geoffrey Masters

Manned an observation post alone for two months

Brigadier Derrick Baynham

George Medal at 17

Garry Garred

Colour-blind bomb disposal expert. That's, COLOUR-BLIND bomb disposal expert. George Medal for saving, well, the city of Lubeck. Sometimes exploded 90 tons of bombs a day

Captain 'Barehands' Bates

Helped sink the Scharnhorst by climbing a mast in a force-8 gale to fix a radar antenna

Col Hugh Hunter Jones

Pulled a gun on Aussies who tried to steal his booze

Major Ian English

3 MCs. Set up a fund to help the Italian farmers who'd sheltered him after his escape from POW camp

Rear-Admiral Bob Timbrell

Rescued 900 from Dunkirk

Captain Umrao Singh, VC

Absolutely nails VC holder

Agansing Rai, VC

Gurkha VC

Wing Cdr Johnny Checketts

Kiwi DFC

Major Roy Gribble

Far East Commando MC. Bought new teeth for a mule-driver who saved his life

Tommy Gould VC

Submariner, disposed of loose bombs rolling round in the hold

Sergeant 'Smoky' Smith, VC

Noted after desperate battle, 'Even Germans don't like to be shot'. Military Police had to arrest him so he'd be sober enough to receive his VC from the King

Nov 11 07


2011: RIP Patrick Leigh Fermor


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