HIGHEST BRAVERY MEDAL: Corporal Johnson Beharry
MILLIONS OF people across the UK are expected to observe a two minute silence at 11am today (NOV 11) to mark Remembrance Day.
The annual day is held to honour those who served in the Armed Forces, whether they are surviving heroes or people who contribute to the daily running of the service. The day also pays tribute to those currently serving and those killed in action.
Below The Voice highlights a few of our trailblazers and heroes.
Johnson Beharry (Grenada)
Corporal Beharry is a living hero who saved the lives of 30 of his comrades while under enemy fire and injured. He did this while he was a private in 2004. For twice saving his comrades from ambushes on May 1 and June 11, 2004, he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the military’s highest bravery medal. He was the first living person since 1969 to receive the Victoria Cross.
Source: www.johnsonbeharryvc.com; the BBC, the Sun
Lance Sergeant Dale McCullum (Jamaica)
McCullum was killed in 2010 while engaging insurgents in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence said he was shot dead while commanding his unit in an operation to provide security for local Afghan nationals in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province.
A veteran who had been deployed several times in Iraq, McCallum first joined the British Army in 2008 and advanced quickly, being promoted to Lance Sergeant in 2006. The MOD said Lance Sergeant McCallum, who spent six years with the Scots Guard, excelled on every course that he attended and was just months shy of being promoted to Sergeant when he died. Source: The Ministry of Defence
Squadron Leader Philip Louis Ulric Cross (Trinidad)
He was one of the highest-ranking black men in World War 2’s British forces. He later became chief Liaison Officer for Demobilization of all Colonial Forces. He later became a judge and served as High Commissioner to Germany, France, Norway and to the UK. Source: www.caribbeanaircrew-ww2.com
Johnny Smythe (Sierra Leone)
He joined the Royal Air Force and was one of only four men, out of a batch of 90, to successfully train as a Navigator Officer. He was later posted to a bomber squadron. Source: www.caribbeanaircrew-ww2.com
Flight Lieutenant Dudley Thompson ( Jamaica)
Between 1941 and 1945, he earned several war decorations as a Flight Lieutenant and worked with Squadron leader Cross as a liaison officer. He later trained as a lawyer at Oxford University and worked as barrister and advocate in Jamaica and countries in Africa. Source: www.jis.gov.jm
Corporal Connie Mark (Jamaica)
A community activist and Caribbean champion, Mark served as a medical secretary. She rose to the rank of Corporal in the women’s arm of the British regiment, the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), but was paid less than whites at the same rank.
She later became a community activist known for speaking out against racism and prejudice. She also founded the Mary Seacole Memorial Association to honour the legendary Jamaican nurse Source: roikwabena.blogspot.com
Royal Air Force (RAF) veteran Sam King (Jamaica)
King enlisted in the RAF at age 22 in 1944 where he trained as an engineer. He was stationed at 16 bases before being sent back to Jamaica after the second World War.
He later returned aboard the ship, the Empire Windrush, in 1948 and overcame hostility from white Britons to have a sterling political career where he made history as Southwark’s first black Mayor in 1983. This living legend has also spent decades inspiring younger generations.Sources: ThePeckhamSociety.org. ITZCaribbean.com and the Metro
Aircraftwoman Lilian Bader
She was one of the first black women to service in Britain’s Armed Forces. She was an aircraft instrument repairer and had been the latest in three generations of her family to serve in the armed forces.
"I was in the first batch of women who were chosen to be trained in what had until then been a man's skill so the men could be released for overseas duties,” she told the BBC in 2004. Source: Imperial War Museums
Flight engineer Basil Johnson (Bahamas)
He first served with the 114 Squadron of Bomber Command and later with Group 8 of 156 Squadron of the Elite Pathfinder Force in the British Army during World War 2.
But this was only possible after he battled and overcame racism to be selected for the army. He had to try four times before being accepted and this was only possible because he was helped by leading black Bahamian lawyer TA Toote. Johnson had several missions over Germany before leaving the army in 1947.
After the war, he was posted to Canada and later went back to the Bahamas, where he was a member of a branch of the Royal British Legion. He led the Poppy Appeal Committee for 45 years. He worked hard to preserve the memory of those who died in the war, making the ultimate sacrifice. Source: www.156squadron.com
Teleprint operator Laurent Phillpot (Jamaica)
Laurent Phillpot came from Jamaica to the UK to serve as a teleprint operator in the RAF. He later went onto become a key member of the West Indian Ex-Servicemen and Ex-Servicewomen Association, which helps to highlight the contribution of - and care for - black war veterans. Source: The West Indian Ex-Servicemen and Ex-Servicewomen Association and the BBC
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