Four Victoria Cross medals awarded for gallantry in the Korean War 1950-53; two of the awards were posthumously.
JAMES POWER CRANE
Lieutenant Colonel (later Colonel) Carne was born on 11 April 1906 in Falmouth, Cornwell. He was the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment.
On 22-23 April 1951 near the Imjin River, Korea, Lieutenant Colonel Carne’s battalion was heavily engaged by vastly superior numbers of North Korean troops. Throughout the this time Colonel Carne went among the battalion under very heavy mortar and machine gun fire, inspiring the confidence and the will to resist the repeat enemy attacks. On two separate occasions, armed with a rifle and grenades, he personally led assault parties which drove back the enemy and save important situations. His courage, coolness and leadership was felt through the whole brigade.
The VC awarded to Colonel Carne was published in the London Gazette on 27 October 1953.
Colonel Carne died at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on 19 April 1986.
PHILIP KENNETH EDWARD CURTIS
Lieutenant Curtis was born on 7 July 1926 at Devonport, Devon. He was a member of The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, attached to the 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment.
On 22-23 April 1951 near the Imjin River, Korea, during a heavy North Korea attack, No. 1 Platoon commanded by Lieutenant Curtis, was ordered to carry out a counter attack which was initially successful, but was eventually held up by heavy fire. The Lieutenant then ordered some of his men to give covering fire while he himself rushed the main position of resistance. In this charge he was severely wounded but he insisted on making a second attempt. During this second attempt, Lieutenant Curtis was killed within a few feet of his objective.
The VC awarded posthumously to Lieutenant Curtis was published in the London Gazette on 1 December 1953.
Lieutenant Curtis is buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery.
Major Muir was born on 6 March 1912 at Chester. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s).
On 23 September 1950 near Songju, Korea, there was difficulty in evacuating the wounded after a position had been captured, until Major Muir arrived with a stretcher party. When the North Koreans started to launch a series of attacks on the captured positions, Major Muir took command and after a direct hit from a fire bomb, causing further casualties, he led a counter attack and the crest of the position was retaken. He was determined to hold it until all the wounded had been evacuated and moved about his small force continually encouraging them, and firing a 2-inch mortar himself until he was killed.
The VC awarded posthumously to Major Muir was published in the London Gazette on 5 January 1951.
Major Muir is buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery.
Private (later Sergeant) Speakman was born on 21 September 1927 at Altrincham, Cheshire. He was a member of The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), attached to the 1st Battalion, The King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
On 4 November 1951 in Korea, when the section holding the left shoulder of the company’s position had suffered serious casualties and was being overrun by North Korean troops, Private Speakman, on his own initiative, collected six men and a pile of grenades and led a series of charges. He broke up several enemy attacks, causing heavy casualties and in spite of being wounded continued to lead the charge after charge. He kept the North Korean troops at bay long enough to enable the company to withdraw safely.
The VC awarded to Private Speakman was published in the London Gazette on 28 December 1951.
William Speakman died on 20 June 2018. His Victoria Cross is displayed in the National War Museum of Scotland, located in Edinburgh Castle.