The Queen’s ‘first’ Victoria Cross

Bill Speakman VC

Bill Speakman VC

Since 1952, The Queen has conferred many honours and awards; the first investiture of the Queen’s reign took place at Buckingham Palace on 27th February 1952, just three weeks into her reign, when the first person to be presented to her was Private Bill Speakman, who received the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Korean War.

Private Speakman was born and raised in Altrincham, and was just twenty-four years old and a private in The Black Watch, when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.  Speakman, who ‘joined up’ in 1945 just after World War Two, later achieved the rank of sergeant and continued to serve in Malaya, Borneo and Aden before retiring in 1967.

Reading about Private Speakman and his brave actions in Korea, plus the very fact he went on to severe in Malaya, Borneo and Aden started me thinking about other military operations that the British have been involved in and a wider list can be found here.

Plus in the 100 years between 1900 and 1999 there was only one year when the British Army did not suffer any casualties on operations, but do you know where year?

Foot Note:  It is with great sadness I learned this week that Bill Speakman VC passed way at the age of 90.
Sergeant Bill Speakman VC  27 September 1927 – 20 June 2018