Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Monday, 2 July 2007

New Zealander wins VC

The Queen has been pleased to approve the following New Zealand Gallantry Awards:

VICTORIA CROSS FOR NEW ZEALAND (V.C.)

Corporal Bill Henry APIATA (M181550) - Citation

"Lance Corporal (now Corporal) Apiata was, in 2004, part of a New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) Troop on patrol in Afghanistan, which laid up in defensive formation for the night.

At approximately 0315 hours, the Troop was attacked by a group of about twenty enemy fighters, who had approached by stealth using the cover of undulating ground in pitch darkness. Rocket-propelled grenades struck two of the Troop's vehicles, destroying one and immobilising the other.

The opening strike was followed by dense and persistent machine gun and automatic rifle fire from close range.

The attack then continued using further rocket-propelled grenades and machine gun and rifle fire. The initial attack was directed at the vehicle where Lance Corporal Apiata was stationed.

He was blown off the bonnet by the impact of rocket propelled grenades striking the vehicle. He was dazed, but was not physically injured.

The two other vehicle crew members had been wounded by shrapnel; one of them, Corporal D, was in a serious condition.

Illuminated by the burning vehicle, and under sustained and accurate enemy fire directed at and around their position, the three soldiers immediately took what little cover was available. Corporal D was discovered to have sustained lifethreatening wounds. The other two soldiers immediately began applying basic first aid.

Lance Corporal Apiata assumed command of the situation, as he could see that his superior's condition was deteriorating rapidly.

By this time, however, Lance Corporal Apiata's exposed position, some seventy metres in front of the rest of the Troop, was coming under increasingly intense enemy fire. Corporal D was now suffering serious arterial bleeding and was lapsing in and out of consciousness.

Lance Corporal Apiata concluded that his comrade urgently required medical attention,or he would likely die. Pinned down by the enemy, in the direct line of fire between friend and foe, he also judged that there was almost no chance of such help reaching their position.

As the enemy pressed its attack towards Lance Corporal Apiata's position, and without thought of abandoning his colleague to save himself, he took a decision in the highest order of personal courage under fire. Knowing the risks involved in moving to open ground, Lance Corporal Apiata decided to carry Corporal D singlehandedly to the relative safety of the main Troop position, which afforded better cover and where medical treatment could be given.

He ordered his other colleague, Trooper E, to make his own way back to the rear.

In total disregard of his own safety, Lance Corporal Apiata stood up and lifted his comrade bodily. He then carried him across the seventy metres of broken, rocky and fire swept ground, fully exposed in the glare of battle to heavy enemy fire and into the face of returning fire from the main Troop position. That neither he nor his colleague were hit is scarcely possible. Having delivered his wounded companion to relative shelter with the remainder of the patrol, Lance Corporal Apiata re-armed himself and rejoined the fight in counter-attack.

By his actions, he removed the tactical complications of Corporal D's predicament from considerations of rescue.

The Troop could now concentrate entirely on prevailing in the battle itself. After an engagement lasting approximately twenty minutes, the assault was broken up and the numerically superior attackers were routed with significant casualties, with the Troop in pursuit.

Lance Corporal Apiata had thereby contributed materially to the operational success of the engagement. A subsequent medical assessment confirmed that Corporal D would probably have died of blood loss and shock, had it not been for Lance Corporal Apiata's selflessly courageous act in carrying him back to the main Troop lines, to receive the immediate treatment that he needed."

This is the first New Zealander to win the VC since World War II, and the first to win the new Victoria Cross for New Zealand which was instituted in 1999

The cross has been awarded to New Zealand servicemen in both world wars. It was also awarded to a New Zealand militiaman and to 14 Royal Navy and Imperial Army troops during the New Zealand Wars.

Recognition must also be paid to three other NZSAS members who have been decorated but can not be named:

Captain C, the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration for an exceptional act of gallantry and leadership under heavy fire and his leadership in general throughout the tour of operations.

Corporal B, the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration, for displaying outstanding courage and leadership and accepting extraordinary risks during his tour of operations.

Corporal R, the New Zealand Gallantry Medal, for gallantry and the application of firm and timely leadership under extreme combat conditions.

4 comments:

Younghusband said...

I would urge everyone to support Lance Corporal Rai who arrives in the UK on the 4th and all our Gurkhas
who have supported Britain for 200 Years. If like me you feel strongly that those who have willingly risked their lives should be given citizenship as a matter of principle as no country could ask more from an individual visit vchero.co.uk and sign the petition. British citizens only.

Beaverbrook said...

Bravo! That makes three Commonwealth VCs since 2001. I'm actually surprised a Canadian hasn't won it yet, given the hundreds of casualties we have suffered in Afstan. It only highlights how rare it is to be honoured with such a decoration.

Ottawa said...

"..the first New Zealander to win the VC since WWII..."

Just an editorial note here: we never say someone has "won" military honours;
we always say he was awarded or earned or was conferred the honour.
One "wins" a contest or competition.

Beaverbrook said...

Ottawa is wrong. Google "won the Victoria Cross" to see what I mean. It is tradionally correct to say recipients or "winners" of the VC. He may be technically correct in terms of military honours more generally, but as far as the VC is concerned his editorial note is an odd variant to the popular norm.

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=won+the+victoria+cross&meta=