10 November 2010

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Captain Richard Annand,
2nd Bn, Durham Light Infantry

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1939-45 Star
  • Defence Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • War Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ( 1977 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ( 2002 )
  • Army Emergency Reserve Decoration ( ERD ) & Bar

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Captain Richard Annand, 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, have been acquired by the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC collection.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 23 August 1940 ], River Dyle, Belgium, 15 - 16 May 1940, Second Lieutenant Richard Wallace Annand, 2nd Bn, The Durham Light Infantry.

For most conspicuous gallantry on the 15th-16th May 1940, when the platoon under his command was on the south side of the River Dyle, astride a blown bridge. During the night a strong attack was beaten off, but about 11 a.m. the enemy again launched a violent attack and pushed forward a bridging party into the sunken bottom of the river. Second Lieutenant Annand attacked this party, but when ammunition ran out he went forward himself over open ground, with total disregard for enemy mortar and machine-gun fire. Reaching the top of the bridge, he drove out the party below, inflicting over twenty casualties with hand grenades. Having been wounded he rejoined his platoon, had his wound dressed, and then carried on in command.

During the evening another attack was launched and again Second Lieutenant Annand went forward with hand grenades and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. When the order to withdraw was received, he withdrew his platoon, but learning on the way back that his batman was wounded and had been left behind, he returned at once to the former position and brought him back in a wheelbarrow, before losing consciousness as the result of wounds.

Richard Annand was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the 3rd September 1940.

Following the withdrawl Annand was jolted through France in a Belgian hospital train without food or water. He no sooner arrived at the hospital in Calais than it had to be evacuated. He was put aboard the first of two hospital ships, the second was bombed and sunk.

As a result of wounds received in the action in Belgium in May 1940, Annand was invalided back to England but rejoined the re-formed 2nd Battalion at Bridlington the following month. However, in June 1941, as a result of rifle practice on the ranges, Richard Annand lost what remained of his hearing and was discharged from the Battalion. He spent the rest of the war in several army posts in such diverse places as Inverness-shire, the Cairngorms and London. Although offered a commission in the Pay Corps, he declined, and in 1948 he was invalided out of the Army.


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Iain Stewart, 10 November 2010