Recommended for the award of the Victoria Cross ( subsequently awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal ( DCM ) ( Posthumous )

[ London Gazette, 11 October 1982 ], Island of East Falkland, 28 May 1982, Private Stephen Illingworth, 2nd Bn, The Parachute Regiment.

In the early hours of 28th May 1982, the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment launched an attack on enemy positions in the area of the Darwin and Goose Green Settlements on the Island of East Falkland. The enemy were thought to be entrenched in battalion strength. In the event their numbers were far greater and fierce fighting ensued all day.

Private Illingworth was a member of 5 Platoon, wich was the depth Platoon in 'B' Company's advance. At one point, the advance came under heavy and accurate enemy fire and OC 'B' Company attacked the enemy position with his leading platoons, leaving 5 Platoon to provide covering fire. Dawn was growing stronger and it became clear that 5 Platoon was in fact exposed on a long forward slope without protection and very vulnerable to increasingly heavy machine gun and rifle fire. Its position became untenable and it was ordered to withdraw back over the crest. It was during this manoeuvre that Private Hall was hit in the back.

Private Illingworth, who had already reached comparative safety himself, immediately rushed forward in full view and fire of the enemy, accompanied by Private Poole, to help Private Hall. In an effort to locate the wound they removed his weapons and webbing equipment, and having administered First Aid, they stood up and dragged Private Hall back over the crest line, despite a hail of enemy fire which miraculously missed them. Once in a position of safety, Private Illingworth continued to tend the injured man's wound.

The fire fight continued intensively, and 5 Platoon began to run short of ammunition. Remembering he had left Private Hall's webbing equipment with ammunition in it, lying on the exposed forward slope, Private Illingworth decided to go forward alone to collect it. Disregarding the enemy fire, which was still extremely heavy, he broke cover and advanced once again down the forward slope. As he did so he was killed by a sniper.

In these two acts of supreme courage, Private Illingworth showed a complete dedication to others. While his action in coming to the help of Private Hall may have been almost instinctive on seeing the plight of a comrade, his move forward to collect much needed ammunition for his beleaguered platoon was a display of coolly-calculated courage and heroism of the very highest order.

For his outstanding courage, his dedication to others and his total disregard for his own safety, Private Illingworth is strongly recommended for the award of a posthumous Victoria Cross.

The citation for the Victoria Cross in the case of Private Illingworth was 'Strongly Recommended' by Land Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet and 'Strongly Recommended' by the Task Force Commander.

The Committee records:

Illingworth's actions were heroic and selfless and must have been carried out in the full knowledge of what he was risking. To save a wounded comrade under fire and then immediately to attempt to recover his ammunition epitomises the very best of soldiering qualities. However, brave though he was, his action does not match the standard of action by Jones and McKay.


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Iain Stewart, 9 July 2018