21st March marks the anniversary of the action in 1945 for which Old Wellingtonian Claud Raymond was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
Claud was at Wellington from 1937 to 1942, and was in the Hill dormitory. He became a School Prefect. His entry in the College’s Roll of Honour records that he loved both rugby and modern poetry.
In March 1945 he was serving as a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, and was second-in-command of a reconnaissance patrol checking isolated enemy posts in western Burma. The Roll of Honour continues:
Near the village of Talaku they were fired on by a strongly-entrenched enemy post on a jungle-covered hill. Raymond charged at the fire. Wounded in the right shoulder he continued up the slope firing from the hip. A Japanese grenade struck him in the face, but he picked himself up and went on. Hit a third time, his wrist shattered, he still carried on, killed two and wounded a third Japanese. The rest of the enemy fled into the jungle, leaving their equipment and position in British hands. Others had been wounded in the attack and Raymond refused treatment until last and insisted on walking back to the landing craft lest delay should endanger the patrol. After walking a mile he collapsed and had to be carried on an improvised stretcher. He died of wounds soon after. His self-sacrifice undoubtedly saved the whole patrol by allowing it to withdraw before the enemy could launch his counter-attack.
On April 29th, Wellington will mark the 75th anniversary of the Burma campaign, and honour the OWS involved, with a talk by military historian Tim Bean. This fascinating event will also include a Gurkha curry buffet, with all profits going to the Gurkha Museum Trust. To book please go to wellycom.net/all-events/