Surviving "Famous" Heroes

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Adrian Roberts, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Sorry my first thread here is a rather depressing one, but I've been thinking about how just how few of the well-known heroes are left alive.

    In the last few months we have lost Willie "Tirpitz" Tait, Sir Tasker Watkins VC, and Alex Henshaw among many others.

    I do accept that anyone who put his or her life on the line in WW2 or any other time is a hero, but most stay anonymous. In twenty years the only ones left are likely to be a few privates, unknown during the war but who can still give a moving account of what they went through, as 108 year-old Harry Patch the last surviving WW1 Tommy is able to now. But there are some who become household names for being great leaders or fighter aces or for some individual act.

    There are just seven VC recipients of WW2 still alive:

    John Cruikshank (the only Air VC left)
    Ian Fraser (the only Naval VC left)
    Eric Wilson (who was awarded his VC in Somaliland in 1940 and is now 95)
    Lachiman Gurung
    Bhanbagta Gurung
    Tulbahadur Pun
    Edward Kenna

    Apart from them, I believe Eric "Winkle" Brown and Peter Twiss are alive -both test pilots. The number of "The Few" is probably down to double figures, and I think just two from the Dams raid.

    On the German side, Gunther Rall, third highest-scoring fighter pilot ever, is alive. In America, Chuck Yeager is still around.

    Can anyone think of any others?
  2. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Great list Adrian. I cannot think of any to add.
  3. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    It is, indeed, a dwindling list, both for "hereos" who were recognised by awards and medals, and "ordinary" service personnel who did their duty.

    Unfortunately, almost all are now very infirm and have reached a point in their lives where they do not appear in public; and so the public are only aware of them when they pass away and an obituary appears.
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    George Cross Winners - WW2

    According to the GC database the following GC winners (from the war) are still with us:

    Bertram Stuart Trevelyan ARCHER, GC,OBE, ERD and Two Bars
    Bomb Disposal

    Henry Harwood FLINTOFF, GC
    Stopped runaway bull at the age of 13

    John Sedgwick GREGSON, GC
    Shipboard rescue

    Charles Henry WALKER, GC
    Malta convoy rescue

    Ernest Alfred WOODING, AM
    Rescued people from boat

  5. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Surviving BoB Aircrew

    The Battle of Britain site lists all known surviving aircrew who participated. However, this list dates back to 2001, and I'm not sure how up-to-date- it currently is:
  6. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    What a sad listing. Some of these lads and lasses are till very spry and active, but the greater majority are getting frailer by the day.
  7. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Bobby Gibbes, former 3 Sqn Sqn Ldr etc, died earlier this year. Certainly one of the most famous Aussie fighter pilots. Another of my heroes, Nicky Barr, died last year or 2005. He was also a 3 Sqn vet.
  8. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Yes, Bobby Gibbes was another that I was thinking of. And I forgot to mention the late great Neville Duke.
  9. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    A survivor that I can think of is astronaut John Glenn - born 1921 and better known for his post-war career, but he flew F4U Corsairs in the Pacific in WW2, as well as F9F Panthers in Korea.

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