Further details of the battle in which
Speakman was awarded the VC can be found on the
site. It describes Speakman as:
"William Speakman-m Pitt, born 1927, the first
man to receive a VC from Queen Elizabeth II, and one of the few
living VC holders."
Describing the battle in which Speakman won his VC,
"Private Speakman, on his own initiative,
collected six men and a pile of grenades and led a series of charges.
He broke up several enemy attacks, causing heavy casualties and in spite
of being wounded in the leg continued to lead charge after charge. He kept
the enemy at bay long enough to enable his company to withdraw safely.
Press reports of the time reported that
Private Speakman began throwing bottles at the enemy after running out of
grenades. The bottles were in fact beer bottles sent the line for
platoon consumption (40 men, "approx 4 per man). By the time the
platoon were attacked, the bottles were empty, thus constituting suitable