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 Ian Oswald Liddell

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Ian Oswald Liddell

Birth
Shanghai, Shanghai Municipality, China
Death 21 Apr 1945 (aged 25)
Bavaria (Bayern), Germany
Burial Soltau, Heidekreis, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
Plot 3.D.13.
Memorial ID 10520339 View Source
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World War II Victoria Cross Recipient. He received the award posthumously from British King George VI at Buckingham Palace on February 12, 1946 (presented to his widow) for his actions as a temporary captain in the 5th Battalion, Coldstream Guards, of the British Army on April 3, 1945 near Lingen, Germany during the last stages of World War II. Born in Shanghai, China, his father was a businessman. He was educated at St. Andrew's in Eastbourne, East Sussex, England and later at Harrow School in London, England. When World War II broke out in September 1939, he joined the Shropshire Light Infantry of the British Army as a private and then attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Berkshire, England and obtained a commission as a lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards and was stationed in London where he was involved with the retention of Nazi leader Rudolf Hess after his capture on May 11, 1941 in Scotland when he attempted to negotiate a peace settlement with England. He then joined the 5th Battalion of the Coldstream Guards and served in the European Theater of Operations, landing at Gold Beach at Normandy, France on June 26, 1944 and by April 1945 had pushed into Germany where he won the Victoria Cross for gallantry. He was killed in action near Rothenburg, Germany at the age of 25. His Victoria Cross citation reads: "In Germany, on 3 April 1945, Liddell was commanding a company of the Coldstream Guards, which was ordered to capture intact a bridge over the River Ems near Lingen. The bridge was covered on the far bank by an enemy strong point, which was subsequently discovered to consist of 150 entrenched infantry supported by three 8.8 cm and two 2 cm guns. The bridge was also prepared for demolition with 250 kg bombs, which could plainly be seen. Having directed his two leading platoons onto the near bank, Captain Liddell ran forward alone to the bridge and scaled the 3 m high road block guarding it, with the intention of neutralising the charges and taking the bridge intact. In order to achieve his object he had to cross the whole length of the bridge by himself under intense enemy fire, which increased as his objective became apparent to the Germans. Having disconnected the charges on the far side, he re-crossed the bridge and cut the wires on the near side. It was necessary for him to kneel, forming an easy target, whilst he successively cut the wires. He then discovered that there were also charges underneath the bridge. Completely undeterred he also disconnected these. His task completed, he then climbed up on to the road-block in full view of the enemy and signalled his leading platoon to advance. Thus alone and unprotected, without cover, and under heavy enemy fire, he achieved his object. The bridge was captured intact and the way cleared for the advance across the River Ems." In addition to the Victoria Cross, he received the 1939-45 Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, and the War Medal (1939-45). His Victoria Cross and other medals are on display at The Guards Regimental Headquarters (Grenadier Guards RHQ) at Wellington Barracks in London, England.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 23 Feb 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 10520339
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10520339/ian-oswald-liddell : accessed ), memorial page for Ian Oswald Liddell (19 Oct 1919–21 Apr 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10520339, citing Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Heidekreis, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany ; Maintained by Find a Grave .