Normandy Landings cover signed by Tasker Watkins VC.
Sir Tasker Watkins, VC, GBE (18 November 1918 – 9 September 2007) was a Lord Justice of Appeal and deputy Lord Chief Justice. He was President of the Welsh Rugby Union from 1993 to 2004. In World War II, he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest British award for gallantry in the face of the enemy.
A lieutenant in the 1/5th battalion, he was one officer in a group in Normandy post D-Day leading an assault on a Wehrmacht machine gun post. After all the other officers were killed in the approach, Watkins continued to lead the group and won his VC for leading a bayonet charge against 50 armed enemy infantry and then single-handedly took out a machine-gun post to ensure the safety of his unit.
He was the first Welshman to be awarded a VC during the Second World War. His citation read:
“On 16 August 1944 at Barfour, Normandy, France, Lieutenant Watkins' company came under murderous machine-gun fire while advancing through corn fields set with booby traps. The only officer left, Lieutenant Watkins led a bayonet charge with his 30 remaining men against 50 enemy infantry, practically wiping them out. Finally, at dusk, separated from the rest of the battalion, he ordered his men to scatter and after he had personally charged and silenced an enemy machine-gun post, he brought them back to safety. His superb leadership not only saved his men, but decisively influenced the course of the battle.”
Wales rugby coach Graham Henry had Watkins' citation pinned up on the wall of the Welsh changing room before Six Nations encounters.
Watkins' Victoria Cross is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum.
Normandy Landings D-Day cover signed Victoria Cross Tasker Watkins VC
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