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February 2019: Islay

The Queen of the Hebrides takes some getting to but the effort is repaid a hundred-fold, and if you are hitting the island in the ...More
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Joshua Leakey

To say the Victoria Cross is not given lightly is an enormous understatement. Since it was initiated in 1856 only 1363 have been awarded, the latest to Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey of the Parachute Regiment. It speaks volumes of the level of courage and valour required to qualify for the medal that the only other awards from the Afghanistan campaign were both posthumous. Lance Corporal Leakey’s actions during a fire-fight with Taliban forces in August 2013 were extraordinary for the bravery shown – crossing open ground under machine gun fire several times to rescue a wounded US Marine Captain, and to site not one but two machine guns where their fire turned the course of the fight. They were also amazing physically, carrying the heavy weapons 200m up a steep slope while weighed down with a 60lb pack. In spite of his junior rank he took control of the situation and turned what could have been a defeat into victory. For this he will have to get used to all ranks saluting him, the tradition for VCs – a tradition followed at the ceremony to decorate Lance Corporal Leakey by Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter, and rightly so. An astounding hero.

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Adversity is the first path to truth. - Lord Byron
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On this day:
Battle of Bramham Moor - 1408, Treaty of Westminster signed - 1674, First Man Utd Match at Old Trafford - 1910, 1st episode of Eastenders - 1985, Cocker's Contempt for Jackson at Brits - 1996
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