Gordon Angus Mackinlay
Member # 338
posted 30. March 2002 21:59
The following is from The Times. It appears that the other chap who was to get the VC is now to be awarded an 'Immediate' Conspicuous Service Cross.
Jock in Sydney
March 31, 2021
VC hero faces cash dilemma
AN SAS sergeant-major wounded in Afghanistan was told last week he will be awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military honour. He could now become a millionaire if he leaves the elite regiment.
According to friends, the 39-year-old married father of three children is considering whether to join the lucrative after-dinner speaking circuit — where he could earn �10,000 a night — or to remain in a desk job at SAS headquarters until he retires in 15 years.
His home on the outskirts of Hereford is already being fortified amid concern that as the army’s most successful officer, he could become a terrorist target.
The award is the first to a living recipient since Australian warrant officer Keith Payne was honoured for valour in Vietnam 33 years ago. Only 11 Victoria Crosses (VCs) have been awarded since 1945, the last two posthumously to men who fell in the Falklands.
The last Briton to be a living recipient of the VC was William Speakman, a private in the Black Watch, who won it in 1951 for “heroism under fire” in Korea.
The latest medal is being awarded for the soldier’s leading role in a battle near Kandahar last November. He led his squadron into what has become known as “the battle of the caves”. In fierce hand-to-hand combat, 27 Al-Qaeda fighters were killed and about 30 captured.
The sergeant-major was shot in the calf by a sniper and airlifted to Britain. The injury is thought to have ended his active service in the SAS, six months earlier than was planned.
Believed to come from Bradford, he is described as one of the most popular and long-serving members of the regiment. He joined the reconnaissance unit of the Royal Marines at 17 and moved into the SAS in 1986.
“He is well liked and is very strong-willed and independent,” said a regiment source. “His actions in Afghanistan are typical of his personality.”
Friends say the opportunity of lucrative work on the speaking circuit had placed the man, a fierce SAS loyalist, in a dilemma. They said he had little family money. His wife works as a secretary and the couple have children aged 14, 12 and 10.
But one source said the sergeant major has “total disdain” for former SAS soldiers such as Andy McNab and Chris Ryan, who have broken the regiment’s code of silence and written books about their careers.
A six-year contract he accepted last year would see him commissioned as a captain with an administrative job. Afterwards he would probably be offered another contract to take him up to retirement at 55 as a major.
Many senior SAS officers did not want the soldier to be awarded a VC, but an earlier decision not to bestow the honour is believed to have been overturned by government ministers keen to boost public morale as the war on terrorism enters a new stage.
Posts: 135 | From: Sydney, Australia | Registered: May 2001