Richard Annand

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Richard Wallace Annand
Victoria Cross Medal without Bar.png
Nickname(s) Dicky
Born 5 November 1914 (1914-11-05)
South Shields, County Durham
Died 24 December 2004 (2004-12-25) (aged 90)
Whitesmocks, Durham
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
 British Army
Years of service 1933–1937 (Navy)
1938–1948 (Army)
Rank Sub-lieutenant (Navy)
Captain (Army)
Service number 74134
Unit Durham Light Infantry
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Victoria Cross
Emergency Reserve Decoration and bar
Other work Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham

Captain Richard Wallace Annand VC, ERD, DL (5 November 1914 – 24 December 2004) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life[edit]

Annand was born in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England and was the son of Lieutenant-Commander Wallace Moir Annand. His father was killed with the Collingwood Battalion of the Royal Naval Division at Gallipoli in June 1915.[1] He was educated at Pocklington School, East Yorkshire. Upon leaving school he worked at the National Provincial Bank first at South Shields and then in Rugby and finally in London.[2]

Military career[edit]

In 1933, Annand joined the Tyne Division of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as a midshipman. He was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in 1936 and completed both a navigation and a gunnery course. In 1937 he applied for a commission in the Royal Navy but was refused because of his age.[2]

Annand was commissioned into the Supplementary Reserve of Officers as a Second Lieutenant of the Durham Light Infantry on 29 January 1938.[3] He was promoted to Captain on 28 January 1948.[4] He relinquished his commission due to disability on 29 December 1948 but retained the rank of Captain.[5]

Plaque to Richard Annan on the bridge over the Dyle

Victoria Cross[edit]

The Bridge over the Dyle

"Dickie" Annand was 25 years old, and a second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, British Army during World War II when a deed took place on 15 May 1940, near the River Dyle, Gastuche, Belgium for which he was awarded the VC. This was the first Victoria Cross awarded to a member of the British Army in World War II.[6] He was invested with the Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 3 September 1940.[2]

The entry in the London Gazette concerning his Victoria Cross appeared in a supplement on 23 August 1940. It read as follows:[7]

For most conspicuous gallantry on the 15th–16th May 1940, when the platoon under his command was on the south side of the River Dyle, astride a blown bridge. During the night a strong attack was beaten off, but about 11 a.m. the enemy again launched a violent attack and pushed forward a bridging party into the sunken bottom of the river. Second Lieutenant Annand attacked this party, but when ammunition ran out he went forward himself over open ground, with total disregard for enemy mortar and machine-gun fire. Reaching the top of the bridge, he drove out the party below, inflicting over twenty casualties with hand grenades. Having been wounded he rejoined his platoon, had his wound dressed, and then carried on in command.

Richard Annand's platoon sergeant said later "Mr Annand came to me at platoon headquarters and asked for a box of grenades as they could hear Jerry trying to repair the bridge. Off he went and he sure must have given them a lovely time because it wasn't a great while before he was back for more.

During the evening another attack was launched and again Second Lieutenant Annand went forward with hand grenades and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. When the order to withdraw was received, he withdrew his platoon, but learning on the way back that his batman was wounded and had been left behind, he returned at once to the former position and brought him back in a wheelbarrow, before losing consciousness as the result of wounds.

Later life[edit]

On 11 February 1956, Annand became a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Durham.[8]

Upon retirement from the military, and because of the injuries he sustained during World War II, Annand became involved in helping disabled people. He was a founder member of the British Association for the Hard of Hearing, which became Hearing Concern in 1963, and was also involved in the founding of the Durham County Association for the Disabled.[2]

Richard Annand died at Durham shortly after his 90th birthday on 24 December 2004.[2] His service uniform and his Victoria Cross are on display in the Durham Light Infantry Museum.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Annand was awarded the Army Emergency Reserve Decoration and clasp on 29 January 1980.[9]

Medal entitlement of Captain Richard Annand – 2nd Bn, Durham Light Infantry

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1939 – 45 Star
  • Defence Medal ( 1939–45 )
  • War Medal ( 1939–45 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ( 1977 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ( 2002 )
  • Army Emergency Reserve Decoration ( ERD ) & Bar

Personal life[edit]

He married Shirley Osborne in 1940 and celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary on 9 November 2000. They did not have any children.[2]


  1. ^ CWGC entry
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Captain Dickie Annand VC". Telegraph. 28 December 2004. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "No. 34477". The London Gazette. 28 January 1938. p. 591. 
  4. ^ "No. 38191". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 January 1948. p. 732. 
  5. ^ "No. 38491". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1948. p. 6735. 
  6. ^ "The Funeral of Captain Richard Annand, VC". Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "No. 34928". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 August 1940. p. 5137. 
  8. ^ "No. 40712". The London Gazette. 17 February 1956. p. 994. 
  9. ^ "No. 48080". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 January 1980. p. 1444. 

External links[edit]