Petition launched to posthumously award Victoria Cross to black WWII hero who blew Nazi ship

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A marketing campaign has been launched to see a black South African Second World Warfare hero who blew up a Nazi ship with a do-it-yourself bomb be awarded a Victoria Cross.

British generals nominated Job Maseko for a VC however his South African commanders discovered the thought of a black man receiving such a prestigious medal forward of his white friends alarming. 

As an alternative, he was awarded the Army Medal – the bottom bravery honour on the time – for his ‘ingenuity, willpower and full disregard of private security’ after he sank the German ship in Tobruk harbour in 1942. 

Now a Somerset man, Invoice Gillespie, is combating to proper what he sees as a large injustice and has began a petition.  

Job used his expertise as a miner earlier than the warfare to make the bomb himself – out of a tin of condensed milk, a protracted fuse and gunpowder. 

A marketing campaign has been launched to see a black South African Second World Warfare hero be awarded a Victoria Cross – Britain’s highest army honour. British generals nominated Job Maseko for a VC however his South African commanders discovered the thought of a black man receiving such a prestigious medal forward of his white friends alarming

Job, who died in 1952 at Springs within the province of Transvaal, served with South African forces because the Allies fought in opposition to Rommel’s troops in North Africa. 

Job got here from a humble background – when the warfare broke out he was working as a supply man 30 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa’s capital. 

Africans weren’t allowed to enlist in South Africa’s armed forces however the want for giant numbers of males to combat prompted a change.

Although black, Indian, and mixed-race troops had been then allowed to enlist from 1940 onwards, their roles had been strictly non-combatant.

It meant that solely the white troops had been initially given army coaching with precise firearms and rifles.

The one weapons the African troops of the Native Army Corps had been allowed to deal with had been spears – which they used whereas on guard responsibility. 

South Africa was then a self-governing dominion of the British Empire, that means it had full management over its armed forces. 

Instead, he was awarded the Military Medal - the lowest bravery honour at the time - for his 'ingenuity, determination and complete disregard of personal safety' after he sank a German ship. Now a Somerset man, Bill Gillespie (pictured), is fighting to right what he sees as a massive injustice and has started a petition

As an alternative, he was awarded the Army Medal – the bottom bravery honour on the time – for his ‘ingenuity, willpower and full disregard of private security’ after he sank a German ship. Now a Somerset man, Invoice Gillespie (pictured), is combating to proper what he sees as a large injustice and has began a petition

Black males had been later given rifles and ordered to combat on the frontline regardless of having a scarcity of ammunition and coaching.  

When Tobruk, in Libya, fell to the Germans in June 1942, Job and his comrades had been taken prisoner and had been tortured by camp guards. 

The Germans separated their prisoners by race – the white troops had been despatched to Prisoner of Warfare camps in Europe and non-white prisoners had been held in Italian camps in Africa.

They had been compelled to work as handbook labourers below horrific circumstances. 

The VC is the highest and most prestigious award in the British honours system (file photo)

The VC is the best and most prestigious award within the British honours system (file picture) 

Job hatched his bomb plan when he was despatched to Tobruk harbour to dump German ships laden with army {hardware}, ammunition and autos. 

He persuaded three fellow prisoners to distract guards whereas he went under decks to make his bomb. 

Mr Gillespie, of Milverton, Somerset, stated: ‘Job created a bomb utilizing a condensed milk tin, some cordite and a particularly lengthy fuse. 

‘On the night of July 21, 1942 and earlier than they had been due off the nonetheless overloaded ship, Job positioned his handmade bomb deep within the maintain. 

‘He lit the fuse and ran to affix his associates on the dock. 

‘Job waited and some hours later there was an almighty explosion, Apparently, the ship nearly sank instantly.

‘It was a big vessel and would have resulted in a big depletion of German tools destined to oppose Montgomery at El Alamein. 

‘It’s anybody’s guess, however this small act by a really courageous man might effectively have assisted within the decisive Allied victory by Mongomery’s troops barely three months later. 

‘I believe this incident regarding Job Maseko requires addressing and redressing. 

‘I’m subsequently beginning a petition for him to be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.’ 

The VC is the best and most prestigious award within the British honours system. 

It’s given for bravery ‘within the presence of the enemy’.  

Job later escaped from the Italian POW camp in Tobruk and walked for 3 weeks although the desert and enemy strains to El Alamein.

In October 1942, he turned a stretcher bearer with the first South African Infantry Division within the Second Battle of El Alamein.

He attained the rank of lance corporal throughout his service.

After the warfare the Apartheid system, which started in 1948, meant he obtained a a lot smaller army pension than his white colleagues.

Maseko was struck and killed by a prepare on March 7, 1952.

An extract from Job's Military Medal citation details how Job 'sank a fully laden enemy steamer - probably an 'F' boat - while moored in Tobruk harbour'. Pictured: A file photo of a German F boat

An extract from Job’s Army Medal quotation particulars how Job ‘sank a completely laden enemy steamer – most likely an ‘F’ boat – whereas moored in Tobruk harbour’. Pictured: A file picture of a German F boat

On the time of his demise he was so poor that his funeral was paid for by borrowed and donated funds.

He was buried within the Payneville Township Cemetery in Springs, South Africa.

In his honour, the township of KwaThema close to Springs has a main college named after him. The primary street linking Springs to KwaThema can also be named in his honour.

In 1997, the South African Navy renamed the missile assault craft SAS Kobie Coetzee as SAS Job Masego.

In 2007, South African director Vincent Moloi made a documentary about Job and the South African 2nd Infantry Division referred to as ‘A Pair of Boots and a Bicycle’.

An extract from Job’s Army Medal quotation particulars how Job ‘sank a completely laden enemy steamer – most likely an ‘F’ boat – whereas moored in Tobruk harbour’. 

It provides: ‘This he did by putting a small tin stuffed with gunpowder in amongst drums of petrol within the maintain, main a fuse therefrom to the hatch and lighting the fuse upon closing the hatch.

‘In finishing up this intentionally deliberate motion, Job Maseko displayed ingenuity, willpower and full disregard of private security from punishment by the enemy or from the following explosion which set the vessel alight.’   



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