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Victoria Cross hero Johnson Beharry talks to Netflix about a film of his life


The full quote, which explains why the then Private Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross in 2005, reads:

& # 39; Private Beharry performed two single acts of great heroism, through which he saved the lives of his comrades. Both faced the enemy directly, were under heavy fire and were at great personal risk to themselves (one caused him to be very seriously injured). His bravery deserves the highest recognition.

In the early morning hours of May 1, 2004, Beharry's company was instructed to replenish an isolated coalition outpost in the center of the troubled city of Al Amarah. He was the driver of an armored combat vehicle of a train commander. His train was the company's reserve and was immediately asked to move.

When the main elements of his company moved into town to carry out the replenishment, they were again tasked with fighting a series of enemy ambushes to extract a foot patrol that had been held under persistent small arms and heavy weapons using machine gun fire and improvised explosive device and grenade attack Rocket propulsion. Beharry's train was radioed to help the rest of the company, who was trying to get the isolated foot patrol out.

When his train passed a roundabout on the way to the nailed-down patrol, they realized that the road ahead was free of civilians and traffic – an indication of a possible ambush in front of them. The train driver ordered the vehicle to stop so that he could assess the situation. The vehicle was then immediately hit by several rocket-propelled grenades.

Members of the Royal Regiment of the Princess of Wales, including Johnson Beharry, at their base in the Barker Barracks, Paderborn, 2005

Eyewitnesses report that the vehicle was involved in a series of violent explosions that physically shook the 30-ton warrior. As a result of this violent initial burst of fire, both the train driver and the gunner of the vehicle were incapacitated by concussions and other wounds, and a number of soldiers in the rear of the vehicle were also wounded.

& # 39; Because of the damage to the vehicle's radio systems caused by the explosion, Beharry had no means of communication with his tower team or any of the other warrior vehicles around him. He didn't know if his commander or crew members were still alive or how serious their injuries could be.

In this confusing and dangerous situation, he closed the driver's hatch on his own initiative and went through the ambush to try to establish some form of communication. He stopped short of a barricade across the street. The vehicle was hit again by a sustained rocket-propelled grenade attack by insurgent fighters in the alleys and on the roofs around its vehicle.

& # 39; Further damage to the warrior from these explosions caused him to catch fire and quickly fill with thick, harmful smoke. Beharry opened his armored hatch cover to clarify his view and to orient himself to the situation. He still had no radio link and was now acting on his own initiative as a convoy lead vehicle with six warriors in an enemy controlled area of ​​the city at night.

He figured that his best way to save his crew's life was to be ambushed. He drove his warrior straight through the barricade without knowing whether there were mines or improvised explosive devices to destroy his vehicle. This way he was able to get the remaining five warriors to safety behind him.

As the smoke cleared in his driver's tunnel, he could just make out the shape of another rocket-propelled grenade in flight that was approaching him. He pulled the heavy armored hatch down with one hand while he checked his vehicle with the other. The overpressure from the missile's explosion, however, tore the hatch out of his grasp, and the flames and the force of the explosion went straight down the driver's tunnel, wounding the semi-conscious gunner further in the tower.

& # 39; The impact of this missile destroyed Beharry's armored periscope, forcing him to drive the vehicle over the rest of the approximately 1500m ambush route, with its hatch open and its head constantly exposed to enemy fire, with no communication with anyone other vehicle. During this long wave of ambushes, the vehicle was again hit by rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.

While his head stayed out of the hatch to see the way ahead, he was directly exposed to much of that fire and was himself hit by a 7.62mm bullet that penetrated his helmet and stayed on the inside surface. Despite the shattering weight of the incoming fire, Beharry continued to push through the extensive ambush and continue on his train until it got clean.

Prince Charles met L / Cpl Beharry 2019 in the Grenada parliament buildings

Prince Charles met L / Cpl Beharry 2019 in the Grenada parliament buildings

Then he visually identified another warrior from his company and followed him through the streets of Al Amarah to the outside of the Cimic House outpost, which was bombarded with small arms from the area. After he had brought his vehicle to a standstill outside without thinking about his personal safety, he climbed onto the tower of the still burning vehicle and apparently unsuspectingly pushed his wounded train driver out of the tower, out of the vehicle and for the safety of a nearby warrior.

Then he returned to his vehicle and reassembled the exposed turret to lift the gunner out of the vehicle and put him in a safe position. He exposed himself to enemy fire again and returned to the rear of the burning vehicle to rescue the disoriented and shocked descent and casualties.

When he got back on his burning vehicle for the third time, he drove it through a complex chicane to the security of the defended outpost, denying it to the enemy.

Only then did Beharry pull the fire extinguisher handles, immobilize the vehicle's engine, dismount, and then move into the relative safety of another warrior's back. Once inside, Beharry collapsed out of sheer physical and mental exhaustion and was subsequently evacuated himself.

Beharry's warrior was back on duty after medical treatment on June 11, 2004 and was part of a rapid reaction force trying to cut off a mortar team that had attacked a coalition base in Al Amarah. As the leading vehicle of the train, he quickly moved through the dark streets of the city towards the suspected shooting point when his vehicle was attacked by the enemy from a number of roof positions.

During this initially heavy hostile fire, a rocket-propelled grenade detonated on the vehicle's front armor, just 6 inches from Beharry's head, causing a serious head injury. Other missiles hit the tower and sides of the vehicle, incapacitated its commander, and injured several crew members.

& # 39; With the blood from his head injury hiding his sight, Beharry managed to keep his vehicle under control and forcibly remove the warrior from the ambush. The vehicle kept moving until it hit the wall of a nearby building and came to rest. Beharry then lost consciousness due to his wounds.

& # 39; By removing the vehicle from the target area chosen by the enemy, it enabled other warrior crews to get his crew out of his vehicle, significantly reducing the risk of fire falling.

& # 39; Despite a serious head injury, which he was later classified as very serious and for some time in a coma, his level-headed actions almost certainly saved the lives of his crew and, given the heavy and precise enemy fire at close range provided the conditions for her safe evacuation to medical treatment.

"Despite intense direct attacks, personal injury and damage to his vehicle in the face of relentless hostile actions, Beharry has repeatedly shown extreme bravery and undeniable bravery."

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