Death of Bill Speakman VC

Bill was born on 21st September 1927, and brought up in Altrincham, Cheshire. He enlisted in the Black Watch in 1945 and served in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong before volunteering for Korea when he was attached to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in 1951. He subsequently transferred to that regiment. Following his heroism under intense fire in defence of his company position Bill was awarded the supreme bravery accolade of a Victoria Cross in December 1951. Despite having been wounded in his VC action and repatriated to the UK he subsequently volunteered and returned to Korea in 1952. He later served with the Malayan Scouts in 1955 and then rejoined the KOSB and served in Aden and the Radfan, Saudi Arabia and Brunei before being posted to Germany from where, in 1968, he left the Army. He worked as a Master-at-Arms on mail ships before settling in South Africa and working for a Security company in Cape Province and Natal. By 1983 he was Deputy Chief Security Officer, Divisional Council of the Cape Province and retired in 1993 to the UK. In 2004 he was given the Freedom of Altrincham and was President of the Altrincham and Bowden Civic Society as well as being a staunch supporter of the Royal British Legion and the Korean Veterans’ Association. He visited South Korea twice in the last few years and in 2015 he was awarded their highest honour, the Order of Military Merit; he wore the sash with immense pride. Bill was married three times and had three sons and four daughters and seven grandchildren. He loved the outdoor life and in his younger years, also enjoyed painting and photography. Bill moved to the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 2015 and became a Chelsea Pensioner. During his time at the Royal Hospital he continued to represent the veteran community with modesty, good humour and quiet dignity. He was much loved and respected by all staff and fellow Chelsea Pensioners and also by all his fellow members of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association.

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