Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1945, Lieutenant Claud Raymond V.C., the Corps of Royal Engineers, died from wounds received the previous day during the fighting at Talaku in Burma.
He was the son of Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Claud Raymond C.I.E., M.C. (whose other son, Antony, was killed in action three months later) and was educated at Wellington College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was commissioned into the Corps in May of 1943, showing great keenness, and early in 1945 he became involved in the fierce fighting in Burma jungles.
His actions on the day before his death earned him the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross. He had been second-in-charge of a small patrol sent to create a diversion by attacking and destroying enemy posts forty miles in advance of an Indian Infantry Brigade. As they neared the village of Talaku they had to cross open ground and were heavily fired on by an enemy detachment from the nearby jungle area.
The citation takes up the story: “Lieutenant Raymond immediately charged in the direction of the fire. As he began to climb the hill he was wounded in the right shoulder, he ignored this wound and continued up the slope firing his rifle from the hip. He had advanced only a few yards when a Japanese threw a grenade which burst in his face and most severely wounded him. He fell, immediately picked himself up again, and, in spite of loss of blood from his wounds continued on, leading his section under intense fire. He was hit yet a third time, his wrist being shattered by what appeared to have been ail explosive bullet. In spite of this he never wavered, but carried on into the enemy position itself, and, in the sharp action that followed, was largely responsible for the killing of two Japanese and the wounding of a third. The remaining Japanese then fled in panic into the jungle, thus leaving the position in our hands, together with much equipment. The position itself was strongly fortified by foxholes and small bunkers and would have proved extremely formidable had not the attack been pressed home with great determination under the courageous leadership of Lieutenant Raymond.”
Lieutenant Raymond refused medical treatment until the other injured men had been attended to, and he insisted on walking back to the landing craft in order to avoid delay. However, after a mile he collapsed and had to be carried on a stretcher, all the time encouraging the other wounded and attempting to keep them cheerful. He passed away with a few hours.
The citation continues: The outstanding gallantry, remarkable endurance and fortitude of Lieutenant Raymond, which refused to allow him to collapse, although mortally wounded, was an inspiration to everyone and a major factor in the capture of the strong point. His self-sacrifice in refusing attention to his wounds undoubtedly saved the patrol, by allowing it to withdraw in time before the Japanese could bring up fresh forces from neighbouring positions for a counter attack.” He is buried in the Taukkyan War Cemetery near Rangoon in what is now Myanmar.
Claud, born in Mottistone on the Isle of Wight and raised in Seaford, Sussex, was 21 years old.