Lieutenant Colonel Augustus Newman VC, No 2 Commando and The Essex Regiment, 1945 (c)
Photograph, World War Two (1939-1945), 1945 (c).
Newman was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) in recognition of his bravery and leadership during Operation Chariot, the raid on the French port at St Nazaire in 1942. The aim was to destroy the only dry dock on the French coast that could be used by the German battleship 'Tirpitz'. Without a haven for repair, it was unlikely that the new ship would risk sailing in Atlantic waters. The Allies intended to ram the dry dock gates with an old destroyer, HMS 'Campbelltown', whose bows were packed with explosives. Commandos would attack the port facilities as the destroyer rammed the gates.
On 28 March 1942 they succeeded in destroying the Normandie dry dock, preventing its use by Germany for the remainder the war. British casualties were 169 killed in action. Out of 611 men on the raid, fewer than half returned home. Newman was one of those captured, having led his men in fighting off superior enemy numbers while the demolition parties completed their work.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
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