Charles Upham VC and Bar

Charles Upham (centre) pictured with members of his platoon in North Africa, November 1941. Upham had fought with the New Zealand Division in Greece in April that year, and in Crete in May. His remarkable bravery during the bitter fighting on Crete earned him a Victoria Cross (VC), awarded in October 1941.

In June and July 1942 Upham again showed tremendous courage leading his men in ferocious actions at Minqâr Qaim and Ruweisat Ridge in the North African desert. At Ruweisat Ridge he was wounded and captured by the Germans. After trying to escape from captivity several times Upham was sent to the notorious Colditz Castle prison in Germany during 1944. Following his liberation in 1945, military authorities decided that his actions at Minqâr Qaim and Ruweisat Ridge merited the addition of a bar to his VC. As a result, he became one of only three people — and the only combatant — to be awarded the VC twice.

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