Victoria Cross

   My Great Grandfather, John Liddell, had an elder brother Sir. Charles Oswald Liddell, b. 1851 in Edinburgh who married Elizabeth Kate Birt b. 1861 in Romsey, England. They married in 1880 in the Anglican Cathedral, Shanghai, China. Charles and Bessie had eight children. Elizabeth (Bessie) died in 1928, and Charles remarried Mary Farquar Leonard in 1930.

   Children: Percy, Kenneth, Norman, Colin, Charles, Dorothy, Marion and Enid.

Percy William Oswald Liddell b. 1881 Shanghai d.1967 married to Gwendoline Ray Whittall b.1888 d. 1978. They had five children.

   Children: David, Margaret, Ian, Elizabeth and Jenny

Ian Oswald Liddell b.1921 married Patricia Patten-Bethune. Initially involved with the family business 'Liddell Brothers' in the Far East. During the Second World War he served with the 5th Battalion Coldstream Guards. Service number 156048.

The following details are taken from the London Gazette of June 5th, 1945:- "In Germany on April 3rd, 1945, Captain Liddell was commanding a company of the Coldstream Guards ordered to capture intact a bridge over the river Ems, near Lingen, Germany. The bridge was heavily defended and prepared for demolition. Captain Liddell ran forward alone, scaling a 10ft. high road block, to neutralise the 500 lb. charges. Unprotected, and all the time under intense fire, he crossed and re-crossed the whole length of the bridge, disconnecting the charges at both ends and underneath it. His task completed, he climbed on the road block and signalled to the leading platoon that the way was clear for the advance across the river.The bridge was captured intact, and the way cleared for the advance over the river. Captain Liddell's outstanding gallantry and superb example of courage will never be forgotten by those who saw it. This very brave officer later died of wounds subsequently received in action."

Sadly, Ian was killed in action later that month on the 21st April 1945 near Rothenburg, Germany. He was awarded his VC posthumously. His VC is on public display at the Regimental HQ, Wellington Barracks, London. He is buried in Becklingen War Cemetery (details below), grave number 3.D.13

Country: Germany
Locality: Soltau, Niedersachsen
Visiting Information: Wheelchair access to site possible, but may be by an alternative entrance. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on telephone number 01628 507200
Location Information: Becklingen War Cemetery is 13 kilometres south east of Soltau on the west side of the road from Hamburg to Hannover. From Hannover travel north in the direction of Hamburg on the Autoroute No.7 for 80 kilometres until the junction with Soltau Sud, this is in fact the junction of the A7 with the B3 Hannover to Hamburg road. On leaving the A7 at Soltau Sud follow the B3 in the direction of Celle and Bergen. The cemetery is on the right hand side of the road, 7 kilometres from the motorway junction.
Historical Information: The site of Becklingen War Cemetery was chosen for the position on a hillside overlooking Luneburg Heath, where Field-Marshall Montgomery accepted the German surrender from Admiral Doenitz on 4 May 1945. Burials were brought into the cemetery from isolated sites in the countryside, small German cemeteries and prisoner of war camps cemeteries, including the Fallingbostel cemetery, within a radius of about 80 kilometres. Most of those buried in the cemetery died during the last two months of the war. Becklingen War Cemetery contains 2,374 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 97 of them unidentified. There are also 27 war graves of other nationalities, many of them Polish.
No. of Identified Casualties: 2299