Lance sergeant Johnson Beharry of the 1st battalion, Princess of Wales’ royal regiment, is the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross award in over 30 years. He received this award on 18th March 2005 for carrying out two individual acts of heroism: saving the lives of his platoon from ambushes twice, on 1st May 2004 and again on 11th June 2004 in Al-Amarah, Iraq.
About Johnson Beharry
Johnson Beharry, during a series of explosive operations in Iraq, carried out acts of outstanding heroism which saved the lives of 30 of his colleagues. He is an accomplished public speaker whose story is not only incredibly inspirational but lends itself to a number of key messages including overcoming adversity and resilience.
Johnson Beharry was born in Grenada in 1979. He joined the British army in 2001, serving in the1st battalion Prince of Wales’ royal regiment. He was deployed in Kosovo and Northern Ireland before being sent to Iraq in April 2004.
Following his heroic actions on 1st may and 11th June 2004, Johnson was awarded the Victoria cross (VC) for valour in 2005 – at the time he was the first living recipient for over 40 years.
Ambushed by rocket propelled grenades and machine gun fire, Beharry’s commander and gunner were incapacitated. Beharry took the initiative to drive through withering fire out of the killing area. In order to see, he had to keep his hatch open and as a result was shot in the helmet. Having driven out of the ambush, he singlehandedly evacuated his platoon commander and gunner from the stricken vehicle, still under enemy fire. The following month, recovered from his wounds, his vehicle was ambushed again. This time a rocket propelled grenade hit the front of the warrior exploding 6 inches from Heharry’s head and blasting shrapnel into his face, head and brain. Severely injured, he again drove his vehicle out of the ambush, passing out into a coma once clear.
After becoming involved with gangs and gang violence years ago, Beharry has is now the founder of the JBVC foundation; a charity that aims to provide role models and support to enable the youth to leave gangs and escape gang culture. The charity works with 15-25 year olds, helping and enabling young people to leave the cycle of gang violence. The aim of the foundation is to reach young people involved in gang culture and to empower them, redirecting them in an alternative direction and supporting them to become productive members of their communities.
- Overcoming Adversity