Baskeyfield, John Daniel

Date of birth:
November 18th, 1922 (Burslem/Staffordshire, England)
Date of death:
September 20th, 1944 (Oosterbeek/Gelderland, the Netherlands)
Buried on:
Groesbeek Memorial Canadian War Cemetery Groesbeek
Plot: 5. 
Service number:
5057916
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

The remains of John Baskeyfield were never recovered nor identified. His name is commemorated at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, the Netherlands at 'Panel 5'.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Lance-Sergeant
Unit:
Anti-Tank Platoon, Support Company, 2nd Battalion The South Staffordshire, 1st Airlanding Brigade, 1st Airborne Division, Royal Army
Awarded on:
November 23rd, 1944
Awarded for:
Operation Market Garden
Action:
Citation:
"On 20th September, 1944, during the battle of Arnhem, Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield was the N.C.O. in charge of a 6-pounder anti-tank gun at Oosterbeek.
The enemy developed a major attack on this sector with infantry, tanks and self-propelled guns with the obvious intent to break into and overrun the Battalion position. During the early stage of the action the crew commanded by this N.C.O. was responsible for the destruction of two Tiger tanks and at least one self-propelled gun, thanks to the coolness and daring of this N.C.O., who, with complete disregard for his own safety, allowed each tank to come well within 100 yards of his gun before opening fire. In the course of this preliminary engagement Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield was badly wounded in the leg and the remainder of his crew were either killed or badly wounded.
During the brief respite after this engagement Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield refused to be carried to the Regimental Aid Post and spent his time attending to his .gun and shouting encouragement to his comrades in neighbouring trenches.
After a short interval the enemy renewed the attack with even greater ferocity than before, under cover of intense mortar and shell fire. Manning his gun quite alone Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield continued to fire round after round at the enemy until his gun was put out of action. By this time his activity was the main factor in keeping the enemy tanks at bay. The fact that the surviving men in his vicinity were, held together and kept in action was undoubtedly due to his magnificent example and outstanding courage. Time after time enemy attacks were launched and driven off. Finally, when his gun was knocked out, Lance Sergeant Baskeyfield crawled, under intense enemy fire, to another 6-pounder gun nearby, the crew of which had been killed, and proceeded to man it single-handed.
With this gun he engaged an enemy selfpropelled gun which was appoaching to attack. Another soldier crawled across the open ground to assist him but was killed almost at once. Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield succeeded in firing two rounds at the selfpropelled gun, scoring one direct hit which rendered it ineffective. Whilst preparing to fire a third shot, however, he was killed by a shell from a supporting enemy tank.
The superb gallantry of this N.C.O. is beyond praise. During the remaining days at Arnhem stories of his valour were a constant inspiration to all ranks. He spurned danger, ignored pain and, by his supreme fighting spirit, infected all who witnessed his conduct with the same aggressiveness and dogged devotion to duty which characterised his actions throughout."
Details:
Lance Sergeant Baskeyfield’s Victoria Cross is publicly displayed at the Museum of the Staffordshire Regiment in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England.
The destruction of the two Tiger tanks is all but certain, for no evidence of that was ever found. It was however certain that his action did knock down one Stug III.
Victoria Cross (VC)

Sources

Photos

News

Apr2018

Photoreport start of the exhibition 'For Valour'

On Thursday 5 April 2018 was the official start of the exhibition 'For Valour' in the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek. In this exhibition the five Arnhem Victoria Crosses are on display for the first time

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