He Repelled An Enemy Assault with Beer Bottles and Became A Hero

Speakman receives the Victoria Cross. Australian War Memorial

William Speakman was born on September 27, 1927, in Altrincham, Cheshire. With a natural sense of initiative, he was eager to serve in the Army. As a young teen, he watched his countrymen fight against the Axis powers, but was only able to join in 1945 after World War II was already over.

Known as Bill, he joined the Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment. Eventually, he transitioned to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, and served with them during the Korean War.

The Black Watch waits for transportation after the Battle of the Hook in 1951. iwm.org.uk

Before the Korean War became a stalemate, it was a back and forth struggle. The war broke out on June 25, 1950, but it only took a few months for South Korea to be on the losing end. Before accepting defeat, a U.S. Marine landing at Inchon relieved the South Korean forces. In September of the same year, the North Koreans finally faced opposition, and they were forced to the border of China.

In October 1950, Chinese soldiers crossed the border by the hundreds of thousands. The city of Seoul was caught in the middle of the war, and changed hands at least four times between the enemies. The struggle finally ended when Seoul became a stalemate at the 38th parallel.

United Nation Forces withdraw from the North Korean capital at the 38th parallel. USIA

During this back and worth conflict, Bill Speakman volunteered for action. He was 24-years-old and off to Korea thanks to his transfer to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. Speakman desired to fight in the war by any means necessary.