Victoria Cross for Job Maseko.

Victoria Cross for Job Maseko.

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Bill Gillespie started this petition to British government

During the second world war, Job Maseko as Prisoner of War was detailed, with the other black prisoners, to offload ships laden with military hardware, ammunition and vehicles destined in due course for the battle of El Alamein. Job had created a bomb using a condensed milk tin, some cordite from rounds of enemy ammunition and an extremely long fuse. The latter he secretly removed from German storage. On the evening of the 21st July 1942 and before they were due off the still overloaded ship, Job placed his home-made bomb deep in the hold. He lit the fuse and ran to join his friends on the dock. At first Job was concerned that the fuse had somehow been extinguished. A few hours later, there was an almighty explosion. The ship sank almost immediately. It was a large vessel and would have resulted in a significant depletion of German equipment destined to oppose Montgomery at El Alamein. It is anyone’s guess -but this small act by a very brave man- could well have assisted in the decisive Allied victory by Montgomery’s troops; barely three months later.

Shortly afterwards the British liberated Tobruk. The British Generals were anxious to verify the story of the Zulu who blew up a German warship whilst being a prisoner. Divers corroborated that there was a ship below the surface; at the spot indicated by Job. The British generals nominated him for a Victoria Cross, a first for any black soldier-anywhere.  However, his immediate South African commanders found the idea alarming for a black man to get such a prestigious medal ahead of his white peers. Job Maseko was then notified that “though many would like to see him awarded the Victoria Cross, the South African High Command would prefer him to receive the “Military Medal” which was the lowest military medal presentable at the time.

Sadly, Job Maseko was killed in 1952 by being hit by a train. He died a pauper and his family had to beg and borrow money for his funeral.

 

My father, who fought up north against Rommel, mentioned on several occasions to me, how at the time they were ‘rooting for’ Job Maseko to receive the VC; and how disappointed they were when all he received was the MM.

 

Job’s undertaking was premeditated and planned. He was aware of the consequences of his behaviour should he have been found out, or if the plan had gone wrong, they would certainly have been summarily executed-if not Job on his own, but the whole black contingent in his company.

 

Injustice is intolerable and to be condemned, but more importantly it should, if possible be overturned.

 

I appeal to anyone who has a heart for fairness, justice, and the righting of wrongs, to support this petition. vc4job@aol.com

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!