PORTEOUS, Capt. Patrick Anthony, VC
Honours & Awards:
Tuesday, January 1, 1918
Monday, October 9, 2000
Lieutenant (T/Captain) Patrick Anthony Porteous was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry during operations at Dieppe.
During the later Normandy landings he commanded 'D' troop of No 4 Commando. He held the war substantive rank of Captain and was confirmed in the rank on the 26th August 1945.(1)
Post war and after the Army Commandos were disbanded, he remained in military service with the Royal Artillery retiring as a Colonel on the 11th April 1970. (2)
Obituary published in Commando Association Newsletter 112.
On 10th October 2000, the Commando Association lost its last surviving Victoria Cross holder, namely Pat Porteous. Only a few weeks earlier, proudly sporting his Commando tie, Pat had the honour of representing all VC holders at that memorable parade held in London to celebrate HM The Queen Mother's 100th birthday. But even then, Pat was suffering from a long illness that had increasingly curtailed his many wide ranging activities and interests.
Surviving members of No.4 Commando will remember Pat as the fit young regular gunner officer who took over "D" Troop when the Commando was reorganised after the Lofoten Islands raid in 1941. He soon made his mark as a quiet, modest, yet capable leader who was respected as "The Skipper". Athough his Troop was not employed directly in the Dieppe Raid of August 1942, its members were deployed to bring up to strength those other troops selected for the operation, and Pat was selected by the CO., Lt. Col. The Lord Lovat, to act as Liaison Officer between the two Troops earmarked for the final bayonet assault on the German "Hess" battery.
In the event, this proved to be a sound and wise planning decision. Just prior to the final assault, Pat was shot at close range through the hand, the bullet then entering his upper arm. He closed with his assailant, disarmed him and killed him with his own bayonet, just as the German was taking aim at one of the Troop Sergeants, whose life was thus saved. During the final assault the two officers of 'F' Troop were killed and the Sergeant Major seriously wounded, but Pat Porteous, in the face of withering fire, dashed across open ground to rally and take command, leading the men in a successful charge on the enemy in the battery position. He was severely wounded for the second time, but continued in action until the last gun had been destroyed, when he eventually collapsed.
He was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George VI in October 1942, after recovering from his wounds. He returned to the command of 'D' Troop, which began to specialise in small boat raids. For a short time he was seconded to the Small Scale Raiding Force (62 Commando) and participated in raiding on the French coast in the winter preceding the invasion of Normandy. On 'D-Day', Pat landed with No.4 Commando and served with the Commando throughout the Normandy campaign, after which he joined Airborne Forces.
As a regular soldier he had a series of post-war postings at home and overseas, serving as a regimental artillery officer and in staff appointments, until he finally retired as a Colonel in 1970 at which time he was the only officer in the army with a VC. On retirement Pat readily supported the Association and successfully carried out two terms as President, firstly 1972 - 74 and subsequently 1987 - 88. In addition, he was for many years a Trustee of the Commandos' Benevolent Fund, latterly as Chairman, until in early 2000 his failing health forced him to resign.
At the funeral in his tiny parish church at Funtington, West Sussex, the Queen was represented by the Lord Lieutenant, and both the Commando Association and the Benevolent Fund were well represented in the large congregation, and appropriately, a party of 29th Field (Commando) Regiment RA., were pall-bearers resplendent with green berets. Most sincere condolences and deepest sympathy of all Association members were extended to Deirdre, Pat's wife and also to his family. With the passing of Colonel Pat Porteous VC., the Association has lost a modest, self-effacing and gallant comrade who was much respected by all who knew him."
(1) London Gazette 37239, page 4319.
(2) London Gazette 45078, page 4173.
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