Victoria Cross Hero Visits Cavendish Primary School

Cavendish Primary School Pupils Give a Hero’s Welcome to Johnson Beharry VC

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Pupils at Cavendish Primary School in Chiswick had a real surprise when one of the heroes they had learnt about in the classroom, paid a visit to their school.

Johnson Beharry was cited for the Victoria Cross in 2005 after rescuing colleagues under fire on two occasions, despite being seriously wounded. The citation referred to Johnson’s "repeated extreme gallantry and unquestioned valour” and the fact that these acts were carried out “at great personal risk to himself”.

This is the first Victoria Cross awarded in over 20 years and was last awarded to a living recipient in 1969. Pte Beharry is one of only 14 recipients of the award still alive.

During anti-bullying week, the children had talked about Johnson when considering the role of bravery when looking out for friends. Subsequently Johnson, whose cousins attend the school, agreed to visit the school to take part in a question and answer session with pupils.

At the session, the Cavendish pupils and staff got the opportunity to pose a wide range of searching questions to their hero and to see his Victoria Cross. The children were audibly stunned when Johnson talked about the number of lives he had saved on a single day - 39 - and were amused to hear that he was afraid of at least one thing – snakes! Afterwards Johnson posed for photographs with the whole school and with each individual year group.

Anne-Marie Inwood, the Head of Cavendish Primary School said, "When we talked about Johnson’s bravery in our school assembly, we never imagined that he would actually visit us in school. Johnson impressed all of us with his modesty and brought his acts of courage to life for our pupils. I would like to thank everyone who made this visit possible and of course Johnson for taking the time to visit our school and answering all our questions so patiently."

December 7, 2006