William Askew

Medals awarded

  • Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • 1939-45 War Medal
  • Africa Star
  • Italy Star
  • Defence Medal 1939-45
  • War Medal 1939-45

Born in 1909 on the Isle of Wight, William Henry Barden Askew served with the 1st Battalion Green Howards during the Second World War, deploying to Norway in the spring of 1940.

For his actions at the Battle of Otta, where C and D Companies fought elements of the 196th German Infantry Division, Askew was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for commanding “his company throughout the whole day with skill and determination and great courage inflicting considerable losses on the enemy and showing complete disregard for his own personal danger. On being ordered to withdraw he effected the withdrawal of his Company from close contact with the enemy in perfect order and without any losses.”

Find out more about the regiment in Norway here.

Having served in North Africa, William Askew was killed on 6 August 1943 during the final successful Allied advance on Belpasso, Sicily. The 33 year old was one of 48 Green Howard casualties sustained in the operation, rendered more difficult by the nature of the close terrain and the presence of German Tiger tanks.

Leaving a wife, Josephine, the inscription on his gravestone at Catania War Cemetery reads:
“Treasured in life, remembered in death a beautiful memory is all we have left.”