Captain Charles Hazlitt Upham VC and Bar
The history of the UK’s membership of the European Union is the history of the UK shitting on its Commonwealth family (pardon me for the language). Here’s one man from a fine member of the Commonwealth family, New Zealand, whose life deserves a mention. It does sadden me somewhat to contemplate the extent to which the UK’s Political Class drools over the prospect of favouring our country’s relationship with an unelected, unaccountable, kleptocratic autocracy over our relationship with the British Commonwealth.
Only 3 men have ever won 2 Victoria Crosses: 2 were Medical Officers (Colonel A Martin-Leake in the Boer War and WW1, and Captain N G Chavasse in WW1) and the third was Captain Charles Upham, an officer in the New Zealand Military Forces inWW2. Recently I came across a ‘This Is Your Life’ episode where the subject was Captain Upham – the programme is embedded below.
In 1961, 43% of British exports went to the Commonwealth, as against only 17% to the then Common Market. In 1960, the UK had taken more than half of New Zealand’s exports and a quarter of those from several other Commonwealth countries including Australia and India. Yet the essence of joining the Common Market was that the UK would have to raise barriers against these Commonwealth imports, while the UK’s new Common Market partners would soon be able to export their goods to Britain tariff-free.
As the price of Britain’s entry to the Common Market, we and our Commonwealth partners were expected to abandon much of our existing trade with each other. These were countries which, less than 20 years before, had sent 4 million of their citizens to fight alongside Britain in WW2. Now they were to be dealt a mighty economic blow which most were to see as incomprehensible betrayal. Harold Macmillan was the Tory Prime Minister of the time.
In 1962, Captain Upham denounced the British government’s attempt to enter the Common Market saying that, ‘Britain will gradually be pulled down and down, and the whole English way of life will be in danger.’ He reiterated the point in 1971 saying, ‘Your politicians have made money their god, but what they are buying is disaster.’ He added, ‘They’ll cheat you yet, those Germans.’ Clearly, Captain Upham was not only extraordinarily brave, but also remarkably prescient.
Why not take half-an-hour or so to watch Captain Upham’s life being recounted here and in so doing reflect upon the British Prime Minister’s decision to lead the UK towards the status of European Union vassal state – following dutifully in the footsteps of his fellow, patrician Tory Prime Minister’s policy of shafting the Commonwealth.