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Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Wilson, VC

During World War II a tall, "timid" young man who wore spectacles held off thousands of Axis troops, making a last stand in a pass in the Golis hills in British Somaliland with his terrier and Somali gunners.

Severely wounded in the right shoulder and left eye, Eric Wilson was believed dead and was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously. He was later discovered alive in a prisoner-of-war camp, fragments of shell and spectacles forever after lodged under his skin, and went on to serve with the Long Range Desert Group behind German lines and in Burma. He received his VC from King George VI, accepting it on behalf of the men who had fought with him at Tug Argan Gap.

Wilson remained "greatly attached to the Somali people". He helped to fight famine in Somalia in 1975, and was warden of London House, the foreign students' residence. He died on December 23 aged 96. Ave atque vale.

In 1991 his son Hamish Wilson helped Somalis in the former British Somaliland to create a separate nation of Somaliland, which, unlike the failed state of Somalia, is succeeding, entirely unsupported and unrecognized by the rest of the world.

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