Biography of Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC
Johnson Gideon Beharry was one of five brothers and three sisters. He was born on 26th July 1979 on the Island of Grenada. In 1999, aged 20, he moved to West London to study, to make a better life for himself and escape the poverty of living in a two roomed hut. Working on building sites life was tough. Feeling his life had no direction in August 2001 he enrolled in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. After completing initial training in Catterick he then trained as a Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle driver.
Beharry completed his first tour of duty in Kosovo, before completing a three month tour in Northern Ireland. His next operational tour was during the Gulf War in Iraq.
His selfless actions in Iraq resulted in him being awarded a Victoria Cross. His [Victoria Cross citation](http://www.web-previews.com/pwrr/persons/johnson-beharry-vc"Sgt JohnsonBeharry VC citation") is detailed elsewhere in the Online Museum website. He was the first living recipient for over 30 years and was the first recipient of the Victoria Cross since the posthumous awards to Lieutenant Colonel H. Jones and Sergeant Ian John McKay for service in the Falklands War. He is now one of only two serving holders of the Victoria Cross. The other is LCpl Joshua Mark Leakey of The Parachute Regiment. He is rightly proud of the fact that he is the only person from the Caribbean to have ever been awarded the Victoria Cross.
On 26th September 2006 he was promoted to Lance Corporal.
His portrait was completed by artist Emma Wesley in 2006 and was presented to the National Portrait Gallery, where it hangs to this day. His portrait was also painted by Nick Lord in 2010 conjunction with Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year who eventually won the competition. This portrait is currently housed at RHQ in the Tower of London. The portrait is [viewable on the Online Museum.](http://www.web-previews.com/pwrr/artefacts/portrait-lance-sergeant-johnson-beharry-vc"Portrait of Sgt JohnsonBeharry VC")
On 19th May 2007, he brought the FA Cup onto the field at the new Wembley Stadium.
On 11th November 2008 he acted as an escort to LCpl Harry Patch at the Cenotaph marking 90 years since the signing of the Armistice. Henry John "Harry" Patch, dubbed in his latter years "the Last Fighting Tommy", was a British centenarian, briefly the oldest man in Europe, and the last surviving soldier known to have fought in the trenches of the First World War.
On 11th November 2009, along with Mark Donaldson, the first recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia, Beharry presented a wreath to Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey. This marked the deaths of the last three veterans of the First World War.
On 30th April 2010 he took the Parade Salute at the Duke of York's Royal Military School to present the Baroness Sword of Honour to the Junior Under Officer of the winning Guard at Drill competition.
On the 1st June 2012 Beharry was promoted to Corporal and moved to a public relations role within the Household Division, where he assumed the rank of Lance Sergeant.
On 30th June 2012, he carried the Olympic Torch through the National Memorial Arboretum in Lichfield.
His charity work includes his JBVC Foundation, which helps steer under-privileged kids away from a life of gangs and crime. He is a Special Ambassador for Headway - the brain injury association and is involved with Help For Heroes.
His was awarded Honorary Degree by the University of Sussex In July 2011.