A MILVERTON man is fighting to right what he perceives a massive injustice a war hero suffered due to the colour of his skin.

Bill Gillespie believes black South African Job Maseko should have been awarded a Victoria Cross for risking his life to sink a German ship during the Second World War.

Job served with the South African forces as the Allies fought against Rommel's troops in North Africa during the conflict.

But his only weapon against the Germans modern equipment was a spear as black South Africans were barred from becoming combatants.

Despite being on less pay than white South Africans, living in substandard accommodation and being subjected to racist taunts, his "bloody-mindedness" carried him through, according to Bill.

Job worked as a stretcher bearer in the Western Desert, braving heavy fire to rescue wounded men.

He and other black colleagues were eventually given rifles and ordered to fight on the frontline despite a lack of ammunition and training.

When Tobruk fell to the Germans in June 1942, Job and his fellow soldiers were taken to a POW camp, where Rommel spoke to him and reprimanded the commandant for his savage treatment of Job.

That led to Job being tortured by his guards.

He was later detailed to offload ships laden with military hardware, ammunition and vehicles.

Bill said: "Job created a bomb using a condensed milk tin, some cordite and an extremely long fuse.

"On the evening of July 21, 1942, and before they were due off the still overloaded ship, Job placed his home-made bomb deep in the hold.

"He lit the fuse and ran to join his friends on the dock.

"Job waited and a few hours later there was an almighty explosion. Apparently, the ship sank almost immediately.

"It was a large vessel and would have resulted in a significant depletion of German equipment destined to oppose Montgomery at El Alamein.

"It is anyone’s guess, but this small act by a very brave man- could well have assisted in the decisive Allied victory by Montgomery’s troops barely three months later."

British generals nominated Job for a VC, but his South African commanders found the idea of a black man receiving such a prestigious medal ahead of his white peers alarming.

Instead, he was awarded the Military Medal, the lowest honour at the time, for "ingenuity, determination and complete disregard of personal safety".

Bill said: "I hate injustice of any sort. I think this incident concerning Job Maseko requires addressing and redressing.

"I am therefore starting a petition for Job Maseko to be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross."

For further details, contact Bill Gillespie by e-mail at vc4job@aol.com