Captain Stephen Halden Beattie VC, 29 Mar 1908 – 20 Apr 1975, was a Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
‘Sam’ Beattie was born at Leighton, Montgomeryshire to Rev. Prebendary Ernest Halden Beattie, MC and Ethel Knowles. He was educated at Abberley Hall School in Worcester. He joined the Royal Navy in 1925 as a Special Entry Cadet. Beattie was 33 years old, and a lieutenant-commander in the Royal Navy during the Second World War when the following deed at the St. Nazaire Raid took place whilst in command of HMS Campbeltown for which he was awarded the VC:
For great gallantry and determination in the attack on St. Nazaire in command of HMS Campbeltown. Under intense fire directed at the bridge from point blank range of about 100 yards, and in the face of the blinding glare of many searchlights, he steamed her into the lock-gates and beached and scuttled her in the correct position. This Victoria Cross is awarded to Lieutenant-Commander Beattie in recognition not only of his own valour but also of that of the unnamed officers and men of a very gallant ship’s company, many of whom have never returned.
After grounding the ship, Beattie was taken prisoner of war by the Germans and held until 1945. In 1947 Beattie received the French Légion d’honneur. He later achieved the rank of captain and served as Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf from April 1956 – April 1958. His last appointment circa 1957-60 was Commanding Officer HMS Birmingham and Flag Captain to Flag Officer, Flotillas, Home Fleet. Later in the mid-1960s he was naval adviser to the Ethiopian government.
He died at Mullion, Cornwall. He is buried at Ruan Minor Churchyard in Helston, Cornwall, United Kingdom. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Imperial War Museum, London, England.