Victoria Cross winners in the British Army.

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Ferdinand Foch, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. Ferdinand Foch

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    #1 Ferdinand Foch, Mar 31, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
    Hey guys. I have this book called "Symbol of Courage: the Men Behind the Medal," by Max Arthur. Copyright 2005, published by Pan Books in London, England. This book contains a description of every Victoria Cross winner that the British Army has had since its creation more than one hundred and fifty years ago. Since we were talking about Medal of Honor winners last week, I thought that this would be a great idea to discuss the medal that are friends across the pond receive.
    I'll do this by posting one new victoria cross winner every day, with the name of the war in the description, of course (maybe more, depending on the length of the description). I decided that it will be easier and faster to take the description from the book itself, so all information on the VC recipients (unless mentioned otherwise) will be taken directly from "Symbol of Courage" by Max Arthur. I hope this becomes a sticky thread. Alright, here it goes. Hope everybody enjoy! 8)
     
  2. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good bro, just make sure to add one tonight, start off on the right foot. :)
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Way to go, FF!

    I was hoping someone would post the top VC holders after seeing the discussion in the MoH thread a few days back :thumbleft:

    Out of curiousity, is it just limited to the British Army, or does the book cover Commonwealth nations, too?
     
  4. Ferdinand Foch

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    -The Crimean War: War in the Baltic.

    Charles Davis Lucas. Mate-Royal Navy. June 21, 1854.
    While bombarding the island fortress of Bomarsund, a live shell fell onto the deck of the HMS Helca. All hands were ordered to fling themselves to the deck. Without a moment's hesitation, Charles Lucas coolly picked up the shell and threw it overboard. He was immediately promoted to Lieutentant for his actions.

    John Bythesea. Lieutenant- Royal Navy. August 9, 1854.
    Having obtained information that dispatches from the Tsar were being landed at Wardo Island and forwarded to Bomarsund, Lieutenant Bythesea and Stoker Johnstone proceeded on shore with a view to intercepting them. They attacked the five men in charge of the mail bags, took three prisoners and made the prisoners row themselves to HMS Arrogant.

    William Johnstone (Enlisted and served as John)- Stoker, Royal Navy. August 9, 1854.
    Having obtained information that dispatches from teh Tsar were being landed at Wardo Island and forwarded to Bomarsund, Stoker Johnstone and Lieutenant Bythesea proceeded on shore with a view to intercepting them. They attacked the five men in charge fo the mail bags, took three prisoners and made the prisoners row themselves to HMS Arrogant.
    On August 20, 1857, he died from self-inflicted wounds whilst serving on board HMS Brunswick in the West Indies. He cut his own throat after attacking another man with a knife.
     
  5. Ferdinand Foch

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    Thanks guys! Already way ahead of you, VZ. And Grau, this includes all the Commonwealth troops, not just the British. I've seen some New Zealanders, Canadians, Indians, etc. in these pages, so all of the areas should be covered.
     
  6. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Excellent!

    Looking forward to more
     
  7. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Great thread, FF! Lookin forward to it! Bravery, courage, comittment, and honor know no political boundaries, after all!
     
  8. Vic Balshaw

    Vic Balshaw Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Great idea Ferdinand and an honourable one to. Did you know that most of the VC awarded to Australians are now on permanent display at the Australian War Memorial. Any that are missing are the ones that the recipients can still wear.

    :hotsun: :hotsun:
     
  9. Ferdinand Foch

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    Cool Vic! I did not know that. I'll have to make sure that I don't skip over the Austrailians.

    Hey, if I skip over the Canadian VC winners just to mess with the Canucks, what's the worse that will happen (making a stupid, goofy smile right now)? :)
     
  10. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Well, since I'll be a bastard and give them your address, I'll bet all of our Canuck friends will visit you during the night to give you a "Canadian re-education" :)
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Be sure to catch that on camera and post it here... :evil4:
     
  12. Ferdinand Foch

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    Ha! Joke's on them! I know Dork Fu!
     
  13. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully they can postpone it for a week, I need to get my camera. :lol:
     
  14. Ferdinand Foch

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    The Crimean War: The War in the Balkans: The Battle for the Alma.

    Edward William Derrington Bell- Captain, 23rd Regiment.
    The son of Lieutenant-General Edward Wells Bell of the Royal Fusiliers, Bell was born into a family with a military tradition (interestingly, his mother was the great-aunt of T.E. Lawrence), and was educated at Sandhurst.
    At the battle of Alma, 20 September, Bell went out alone under his own initiative to capture a Russian gun which was limbered up and being dragged from the redoubt. Taking the driver totally by surprise, he levelled his revolver at his head- the driver dismounted and fled. With the help of another man, Bell turned the gun team around and started to return to his company with the captured gun, and was surprised when his superior officer, Sir George Brown, ordrered him back to his place, with a reprimand for having left it without leave. He left the gun ruefully but learned sometime later that the gun had remained within English lines. The horses drawing it were used in one of the British batteries and the gun itself was taken to Woolwich.
    Despite his being given a dressing down for leaving his position, other higher authorities had noticed Bell's courageous foray and he was awarded the VC- but it was generally felt that if he had not earned it at Alma, it would have been awarded to him later at Inkerman, where he also conducted himself with exceptional bravery.
     
  15. Ferdinand Foch

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    John Simpson Knox: Sergeant, Scots Fusilier Guards. September 20, 1854.
    He was conspicous for his exertions in re-forming the ranks of the Guards at the Battle of the Alma. 18 June 1855- At Sebastopol, he volunteered for the ladder party in the attack on the Redan and behaved admirably, remaining on the field until twice wounded. He lost his arm during this action.

    Robert James Loyd-Lindsay: (later Lord WANTAGE). Captain, Scots Fusilier Guards.
    September 20 1854- When the formation of the line of the regiment was disordered at the Alma, he stood firm with the colours and by his brave conduct and splendid example helped to restore confidence and order. 5 November 1854- At Inkerman, he charged a party of Russian, driving them back and running one through the body.

    James McKenchnie: Sergeant, Scots Fusilier Guards.
    September 20, 1854- When the formation of the line of his regiment was disordered at the Alma, he stood firm alongside Captain LINDSAY and called out: 'By the centre, Scots, by the centre. look to the colours and march by them.'

    Luke O'Connor: Sergeant, 23rd Regiment.
    September 20, 1854- At the Battle of the Alma, he snatched the fallen colours from the hands of Lieutenant Anstruther, whose blood stained them as he fell. Although severely wounded himself, he held the Queen's Colour aloft, which by day's end had twenty-six holes through it. 8 September 1855- At the assault on the Redan, he behaved with marked gallantry although shot through both thighs.

    John Park: Sergeant, 77th Regiment.
    September 20 1854 and November 5 1854- He showed conspicous bravery at the Battles of the Alma and Inkerman. April 19 1855- He distinguised himself highly at the taking of the Russian rifle pits at Sebastopol.


    William Reynolds: Private, Scots Fusilier Guards.
    September 20, 1854- When the formation of the line of the regiment was disordered at the Alma, he rallied his men around the colours.
     
  16. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    The VC is not just awarded to the Army - it applies to all uniformed forces. For example, Sqn Ldr Arthur Scarf RAF who flew Blenheims in Malaya. His unit was tasked with bombing Singora. He was first to take off but before the rest of his squadron could get airborne, a Japanese air raid plastered the airfield. Not one other aircraft took off to join Scarf and his crew so he elected to continue the raid. The sole Blenheim was attacked numerous times by Japanese fighters both into and away from the target. Scarf was severely wounded: his left arm was shattered, he had a large hole in his back and he drifted in and out of consciousness. With the help of his navigator, Scarf managed to crash-land the Blenheim at Alor Star, without causing any injury to his crew. HE was rushed to hospital where he died two hours later.
     
  17. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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  18. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #18 buffnut453, Apr 5, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
    And just to prove I'm not biased against the Army, here's the latest VC winner, Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the medal 5 years ago for actions in Iraq (he's the first recipient to receive the medal in person, rather than posthumously, since 1965!):

    On 1 May, 2004, Beharry was driving a Warrior Tracked Armoured Vehicle that had been called to the assistance of a foot patrol caught in a series of ambushes. The Warrior was hit by multiple rocket propelled grenades, causing damage and resulting in the loss of radio communications. The platoon commander, the vehicle’s gunner and a number of other soldiers in the vehicle were injured. Due to damage to his periscope optics, Pte. Beharry was forced to open his hatch to steer his vehicle, exposing his face and head to withering small arms fire. Beharry drove the crippled Warrior through the ambush, taking his own crew and leading five other Warriors to safety. He then extracted his wounded comrades from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire. He was cited on this occasion for "valour of the highest order".

    While back on duty on 11 June, 2004, Beharry was again driving the lead Warrior vehicle of his platoon through Al Amarah when his vehicle was ambushed. A rocket propelled grenade hit the vehicle six inches from Beharry's head and he received serious shrapnel injuries to his face and brain. Other rockets hit the vehicle incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew. Despite his life threatening injuries, Beharry retained control of his vehicle and drove it out of the ambush area before losing consciousness. He required brain surgery for his head injuries, and he was still recovering when he was awarded the VC in March 2005. He suggested on at least one occasion that he would return to military service if physically able.
     
  19. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    And here's one for the RN - I'm being really even-handed today. Gus Agar was awarded the VC for leading a small flotilla of fast attack torpedo boats against the Bolshevik fleet in Kronstadt in 1919. He was also in command of HMS Dorsetshire when she was sunk by Japanese dive bombers in 1942.

    More info on this remarkable man is available from Wikipedia (Augustus Agar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), the recent book "Operation Kronstadt" and his autobiography "Footprints in the Sea".
     
  20. Ferdinand Foch

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    Thanks for the info buffnut!

    Collingwood Dickson: Lieutenant Colonel, Royal Artillery.
    October 17, 1854- Seeing that his men were running short of ammunition at Sebastopol, he carried barrels of powder from the magazine under a hurricane of shot and shell. He then stood for hours, exposed to a plethora of dangers, whilst he directed the unloading and storing of ammunition.

    Edward St John Daniel: Midshipman, Royal Navy (Naval Brigade)
    (Too long description in the book, copied it from Wikipedia). He was 17 years old, and a Midshipman in the Royal Navy, (Naval Brigade) during the Crimean War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 18 October 1854 at Sebastopol, Crimea, Midshipman Daniel was one of the volunteers from HMS Diamond, who, under the command of the captain (William Peel) brought in powder to the battery from a wagon under very heavy fire, a shot having disabled the horses. On 5 November at the Battle of Inkerman he, as Aide-de-camp (ADC) to the captain, remained by his side throughout a long and dangerous day. On 18 June 1855 he was again with his captain in the first scaling party at the assault on the Redan, binding up his superior officer's severely wounded arm and taking him back to a place of safety.

    Daniel also served in the Second Anglo-Burmese War and the Indian Mutiny. He later achieved the rank of Lieutenant. He was the first of eight men whose VCs were forfeited. He was stripped of the medal on 4 September 1861 after being convicted of desertion and evading court martial. Grave/memorial at Hokitika Municipal Cemetery, South Island, New Zealand. Block 851 - 27. Headstone. He may not have died in New Zealand, refer Victoria Cross Heroes - Documentary. (Ashcroft)
     
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