Missing Victoria Cross Medals!!

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by bamboo43, Feb 29, 2024.

  1. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  2. riter

    riter Well-Known Member

    How about the medals being absent as evidence? A museum supposed to have a registrar who tracks the movement of the collection. If something is taken from a display, a replacement card (object movement card) is filled out and left in its place (per American practice and I don't know about the practice in the UK). If there is a registrar, bet he/she doesn't know where it is. If they are indeed missing, then like in America it's someone who is (was) in a position of trust that stole it. Ninety percent of thefts from American museums are because of people in a positio of trust whether they are directors, curators, conservators, technicians (who do the physical moving or setting up/dismantling of displays), janitors, guards, docents, volunteers.

    BTW, why steal it? You can't show it to anyone or sell it and it's embarassing for the family once the thief passes. How do they dispose of it? Museum donation box? :rolleyes: It's like stealing the Mona Lisa (which has been stolen before). You can't ever show it to anyone.

    A flintlock rifle that was used at the Battle of New Orleans was stolen from an American Museum in New Orleans and sold by an antique store in New Orleans. That was decades ago. The collector had it restored and had an article printed. FBI knocked on their door, confiscated it and returned it to the museum. They knew the collector wasn't the actual thief but purchasing it from a dealer doesn't transfer "good title" to the collector and since the title rests with the museum, it went back there.
    bamboo43, Dave55 and Quarterfinal like this.
  3. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

    This is the world we live in, where I see being passionate about ideas, community empowerment, design and technology in a social, cultural and environmental context are the mission statement drivers. Responsibility, diligence, accountability and taking action are evidently off the spreadsheet. Even the reporting doesn't mention when the medals were last properly accounted for and dances round the handbags of offering what the alternatives might be. What really rings out is any meaningful hand-ringing officialese appreciation of value beyond some monetary guesstimate.
    bamboo43, riter and Dave55 like this.
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Francis Newton PARSONS VC
    Recce_Mitch, 4jonboy and bamboo43 like this.
  5. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Wonder if it's an example of display cases having seen real swapped for replica by the curation staff to combat break in robberies some time in the past and now the audit of storage cannot readily locate the originals.

    bamboo43 likes this.
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    My guess is someone put them in a 'very safe place'.
    Because as we all doubtless know, that is the surest way to immediately lose absolutely everything.
    Only serendipitous 'looking for something else' can return such to light.

    Once again: Don't blithely donate family medals to museums, chaps.
    They are not necessarily as safe as in a drawer at home...
    Recce_Mitch likes this.
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks for your replies. I was just taken aback by the relaxed manner in which the missing items were reported and the seemingly unworried reaction of the man in charge. As VP says......think twice before you donate to museums and the like.
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    It is reported that the medals have been anonymously returned to the museum. Hopefully more details will be forthcoming.
    Redd, Wobbler, Chris C and 2 others like this.
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    "It's OK if I take these home to polish?"
    "Yeah. Whatevs."

    3 years later:

  10. Wobbler

    Wobbler Well-Known Member

    Since when was the VC usually awarded to people “after they died”? I suspect many a British soldier solider would be alarmed to now discover it’s better for your health that you don’t win one.

    This from the BBC too, appalling.
    Last edited: May 13, 2024
  11. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    I assume this is the BBC trying to refer to the rate at which the medal is awarded posthumously due to injuries sustained in the action in question. (I don't actually know what that proportion is.)
    Wobbler likes this.
  12. Wobbler

    Wobbler Well-Known Member

    After I’d posted, I did wonder about that too, Chris. To me, it was just a very clumsy way of the reporter putting it. Add “solider” to the mix, this being the BBC after all, and my hackles were bristling.

    Like you, I wasn’t aware of how many have been awarded posthumously, and your reply prompted me to look. I found this on the IWM site, which indicates that the VC has only been awarded posthumously since 1902, something else I never knew, and that from that year, 295 have been awarded posthumously.

    I’d always assumed it had been awarded posthumously since its very first day - wrong!

    The document records that since its inception, 1,354 people have received it (although 1,358 awarded), but I’m not sure how recent this document was issued, although clearly post 2009. So, taking that 1,358 figure we’re looking at what, 21/22% since the VC’s inception.

    However, given that the 295 is a proportion of those awarded only since 1902, 46 years after its creation, then the actual percentage from that year to now must, of course, be much higher.

    Last edited: May 14, 2024
    bamboo43 and Chris C like this.
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks for taking the time to look that up Martin.
    Wobbler likes this.
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  15. Wobbler

    Wobbler Well-Known Member

    Interesting that Lt Parsons’ medal was awarded posthumously in 1900, which contradicts the IWM’s statement that the awarding of posthumous VCs first began in 1902. You’d have thought IWM would have got it right wouldn’t you.
    Chris C likes this.
  16. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

    Good spot. I suspect a typo based on the end of the Second Boer War and not checked. This is what the National Army Museum has to say:

    When the VC was first instituted, the original Royal Warrant made no mention of posthumous awards. It had been decided from the outset that the VC would not be awarded for an act in which the potential recipient was killed, or where he died shortly after.

    Instead, in these circumstances, an announcement was made in 'The London Gazette' that the person would have been recommended for the VC had they survived.

    There were six instances of this between 1859 and 1897, including Lieutenants Nevill Coghill and Teignmouth Melvill, who were killed attempting to save their unit's Queen's Colour after the defeat at Isandlwana on 22 January 1879.

    In 1900, during the Boer War (1899-1902), a posthumous VC was awarded to Lieutenant Frederick Roberts of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. The son of Field Marshal Lord Roberts, Frederick was mortally wounded attempting to save the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery at Colenso on 15 December 1899. He died 24 hours after being recommended for the VC. This was the first award that included after the recipient's name ‘since deceased’. Roberts' case established the precedent that the VC recommendation could still be processed if a soldier subsequently died before publication in 'The London Gazette'.

    During the remainder of the Boer War, several more posthumous VCs were granted and in 1907 it was announced that the six posthumous instances between 1859 and 1897 would also be retrospectively awarded.

    Despite the fact that posthumous VCs continued to be granted during the First World War (1914-18), it was not until 1920 that specific provision for posthumous awards was finally made by Royal Warrant.

    Following the interment of the Unknown Warrior of the First World War at Westminster Abbey on 11th November 1920, it was decided to that the United Kingdom and United States would each bestow their highest military decoration on the other's Unknown Warrior. General John Pershing presented the Medal of Honor to the British Unknown Warrior on 17th October 1921. The Victoria Cross, dated 18th October 1921, was presented to the American Unknown Soldier by Admiral of the Fleet Lord Beatty, on behalf of King George V, on 11 November 1921 at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery.
    Last edited: May 16, 2024
    4jonboy, Chris C and Wobbler like this.
  17. Wobbler

    Wobbler Well-Known Member

    That is very interesting, thank you for sharing. I had completely forgotten about Melvill and Coghill, two very famous “KIA” recipients, of course, which should also have made me think a bit more about the intricacies of the VC’s history, not only in relation to that IWM piece, but more generally.

Share This Page