Victoria Crosses That Never Were....

Discussion in 'General' started by Drew5233, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    This will always be a debated and contentious practice. At the heart of the awards process is the subjective recommendation for a decoration, regardless of type. That assumes that the individual act is even recognized by a supportive superior officer. Add egos, personalities, political influence, bias, rivalries, inter unit competition, personal loyalties and a myriad of other variables and it will forever remain flawed. But better that it exists and that at least a portion of the deserving recipients are recognized, appropriately or otherwise.
    I tend to agree with CSM Charlie Martin of the QOR, who felt that his own MM was more a reflection of the collective valour of his men and the decoration served to draw attention to the actions they fought and the sacrifices made.
  2. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    From Kemp's "History of the Royal Scots Fusiliers 1919-1959":

    The spirit in which the task was carried out is illustrated by an incident which took place in the anti-tank ditch. No. 3134095 Fusilier Bunyan of No.5 Section of 13 Platoon of” C” Company of the Scots Fusiliers, posthumously recommended for the Victoria Cross, was sitting in the ditch with Corporal Bell, a section commander of the same platoon, when a grenade landed between them. Bunyan grabbed the grenade and shouted: “Look out, boys.” Everyone took cover. The grenade exploded, wounding Bunyan severely in the side and blowing off his foot. When he died there was no doubt in the minds of his comrades that Bunyan had given his life to save theirs.

    Fusilier Edwin Carson Bunyan was Mentioned in Dispatches on 17th November 1942,,%20EDWIN%20CARSON

    John Grehan in his book mentioned that there were 3 recommendation for VC during Madagascar campaign, Capt Llewellen Palmer and Edwin Carson Bunyan were among those three..
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  3. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    They were ALL better men than I bemedalled, or medal-less, but I've often thought that the "citation" surpasses the "reality" in some cases
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Pte G Jackson DCM, 1/4th Essex Regiment.

    Name Jackson, George
    Rank: Private
    Service No: 6021215
    Regiment: 1/4 Battalion The Essex Regiment
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)
    Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal
    Date of announcement in London Gazette: 22 July 1943
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
    Drew5233 likes this.
  5. Drusus Nero

    Drusus Nero Banned

    Is it always written citations that determine awards in the modern period? Is video evidence sufficient?

    For that matter, has anybody ever been awarded a medal for gallantry based on video evidence alone?

    I might add that Air Force pilots are far more likely to be awarded medals of any kind simply based on their 'score'. Other decorartions for the Air Corps seem to be given disproportionately to flying personel, never to the 'erks' or service troops that put them there. The Army seems to be the only service that issues awards based on group performance, even though it's a team effort no matter what service.

    I would be interested to see just under what circumstances Navy people get an award. Opportunities for action are limited, so opportunities for gallantry would seem to be much less. Yet, Naval persons have no shortage of citations. And how many of those are for 'group' activities?

    Despite much gallantry shown in terrible conditions, Merchant seaman seem to have gotten the short end of the stick for awards in WW2. Serving persons on trawlers or other small craft are the biggest team players of the lot, yet I'm un-aware of awards to entire crews for conspicuous actions.

    Did we give out awards to Navy people, (other than pilots) who sat in "Bomb Alley" during the Falklands as live targets for Exocet missile attacks? Or did we simply issue awards for the more publicized actions like the "Sheffield"?

    I've always been "Iffy" about the entire concept of awards. Better to give serving persons an agreeable pension, or to look after their families financially speaking. Awards are a cheap cop-out, costing the country very little, whilst bigger issues in the lives of servicemen go begging.
  6. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Naik Trilok Sing Rawar
    3rd Battalion, 18th Royal Garhwal Rifles

    Recommended for the Victoria Cross (Posthumous)
    Awarded the Indian Order of Merit (Posthumous)

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  7. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    2nd Lieutenant Clive Douglas Carver
    EC 3432
    3rd Battalion, 7th Gurkha Rifles

    From the War Diary of 1/7th and 3/7th Gurkha Rifles, WO 172/966

    At about 1040 hrs. Captain CARVER armed with a Tommy Gun emerged from the jungle on the left flank and ahead of his coy, and with great gallantry charged the road block, gaining the road-side and engaging the enemy at close quarters until he was disabled by what appeared to be a direct hit from an enemy bomb. His subsequent recovery and hand to hand fight with the enemy form the subject of a separate report in which he was recommended for the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross.

    Carver was mentioned in despatches on 28th October 1942

    On the CWGC site stays that he died on 23rd February 1942 but the action in which he was killed took place on the 22nd February near the Sittang Bridge. So far he is only man recommended for the Victoria Cross during the First Burma Campaign that I know for.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  8. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    I have just finished reading through a great many citations for bravery in the latter part of the war, and - while not wanting to give him some kind of "celebrity" status - I did come across the submission for a VC for Paddy Mayne for action on April 9, 1945. Would people be interested in reading this?

    I agree with canuck's reference to Charlie Martin's words, also echoed by Sgt Harold Lake, who also remarked on the many brave actions which went unobserved by officers.
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Yes, I do mean that Paddy Mayne. The report must be (unless he was recommended for more than one?) for the VC he was denied.
  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    davidbfpo and Chris C like this.
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    I thought I knew Jack's story but only in the simplest details. Thank you for pointing us again to your account of his harrowing mission, Ron. incredible.
    17thDYRCH likes this.
  13. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Cited in part:
    In Part 2 of the linked BBC history article amidst the mayhem is this incredible French heroism:
  14. Bruneval

    Bruneval Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know if a VC was recommended in Sicily '43 but subsequently down graded?


  15. Bruneval

    Bruneval Well-Known Member

    Morning Drew,

    I am travelling to Sicily next month and will be visiting the area where this action took place. Would you happen to have a scanned copy of the original recommendation mentioning the VC?


  16. Bruneval

    Bruneval Well-Known Member

    I managed to get hold of the official citation for Pte Low's action on 2 Aug 43. Interesting when you read the small print by the Bde Comd and the initials next to the initial award recommendation!



    Attached Files:

  17. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    and the initials of the officer who downgraded the award to DCM .... B L M
  18. Bruneval

    Bruneval Well-Known Member

    That's right. BLM indeed...he had the final say in the matter.


  19. James K

    James K Active Member

    The downgrading of VC's to lesser awards continues to this day and is done so for various, usually political, reasons. For example there is an unwritten rule that no recommendations for the VC should be put forward for Gurkhas this comes straight from MOD. The reason is that the future of the Gurkhas is regularly reviewed and a recent VC might add to the difficulties experienced should the decision be made to get rid of the Gurkhas. For publicity reasons no member of UK Special Forces, and certainly no living member, should be recommended due to the publicity which arises - That said a reserve member of the SAS is being considered for a high level award for his actions during a terrorist attack in Africa.

    Politics comes into play with inter service rivalry as well. The Army who provide the main body of the investigative teams downgraded three Royal Marines recommendations for the VC, one to GC and two to CGC's relating to events which took place in Afghanistan. The MOD accepted tthe recommendation to downgrade on the recommendation of a panel made up of senior Army Officers all of whom have been providing a case for the Corps to be disbanded and its funding and assets passed to the Army.

    It is now, and always has been, the sad case that the management (I cannot in all honesty use the word leadership) of the services are jealous, vengeful, spiteful and above all things political no more than the business of recognising courage
    timuk, Chris C and minden1759 like this.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details

    Wright, Peter
    Rank: Company Serjeant Major
    Service No: 2657545
    Regiment: 3 Coldstream Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Italy
    Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 27 January 1944
    Date 1943-1944
    Catalogue reference WO 373/4

    Recommended for VC, downgraded to DCM

    WRIGHT, CG, DCM 1.png WRIGHT, CG, DCM 2.png

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