Medal News

Volume 38, Number 7, August 2000

Not Forgotten

Volume 38, Number 7, August 2000

IN response to my Editorial in the May issue, author David Harvey has contributed an article this month which provides a list of all grave sites of Victoria Cross recipients that are, to date, still not suitably marked with a headstone or memorial in keeping with the brave deed that won the coveted award. As he explains in the article, David's list does not include those that were cremated or whose last resting place is unknown. We have included this list in the hope that readers might be persuaded to "adopt" a grave and raise the funds and the interest needed to give the dead hero a fitting and lasting memorial. Anyone who takes up the challenge would be in good company: as we report in the "News & Views", HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has recently been involved with the re-dedication of a refurbished headstone for one of the earliest VC winners who rests in the parish of Old Windsor. In his article David suggests a figure of £1,000 as being the minimum sum that would be required to complete a project, so perhaps Group Managing Editor readers could suggest a suitable method of fund-raising. As we discuss this on-going matter we learn of the passing of yet two more VC holders-both ex-Gurkhas, which sadly reduces the number of surviving holders to just 25. Also in this issue we report on a number of Victoria Cross groups that have recently been sold at auction: these have included the exceptional group awarded to Drummer "Joe" Bent which was sold by DNW for £92,000 - almost double the expected price. Joe had won his Cross near Le Ghier in the early months of World War I. Other VCS in the news are more than 20 famous medals that have at last gone on public display at the Army Medical Services Museum at Mytchett in Surrey. These VCS were all awarded to heroic members of the Army Medical Services and include such legendary names as Surgeon Reynolds of Rorke's Drift fame, Surgeon Mouat, who rescued the CO of the 17th Lancers after the Charge of the Light Brigade and L/Cpl Harden, medical orderly with the Commandos in World War II who was the last RAMC VC winner. This is a unique opportunity to see the tangible reward of bravery to so many men who, unlike their counterparts in the active combat roles, are not often given the opportunity to excel in the face of the enemy, their's being essentially a passive role. No doubt there will be VCS on display at the annual Convention of the Orders & Medals Research Society, which once again this year takes place, on September 23, at the New Connaught Rooms in London's Bloomsbury, WC2. This event is the most prestigious of the year for medal collectors with members and their guests from all over the world converging on London to buy, sell, swap and yarn about medals. The members'competitive displays alone are well worth making the journey to see. The only prerequisite for collectors to enjoy this extravaganza is to be a member of the Society or registered guest of a member or a member of an affiliated society. Virtually every dealer will be there offering their stock ranging from humble World War II stars to the highest gallantry decoration and everything in between. The only complaint that we have ever heard is "There is too much to choose from" MEDAL NEWS will be there and we look forward to meeting old friends and to making new acquaintances and to launching the 2001 Medal Yearbook.

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