Volume 38, Number 5, May 2000
THERE HAVE always been heroes, and hopefully there always will be - at least as long as there are conflicts. In this issue, yet again we highlight the unacceptable situation that has arisen in the recent past: the hero has been forgotten. In his/her life the hero was feted, applauded and even given audience with the monarch . . .and no higher accolade could have been accorded a mere mortal! But as you will read on page 21, in death it is so easy to forget the person long before the deed. Too often the hero is buried and, as no one has cared, their grave has gone unnoticed and sometimes even unmarked. But today there are many caring people who are striving to right the wrongs of the past and often with official help many heroes are receiving monuments deserving of their lives and deeds. In the March issue Mark Young reported on the location and subsequent re-dedication of the grave of Sergeant George Walters who won a Victoria Cross at Inkerman during the Crimean War. He was actually lying in a pauper's grave! In the February issue we carried the story of another VC holder whose pauper's grave was now covered by the concrete and tarmac of the Continental Ferry Port at Portsmouth. This month we are pleased to include a full article on the discovery of the grave and full recognition of yet another hero: Private A. E. Curtis, VC. His unmarked grave was found by a pensioner member of the United Services Club who had the foresight to contact the hero's regiment. But when it was revealed that Curtis had been a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, the Tower authorities magnanimously provided a new headstone which was dedicated at a special memorial service in honour of the lost hero. How many more lie, lost and forgotten in some unmarked plot? Author David Harvey, in his epic publication Monuments to Courage, lists all the known locations of the resting places of deceased VC holders but there are still many to be re-discovered. Would it not be an outstanding achievement to enter the new millennium knowing the whereabouts of all heroes, VC holders at the very least? Also in this issue we sadly report the passing of another Victoria Cross Holder, Captain Gaje Ghale who won his coveted Cross in Burma in 1943. This brings the number of surviving VC holders to just 27. The inhospitable hills of Burma where Captain Ghale and his beloved 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles saw such fierce action in World War II is also the topic for this month's "Insight" article. The period under scrutiny is the late 19th century when the British Empire was flexing its muscles worldwide and the service in Burma was just another hot-spot which itself did not warrant a medal in the eyes of the authorities.Instead a number of clasps were granted for the Indian General Service Medal and the veterans of these campaigns wore their "badges of action" with great pride. These actions and the days of the Empire are but memories kept alive by historians and enthusiasts, but our special feature this month brings us bang up to date with its subject of "Medals and the Internet". Whether we like it or not, the internet is here and it is having a profound effect upon the way we live and, for our readers, the way they collect - so don't get left behind: Roger Colbourne's article is designed to help the unititiated get on-line and surf the web without drowning.
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