Monday, April 15, 2013
A VC awarded in 1917 to Canadian soldier Corporal Filip Konowal
A VC awarded in 1917 to Canadian soldier Corporal Filip Konowal was stolen from the same museum in 1973 and was not recovered until 2004.On 2 December 2007, 9 VCs were among 100 medals stolen from locked, reinforced glass cabinets at the QEII Army Memorial Museum in Waiouru, New Zealand with a value of around NZD$20 million. Charles Upham's VC and Bar was among these. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery A reward of NZ$300,000 was posted for information leading to the recovery of the decorations and conviction of the thieves, although at the time there was much public debate about the need to offer reward money to retrieve the medals. On 16 February 2008 New Zealand Police announced all the medals had been recovered. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery The VC collection of businessman and politician Lord Ashcroft, amassed since 1986, contains 162 medals, over one-tenth of all VCs awarded. Ashcroft purchased his first medal in 1986 and the collection has become the largest private or public collection of such decorations ever accumulated. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery It was announced in July 2008 that Ashcroft was to donate £5 million for a permanent gallery at the Imperial War Museum where the 50 VCs held by the museum will be put on display alongside his own collection of 162 VCs. The Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, containing both the museum's VC collection and Lord Ashcroft's, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery opened on 12 November 2010 containing a total of 210 VCs and 31 GCs. It is now the largest public collection of VCs in the world. This distinction was previously held by the Australian War Memorial, whose collection includes all nine VCs awarded to Australians at Gallipoli. In 2004 a national Victoria Cross and George Cross memorial was installed in Westminster Abbey close to the tomb of The Unknown Warrior. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YCB Battery Westminster Abbey is a living monument to British history in that it contains monuments and memorials to central figures in British History including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwinand James VI & I. As such it was a significant honour for the VC to be commemorated in Westminster Abbey. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YDB Battery Canon William Lummis, MC, was a military historian who built up an archive on the service records and final resting places of Victoria Cross holders. This was then summarised into a pamphlet which was taken to be an authoritative source on these matters. However, Lummis was aware of short-comings in his work and encouraged David Harvey to continue it. Sony VAIO VGN-AW220J/B Battery The result was Harvey's seminal book Monuments to Courage. In 2007 the Royal Mail used material from Lummis' archives to produce a collection of stamps commemorating Victoria Cross recipients. Australia has a unique means of remembering recipients of the Victoria Cross. Remembrance Drive is a path through city streets and highways linking Sydney and Canberra. Sony VAIO VGN-AW230J/H Battery Trees were planted in February 1954 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in a park near Sydney Harbour and at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, marking either end of the route, with various plantations along the roadsides in memory of the fallen. Beginning in 1995, 23 rest stop memorials named for Australian recipients of the VC from World War II onwards have been sited along the route, Sony VAIO VGN-AW235J/B Battery providing picnic facilities and public amenities to encourage drivers to take a break on long drives. Thus Australia's VC heroes continue to serve their country, saving lives through managing driver fatigue. 23 of the 26 memorial sites have been dedicated, with a further three reserved for the surviving VC recipients, including two of the newer Victoria Cross for Australia awards. Sony VAIO VGN-AW290JFQ Battery Edward Kenna, VC was honoured with the most recent rest stop on 16 August 2012, having passed away in 2009. It is generally accepted that further awards of the VC to Australians will warrant a similar honour. The subject of soldiers winning the VC has been popular with artists since the medal's inception. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF Battery In particular are the fifty paintings by Louis William Desanges that were painted in the late 1850s and early 1860s. Many of these were exhibited at the Egyptian Gallery in Piccadilly, but in 1900, they were brought together by Lord Wantage as the Victoria Cross Gallery and exhibited in the town of Wantage, Berkshire. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF/H Battery Later the collection was broken up and many of the paintings were sent to the various regiments depicted. Some were damaged or destroyed. A number of the acts were also portrayed in a Second World War propaganda pamphlet, and the images commissioned by the Ministry of Information are presented in an online gallery available on the website of The National Archives. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF Battery It is a tradition within the Australian Army for soldiers' recreational clubs on military bases to be named after a particular recipient of the Victoria Cross, usually one with whom the unit is historically associated. Permission for such naming rights is usually obtained not only from the relevant command hierarchy within the military itself, but also from the family of the recipient. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF/H Battery Once dedicated, the club and its participants typically take great pride in the deeds of the person with whom they are associated, and often family members will be invited to attend certain functions held by the club as a mark of thanks and respect. The Victoria Cross for Australia is the highest award in the Australian Honours System, superseding theVictoria Cross for issue to Australians. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH Battery The Victoria Cross for Australia is the "decoration for according recognition to persons who in the presence of the enemy, perform acts of the most conspicuous gallantry, or daring or pre-eminent acts of valour or self-sacrifice or display extreme devotion to duty." The Victoria Cross for Australia was created by letters patent signed by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, on 15 January 1991. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH/Q Battery As the highest Australian award, it is listed first on the Australian Order of Wear with precedence in Australia over all orders, decorations and medals. The decoration may be awarded to members of theAustralian Defence Force and to other persons determined by the Australian Minister for Defence. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF Battery A person to whom the Victoria Cross for Australia has been awarded is entitled to the post nominals VC placed after the person’s name. The Governor-General of Australia awards the Victoria Cross for Australia, with the approval of the Sovereign, on the recommendation of the Minister for Defence. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF/B Battery The first medal was awarded on 16 January 2009 to Trooper Mark Donaldson, for the rescue of a coalition forces interpreter from heavy fire in Oruzgan Province in Afghanistan. Donaldson's award came almost 40 years after Warrant Officer Keith Payne became the last Australian to be awarded the (original) Victoria Cross for gallantry on 24 May 1969 during the Vietnam War. Sony VAIO VGN-AW50DB/H Battery Unlike the original Victoria Cross where the announcement of the award is followed some time later by the presentation of the award, the announcement and presentation of all awards of the VC for Australia have occurred on the same occasion with the presentation being made by the Governor-General in the presence of the Prime Minister. Sony VAIO VGN-AW51JGB Battery Both VC for Australia and original Victoria Cross recipients are entitled to the Victoria Cross Allowance under s.103 of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986. On 29 January 1856, Queen Victoria signed the Royal Warrant that officially instituted the Victoria Cross. Sony VAIO VGN-AW52JGB Battery The Warrant was backdated to 1854 to recognise acts of valour committed during the Crimean War. It was originally intended that the Victoria Crosses would be cast from the bronze cascabels of two cannon that were captured from the Russians at the Siege of Sevastopol. However, historian John Glanfield has proven, through the use of X-rays of older Victoria Crosses, Sony VAIO VGN-AW53FB Battery that the metal used for the Victoria Crosses is in fact from antique Chinese guns, and not of Russian origin. The barrels of the cannon used to cast the medals are stationed outside the Officers' Mess, at the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich. The remaining portion of the only remaining cascabel, weighing 10 kilograms (358 oz), is stored in a vault maintained by 15 Regiment, Sony VAIO VGN-AW70B/Q Battery Royal Logistic Corps at Donnington, Telford, and can be removed only under armed guard. It is estimated that 80 to 85 more Victoria Crosses could be cast from this source. A single company of jewellers,Hancocks of London, established in 1849, has been responsible for the production of every medal since its inception. Sony VAIO VGN-AW71JB Battery Both the Australian and New Zealand Victoria Crosses are made from the same gunmetal as the originals.The original medal was awarded to 96 Australians; 90 of these were received for actions while serving with Australian units; six were received for actions while serving with other units. Sixty-four awards were for action in the First World War, nine of them for action during the Gallipoli Campaign. Sony VAIO VGN-AW72JB Battery Twenty medals were awarded for action in the Second World War, and the other medals were for action in the Second Boer War, Russian Civil War and in the Vietnam War. The last recipient was Warrant Officer Keith Payne, for gallantry on 24 May 1969 during the Vietnam War. Payne was awarded the medal for instigating a rescue of more than 40 men. Sony VAIO VGN-AW73FB Battery\ In the past 70 years several Commonwealth countries have introduced their own honours systems, completely separate from the British Honours System. Australia, Canada and New Zealand have each introduced their own decorations for gallantry and bravery, replacing British decorations such as the Military Cross with their own awards. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80NS Battery Most Commonwealth realms still recognise some form of the Victoria Cross as their highest decoration for valour. With the issuing of letters patent by the Queen of Australia on 15 January 1991, Australia became the first Commonwealth Realm to institute a separate Victoria Cross award in its own honours system. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80S Battery Although it is a separate award, the Victoria Cross for Australia's appearance is identical to its British counterpart. Canada followed suit when in 1993, Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada signed Letters Patent creating the Canadian Victoria Cross. The Canadian version has a different inscription, as well as being created from a different unspecified metal. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80US Battery The legend has been changed from FOR VALOUR to theLatin PRO VALORE. Although one Canadian VC has been cast, none have been awarded. In 1999, New Zealand created the Victoria Cross for New Zealand, identical to the Australian and British Victoria Crosses, and this has been awarded once, on 2 July 2007 to Corporal Willie Apiata. Sony VAIO VGN-AW81DS Battery The Victoria Cross for Australia is identical to the original design. It is a "cross pattée 41 millimetres high, 36 millimetres wide. The arms of the Cross have raised edges. The obverse bears a Crowned Lion standing on the Royal Crown with the words 'FOR VALOUR' inscribed on a semi-circular scroll below the Crown. Sony VAIO VGN-AW81JS Battery The reverse bears raised edges on the arms of the cross and the date of the act for which the Cross is awarded is engraved within the circle in the centre. The inscription was originally to have been FOR BRAVERY, until it was changed on the recommendation of Queen Victoria, who thought some might erroneously consider that only the recipients of the Victoria Cross were brave in battle. Sony VAIO VGN-AW81YS Battery The decoration, suspension bar, and link weigh about 27 grams (0.87 troy ounces). The cross is suspended by a ring from a seriffed "V" to a bar ornamented with laurel leaves, through which the ribbon passes. The reverse of the suspension bar is engraved with the recipient's name, rank, number and unit. Sony VAIO VGN-AW82DS Battery On the reverse of the medal is a circular panel, on which the date of the act for which it was awarded is engraved in the centre. The ribbon is crimson, and is 38 millimetres (1.5 inches) wide. Although the warrants state the colour as red, it is defined by most commentators as "crimson" or "wine-red". Awards are granted by the Governor-General with the approval of the Sovereign. Sony VAIO VGN-AW82JS Battery The warrant for the Victoria Cross for Australia differs markedly from the Imperial warrant. The new warrant does not specify any particular process for recommendations, though it is expected that any recommendation will pass through the military hierarchy to the Minister for Defence. TSony VAIO VGN-AW82YS Battery he new warrant also allows for "other persons determined by the Minister [for Defence] for the purposes of this regulation." Author Robert Macklin has speculated that this has opened up the field of eligibility to policemen and women or civilians during a terrorist act. He goes on to say that by "separating the VC from its traditional roots the Hawke government can be accused, Sony VAIO VGN-AW83FS Battery with some justice, of devaluing the honour ..." Subsequent awards of the Victoria Cross for Australia to the same individual shall be made in the form of a bar to the Cross. Where a person has been awarded a second or three or more awards, the post nominals "VC and Bar" or "VC and Bars" may be used. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83GS Battery The Victoria Cross for Australia is the highest award in the Australian Honours Order of Precedence. As such, it takes precedence over all other Australian orders and decorations. This postnominal is valid only for the recipient and is not transferred to the recipient's heirs. "Sony VAIO VGN-AW83HS Battery Tradition holds that even the most senior officer will salute a Victoria Cross recipient as a mark of the utmost respect for their act of valour." Whilst it has been a tradition for many years to salute a Victoria Cross recipient the Australian Army Ceremonial Manual, Volume 1, Annex B to Chapter 13 states "Victoria Cross winners, unless they are serving commissioned officers in the armed forces, Sony VAIO VGN-AW90NS Battery are not saluted". Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston saluted Trooper Mark Donaldson after he received his VC. Under Section 103, Subsection (4), of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, the Australian Government pays a Victoria Cross Allowance to any service person awarded the medal.The act set this amount at A$3,230 per year. Sony VAIO VGN-AW90S Battery Since 20 September 2005, this amount has been indexed annually in line with Australian Consumer Price Index increases. This amount is in addition to any amount that the veteran may be awarded under the general decoration allowance of $2.10 per fortnight. The various forms of the Victoria Cross are inherently valuable, as was highlighted on 24 July 2006, Sony VAIO VGN-AW90US Battery when at the auctionhouseBonhams in Sydney, the VC which had been awarded to First World War soldier Captain Alfred Shout, fetched a world-record hammer price of $1 million. Shout had been awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously in 1915 for hand-to-hand combat at the Lone Pine trenches in Gallipoli, Turkey. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CDS Battery The buyer, Kerry Stokes, has lent it to the Australian War Memorial for display with the eight other Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians at Gallipoli. The Australian War Memorial inCanberra currently holds 66 Victoria Crosses, 63 awarded to Australians—including Mark Donaldson's Victoria Cross for Australia on loan—and three to British soldiers; Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CJS Battery this formed the largest publicly displayed collection in the world, until the opening of the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London during November 2010, which displays the 168 VCs owned by Lord Ashcroft and 48 more held by the IWM. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CYS Battery The first Victoria Cross for Australia was awarded to Trooper Mark Donaldson of the Special Air Service Regiment by the Governor-General at Government House, Canberra on 16 January 2009. On 2 September 2008, Donaldson rescued an interpreter under heavy enemy fire in Oruzgan province during Operation Slipper, the Australian contribution to the War in Afghanistan. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91DS Battery On 2 September 2008 Trooper Donaldson was outstanding in the manner in which he fought during a prolonged and effective enemy ambush. On numerous occasions, he deliberately drew the enemy's fire in order to allow wounded soldiers to be moved to safety. As the battle raged around him he saw that a coalition interpreter was lying motionless on exposed ground. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91JS Battery With complete disregard for his own safety, on his own initiative and alone, Trooper Donaldson ran back eighty metres across exposed ground to rescue the interpreter and carry him back to a vehicle. Trooper Donaldson then rejoined his patrol and continued to engage the enemy while remaining exposed to heavy enemy fire. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91YS Battery Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith MG of the Special Air Service Regiment was awarded the second Victoria Cross for Australia on 23 January 2011. Corporal Roberts-Smith was awarded the medal for single-handedly charging and destroying two Taliban machine gun positions during the Shah Wali Kot Offensive in Afghanistan on 11 June 2010. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CDS Battery This act has been described as similar to that of Edward Kenna VC. Corporal Roberts-Smith had previously been awarded a Medal for Gallantry in 2006, and upon receiving the VC became the most highly decorated serving member of the Australian Defence Force.