List of Brigade of Guards recipients of the Victoria Cross

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The Victoria Cross (VC) is a military decoration that may be bestowed upon members of the British or Commonwealth armed forces for acts of valour or gallantry performed in the face of the enemy. Within the British honours system and those of many Commonwealth nations it is the highest award a soldier can receive for actions in combat. It was established in 1856 and since then has been awarded 1,356 times, including three service personnel who were awarded the VC twice.[1]

The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War. The traditional explanation of the source of the gunmetal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the siege of Sevastopol. Recent research has thrown doubt on this story, suggesting a variety of origins.[2] The original Royal Warrant did not contain a specific clause regarding posthumous awards, although official policy was to not award the VC posthumously. Between 1897 and 1901, several notices were issued in the London Gazette regarding soldiers who would have been awarded the VC had they survived. In a partial reversal of policy in 1902, six of the soldiers mentioned were granted the VC, but not "officially" awarded the medal. In 1907, the posthumous policy was completely reversed and medals were sent to the next of kin of the six officers and men.[3] The Victoria Cross warrant was not officially amended to explicitly allow posthumous awards until 1920 but one quarter of all awards for the First World War were posthumous.[4][5]

Due to its rarity, the VC is highly prized and the medal has fetched over £400,000 at auction.[6] A number of public and private collections are devoted to the Victoria Cross. The private collection of Lord Ashcroft, amassed since 1986, contains over one-tenth of all VCs awarded. Following a 2008 donation to the Imperial War Museum, the Ashcroft collection went on public display alongside the museum's Victoria and George Cross collection in November 2010.[7] Since 1990, three Commonwealth countries that retain the Queen as head of state have instituted their own versions of the VC. As a result, the original Victoria Cross is sometimes referred to as the "Commonwealth Victoria Cross" or the "Imperial Victoria Cross", to distinguish it from the newer awards.[8][9]

The peacetime role of the Brigade of Guards is mostly ceremonial, wearing their distinctive red uniforms, guarding the British Royal Family and their residences. However like the rest of the British Army, during wartime they take their place in the front line. Sometimes as individual battalions attached to other formations, or as during the First and Second World War forming complete divisions.[10][nb 1] Since the Victoria Cross was introduced there have been forty-four awards to members of the Brigade of Guards. The first during the Crimean War, when it was awarded twelve times to members of the then three guards regiments.[nb 2] By the First World War, the number of guards regiments had increased to five and the number of recipients during the conflict was twenty-four, and a further eight men became recipients during the Second World War.[nb 3] The last award of a Victoria Cross to a member of the Brigade of Guards was in June 2012 to James Ashworth of the Grenadier Guards.

Guards recipients[edit]

Name Regiment Date Conflict Location
Alfred Ablett Grenadier Guards 2 September 1855 Crimean War Sevastopol[14]
James Ashworth Grenadier Guards 13 June 2012 Afghanistan Helmand Province[15]
Edward Barber Grenadier Guards 12 March 1915 First World War Neuve Chapelle[16]
George Boyd-Rochfort Scots Guards 3 August 1915 First World War Cambrin[17]
Oliver Brooks Coldstream Guards 8 October 1915 First World War Loos[18]
Robert Bye Welsh Guards 31 July 1917 First World War Yser Canal[19]
James Craig Scots Fusiliers Guards 6 September 1855 Crimean War Sevastopol[20]
John Campbell Coldstream Guards 15 September 1916 First World War Ginchy[21]
Edward Charlton Irish Guards 21 April 1945 Second World War Wistedt[22]
Frederick Dobson Coldstream Guards 28 September 1914 First World War Chavanne[23]
Cyril Frisby Coldstream Guards 27 September 1918 First World War Canal du Nord[24]
Wilfred Fuller Grenadier Guards 12 March 1915 First World War Neuve Chapelle[16]
Christopher Furness Welsh Guards 17–24 May 1940 Second World War Arras[25]
Gerald Goodlake Coldstream Guards 28 October 1854 Crimean War Inkerman[14]
William Holmes Grenadier Guards 9 October 1918 First World War Cattenieres[26]
Thomas Jackson Coldstream Guards 27 September 1918 First World War Canal du Nord[23]
John Kenneally Irish Guards 28 April 1943 Second World War Dj Bou Arada[27]
John Knox Scots Fusiliers Guards 20 September 1854 Crimean War Alma[28]
Ian Liddell Coldstream Guards 3 April 1945 Second World War Lingen[23]
Robert Lindsay Scots Fusiliers Guards 20 September 1854 Crimean War Alma[14]
Charles Lyell Scots Guards 22–27 April 1943 Second World War Dj Bou Arada[29]
James MacKenzie Scots Guards 19 December 1914 First World War Rouges Bancs[30]
James Marshall Irish Guards 4 November 1918 First World War Sambre-Oise Canal[27]
John McAulay Scots Guards 27 November 1917 First World War Fontaine Notre Dame[29]
James McKechnie Scots Fusiliers Guards 20 September 1854 Crimean War Alma[14]
Frederick McNess Scots Guards 15 September 1916 First World War Ginchy[29]
John Moyney Irish Guards 12–13 September 1917 First World War Broembeek[27]
Harry Nicholls Grenadier Guards 21 May 1940 Second World War River Escaut[31]
Michael O'Leary Irish Guards 1 February 1915 First World War Cuinchy[32]
Anthony Palmer Grenadier Guards 5 November 1854 Crimean War Inkerman[14]
George Paton Grenadier Guards 1 December 1917 First World War Gonnelieu[31]
Henry Percy Grenadier Guards 5 November 1854 Crimean War Inkerman[31]
Thomas Pryce Grenadier Guards 11–12 April 1918 First World War Vieux-Berquin[33]
William Reynolds Scots Fusiliers Guards 20 September 1854 Crimean War Alma[14]
John Rhodes Grenadier Guards 9 October 1917 First World War Houthulst Forest[34]
Charles Russell Grenadier Guards 5 November 1854 Crimean War Inkerman[14]
William Sidney Grenadier Guards 8–9 February 1944 Second World War Anzio[31]
William Stanlake Coldstream Guards 26 October 1854 Crimean War Inkerman[14]
George Strong Coldstream Guards September 1855 Crimean War Sevastopol[14]
John Vereker Grenadier Guards 27 September 1918 First World War Canal du Nord[24]
Thomas Whitham Coldstream Guards 31 July 1917 First World War Pilkem[35]
Thomas Woodcock Irish Guards 12–13 September 1917 First World War Broenbeek[27]
Harry Wood Scots Guards 13 October 1918 First World War St. Python[29]
Peter Wright Coldstream Guards 25 September 1943 Second World War Salerno[23]
George Wyatt Coldstream Guards 25–26 August 1914 First World War Landrecies[23]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ The infantry Guards Division during the First World War and the Guards Armoured Division during the Second World War.[10]
  2. ^ The Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards and the Scots Fusilier Guards. The Scots Guards were known as the Scots Fusilier Guards between 1831 and 1877.[11]
  3. ^ The Irish Guards were formed on 1 April 1900,[12] and the Welsh Guards on 1 March 1915.[13]
Citations
  1. ^ "Victoria Cross: The Premier Award for Gallantry". Ministry of Defence (UK). Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Davies, Catronia (2005-12-28). "Author explodes myth of the gunmetal VC". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27986. p. 325. 15 January 1907. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  4. ^ Crook 1975, pp.68–90
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31946. p. 6702. 18 June 1920. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  6. ^ "The Victoria Cross ... awarded to Captain Alfred Shout have been sold at auction". Iain Stewart, Victoria Cross.org. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Press Release: The Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Extraordinary Heroes". Imperial War Museum. 9 November 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Pro Valore: Canada's Victoria Cross". National Defence; Government of Canada. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Victoria Cross for Australia" (PDF). Australian Government. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Chappell 1995, p.4
  11. ^ "Scots Guards". National Army Museum. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Irish Guards". Ministry of Defence (UK). Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Chappell 1995, p.5
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i The London Gazette: no. 21971. p. 656. 24 February 1857. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60445. pp. 5735–5736. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  16. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 29135. p. 3815. 19 April 1915. Retrieved 20 October 1915.
  17. ^ "George Arthur Boyd-Rochfort". Victoria Cross. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29342. p. 10629. 28 October 1915. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30272. p. 9260. 4 September 1917. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22065. p. 3920. 20 November 1857. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  21. ^ "John Vaughan Cmpbell". Carmathen County War Memorial. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "Edward Colquhoun Charlton". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  23. ^ a b c d e "The Guards Regimental Headquarters Coldstream Guards". Coldstream Guards Museum. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  24. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 31034. p. 14039. 26 November 1918. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  25. ^ "The Guards Regimental Headquarters Welsh Guards". Victoria Cross. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31082. pp. 15118–15119. 24 December 1918. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  27. ^ a b c d "The Guards Regimental Headquarters Irish Guards". Victoria Cross. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  28. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21971. p. 662. 24 February 1857. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  29. ^ a b c d "The Guards Regimental Headquarters Scots Guards". Victoria Cross. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  30. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29074. p. 1700. 16 February 1916. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  31. ^ a b c d "The Guards Regimental Headquarters Grenadier Guards". Victoria Cross. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  32. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29074. p. 1700. 16 February 1915. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  33. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30697. pp. 6057–6058. 21 May 1918. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  34. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30400. p. 12328. 23 November 1917. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  35. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30272. p. 9261. 4 September 1917. Retrieved 20 October 2012.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chappell, Mike (1995). The Guards Divisions 1914-45. Volume 61 of Elite Series. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781855325463. 
  • Crook, M.J. (1975). The Evolution of the Victoria Cross. Midas Books. ISBN 0-85936-041-5.