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Names deleted in the VC registry but not in the pamphlet Rolls of Recipients
I have deleted the words ‘the medal was never formally reinstated to Pvt Frederick Corbett, his name was restored to the Roll of Recipients. It is correct, therefore, that the award of VC should always be appended to his name’. The ‘Roll of Recipients’ refers to the 1953 War Office list of recipients which lists Pte Frederick Corbett and the seven other recipients. This roll is in an ad hoc publication of the War Office in which Part 1 lists all recipients prior to the First World War in alphabetical order. At the end of the list is an endnote stating ‘the undermentioned whose names are included in the preceding list, forfeited the Victoria Cross under authority of the Royal Warrant quoted in each case’. The War Office list is not the ‘registry’ specified in the VC warrant. The names were not restored to the 1953 War Office list since all eight names were included in the previous alphabetical list issued by the War Office in 1920 with the identical endnote. Since special warrants on the dates specified in the 1920 and 1953 War Office lists were issued for the eight forfeited awards and the names were erased from the ‘registry’ specified in the VC warrant the proper procedure has been carried out. The only change other than grammatical errors in the 1920 revised warrant was to include the requirement for both exclusions and restorations to be gazetted. There has been no gazette notices indicating any award has been restored and no 'official' support for the writer’s opinion that the post nominal ‘VC should always be appended to his name’. Anthony Staunton (talk) 15:10, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
References and comments relating to the subject of Forfeited VCs.
While there is ongoing dispute on this issue I will includes appropriate references here for adding to the article when things are calmer. The 1953 War Office list is online at the TNA and the London Gazette is also online.
Alphabetical list of recipients of the Victoria Cross from the institution of the decoration in 1856 to the 1st August 1914. The War Office (MS3), December 1920.
List of the recipients of the Victoria Cross, The War Office (MS3), January 1953 see TNA database CAB 106/320 The end note is on page 7 of the pamphlet and image 11 of the online version at TNA.
The 1920 list is a separate publication while pre 1914 VC awards are included in Part 1 of the 1953 War Office list. Both lists have the same endnote stating ‘the under mentioned whose names are included in the preceding list, forfeited the Victoria Cross under authority of the Royal Warrant quoted in each case’. Many references seem to confuse these ad hoc War Office lists with the ‘registry’ specified in the VC warrant. The lists like nearly every work on the VC includes all gazetted awards and most, and particularly the War Office pamphlets, indicate the eight forfeited awards.
M J Crook, The Evolution of the Victoria Cross, Midas, 1975, Chapter 7 - Misconduct, pp. 58-67.
‘The King feels so strongly that, no matter the crime committed by anyone on whom the VC has been conferred, the decoration should not be forfeited. Even were a VC to be sentenced to be hanged for murder, he should be allowed to wear the VC on the scaffold.’ Lord Stamfordham, Private Secretary to King George V, 26 July 1920 quoted in Crook at p. 64.
Added to the 1920 warrant was ‘notice thereof of expulsion or restoration in every case shall be published in the London Gazette’. This was signed 22 May 1920 and published in the London Gazette published on 18 June 1920. This was six weeks before the King’s comments on 26 July 1920. So if the medals had been restored a notice would have been published in the London Gazette as required by the VC warrant. While both the 1920 and 1953 War Office lists were published after the VC warrant was amended requiring restorations to be gazetted and also after the King’s views were expressed by his private secretary both War Office pamphlets noted the eight awards cancelled and neither contained a note that any of the awards had been restored.
It was Kevin Brazier in the Complete Victoria Cross published in 2010 that stated that ‘There is a widespread belief that the forfeited VCs were reinstated but in fact none were ever removed from the VC Register’. As noted earlier many authors seem to confuse the ad hoc War Office lists with the ‘registry’ specified in the VC warrant. Anthony Staunton (talk) 11:26, 25 March 2015 (UTC)\
- I've added some citations to this article, and listed his other medals as well. There is some confusion over whether a medal that was sold should be returned to the original recipient, and the War Office opinion on that was, in this case, no, since the medal was sold while the recipient was out of military service. auntieruth (talk) 16:38, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
- The War Office sought the return of some but not all the forfeited VCs. Sotheby’s on 14 December 1908 announced that it would auction the VC awarded to Ravenhill, the last of the eight whose awards were cancelled. The War Office sought a legal opinion which found no provision for the forfeiture of the decoration and the War Office took no action to recover the Ravenhill’s VC. See Crook p. 64. Anthony Staunton (talk) 09:26, 26 March 2015 (UTC)