Unrewarded Courage

Acts of Valour that Were Denied the Victoria Cross

Brian Best

The Victoria Cross is the most exclusive and prestigious of all gallantry awards. In order to retain this exclusivity, the standard of courage, endeavor or sacrifice required for a recommendation to be accepted for the award of the VC must be of the highest possible order.
Date Published :
November 2020
Publisher :
Frontline Books
Illustration :
16 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526772466
Pages : 216
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
-
+
$39.95

Overview
-

The Victoria Cross is the most exclusive and prestigious of all gallantry awards. In order to retain this exclusivity, the standard of courage, endeavor or sacrifice required for a recommendation to be accepted for the award of the VC must be of the highest possible order. This has meant that many extremely courageous acts have failed to be rewarded with the VC, even though they appear to be just as remarkable in the level of danger and daring as some of those which were accepted for the medal.

The reason for this, is that the awarding of the VC, indeed even the acknowledgment from a commanding officer that an individual’s action merits submission to the selection board, is entirely subjective. What one general might consider to be of exceptional valor might be regarded by another senior officer as merely a soldier carrying out his duty.

When Trooper Clement Roberts rode into the thick of battle in South Africa to rescue a young war reporter who had been thrown from his horse, little did he know that he was saving the life of Britain’s future wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Recommended for the VC, Roberts was eventually awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Similarly, following the airborne operation at Arnhem in the Second World War, Captain Michael Dauncey was recommended by three other officers for the award of the Victoria Cross. These appeals, however, were rejected. The reasons behind the failure to award Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Mayne, a member of 1st SAS Regiment, the VC, despite repeated calls for his actions to be recognized in such a manner, was the subject of an Early Day Motion put before the House of Commons as recently as June 2005. Following the airborne operation at Arnhem in the Second World War, Captain Michael Dauncey was recommended by three other officers for the award of the Victoria Cross. These appeals, however, were rejected. The reasons behind the failure to award Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Mayne, a member of 1st SAS Regiment, the VC, despite repeated calls for his actions to be recognized in such a manner, was the subject of an Early Day Motion put before the House of Commons as recently as June 2005.

In this revealing and unique analysis of actions that did not result in the award of the VC, despite recommendations to this effect, Brian Best has highlighted the uneven decisions made throughout the decades and in campaigns around the globe, that led to some men becoming national heroes and others, equally courageous, being merely footnotes in history.

About The Author
-

BRIAN BEST has an Honours Degree in South African History and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He was the founder of the Victoria Cross Society in 2002 and edits its Journal. He also lectures about the Victoria Cross and war art.

More from this publisher