A VC For Who?

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by wotan, Mar 6, 2007.

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  1. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is reporting on a rather odd event that may occur in Apr 2007.

    The VC was restored as Canada's top award for valour about 15 years ago. At the time of restoration, it was decied to use a spefically "Canadian" VC. The traditional VC reads "For Valour", whereas the more recent "Canadianized" VC reads "Pro Valore". The first of these newly struck, "Canadianized" VCs will be presented to the Canadian Government by HM The Queen this Apr on the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. So far, so good and it sounds quite nice.

    However, the CBC further reports that the Canadian Government intends to award a VC to our Unknown Soldier from WWI. I have no problems with honouring our veterans in general or our WWI veterans in particular. But the VC is an award for demonstrated individual valour. The Unknown has been accorded honours previously, some of which are:

    a. his being repatriated to Canada - with the exception of one grave-robbing incident all other overseas Canadian casualties were "buried where they fell";

    b. laying in state and accorded a state funeral; and

    c. having been interred at the site of the National War Memorial.

    Because he is the Unknown, we have no idea of his actual service record. He may well have performed acts that should have been accorded the VC. Or, perhaps not. We just don't know and never will.

    It is only because the VC is such a prestigious award that I, and the Royal Canadian Legion, are against this move. What do the folks here thinK? I would love to hear your opinions on this one.

    Link here: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/03/05/cross-soldier.html
  2. I agree with you.
  3. I assume that in awarding the VC to the unknown soldier you're not saying that the individual who is actually in the tomb deserves it. You're symbolically awarding it to all those who performed acts of valour that went unnoticed. It does seem unnecessary though.
  4. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    Doesnt the British and US unkniown warrior have the VC? if so, canadians only following precedent. I see where u are coming from though
  5. It doesn't really make sense, so , no.
  6. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    From Wiki ( Yes yes I know!):

    So a precident does appear to have been set, however note that the countries did not award it to their own soldier, but their ally's.
    Where this will lead who knows.... Canadians retrospectivally award the US and UK unknowns a Canadian VC and receive reciprocals????
  7. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    ah right i thought we had awarded our own the VC as well...
  8. The Medal of Honor was conferred on the Unknown Warrior entombed at westminster on behalf of the United States of America by General Pershing on 17 October 1921. The British reciprocated, and presented the Victoria Cross to the American Unknown Soldier.

    The remains represent the great number of men and women who gave their lives in the First World War while serving in the forces of the British Commonwealth. Whether the remains are those of a sailor, a soldier, or an airman and whether he fought in the forces of Great Britain, or one of the Dominions, or of a British Colony, nobody knows. The tomb is a symbol of the gallantry and sacrifice of all the Commonwealth war dead.

    There is no "British" unknown warrior.

    Canada, at the instigation of the The Royal Canadian Legion , buried the remains of its own seperate unknown warrior in 2002.

    There is no precedence I am aware of for awarding one's highest honour for bravery to ones own unkown warrior, but there is for awarding it to someone else's.

    Since the one in Westminster Abbey is just as much your as ours it would seem odd to award it your new medal and it would seem odd for Britain to reciprocate with a VC.

    Perhaps it would be a sensible compromise to look to awarding your new medal to the US unknown warrior (make sure you get the right one, they seem to have several from various wars) and for them to reciprocate...or perhaps the French could award the The Légion d'Honneur?
  9. This is incorrect as it was awarded to units and lots drawn to see who would actually wear the medal.
  10. How does this award lower the prestige of the VC?
  11. Well, some interesting opinions and, certainly fascinating facts.

    I had no idea that the VC had been awarded to the US Unknown Soldier, so it does seem to set a type of precedent. That said, when the Unknown was repatriated to Canada, it was specifically agreed by all parties (Veteran's Affairs, Royal Canadian Legion, ANAF, etc) that he not receive the VC or any other honour.

    Still in all, some interesting points and I appreciate the views expressed from the other side.


    My concern with awarding the VC to the Unknown is that he is just that. Unknown. Did he commit acts of valour that warrant the VC? Quite possibly. And it is just as possible that he did not. Of course, this is just my point of view.
  12. I think this is the salient point. The various unknown soldiers / warriors are representative of ALL the hundreds of thousands who made the sacrifice, who have no known grave and the circumstances of whose deaths are unknown. It is surely beyond dispute that many acts of valour, worthy of the award went unrecorded. The medal is not therefore being awarded to the man in the tomb but to all these men. That being the case, I do not believe that it in any way devalues the Victoria Cross.
  13. wotan Idi Amin was never awarded the VC (Victoria Cross) instead he awarded himself the VC (Victorious Cross) among other grandious titles and gongs.

    I believe his offical title he bestowed upon himself was:

    "His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular."
  14. Yes, Idi Amin got one.

  15. Modern day revisionist politicians eh? They have no concept whatsoever of the value of gallantry awards do they? They are always too keen to do that which gains them publicity and appeals to the masses for the moment.

    The Victoria Cross is the highest award afforded for valour in combat operations, for distinctive individual actions that do not occur during combat operations there are other awards that recognize individual acts of courage and valour.

    The unique sustainability of credibility of the Victoria Cross is measured by the high standards of evidence that the action was exemplary and well beyond that which would be ordinarily expected of the individual and essentially, always for actions in combat.

    No, never, the Canadian Government are wrong to ‘Canadianize’ the Victoria Cross by replacing ‘For Valour’ with the French ‘Pro Valore’ and that is there first great error of judgement, the second would be going ahead with awarding a VC to the Canadian Unknown Soldier.

    The VC was, is and always will be the British and Commonwealth’s highest combat award and medal, if these parasitic political basket cases want something to paper to the French Canadian element then let them ‘alter’ or ‘adjust’ and ‘adopt’ the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur or given the Canadian propensity for all things American why not adopt the Congressional Medal of Honour?

    The VC is only ever awared sparingingly and after the most exhaustive investigation into the action to determine whether the action was exemplury. I was with 3 Para in the Falklands and I can assure you that I witnessed exceptional acts of selfless bravery from many during the action at Mount Longdon.

    Despite the Battalion Commanders written recommendations for several VC awards only was was approved and that was Colour Sergeant Ian McKay.