Gallantry Awards

#1
The VC as an award has always been shackled by the greater propaganda needs of senior defence and government and that is still the case. For every VC awarded there are always nameless comrades who were next to the hero, doing the same thing and went unrecognised. In the the past there have been awards of the VC by ballot during an action of group valour. Ships have gone down down in action and the captain got the VC, not the seaman who went down firing his gun to the last. Submarine captains have got the VC and his crew got nothing.
Of all the awards of a VC, officers have recieved 65% of them, but realistically, are officers generally at the forefront of the combat?
The recent Australian awards of VCs for Australia, were made of the same gun metal, at the same London jewellers as the British version and were approved by the Queen in the same way as any British award. They were well deserved but they were the same as VC's from the past... soldiers who were part of the action and performed similar acts of bravery were left unrecognised.
When assessing from afar potential VC recognition, you must not forget the reality, that such a high award bears little resemblance to what actually happened on the ground.
 
#3
Are you implying that Captain Hicks didn't deserve this because he was an officer? Prick
That's not what he said at all, have a read, he makes a fair point. If all who take part in an action act equally as bravely then how come only one gets the award?

Take a Lancaster pilot for instance, one of a crew of seven, he will have made a self-sacrificing decision and the other six will have complied with each and every decision and remained with the aircraft. Where they then not equally as brave? Especially if the incident results in them all being killed why is it that the pilot gets a VC and the other six get nothing?

It may be that this is better deserving a thread of it's own and it was a bit clumsy tacking it onto a specific VC thread but I think you should consider the point raised and not try to attach it to any specific VC.
 
#4
I'm not saying an officer doesn't deserve the award. I hope he gets it and the LCPL. I just hope they recognise the other blokes who were there and don't just focus on him at the expense of other blokes that were there with him. Soldiers don't work alone and I think a VC in most circumstances should be accompanied with appropriate awards for his comrades. In my experience, this has not always been the case. And prior combat experience has left me bitter about this fact. I apologise for any offence and I certainly support the award of a VC to a deserving recipient.
 
#5
The VC as an award has always been shackled by the greater propaganda needs of senior defence and government and that is still the case. For every VC awarded there are always nameless comrades who were next to the hero, doing the same thing and went unrecognised. In the the past there have been awards of the VC by ballot during an action of group valour. Ships have gone down down in action and the captain got the VC, not the seaman who went down firing his gun to the last. Submarine captains have got the VC and his crew got nothing.
Of all the awards of a VC, officers have recieved 65% of them, but realistically, are officers generally at the forefront of the combat?
The recent Australian awards of VCs for Australia, were made of the same gun metal, at the same London jewellers as the British version and were approved by the Queen in the same way as any British award. They were well deserved but they were the same as VC's from the past... soldiers who were part of the action and performed similar acts of bravery were left unrecognised.
When assessing from afar potential VC recognition, you must not forget the reality, that such a high award bears little resemblance to what actually happened on the ground.
What a completely bone post. Are you one of these people who demands that every child at a school sports day (that you haven't been able to cancel) be awarded a prize?

With the Australian VCs: give your head a wobble. Look at who has been awarded the medal.
With the British VCs: give your head a wobble. Look at who has been awarded the medal (especially since 1980).

Officers are at the forefront of combat: that is why a much higher percentage of officers are killed and wounded in war. Any war. Look at the statistics for WW1, WW2, Korea, Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. You appear to have a 'Mel Gibson' image of the British Army officer: nothing could be further from the truth.

I also suggest you have a look at the criteria for being awarded a Victoria Cross: Victoria Cross - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
#7
Commissioned officers or enlisted men irrespective, in my experience our award system is an absolute lottery.

As Crowbag refers to, on Herrick 6 we had one company commander (well not technically the company commander, Guardsmen will know why) win the Military Cross with a few MiD dotted about whilst the other two infantry battalions seemed to get alot more recognition. A very close friend of mine did something that, when I read various citations for the MC, astonishes me that it wasn't recognised.
 
#8
What a completely bone post. Are you one of these people who demands that every child at a school sports day (that you haven't been able to cancel) be awarded a prize?

With the Australian VCs: give your head a wobble. Look at who has been awarded the medal.
With the British VCs: give your head a wobble. Look at who has been awarded the medal (especially since 1980).

Officers are at the forefront of combat: that is why a much higher percentage of officers are killed and wounded in war. Any war. Look at the statistics for WW1, WW2, Korea, Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. You appear to have a 'Mel Gibson' image of the British Army officer: nothing could be further from the truth.

I also suggest you have a look at the criteria for being awarded a Victoria Cross: Victoria Cross - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
If Rorkes Drift were to happen, exactly as it did happen, today do you really think that 11 VCs would have been awarded and that both officers would have been awarded? I doubt that they would, not under today's criteria but that is not to detract from the bravery of those who received the award then, it's more a reflection on how tight the criteria have become.

It's also true that some of the bravery awards which aren't (or weren't) awarded posthumously were awarded to the next person along. The contention being that if the original person had lived then the person who was awarded it would not have been awarded it. That cannot be right on any level, either they both earned it or they didn't. I know of one recipient of the MM who openly stated that he didn't earn it but his oppo who was with him and got killed did. He even went so far as to send his medal to the toddler son of his mate with a letter to explain what a hero his Daddy was.
 
#9
Are you implying that Captain Hicks didn't deserve this because he was an officer? Prick
I don't think he is. I think he has said that 65% of VCs were awarded to officers and many deserving acts of valour went unrewarded. He didn't mention Capt. Hicks.

It sounds like Capt Hicks had earned the gong several times over.
RIP.
 
#10
Lets hope that in the future, derserving recipients survive and that the powers that be sitting behind desks do award them what they deserve and they dont get too focussed on the VC as to neglect other deserving actions by other soldiers involved in the action.
I agree...probably should have been a separate thread..apologies for causing online tempers to be raised on this issue.
 
#11
Anyone who's done a serious tour of Afghan or Iraq has seen acts that would be worth of award if the right person had been watching, or the outcome had been different.

I've never read a citation for a gallantry award that didn't sound worthy, but the system of determining who gets one and who doesn't is almost random. Not that I can suggest a better way.
 
#12
Qosmio, I disagree with your views on the role of officers (to the extent that if I was a little smaller minded I'd mouth off a cheap insult, but I won't ;) ). Given the experience you state, why do you think this? It certainly wasn't my experience either in officer training or as a rifle platoon commander on ops, or watching my company commander.

Also, regarding ships and crews and so on, could one draw a hazy distinction of some sort between the commander, who chooses self sacrifice, and the crew, who simply have to go wherever the ship/Lancaster/whatever is going?
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#13
Qosmio, I disagree with your views on the role of officers (to the extent that if I was a little smaller minded I'd mouth off a cheap insult, but I won't ;) ). Given the experience you state, why do you think this? It certainly wasn't my experience either in officer training or as a rifle platoon commander on ops, or watching my company commander.

Also, regarding ships and crews and so on, could one draw a hazy distinction of some sort between the commander, who chooses self sacrifice, and the crew, who simply have to go wherever the ship/Lancaster/whatever is going?
I remember being told a story whilst in training by a Cpl from The Royal Scots. During GW1 his Plt were assaulting an Iraqi position, they spotted some armour that needed to be dispatched. Their section commander took one of the jocks with a 94 and, under enemy fire, neutralised the tank. Now it was the jock that carried the 94 and took out the tank but it was the section commander that was awarded a medal.*

I believe the point Qosmio is trying to make is that sometimes an NCO or Officer will be awarded a medal even though it's the soldiers under them that do the deed, albeit under direction from the NCO or Officer.

I could go into the distribution of gallantry awards between units which received a lot of "air time" on their respective tours and those units that didn't. But I'll save that one in case Qosmio takes up Forasteros offer on a separate thread.

*This may or may not be true I've never bothered trying to find out.
 
T

Tinman74

Guest
#14
I remember being told a story whilst in training by a Cpl from The Royal Scots. During GW1 his Plt were assaulting an Iraqi position, they spotted some armour that needed to be dispatched. Their section commander took one of the jocks with a 94 and, under enemy fire, neutralised the tank. Now it was the jock that carried the 94 and took out the tank but it was the section commander that was awarded a medal.*

I believe the point Qosmio is trying to make is that sometimes an NCO or Officer will be awarded a medal even though it's the soldiers under them that do the deed, albeit under direction from the NCO or Officer.

I could go into the distribution of gallantry awards between units which received a lot of "air time" on their respective tours and those units that didn't. But I'll save that one in case Qosmio takes up Forasteros offer on a separate thread.

*This may or may not be true I've never bothered trying to find out.
Maybe the medal was for choosing to use a 94mm!
 
#15
Qosmio "When assessing from afar potential VC recognition, you must not forget the reality, that such a high award bears little resemblance to what actually happened on the ground."

You Just noticed a 5 year old thread from afar have you Qosmio?
How far away were you? hiding in a fakin Drain somewhere no doubt.
The way Aussie gongs go is that you get an active service medal and then clasps to that medal, not more medals for a new gig. I went to Somalia, East Timor 3 times, Iraq twice and Afghanistan 6 times, but I just got the same medal and a clasp for each theatre. You dont get an extra clasp if you go back multiple times.
I don't know about you but he's done a lot more than I ever did so perhaps he can be forgiven. He has been posting on the VC for Australia thread where his service hasn't been challenged. I suggest we show him the courtesy of accepting what he says at face value, it would appear he is a bit more than the AI and almost joined that seem to proliferate on here.
 
#16
No. His missive has some merit. It does not say that those that received the award didn't deserved it. I think he is trying to say that for every award of the top honour, [in my opinion rightly awarded to the leader of an action] there are countless other heroic actions [often lower down the food chain] equally deserving which are not awarded [often, anything]. His general premise is correct.
 
#17
I think that we would all agree that for any gallantry awards that are given there are at least five actions that receive no recognition at all. This is not just for the VC but across the whole range of awards down to MID and commander’s certificates.
The award of VC is so rare now that it practically has to be posthumous to get it. This only makes JB’s VC on Telic 4 all the more outstanding. I belive that one of the criteria for the award 90% chance of the action resulting in the recipient being killed.

As for the political side. Who can say other than more would have been given in some cases. In the early days of the award, it would seem that they did chuck them about, with a little less care. There were 182 awarded for the Indian mutiny. This might seem quite high considering the small amount of troops involved in the campaign, especially seeing as there were only 182 awarded during the whole of world war two.
 
#18
Perhaps it might be worth considering the introduction of group gallantry medals? After all, they don't just give the olympic gold to the team captain.

Just a thought.
 
#19
Perhaps it might be worth considering the introduction of group gallantry medals? After all, they don't just give the olympic gold to the team captain.

Just a thought.
It has to be better than one recipient to represent them all, one wears a high award on their chest the other have nothing to show for it. I know the brave don't need to boast but a little recognition wouldn't go amiss.

I've often wondered who displays the more courage, a soldier firing say a belt-fed GPMG or his loader who doesn't even have a weapon to defend himself with. Surely it takes more courage to be unarmed and feeding link through than blasting away? Usually the gunner who gets the gong though, why not both?
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#20
Perhaps it might be worth considering the introduction of group gallantry medals? After all, they don't just give the olympic gold to the team captain.

Just a thought.
The Island of Malta was awarded the George Cross during WW2, not sure who wears it!

The US have unit commendations but not sure that would sit well with the British Army, as that is what Battle Honours (I think) are for.

In a case like HMS Jervis Bay the Captain was awarded the VC but in fact died fairly early in the action. The crew kept firing until they could do no more. Some members of the crew were awarded other medals but perhaps the ship itself should have been awarded the VC?
 

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