The VC in The Independant Friday 20th

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Apr 20, 2007.

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  1. Decent article in Independent, have reproduced last section.
    One comment may intrest Arrssers on Sgt Luke O'Conner.
    "the only British soldier to serve in every rank of the British Army."

    The first Victoria Crosses
    * Mate C D Lucas was the first serviceman to receive the VC. When a Russian shell landed on the deck of his ship, HMS Hecla, during the Crimean War in June 1854, the 20-year-old disobeyed the order to lie down and saved many lives by throwing the shell overboard before it exploded.
    * Sergeant Luke O'Connor, 23rd Regiment (later the Royal Welch Fusiliers), received the first Army VC for his bravery during the Crimean War when, while fighting the Battle of Alma in September 1854, he led the charge of his regiment with the Queen's Colour, which he took from a dying comrade. Also recognised for his gallantry at the assault on the Redan on 8 September 1855, where he was shot through both thighs. He rose to the rank of field marshal and became the only British soldier to serve in every rank of the British Army.
    * 2nd Lieutenant William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse, Special Reserve, 2 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, was awarded the airborne services' first VC for his part in the First World War. On a return journey from Courtrai, Belgium, in April 1915, where he bombed a rail line, he was mortally wounded but managed to fly 35 miles to report the success of his mission before dying.
  2. I thought he only made it to Major General, not Field Marshal?

    An outstanding soldier either way.
  3. It still makes the hair on the back of my neck tingle in admiration when you read any of these articles. You may think it sad but I have a copy of 'Supreme Courage' by Sir Peter dlB on my desk and still enjoy reading the exploits of these heroes.
  4. Luke O'Connor eventual rank does seem to be a little confusing. It appears that he was Lt Col of the 23rd Regiment of Foot (later Royal Welch Fusiliers) in 1880. Then in 1914 was appointed Honorary Colonel of The Royal Welch Fusiliers (Which appears to carry the (also honorary) rank of Major General. He died 1 Feb 1915.

    William McBean is described as uniquely holding every rank from pte to Maj Gen. He was awarded the VC as a result of an action on 11 Mar 1858 at Lucknow.
  5. O'Connor definately finished as a Major General.

    Off the top of my head, he was an Irishman who joined the Royal Welch in the late 1840s. I think that he was in the colour party at Alma. When Ensign Anstruther who was carrying the colour was shot dead, O'conner picked it up and carried it for the rest of the battle despite being shot in the shoulder himself. I seem to remember taht the colour was shot 26 times during the battle. Alma was the first battle at which VCs were awarded (rtrospecively in 1856 I think) and so his was one of the first. Capt Bell of the 23rd also won a VC at that battle and the Regiment still has the Russian gun that he captired single-handedly. O'Conner later commanded 2 Bn in the Ashantee capaign (1874)
  6. Wullie Robertson was the only man to serve in every rank from Trooper to Field Marshall.
  7. Or possibly Willie Robertson - who did hold every rank up to Field Marshal, though no VC wallah he. He was the first ranker to attend Staff College and was also Commandant of it.
  8. Roberts did reach the rank of Field Marshall, but he was never in the ranks. He was commissioned in 1851 and earned his VC during the indian mutiny on 2 Jan 1858. His son also won the VC.
  9. Commisioned through the ranks after 10 years and he wasn't even an AT!