The VC - Too difficult to win??


Why? what dress do the Aussies wear their gongs with?
Gongs or ribbons are worn with Mess Dress and Polyesters (pollies), which is ceremonial or UK 'barrack dress' equivalent.

Dress of the day is DPCU (Cams), so gongs are not worn on a daily basis by most of the army. Soldiers on guard sometimes wear pollies - depending on the unit.
Gongs or ribbons are worn with Mess Dress and Polyesters (pollies), which is ceremonial or UK 'barrack dress' equivalent.

Dress of the day is DPCU (Cams), so gongs are not worn on a daily basis by most of the army. Soldiers on guard sometimes wear pollies - depending on the unit.
Aha so when wearing 'Pollies' you wear the ribbons on the the yanks do?


War Hero
I think in summary to this thread thus: The VC now is practically impossible to receive and as pointed out, the various intermediate grading of honours and awards that did not exist prior to 1914 have made it more elusive. It should be noted that there was a conscious decision by HMG after Borneo that any future VC would be posthumous ie the ultimate sacrifice. As pointed out inearlier posts it also depends on reports after action, witnesses, decisions up the line etc which usually end up downgrading the level of the award. One example is the case of the GC and GM. Some of the EOD lads have been given the GC others the GM, usually for similar actions. At the end of the day I do believe there is a rationing system on the grounds of not cheapening certain awards, but this also leads to the goalposts being moved constantly as to who gets what. Let's face it, how many MIDs have been given out to guys and gals when probably they deserved a gong instead? Also as someone pointed out earlier, look to the rank structure as to the level of awards and see how many in both World Wars and since were given to the Officer class as opposed to the grunts. Just my opinion, but look at the figures and I think it's borne out by the numbers and type. Such is life!


Book Reviewer
RE: Paucity of VCs Today Despite Intensity of Combat
Bear in mind that only four were awarded for the Korean War - a war in which we were fighting the Chinese Army (often at ranges of 15 metres), and in which we lost more men killed in three years than in FI, Iraq and Afghan combined...

RE: Glosters Presidential Unit Citation
Contrary to popular belief, the Glosters were not the only - or even the first - UK unit to win this for Korea: 41 Commando, RM, won the PUC for their breakthrough action at Chosin Reservoir in which half the unit were lost in one night: the USMC lobbied for the award on the RMs' behalf. However, the UK government was not keen on this foreign award, so thought it was attached to the unit color, after the unit was disbanded, none of the veterans wore it. Also, 27th Brigade won a South Korean PUC, which they were not allowed to wear. Incidentally,the SK PUC was for the Naktong River action during which Argyll Major Kenny Muir won a VC. Given the nature of the action in which he was killed, his last words were officially truncated in his citation.

RE: RM Winning a MOH in Afghan in 2001
Are you quite sure about that? I'd be interested to hear more, as the US do not hand those out with the rations.
If so, presumably he was posted with the US Special Forces? At the time, AFAIK, there were no regular commandos in action in Afghan.
The Cdo MOH winner dit relates to the SBS involvement in the Qala-i-Jangi prison riot/siege operation. Allegedly the leader of the SBS unit involved was recommended for the MOH but this was quashed, allegedly again, by TCH. A Navy Seal, CPO Steven Bass USN, attached to the SBS, was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the battle.

Apparently this is footage of the SBS operators in action...Boys Own stuff! [video=youtube;amV0kMEKXU4][/video]


Book Reviewer
Whats the difference between G.C. and G.M.?


War Hero
The GC is equivalent to the VC (though interestingly would be worn after the VC if both were awarded, which has never happened). The GM is the next level down and was originally intended only for civilians.

The GM sits between the GC and the QGM. The QGM is a 'tier 2' award, as is the MC, so I suppose the GM would be roughly equivalent to a CGC.
I read an article recently in which a US preacher castigated that country's army for a bias in the awarding of Medals of Honor to those soldiers whose acts had saved lives, rather than taken them.
That article did not receive a huge amount of approval from the military types I was talking to. Not least also, there's no reason that both things could happen at the same time. Take, for example, Sgt Smith, the first MoH from Iraq. Yes, he was awarded the MoH for saving many members of his company, but he did it by manning a .50Cal and killing a boatload of the enemy until he went down. On the other hand, if you charge into machinegun fire a la Ian McKay, are you not saving your buddies lives by destroying the MG nest and allowing them to get to where you're going?

There has been much discussion on the relative lack of MoHs in the current wars, but I think it's just because there haven't been the same level of opportunity. Audie Murphy got his MoH for manning a .50 cal on a burning tank destroyer and defending against a couple of platoons of infantry and four tanks. It is not the fault of the MoH that the opposition in Afghanistan has been rather lacking in providing combined arms armoured assaults to defend against and thus be awarded prestigious medals.

As an aside to this excellent topic, can i quote the tale of a recipient from the 1st Battalion The Manchester Regiment
Issy Smith an Aussy cockney is a fine example of someone who deservedly earned the VC. His actions whilst serving with the 1st Btn Manchester Regiment during the second battle of Ypres, exemplify why the honour is bestowed so rarely. But also they highlight the crass way that politicians used the awardees. After the VC was awarded, and he had recovered his health in Dublin, he was almost immediately sent on a recruitment drive by the war office. This meant that he was paraded the length and breadth of the country as an example to potential recruits. He was lorded by the King and civic leaders everywhere, yet still couldn't dine at the Grand Restaurant in Leeds. The proprietor refused to serve him because he was Jewish, yet was happy to allow others in his party to dine. Non of those dignatries present stood up for him, which says a lot about the political situation at the time, VC or not. The award of Smiths VC was more than merited, and he handled all the prestige well, eventually settling back in his native Australia. But i wonder if the transient fame was also a price too high to pay for some of the other recipients who found life a struggle after the war, in the land fit for heroes. When the war ended there were a few cases where recipients found themselves destitute, and gongs were pawned or sold for a measley few quid...So to answer the question "Should we award the VC more often?" I would say NO because those gallantry awards are given as examples of an individuals courage in the face of the enemy, which bring deserved kudos on both the recipient and their units involved in the action. It would take a pretty mealymouthed twat to deny the award to a deserving mucker, just because they were there too but didn't get one aswell. The bar is set so high for a reason, so i don't see why we should lower it? We currently know what general criteria merits a VC. It would demean it's value and belittle the efforts of those past recipents, if we arbitrerily move those criteria. Which in turn, may cast doubt on the validity of some future VC winners right to the award...If it ain't broke etc!
Dear TalaveraTom
I have only just come across this site and your post so please excuse the big gap to this response - I hope you are still posting on this forum. I am the granddaughter of Sergeant Issy Smith and find your article particularly interesting. I am an author and currently writing his life story which I hope to have published later this year. He came from very poor beginnings and had an amazing innings in and out of the war - if he was a cat, he would have used all of his nine lives. How he survived is quite incredible. I believe I have all of the published history about him - what I am looking for is any more stories anyone has about him - maybe there is a son (or daughter) in the army who heard tales? I would appreciate any help anyone can provide.

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