The Victoria Cross in 100 Objects

ARRSE Rating
5.00 star(s)
This book tells the story of the Victoria Cross as an award, from the initial idea during the Crimean War, though the design of the medal, the material from which it is made, and its history as an award. The First Investiture would have had a Sergeant Major shouting extremely loudly during the preparations, and full of horror as the Monarch changed the arrangements ‘on the hoof’, I think.
There’s a chapter on the Netley Hospital, whose VC was buried in its foundations in 1856. The book then describes the actions of a number of winners of the VC, with quirky chapters such as ‘Thomas Butler’s Colt Revolver’ interspersed between them. There are also chapters covering VC suicides and those who fell into disgrace after service, including a VC bigamist who was one of six men who had their VCs forfeited due to their later conduct..

This author has done a huge amount of research, yet presents his material in an easy-to-read way, with photographs, newspaper clippings and anecdotes. The tale of the VC found in the back of a sideboard sent to auction is particularly thought-provoking. The men (and woman) whose actions are described are truly heroic people and we shall not see their like again, I think.

I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in gallantry, and in the various people who have been rewarded for it.

I still don’t like Johnson Beharry’s tattoo though!

Amazon product
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