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Old 26-07-2008, 11:40   #31
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Re: Beyond The Call Of Duty

Originally Posted by jambutty View Post
So the officer killed whilst trying to defuse an UXB during the last war shouldn’t have been awarded the VC? But then he was an officer.

Do some research on the VC (start here and you will find out that it is down to the award committee (the proper name of which escapes me for the moment) whether an act of bravery is worthy of an award and which.

I did and I was surprised to find out that VC did not command a salute from all ranks but it was only tradition, albeit a tradition that no one objected to and was in fact proud to salute a VC.

It does not mention that the VC can only be awarded to those who are in ‘direct’ action with the enemy.

In any case what is direct action? What do you mean by ‘there on hand’? How far away is ‘on hand’? The modern rifle can kill at over half a mile. That can hardly be called ‘on hand’. A special snipers rifle can double that range. The old Lee Enfield rifle could kill at one mile. Of course you had to be a darned good shot with it. I could hit a three feet square target at one thousand yards so imagine what a real marksman could do. For all the patrol knew the Taliban could have been a few hundred yards away just waiting for them to get closer if the booby traps didn’t work.

The patrol was in a war zone whether bullets were flying or not. Shrapnel from a grenade certainly was.

It's more about the history of the GC rather than of the VC. I didn't say I agree with it. I'm just saying what the reasoning was behind it. Before September 24th 1940 the GC didn't exist. It was instituted in order for there to be a medal equal to the VC which could be awarded to civilians and to military personnel for acts of gallantry where the VC wouldn't be appropriate. Maybe an example of that would be an off duty soldier who was home on leave or something and did the same sort of brave thing that a civilian would have been awarded the GC for. If he wasn't 'being' a soldier at the time then I can understand why they would give him a civilian medal rather than a military medal.

BUT (and I made that extra large on purpose) this particular soldier was not in a civilian situation in my opinion. He was in a military situation. He was an active serving soldier doing his military duty and I personally think they are being very finicky in saying that he wasn't in direct conflict and therefore doesn't qualify for the VC. They could equally have said he was serving in a war zone and therefore did qualify.

However, the CG isn't a second class medal. It's a medal of equal merit awarded to people for whom the VC would not be applicable and who otherwise would not have been able to have a medal. This young man is a soldier and in my opinion the VC is applicable and the VC should have been awarded. The reason they chose the GC instead is very petty and a bad decision.

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Old 26-07-2008, 21:35   #32
Passed away 25-11-09
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Re: Beyond The Call Of Duty

I totally agree, Willow.

As some of you may have gathered I spend as much time as I can in Malta. The island (it's tiny, only 17 X 9 miles) was awarded the George Cross for the bravery of its people during WW2 when they were bombed, straffed and bombarded by first the Italians then the Germans for at least 4 years. They remained loyal to Britain, took everything that was thrown at them and did their damnedest to help the Royal Navy and the RAF to maintain a presence there and keep fighting. They succeeded.

The G C meant a great deal to the Maltese and it still does. It is an award on a par with the V C but it is, essentially, a civilian award. The V C should, in my opinion, be awarded to any military personnel acting in a "war zone". The awarding of the G C, to this particular person, bewilders me.
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