Blogs told of the first thoughts to limit the efforts to just those born in the Britain and Ireland, and further to limit these memorial stones to just those earned during the Great War. Public outcry demanded recognition not only of VC recipients from all wars, but also those not born in Britian. They were heard... and even better... listened to. The revisited plans now have all being recognized... but the non WWl recipients will be done at a later date. The WWl recipient markers are going ahead, but these now also incude those recipients from 19 other countries of the world. Past blogs also told of the 19 plaques, listing numerous names, having now been sent abroad. Before Christmas one had been unveiled at Washington DC. Within days a second was unveiled at Ottawa. Both being unveiled by HRH Princess Anne, her husband and other dignitaries.
But the program did not stop there!
It would be here that those being remembered would be expanded to honor the VC recipients of WWl who were non British born.
Picture here is Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry, proudly wearing his Victoria Cross. (On left of the 4 medals as you view the picture.) Back in May of 2004 his actions, while then a Private in Iraq, earned him a VC, which was awarded on 18 March 2005.
His Victoria Cross was the first issued that was not posthumous, since back in 1969 when Keith Payne received his VC. (Keith's name is not new to regular readers of these blogs.) Beharry is about to unveil the title stone for the 145 others also about to be dedicated at the memorial. The date was March 5th, just over a month ago. It was exactly 13 days less than a decade ago that Beharry was awarded his VC. Prime Minister David Cameron looks on as the stone is being unveiled. Dignitaries from several countries attended, including representation from both Canada and the United States.
The stone's design was selected after a national contest was held earlier, (and covered in another blog). You can use the site search engine to read more on this.
And folks, that officer was John Sinton, a Captain at the time and a much later Brigadiere General. And a man who was born in Victoria BC Canada. His story was told in several earlier blogs here as well. Sinton became the only man IN THE WORLD entitled to use the initials VC and FRS after his name. Search this site to read more on his incredible story.
A museum in England most interested in Colonel Bent was one of the forerunners of groups pushing the government to re-examine the original narrower program of honoring recipients, as above mentioned.
Past blogs have also told that over 400 individual markers are being unveiled across Britain. Each is supposed to be unveiled on the 100th anniversary of the very day when the deed was perfomed resulting in the VC being awarded. If you click here....
you will get to the above map of England. By clicking on the purple star you will be taken to a site that tells the story of the 145 stones above noted. About 50 have been unveiled so far. If you click on any one of the red dots you will be taken to the name of a VC recipient from that area of the map where a stone was unveiled in 2014 and get a brief description of the hero's deed. By clicking on "more information" you will be taken to another window giving even more info on the man and often a very large and impressive photo of the soldier. The blue dots will take you to the stones unveiled this year. The map is said to be one that will continue to be updated as more stones are unveiled.
One of these to be unveiled in May is for Sergeant Major Frederick Hall, one of three VC recipients who lived on what was once called Pine Street in Winnipeg. Now of course it is known in their honour, as Valour Road.
By clicking on the red dot (Hmmmm!) just slightly above and to the left of London on the map you should end up telling a little about fellow Canadian Cecil Kinross, a man born in Britain but later relocating to Western Canada. His actions in Passchendaele in 1917 earned him the VC. His stone ought not to have been unveiled till 2017, but for some reason was done earlier.
Next Sunday I will bring you yet more info on how a British company is honouring several Victoria Cross recipients... including one from Canada.
Hope to see you then.