The first three awards in the GO went to sailors rescuing mates who had fallen overboard about three months earlier.
But then the announcement went on to list over 40 heroes who had been awarded the nations highest of bravery awards, but as noted, the department never issued a General Order to tell the sailor and the world of his deed and the President's directive to present the sailor with the Medal of Honor.
Over the history of the medal well over 130 have been awarded in the saving... or attempting to save mates who had fallen overboard, be they at dockside or at high seas.
Some of the medals in the above order went for the saving of civilian labourers on-board vessels doing repairs and had lost their footing and gone over. One went to a sailor who was under guard, and jumped ship before realizing perhaps that he could not swim. Another went for saving a sailor who was actually trying to commit suicide. Several went for saving the lives of youngsters, under-aged and called... boys... who were serving in some minor capacity on-board the warships.
Several of the medals came to Canadians. Some to others with connections to Canada.
A few of the names will be familiar to those who regularly visit this site. Using the search engine herein will provide a review for most welcome newcomers.
The ship was sent off carrying exhibits for the Paris Exposition of 1878. On its return it got caught up in a deadly Gale and had major rudder damage that required repair at sea. This was very dangerous because of the wave action against the rudder whilst repairs were going on. As you can see from the above entry, Williams was one of the three awarded the Medal of honor for risking their lives to repair the damage.
The above MOH and one other medal are the only medals in the entire history of the Medal of Honor to have the name Halifax on them and as such, are very rare indeed. The story is oft mentioned at this site.
Robert Sweeney was a coloured man and thought to be from Montreal for decades, but has since been shown to actually have been born on the Caribean Island of Montserrat. He was one of the 21 Medal of Honor men who actually was awarded with two medals. Most sites incorrectly claim that there were only 19 doubles. This has been oft mentioned in this space.
Most websites tell that Phillip Moore was born in Newfoundland, but don't say where. I have just uncovered 180 pages of his history and therein his birthplace is well documented as being at St John's in that province.
I plan on bringing you his story next Sunday.
Researchers interested in any of these names probably consulted the papers of the day in the hopes of getting some details, but now you can see, part of the frustration in this work, is the inconsistency in government documentation, and same in a timely fashion.
The first ever presentation of the VC took place at London in 1857. Blogs here have brought you that story and noted that within the first two dozen ever to be presented with the VC was Toronto's Alexander Dunn. HRH Queen Victoria made the presentations personally.
More than 100 have come home to Canadians and those with connections to our country.
And on a final note, A few months back I received this cute story. Not sure it is genuine, but it will make for great story telling anyway... enjoy.
It was supposed to take place in Saskatchewan, and at a school with plenty of disruptive children. The teacher was a battle scarred soldier who stood for no nonsence, and...