But something that had eluded me all along was the actual date that a proposal was tabled in the British House of Commons for such a medal's creation. Internet sites abound with the information that the move was started by a former naval Captain named Thomas Scobell who, in 1854, was an honourable member of that House. He proposed the issue of a new medal and gave considerable justification for same.
ALL references that I could find simply said that he did this in December of 1854. No dates or further details were given.
But yesterday that all changed for me. Using the fabulous tool... www.newspapers.com I did detailed research and discovered that the member stood in that House on December 20. Better yet, I found a newspaper article giving his very words. Since this is great history, below I am now sharing it with you.
Among the earliest proposals came the suggestion to call a new medal the Military Order of Victoria, but HRH Prince Albert, taking out his pencil apparently drew a line through this, his replaced words then reading... Victoria Cross.
On 29 January 1856, just 12 days... and 159 years ago, HRH Queen Victoria signed the bill that created the famous Victoria Cross, the highest of all awards for bravery in the British Empire. An award that has now been awarded only three times in its history...twice to the same individual, and 1357 times in total.
Thanks to ... www.newspapers.com ... I now bring you that legislation...
The crowds gathered were horrified to see what was to come next!
During a cannon Royal Salute the Queen, Prince Albert and others, one of the guns pematurely fired. It killed two sailors and injured several others. Regardless, the ceremony to place a time capsul continued. Below a 2 ton Welsh granite stone was placed a time capsul concealed under the building's plans. Here, within a copper cask were placed several coins of the realm, and a silver Crimean Medal complete with 4 campign bars. And below these was a very special medal.
It was the fist ever Victoria Cross!
And unlike all others, it had no name enscribed on the reverse. It is not included in the numbers of VC's most know exist and was never added to the official lists or duly noted in the London Gazette. The medal, since refferred to as the Netley Victoria Cross was recovered in the 1960's when most of the building was demolished and is now preserved at the Army Medical Services Museum near Aldershot, England.
Prior to being donated there, Hancocks' the only maker of the VC since its very beginning, has authenticated it as being the first one ever. It has been directed to not ever reveal what was later enscribed on its reverse that authenticated its originality. This being to thwart any attempts to make a duplicate.
Of the 111 men to be so awarded that day, many could not make the trip due to far away assignments, health or other reasons. But 62 heroes did arrive and played a major role in the pomp and ceremony of the day as they were marched before HRH Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the other dignitaries to receive their Victoria Crosses.
Among those on parade that day was Toronto born Lt Alexender Dunn, who was the 17th man that day, and in history, to receive the VC.
Despite fewer popular numbers, there are over 100 heroes from Canada, or with connections to Canada, that would eventually be awarded the VC. Some of them you have hopefully read about in these blogs. If not, please use this site's search engine and start reading.
See you next Sunday.