Yesterday's blog informs that the status of the Scarf, according to history, is well below that of the Victoria Cross. But careful examination seems to suggest otherwise.
Those not seeing yesterday's introduction to this matter might want to read it before jumping into today's. For the rest, I pick up where I left off.
Princess Mary, later Queen Mary, and her husband, the Duke of Cornwall and York, were in Australia and met up with Du Frayer, one of the Scarf recipients. He was proudly wearing his Scarf at the time.
She had noticed that it's ends were getting frayed and learned that it was because of constant use. Turning to her husband she suggested they ask his father, HRH King George V to issue a GOLD STAR. This could be worn in lieu of, yet equal to the Scarf. It would prevent a lot of wear and tear and would see the Scarf actually only being worn on formal occasions.
Less than 2 weeks later another Australian newspaper considerably expanded on this.
The newspaper of July 6th 1901 noted that "the distinction is great" and that the Duke himself presented the Scarf in a formal parade. (If it were a lesser award, it could have been presented by one much lower in stature than a member of the Royal family.) The story adds that the King, through his son, the Duke, advises that the 4 recipients will get the GOLD STAR. (It would be fair to assume that the 2nd group of 4 would also get the Star.)
Du Frayer was also told that the Star will rank equal with the Scarf and that the Star was "EQUAL WITH THE VICTORIA CROSS," "and carry with it the same distinctions."
Continuing, the recipient was also told that the recipients of the Scarf or Star are to be saluted or receive the Present Arms when in formation, and entitled to use the affix Q.S. after their names. Further, each was to receive a letter bearing the King's signature that outlined the bravery performed, that the Scarf was awarded, and that such could be passed down through generations of the recipient's family.
The paper however must not have known of the 2nd group of 4 already made and sent off to Her Majesty's Grandson for circulation to the four Sgt's of British regular army units serving in South Africa.
The article also says there are only 3 such Scarfs in existence. There were actually 8, and the whereabouts of each at that time, was known. But the choice of the word AWARDS is interesting. In later days the Scarfs would be referred to simply as gifts.
Of more note though, is the fact that the Scarf and VC are given such high regard, and no doubt the article was seen by His Excellency, and perhaps even the Royal family. Yet no follow up in these papers by Royalty that I can find to suggest that the Scarf was anything less than as described.
On Sunday I will bring the conclusion to this story with more details and an examination of the claims against... and for the Scarf being equal to the Victoria Cross.
See you then,