Uncommon Valour, The Story Of The Victoria Cross

This is a potentially controversial study of the history of the Victoria Cross and changing criteria for the award. This book takes a different approach to that of most books about the Victoria Cross and those awarded it – Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Uncommon Valour, The Story Of The Victoria Cross
FILE: R2969
AUTHOR: Granville Allen Mawer
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Colonial Wars, WWI, World War I, World War 1, First World War, The 
Great War, WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Korean War, Cold 
War, wars against rogue States

ISBN: 1-52675-538-6

IMAGE: B2969.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y4255ayu
LINKS: 
DESCRIPTION: This is a potentially controversial study of the history of the 
Victoria Cross and changing criteria for the award. This book takes a different 
approach to that of most books about the Victoria Cross and those awarded it –   
 Highly Recommended.

The Victoria Cross broke new ground when it was announced. Queen Victoria had 
been moved by a number of conflicts where the existing system for the recognition 
of uncommon valour was seen to be inadequate. It was a time when the British Army 
still based its leadership on the purchase of commissions and the Royal Navy had 
relied on prize money as a very practical reward for sailors striving for victory. 
Initially it was awarded with one ribbon for soldiers and a different ribbon for sailors, 
a practice that continued into WWI when aviation had added a new element that made 
it illogical to issue different ribbons to aviators, the Army's Royal Flying Corps and
the Navy's Royal Naval Air Service, who might have been involved in the same 
engagements.

Where the author has departed from the traditional approach by the host of books 
published, covering the VC and its recipients, is that he has looked at the motivation 
behind the creation of the award for extreme military courage in the face of the enemy, 
and then looked at how the award was justified, and criteria modified, over time. He 
has used vivid examples of acts which were rewarded by the award of the VC. This 
approach is long overdue and may upset some readers but it in no way changes the 
reality that the Victoria Cross is not just the gold standard for military courage in the 
face of the enemy, but is a decoration that is recognized around the world and held at 
least equal to a handful of similar awards by other countries.

Many of the questions and considerations addressed here apply also to bravery 
decorations in general. Whatever rank an award may be, it is always to a degree 
arbitrary. Part of the consideration in making any award is to produce heroes for the 
people at home, providing a justification for whatever the conflict is. Very few sailors, 
soldiers or airmen engaged in battle are cowards and even those are often found 
wanting after many courageous actions, when the stress of battle finally catches up 
with them. PTSD is a new term for a response to stress that is as old as the 
occupation of warrior. The award of medals for bravery in combat includes the 
motivation that every combatant should have clear role models to measure against. 
Over time, new decorations are added to the list of available forms of recognition 
and sometimes it is very hard to see how the decision was reached when an 
individual act could be seen as at least equal to an act that was the cause of the issue 
of a higher award. It is equally difficult to see why in some actions four or five 
awards were made in an action involving perhaps 150 people, or more,where 
everyone distinguished themselves well and where the handful selected for awards 
appear to justify the highest award for each combatant.

The reader will find sound research and well argued positions in this recounting of 
the history of the Victoria Cross from its inception to the modern times. The examples 
used to illustrate the author's assertions are all inspirational and emotive, some 
throwing new light on particular engagements.