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Retrospeictive Medels for Valour

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Birddog View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 06:48
Found this in the paper yesterday.
 
 

Articles like this come up every couple of months in Australia. I am not sure how I feel about the awarding of the Victoria Cross or any other medals so long after the conflicts have ended.  The medals were not awarded during the World Wars and I feel there can be other ways of honouring these fallen heroes. Am interested to hear any stories like this and opinions you might have about this kind of thing.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 14:53
There may be a case for it where previously unknown facts come to light, otherwise there is a tendency to undercut the value of those originally awarded. Especially if it is done just to balance out the records of the various services.
 
Actually I think this one is best left to the Queen (like membershp of the Order of Merit) and the politicians kept way away from it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 21:25

The Article mentions that Queen has the final say.

John Simpson is a something of a national hero in Australia. School children hear all about him and Duffy around Anzac Day.

http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/simpson.asp

The story of Teddy Sheean is remarkable.

http://ahoy.tk-jk.net/macslog/TheDeathofHMASArmidale.html

He was posthumously Mentioned in Dispatched. In 1999 the Submarine HMAS Sheean was named after him.

 

Hec Waller....

http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/fiftyaustralians/48.asp

 

Robert Rankin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_William_Rankin

(the other website was down for repairs. Please forgive me for using wiki)

Both lost their ships fighting overwhelming odds.

 

Henry Stoker

http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww1/anecdotes/ae2.html

1st World War Submarine commander.



Edited by Birddog - 26 Feb 2011 at 11:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 22:02
Strange as it seems, perhaps the most valourous acts were performed before witnesses that did not live to tell the stories?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 22:38
If you read the accounts, all had witnesses. Often many witnesses. Hec Weller lost his HMAS Perth along side the USS Houston. Captian Rooks of the Houston was postumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Chaplin George Rentz was postumously awarded the Navy Cross. Weller nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 22:49
Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

If you read the accounts, all had witnesses. Often many witnesses. Hec Weller lost his HMAS Perth along side the USS Houston. Captian Rooks of the Houston was postumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Chaplin George Rentz was postumously awarded the Navy Cross. Weller nothing.
That is the point of my above statement!
 
Thanks,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 22:52
Then who witnesses Captain Rooks and Chaplin Rentz? The Perth went down about 20-30 minutes before the Houston?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2011 at 05:52

An interesting thought your comments on the Houston raises, Ron. If the British Empire refuses to award a medal in a instance like the loss of Perth/Houston due to lack of witnesses the implication is witnesses are not needed in the United States Navy for the awarding of the US highest award for valour, the Medal of Honour.

It is not a strange idea that men do not receive medals because senior officers are killed before they can recommend them. It has happened countless times, however  if you had read the articles about each of the five nominations you will find the lack of witnesses or lack of evidence has little to do with each man not be nominated for the Victoria Cross. The heroic actions of each man listed is not in doubt and has been reported and recorded. With John Simpson part of the problem was singling out one stand alone act of bravery during the four weeks he and his donkey spent going up and down the Monash Valley in the Anzac Cove beach head, ignoring shell, machine-gun and sniper fire to bring in wounded soldiers.  



Edited by Birddog - 26 Feb 2011 at 05:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2011 at 13:53
In theory anyway the VC can only be awarded if there are/were three witnesses to the acts the cross is awarded for.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 01:15
There are two protocols that i am aware of, for the presentation of the MoH. One is either the nomination and subsequent approval through the appropriate chain of command. The second is by the request of a constituent to a member of congress, with any approval being a special act of congress.

I think the criteria may be best summed up here:
http://usmilitary.about.com/od/armymedals/ss/moh_5.htm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 08:35
Thanks Panther for the Medel of Honor info.
 
I hope you understood that my comments on the Houston/Perth sinking were just trying to point out to Opuslola that lack of witnesses is not an issue in the current Victoria Cross recomendations and not an attack on the USA or the crew of the USS Houston. The courage of Captain Rooks and his crew of the 'The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast' was beyond dought and the sailor of the USS Houston who survived the night of the sinking shared the same fate as the surviors of the HMAS Perth. The crew of the Houston are honored alongside the crew of the Perth at the Melbourne Shire of Rememberance.


Edited by Birddog - 01 Mar 2011 at 09:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 08:56
Your welcome. No worries, i didn't perceive any thing like that form your post. Just thought i would be a little helpful in providing some information on the MoH process.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Mar 2011 at 11:33

Had to share! At home, drinking home brew beer, cooking dinner for wife and listening on Audio Book to Pual Ham's Kakoda. Ham is talking about the first Victoria Cross awarded for an action during the Papuan campagin.

Ham said that the Victoria Cross can only be awarded if the soldier, sailor, airman's action improves the situation of their unit. As this audio book goes on I'm sometimes doughting Ham's scholorship. A couple of time I've turned my head and said to myself, this does not ring true or how can he back this up? But on consideration it can explain the no awarding the VC to Sheean, Waller, Rankin and Stoker (all the RAN VC's). The three captains all lost their ships and poor Sheean died on a sinking ship. How can the captains improve the situation of a ship's crew lost in action?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2014 at 02:47
The whole problem in Australia in relation to the award of Medals and Decorations was the quota system.
 
Only a certain number of each classification of award could be made each year. Senior Officers filled most of the lists, leaving not many positions for lower ranks. It doesn't seem to have changed over the past 70years.
 
The case of Teddy Sheehan is a classic. A young sailor, wounded already, straps himself into a deck gun harness, and continues firing at enemy aircraft, giving his mates a better chance of escape.
 
He was killed at his post.
 
He should have been awarded the Victoria Cross, the British Commonwealths highest award for Gallantry, but he wasn't. Now there is a campaign to have him awarded the medal which, posthumously, he so richly deserves.
 
There are many other Australian cases of a similar nature which have been deliberately overlooked, to the national shame.
Once you eliminate the impossible,
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no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
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