First World War centenary: Foreign winners of the Victoria Cross commemorated
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Thursday 26 June 2014
Overseas winners of the Victoria Cross during the First World War - from a Danish aristocrat to an American doctor - have been honoured with plaques commemorating their bravery.
The bronze plaques will acknowledge the courage of Allied troops from British dominions such as India as well as Commonwealth and other countries as part of the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War.
The memorial plates, naming each of 175 men from 11 countries who secured Britain’s highest military honour, will be sent to the home country of each Victoria Cross winner for display in prominent locations, including Washington DC’s Arlington Cemetery.
At a ceremony today, Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi said it was right for Britain to recognise the bravery of soldiers who had come from across the world, from different backgrounds and faiths, to fight with the Allies.
She said: “It is important to remember this was a truly global war, one which pulled in people from every corner of the earth. It is truly inspiring that so many countries came together 100 years ago to uphold our way of life. This was a war which saw extraordinary courage and sacrifice from an entire generation.”
Nearly one in the three of the 628 Victoria Crosses awarded during the war were received by soldiers from overseas, including 70 Canadians, 66 Australians and 16 New Zealanders.
The medal was also won by nine soldiers from present-day India and Pakistan, which contributed 1.2 million troops to the Allied armies, and two from Nepal. American forces won five VCs.
There were also winners from unexpected locations, including Thomas Dinesen, a Danish aristocrat who unsuccessfully tried to join the French, British and American armies before being accepted by the Canadians as a private.
During the Battle of Amiens in August 1918, Private Dinesen helped secure a mile of heavily defended German trenches. His citation read: “Five times in succession he rushed forward alone, and single-handed put hostile machine guns out of action, accounting for twelve of the enemy with bomb and bayonet.”
Another VC winner was Bellenden Hutcheson, an American doctor who joined Canadian forces as a medical officer and won the medal after he insisted on staying on the battlefield in 1918 to tend to every one of his unit’s wounded.
His citation read: “He rushed forward, in full view of the enemy, under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, to tend a wounded sergeant, and, having placed him in a shell-hole, dressed his wounds. Captain Hutcheson performed many similar gallant acts, and, by his coolness and devotion to duty, many lives were saved.”
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...