The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 1 No 1 - December 1967

DID YOU KNOW . . . .

by "DERF"

THAT in the long history of the Victoria Cross (instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856) only three men have twice won the award.

These were:
Captain A. Martin-Leake, v.c. (and bar), R.A.M.C., 1902 and 1914;

Captain N. G. Chevasse, v.c. (and bar), M.C., M.B., R.A.M.C., 1916 and 1917;

Captain C. H. Upham, v.c. (and bar), New Zealand Military Forces, 1941 and 1942.

THAT although the Victoria Cross is essentially awarded for bravery in the face of the enemy, it has been awarded for bravery not in the face of the enemy on six occasions.

To Private O'Hea, The Rifle Brigade, for courageous conduct at Quebec, Canada on 9th June, 1866, in suppressing a fire in a railway car containing live ammumition.

To Assistant-Surgeon C. M. Douglas, M.D., Private T. Murphy, Private J. Cooper, Private D. Bell, and Private W. Griffiths, all of the 24th Regiment of Foot (The South Wales Borderers) for bravery in the Andaman Islands on 7th May, 1867, in saving the lives of their companions in a storm at sea.

("The Story of the Victoria Cross" 1856-1963 Smyth.)

THAT as Queen Victoria died during the South African War, 1899-1902 two campaign medals were awarded by the British Governrnent for that conflict, viz.:



THAT through the years several privately-issued war campaign medals were awarded in South Africa:

(1) The Sir Harry Smith Medal for Gallantry

(2) The St. John South Africa Service Medal, 1899-1902

(3) The Johannesburg Vrijwilliger Corps Medal

(4) The Cape Copper Company's Medal for the Defence of O'Okiep (in bronze and silver)

(5) The Kimberley Star (and medal, subsequently recalled).

Numbers 1, 3, and 4 are extremely rare. The recalled Kimberley medal, too, is rare.

For over 200 years South Africans have waged war either independently or as allies of the British Army, and with the exception of the Indian Army, have stood side by side with the British in more campaigns than troops of any other country.

(Tylden-"The Armed Forces of South Africa" 1954).

Groups of medals won by one individual should not be dispersed any more than diamonds should be cut into sections to make many small ones.

(Johnson-"The Medal Collector", 1920).

Return to Journal Index OR Society's Home page

South African Military History Society /