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By Melvin Charles Smith (auth.)

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Extra resources for Awarded for Valour: A History of the Victoria Cross and the Evolution of British Heroism

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On swept the undaunted band. Loud screeched the pipes, and the strains of ‘Cock O’ the North’ and the ‘Haughs O’ Cromdale’ – the charging tune of the Gordons – further infused the mad spirit of heroism into the storming party. Faster, more vivid, more tumultuous grew the music. The men saw their officers fall on all sides. The colonel at their head was shot; Lieutenant Lamont received his death wounds; and Major Forbes MacBean was shot in the abdomen, but even the whilst lying on the ground cheered on his men to the assault.

To Victoria the Cross represented an opportunity to indulge her romanticism while strengthening the bond between herself and the military and, too, a way to recapture some of the influence she felt she had lost with the subordination of the position of the Commander-in-Chief to a civilian minister. In November 1855 with a clear triumph on the books in the taking of Sevastopol in mid-September, the call for official recognition of British heroism resumed: In the Moniteur of 1st November we find eight columns devoted to the confirmations by the Imperial Government of the nominations to the Legion of Honour conferred by Marshal PELISSIER on the 11th of September Merit is of no rank, and it is discriminated and rewarded in Now let us turn from the Army of our Allies to our own In that all memorable despatch in which general SIMPSON with his own hand so effectively demolished his own reputation as a commander, he stated that it was his intention to bring to the notice of the COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF those who had distinguished themselves in the assault on the Redan.

74 After her first review of the 1st Regiment of the Life Guards and the Grenadier Guards as sovereign, 28 September 1837, she recounted: ‘I saluted them by putting my hand to my cap like officers do, and was much admired for my manner of doing it . ’75 The royal family had correspondingly perceived the war from afar and through a thick lens of romantic preconceptions. Victoria forthrightly stated she wished ‘she were a man’ so she could participate in the battles of A W AR D ED F O R V AL O U R the Crimean War alongside her soldiers.

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