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 Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query

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gardner1879

gardner1879

Posts : 127
Join date : 2021-01-04

Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptySat Jun 05, 2021 4:54 pm

It is often written and many people in our little world believe that M+C were the first to receive the posthumous Victoria Cross.
However whilst researching an Indian officer, Charles Edward Salkeld, I stumbled across some information relating to his brother Philip who was awarded the VC posthumously for blowing up the Cashmere gate at the Delhi Fortress in 1857

I checked my go to VC bible (Philip Wilkins 1904) and this confirms the report I found.

Lt. Philip Salkeld below
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

So are M+C the first or not?
Kate Very Happy


Last edited by gardner1879 on Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:26 pm; edited 3 times in total
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John Young

John Young

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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptySat Jun 05, 2021 5:38 pm

Kate,

I always thought the spelling was Salkeld, but I am happy to be corrected.

When King Edward VII approved the amendment to the Royal Warrant in 1902, permitting the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross previous acts were than considered, those obviously included Home & Salkeld, and Melvill & Coghill. However, it would 1907 before a number of Victoria Crosses were awarded in retrospect see [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

JY
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gardner1879

gardner1879

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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptySat Jun 05, 2021 6:49 pm

The Western Gazette 11th May 1923:-

"The Salkeld family first came to Dorsetshire in the early 18th Century and has been prominently identified with the county ever since. The deceased Colonel's elder brother Lt. Philip Salkeld lost his life during the Indian Mutiny were his heroic conduct gained for him the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross (the first time in the history of the honour it had been awarded after death)"

Interesting, thanks John.
In my 1st edition 'The History of the Victoria Cross  by Philip A Wilkins printed 1904 it lists Salkeld with the award being announced in the London Gazette of 1858
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The crucial words in this report I suppose being 'had they survived'

Odd that they are shown along with M+C and others in a book dated 1904 before the decoration was given.
So if we go by date of the action then M+C are not the first to be awarded the posthumous VC.
Just idle thoughts
Kate Very Happy


Last edited by gardner1879 on Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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John Young

John Young

Posts : 2264
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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptySat Jun 05, 2021 8:23 pm

Kate,

Melvill & Coghill’s recommendations also appeared as a Memorandum in The London Gazette see [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I have always considered Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts’ award for his actions at Colenso in 1899 to have been the exception to the Royal Warrant.
See [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

JY
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Kenny



Posts : 445
Join date : 2013-05-07
Location : Brecon

Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptySun Jun 06, 2021 7:46 pm

John

The key words in the case of Roberts citation is ‘since deceased’. And in the case of Mevill and Coghill ‘had he survived he would have been recommended for the Victoria Cross’

The two aspects which makes me grit my teeth (1) most people refer to the VC as a medal - it is not. The Royal Warrant specially states that it is a decoration. And the senior of all British decorations, including the Order of the Garter (i.e Robert’s senior - Field Marshal VC KG KP GCB OM GSSI GCIE VD) . (2) Most people again say ‘he won a VC’. The word ‘won’ is incorrect - in warfare it is not a competition there is no second place as old senior military friend of mine would keep reminding me. You are AWARDED a VC.
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gardner1879

gardner1879

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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptySun Jun 06, 2021 9:04 pm

As a caring sort of a person, I hope the following helps prevent wear and tear to your gnashers Kenny

English dictionary definition:-

Medal- Small flat piece of medal bearing an inscription or image given as an award or commemoration of some outstanding action or event etc.

Win- to succeed in or gain (something) with an effort....... to achieve recognition in some field of endeavour.........to gain victory or triumph or victory in a battle...

So what do we think chaps are M+C the first to receive the award or is it Mr Salkeld?
Kate  Very Happy
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Kenny



Posts : 445
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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptySun Jun 06, 2021 11:57 pm

Kate,

The answer to your specific question about M+C is no. A number of authors writing about AZW tend to embellish the facts for the sake of good story. In fact there were 5 other posthumous VC awards in addition to Lt Roberts made in ABW and confirmed in the LG 8 Aug 1902 (p5085). M+C not confirmed until LG 15 Jan 1907 (p325) even though memorandum entries were published in LG 1 May 1879. The earliest posthumous award in 15 Jan 1907 gazette is Pte Edward Spence 42F whose action was 15 Apr 1858. He died two days later of wounds received on 15 Apr.

Turning Lt Salkeld, he along with Lt Duncan Charles Home were recognised for their gallantry for the action in the Mutiny which took place at the Cashmere Gate Delhi on 14 Sep 1857. Their recommendation is written up as a memorandum entry and published LG 18 Jun 1858 (p2961) by which date each officer had been killed in a subsequent action - Home on 1 Oct 1857 and Salkeld on 10 Oct 1857. I cannot find a later London Gazette entry confirming these awards. So I assume the authorities treated them as non-posthumous as Home and Salkeld did not die in the actual action of the award. If you consider that these are posthumous awards then is it Home or Salkeld should be first. Home because he died first?


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gardner1879

gardner1879

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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptyMon Jun 07, 2021 9:04 pm

Thanks Kenny
I do find it slightly odd though that it is stated that Salkeld died at another action a month later.

The report from a witness, Sergeant Smith, who was at the gate with him stated that Salkeld was shot in the thigh, blown up, fell off a bridge and broke both his arms.
Also a Naick stretcher bearer claimed Salkeld died before getting to the surgeon.
He must be a fast healer to be back in action a month later scratch scratch
Kate
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Kenny



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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptyWed Jun 09, 2021 8:56 am

Dear Kate,

I have fallen victim of the worldwide web whilst not being able to actually be able to consult the archives and original documents to able to double check the facts.

Someone needs to correct the Wkipedia entry for Philip Salkeld VC. It seems he did die on 1 Oct 1857 or 10 Oct 1857 - having had a limb amputated without anaesthetic following the action on 14 Sep 1857 at the Cashmere Gate. It does also appear he was visited in bed by General Wilson who confirmed an immediate VC award, subject to later HM approval, in line with clause 7 of VC Royal Warrant. Although the citation published in the LG is written up as a 'memorandum' entry, the invention of General Wilson suggest that the awards to Lts Home and Salkeld were treated as immediate awards, and not posthumous.

As you know these gallantry awards, are assessed by the recipient's peers at the time. In combat times, weapon systems and conditions do change. Also the Great War saw additional gallantry awards introduced to recognise the many lesser heroic deeds. It is very difficult to compare circumstances - each VC recipient has met the criteria to receive Britain's highest gallantry award.

However, what we cannot do is 'rank' the awards, such as 'the first'. Yes, it is incorrect to refer M+C as the 'first' posthumous awards. Probably, as suggested the Lt Roberts award is not the first posthumous award but it did open discussion to change the rules - to allow subsequent posthumous awards and for earlier memorandum awards to be recognised.

On a number of occasions, I have sat on the veranda of the replacement hospital building at Rorke's Drift and imagined what it was like at 4pm 22 Jan 1879 when the many Zulus attacked the small mission station following the earlier defeat of Imperial forces at Isandlwana. I would been very scared and frightened. The subsequent VC awards to 11 of the defenders were all deserved that day.




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gardner1879

gardner1879

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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptyWed Jun 09, 2021 9:18 am

Morning Kenny
Thanks for posting details about Salkeld's death. Very interesting.

Agree with you 100% about the Rorke's Drift V.C.s. Each one was well deserved. Whenever I'm there I like to sit on the bank were Scheiss gained his V.C. and try and put myself in their shoes. It must have been horrific.
I also think Alan should have won the V.C. for his actions on the 22nd/23rd but thats for a different thread altogether Wink
Kate Very Happy
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John Young

John Young

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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptyWed Jun 09, 2021 12:38 pm

Kate,

You might want amend ‘Scheiss’ to Schiess, scheiss is what the defenders must have thought they were in.

As to being in Schiess’ shoes don’t forget they blister.

JY
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gardner1879

gardner1879

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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptyWed Jun 09, 2021 1:17 pm

Thanks for your imput Jhon Salute
Kate Very Happy
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Kenny



Posts : 445
Join date : 2013-05-07
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Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query Empty
PostSubject: Re: Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query   Melvill and Coghill Victoria Cross query EmptyWed Jun 09, 2021 5:52 pm

Kate,

It would appear that the VC awards to Lts Home and Salkeld were treated as straight forward immediate awards.  The Queen approval was published in the London Gazette Tuesday 27 April 1858 (page 2051) and on the following day 28 April 1858 in the Times newspaper.  So neither were treated as posthumous awards as they did not die in the action of the award.
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