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DateOriginal Topic
1st June 2003Posthumous VC's
By paul naish
Confusion exists about when the first posthumous VC's were awarded. its widely accepted that Melvill, Coghill etc were the first. How then did Lt Roberts and Digby Jones receive theirs on 15th Dec 1899 and 6th Jan 1900 respectively?
1st June 2003Martin Everett
Dear Paul,
The first truly posthumous VCs were awarded in 2nd Boer War. I do not have to facts to hand - but I believe that recommendation for Freddie Roberts' VC was made before he died. The award of posthumous VCs then prompted the families of the 6 earlier memorundum awards to petition the King (Edw VII). Melvill and Coghill were memorundum entries - the London Gazette of 2 May 1879 states that had these officers survived they would have been awarded the VC. The earlest memorundum award was Pte E Spence, 42 Foot in the Indian Mutiny.

The instituting Royal Warrant (4 December 1854) made no provision for posthumous awards. The LG of 8 August 1902 announced 6 posthumous VCs from the 2nd Boer War. A specific provision for posthumous awards was written into the Royal Warrant of 22 May 1922.

I trust this helps.
5th June 2003paul naish
Thanks for this. But how did Digby Jones kia on 6 Jan 1900 get his before the Fugitives Drift action and the Mazoe patrol during the Mashona rebellion 1897? Roberts - ok. A few hours before he expired can be explained if recommended for the Cross But D-J was an instant cull! Excuse my rather crude terminology!

6th June 2003Martin Everett
Dear Paul,
Digby-Jones RE (with Tpr Albrecht) was really one of the memorandum entries from the Boer War, (his action being Ladysmith on 6 January 1900) prompted by the awarded to Freddie Roberts. As I said above these posthumous awards occurring during 2nd ABW were processed at the end of that war - Digby Jones's award being gazetted on 8 August 1902. This then prompted the families of the 6 cases - including Mevill & Coghill - from earlier campaigns to petition the King.

Another interesting one in the 2nd ABW group is Lt FN Parsons, Essex Regt at Paardeberg on 18 Feb 1900. The recommendation reached the CinC on 28 March 1900, but he was killed 10 March at Driefontein.