The Rorke's Drift VC
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|10th March 2004||FOR THE EXPERTS|
By Andy Lee
I took this off the 'Victoria Cross' website as someone out there maybe able to assist this young lady.
Does anyone know a website where I can find information as to what date, where and who awarded Captain C. D'Arcy this Victoria Cross - and who was the recipient, as Cecil D'Arcy had passed on at that stage.
My father, Charles Eldridge remembers his mother relaying a story of when his grandfather pinned a VC on her and being thrilled when all the army vets. were saluting her during a parade. My father also remember seeing this VC in his childhood - and apparently it had been refered to by his grandfather as his brother Roberts' medal.
We are trying to determine if Robert actually went to England on Cecil's behalf or if there is more to the story than meets the eye...
Is anyone able to help with any of these details - or point me to the right link to access the recipents information?
|10th March 2004||John Young|
Henry Cecil Dudgeon D'Arcy was decorated by Sir Garnet Wolseley in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa on 28th December, 1879.
He was last seen 'alive' on 4th August, 1881, at St. Matthew's Mission, Keiskama's Hoek. On that day we enter the realms of conjecture.
If you want to point the young lady in my direction, I have written at some length on H.C.D. D'Arcy, with the assistance of the family, and I might be able to assist her further.
I am mystified by a reference to a brother named 'Robert', as H.C.D. D'Arcy didn't have a brother by that name.
|10th March 2004||Andy Lee|
Thanks for your help John.
|10th March 2004||Peter Ewart|
Wolseley apparently made a point of saying how delighted he was to pin the medal on the breast of a colonial, and by so doing he was supposedly hoping to ameliorate the feelings then apparently running high in colonial circles.
His "speech" is included in the book about this particular VC, written by one of the family: Patricia D'Arcy, "The Story of a VC" (Dundalgan Press [W. Tempest] Ltd, Dundalk). Year of publication unknown (how anyone can publish or self-publish without bothering to include the year of publication baffles me!) but some catalogues suggest c1980. Tipped into my copy is a single page "Part VI - sequel & finale" which describes the discovery and provenance of D'Arcy's decoration in recent years and the family's civilised agreement with the Royal Army Pay Corps Regimental Association about its future custody. This note, describing an agreement of Nov 1994, is not dated but is written by the recipient's gr-gr-nephew, who says the VC was handed over to him.
|10th March 2004||Julian Whybra|
Peter, I have a second-hand copy of this book bought from a sale at my local library - interestingly, the first time it was taken out is date-stamped 20 Dec 1975 - some time before 1980. Also there's a very faint stamp on the inside cover saying 14 Nov 1968. Can I trade you this information for a photocopy of your single page Part VI which mine hasn't got please?
|10th March 2004||Peter Ewart|
Thanks for that. Mine gives every appearance of being a reprint - it's a turquoise or dark duck-egg blue softback, smaller than A5, mint condition with a glue binding I don't trust. I think it comes up in one or two catalogues quite reglarly, suggesting a little remaindered supply somewhere.
I'm much happier now to know when (or by when) the account was written. Undated accounts infuriate me, although I do enjoy the fun of trying to date them.
The extra page (which is numbered 108 to fit the text) looks as if it may have been printed to fit the reprint - or perhaps it was vice versa - and a copy is on its way to you.
I see in the first para of my first posting I described this VC as a medal. Until Martin's note the other day I hadn't realised this was incorrect, so apologise for the error now!
|11th March 2004||Sarah E|
Thanks for your assistance here.
I will check with dad as to the reference to Robert (Darcy), but we think he somehow ended up with it in Australia - hence the story told to me by dad. We are unsure as to what has happened to it between then and now though. I will find out exactly who Robert is and report back as soon as I can.
Thanks again, Sarah E
|11th March 2004||Martin Everett|
My notes on Capt D'Arcy say that his VC was auctioned by Sotheby's on 17 September 1992 for cú20,000.
|11th March 2004||JulianWhybra|
Thanks Peter. My copy is the same as your I think. Thanks for p. 108
|12th March 2004||Peter Ewart|
That's interesting, given the date and the reported approximate sale price. The D'Arcy "sequel" suggests that the Daily Telegraph report of 11th (or possibly just before) September 1992 on the forthcoming auction of the medal led, in the end, to the sale not going ahead as a result of intervention by the family.
The vendors were to have been the RAPCRA who had inherited the VC from their first Adjutant General, Colonel "Johnny" Armstrong in - or by - c1965. They had completed unsuccessful investigations to trace anyone with an interest in the VC before selling, but the Telegraph piece alerted the family.
Meetings led to a joint trust between the family and RAPCRA being set up so that future guardianship was settled and custody was granted to the family.
This appears to suggest that the Association did not, in the end, benefit financially, nor have they apparently departed overmuch from the terms of the original bequest.
One little point is a bit puzzling. The piece explains that the RAPCRA had been formed when the RAPC was disbanded and absorbed into the Adjutant General's Corps, along with other corps & that the VC had lain in the bank vaults for around 27 years. However, I know the demise of the Pay Corps was much later than the acquisition of the medal (perhaps "Options for Change", c1990?) and that in 1965 the RAPC was thriving at Worth Down, Winchester, and so if they had waited 27 years before deciding to sell the medal, as the account says, then it must have been the reginment itself which had inherited it.