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Irish Winners of the Victoria Cross
by Richard Doherty & David Truesdale


 

Irish Emigrant Review

- Detailed research has led the authors of this book to suppose that the generally accepted total of 166 Irish people awarded the highest medal for bravery may be an underestimate, if all those born to Irish parents living overseas are taken into account. There are also a small number whose names would suggest an Irish background but, with no documentary evidence, they have not been included in the total. The book is divided chronologically from the Crimea to the Second World War, and begins with the first presentation of the award by Queen Victoria in Hyde Park in 1857 during which two Irishmen, Lt Charles Davis Lucas of the Royal Navy and Ensign Luke O'Connor of the 23rd Regiment were among those rewarded for gallantry. Details are given of the particular acts of courage for which the award was given, though in the earlier conflicts these are not extensive. One World War I recipient from the North misconstrued the words of praise from King George V, "You're a brave man", at the presentation of his medal, and replied, "You're a brave wee man yourself, Sir". Another soldier, James Duffy from near Letterkenny, met with some difficulty as a result of his award, being kidnapped by the IRA in the early '20s and receiving threatening letters on other occasions. The book, which includes a number of photographs of the holders of the Victoria Cross, has a final section listing Irishmen whose nominations for the award were rejected, and an index of all Irish recipients.

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