The highest military gallantry medal of the British Army is the Victoria Cross awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy,” yet 209 World War One graves are being left to crumble.
The Sun Newspaper has revealed how these 209 graves face ruin, neglect and lie crumbling in forgotten cemetery corners across the nation. Their resting places are not maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which currently does wonderful work for the graves of the fallen in battle across the world.
Only Victoria Cross recipients killed during the First and Second World Wars are commemorated with a grave or memorial that is protected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. All other VC Recipient’s graves who died in other conflicts and of old age are the responsibility of their relatives. Consequently many have fallen into disrepair through neglect or lack of funding, family members have died out, their memory has been forgotten or many relatives may be unaware of the graves or even that a family member once received a Victoria Cross.
The Sun Newspaper is now joining the ‘Victoria Cross Trust’ to launch a new campaign ‘Honour Our Victoria Cross Heroes’ to help end this national scandal and they are asking for your help!
They are asking if you can discover if you have a forgotten Victoria Cross winner in your family, town or village, find the grave and let them know where it is. They also want you to insist that the Government pays to restore and maintain VC graves of any era and donate to the ‘Victoria Cross Trust’.
The ‘Victoria Cross Trust’ erects headstones if graves are unmarked. It also traces surviving relatives for permission before carrying out any work, and then the restoration must be done by a trained master stonemason and costs anywhere between £1,500 and £25,000.
The Trust raises funds at military fairs and functions and has carried out 12 renovations so far.
Founder Gary Stapleton set up the Victoria Cross Trust in 2012 after his son Jason served an Afghanistan tour. He sought out the grave of a local VC recipient only to find it in a shocking state.
Gary said: “I’d like to look after every single serviceman’s grave — but we can’t.
“These VC graves are special. But we don’t know what state they are in.
“That’s why we need The Sun’s millions of readers to visit every grave in the country and take a picture so we know what we are dealing with.”
The Victoria Cross Trust do not receive funding from the Government or from any other organisation, we rely solely on your contributions.
See more about the Sun Campaign here: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/5580338/Campaign-to-restore-VC-heroes-headstones.html
Help and support the Victoria Cross Trust here: http://victoriacrosstrust.org/
Perhaps one of your ancestors earned a Victoria Cross or other medals?
Your ancestor may have been awarded a Victoria Cross or another medal - maybe you know about it — or maybe you don't? Start searching our records today find out about the fantastic acts of bravery your family members may have been involved in. Look at our Medals section and click on the medal name for some descriptions...
Maybe you have you inherited some medals or/and memorabilia and don't know what they are? Pick our experts brains and we'll see if we can help you — get in touch via Customer support.
Forces War Records sell a range of replica Medals and for further research take a look at the material we have on medals and acts of bravery in our historic documents library including: The Bronze Cross, A Book of British Heroes, Dees That Thrill the Empire and Ribbons and Medals.