By Melvin Charles Smith (auth.)
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Additional resources for Awarded for Valour: A History of the Victoria Cross and the Evolution of British Heroism
The publication of the warrant and the absence of precedent brought as many contemporary heroes to the fore as those claiming the Cross for previous wars. 8 Only submissions through the established chain of command within the military would be considered: I am directed by Lord Panmure to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th ultimo, requesting to be informed whether, as representing your late son, Lieutenant Godfrey, of the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, you would be entitled to prefer a claim under the Royal Warrant instituting the decoration of the Victoria Cross; and to acquaint in reply, that this decoration will not be conferred upon the families of deceased officers, and that it is more in the nature of an order like that of the Bath rather than of a medal commemorative of a campaign or an expedition.
51 The reform of the Army’s administration was by this point inevitable. Such reforms greatly concerned Victoria and Albert, as experience showed that any change in the system resulted in a loss of Crown authority. 52 Even before the matter drew to a head, during the discussions about the severing of War and Colonies, the Queen had cautioned Aberdeen to make sure the question of Army reform did not arise in parliament along with it. 55 The palace concomitantly maintained a vigil over reform proposals.
In the press editors and letter-writers alike publicly wondered why the British soldier did not have similar rewards to those of his French ally to mark his merit. Some wanted campaign medals and clasps for all who participated in particular engagements: Why is there no clasp for Balaklava? If a medal has been justly earned by those who have taken part in the ‘arduous and brilliant campaign in the Crimea,’ why, of this gallant band, is a clasp alone undeserved by those A W AR D ED F O R V AL O U R whose ‘arduous’ duty it was to stand in line against a charge of cavalry, or by those who cut their way, under three cross fires, through an opposing mass ten times their number, and, having slaughtered the enemy on all sides, returned in perfect order to their position?