Concern over street award for VC men

Published Saturday, 17 August 2013
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Concerns have been raised that some World War One winners of the Victoria Cross, who were to get special paving stones in their home towns, will miss out.

Concern over street award for VC men
The six men from NI awarded VC medals. (© UTV)

Six men from Northern Ireland were bestowed with the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration awarded for "valour in the face of the enemy".

They're set to be honoured further next year on the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, when the streets of the Northern Ireland towns and villages they were from will be paved with commemorative stones remembering them.

However there has been some worry that some of the winners of the VC who spent most of their lives here, but weren't born in NI, will not be included.

This would affect men such as Lieutenant Colonel Richard West.

He spent much of his life in Co Fermanagh, and was even in the North Irish Horse unit when he rallied the troops in the face of certain death at Courcelles in France.

Then there is John Spencer Dunville, who was born in Marylebone in London in 1896, but his family had very strong ties to Holywood.

His father was chairman of Dunville and Company whiskey distillers. He got the Victoria Cross for his actions as a second lieutenant in the 1st Royal Dragoons in 1917 in France.

Local historians have told UTV that the men should also be honoured.

David Truesdale said: "Dunville is an Irish VC recipient and he's a Co Down recipient, there's no argument about it at all - where you're from is really irrelevant."

The question of whether someone is actually 'from' Northern Ireland or not has become an interesting one in the context of this debate.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, it will be prepared to discuss each case.

It said: "We would encourage local authorities, who are responsible for deciding where the paving stones will be placed, to talk with one another if they feel that a town outside of the recipient's birth place would be more appropriate to receive the paving stone."

So, it means we could yet see those Victoria Cross winners who weren't born here, but with strong associations here, honoured after all.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
35 Comments
martin in belfast wrote (339 days ago):
Again its sad to see some of the posters on here that truely have no clue what they are on about. The 1st world world had nothing at all to do with peoples freedom. It was a war in which millions of working class men and boys were ordered to their deaths by the royal families of europe in a vain attempt to try and keep hold of power. The two choices these soliders were given were 1. Go over the top and get slaughtered by the germans. 2. Don't go over the top and get shot by your own army. It is sad that most people don't do a little bit of research before posting.
Joe.L in Belfast wrote (340 days ago):
NO BRAINER REALLY! These brave and heroic soldiers paid the ultimate price so that the generations of people coming behind them "ie" US, both catholic and protestant should live free from nazi Germany rule. We ALL owe these brave men a huge debt of gratitude and acknowledgement, I would have prefered a statue in memory of these hero's instead though.
Rab Lavery in Belfast wrote (340 days ago):
This place never ceases to amaze me , to be honest its pretty straight forward. These men irrespective of religion made the immortal sacrifice against fascism , nobody but nobody questioned where they were from before theatre of war , as someone rightly stated earlier conscription was never needed as these men were clambering to sign up they felt it was their God given right to fight to defend what they all held dear. Sadly today an awful lot of people forget if it weren't for their courage in the face of the enemy God only knows if we would have even existed today. So lets not make a spectacle of this , give them what they deserve irrespective of whether they hail from Antrim , Dundalk , Blackrock , or Timbuktu. Rab Lavery Vice Chair , Friends Of The Fallen Farset Belfast.
Tommy Atkins in London,England wrote (341 days ago):
During W.W.1 there were at least twenty recieptients of the Victoria cross awarded members of the British Army who were born in Southern Ireland. Eight of these V C awardees from the (Todays )R.O.I. These eight also have family ties to todays N Ireland . Furthermore they also spent "Considerable Time' in Todays N.Ireland So why are these men from the ROI not included in this program? Especially if the historians are including Englishmen who spent time in N Ireland It must also be pointed out that there was NO North and South Ireland during W W 1 It was all part of the U K So why the division now over V C winners?
Poppy in Belfast wrote (341 days ago):
NI in NI, no one gets the VC for joining up. No one gets the VC for even fighting in a war. These VC winners were from Northern Ireland, the fact that 26 counties left to form their own political entity doesn't change the fact that someone was born in Belfast or Lurgan or wherever. As for people who weren't born here, but were brought up here, I'm not sure about that. Billy McFadzean was born in Lurgan but spent most of his life in Belfast, first Joycelyn Ave (off the Woodstock Road) and then 'Rubicon' which is on the Cregagh Road. The memorial will go to Lurgan which seems a shame as he was really a 'Belfast man', but if that is the criteria then I guess that is it. It would probably be a complicated mess to try to find out where all the VC winners spent the majority of their lives, so the place they were born is probably best.
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BRIAN ROWAN
The pictures from Stormont this week showed us how politics here still walks in and out of step.
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