1. Here’s a Victoria Cross story you may not know.

    You’re a big fan of the movie ZULU. Stanley Baker was the guy who made that movie. He basically wrote, directed, financed, and starred in it. He played John Chard.

    You can tell by the way Baker portrays and presents Chard, he really worshiped John Chard. ZULU was the biggest project, the biggest investment of Baker’s life.

    When the estate of John Chard auctioned off his Victoria Cross, Stanley Baker acquired the medal. But then he noticed it had been listed in the catalog as a “replica”. Feeling had, Baker tossed the thing in a drawer and forgot about it.

    After Baker died, his family fell on lean times and had to sell some of his stuff. One item on the block was the replica Victoria Cross. Someone got it for a pittance, about $50. Nobody heard what happened to it.

    Until Chard’s real Cross showed up in some Billionaire’s collection. The guy has about eighty Crosses and now he has Chard’s.

    It’s impossible to fake a Victoria Cross. They’re all cast from the same lump of bronze, and a metallurgist can tell with certainty whether the bronze in any given medal is a match for that lump.

    But where did the Billionaire get Chard’s Cross?

    He got it from Baker’s estate. How do you like that? The fake John Chard’s fake Victoria Cross was the real John Chard’s real Victoria Cross the whole time.

    The Bakers were miffed, because that medal is probably worth half a mil. They made a public appeal to the Billionaire: give us some consideration, at least an explanation.

    Through an underling, the Billionaire replied he would not be interested in that.

  2. You give men like Major Cain the rarest medal for valor on earth, and he will wonder, “Why are you honoring me? I served with a company of heroes. They deserve this medal. I am only honored to carry it for them and bear witness to their bravery.”
    I understand there was a janitor at the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado, and for decades, no one knew he had been awarded the Medal of Honor.
    Easier to get than the Victoria Cross, but the Medal of Honor is carried by the men who receive them with the same sense that they did not earn it, that they wear it to honor the men they served with who were just as brave but whose bravery went unwitnessed.

    1. “Easier to get”? More than 60% of MOH awards are awarded posthumously.

      Point of clarity–one does not “win” medals for valor, one earns them.

      It is illegal to sell the MOH in the United States; in BritishLand, sales of the VC are brisk business.

      1. I second your point of clarity. I was told the proper verb is “received”. “Earned” works well in storytelling. “Was awarded” is good in biography.

        “Win” or “won” is definitely wrong. At issue is not a footrace or a hand of Cribbage.

        1. That’s why I didn’t say win, and “Earn” is in the same thought as “Honor the men who were just as brave but whose bravery went unwitnessed”.
          There are certainly more Medal of Honor recipients out there than Victoria Cross recipients. In WW2 after the Normandy battles in the hedgerows, the Army told the 101st Airborne to nominate a certain number of potential honorees in each regiment. How many were actually bestowed as a result I do not know.
          As an aside, Major David Stirling, cofounder of the SAS, is said to have been deserving of many medals and honors for HIS bravery, but without an officer of higher rank to observe his bravery, his gallantry goes unrecognized in the official rolls.

  3. It’s a tad curious no one has ever made a movie about St Nazaire. On the other hand, maybe not. I recall the usual suspects getting their knickers in a twist over the excellent Dunkirk a couple years ago, because too many white people. You can’t make this shit up.

  4. Great post, and yes, the Brits seem to use the term “win” for the recipients of the Victoria Cross. Perhaps it is the difference in the American and English language?

    As to the “world’s greatest honor” , (or should I say honour?) well, that is typical British attitude. Oh well. Each country has its Croix de Guerre or Cruce di Guerra or Eisernes Kreuz in recognition of outstanding bravery.

    Clarkson has a surprise at the end, and that speaks volumes about a hero who was the real thing. I have enjoyed Clarkson’s strong opinions about cars, and especially enjoyed this presentation.

    Thank you for posting this.

  5. What sort of men are these?
    They are the men who make countries great by their very existence!
    And where do we find such men?
    On any Main Street!

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