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Ribble Valley soldier's Victoria Cross campaign
A FORMER member of the Coldstream Guards is campaigning to have the ‘unnamed soldier’ honoured with the British Army’s highest decoration.
Anthony Ormiston, of Pendleton, wrote to Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans with his suggestion, so that the medal could be presented in time to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War next year.
On November 11 1920 an ‘unknown soldier’ was laid to rest at Westminster with full Military Honours in a ceremony normally reserved for one holding the rank of a field marshall.
The soldier represents the thousands of servicemen killed in the war whose bodies were never identified.
In October 1921, the USA conferred their highest decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor on our ‘unknown soldier’.
In turn their ‘unknown soldier’ received a Victoria Cross.
Mr Ormiston, a former chief inspector for Lancashire police, said it was about time our soldier was recognised in the same way.
He said: “The most important thing about it is that if the suggestion is taken up, it must have the approval of Her Majesty the Queen.
“It would be very special indeed because, as we say in the Army, the Victoria Cross doesn’t come up with the rations.
“Since 1854, 1,259 have received the Victoria Cross and of that only 296 post humously.
“The ‘unknown soldier’ represents the hundreds of thousands of British soldiers who lost their lives in that war and there is no more appropriate time to give him the Cross than for the centenary of the outbreak.”
Mr Ormiston was in the Coldstream Guards, an elite Foot Guards regiments of the British Army, for seven years. It is the oldest regiment in the regular Army in continuous active service, originating in Coldstream, Scotland, in 1650.
Mr Evans said he had written to secretary of state for defence Philip Hammond to arrange a meeting to discuss the proposal.
He said: “Mr Ormiston wrote to me to inquire about the possibility of awarding our ‘unknown soldier’ with a posthumous Victoria Cross, which I agree would be a marvellous symbolic gesture to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. His is an opinion that I take very seriously on such matters.”
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