Border Regiment Victoria Cross Citations

The Victoria Cross or V.C. was first introduced by Queen Victoria on 29 January 1856 as a recompense for an individual's act of bravery during the Crimean War. The criteria for awarding this unique decoration has not changed since the former British Empire days to modern Commonwealth times. The Victoria Cross is notably the highest military decoration any one person of the armed forces can receive for valour “in the face of the enemy” and takes precedence over every other order, decoration or medal. Any individual from any service of any rank, including civilian personnel under military command, may be awarded the Victoria Cross, which is usually presented either to the recipient or their next of kin by the British monarch, or if it is for awards made by other Commonwealth countries, by the Governor-General.

The George Cross, in this particular field of classification (in the United Kingdom) is equivalent to the Victoria Cross insofar as it too is the highest award for bravery but not in the face of the enemy.

Since the Victoria Cross came into being it has been awarded 1,356 times; three individuals of which have won the decoration more than once. Since the end of World War Two only 13 Victoria Crosses[1] have been awarded.

Of the Border Regiment, five men for their bravery in the face of the enemy, were awarded the Victoria Cross during the Great War.[2] There were five other Victoria Crosses awarded to soldiers pre-dating the formation of the Border Regiment in 1881. The recipients of these, three from the 34th Regiment of Foot (formerly the 1st Border Regiment) and two from the 55th Regiment of Foot (formerly the 2nd Border Regiment), are detailed below:

The following are listed in date order of the action the Victoria Cross was awarded.

Name Number Rank Battalion Date of Action Date of Citation
Thomas Beach - Private 55th Regiment 5th Nov 1854 24th Feb 1857
William Coffey 3837 Private 34th Regiment 29th Mar 1855 24th Feb 1857
John Joseph Sims 3482 Private 34th Regiment 18th Jun 1855 24th Feb 1857
Frederick C. Elton - Brevet Major[3] 55th Regiment 4th Aug 1855 24th Feb 1857
George Richardson 4318 Sergeant 34th Regiment 27th Apr 1859 11th Nov 1859
Abraham Acton 10694 Private 2nd Battalion 21st Dec 1914 18th Feb 1915
James Alexander Smith 6423 Private 3rd Battalion 21st Dec 1914 18th Feb 1915
Edward John Mott 9887 Sergeant 1st Battalion 27 Jan 1917 9th Mar 1917
Charles Edward Spackman 9522 Sergeant 1st Battalion 20 Nov 1917 11th Jun 1918
James Forbes-Robertson - Captain (A/Lt-Col.) 1st Battalion 11/12th Apr 1918 21st May 1918

References / notes

  1. A total of nine Victoria Crosses were awarded to members of the British Army and four to the Australian Army.
  2. The following names were sourced from the Wikipedia article The Border Regiment and cross referenced with the Victoria Cross Website.
  3. Brevet or Bt.: usually referring to a warrant that authorises a commissioned officer to temporarily hold a higher rank without the extra pay that would normally come with that rank except when actually serving in that role.
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