25 September 2023

Australian VC heroes brought to book

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The Australian War Memorial has launched a new publication dedicated to the 100 Australians who have been awarded the Victoria Cross (pictured).

Written by Curator of Military Heraldry and Technology at the Memorial, Craig Blanch and senior historian, Aaron Pegram, the publication titled For Valour provides an account of the lives of these special Australians.

Director of the Memorial, Brendan Nelson said that within the pages of the publication an important element of Australia’s national story had been documented.

“Within the galleries of the Australian War Memorial are the stories of 100 Australians whose extraordinary acts of bravery in the face of the enemy during wartime earned them the esteemed award of the Victoria Cross,” Dr Nelson said.

“Few of us possess the qualities that stand behind these medals, but the stories of courage, fortitude, and dedication behind each one continue to inspire us in our everyday lives.”

Dr Pegram said the Victoria Cross was the highest form of recognition that could be bestowed on a soldier of the Commonwealth.

“All ranks of the services are eligible for this award, which upholds the human virtues of courage, devotion, sacrifice, and compassion,” Dr Pegram said.

“There is no greater single honour, award, or accolade available.”

Mr Blanch said that the expanding digitisation of historical records and their increased availability opened up a range of fresh archival material.

“This has allowed us to illustrate a balanced, honest study of the lives of Australia’s VC recipients, which, as we found, do not always accord with the Anzac legend,” Mr Blanch said.

“The Victoria Cross remains a popular aspect of Australia’s military history. We hope to advance understanding of the award and its place in Australian military history.”

The book sells for $79.99 and is available at the Australian War Memorial shop, online, and at good bookstores nationally.

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