Private Robert Morrow V.C.
The Newmills War Hero
The Victoria Cross
Photo of Private Morrow's actual V.C., courtesy of Norman Bell
Photo of Private Morrow's actual V.C., courtesy of Norman Bell
The Victoria Cross (V.C.) is the highest military decoration that can be awarded to any member of the armed forces of the British and Commonwealth, regardless of rank. The medal, produced from metal of captured cannon of the Russian army during the "Siege of Sevastopol" was first introduced by Queen Victoria on the 29th January 1856 to honour acts of gallantry during the Crimean War. The VC is always awarded to the recipient or next of kin by the reigning monarch. The medal itself is a bronze cross, 41mm high x 36mm wide bearing the crown of St Edward surmounted by a lion. It carries the inscription "FOR VALOUR" and is suspended by a ring from a "V" to a bar which is decorated with Laurel leaves. On the reverse of the bar is the recipient's name, rank, number and unit, while the reverse side of the medal has a circular panel in which is inscribed the date of the action for which the award was made.
The V.C. is awarded for "most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy".
During the First World War in the retreat from Mons, on the 23rd August 1914, Irishman Lt M J Dease V.C. won the first of 628 Victoria Crosses that were earned in just over four years of conflict.
Private Morrow was the second Ulsterman to receive the Victoria Cross. He was the only Tyrone recipient during that conflict.
The first Ulster recipient was Sergeant David Nelson V.C., of the Royal Horse Artillery. He was a native of Stranooden, County Monaghan. Only twelve men born in the province of Ulster won the highest of military decorations during World War One.
John Alexander Sinton V.C. was another who won a Victoria Cross during the Great War. He who was born in Canada, and died on 25 March 1956, is buried at Claggan Presbyterian Cemetery near Cookstown, where he lived. This is only about ten miles from where Private Robert Morrow lived.
Another Victoria Cross winner from WW1, Captain Anketell Moutray Read V.C., who died in September 1915, was the godson of Mr Anketell Moutray Read, Favour Royal, Aughnacloy and the nephew of Mrs Hassard of Desertcreat, Cookstown. Desertcreat is no more than five miles from Sessia, Newmills.
To date (January 2017), 1,358 V.C.'s have been awarded.
Robert Morrow V.C. © 2015-21
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