Monday, December 7, 2009

Victoria Cross: Sergeant Alfred Henry Hook, 24th Regiment of Foot

I realized that I have featured the citations of several recipients of the Medal of Honor here, but nothing from earlier times or other countries.

The Victoria Cross of the British Empire was first awarded for acts of valor in the face of the enemy, in 1856, by Queen Victoria, during the Crimean War. It 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."

Sergeant Alfred Henry Hook, 24th Regiment of Foot
On 22/23 January 1879 at Rorke's Drift, Natal, South Africa, a distant room of the hospital had been held for more than an hour by three privates, and when finally they had no ammunition left the Zulus burst in, and killed one of the men and two patients. One of the privates (John Williams) however, succeeded in knocking a hole in the partition and taking the last two patients through into the next ward, where he found Private Hook. These two men then worked together - one holding the enemy at bayonet point while the other broke through three more partitions - and they were then able to bring eight patients into the inner line of defence.

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