Scholars' Forum Talk on the History of the Victoria Cross

At the most recent Scholars’ Forum event, Clifton High was delighted to welcome speaker, Mr Christopher Ackroyd, to talk about his grandfather, Mr Harold Ackroyd, and other Victoria Cross heroes.

Mr Ackroyd spoke to pupils about the Crimean War and how correspondents were first allowed to visit the war front. This shocked the general public, who decided that awards of bravery should be given, which should be available to all ranks, for ‘conspicuous bravery in the face of the enemy’.

Pupils learnt that, to date, 1363 Victoria Crosses have been awarded, with some of the most notable being to Charles Davis Lucas, who was the first to be given the award and Joshua Leakey, who is the most recent. Mr Ackroyd’s grandfather, Harold Ackroyd, was a temporary surgeon lieutenant who was at the Somme and Paschendale. His Victoria Cross was announced on 6th September 1917 and an Investiture Ceremony was held on 19th September 1917.

Mr Ackroyd explained that after he inherited his grandfather’s medals, he sold them and used the money to pay for a special scholarship at his grandfather’s old college. His medals are now part of the Victoria Cross Gallery at the Imperial War Museum.

Pupils thought the talk was both informative and interesting and thoroughly enjoyed listening to a very knowledgeable speaker about such an important part of history.