I am currently helping with a campaign to build here in central London a memorial for recipients of the George Cross and Victoria Cross.
As most people are aware the Victoria Cross (VC) is awarded to servicemen and women who conduct heroic actions for their country and their comrades in arms. The George Cross (GC) is awarded for ordinary members of the public for similar acts of selfless bravery, by civilians away from the battlefield.
The campaign has the backing of many parliamentarians from literally all sides of the House and all ranks of service personnel, including Air Marshall Lord Craig of Radley GCB OBE, a former Chief of Defence staff.
Although not someone who has taken part in military service, my father served in the army for twenty years and my grandfather was an Air Commodore so I take a great interest in military matters. I have recently spoken strongly about the need for us parliamentarians to fulfil our duty to our armed forces and have added my voice of concern about the current overstretch affecting British troops.
I believe that a public monument to those whose selfless action is inspirational is long overdue. A petition I know has already been set up on the Downing Street website (http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/VC-GC-Memorial) and I have initiated an Early Day Motion in Parliament (EDM 335) which is receiving much cross party support.
Some people are suggesting that such a memorial would be most appropriate for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, but I believe that we should consider a much larger commemorative plaque where names of future recipients could be added in the years ahead.
The time has surely come to create a national memorial for VC and GC heroes which is accessible to all. A well-considered design such as has been created for war heroes in Australia and in the USA could prove a much loved and symbolic statue to selfless courage. The names of the winners of awards through the years will inspire today’s young people as well as giving citizens of Britain and the Commonwealth a place of pride in their fellow countrymen. What better antidote to a celebrity obsessed and materialistic modern era?
I would be very happy to hear your views on this matter so please write to me here in the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA