Defence downplays talk of Victoria Cross
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 6:30p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Three of the soldiers injured in the recent firefight in Afghanistan have now been flown home to New Zealand.
The Government has left the door open for one of that battle's heroes, Lance Corporal Rory Malone, to be awarded New Zealand's highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
L/Cpl Malone made the ultimate sacrifice, shot dead while dragging the second of two comrades to safety. The question now is, could his gallantry earn him a posthumous Victoria Cross?
"It wouldn't be appropriate for me to speculate on that at all," says Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman, "but the initial indications are Rory Malone, you know, died very heroically and putting the welfare of others before himself."
There are three steps to a Victoria Cross: a defence recommendation, based, historically, on three witness accounts; the Prime Minister's office considers it; and the Queen approves it.
A key witness will of course be the first man L/Cpl Malone saved – his commander Major Craig Wilson, who had been shot.
3 News revealed last night that Major Wilson was already a war hero himself, a former SAS member secretly awarded for his gallantry when Willie Apiata won the Victoria Cross.
"It's clear that Major Wilson is a very brave man and very professional soldier himself," says Dr Coleman. "He's acknowledged Rory's part in saving his life."
L/CplMalone is the great-great-grandson of Lt Col William Malone, the famed World War I commander killed at Chunuk Bair.
And while history won't play a part, the fact the younger Malone lost his life will.
3 News has learned three of the injured soldiers slipped quietly back into New Zealand late yesterday. That leaves three still in hospital in Germany.
Defence chiefs are also keeping very quiet about talk of a Victoria Cross. They'd prefer to go through the process without any public hype.
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15/08/2012 9:01:09 p.m.
^^ think before you write and unless you understand the defence issues and circumstances dont comment some people like to put their cents in where not needed...
14/08/2012 8:44:11 p.m.
simon graham wrote:
The only hype is from journalist patrick gower from what I can see. He started the VC talk after talking to his mate Major Wilson, who (although wounded )as a senior officer should know better than talk to the media without permission and without thought. Both the killed soldiers are heroes, and their families should be left to grieve in peace. They died coming to the aid of their comrades in arms. Lance Corporal Leon Smith did the same a few months before. Heroes all.
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