Leading family history website, Findmypast.co.uk has today announced the launch of its Hall of Heroes. The Hall aims to celebrate the heroes from our history, from unsung underdogs to First World War medal winners.
Findmypast is asking people to help create a ‘Hall of Heroes’ that truly reflects the heroic figures from our own history by inviting everyone to submit their own heroes from their family history to be chosen for inclusion in the Hall of Heroes. For every real-life story published Findmypast will donate £10 to charity.
To mark the launch of the Hall of Heroes, Findmypast.co.uk has also released four new record sets including Victoria Cross Recipients 1854-2006, the Royal Navy 1914 Star Medal Roll 1914-1920, the Marriage Registers of the British Royal Marines 1813-1920 and the Falklands War British Deaths 1982 to allow more people to discover the heroes in their family. The Victoria Cross (VC) collection includes the 1,349 people awarded the highest military decoration for valour in the face of the enemy during conflicts such as the Crimean War, the Boer War, Indian Mutiny, and both World Wars. The VC is a simple bronze cross. It has been awarded only 14 times since World War II.
Included in the ‘Hall of Heroes’ today is Rip the rescue dog, a World War Two rescue dog with an extraordinary talent for finding people buried amidst the debris after bombing raids. Rip died in 1946 after a courageous life as the service’s first search and rescue dog. He was awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery in 1945. Rip was originally found in Poplar, London, in 1940 by an Air Raid warden. He is credited with saving the lives of over 100 people.
First World War medal winners
A ‘Hall of Heroes’ wouldn’t be complete without commemorating some of the well decorated soldiers from the First World War, and included in the launch are the records of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse. Chavasse is one of only three people ever to have won the Victoria Cross twice, and the only person to be awarded both the Victoria Cross and bar during World War One. He won his first VC for his actions at the battle of Guillemont, part of the Battle of the Somme, after coming within 25 metres of the German line. At this point he rescued three wounded men and continued to search no-man’s land for injured soldiers before the enemy line for four hours. In total Chavasse saved the lives of twenty badly wounded men.
His second VC was awarded for ‘most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in action’ in 1917. Though desperately wounded while carrying another man, Chavasse insisted on remaining in action for a further two days. Faint from his injury and without food he continued to search for and retrieve the wounded even under heavy fire, and was crucial in saving the lives of many more who would otherwise have succumbed in the field.
Visit heroes.findmypast.co.uk for more information on these heroes and to submit your own story.