Remembrance Through Medals

Dame Judi Dench endorses ABF podcast with historian Mark Smith: Stories of Military Gallantry

In a new special edition podcast for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, renowned military historian, and BBC Antiques Roadshow regular, Mark Smith, highlights some incredible stories of gallantry on the field of battle that deserved the highest possible recognition.

In the podcast, launched today, Mark Smith and host Harry Bucknall explore the history behind the medals awarded to brave servicemen and women throughout history. Hear how the 800 plus Victoria Crosses awarded since 1914 have all been forged from the same two bronze Chinese guns, recovered in the 1860s; or how the first gallantry medals were introduced by the Honourable East India Company, and only for Indian soldiers to receive.

In support of the podcast, Oscar-winning actress and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity supporter, Dame Judi Dench, has spoken about her father, Reginald, a Second Lieutenant in the Leinster Irish regiment, who won two Military Crosses for acts of bravery during his First World War service. Dame Judi said:

“I only learned the story about his medals recently. One was gained for a defending a British position near Ypres from what could have been a catastrophic German advance. He was only 18 and it was his first time in action. He was incredibly brave.

“Six months later, by now an acting Captain, he was south of Arras with his battalion and leading 100 men across No Man’s Land on a reconnaissance mission. They came under heavy fire but he fought back making sure his men got back to their own trenches, he was the last person to reach safety.

“I am so pleased to learn about my father’s war experience and I feel very proud of him. It’s wonderful, he’s a hero; well, he was always a hero in my eyes and now he’s even more of a hero. I think the stories in this podcast need to told and remembered.”

The podcast is available to listen here:

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