VC – The Ultimate Testimony to Armed Forces
The award of the Victoria Cross to Lance Corporal James Ashworth is something that along with his family all of the people of his home town of Corby will quite rightly share pride in.
There has been a great deal in the press recently following a report that indicates that one in three of ex-servicemen are likely to commit a violent act when they once again return to civilian life.
It is a report that does a great deal of injustice to the control, discipline and sense of responsibility of those who serve in our armed forces.
It is a fact that young men who are fit and confident don’t have the same fear of violence as others which means that they are more likely to respond to confrontation with like for like.
It doesn’t however in my experience generally apply to those who serve in the armed services where if anything they are more likely to maintain the discipline and control that comes from the training they have received.
What is clear, and I admit to being biased, is that the UK armed services not only receive the best training of any of the worlds armed services but also have something indefinable: which is the knowledge that they are following and representing generations of those that went before them.
If there is one thing the armed service serving today are only too well aware of it is that they are a part of a history and heritage that cannot be ignored.
It is a history and responsibility that they wear with pride.
Anyone with any sense recognises that to take the life of another person or to override the strongest instinct of all, that of survival, or to enter a situation where you know you might not survive isn’t a part of the natural condition.
It is why the armed services put so much emphasis not only on aggression which is a necessary component of armed conflict but also on control and discipline because it is through ‘a controlled and disciplined aggression’ that victory comes from.
It is difficult even for many who have served to understand what it is that makes young men like James Ashworth show extraordinary courage in the full knowledge of what price they may have to pay.
One thing is sure it has a great deal to do with loyalty and commitment to their friends who are serving alongside them and the heritage of those who have gone before.
Sadly in most cases the Victoria Cross is awarded posthumously.
Lance Corporal James Ashworth will now join the role of those who demonstrate all that is great in our armed services.
In November we will once again hear the phrase ‘Lest We Forget’
This year for one family and community it will be a sentiment that will be even more apt but we must also remember the thousands of service personnel who have earned their own VC, of Valiant Courage, day in day out in the service of this country.