Mark Our Place

Mark Our Place

Mark Our Place

This documentary has three heroes. All Irishmen, all rugby players who all played for the same club and who all were awarded the highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.

Major Robert Johnston played for Ireland and what is now known as the British and Irish Lions and was great friends with Thomas Crean. He showed his bravery in the early stages of the Boer war and was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Major Thomas Crean played for Ireland and what is now known as the British Lions and worked his way up through the ranks of the Imperial Light Horse after signing up when the Boer War broke out. As a doctor he received his Victoria Cross for treating the wounded on the battlefield under enemy fire.

Brigadier Frederick Harvey played for Ireland and then left for a new life in Canada. He joined a Canadian Regiment and during the First World War served with the Lord Strathcona Horse. He was involved in many acts of heroism for which the French awarded him the Victoria Cross, The Military Cross and the Croix de Guerre.

Why is this story important? The main reason is that this is a unique achievement, the likes of which we are unlikely to ever see again.

The other reason is because very few know about these three men. When they were awarded their Victoria Crosses Ireland was a split country. There were some who felt that to fight for the British meant you were pro British and anti Republican, so deeds on behalf of the British were not warmly celebrated.

Now with our military personnel being afforded the respect that they fully deserve, it is surely time for rugby and the world to acknowledge this unique achievement.

Only one in nine recipients of the Victoria Cross live to receive the medal, all three of these men survived the war to receive theirs.

What was it that made these three men so special, was it the rugby club their belonged to, Wanderers, was it their upbringing or was it the sport of rugby union?

Genre: Sport, History, Society,

Duration: 55mins

Rights: Inflight & Transportation – Worldwide

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