Skip to comments.Australia's bravest strike new V(ictoria) C(ross) coins
Posted on 04/26/2014 4:10:57 PM PDT by naturalman1975
THE writing might be tiny but the intent is clear.
A new commemorative coin to be released by the Royal Australian Mint lists all 100 Australian Victoria Cross recipients, their names engraved around a much larger representation of the VC medal.
To launch this limited edition item, Australia's four living VC recipients - Keith Payne, Ben Roberts-Smith, Daniel Keighran and Mark Donaldson, plus George Cross recipient Michael Pratt - all visited the Mint building to strike examples of the coin. However Mr Pratt doesn't get his name on the coin.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.com.au ...
The George Cross is officially speaking the equal in distinction and honour to the Victoria Cross. In the extremely unlikely event somebody ever has both of them, the VC would take precedence over the GC, only because it is the older decoration. The George Cross was instituted during the Second World War for two main reasons - firstly, because for the first time in that war, in Britain at least, there were significant numbers of civilians (firefighters, police, and other people who were acting in roles such as air raid wardens) who were displaying extraordinary degrees of heroism during the Blitz bombings, and Britain had no suitable decoration for the bravest of the brave among the civilian population. Secondly, the requirement that the Victoria Cross only be awarded for courage in situations where the enemy was present, meant military personnel working in fields like bomb disposal (where the enemy had departed the area) were not eligible, regardless of the level of courage they displayed. The George Cross was expressly designed to cover these situations - it would be awarded for acts and bravery and courage on a similar scale to the Victoria Cross, in situations where there was no enemy present. It was to be primarily a civilian award, but could be awarded to military personnel where appropriate.
A recipient of the George Cross is entitled to be treated with the same degree of respect and honour as a Victoria Cross recipient. And Michael Pratt GC is generally treated with such when he visits the United Kingdom, for events such as the periodical services and dinners with members of the Royal family for Victoria Cross and George Cross recipients. But in Australia, he is largely forgotten and ignored in comparison to our Victoria Cross recipients. Why?
I think it's because Australia no longer awards the George Cross. In the mid 1970s when it was decided by the Socialist government of the time (and, to be fair, some of their reasons for that decision were ones I would defend) decided Australians should no longer receive the same decorations as Britons, while the Victoria Cross was retained because of its special history, the George Cross was replaced with the Cross of Valour (CV). So since that time, five extraordinarily brave civilians have received a different medal (two men, for example, - Richard Joyes CV, and Senior Constable Timothy Britten CV - were awarded the CV after the Bali bombings, after they repeatedly at extreme personal risk, reentered one of the bombed nightclubs to rescue injured people). In my view, CV recipients are not given enough attention in Australia, either, but the existence of the different award, means that Michael Pratt GC has become even more obscure. He is Australia's only living George Cross recipient.
His inclusion in this ceremony is significant. I hope it will lead to more people being aware of what he did.
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the George Cross to the undermentioned:-
Michael Kenneth PRATT, Constable, Victoria Police Force.
On the morning of 4th June 1976 three masked men entered a bank and carried out an armed robbery. One of the men ordered the staff to lie on the floor, another jumped over the counter and removed money from the tills while the third remained in the public area and fired a shot in the direction of the manager and a customer when they ran towards the rear of the bank.
Constable Pratt, who was off-duty and unarmed, was driving past the bank in his private car and saw the men entering the bank ; he noticed that each man was masked and carrying a firearm and realised that they were about to commit an armed robbery. He immediately turned his car, switched up the lights and, sounding his horn, mounted the kerb and blocked the bank entrance. He instructed a passer-by to call for police assistance.
The raiders were taken by surprise, but one of them threatened the Constable with a gun and signalled to him to remove the car, whereupon the officer refused, removed the ignition key, and armed himself with the handle of a car jack. The men then attempted to leave the bank by kicking in the lower section of the glass door and climbing over the bonnet of the car. As the first man straddled the front of the car Constable Pratt grabbed him firmly and during the violent struggle which ensued the robber was knocked unconscious. By this time a second gunman had left the bank and climbed over the car, aimed his weapon and threatened to shoot the officer at close range ; the man had his arms extended at shoulder height and pointed a revolver directly at Constable Pratt. The first man had by now recovered consciousness and was getting to his feet, so the officer grabbed him again and the man called to the gunman to shoot the Constable. A shot was then fired and Constable Pratt who was in the process of trying to protect his back and at the same time retain his hold on his captive, was seriously wounded.
Constable Pratt displayed outstanding bravery, devotion to duty and a complete disregard for his own safety when, unarmed and single handed, he faced and attempted to arrest these dangerous armed criminals.
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