We’re delighted to announce the launch of our Hall of Heroes. It’s a celebration of heroic figures and exciting stories of bravery – from unsung underdogs to military medal winners.
We’d love to invite you to submit the heroes from their own family history.
To mark the launch of the ‘Hall of Heroes’, we’re also releasing new record sets. These include the South Australia, heroes of the Great War, Chronicle Newspapers: transcripts of the details of 10,000 individuals named in the South Australian newspaper The Chronicle between 1915 and 1919. Most notices were placed by relatives and friends about their loved ones who were wounded, killed or decorated in WW1. Most records include names of and relationship to other family members, so this set is an extremely useful resource for family historians.
We've also released the Victoria Cross Recipients 1854-2006. This wonderful set contains 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 I
Unsung underdogs to military heroes
The Hall aims to celebrate the actions of all types of heroes, including men, women, children and animals. Notable stories on the site so far include Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, one of the most decorated secret agents of World War II who saved hundreds of Allied lives.
Born in Roseneath, Wellington, New Zealand, Nancy served as a British agent, and became a crucial figurehead for the French Resistance, While Nancy waited France in anticipation of the Normandy landings, her lines of communication with London were destroyed by a German aerial attack. In order to re-establish contact, crucial before D-Day, she rode a bicycle 250 from Auvergne to Châteauroux through German-held territory to find a wireless operator.
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 today’s launch is Henry William, or "Harry Murray", who is often described as the most highly decorated infantry soldier of the British Empire in World War 1.
Murray was first assigned to a machine gun crew, with which he served during the Gallipoli Campaign. Having been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, he was then transferred to the Western Front, where he earned his Distinguished Service Order during the Battle of the Somme.
Already rising rapidly through the ranks, Murray earned his Victoria Cross during an attack on the Germans at Stormy Trench. He led his company through brutal counter-attacks, often leading the charges personally, and captured the German position.