Monday, January 01, 2007

# Posted 11:58 PM by Patrick Belton  

EVERY TIME I FACT-CHECK SOMETHING I READ IN THE (THIS TIME, LONDON) TIMES, IT'S WRONG: The Times centres its Christmas Appeal this year around the figure of Robert Loyd-Lindsay, Lord Wantage, a founder of the British Red Cross whom it introduces as a two-time recipient of the Victoria Cross (which would make him dead, like, twice). (Thus the newspaper of record's Whittell: 'Robert Loyd-Lindsay witnessed unspeakable suffering in the Crimean War, and won the Victoria Cross twice for his role in it.') I really do apologise for quibbling over a detail, but just as the Times has taken one or two (fairly light) jabs at the accuracy of blogs in the recent past, and I can't sleep, I'll apologetically indulge a bit of pedantry in my pyjamas. So, funny how the dual award comes as news to the National Archives and London Gazette. (Lindsay's single VC was gazetted on 24 February 1857. The three dual recipients of the VC to date, just as historical footnote, are Noel Chavasse and Arthur Martin-Leake, both of The Royal Army Medical Corps, and New Zealander Charles Upham; the joke 'How do you get Queen Victoria to cross the road / One should never make Victoria cross' comes to mind.) Now, this is a chap we're meant to trust on Iraq, where military details come less googleable. Admittedly it's a detail, but just a niggling uneasiness: does anyone actually proofread this stuff?
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Do you ever sleep?
A correct reading would unequocally mean that poor old Lindsay got his Cross for witnessing the unspeakable suffering. In the Crimean war is a prepositional phrase modifying "suffering"; it is not the object of modification.
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