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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 13:35 GMT
Rail posters tell bravery stories
VC holder Duncan Boyes: poster by permission, Kerve Design
Duncan Boyes was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1865
A series of posters depicting holders of the Victoria or George Cross has been published on the walls of the London Underground.

The unique tribute is the idea of the descendant of Duncan George Boyes from Cheltenham who was awarded the Victoria Cross aged 17 in 1865.

His great great nephew Chas Bayfield said: "The stories are so inspirational I thought people should know them.

"Putting the posters on the Victoria Line is really the icing on the cake."

Musket balls

Duncan Boyes was in the Navy on 6 September 1864, engaged in the Shimonoseki Expedition in Japan which opened up the Strait of Shimonoseki to trade ships from the West.

"Back then, people ran into battle holding the British flag and the two sergeants carrying the flag were shot down, but Duncan picked it up," said Mr Bayfield.

Victoria Cross holders who appear in the posters
1865 Duncan Boyes RN Cheltenham
1916 William McFadzean Army Belfast
1941 Kenneth Campbell RAF Scotland
1942 Thomas Gould Dover and Peter Roberts RN Buckinghamshire
1942 Rawdon Middleton RAAF ( Australia)
1944 Norman Jackson RAF Ealing
1982 Ian McKay Army (Sheffield) George Cross
1946 Violette Szabo (France)
1976 John Clements (Hertfordshire, Wellyn Garden City)

"He had no gun himself and he charged at them through a hail of musket balls."

Mr. Boyes and the other colour sergeant, Thomas Pride, who was badly wounded, were stopped from going further forward only by direct orders from their superior officer.

Duncan was invested with his Victoria Cross on the 22 September 1865 by Admiral Sir Michael Seymour GCB (C-in-C to Portsmouth) on the Common at Southsea, along with William Seeley and Thomas Pride.

His time as toast of the Royal Navy was short-lived when, on 9 February 1867, he was court-martialled for a boyish prank.

He moved to New Zealand where he killed himself two years later rather than live with the shame.

His VC was sold by his old school, Cheltenham College, for 51,000 to provide scholarships in his name.




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