While whiling away a pleasant Saturday afternoon wading through videos on the superlative Lindybeige youtube channel, I came across a video he did about shooting to kill in which he discusses the oft quoted statistic that in WW2 only about 2% of the soldiers engaged in combat were actually actively trying to kill the enemy. Here's the video in case anybody wants to watch it.
Anyway, something he mentioned, which I'd not heard before, is that around 75% of VC winners apparently are oldest siblings in large families and, so the theory goes, when they join the army, their unit in some way replaces their family and that they win their VC's through some outrageous act of gallantry fighting to protect the members of their unit in much the same that somebody would fight to protect their family.
Now I may have mentioned on here before that I actually have an ancestor who won a VC, one private John William Fielding, also known as John Williams. He was in B company, 2nd battalion of the 24th foot and I suspect by now that some of you have figured out that that means he was at the battle of Rorke's Drift. He won his VC for rescuing patients from a burning hospital which was surrounded by Zulus. A brief summary of his exploits can be found here.
Now the bit that I found interesting was that he wasn't actually the oldest sibling in his family, he was in fact the second oldest. He did though have 8 younger brothers and sisters, which I guess still kind of counts.