‘Mummy, what’s this?’

‘It’s a medal, Robby.’


By Susan Brown

‘Mummy, what’s this?’

‘It’s a medal, Robby.’

‘Medal; oh yea, I ‘member, it was what Daddy was given when we went that big house.’

‘That big house was Buckingham Palace.’

‘Palace, I just thought it was just a big house. I didn’t see Cinderella, was she there?’

‘No dear, Cinderella was just a story.’

‘Oh. That old lady was nice when she gave Daddy his medal. Daddy had to bow. I ‘member we all had our picture taken outside. Daddy looked great in his uniform and you wore your special dress.’

‘Yes Robby, it was a very special day. The medal was the Victoria Cross.’

‘Is that the old lady’s name and was she very cross with Daddy?’

‘No, honey, the medal is given to people who are very brave. It’s called after the queen who first gave them out, Queen Victoria and it’s called a cross, because that’s the shape of it.’

‘What, a cross?’

‘That’s right, honey.’

‘I miss Daddy.’

‘So do I honey.’

‘Why was he brave again?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘He got his ‘toria cross for being brave but he went away again after that and he didn’t come back.’

‘I know Robby, but brave people are like that. He thought that he could still help so he went away again and he didn’t come back.’

‘What does brave really mean Mummy.’

‘Well, in Daddy’s case, he got his medal for saving the life of two of his comrades...’

‘What’s comrades?’

‘Other soldiers who went out to help another country that was in trouble.’

‘Were they his friends, the soldiers he saved?’

‘Yes, they were in his patrol.’

‘So he saved them and then he came back and got a medal from the old lady and then he went out again but he didn’t come back?’

‘Yes Robby.’

‘He’s never coming back?’

‘No darling, he’s in heaven now.’

‘Is it nice up there?’

‘I think so, yes.’

‘And he was very brave.’

‘He was very brave indeed, like many men and women who go out to lots of different places and try to help keep the peace.’

‘So being brave is doing things even though you are scared and going to places where you might be hurt or killed?’

‘Yes, but there is other sorts of bravery like the police, fire brigade and lifeboat people who do things that are very brave. Then there are ordinary men and women who help others in trouble and it isn’t their job, they are just helping because they think that it’s the right thing to do.’

‘Do they get ‘toria crosses?’

‘No Robby, they just do it because it’s the right thing to do. Then there are other people who feel very strongly about what they believe in and try to change the laws so things are fairer. Many years ago, women had no rights and were treated badly. Some people were very brave to stand up and fight for their rights and what they believed in. Eventually, they won through and women are now more equal to men, not everywhere, but it’s getting closer and closer to equality.’

‘I would like to be a bit brave.’

‘Most people would like to be brave, but it’s not something that everyone can be; that’s why it’s so special.’


‘Yes honey?’

‘I want to try to be brave and tell you something. You might not like me or love me any more if I tell you, but Daddy and all the other people are brave and I want to be too.’

‘What is it Robby, I can’t believe that it can be that bad and I certainly won’t be angry and I will love you no matter what you say. Have you been naughty?’

‘I...I don’t know if it’s naughty.’

‘But you think that I might be cross?’

‘Like Daddy’s cross... Oh you meant the other sort of cross. You might shout at me and laugh at me...’

‘I promise I won’t shout at you, laugh or be cross. It’s just us now and we must stick together. Whatever you say, it will not matter, as I love you and I always will, no matter what. Now Robby, stop crying please as I hate to see you so upset. Tell me what’s troubling you and what makes you think that you need to be brave?’

‘Mummy, I’m a girl, not a boy.’


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