First published in The Sunday Telegraph on 14 November 2021.
In a quiet corner of Twickenham Cemetery, south-west London, beneath the outstretched branches of a gnarled cherry tree, there is a black marble tombstone. “Cherished memories of a dearly loved husband, father and grandfather,” reads the inscription.
However, it is two letters after the name of the individual that makes this grave so different from the others: “V.C.”, standing for Victoria Cross, Britain and the Commonwealth’s most prestigious decoration for gallantry in the presence of the enemy.
This is the grave of Warrant Officer Norman Jackson VC; as someone with a lifelong interest in bravery, I am the privileged custodian of the Jackson medal group. It is part of my VC collection – more than 200 strong and the largest in the world – that is on public display in the Imperial War Museum, London.