Victoria Cross
Overview
 
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration
Military decoration
A military decoration is a decoration given to military personnel or units for heroism in battle or distinguished service. They are designed to be worn on military uniform....

 awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries, and previous British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 territories.

It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 in any service and to civilians under military command. In the United Kingdom, it is usually presented to the recipient or to their next of kin by the British monarch
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 at an investiture held at Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

.
Encyclopedia
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration
Military decoration
A military decoration is a decoration given to military personnel or units for heroism in battle or distinguished service. They are designed to be worn on military uniform....

 awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries, and previous British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 territories.

It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 in any service and to civilians under military command. In the United Kingdom, it is usually presented to the recipient or to their next of kin by the British monarch
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 at an investiture held at Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

. In other countries where the Monarch of the Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

s is the head of state, the Governor-General
Governor-General
A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...

 usually fulfils the same function. It is the joint highest award for bravery in the United Kingdom with the George Cross
George Cross
The George Cross is the highest civil decoration of the United Kingdom, and also holds, or has held, that status in many of the other countries of the Commonwealth of Nations...

, which is the equivalent honour for valour not in the face of the enemy. However, the VC is higher in the order of wear and would be worn first by an individual who had been awarded both decorations (which has not so far occurred).

The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

. Since then, the medal has been awarded 1,356 times to 1,353 individual recipients. Only 13 medals, nine to members of the British Army, and four to the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War. The traditional explanation of the source of the gunmetal
Gunmetal
Gunmetal, also known as yellow brass in the United States, is a type of bronze – an alloy of copper, tin, and zinc. Originally used chiefly for making guns, gunmetal was eventually superseded by steel...

 from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 captured at the siege of Sevastopol. Recent research has thrown doubt on this story, suggesting a variety of origins for the material actually making up the medals themselves.

Due to its rarity, the VC is highly prized and the medal has fetched over £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

400,000 at auction. A number of public and private collections are devoted to the Victoria Cross. The private collection of Lord Ashcroft, amassed since 1986, contains over one-tenth of all VCs awarded. Following a 2008 donation to the Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. The museum was founded during the First World War in 1917 and intended as a record of the war effort and sacrifice of Britain and her Empire...

, the Ashcroft collection went on public display alongside the museum's Victoria and George Cross collection in November 2010.

Since 1990, three Commonwealth countries that retain the Queen as head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 have instituted their own versions of the VC. As a result, the original Victoria Cross is sometimes referred to as the "Commonwealth Victoria Cross" or the "Imperial Victoria Cross", to distinguish it from the newer awards.

Origin

In 1854, after 40 years of peace, Britain found itself fighting a major war against Russia. The Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 was one of the first wars with modern reporting, and the dispatches of William Howard Russell
William Howard Russell
William Howard Russell was an Irish reporter with The Times, and is considered to have been one of the first modern war correspondents, after he spent 22 months covering the Crimean War including the Charge of the Light Brigade.-Career:As a young reporter, Russell reported on a brief military...

 described many acts of bravery and valour by British servicemen that went unrewarded.

Before the Crimean War, there was no official standardised system for recognition of gallantry within the British armed forces. Officers were eligible for an award of one of the junior grades of the Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

 and brevet promotions
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 whilst a Mention in Despatches existed as an alternative award for acts of lesser gallantry. This structure was very limited; in practice awards of the Order of the Bath were confined to officers of field rank
Field officer
A field officer is an army, marine, or air force commissioned officer senior in rank to a company officer but junior to a general officer; in some navies, it is an officer who is a Lieutenant Commander, Commander, or Captain....

. Brevet promotions or Mentions in Despatches were largely confined to those who were under the immediate notice of the commanders in the field, generally members of the commander's own staff.

Other European countries had awards that did not discriminate against class or rank; France awarded the Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

 (Legion of Honour) and The Netherlands gave the Order of William
Order of William
The Military William Order, or often named Military Order of William , is the oldest and highest honour of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Order's motto is Voor Moed, Beleid en Trouw...

. There was a growing feeling amongst the public and in the Royal Court that a new award was needed to recognise incidents of gallantry that were unconnected with a man's lengthy or meritorious service. Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 issued a Warrant
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

 under the Royal sign-manual
Royal sign-manual
The royal sign manual is the formal name given in the Commonwealth realms to the autograph signature of the sovereign, by the affixing of which the monarch expresses his or her pleasure either by order, commission, or warrant. A sign-manual warrant may be either an executive actfor example, an...

 on 29 January 1856 (gazetted
London Gazette
The London Gazette is one of the official journals of record of the British government, and the most important among such official journals in the United Kingdom, in which certain statutory notices are required to be published...

 5 February 1856) that officially constituted the VC. The order was backdated to 1854 to recognise acts of valour during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

.

Queen Victoria had instructed the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 to strike a new medal that would not recognise birth or class. The medal was meant to be a simple decoration that would be highly prized and eagerly sought after by those in the military services. To maintain its simplicity, Queen Victoria, under the guidance of Prince Albert, vetoed the suggestion that the award be called The Military Order of Victoria and instead suggested the name Victoria Cross. The original warrant stated that the Victoria Cross would only be awarded to soldiers who have served in the presence of the enemy and had performed some signal act of valour or devotion. The first ceremony was held on 26 June 1857 where Queen Victoria invested 62 of the 111 Crimean recipients in a ceremony in Hyde Park. Charles Davis Lucas
Charles Davis Lucas
Charles Davis Lucas VC was an Irish born officer of the Royal Navy and the first recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces...

 was the first recipient.

It was originally intended that the VCs would be cast from the bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 cascabels
Cascabel (artillery)
A cascabel is a subassembly of a muzzle loading cannon - a place to attach arresting ropes to deal with the recoil of firing the cannon.Generally comprising the knob and the neck , with particular models also featuring a filet . By some definitions, the cascabel additionally includes the base of...

 of two cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 that were captured from the Russians at the siege of Sevastopol
Siege of Sevastopol (1854-1855)
The Siege of Sevastopol was a major siege during the Crimean War, lasting from September 1854 until September 1855...

. The historian John Glanfield has since proven through the use of x-rays of older Victoria Crosses that the metal used for VCs is in fact from antique Chinese guns and not of Russian origin. One theory is that the guns were originally Chinese weapons but the Russians captured them and reused them at Sevastopol. It was also thought that some medals made during the First World War were composed of metal captured from different Chinese guns during the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 but the original metal was used after the war. It is also believed that another source of metal was used between 1942 and 1945 to create five Second World War VCs when the Sevastopol metal went missing.

The barrels of the cannon in question are on display at Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum
Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum
Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum is a military museum in Woolwich in south-east London, England, which tells the story of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and of the Royal Arsenal.-History:...

 at Woolwich
Woolwich
Woolwich is a district in south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.Woolwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created...

. The remaining portion of the only remaining cascabel, weighing 358 oz (10 kg), is stored in a vault maintained by 15 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps
Royal Logistic Corps
The Royal Logistic Corps provides logistic support functions to the British Army. It is the largest Corps in the Army, comprising around 17% of its strength...

 at Donnington, Telford
Donnington, Telford
Donnington was not part of the new town of Telford but part of the already oudated Wellington Rural District which had built many council houses from the 1920s onwards. It is located in the borough of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshire, England...

. It can only be removed under armed guard. It is estimated that approximately 80 to 85 more VCs could be cast from this source. A single company of jewellers, Hancocks
Hancocks
Hancocks & Co is a retail jeweller in London, founded on 1 January 1849 by Charles F. Hancock, formerly a partner of Storr and Mortimer. The first shop was opened on the corner of Bruton Street and New Bond Street, in London. It has moved several times since then...

 of London, has been responsible for the production of every VC awarded since its inception.

Appearance

The decoration is a bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 cross pattée
Cross pattée
A cross pattée is a type of cross which has arms narrow at the centre, and broader at the perimeter. An early English example from the start of the age of heraldry proper A cross pattée (or "cross patty", known also as "cross formée/formy") is a type of cross which has arms narrow at the...

, 41 mm high, 36 mm wide, bearing the crown of Saint Edward surmounted by a lion, and the inscription FOR VALOUR. This was originally to have been FOR THE BRAVE, until it was changed on the recommendation of Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

, as it implied that not all men in battle were brave. The decoration, suspension bar and link weigh about 0.87 troy ounce
Troy ounce
The troy ounce is a unit of imperial measure. In the present day it is most commonly used to gauge the weight of precious metals. One troy ounce is nowadays defined as exactly 0.0311034768 kg = 31.1034768 g. There are approximately 32.1507466 troy oz in 1 kg...

s (27 g).

The cross is suspended by a ring from a serif
Serif
In typography, serifs are semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface . A typeface without serifs is called sans serif or sans-serif, from the French sans, meaning “without”...

fed "V" to a bar ornamented with laurel leaves, through which the ribbon passes. The reverse of the suspension bar is engraved with the recipient's name, rank, number and unit. On the reverse of the medal is a circular panel on which the date of the act for which it was awarded is engraved in the centre.

The Original Warrant Clause 1 states that the Victoria Cross "shall consist of a Maltese cross
Maltese cross
The Maltese cross, also known as the Amalfi cross, is identified as the symbol of an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights Hospitaller or Knights of Malta and through them came to be identified with the Mediterranean island of Malta and is one of the National symbols of Malta...

 of bronze". Nonetheless, it has always been a cross pattée; the discrepancy with the Warrant has never been corrected.

The ribbon is crimson, 38 mm (1.5 inches) wide. The original (1856) specification for the award stated that the ribbon should be red for army recipients and blue for naval recipients. However the dark blue ribbon was abolished soon after the formation of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 on 1 April 1918. On 22 May 1920 King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 signed a warrant that stated all recipients would now receive a red ribbon and the living recipients of the naval version were required to exchange their ribbons for the new colour. Although the Army warrants state the colour as being red it is defined by most commentators as being crimson or "wine-red".

Award process

The Victoria Cross is awarded for A recommendation for the VC is normally issued by an officer at regimental level
Structure of the British Army
The structure of the British Army is broadly similar to that of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, being divided into two Commands: HQ Land Forces and the Adjutant-General. As top-level budget holders, these two organisations are responsible for providing forces at operational readiness for...

, or equivalent, and has to be supported by three witnesses, although this has been waived on occasion. The recommendation is then passed up the military hierarchy
Command hierarchy
A command hierarchy is a group of people committed to carrying out orders "from the top", that is, of authority. It is part of a power structure: usually seen as the most vulnerable and also the most powerful part of it.-Sociology:...

 until it reaches the Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
The Secretary of State for Defence, popularly known as the Defence Secretary, is the senior Government of the United Kingdom minister in charge of the Ministry of Defence, chairing the Defence Council. It is a Cabinet position...

. The recommendation is then laid before the monarch who approves the award with his or her signature. Victoria Cross awards are always promulgated in the London Gazette
London Gazette
The London Gazette is one of the official journals of record of the British government, and the most important among such official journals in the United Kingdom, in which certain statutory notices are required to be published...

 with the single exception of the award to the American Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknowns
The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in the United States...

 in 1921. The Victoria Cross warrant makes no specific provision as to who should actually present the medals to the recipients. Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 indicated that she would like to present the medals in person and she presented 185 medals out of the 472 gazetted during her reign. Including the first 62 medals presented at a parade in Hyde Park on 26 June 1857 by Queen Victoria, nearly 900 awards have been personally presented to the recipient by the reigning British monarch. Nearly 300 awards have been presented by a member of the royal family or by a civil or military dignitary. About 150 awards were either forwarded to the recipient or next of kin by registered post or no details of the presentations are known.

The original Royal Warrant
Royal sign-manual
The royal sign manual is the formal name given in the Commonwealth realms to the autograph signature of the sovereign, by the affixing of which the monarch expresses his or her pleasure either by order, commission, or warrant. A sign-manual warrant may be either an executive actfor example, an...

 did not contain a specific clause regarding posthumous awards, although official policy was not to award the VC posthumously. Between the Indian Mutiny in 1857 and the beginning of the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 the names of six officers and men were published in the London Gazette with a memorandum stating they would have been awarded the Victoria Cross had they survived. A further three notices were published in the London Gazette in September 1900 and April 1901 for gallantry in the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

. In a partial reversal of policy, six posthumous Victoria Crosses, all for South Africa including the three officers and men mentioned in the notices in 1900 and 1901 were granted on 8 August 1902. Five years later in 1907, the posthumous policy was completely reversed and medals were sent to the next of kin of the six officers and men. The awards were mentioned in notices in the Gazette dating back to the Indian Mutiny. The Victoria Cross warrant was not amended to explicitly allow posthumous awards until 1920, but one quarter of all awards for World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 were posthumous. Although the 1920 Royal Warrant made provision for awards to women serving in the Armed Forces, no women have been awarded a VC.

In the case of a gallant and daring act being performed by a squadron, ship's company or a detached body of men (such as marines) in which all men are deemed equally brave and deserving of the Victoria Cross then a ballot is drawn. The officers select one officer, the NCOs select one individual and the private soldiers or seamen select two individuals. In all 46 awards have been awarded by ballot with 29 of the awards during the Indian Mutiny. Four further awards were granted to Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery
Royal Horse Artillery
The regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery , dating from 1793, are part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery of the British Army...

 at Korn Spruit on 31 March 1900 during the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

. The final ballot awards for the Army were the six awards to the Lancashire Fusiliers
Lancashire Fusiliers
The Lancashire Fusiliers was a British infantry regiment that was amalgamated with other Fusilier regiments in 1968 to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.- Formation and early history:...

 at W Beach during the landing at Gallipoli
Gallipoli
The Gallipoli peninsula is located in Turkish Thrace , the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek "Καλλίπολις" , meaning "Beautiful City"...

 on 25 April 1915 although three of the awards were not gazetted until 1917. The final seven ballot awards were the only naval ballot awards with three awards to two Q-Ship
Q-ship
Q-ships, also known as Q-boats, Decoy Vessels, Special Service Ships, or Mystery Ships, were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. This gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them...

s in 1917 and four awards for the Zeebrugge Raid
Zeebrugge Raid
The Zeebrugge Raid, which took place on 23 April 1918, was an attempt by the British Royal Navy to neutralize the key Belgian port of Bruges-Zeebrugge...

 in 1918. The provision for awards by ballot is still included in the Victoria Cross warrant but there have been no further such awards since 1918.

Between 1858 and 1881 the Victoria Cross could be awarded for actions taken "under circumstances of extreme danger" not in the face of the enemy. Six such awards were made during this period—five of them for a single incident during an Expedition to the Andaman Islands
Andaman Islands Expedition
The Andaman Islands Expedition was a British expedition to the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, India. For actions during the expedition, five soldiers of the 24th Regiment of Foot were awarded Victoria Crosses...

 in 1867. In 1881, the criteria were changed again and the VC was only awarded for acts of valour "in the face of the enemy". Due to this it has been suggested by many historians including Lord Ashcroft that the changing nature of warfare will result in fewer VCs being awarded. The prevalence of remote fighting techniques has meant that opportunities to carry out acts of bravery in the face of the enemy are diminishing. Since 1940, military personnel who have distinguished themselves for gallantry not in the face of the enemy have been awarded the George Cross
George Cross
The George Cross is the highest civil decoration of the United Kingdom, and also holds, or has held, that status in many of the other countries of the Commonwealth of Nations...

, which ranks immediately after the VC in the Order of Wear.

Colonial awards

The Victoria Cross was extended to colonial troops in 1867. The extension was made following a recommendation for gallantry regarding colonial soldier Major Charles Heaphy
Charles Heaphy
Major Charles Heaphy VC was a New Zealand explorer and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces....

 for action in the New Zealand land wars
New Zealand land wars
The New Zealand Wars, sometimes called the Land Wars and also once called the Māori Wars, were a series of armed conflicts that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872...

 in 1864. He was operating under British command and the VC was gazetted in 1867. Later that year, the Government of New Zealand assumed full responsibility for operations but no further recommendations for the Victoria Cross were raised for local troops who distinguished themselves in action. Following gallant actions by three New Zealand soldiers in November 1868 and January 1869 during the New Zealand land wars
New Zealand Land Wars Victoria Cross recipients
The Victoria Cross was awarded to 15 recipients for action during the New Zealand Land Wars. The VC is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories...

, an Order in Council on 10 March 1869 created a “Distinctive Decoration” for members of the local forces without seeking permission from the Secretary of State for the Colonies
Secretary of State for the Colonies
The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

. Although the Governor was chided for exceeding his authority, the Order in Council was ratified by the Queen. The title “Distinctive Decoration” was later replaced by the title New Zealand Cross.

The question of whether recommendations could be made for colonial troops not serving with British troops was not asked in New Zealand, but in 1881, the question was asked in South Africa. Surgeon John McCrea
John Frederick McCrea
John Frederick McCrea VC was a South African recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Early life:...

, an officer of the South African forces was recommended for gallantry during hostilities which had not been approved by British Government. He was awarded the Victoria Cross and the principle was established that gallant conduct could be rewarded independently of any political consideration of military operations. More recently, four Australian soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 although Britain was not involved in the conflict.

Indian troops were not originally eligible for the Victoria Cross since they had been eligible for the Indian Order of Merit since 1837 which was the oldest British gallantry award for general issue. When the Victoria Cross was created, Indian troops were still controlled by the Honourable East India Company and did not come under Crown control until 1860. European officers and men serving with the Honourable East India Company were not eligible for the Indian Order of Merit and the Victoria Cross was extended to cover them in October 1857. It was only at the end of the 19th Century that calls for Indian troops to be awarded the Victoria Cross intensified. Indian troops became eligible for the award in 1911. The first awards to Indian troops appeared in the London Gazette on 7 December 1914 to Darwan Sing Negi
Darwan Sing Negi
Darwan Singh Negi VC was among the earliest Indian recipients of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces....

 and Khudadad Khan
Khudadad Khan
Khudadad Khan, VC , was the first South Asian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy given to British and Commonwealth forces...

. Negi was presented with the Victoria Cross by King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 during a visit to troops in France. The presentation occurred on 5 December 1914 and he is one of a very few soldiers presented with his award before it appeared in the London Gazette.

Separate Commonwealth awards

In recent years, several Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries have introduced their own honours systems, separate from the British Honours System
British honours system
The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories...

. This began with the Partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947, when the new countries of India and Pakistan introduced their own systems of awards. The VC was replaced by the Param Vir Chakra
Param Vir Chakra
The Param Vir Chakra is India's highest military decoration awarded for the highest degree of valour or self-sacrifice in the presence of the enemy. It can be, and often has been, awarded posthumously....

 (PVC) and Nishan-e-Haider
Nishan-e-Haider
Nishan-e-Haider or Nishan-e-Hyder is the highest military decoration given by Pakistan . It was established in 1957 after Pakistan became a Republic, however, it was instituted retrospectively from Independence in 1947...

 (NH) respectively, although the new countries continued to permit winners of British honours to wear their awards. Several Pakistani soldiers and officers were authorised to wear both the British medals and the ones earned in the later Indo-Pakistani wars
Indo-Pakistani Wars
Since the partition of British India in 1947 and creation of India and Pakistan, the two South Asian countries have been involved in four wars, including one undeclared war, as well as many border skirmishes and military stand-offs...

. Three Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

s—Australia, Canada and New Zealand—have each introduced their own decorations for gallantry and bravery, replacing British decorations such as the Military Cross
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 with their own. Most Commonwealth countries, however, still recognise some form of the VC as their highest decoration for valour.

Australia was the first Commonwealth realm to create its own VC, on 15 January 1991. Although it is a separate award, its appearance is identical to its British counterpart. Canada followed suit when in 1993 Queen Elizabeth signed Letters Patent creating the Canadian VC, which is also similar to the British version, except that the legend has been changed from FOR VALOUR to the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 PRO VALORE This language was chosen so as to favour neither French nor English, the two official languages of Canada. New Zealand was the third country to adapt the VC into its own honours system. While the New Zealand and Australian VCs are technically separate awards, the decoration is identical to the British design, including being cast from the same Crimean War gunmetal as the British VC. The Canadian Victoria Cross also includes metal from the same cannon, along with copper and other metals from all regions of Canada.

Three of the separate VCs have so far been awarded. Willie Apiata received the Victoria Cross for New Zealand
Victoria Cross for New Zealand
The Victoria Cross for New Zealand is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the New Zealand Armed Forces. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and civilians under military command, and is presented to the recipient by the...

 on 2 July 2007, for his actions in the War in Afghanistan in 2004. The Victoria Cross for Australia
Victoria Cross for Australia
The Victoria Cross for Australia is the highest award in the Australian Honours System, superseding the Victoria Cross for issue to Australians...

 has been awarded twice. Mark Donaldson
Mark Donaldson
Mark Gregor Strang Donaldson VC is the first recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia, awarded for gallantry, the highest award in the Australian honours system. He is the first Australian recipient of a Victoria Cross since Keith Payne in 1969...

 was awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia on 16 January 2009 for actions during Operation Slipper
Operation Slipper
Operation Slipper is the Australian Defence Force contribution to the war in Afghanistan. The operation commenced in late 2001 and is ongoing...

, the Australian contribution to the War in Afghanistan. Ben Roberts-Smith
Ben Roberts-Smith
Benjamin "Ben" Roberts-Smith VC, MG is an Australian soldier and a recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia, the highest award in the Australian honours system....

 was awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia on 23 January 2011 for actions in the Shah Wali Kot Offensive
Shah Wali Kot Offensive
The Shah Wali Kot Offensive was a five-day joint operation during the War in Afghanistan, conducted by Australian special forces and the Afghan National Army with US air support, between 10–14 June 2010...

, part of the War in Afghanistan. A Canadian version has been cast that was originally to be awarded to the Unknown Soldier
Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located at the National War Memorial in Confederation Square, Ottawa. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added to the war memorial in 2000, and holds the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in France during World War I...

 at the rededication of the Vimy Memorial
Canadian National Vimy Memorial
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is a memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War. It also serves as the place of commemoration for First World War Canadian soldiers killed or presumed dead in France who have no known...

 on 7 April 2007. This date was chosen as it was the 90th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge
Battle of Vimy Ridge
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps, of four divisions, against three divisions of the German Sixth Army...

 but pressure from veterans' organisations caused the plan to be dropped.

Authority and privileges

As the highest award for valour of the United Kingdom, the Victoria Cross is always the first award to be presented at an investiture, even before knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

hoods, as was shown at the investiture of Private Johnson Beharry
Johnson Beharry
Lance Corporal Johnson Gideon Beharry VC of the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, is a British Army soldier who, on 18 March 2005, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration for valour in the British and Commonwealth armed forces, for twice saving members of...

 who received his medal before General Sir Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson
General Sir Michael David "Mike" Jackson, is a retired British Army officer and one of its most high-profile generals since the Second World War. Originally commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1963, he transferred to the Parachute Regiment, with whom he served two of his three tours of...

 received his knighthood. Due to its status, the VC is always the first decoration worn in a row of medals and it is the first set of post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of...

 used to indicate any decoration or order. Similar acts of extreme valour that do not take place in the face of the enemy are honoured with the George Cross, which has equal precedence but is awarded second because the GC is newer.

There is a widespread though erroneous belief that it is statutory for "all ranks to salute a bearer of the Victoria Cross". There is no official requirement that appears in the official Warrant of the VC, nor in Queen's Regulations and Orders
Queen's Regulations
Queen's Regulations are a collection of orders and regulations in force in the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force, forming guidance for officers of these armed services in all matters of discipline and personal conduct...

, but tradition dictates that this occurs and as such the Chiefs of Staff will salute a Private
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

 awarded a VC or GC.

The Victoria Cross was at first worn as the recipient fancied. It was popular to pin it on the left side of the chest over the heart, with other decorations grouped around the VC. The Queen's Regulations for the Army of 1881 gave clear instructions on how to wear it; the VC had to follow the badge of the Order of the Indian Empire
Order of the Indian Empire
The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1878. The Order includes members of three classes:#Knight Grand Commander #Knight Commander #Companion...

. In 1900 it was ordained in Dress Regulations for the Army that it should be worn after the cross of a Member of the Royal Victorian Order
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

. It was only in 1902 that King Edward VII gave the cross its present position on a bar brooch. The cross is also worn as a miniature decoration on a brooch or a chain with mess jacket, white tie
White tie
White tie is the most formal evening dress code in Western fashion. It is worn to ceremonial occasions such as state dinners in some countries, as well as to very formal balls and evening weddings...

 or black tie
Black tie
Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions. For a man, the main component is a usually black jacket, known as a dinner jacket or tuxedo...

. As a bearer of the VC is not a Companion in an Order of Chivalry
Chivalric order
Chivalric orders are societies and fellowships of knights that have been created by European monarchs in imitation of the military orders of the Crusades...

, the VC has no place in a coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

.

Annuity

The original warrant stated that NCOs and private soldiers or seamen on the Victoria Cross Register were entitled to a £10 per annum annuity. In 1898, Queen Victoria raised the pension to £50 for those that could not earn a livelihood, be it from old age or infirmity. Today holders of the Victoria Cross or George Cross are entitled to an annuity, the amount of which is determined by the awarding government. Since 2002, the annuity paid by the British government is £1,495 per year. This is exempted from tax for UK taxpayers by Section 638 Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, along with pensions or annuities from other awards for bravery. As of January 2005, under the Canadian Gallantry Awards Order, members of the Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 or people who joined the British forces before 31 March 1949 while domiciled in Canada or Newfoundland receive Can$
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

3,000 per year. Under Subsection 103.4 of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, the Australian Government provides a Victoria Cross Allowance. Until November 2005 the amount was A$
Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu...

3,230 per year. Since then this amount has been increased annually in line with the Australian Consumer Price Index.

Forfeited awards

See also :Category:Victoria Cross forfeitures


The original Royal Warrant involved an expulsion clause that allowed for a recipient's name to be erased from the official register in certain wholly discreditable circumstances and his pension cancelled. King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 though felt very strongly that the decoration should never be forfeited and in a letter from his Private Secretary, Lord Stamfordham
Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham
Arthur John Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham, GCB, GCVO, GCIE, KCSI, KCMG , ISO, PC , was a British soldier and courtier. He was Private Secretary to Queen Victoria during the last few years of her reign, and to King George V during most of his reign...

, on 26 July 1920, his views are forcibly expressed:

The power to cancel and restore awards is still included in the Victoria Cross warrant but none has been forfeited since 1908.

Recipients

A total of 1,356 Victoria Crosses have been awarded since 1856 to 1,353 men. There are several statistics related to the greatest number of VCs awarded in individual battles or wars. The greatest number of Victoria Crosses won on a single day is 18, for deeds performed on 16 November 1857, during Second Relief of Lucknow
Siege of Lucknow
The Siege of Lucknow was the prolonged defense of the Residency within the city of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. After two successive relief attempts had reached the city, the defenders and civilians were evacuated from the Residency, which was abandoned.Lucknow was the capital of...

 (primarily the assault on and capture of Sikandar Bagh
Sikandar Bagh
Sikandar Bagh , formerly known by the British as Sikunder/Sikandra/Secundra Bagh, is a villa and garden enclosed by a fortified wall, with loopholes, gateway and corner bastions, approx. 150 yards square, c. 4.5 acres, located in the city of Lucknow, Oudh, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was built by the...

), during the Indian Mutiny. The greatest number won in a single action is 28, for the whole of the Second Relief of Lucknow, 14–22 November 1857. The greatest number won by a single unit during a single action is 7, to the 2nd/24th Foot, for the defence of Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift
The Battle of Rorke's Drift, also known as the Defence of Rorke's Drift, was a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War. The defence of the mission station of Rorke's Drift, under the command of Lieutenant John Chard of the Royal Engineers, immediately followed the British Army's defeat at the Battle of...

, 22–23 January 1879, during the Zulu War. The greatest number won in a single conflict is 628, being for the First World War. There are only five living holders of the VC—three British, one Australian, one Gurkha
Gurkha
Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

—one award for the Second World War and four awards since; in addition one New Zealander holds the Victoria Cross for New Zealand and two Australians hold the Victoria Cross for Australia. Eight of the then-twelve surviving holders of the Victoria Cross attended the 150th Anniversary service of remembrance at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 on 26 June 2006.

In 1921 the Victoria Cross was given to the American Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknowns
The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in the United States...

 of the First World War (the British Unknown Warrior
The Unknown Warrior
The British tomb of The Unknown Warrior holds an unidentified British soldier killed on a European battlefield during the First World War. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, London on 11 November 1920, simultaneously with a similar interrment of a French unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in...

 was reciprocally awarded the US Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

). One VC is in existence that is not counted in any official records. In 1856, Queen Victoria laid the first Victoria Cross beneath the foundation stone of Netley Military hospital
Netley Hospital
The Royal Victoria Hospital, or Netley Hospital was a large military hospital in Netley, near Southampton, Hampshire, England. Construction started in 1856 at the suggestion of Queen Victoria but its design caused some controversy, chiefly from Florence Nightingale. Often visited by Queen Victoria,...

. When the hospital was demolished in 1966 the VC, known as "The Netley VC", was retrieved and is now on display in the Army Medical Services Museum
Army Medical Services Museum
The Army Medical Services Museum is located in the Defence Medical Services Training Centre, Keogh Barracks, on Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, Surrey, England. It moved into its present building in 1982...

, Mytchett, near Aldershot.

Three people have been awarded the VC and Bar
Medal bar
A medal bar or medal clasp is a thin metal bar attached to the ribbon of a military decoration, civil decoration, or other medal. It is most commonly used to indicate the campaign or operation the recipient received the award for, and multiple bars on the same medal are used to indicate that the...

, the bar representing a second award of the VC. They are: Noel Chavasse
Noel Godfrey Chavasse
Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC & Bar, MC was a British medical doctor and British Army officer who is one of only three people to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice....

 and Arthur Martin-Leake
Arthur Martin-Leake
Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Martin-Leake, VC and Bar was an English double recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces...

, both doctors in the Royal Army Medical Corps
Royal Army Medical Corps
The Royal Army Medical Corps is a specialist corps in the British Army which provides medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace...

, for rescuing wounded under fire; and New Zealander Charles Upham
Charles Upham
Captain Charles Hazlitt Upham VC and Bar was a New Zealand soldier who earned the Victoria Cross twice during the Second World War: in Crete in May 1941, and at Ruweisat Ridge, Egypt, in July 1942...

, an infantryman, for combat actions. Upham remains the only combatant soldier to have received a VC and Bar. An Irishman, Surgeon General William Manley
William George Nicholas Manley
William George Nicholas Manley VC, CB was born in Dublin and was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Details:Manley was 32 years old, and an assistant surgeon...

, remains the sole recipient of both the Victoria Cross and the Iron Cross
Iron Cross
The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

. The VC was awarded for his actions during the Waikato-Hauhau Maori War, New Zealand on 29 April 1864 while the Iron Cross was awarded for tending the wounded during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 of 1870–71. New Zealand Flying Officer Lloyd Trigg
Lloyd Allan Trigg
Flying Officer Lloyd Allan Trigg VC DFC , of Houhora, New Zealand, was a pilot in the RNZAF. He was a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy for British and Commonwealth armed forces...

 has the distinction of being the only serviceman ever awarded a VC on evidence solely provided by the enemy, for an action in which there were no surviving Allied witnesses. The recommendation was made by the captain of the German U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 U-468
Unterseeboot 468
German submarine U-468 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 1 July 1941 at the Deutsche Werke yard at Kiel, launched on 16 May 1942, and commissioned on 12 August 1942 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Klemens Schamong...

 sunk by Trigg's aircraft. Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

 Gerard Roope
Gerard Broadmead Roope
Lieutenant-Commander Gerard Broadmead Roope VC RN was a posthumous British recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces...

 was also awarded a VC on recommendation of the enemy, the captain of the Admiral Hipper
German cruiser Admiral Hipper
Admiral Hipper, the first of five ships of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper–class of heavy cruisers which served with the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper...

, but there were also numerous surviving Allied witnesses to corroborate his actions.

Since the end of the Second World War the original VC has been awarded 13 times: four in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, one in the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation
Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation during 1962–1966 was Indonesia’s political and armed opposition to the creation of Malaysia. It is also known by its Indonesian/Malay name Konfrontasi...

 in 1965, four to Australians in the Vietnam War
Military history of Australia during the Vietnam War
Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War began as a small commitment of 30 men in 1962, and increased over the following decade to a peak of 7,672 Australians deployed in South Vietnam or in support of Australian forces there. The Vietnam War was the longest and most controversial war Australia...

, two during the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 in 1982, one in the Iraq War in 2004, and one in the War in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 in 2006. The two awards given in the 21st century to British personnel have been for actions in the Afghanistan War
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 and the Iraq War
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. On 18 March 2005, Lance Corporal
Lance Corporal
Lance corporal is a military rank, used by many armed forces worldwide, and also by some police forces and other uniformed organizations. It is below the rank of corporal, and is typically the lowest non-commissioned officer, usually equivalent to the NATO Rank Grade OR-3.- Etymology :The presumed...

 (then Private
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

) Johnson Beharry
Johnson Beharry
Lance Corporal Johnson Gideon Beharry VC of the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, is a British Army soldier who, on 18 March 2005, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration for valour in the British and Commonwealth armed forces, for twice saving members of...

 of the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
"PWRR" redirects here. For the railroad with these reporting marks, see Portland and Western Railroad.The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment is the senior English line infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Queen's Division...

 became the first recipient of the VC since Sergeant Ian McKay
Ian John McKay
Ian John McKay VC was a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces....

 in 1982. The most recent award of the Victoria Cross to a British service person was the posthumous award on 14 December 2006 to Corporal
Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

 Bryan Budd
Bryan Budd
Bryan James Budd VC was a Northern Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces....

 of 3 Para. It was awarded for two separate acts of "inspirational leadership and the greatest valour" which led to his death, during actions against the Taliban in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 in July and August 2006.

Public sales

Since 1879, more than 300 Victoria Crosses have been publicly auctioned or advertised. Many others have been privately sold. The value of the VC can be seen by the increasing sums that the medals reach at auction. In 1955 the set of medals awarded to Edmund Barron Hartley
Edmund Barron Hartley
Colonel Edmund Barron Hartley VC CMG was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-The deed:...

 was bought at Sotheby's
Sotheby's
Sotheby's is the world's fourth oldest auction house in continuous operation.-History:The oldest auction house in operation is the Stockholms Auktionsverk founded in 1674, the second oldest is Göteborgs Auktionsverk founded in 1681 and third oldest being founded in 1731, all Swedish...

 for the then record price of £300 (approximately £ in present day terms). In October 1966 the Middlesex Regiment
Middlesex Regiment
The Middlesex Regiment was a regiment of the British Army. It was formed in 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms when the 57th and 77th Regiments of Foot were amalgamated with the county's militia and rifle volunteer units.On 31 December 1966 The Middlesex Regiment was amalgamated with three...

 paid a new record figure of £900 (approximately £ in present day terms) for a VC awarded after the Battle of the Somme. In January 1969, the record reached £1700 (£) for the medal set of William Rennie
William Rennie
Lieutenant-Colonel William Rennie VC was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces....

. In April 2004 the VC awarded in 1944 to Sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

 Norman Jackson
Norman Cyril Jackson
Norman Cyril Jackson VC was a sergeant in the Royal Air Force who earned the Victoria Cross during a bombing raid on Schweinfurt, Germany in April 1944. Born in Ealing, Middlesex, Jackson joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1939 and originally served as an engine fitter. He retrained as a flight...

, RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

, was sold at auction for £235,250. On 24 July 2006, an auction at Bonhams
Bonhams
Bonhams is a privately owned British auction house founded in 1793. It is the third largest auctioneer after Sotheby's and Christie's, and conducts around 700 auctions per year. It has 700 employees....

 in Sydney of the VC awarded to Captain Alfred Shout
Alfred John Shout
Alfred John Shout VC, MC was the most highly decorated Australian during the Battle of Gallipoli. In 1915 he was awarded the Military Cross during the landing at Anzac Cove in April and receiving the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions during the Battle of Lone Pine in August...

 fetched a world record hammer price of A$
Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu...

1 million (approximately £410,000 at then current exchange rates). Captain Alfred Shout was awarded the VC posthumously in 1915 for hand-to-hand combat at the Lone Pine trenches in Gallipoli
Gallipoli
The Gallipoli peninsula is located in Turkish Thrace , the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek "Καλλίπολις" , meaning "Beautiful City"...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.

Thefts

Several VCs have been stolen and, being valuable, have been placed on the Interpol
Interpol
Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation...

 watch-list for stolen items. The VC awarded to Milton Gregg
Milton Fowler Gregg
Milton Fowler Gregg, VC, PC, OC, CBE, MC, ED, CD was a Canadian officer, and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest Commonwealth award for gallantry "in the face of the enemy", during the First World War...

, which was donated to the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum
Royal Canadian Regiment Museum
The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum is a military museum located at Wolseley Barracks in London, Ontario, Canada, the historic home of the The Royal Canadian Regiment .-History:...

 in London, Ontario
London, Ontario
London is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, situated along the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. The city has a population of 352,395, and the metropolitan area has a population of 457,720, according to the 2006 Canadian census; the metro population in 2009 was estimated at 489,274. The city...

 Canada in 1979, was stolen on Canada Day
Canada Day
Canada Day , formerly Dominion Day , is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act , which united three British colonies into a single country, called Canada, within the British Empire...

, (1 July 1980), when the museum was overcrowded and has been missing since. A VC awarded in 1917 to Canadian soldier Corporal Filip Konowal
Filip Konowal
Filip Konowal VC was a highly decorated Ukrainian Canadian soldier. He is the only Ukrainian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy given to British and Commonwealth forces...

 was stolen from the same museum in 1973 and was not recovered until 2004.

On 2 December 2007, 9 VCs were among 100 medals stolen from locked, reinforced glass cabinets at the QEII Army Memorial Museum
QEII Army Memorial Museum
The National Army Museum is the museum of the New Zealand Army. It was formerly known as the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum. It is situated 94 minutes south of Taupo on State Highway One, on the southern side of the small military town of Waiouru. The 1300 square metre museum is...

 in Waiouru
Waiouru
Waiouru is a small town in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand. It is on the North Island Volcanic Plateau, 25 kilometres south-east of Mount Ruapehu, and in the Ruapehu District....

, New Zealand with a value of around NZD$20 million. Charles Upham
Charles Upham
Captain Charles Hazlitt Upham VC and Bar was a New Zealand soldier who earned the Victoria Cross twice during the Second World War: in Crete in May 1941, and at Ruweisat Ridge, Egypt, in July 1942...

's VC and Bar was among these. A reward of NZ$300,000 was posted for information leading to the recovery of the decorations and conviction of the thieves, although at the time there was much public debate about the need to offer reward money to retrieve the medals. On 16 February 2008 New Zealand Police announced all the medals had been recovered.

Collections

The VC collection of businessman and politician Lord Ashcroft, amassed since 1986, contains 162 medals, over one-tenth of all VCs awarded. Ashcroft purchased his first medal in 1986 and the collection has become the largest private or public collection of such decorations ever accumulated. It was announced in July 2008 that Ashcroft was to donate £5 million for a permanent gallery at the Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. The museum was founded during the First World War in 1917 and intended as a record of the war effort and sacrifice of Britain and her Empire...

 where the 50 VCs held by the museum will be put on display alongside his own collection of 162 VCs. The Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, containing both the museum's VC collection and Lord Ashcroft's, opened on 12 November 2010 containing a total of 210 VCs and 31 GCs. It is now the largest public collection of VCs in the world. This distinction was previously held by the Australian War Memorial whose collection includes all nine VCs awarded to Australians at Gallipoli.

Museums with holdings of ten or more VCs include:
In the UK
Museum Location Number of VCs
Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. The museum was founded during the First World War in 1917 and intended as a record of the war effort and sacrifice of Britain and her Empire...

Kennington
Kennington
Kennington is a district of South London, England, mainly within the London Borough of Lambeth, although part of the area is within the London Borough of Southwark....

, London
210
The National Army Museum
National Army Museum
The National Army Museum is the British Army's central museum. It is located in the Chelsea district of central London, England adjacent to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the "Chelsea Pensioners". The National Army Museum is open to the public every day of the year from 10.00am to 5.30pm,...

Chelsea, London
Chelsea, London
Chelsea is an area of West London, England, bounded to the south by the River Thames, where its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above...

39
The Royal Green Jackets Museum
Royal Green Jackets Museum
The Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester, England showcases artifacts from British military history, specifically that of the Royal Green Jackets regiment and its preceding regiments....

Winchester
Winchester
Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

, Hampshire
34
The Royal Engineers Museum
Royal Engineers Museum
The Royal Engineers Museum, Library & Archive is a military engineering museum and library in Gillingham, Kent, England. It tells the story of the Corps of Royal Engineers and British military engineering in general.-History:The Library was founded in 1812...

Gillingham, Kent
Gillingham, Kent
Gillingham is a town in the unitary authority of Medway in South East England. It is part of the ceremonial county of Kent. The town includes the settlements of Brompton, Hempstead, Rainham, Rainham Mark and Twydall....

26
The Army Medical Services Museum
Army Medical Services Museum
The Army Medical Services Museum is located in the Defence Medical Services Training Centre, Keogh Barracks, on Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, Surrey, England. It moved into its present building in 1982...

Mytchett, Surrey 22
Firepower, The Royal Regiment of Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

 Museum
Woolwich
Woolwich
Woolwich is a district in south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.Woolwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created...

, London
20
The Queen's Own Highlanders Museum Ardersier
Ardersier
Ardersier is a small former fishing village in the Scottish Highlands, on the Moray Firth, east of Inverness, near Fort George, and Nairn . Its name is an anglicisation of the Gaelic "Àird nan Saor", or "Headland of the joiners", one local legend being that carpenters working on the construction...

, Inverness-shire
16
The South Wales Borderers Museum
South Wales Borderers Museum
The South Wales Borderers Museum is located at Brecon in Wales and is the regimental museum of the 24th Regiment of Foot. The museum's collection is made up of artefacts collected from a variety of sources from around the world and which display the regiment's 300 year history.-The collection:The...

Brecon
Brecon
Brecon is a long-established market town and community in southern Powys, Mid Wales, with a population of 7,901. It was the county town of the historic county of Brecknockshire; although its role as such was eclipsed with the formation of Powys, it remains an important local centre...

, Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

16
The Green Howards Regimental Museum
Green Howards Regimental Museum
The Green Howards Regimental Museum is the museum of the Green Howards infantry regiment of the British Army. It is located in the old Trinity Church in the centre of the market place of Richmond in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire, England...

Richmond
Richmond, North Yorkshire
Richmond is a market town and civil parish on the River Swale in North Yorkshire, England and is the administrative centre of the district of Richmondshire. It is situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and serves as the Park's main tourist centre...

, Yorkshire
15
The Royal Fusiliers Museum Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

12
The Gordon Highlanders Museum Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

12
The National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom and may be the largest museum of its kind in the world. The historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, it also incorporates the Royal Observatory, Greenwich,...

Greenwich
Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

, London
11
The National War Museum of Scotland Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear...

11
The RAF Museum
RAF Museum
The Royal Air Force Museum London, commonly known as the RAF Museum, is a museum located on the former Hendon Aerodrome, dedicated to the history of aviation and the British Royal Air Force. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and a registered charity...

Hendon
Hendon
Hendon is a London suburb situated northwest of Charing Cross.-History:Hendon was historically a civil parish in the county of Middlesex. The manor is described in Domesday , but the name, 'Hendun' meaning 'at the highest hill', is earlier...

, London
11
The Sherwood Foresters Museum Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

11
The Gurkha
Gurkha
Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

 Museum
Winchester
Winchester
Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

, Hampshire
10
The Royal Marines Museum
Royal Marines Museum
The Royal Marines Museum is located in Eastney , England, and is open to the public every day of the week throughout the year apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day...

Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

, Hampshire
10
The Royal Welch Fusiliers
Royal Welch Fusiliers
The Royal Welch Fusiliers was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Prince of Wales' Division. It was founded in 1689 to oppose James II and the imminent war with France...

 Museum
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle is a medieval building in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. There was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure...

, Wales
10
Outside the UK
Australian War Memorial
Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of all its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in the wars of the Commonwealth of Australia...

Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

, Australia
65
Canadian War Museum
Canadian War Museum
The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Located in Ottawa, Ontario, the museum covers all facets of Canada’s military past, from the first recorded instances of death by armed violence in Canadian history several thousand years ago to the country’s most recent...

Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
33
QEII Army Memorial Museum
QEII Army Memorial Museum
The National Army Museum is the museum of the New Zealand Army. It was formerly known as the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum. It is situated 94 minutes south of Taupo on State Highway One, on the southern side of the small military town of Waiouru. The 1300 square metre museum is...

Waiouru
Waiouru
Waiouru is a small town in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand. It is on the North Island Volcanic Plateau, 25 kilometres south-east of Mount Ruapehu, and in the Ruapehu District....

, New Zealand
11

(note 1 = Many VCs are on loan to the museums and are owned by individuals and not owned by the museums themselves.)

Memorials

In 2004 a national Victoria Cross and George Cross memorial was installed in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 close to the tomb of The Unknown Warrior
The Unknown Warrior
The British tomb of The Unknown Warrior holds an unidentified British soldier killed on a European battlefield during the First World War. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, London on 11 November 1920, simultaneously with a similar interrment of a French unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in...

. Westminster Abbey is a living monument to British history in that it contains monuments and memorials to central figures in British History including Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

, Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 and James VI & I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

. As such it was a significant honour for the VC to be commemorated in Westminster Abbey.

Canon William Lummis, MC
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

, was a military historian who built up an archive on the service records and final resting places of Victoria Cross holders. This was then summarised into a pamphlet which was taken to be an authoritative source on these matters. However, Lummis was aware of short-comings in his work and encouraged David Harvey
David Charles Harvey
David Charles Harvey was an historian and author born in East Ham, London. He is notable for his seminal work Monuments To Courage which documents the graves of almost all recipients of the Victoria Cross, a task which took him over 36 years to complete.Harvey was the son of a grocer and worked...

 to continue it. The result was Harvey's seminal book Monuments to Courage
Monuments to Courage
Monuments to Courage: Victoria Cross Monuments and Headstones is a two-volume book by David Harvey on the last resting places of 1,322 of the 1,350 recipients of the Victoria Cross. The 896 page book has over 5,000 illustrations and a large index enabling one to cross reference with ease. There is...

. In 2007 the Royal Mail
Royal Mail
Royal Mail is the government-owned postal service in the United Kingdom. Royal Mail Holdings plc owns Royal Mail Group Limited, which in turn operates the brands Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide...

 used material from Lummis' archives to produce a collection of stamps commemorating Victoria Cross recipients.

In art

The subject of soldiers winning the VC has been popular with artists since the medal's inception. In particular are the fifty paintings by Louis William Desanges
Louis William Desanges
Louis William Desanges , a naturalized French artist known today for his paintings of Victoria Cross winners. Born in Bexley, he was the great grandson of a French nobleman who had settled in England 80 years before, and as a consequence the artist used the title 'Chevalier. He traveled in France...

 that were painted in the late 1850s and early 1860s. Many of these were exhibited at the Egyptian Gallery in Piccadilly, but in 1900, they were brought together by Lord Wantage as the Victoria Cross Gallery and exhibited in the town of Wantage
Wantage
Wantage is a market town and civil parish in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire, England. The town is on Letcombe Brook, about south-west of Abingdon and a similar distance west of Didcot....

, Berkshire
Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

. Later the collection was broken up and many of the paintings were sent to the various regiments depicted. Some were damaged or destroyed. A number of the acts were also portrayed in a Second World War propaganda pamphlet, and the images commissioned by the Ministry of Information are presented in an online gallery available on the website of The National Archives.

Soldiers' club naming traditions

It is a tradition within the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

 for soldiers' recreational clubs on military bases to be named after a particular recipient of the Victoria Cross, usually one with whom the unit is historically associated. Permission for such naming rights is usually obtained not only from the relevant command hierarchy within the military itself, but also from the family of the recipient. Once dedicated, the club and its participants typically take great pride in the deeds of the person with whom they are associated, and often family members will be invited to attend certain functions held by the club as a mark of thanks and respect.

See also

  • The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association
  • Dickin Medal
    Dickin Medal
    The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 in the United Kingdom by Maria Dickin to honour the work of animals in war. It is a bronze medallion, bearing the words "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" within a laurel wreath, carried on a ribbon of striped green, dark brown and pale blue...

    ("the animals' VC")

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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