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Military Award Winners: The Victoria Cross.

Updated on October 28, 2013
The Victoria Cross - VC.
The Victoria Cross - VC. | Source

For Valour.

The Victoria Cross is the award given for '' acts of conspicuous courage and bravery under circumstances of extreme danger '' It is the highest British military award for gallantry. This award is given rarely and recipients are held in the highest regard. The medal is open to all ranks and colonial forces; it was extended to the Indian Army in 1911.

The Award.

The medal is made of Bronze, it is a tradition that the metal used is taken from Russian guns which were captured at Sebastopol circa 1854. The Bronze is also chemically darkened. The front of the medal bears the royal crest which is a lion over a crown. Below the crest the words '' for valour '' are inscribed. Originally the words '' for the brave '' were to be used. This was changed on the recommendation of Queen Victoria, as it might imply that not all men in battle were brave. The reverse of the medal bears a plain roundel, onto which would be inscribed the date of the action for which the medal is awarded. The medal is suspended below a laurelled bar attached to a red ribbon. On the rear of the bar is inscribed; name, number, rank and unit. The award was originally instituted in January 1856. Originally the ribbon was dark blue for the Navy and Royal Marines and dark red for the Army. The ribbon was standardised as dark red for all the services in 1918. The first awards were announced in February 1857. The first Victoria Cross was awarded to Lieutenant Charles Lucas of HMS Hecla, this was for gallantry in the Baltic in 1854. The award is given with a citation and offers a small pension to the recipient.

In order of Merit.

Medals are always worn from left to right ( as viewed ) therefore the Victoria Cross would be the first medal on the left, followed by other gallantry medals and campaign medals in date order. Jubilee and coronation awards would be next, followed by long service medals.

It is a myth.

There is a myth that all ranks must salute a bearer of the Victoria Cross. There is no official requirement for this whatsoever. However, by tradition the chiefs of staff and other officers, will often salute a private who holds the Victoria Cross 'VC' or the George Cross 'GC' which is awarded for gallantry when not under fire.

A few statistics.

628 VCs were awarded during the first world war more than in any other conflict. The largest number of VCs awarded in a single day was twenty-four this was on the 16 November 1857, at the siege of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny. One of the recipients was Able Seaman William Hall, a Canadian who was the first black man to receive the award.



© 2012 Graham Lee

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    • old albion profile image
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      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thanks Eddy. Glad you liked it.

      Graham.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Very interesting Graham a well informed hub on the Victoria Cross.

      Voting up and sharing.

      Eddy.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello jainismus. Thank you for your visit and information. My understanding is that the VC was only extended to the Indian Army in 1911.

      Graham.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      Interesting information on Victoria Cross. Thank you for sharing it.

      This gallantry award was given in British India also. 153 Indian soldiers received it between 1857 to 1947.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi US. I do so agree with you.

      Graham.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      It;s really good to know and read history and great people. Interesting facts and info. Thanks Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Anthony. Thank you for your visit and welcome comments. Thanks for your contribution.

      Graham.

    • profile image

      Anthony1856 5 years ago

      The largest number of VCs awarded in a single day was twenty-four on the 16 November 1857. However only 23 were for the relief of the Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny. The 24th was for an unrelated action at Narnoul, south of Delhi the same day.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Kieran. Thank you for your visit. I am so glad that you thought it interesting. Thank you for the vote, they are appreciated.

      Graham.

    • profile image

      Kieran Gracie 5 years ago

      I had not heard about the unofficial requirement to salute a bearer of a VC or GC. Nor about the small pension awarded with the medal. Very interesting Hub and voted accordingly.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi UH. Thanks for your visit and votes. Yes, they are still made from the captured guns. There's more than they will ever need.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Nice article, Graham. I didn't realize that the most VCs in a war were awarded during World War 1. Also, are they still cast from Russian cannons? Voted up and interesting.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Jlava73 and always exploring. Sorry but I ran out of individual comment boxes!

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello MM. Thank you for your visit. Yes it is interesting. I have to say that was the reason for my interest. I was told about the Bronze and the Guns, so I checked it out and started a series on award winners in the military.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Jlava73. Thank you for your comments I am pleased that you enjoyed my hub.

      Graham.

      always exploring. Yes honours were given all round. Thank you for your valued visit.

      Graham.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I enjoyed reading the history of the Victoria Cross, I had no idea the metal is taken from russian guns.

      Thank you and voted up

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      It's good to know that a black man was honored. I enjoyed the history you provided..Thank you...

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Thanks for Sharing a bit of history on Victoria Cross and those who have the honor of receiving it. I enjoyed reading your Hub.