The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest award presented to the armed forces for gallantry in action with the enemy.
Images representing 38 names attached here – click to enlarge. Original size images available on request.
“I don’t get the chance to present this very often.” – Queen Elizabeth II
November 11th 1921 – Tomb Of The Unknowns (Arlington National Cemetery) – a Victoria Cross was placed inside the coffin of “The Unknown Soldier” killed in WW1.
To-date, no woman has ever been awarded the Victoria Cross.
The Victoria Cross was created on 29th January 1856 and a total of 1363 Victoria Crosses have been awarded to-date, with the first one presented by Queen Victoria, herself, in June 1857
The small ‘v-lug’ – connecting the ribbon to the cross – was designed by Queen Victoria.
The original colour of the ribbon was wine-red/crimson for the Army and dark-blue for the Navy, and after the founding of the Royal Air Force in 1918, it became a standard wine-red/crimson for all 3 Services.
Hancocks & Co. London (see links page) have produced every Victoria Cross since 1856.
The front of the Cross has the words “For Valour” and bears the Royal Crest and on the rear is engraved the recipient’s name, rank, regiment, unit and date that act of bravery was performed.
The Victoria Cross is made of bronze.
The Victoria Cross has only been awarded 15 times since WW2. The last occasion was in February 2015 when Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey (Parachute Regiment), received his medal at Lancaster House. note: Leakey’s second cousin – twice removed – Sergeant Nigel Gray Leakey, won the same medal in May 1945 for actions in Africa during WW2.
The George Cross, created by King George VI in 1940, is the highest Commonwealth award for non-military/peace-time acts-of-bravery. It is considered to be equal to the Victoria Cross.
Three men have been awarded the Victoria Cross twice-over: Captain Noel Chavasse in 1916 and 1917 and Surgeon Captain Arthur Martin-Leake in 1902 and 1914 (both of The Royal Army Medical Corps) and Captain Charles Upham in 1941 and 1942 (2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force). note: In 2009, the VC and Bar awarded to Captain Chavasse was sold at auction for a figure of c£1.45 million.
Both a Victoria Cross or George Cross act-of-bravery has to be witnessed by a number of people before a recommendation/report is sent to the Monarch for approval.
Both Thomas Flinn (in 1857) and Andrew Fitzgibbon (in 1860) were awarded the Victoria Cross when they were, each, only 15 years and 2 months old.