HISTORY OF THE VICTORIA CROSS
On June 26, 1857, Her Majesty Queen Victoria, for the first time, pinned the Victoria Cross on the tunic of 62 of the original recipients or a family member for those deceased.
The new medal would be for gallantry in the field or at sea. It is awarded for exceptional
individual acts of bravery.
The motivation for the medal had come a few years earlier from Albert, the Prince Consort. In 1855, following “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, in the Crimean War, Albert stated; “The brilliance of the charge and the gallantry and discipline, evidenced by all, have never been surpassed by British Soldiers under similar circumstances”.
The Cross design is 1 ½ inches square, attached to a ribbon by a wide “V” and to a bar on which there is a sprig of laurel, the token of Victory. Obverse a Royal Crown is surmounted by a lion, with a scroll that reads “For Valour”. The ribbon was Red for the Army and Blue for the Navy.
The cross itself, of course, is the symbol of SELF SACRIFICE.
The original Victoria Cross medals were made from the cannons captured from the Russians in the last battle of the Crimean War at Sebastopol. The metal in the cannons was melted down and sand caste for the Victoria Crosses.
It is the most coveted and highly prized decoration of military service for Britain
and the Commonwealth Countries.
Deeds are only considered for Victoria Cross recognition when they far exceed a level of
bravery one would expect from a fellow human being by putting their own welfare at severe
In total, there have been 1,358 Victoria Cross Medals presented
THE VICTORIA CROSS AND CANADIANS
What constitutes a Canadian VC recipient?
1) Was the individual a member of
the Canadian Forces at the time of the deed?
2) Was the person born in Canada or its territories?
3) Did the person have a permanent residence in Canada at the outbreak of the war in which
the deed occurred?
4) If not born in Canada, did the person establ
ish a permanent residence in Canada or its
5) Did the person consider himself to be a Canadian?
By using these criterion; there are 95 Canadian Recipients.
52 of the recipients were born in Canada.
34 were born in the United Kingdom.
4 were born in the U.S.
2 were born in Newfoundland prior to it joining Canada.
1 each was born in Denmark, India and Russia.
WWI had 71 recipients, WWII had 16 and the rest were split between the Crimean War, The uprisings in India and in the Boer Wars.
Since 1993 the Victoria Cross Medal is only a Great Britain Award. Canada can now award its own Victoria Cross medal, but none have been awarded in that time.
There are no Canadian Victoria Cross recipients alive today. The last one died in 2005.
We Shall Remember Them
Researched and written by: G. William Streeter