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 Victoria Cross

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Join date : 2010-12-25

PostSubject: Victoria Cross   Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:00 am

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration which is, or has been, awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories.
It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank 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 at an investiture held at Buckingham Palace. In those countries aside of Britain where the Monarch of the Commonwealth realms is the head of state, the Governor-General usually fulfils the same function. It is the joint highest award for bravery in the United Kingdom with the George Cross, which is the equivalent honour for valour not in the face of the enemy.[2] 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).[3]
The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. 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 from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon 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.[4]

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