The Victoria Cross


Victoria Cross

Victoria CrossBallad of the Victoria Cross

I am the pride of the valiant Brave:
I am the shame of the coward knave:
Look tho’ the world - Is there prouder need
Than the plain bronze Cross of the golden deed

Harold Begbie

The Bravest of the Brave

The story of the Victoria Cross starts with the Crimean War, the first war to be covered by proper war correspondents, men whose despatches not only told a horrified nation of the conditions in which the wounded and sick suffered, but also the stories of the heroes. Enthralled by these stories - as indeed were her subjects - Queen Victoria decided that acts of heroism should be rewarded. She wanted a medal which was available to every man whatever his rank, and so it was ordained that:

“With a view to place all persons on a perfectly equal footing in relation to eligibility for the decoration, neither rank, nor long service, nor wounds, nor any other circumstances or condition whatsoever, save the merit of conspicuous bravery shall be held to establish a sufficient claim to the honour”.

And in the somewhat pedantic wording of that ordination lies the key to the awe in which the Victoria Cross is held: any man can win it as long as he is brave in the presence of the enemy. The first investiture was held in 1857 in Hyde Park, the Queen pinning the medal on the proud chests of 62 out of the 111 men who won a Victoria Cross in the Crimea.

Private (Later Sergeant) Albert Edward Curtis VC
2nd Bn The East Surrey Regiment

Lieutenant (later Brigadier General)
Wallace Duffield Wright VC, CB, CMG, DSO, Legion d' Honneur,
The Royal West Surrey Regiment (The Queen's)

Brigadier George Rowland Patrick Roupell VC, CB, Croix de Guerre
Order of St George 4th Class

Second Lieutenant (later Major) Benjamin Handley Geary VC
1st Battalion The East Surrey Regiment

Private Edward Dwyer VC, 1st Battalion The East Surrey Regiment

Lance Corporal Leonard James Keyworth VC
1/24th County of London Bn (The Queen's)

Second Lieutenant (later Captain)
Arthur James Terence Fleming-Sandes VC
Order of The Nile 4th Class, 2nd Battalion The East SurreyRegiment

Captain (later Baron Freyberg of Wellington and Munstead)
Bernard Cyril Freyberg VC, GCMG, DSO (two bars) LLD, DLL
The Queen's Royal (West Surrey) Regiment

Corporal Edward Foster VC, 13th Battalion The East Surrey Regiment

Sergeant Harry Cator VC, MM, Croix de Guerre (France)
7th Battalion The East Surrey Regiment

Captain Clement Robertson VC,
The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey), attached The Tank Corps

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Drummond Borton VC, CMG, DSO
2nd/22nd Bn The London Regiment (The Queen's)

Lance Corporal John William Sayer VC
8th Bn The Queen's Royal (West Surrey) Regiment

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Bushell VC, DSO
7th Bn The Queen's Royal (West Surrey) Regiment

Private (later Sergeant) Jack Harvey VC
1st/22nd Bn The London Regiment (The Queen's)

Corporal John McNamara VC
9th Battalion The East Surrey Regiment

Lieutenant (later Lieutenant Colonel) Eric Charles Twelves Wilson VC
The East Surrey Regiment (Attached Somaliland Camel Corps)

Lieutenant Alec George Horwood VC DCM
The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
Attached 1st Bn The Northamptonshire Regiment

Private Johnson Gideon Beharry
1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment


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