The Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross medal is a bronze Maltese Cross worn on the left breast, but on the right side of ALL other medals.  Originally it was made from the metal of two Russian guns captured at Sebastapol in the Crimean War.  But by 1942 the stocks of metal were exhausted and it is now supplied by a private contractor.

Unlike other medals, the V.C. is not struck at the Mint but is made by a private firm of jewelers, Messrs Hancock in London, the firm which originally fashioned the Cross.  A scroll with the words "For Valour" is surmounted by the Royal Crest.  A V-shaped link connects the medal to the bar or clasp which is ornamented with sprays of laurel.  On the back of the clasp appear the name of the recipient, and on the reverse side of the Cross is the date of the act of bravery.

The ribbon is maroon and is 38mm long.  Originally it was maroon for the army and blue for the navy  but today is simply maroon.

Queen Victoria invested the first 62 recipients of the Victoria Cross at Hyde Park, London on June 26th, 1857.  Only 29 Victoria Crosses have been awarded to South Africans.


 This page created 26 December 2010