29 January 1856 – Establishment of Victoria Cross medal highest honour for valour

January 24, 2019

Establishment of Victoria Cross award – highest Commonwealth honour for valour in battle

On 29 January 1856, the esteemed institution of the Victoria Cross – a medal and honour, awarded for great valour and selflessness in armed conflict – was established by then Queen Victoria of Britain to help strengthen the British Empire by recognising its heroic defenders.

For the nations of the present-day British Commonwealth - including Australia - the Victoria Cross remains the highest award for acts of bravery in wartime – “for the most conspicuous gallantry, or a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the face of the enemy” – for which any serving member of the armed forces can obtain.

Over 1,350 persons in the Commonwealth have been awarded a Victoria Cross, including 100 Australians.

Commemorate this day of the Victoria Cross (its establishment) by:

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More information on the Victoria Cross:

The Victoria Cross medal is a bronze cross (Maltese, or Pattee), suspended by a crimson ribbon, with a lion guardant standing atop the Royal Crown over the centre of the cross, with the motto “For Valour” emblazoned underneath the Crown.

Essential details of the act of bravery and the award’s recipient are inscribed on the back of the Cross, including the act’s date and actor’s name, rank and unit when the gallant service in conflict was executed.

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