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The Victoria Cross (V.C.)

Founded by Queen Victoria in 1856, at the request of Prince Albert, for utmost gallantry in the face of the enemy.

It is the highest British decoration and supreme amongst medals of the world.

First presented at an Investiture in Hyde Park on June 26th 1857 to Charles Lucas R.N., a 20 year old Irishman, for his action in throwing a live bomb overboard from his ship H.M.S. Hecla while under fire from Russian guns during the Crimean War. The bomb exploded as it entered the water, his action thus saving both ship and crew from certain destruction.

The Victoria Cross has been awarded less than 1,400 times for acts of bravery since then and exceptionally only three times have bars been awarded for additional acts of gallantry.

Wing Commander (later Group Captain) Lord Leonard Cheshire received the Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery while serving in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. William Philip Sidney (later Viscount De L'Isle) was awarded the Victoria Cross for leading a dangerous attack at the Anzio beachhead in 1944. The late Viscount De L'Isle is unique in that he held the highest British decoration for bravery, and for being a member of the Order of the Garter, the senior Order of Chivalry.

In 1982 Lt Col. H. Jones and Sgt I. J. McKay of the Parachute Regiment, were posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for acts of gallantry in the Falklands' War.

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