Victoria Cross & VC

Catalogue number
  • OMD 2409
Display status
IWM London
Alternative names
  • full name: Victoria Cross & VC
  • simple name: decoration, British
Decorations and awards

© IWM (OMD 2409)

Purchase & License

Augustus Willington Shelton Agar VC, DSO, RN (4 Jan 1890 -30 Dec 1968) was the son of John Shelton Agar of Woodmount, Co Kerry. Agar was educated at Eastmans Naval Academy and HMS Britannia and entered the Royal Navy in 1905. He served with the Grand Fleet in the North Sea from 1914-15 and then took part in the evacuation of Gallipoli. In 1918, he was detached for special service in Coastal Motor Boats (CMBs) and in 1919 established a secret base at Terrioki in Finland from which he landed and collected British secret agents operating in Bolshevik Russia. On 17 June 1919, Agar took a more aggressive course of action, mounting a torpedo attack on the Bolshevik cruiser Oleg in Kronstadt harbour. The cruiser was sunk and Agar brought his vessel CMB 4 safely back to base. Agar was awarded the VC for his part in this action, receiving the DSO for a second, large-scale attack on Kronstadt in August. The secrecy attached to Agar's VC led to his award being described as the 'mystery' VC. Promoted captain in 1933, he commanded the cruiser HMS Dorsetshire, surviving its sinking by Japanese dive bombers in the Indian Ocean in April 1942. On appointment as commodore in 1943, he was president of the RN College, Greenwich from 1943-46. Agar contested Greenwich in the Conservative interest in the 1945 General Election. Agar retired in the rank of captain in 1947. He was a younger brother of Trinity House from 1936 and, inter alia, a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. His VC was gazetted on 22 August 1919. He published a number of books including his autobiography 'Footprints in the Sea' (Evans, London 1959) as well as 'Showing the Flag' and 'Baltic Episode'. Agar died at Alton, Hampshire on 30 December 1968.

Physical description

cross patté (described in the Royal Warrant as a 'Maltese cross of bronze') having at its centre a crown surmounted by 'lion gardant'; beneath the crown an ornamentally draped scroll bearing the motto: 'FOR VALOUR'. Raised borders outline the shape of the cross. The plain reverse bears a central circle (with raised edge) to enclose the date of the act of gallantry. The suspension bar comprises a straight laurelled bar with integral 'V' lug; the plain reverse of the suspension bar is engraved with details of the recipient. The 1½-inch wide ribbon is crimson. [Note: originally the ribbon was dark blue for Royal Navy recipients and crimson (described as 'red' in the Warrants) for the Army. After the formation of the Royal Air Force (1 April 1918) the crimson ribbon (sometimes described as 'claret', 'maroon' or 'dark red') was adopted for all recipients. When present, a straight laurelled Bar (in the same form as the suspension bar but without the 'V' lug) indicates a subsequent award.]

History note

Captain A W S Agar VC, DSO, Royal Navy (1890-1968)

Engraved, reverse (centre)


Engraved, suspender bar (reverse)


Associated items
Associated people and organisations
Associated places
Associated events

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM (OMD 2409)

  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode