This display houses the world’s largest collection of Victoria Crosses, alongside a significant collection of George Crosses. Discover over 250 stories of people who faced adversity and performed acts of bravery. All were awarded either a Victoria Cross (VC) or George Cross (GC) - the highest recognitions of bravery that can be given by Britain and, for many years, the Commonwealth.
Explore the concept of bravery and what motivates people to undertake acts of heroism. Objects on display include the extensively damaged backpack worn by Lance Corporal Matt Croucher GC who, in Afghanistan 2008, threw himself onto a grenade saving the lives of his comrades. The backpack also helped to save his own life. You can also see the diving suit worn by James Magennis VC, who left his submarine in order to free explosive charges that had got caught during an attack on a Japanese boat in 1945.
Pick up a kids' stamper trail inside the gallery or use the interactive screens to explore seven ‘qualities of bravery’ including boldness, aggression, leadership, skill, sacrifice, initiative and endurance with your family.
What is the Victoria Cross and George Cross?
The Victoria Cross is awarded to recongnise acts of great courage in the heat of battle under enemy fire. The George Cross is given for acts of gallantry carried out in peacetime, or in war but away from the intensity of battle.
Uncover stories of bravery
French-born Odette Sansom worked undercover in France during the Second World War, serving as a courier on behalf of the British Government, for Special Operations Executive (SOE).
In April 1943 she was captured and interrogated. Despite brutal torture by the Gestapo, she told them nothing, her silence saving the lives of many agents.
Sansom was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany in July 1944. She was treated harshly, once kept in the dark on her own for over three months. She survived the camp, later giving evidence against several of Ravensbrück's staff.
In 1946 she was awarded the George Cross (GC) for refusing to betray her fellow secret agents under torture. She became a national heroine and in 1950, a film was made about her. Sansom accepted her GC on behalf of all her comrades who did not survive the war.