Wednesday 30 May 2018
Decorations and awards

Victoria Cross & VC

Decorations and awards

Victoria Cross & VC

Victoria Cross (with blue 'Naval' ribbon) awarded during the First World War to Boy, 1st Class John Travers Cornwell for gallantry displayed as a sight setter for the cew of the 5.5-inch gun on the forecastle of the light cruiser HMS Chester during the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916

  • Created 29 January 1856
  • Recognises acts of extreme bravery carried out under direct enemy fire
  • First bravery medal that could be earned by anyone in the Army or the Navy
  • The act which earns the award must be witnessed by several individuals
  • Named after Queen Victoria, who personally chose the inscription
  • Inscribed 'For Valour'
  • Design shows a lion guarding the Royal Crown
  • Design emphasises the personal link between the British monarch and recipients of the VC
  • Hand-made, traditionally using bronze taken from a gun captured in the Crimean War
  • Awarded to over 1,300 people since its creation
  • Deliberately intended to have little actual value – its value lies in what it stands for and what people do to earn it
Victoria Cross (with blue 'Naval' ribbon) awarded during the First World War to Boy, 1st Class John Travers Cornwell for gallantry displayed as a sight setter for the cew of the 5.5-inch gun on the forecastle of the light cruiser HMS Chester during the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916
Jack Cornwell’s Victoria Cross, awarded posthumously in September 1916.
Decorations and awards

George Cross & GC

Decorations and awards

George Cross & GC

George Cross awarded to Captain Mahmood Durrani, 1st Bahawalpur Infantry, for supreme bravery as a prisoner of war in the Second World War.

  • Created 24 September 1940
  • Recognises acts of extreme bravery carried out by civilians and military personal when not under enemy fire
  • The act which earns the award must be witnessed by several individuals
  • Named after King George VI, who personally designed many details on the medal
  • Inscription reads 'For Gallantry'
  • The words surround an image of St George slaying a dragon
  • Made from solid silver by the Royal Mint
  • Since its creation, more than 400 people have been awarded the GC
medal, ribbon, brooch bar and fitted case of issue plain Greek cross (arms of equal length) in silver (46mm wide by 50mm height). On the obverse, St George (on horseback) and the dragon within a central raised roundel surrounded by a band bearing the text 'FOR GALLANTRY' , having at its base a small Tudor rose.

Related Content

The 5.5 inch gun from HMS Chester on which Jack Cornwell served and won his Victoria Cross.
© IWM (Q 69005)
First World War
Boy (1st Class) John ‘Jack’ Travers Cornwell VC
Jack Cornwell was only 16 when he lost his life at the Battle of Jutland. His ship came under heavy fire and he was mortally wounded, but stayed steady at his post, ready to follow orders. It was this devotion to duty that earned him both the nation’s respect and a posthumous Victoria Cross
Ensign Violette Reine Szabo, George Cross, Croix de Guerre avec Palme, WTS/FANY, SOE. Violette Szabo served as a courier with F Section, SOE.
Second World War
Who Was Violette Szabo?