Anniversary of The Victoria Cross
2006 marks the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Victoria Cross although the first presentations of the world's most coveted award for gallantry were not made until the following year. It came about as a result of the public being made aware for the first time of the sacrifices that her servicemen would go to uphold the honor of their country. Previous to 1854, the campaigns of the 1840's in India and the Far East, went largely unreported so individual acts of gallantry were only known to those who took part and went unrecognized.
The outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854 found the British involved in the first conflict with a major European military power since the Napoleonic wars. It was also the first major conflict since Queen Victoria succeeded to the throne in 1837 and came at a time that history has regarded as the heyday of her reign.
It was this war which led to the institution on 29 January 1856 of the first bravery award to all ranks. The Prussians had their Iron Cross and the French were lavish with the Legion d'Honneur, both of which were totally democratic. Clearly there was a need for a single separate award for the many acts of outstanding bravery that could be given to officers and other ranks alike.
The design and manufacture of the new award was entrusted to the relatively recently established company of Hancocks, who are still the sole supplier. The War Office suggested that the design should follow on the lines of the Army Gold Cross, which had been awarded to generals and officers of field rank who had fought in four or more battles of the Peninsular War. It was further decided that the cross should be made from the bronze of captured Russian cannon. There were two reasons for this; the first being that it was symbolic of a British victory. The second, being that the metal was of no intrinsic value and less of a temptation for the recipient to sell Her Majesty's personal award for drink!
Victoria and Albert
Both Victoria and Albert spent much time in considering the designs that were submitted for their approval. The Queen approved a design of a cross pattee with a lion statant gardant on the royal crown, with the words "For Valour" on a semi-circular scroll. Victoria had amended the original wording from "For the Brave" to "For Valour", on the grounds that it would appear that only the brave received the Cross.
Stamps in detail
Issue: Falkland Islands, 11 November 2006
Designer: Andrew Robinson
Print: Lithography by Cartor Security Printing
Perforation: 13 per 2cms
Stamp size: 30.6 x 38mm
More information Postage Stamps
Postage Stamps 2006
Stamps Falkland Islands
Birds stamp issue
Brunel's ss Great Britain
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