The Victoria Cross
The premier award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross may be awarded to all ranks of the services and civilians for gallantry in the presence of the enemy. It may be awarded posthumously. A bronze bar ornamented with laurels may be issued to VC holders performing a further act of such bravery which would have merited award of the VC. When the ribbon alone is worn a further replica in miniature is added. Instituted by Queen Victoria to cover all actions since the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, the VC has been awarded 1,356 times and 3 bars have been awarded.
The most recent recipient of the VC is L/Cpl Joshua Leakey of the Parachute Regiment. He was awarded the medal at the age of 27 for his bravery during an assault on a Taliban stronghold in Helmand province, on 22 August 2013. Despite coming under enemy fire, L/Cpl Leakey twice came to the aid of a wounded US Marine Corps captain and helped forces regain the initiative after they had been pinned down by fire and surrounded by insurgents.
In 2004 Private Johnson Beharry from 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment was awarded the honour for 2 separate acts of outstanding gallantry of the highest order while based in Al Amarah, Iraq. The VC is made from the bronze of Russian guns captured at Sebastopol, though modern research suggests that Chinese guns may have been used at various times.
A full list of recipients of the Victoria Cross can be found on this wikipedia page.
- Kevin Paton-Feaver