The Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross is the British realm's highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. It has absolute precedence over any other United Kingdom Sovereign's awards or Commonwealth decorations.

The Victoria Cross was founded by Royal Warrant January 29, 1856 in recognition of the bravery of those who were at that time fighting the Crimean War. The medal was available to all soldiers and "neither rank, nor long service, nor wounds, nor any other circumstance or condition whatsoever, save the merit of conspicuous bravery" could make one eligible - truly a democratic award.

The Cross itself is cast from the bronze of cannons captured at Sevastopol during the Crimean War. The design, which was chosen by Queen Victoria, consists of a cross patee ensigned with the Royal Crest resting upon a scroll bearing the words "For Valour." The reverse of the suspender bar is engraved with the recipients' name, rank and unit while the reverse of the cross is engraved with the date of the deed for which the recipient was honoured.

The George Cross

In 1940, King George VI instituted the George Cross and George Medal the total nature of World War Two had brought war into all of civilian life, there were many acts of outstanding gallantry for which the terms of award of the existing non-military medals were deemed to be inappropriate. Initially only the George Cross could be issued posthumously, but following a new warrant in 1978, the George Medal can be now be issued posthumously.

During World War Two (1939-45) there were instances when it was not easy to decide whether a Victoria Cross or a George Cross was the more proper award. The George Cross was intended to be an award for outstanding civilian bravery, but as many people in the armed forces were unavoidably engaged in work not appropriate for strictly military awards, they became eligible for the George Cross equally with civilians. Consequently, 76 of the first 100 awards were made to members of the armed forces. A complete tally of the 152 direct awards of the George Cross up to 1985 shows that only 49 have gone to civilians. Awards of the George Cross have now become so rare that few people are ever likely to see one, or its recipient.

The George Cross is of silver, with the words "For Gallantry" as described in the warrant, and is suspended from a dark blue ribbon one and half inches wide, and is worn on the left breast before all other medals and orders except the Victoria Cross. Ladies not in uniform wear the Cross, suspended from a wide bow of blue ribbon, below the left shoulder. Each Cross is made by the Royal Mint and engraved on the reverse with the recipient's name and date of the London Gazette in the case of direct awards and for the exchanged EGMs, and the date of the action for exchanged AMs and EMs

4 Victoria Crosses and 1 George cross have been awarded to members of the regiment.

VC's: Michael Murphy, Samuel Morley, James Dalton, Richard Masters, Alfred Herring

GC's: Joseph Hughes