The Victoria Cross
Not silver or gold, but just old bronze, is the metal used for the premier award for bravery. But the 25 pound pear shaped block from which these medals are cast was won with honour. It is from a Russian cannon captured during the Crimean War. Between 1856 and 2005, 1355 Victoria Crosses have been awarded, of which three were bars.
The Victoria Cross, the highest British decoration awarded to members of the armed forces for valour while on active service, is a modest bronze medal, pendant on a crimson ribbon. Its design is the Royal Crown surmounted by a lion. The simple inscription on the obverse side of the cross is, “For Valour”.
It takes precedence over all other honours. It formerly carried with it an annuity of ten pounds to recipients who were not commissioned. On the 1st of April 2005 the New Zealand Government passed the War Pension Amendment Regulations 2005 (SR 2005/51), setting the annuity for New Zealand holders of the Victoria Cross at $1756.55.
The ribbon was originally blue for the naval awards and red for the army. In 1920 the crimson ribbon was adopted for all the services.
As its name implies, the decoration was instituted during the reign of Queen Victoria. The Royal Warrant dated January 29, 1856, restricted the award to “Our Naval and Military Services”, and required submissions from the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army before an award could be made.
The Victoria Cross for New Zealand was instituted on 20th September 1999 and takes the place of the British decoration for members of the New Zealand Armed Forces.
These pages depict members of the New Zealand Armed Forces who won The Victoria Cross between 1864, during the New Zealand Maori Wars, and 2007.
The exception is Captain (Temporary Lieutenant Colonel) B.C. Freyberg who, although not serving with the New Zealand Armed Forces at the time he won The Victoria Cross, had strong associations with New Zealand in that he was raised in this country, commanded the 2nd NZEF throughout the Second World War, and was later a Governor General of New Zealand.
Also listed here are a further seven New Zealanders who won The Victoria Cross while serving with the Armed Forces of other countries.
One won The Victoria Cross while serving with the South African Forces in 1879, four while serving with the Australian Infantry Force during the First World War, one while serving with the Royal Flying Corp during the First World War and one while serving with the Royal Naval Reserve during the First World War.
Also listed are fourteen members of the British Forces who won The Victoria Cross while serving in New Zealand during the New Zealand Maori Wars between the years 1860 and 1865.
The ranks and decorations shown on these pages are those held by the recipient at the time of the action for which The Victoria Cross was awarded.