The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, and between it's creation in 1956 and 2008 has been awarded 1,358 times. This volume tells the story of every winner of the V.C., including the two men to have won the newly independent medals awarded by Australia and New Zealand.
The author starts with a brief history of the Victoria Cross, including a complete copy of the terms of the original 1956 Victoria Cross Warrant and a list of the changes made to it since. He then provides a complete chronological list of all V.C. winners, with the date of the award, where they are buried, and the location of their medal at the time of writing.
This is followed by the main text, which is arranged by chronological order within each individual conflict. Each entry is of roughly the same length (unlike in some similar books), giving each winner of the medal equal recognition (I have one minor quibble at this point - in some cases a group of men were awarded the V.C. for the same incident. In these cases the author has effectively repeated the same text, but it might have been more effective to give the account of the incident once and then provide smaller individual entries with the individual biographical details).
The chronological arrangement of the individual entries is very effective. The individual stories build up to tell a wider picture of the wars they were won in. For the Crimean War this serves to remind us that the British were also fighting in the Baltic, where a number of medals were won. In the First World War this shows the changing nature of the war as the early mobility faded into the static trench warfare, while for the Second World War it makes it dramatically clear just how many different theatres and types of operation were being carried on at any one time.
The chronological arrangement of this book is very effective, weaving together the individual VC stories to produce a picture of the changing nature of warfare since 1956 and the unchanging nature of bravery.
1 - A Short History of the Victoria Cross
2 - The Terms of the 1856 Victoria Cross Warrant, and its Amendments
3 - Roll of Honour: Complete Chronological List of All Victoria Cross Holders
Campaigns of the Victoria Cross
4 - The Crimean War, 1854-56 and the Persian War, 1856-59
5 - The Indian Mutiny, 1857-59
6 - The Mid-Victorian Period, 1860-78
7 - The Late Victorian Period, 1878-89
8 - Victoria's Final Wars, 1899-1901
9 - The Edwardian Period, 1902-04
10 - The First World War, 1914-18
11 - The Inter-War Years, 1919-35
12 - The Second World War, 1939-45
13 - The Post-War Period, 1950-2009
14 - Burial Locations
15 - Alphabetical List of Victoria Cross Holders
Author: Kevin Brazier
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military