At the meeting of Ellon Probus Club on May 24, members were treated to an enlightening talk on the background and history of the Victoria Cross by local war historian, Alan Barker.
The VC was first awarded by Queen Victoria in 1856 as recognition for feats of valour by British personnel in the Crimean War. The medal was equally applicable to all military ranks and civilians.
To date, a total of 1357 VCs have been awarded, the greatest numbers during the Indian Mutiny, the Boer war and World War I. The most recent was awarded was in 2006 during the current Afghanistan campaign.
On three occasions the medal has been awarded twice to an individual (two of these being front line doctors) and on three occasions to a father and son of the same family.
Initially the VC was awarded only to the living but from 1907 onwards posthumous awards were permitted. The VC is awarded for life and cannot be withdrawn. A small annuity of £2,000 is paid annually to recipients.
The medal is made of bronze with a maroon ribbon, and are cast and hand finished by jewellers Hancocks. The bronze originates from two Russian canon captured at Sebastopol in 1856, and is securely held by MoD.
The next meeting on 14 June is a visit to St Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen - members should meet at the Cathedral at 10.30am. At the following meeting on 28 June Eddie Swan will give a talk titled ‘HM Theatre.’