THE COMPOSITION OF THE VICTORIA CROSS

The Royal Warrant for the instigation of the Victoria Cross was laid before Queen Victoria and signed by Her on Tuesday, 29 January 1856. The award of the Cross was made retrospective to include the Crimean War which formulated the idea of a new gallantry award in the mind of Queen Victoria after meeting some of the wounded from the conflict.


The Warrant Instituting the Victoria Cross
Public Record Office WO 98 / 1

Firstly:

It is ordained that the distinction shall be styled and designated the "Victoria Cross" and shall consist of a Maltese Cross of Bronze with Our Royal Crest in the centre and underneath which an Escroll bearing this inscription "For Valour"

Secondly:

It is ordained that the "Cross" shall be suspended from the left breast by a Blue Riband for the Navy and by a Red Riband for the Army.


The second paragraph does not state what shade of Blue or Red the Riband should be. Therefore, it is not known who chose the shades of colour. Nor does the paragrah state the composition of the Riband itself.

The Glasgow Museums Resource Centre holds the Victoria Cross awarded to Colour Sergeant Henry McDonald, Royal Engineers, a Crimean War veteran. The VC has been examined by the Conservator for the Museums Costume and Textile Collection whose conclusion is that the Riband is made of a very coarse weave silk which explains the ribbed look.


The recipient's service number, rank, name, regiment, ship or squadron, is engraved on the reverse of the lower riband suspension bar, and the date of the VC action engraved on the reverse of the Cross. For example:

Troop. Sert. Majr. J. Champion










Comdr. C. C. Dobson.










Lt. William Basil Weston ( 311376 )
8th. Hussars










Royal Navy










Green Howards ( attd. W. Yorks. R. )
28.










18.










3rd.
Septr.










Aug.










March.
1858.










1919










1945.

Pass your cursor over the VC image to view the reverse
of William Weston's Victoria Cross



Go to VC Home Page

Iain Stewart, 20 September 2013