Victoria Cross - Recipients

Recipients

A total of 1,356 Victoria Crosses have been awarded since 1856 to 1,353 men. There are several statistics related to the greatest number of VCs awarded in individual battles or wars. The greatest number of Victoria Crosses won on a single day is 18, for deeds performed on 16 November 1857, during Second Relief of Lucknow (primarily the assault on and capture of Sikandar Bagh), during the Indian Mutiny. The greatest number won in a single action is 28, for the whole of the Second Relief of Lucknow, 14–22 November 1857. The greatest number won by a single unit during a single action is seven, to the 2nd/24th Foot, for the defence of Rorke's Drift, 22–23 January 1879, during the Zulu War. The greatest number won in a single conflict is 628, being for the First World War. There are only five living holders of the VC—three British, one Australian, one Gurkha—one award for the Second World War and four awards since; in addition one New Zealander holds the Victoria Cross for New Zealand and three Australians hold the Victoria Cross for Australia. Eight of the then-twelve surviving holders of the Victoria Cross attended the 150th Anniversary service of remembrance at Westminster Abbey on 26 June 2006.

In 1921 the Victoria Cross was given to the American Unknown Soldier of the First World War (the British Unknown Warrior was reciprocally awarded the US Medal of Honor). One VC is in existence that is not counted in any official records. In 1856, Queen Victoria laid the first Victoria Cross beneath the foundation stone of Netley Military hospital. When the hospital was demolished in 1966 the VC, known as "The Netley VC", was retrieved and is now on display in the Army Medical Services Museum, Mytchett, near Aldershot.

Three people have been awarded the VC and Bar, the bar representing a second award of the VC. They are: Noel Chavasse and Arthur Martin-Leake, both doctors in the Royal Army Medical Corps, for rescuing wounded under fire; and New Zealander Charles Upham, an infantryman, for combat actions. Upham remains the only combatant soldier to have received a VC and Bar. An Irishman, Surgeon General William Manley, remains the sole recipient of both the Victoria Cross and the Iron Cross. The VC was awarded for his actions during the Waikato-Hauhau Maori War, New Zealand on 29 April 1864 while the Iron Cross was awarded for tending the wounded during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. New Zealand Flying Officer Lloyd Trigg has the distinction of being the only serviceman ever awarded a VC on evidence solely provided by the enemy, for an action in which there were no surviving Allied witnesses. The recommendation was made by the captain of the German U-boat U-468 sunk by Trigg's aircraft. Lieutenant Commander Gerard Roope was also awarded a VC on recommendation of the enemy, the captain of the Admiral Hipper, but there were also numerous surviving Allied witnesses to corroborate his actions.

Since the end of the Second World War the original VC has been awarded 13 times: four in the Korean War, one in the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation in 1965, four to Australians in the Vietnam War, two during the Falklands War in 1982, one in the Iraq War in 2004, and one in the War in Afghanistan in 2006. The two awards given in the 21st century to British personnel have been for actions in the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War. On 18 March 2005, Lance Corporal (then Private) Johnson Beharry of the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment became the first recipient of the VC since Sergeant Ian McKay in 1982. The most recent award of the Victoria Cross to a British service person was the posthumous award on 14 December 2006 to Corporal Bryan Budd of 3 Para. It was awarded for two separate acts of "inspirational leadership and the greatest valour" which led to his death, during actions against the Taliban in Afghanistan in July and August 2006.

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