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The Register of the Victoria Cross is a reference work that provides brief information on every VC ever awarded: it provides a summary of the deed, along with a photograph of the awardee and the following details where applicable or available; rank, unit, other decorations, date of gazette, place/date of birth, place/date of death, memorials, town/county connections, and any remarks. Nora Buzzell compiled and researched The Register for This England.

The Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest award for valour within the Commonwealth. Although instituted more than a century ago and spanning four of the most terrible wars in Britain's history, it has been awarded to only 1,352 men, three of whom have won it twice, plus one more for the American Unknown Soldiermarker (WWI) , who lies buried in Arlington National Cemeterymarker, Washington, as a symbol for all those who died in the Allied cause. The British Unknown Warriormarker, who was buried in Westminster Abbey, received the Congressional Medal of Honor from the United States Government. He was not awarded the Victoria Cross.

The deeds for which the VC has been won are as varied as the backgrounds from which the winners have come. For it is the most democratic of all medals, open to the private soldier no less than his commanding officer - "every rank and grade of all branches of Her Majesty's forces".

Long reputed to be cast in bronze from cannon captured at Sevastopol in the Crimean War, Victoria Crosses have in fact been made at Woolwich from the metal of several different guns including two Chinese-made cannon. Nonetheless, the VC retains a mystique that few other military decorations have ever achieved. It takes precedence over all other British (and Commonwealth) decorations except the George Cross which is equal to the Victoria Cross in precedence but worn second to the VC in the order of wear.

No woman has ever won the VC, although the rules do not preclude that possibility. Five civilians have won the VC, four during the Indian rebellion of 1857 and one during the Second Afghan War (to Reverend James William Adams). Two Germans have won it, as well as a Russian and five Americans. Christian Ferdinand Schiess VC (7 April 1856 - 14 December 1884) was a Swiss recipient of the Victoria Cross at the battle of Rorkes Drift in the Zulu War. It was also presented to 94 Canadians, or people closely associated with Canada.

The book

Over the years, many books have been written on the various exploits of those whose bravery in action has earned the VC, but the author of this Register felt there was a need for a single volume listing all 1,356 recipients, together with details of birth, place of deed, town or county connections, memorials, etc.

The first edition of the Register was published in 1981, a year before the Falklands conflict when two more VCs were awarded. The revised and enlarged second edition, published in 1988, includes brief accounts of the deeds for which the VC was awarded. The third edition contains further amendments and also more original material that has been received during the last few years.

Since its foundation in 1856, there have been many claims, particularly among family descendants, that a kinsman had won the Victoria Cross. Until this book was published, those claims have been difficult to prove or deny without access to Ministry of Defence files and other Service lists, resulting in lingering disputes. That was a minor reason for This England embarking on the production of this comprehensive Register of the Victoria Cross. The major reason, however, was to create a definitive and lasting work of reference as a tribute to the bravery of the men themselves.

Details of publication

Third Edition, 352 pages, This England, 1997 (ISBN 0-906324-27-0) hardback.Compiled and researched for This England by Nora Buzzell.

Published by:

This EnglandAlma House,Rodney Road,Cheltenham,Gloucestershire,GL50 1HT.

References

  1. London Daily Telegraph article



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