VICTORIA CROSS – 2016 – 1/4oz .917 PROOF GOLD Sovereign
The Victoria Cross, or VC as it is commonly known, is the highest award for gallantry that a British and Commonwealth serviceman can achieve. As such it is always the first award to be presented at an investiture, even before knighthoods.
The Victoria Cross originated in the Crimean War of 1854-1855. This was the first major conflict in which war correspondents reported in the field, and it was from this experience that William Howard Russell of The Times called for an award for valour that could be given to the common soldier. At this time, only senior officers were awarded medals for bravery as it was considered to be their leadership that drove men on to victory.
The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then, a total of 1,358 Victoria Crosses have been awarded, of which only 15 have been awarded since the end of the Second World War: four in the Korean War, one in the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation in 1965, four in the Vietnam War, two during the Falklands War in 1982, one in the Iraq War in 2004, and three in the War in Afghanistan in 2006, 2012 and 2015.