The Victoria Cross (VC) was created by Queen Victoria in 1856 to be awarded to all ranks for bravery in the face of the enemy. It was preceded by the Distinguished Conduct Medal (1854) and the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (1855).
The VC has always been cast from the gunmetal of captured cannons held in secrecy in London. It remains the highest Commonwealth award for valour.
Since 1856 additional Imperial and Australian awards have been created and over time the VC has come to acknowledge only the most extraordinary and conspicuous displays of courage, self-sacrifice and extreme devotion to duty.
The VC on display in the Galleries of Remembrance was awarded to Captain Robert Grieve for his bravery at Messines, Belgium on 7 June 1917. His citation reads:
...Captain Grieve located two hostile machine-guns which were holding up his advance. Under continuous heavy fire from the two guns, he succeeded in bombing and killing the two gun crews, then reorganised the remnants of his own company and gained his original objective. Captain Grieve set a splendid example and when he finally fell, wounded, the position had been secured...
The Victoria Cross for Australia
The Victoria Cross for Australia, awarded to Australia’s two most recent recipients, was introduced on 15 January 1991. It is identical to the earlier Imperial VC and is cast from the same gunmetal. The new award is conferred by the Governor General of Australia with the approval of the Monarch.
To date, 100 Australians have received the VC for bravery in the following conflicts.
- Boer War (1899-1902)
- 6 awarded
- First World War (1914-18)
- 64 awarded
- North Russia (1919)
- 2 awarded
- Second World War (1939-45)
- 20 awarded
- Vietnam War (1962-72)
- 4 awarded
- Afghanistan (2003 -2021)
- 4 awarded
Reviewed 31 October 2021