The Royal Warrant instituting the Victoria Cross was issued by Queen Victoria, who also chose the design for the award herself, in January 1856.  Its introduction had been inspired by acts of heroism in the Crimean  campaign for which no appropriate honour existed.

Further Warrants have amended the original criteria slightly but the essential condition is that the VC "shall only be awarded for most conspicuous bravery or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of  the enemy".

"Neither rank, nor long service, nor wounds, nor any other circumstances or condition whatsoever, save the merit of conspicuous bravery" influences any consideration for the award, thus placing "all persons on a perfectly equal footing in relation to eligibility for the decoration".  The VC is therefore regarded as the most democratic honour in the history of our armed forces.

The VC has precedence above all other honours and awards.  Its recipients are pre-eminent and enjoy highest esteem of their brother in arms.

Since it's institution, 96 Australians have been awarded the Victoria Cross. Only four have been awarded to Australians since World War II.  These were all members of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam.



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