Although the Victoria Cross medal was not instituted until 1856, it was made retroactive to cover the Crimean War and was the first military honour to be awarded regardless of rank and on no other consideration other than a single act of valour in ‘the face of the enemy’.
On Friday 26 June 1867 the first investiture of the Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria took place in London’s Hyde Park. 62 of the 111 Crimean recipients were invested at the ceremony.
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“It is ordained, with a view to place all persons on a perfectly equal footing in relation to eligibility for the decoration, that neither rank, nor long service, nor wounds, nor any other circumstance or condition whatsoever, save the merit of conspicuous bravery, shall be held to establish a sufficient claim to the honour.”Victoria Cross Royal Warrant, 29 January 1856