Illustration from V R I Her Life And Empire published in 1901. Info from wiki: The Victoria Cross (VC) was awarded to 111 members of the British Armed Forces during the Crimean War (also known as the Russian War) that lasted from 1854 to 1856. The Victoria Cross is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. The VC was introduced in Great Britain on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War. It takes precedence over all other Orders, decorations and medals; it may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians under military command. The first ceremony was held on 26 June 1857 where Queen Victoria invested 62 of the 111 Crimean recipients in Hyde Park. The traditional explanation of the source of the metal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol.