The Victoria and George Crosses are the highest military and civil decorations of the United Kingdom, awarded for gallantry. The Victoria Cross, introduced in 1856, is awarded to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries for valour in the face of the enemy, while the George Cross was introduced during World War II so that civilians could also be awarded for acts of heroism, or conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger. There have been 1,356 Victoria Crosses awarded, and there have been 404 recipients of the George Cross since 1940.
The Imperial War Museum is opening the Lord Ashcroft Gallery in November 2010 to showcase not only their large collection of Victoria and George crosses, but also Lord Ashcroft's collection, which he has loaned to the Museum for 10 years. The gallery will therefore contain the largest collection of VCs and GCs in the world. The museum envisages around 150,000 visitors a year.
This fully illustrated book contains the stories of over 80 recipients: a mixture of individuals - including men, women and children from different countries - who performed their acts of heroism across the last century and a half.
"The stories [are] inspirational, well worth a read as they challenge us to be as gallant if we were ever put in such situations." C. Peter Chen, www.ww2db.com (February 2011)