The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856, during the Crimean War, by Queen Victoria at the request of her husband, Prince Albert. It was, and still is, the highest decoration for valour in the British armed forces, and consequently it is only awarded for acts of the most extreme bravery in the face of the enemy. The medal, featuring a lion on a crown and the inscription "For Valour", is cast in bronze (the first medals were made from two bronze guns captured from the Russians in the Crimea), and on the reverse side is written the name, rank, and regiment of the recipient, together with the date of the act on which it was won. During the 150 year history of the Victoria Cross, in many large and bloody battles in all corners of the world, only 1,348 have been issued. Five of these were awarded to British servicemen at Arnhem, only one of whom survived the battle.


6th Airborne Division





Cpl George Topham

1st Canadian Battalion