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General
Medals and Honours

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Victoria Cross
George Cross
British Orders of Knighthood
Order of Merit
Order of the British Empire
US decorations
Other

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Medals and Honours

Victoria Cross

Made by Hancocks & Co. (Jewellers) of London, since 1856 Click to show or hide the answer
Inscription on the obverse Click to show or hide the answer
Introduced to honour acts of valour in the Click to show or hide the answer
Victoria Crosses are popularly believed to be made from guns captured at Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Colour of the ribbon Click to show or hide the answer
First recipient of the Victoria Cross (Mate, for action in the Baltic, 1854; went on to become a Rear–Admiral) Click to show or hide the answer
The only combatant soldier to receive a VC and bar (New Zealander) Click to show or hide the answer
Other VC and bar recipients (both Royal Army Medical Corps doctors – for rescuing wounded under fire) Click to show or hide the answer
Click to show or hide the answer
The youngest ever recipient of a VC (hospital apprentice of the Indian Medical Establishment, aged 15 yrs 3 months, 1860) Click to show or hide the answer
16–year–old recipient in the Battle of Jutland, 1916 Click to show or hide the answer
Oldest ever recipient (Lt. of the Bengal Veteran Establishment, 69 years, 11 May 1857) Click to show or hide the answer
Awarded the VC for actions in the Falklands War (1982) Click to show or hide the answer
Click to show or hide the answer
Grenada-born recipient of the VC 2002 for action in Iraq Click to show or hide the answer
Parachute Regiment corporal, awarded the VC posthumously in 2006 for action against the Taliban in Afghanistan Click to show or hide the answer

George Cross

Britain's highest award for civilian bravery Click to show or hide the answer
Set up during the reign of Click to show or hide the answer
Inscription Click to show or hide the answer
Made of Click to show or hide the answer
Colour of the ribbon Click to show or hide the answer

The youngest female recipient, and the only one in peacetime: an air hostess who died, aged 22, while trying to evacuate passengers from a burning aeroplane at London Heathrow in 1968 Click to show or hide the answer

Order of Merit

Holders of the Order of Merit at any time Click to show or hide the answer
In the gift of the monarch: honorary members (past and present) include T. S. Eliot (1948), Nelson Mandela (1994), Mother Theresa Click to show or hide the answer
First woman to be awarded the Order of Merit (1907 – aged 87) Click to show or hide the answer

British Orders of Knighthood

In descending order of precedence:

Founded by Edward III in 1349; in the personal gift of the sovereign since 1946; companion membership is restricted to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and a maximum of 24 others; "supernumary" membership was introduced in 1786; members wear a blue ribbon Click to show or hide the answer
Scottish order, revived in 1687, limited to 16 knights Click to show or hide the answer
Founded by George III in 1783: no new knights have been created since 1936; the last was Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, who died in 1974 Click to show or hide the answer
Founded by George I in 1725: name refers to a purification ceremony that dates back to the Middle Ages Click to show or hide the answer
Founded by Queen Victoria in 1861: no new knights have been created since 1948 Click to show or hide the answer
Founded by the Prince Regent in 1818, to reward natives of the Ionian Islands and Malta; since revised to reward services overseas Click to show or hide the answer
Founded by Queen Victoria in 1878: no new knights have been created since 1947 Click to show or hide the answer
Founded by Queen Victoria in 1896, to reward personal service to the monarch Click to show or hide the answer
Knighthood where the recipient is not admitted to any specific order Click to show or hide the answer

The Order of the British Empire

There are five ranks in the Order of the British Empire. In ascending order of precedence, they are:

Member of the Order of the British Empire Click to show or hide the answer
Officer of the Order of the British Empire Click to show or hide the answer
Commander of the Order of the British Empire Click to show or hide the answer
Knight Commander (or Dame Commander) of the Order of the British Empire Click to show or hide the answer
Knight Grand Cross (or Dame Grand Cross) of the Order of the British Empire Click to show or hide the answer

The only ones that most of us are likely to hear about are MBE, OBE and CBE, and it's important to know the order of precedence among these three.

US decorations

The USA's highest military decoration – a five–pointed star, with different versions for the Army, Navy, and Air Force – "equivalent to the Victoria Cross" Click to show or hide the answer
Highest US civilian award Click to show or hide the answer
The USA's oldest decoration – instituted by George Washington in 1782 and awarded to servicemen wounded in action Click to show or hide the answer

Other

Instituted in 1866 for saving life at sea or on land Click to show or hide the answer
Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal: awarded for outstanding services to Click to show or hide the answer
Informal name (English translation) for the Pour La Mérite – Prussia and Germany's highest military honour, 1740–1918 Click to show or hide the answer
Replaced the CGM, DSO and DCM, in 1995; ranks second only to the VC Click to show or hide the answer
French medal, instituted in  1915 for mention in dispatches Click to show or hide the answer
Award for acts of bravery by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units – "the animals' Victoria Cross" – administered by the PDSA, instituted in 1943 by its founder, and named in her honour Click to show or hide the answer
Military Medal: inscription on the obverse Click to show or hide the answer
German military decoration, iron Maltese cross edged with silver Click to show or hide the answer
France's highest decoration – established by Napoleon in 1802 Click to show or hide the answer
Awarded to British soldiers mentioned in dispatches Click to show or hide the answer
Highest Soviet decoration Click to show or hide the answer
Japan's highest honour is the Order of the Click to show or hide the answer
Honorific conferred by the State of Israel on non–Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save the lives of Jews – e.g. Oskar Schindler Click to show or hide the answer
Instituted 1982 for service in the Falklands Campaign Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–18