The Victoria Cross is awarded for ‘most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy’. The Victoria Cross has been awarded to 168 soldiers from Ireland. Two of those who were given the award were born in Co Carlow and six were born in Co Kilkenny.
The Victoria Cross is Britain’s highest military decoration. The award was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856. The awards were made for the first time in June 1857 at a parade in Hyde Park, London. The Victoria Cross is awarded to persons of any rank.
Charles Lucas, whose actions were the first to result in the award of the Victoria Cross, was a native of Poyntzpass, Co Armagh. He was given the award for his gallantry during the Crimean War in 1854. Lucas was 20 years old at the time at the time of the award.
The Victoria Cross was introduced by Queen Victoria in the year 1856 On This Day.