The Victoria Cross, a simple bronze cross inscribed For Valour on the front and engraved with the recipient’s name, rank, number, unit and the date of the action on the reverse, was first awarded by Queen Victoria – in a ceremony in Hyde Park – in 1857, to heroes of the Crimea. The VC is the most prized British and Commonwealth decoration for gallantry, and is earned too often at the cost of the ultimate sacrifice. Only 1,354 VCs have been awarded, and this book, in Bryan Perrett’s inimitable style, tells the story behind some of the most remarkable, from the Crimea through to the Second World War. Likewise, the Congressional Medal of Honor, the US equivalent decoration, is celebrated here in equal measure in his gripping episodes of outstanding gallantry in battle. The VC and the Medal of Honor have on occasion even been awarded for acts on the same battlefield.