More than 1 300 Victoria Crosses have been awarded to the sailors, soldiers and airmen of the British Empire and British Commonwealth nations. It is awarded for an act of conspicuous bravery, and is the highest award for gallantry in the presence of the enemy. Many recipients never lived to receive their medals.
In many parts of the Commonwealth, the Victoria Cross remains their highest award for gallantry; however, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have all adopted their own versions of the Victoria Cross.
Debates over its place within the Canadian Honours System in the 1980s and 1990s led to the creation in 1993 of Canada’s own version of the decoration.
Its place at the top of the Canadian Honours System remains secure.