By Glyn & Richardson, Colin Harper

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Sample text

During the two years of the mutiny 182 VCs were awarded, including four to civilians who bore arms as volunteers against the mutineers. 18 This short-lived provision was only used twice and its circumstances preceded the establishment of the Albert Medal and Conspicuous Gallantry Medal of the Order of the British Empire, which were later superseded by the George Cross. The reason for the initial change was that the troopship Sarah Sands, carrying reinforcements and a considerable amount of gunpowder to the Indian Mutiny, caught fire and was abandoned by her crew.

No New Zealand winner of the VC forfeited his award, but the only officer to do so spent the last years of his short life here. Edward St John Daniel won his VC as a 17-year-old midshipman in the Crimean War. A Naval Brigade had been formed, commanded by Captain William Peel, RN,24 and Midshipman Daniel (along with Midshipman Evelyn Wood, who won a VC in the army during the Indian Mutiny and subsequently became a Field Marshal) was acting as his aide. At the Battle of Inkerman, he was noted for carrying powder forward under heavy fire.

5 Many of Prince Albert’s basic ideas did, in fact, subsequently become part of the basis of the initial regulations, but were also taken by the Duke of Newcastle to indicate royal assent for the concept. 6 It is therefore fair to conclude that the thoughts of many came together, culminating in what we now know as the Victoria Cross. Russell had helped highlight the issue, but made no suggestion of official change. The Duke of Newcastle had been discussing the matter with Prince Albert, initially around the idea of extending the Order of the Bath and subsequently in recognition of the difficulty in doing this.

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