The Victoria Cross is established
Story by Sharon Adams
In the mid-1800s, the highest British military honours were almost exclusively awarded to senior officers under the observant eye of generals. But generals rarely make it to the front lines, where the heroism of brave junior officers and enlisted men mostly went unrecognized except among themselves.
The Crimean War changed that. For the first time, a war was covered by journalists. William Howard Russell of The Times reported on the bravery and plight of ordinary soldiers. A new award, open to all ranks, was proposed—the Victoria Cross, instituted on Feb. 5, 1856.