By Melvin Charles Smith (auth.)

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6 The word ‘order’ generally meant that the award was open to the officer class alone. Many were not strictly military decorations; the Norwegian Order of Saint Olaf (1847), for example, could be awarded for either civilian or military service to the state. The Portuguese Military Order of Saint Ferdinand could be won both in combat for gallantry or in an office for outstanding staff work. 7 Britain lacked any national award purely for military service. For the lower ranks of the British Army there were no national awards whatsoever; the various grades of the Order of the Bath were officer-only, and at that excluded lieutenants and captains.

In late November they began correspondence with Lord Panmure on the subject, hammering out the parameters of the award. 79 The Cross represented cheap balm to soothe the wounded pride of the Queen, and Panmure was happy to cooperate fully with the Crown’s desires on a matter so apparently inconsequential. 80 Chief among Victoria and Albert’s desires was to make sure the Cross remained a purely royal award, that parliament could not take credit for its creation nor meddle in its administration. Panmure assured the Queen that the warrant ‘Must declare throughout the Royal Will and Pleasure of the Queen – and bear the stamp of an act of Her Own prerogative.

The Portuguese Military Order of Saint Ferdinand could be won both in combat for gallantry or in an office for outstanding staff work. 7 Britain lacked any national award purely for military service. For the lower ranks of the British Army there were no national awards whatsoever; the various grades of the Order of the Bath were officer-only, and at that excluded lieutenants and captains. There were informal ways of recognizing the heroism of private soldiers and non-commissioned officers, the rare mention in dispatches or promotion being the most common.

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Awarded for Valour: A History of the Victoria Cross and the by Melvin Charles Smith (auth.)
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