Extraordinary Heroes : The Amazing Stories of the George Cross & Victoria Cross Recipients
The Victoria and George Crosses are the highest military and civil decorations of the United Kingdom, awarded for gallantry. The Victoria Cross, introduced in 1856, is awarded to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries for valour in the face of the enemy, while the George Cross was introduced during World War II so that civilians could also be awarded for acts of heroism, or conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger. There have been 1,356 Victoria Crosses awarded, and there have been 406 recipients of the George Cross since 1940.
In November 2010 a major new gallery opened at the Imperial War Museum London, with the world's largest collection of Victoria Crosses, belonging to Lord Ashcroft, went on display for the first time alongside the Imperial War Museum's existing collection of both Victoria Crosses and George Crosses. "The Lord Ashcroft Gallery" tells the stories of those men and women who were awarded medals for gallantry and brings to life the experiences of those who fought, served and died in the line of duty, whether on the front line or on the home front. This book reveals the fear and danger faced and overcome by all these ordinary men and women who became extraordinary heroes.