Below is a breakdown of the first set of VCs issued for the Crimean War:
- 1855; Sebastopol, Crimea – 58
- 1854; Battle of Inkerman – 19
- 1854; Battle of Balaclava – 9*
- 1854; Battle of the Alma – 7
- 1855; Sea of Azov – 7
- 1854; Aland Islands, Finland – 3
- 1855; Fort of Viborg, Finland – 2
- 1855; Woronzoff Road -2
- 1855; Kars – 1
- 1855; Taganrog – 1
- 1855; Genitichi – 1
- 1854; Little Inkerman -1
*Includes the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade
I think these figures raise two important issues.
The first is that medals were issued for actions in both Russia and Finland. The Crimean War was a global war, which spread far beyond the Crimea. Today, the name of the conflict illustrates are ignorance, however at the time the war was very much a European, as well as Russian, affair.
The second point is the shear number of medals. My research has shown that the initial flood of enthusiasm for the new medal resulted in a large number of awards being issued, many of which would have never been passed by the committee only a few years later. A feeling developed, pioneered at times by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, that the medal must remain exclusive. The army agreed with this view, with many in the higher echelons believing that its existence would drive many solider onto new heights of gallantry. Yet, not all thought that this was such a desirable approach for the common solider. The Duke of Wellington felt strongly that a solider should do his duty and that excessive acts of bravery had a negative impact on the cohesion of the unit.