I think most people know that the Victoria Cross is struck from the bronze of Russian guns captured at Sebastopol but I have never seen a picture of the actual bronze blocks.
Pictured is a block of gun metal taken from a captured cannon at the Battle of Sevastapol during the Crimean war of the nineteenth century. Each Victory Cross is crafted from this metal by jewellers Hancocks of London and the block is kept under armed guard.
Victoria Cross (VC). The premier award for gallantry, the VC may be awarded to all ranks of the services and civilians for gallantry in the presence of the enemy. It may be awarded posthumously.
Description: A cross pattée in bronze. The obverse of the medal (shown here) bears a lion statant gardant on the royal crown, with the words ‘FOR VALOUR’ on a semi-circular scroll. The reverse bears a circular panel inside which is engraved the date of the act for which the decoration was awarded. The reverse of the suspender is engraved with the rank, name and ship, regiment or squadron of the recipient.
Clasp. A bronze bar ornamented with laurels may be issued to VC holders performing a further act of such bravery which would have merited award of the VC.
Ribbon. Plain crimson. Prior to 1918, a dark blue ribbon had been issued for the Royal Navy. When the ribbon alone is worn a replica of the cross in miniature is affixed to the centre of the ribbon.
History. Instituted by Queen Victoria to cover all actions since the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, the Victoria Cross has been awarded 1356 times and 3 bars have been awarded.
The VC is made from the bronze of Russian guns captured at Sebastopol, though modern research suggests that Chinese guns may have been used at various times.