In For Valour, the highest British military awards in connection with the Battle of Arnhem will be displayed together for the very first time in the Airborne Museum Hartenstein.
For Valour is a tribute to all of the British soldiers for the courage they displayed during the Battle of Arnhem, symbolised by those who were awarded the Victoria Cross (VC). These five VCs tell the dramatic stories of Lieutenant John Hollington Grayburn, Flight Lieutenant David Samuel Anthony Lord, Lance-sergeant John Daniel Baskeyfield, Major Robert Henry Cain and Captain Lionel Ernest Queripel. Cain was the only survivor of the Battle of Arnhem; the other four soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.
Significance Victoria Cross
The VC is the highest and most prestigious British military award for exceptional courage shown in time of war. This medal was introduced by Queen Victoria on 29 January 1856 to pay tribute to courageous acts by soldiers of all ranks in the British forces. It was a direct consequence of the Crimean War (1853-1856). Since its introduction in 1856 the medal has been made by a small jeweller’s firm in London, Hancocks & Co. In keeping with tradition, the bronze used in the medal comes from a canon that was captured at the siege of Sebastopol during the Crimean War. The status of the Victoria Cross has grown to almost mythical proportions.
In the previous exhibition ‘EGO. Remember me’ (2016-2017) at the Airborne Museum, the VC belonging to John Grayburn was on display. During the planning for that exhibition, it was decided to try to show all five Arnhem-related Victoria Crosses in a temporary exhibition. These five VCs are now in diverse collections in Great Britain: the Lord Ashcroft Medal Collection housed in the Imperial War Museum, the Staffordshire Regiment Museum, the Airborne Assault Museum and the Grayburn family collection. The status of Airborne Museum Hartenstein — the headquarters of the British First Airborne Division during the Battle of Arnhem — as a participant in the annual September commemoration and as a site of pilgrimage for veterans and their families, played an important role in being able to temporarily present the medals in Oosterbeek.
For Valour will be on display in Airborne Museum Hartenstein from 6 April to 1 October 2018.
This exhibition has partly been made possible by: