Action That Won First VC

Accommodation Search

History on 21st June


Battle of Vitoria

World’s 1st Computer Program Runs in Manchester

Action That Won First VC

The 21st of June 1854 AD

Although the Victoria Cross was not actually instituted until January 29 1856 , its conditions allowed for the award being given to those who had previously fulfilled the criteria of conspicuous bravery, self-sacrifice or some particularly valorous act during the then ongoing Crimean War. Thus it was that the man regarded as the first recipient of the VC was Charles Lucas, for his incredible coolness and bravery on June 21 1854 – though Commander Henry Raby was the first to have the award presented to him on June 26 1857, the first award ceremony when Queen Victoria gave out 62 of the medals.
Lucas was a 20-year-old mate (a rank which was superseded by that of Sub-Lieutenant a few years later) aboard the warship HMS Hecla, engaged in the bombardment of the Russian fortress at Bomarsund on the Alund Islands in the Baltic. The Russian and Finnish troops there returned fire, and one of their artillery pieces managed to hit the Hecla with a fused shell which landed on the upper deck. As his comrades threw themselves down Armagh -born Lucas ran and grabbed the shell, raced to the side and threw it towards the water. It exploded before hitting the sea, but nobody was injured in the blast which might otherwise have at the very least killed many of the sailors, and possibly sunk the ship.
Immediately promoted by the Captain of the Hecla to Lieutenant, Lucas went on to marry that Captain’s daughter, and rose to the rank of Rear-Admiral, dying aged 80 three days after Britain declared war on Germany in 1914 . His VC can be seen at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

More famous dates here

3894 views since 14th June 2010

Brit Quote:
The most happy marriage I can picture or imagine to myself would be the union of a deaf man to a blind woman - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
More Quotes

On this day:
Battle of Towton - 1461, Battle of Alresford - 1644, Albert Hall Opens - 1871, Captain Scott dies - 1912, First London Marathon - 1981
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages

//