For Valour: The Victoria Cross

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The Victoria Cross is a military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other Orders, decorations and medals; it may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians under military command. The 628 awards of the Victoria Cross given for action during the First World War account for almost half the 1356 Victoria Crosses awarded throughout its history. (Wikipedia).

Wikipedia lists the recipients of the Victoria Cross. We have taken the data which contains geographic locations relating to where actions took place to receive an award and visualised these on a map.

Mapping the Victoria Cross

On the interactive map you can click on the pins and link to the relevant Wikipedia entries for individuals who earned the medal.

View the map in Google Maps.

Instructions for opening the map in Google Earth: If you haven’t already, download Google Earth to your computer, then download this KML file. A KML file is a file that contains geographic annotation and visualisation for earth viewing software. Open the file in Google Earth. You can use your cursor to move around the globe and in many cases zoom down to street level. Click on the pins for links to Wikipedia articles on the individuals who were awarded the cross.

You can also view this data in a short animation:

Do note that this is not the complete list of those who were awarded the Victoria Cross. The dataset only covers individuals for which we know exactly where they they performed actions which led to the award (c.500). The data is available in our Github account, should you want to improve it.

Things to consider

Explore the map and consider the locations the award was given. Do you think notions of ‘valour’ and ‘courage’ in World War I led to a greater number of dedications than at any other time in history? What strikes you about the locations where the awards were earned? You may find Edward Madigan’s short talk A Better Part of Valour (Oxford Podcasts CC BY-NC-SA) complimentary when considering the context that the Victoria Cross was earned.

Cite : For Valour: The Victoria Cross ( by Pat Lockley ( licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales (

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About Pat Lockley

I helped to develop this site's structure and elements of the theme. I worked to develop a series of visualisations and open data resources for this site and to help approach World War One from new perspectives More examples of my work exist on my website
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