The Holders of the Victoria Cross

The origins of the Victoria Cross lay in the horrors of the Crimean War which, thanks to newspapermen such as William Russell, were reported back to the people of Britain more speedily than in any previous conflict. Amongst those deeply affected by the war were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who felt that there was an urgent need to recognise the acts of gallantry being performed by the officers and men under service.
Despite mush official wrangling the Victoria Cross came into being early in 1856 and the very first investiture was set to be carried out by Her Majesty in person in Hyde Park, London on 26th June 1857.
Given the foremost military and naval role played by Portsmouth at the time it is hardly surprising that several recipients of the new award should have some connection with the Borough. What is perhaps more astonishing is that five of the first eleven to receive the Victoria Cross from Her Majesty are buried in Portsmouth. The first man was Commander Raby who was followed shortly by Lieutenant Hewett (5th in line) and Gunner Robarts (6th), all three of whom are buried in Highland Road Cemetery. Seaman Reeves was (10th) and Boatswain Curtis (11th), buried in Mile End and Kingston cemeteries respectively.
There are a further nine recipients of the VC who either died in or are buried in Portsmouth and a dozen others who have varying degrees of connectivity with Portsmouth.
Details of each man's award and other biographical details where known have been posted on our sister website Memorials in Portsmouth. Individual pages can be accessed directly by clicking on the following links:-

In Highland Road Cemetery
Sir William Nathan Wrighte Hewett VC
Israel Harding VC
Henry James Raby VC
Hugh Stewart Cochrane VC
John Robarts VC
Hugh Shaw VC
William Temple VC
William Goate VC
In Milton Cemetery
Sidney James Day VC
John Danagher VC
In Kingston Cemetery
Henry Curtis VC
James Ockendon VC
Thomas Reeves VC
Norman Finch VC
Others (Buried outside Portsmouth)
Norman Douglas Holbrook VC
Edward Robinson VC
Edward Unwin VC
Edward Stephen Fogarty Fegen VC
William Harry Nickerson VC
Francis John William Harvey VC
Nowell Salmon VC
John Edmund Commerell VC
John Leak VC
Robert Vaughan Gorle VC