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Exhibition – Most Glorious of them All

January 30, 2006 - May 26, 2006

To mark the 150th Anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross in 1856, the Library and Museum of Freemasonry is mounting a new exhibition about some of the holders of Victoria Cross who were freemasons. The title of the exhibition is taken from a poem “VC” dedicated to Lord Wantage VC and written by his wife.

The criterion for the award is simple- conspicuous valour in the presence of the enemy- but its winners have been drawn from all sections of the armed forces (and include some civilians under military command) and from all walks of life. In freemasonry holders of the Victoria Cross have achieved high rank but many were simply loyal members of individual lodges.

The exhibition draws extensively on a private collection of objects associated with individual winners. It includes everyday objects, fighting tools, ceremonial items, photographs and masonic regalia. These objects provide a physical link to their owners, their everyday nature transcended by their association with heroism.

The image shows a jewel of the Earl Roberts Lodge No 3151. Frederick Sleigh Roberts (1832-1914) won the VC in India. He was Commander in Chief of the British Army from 1900 to 1904.

On the ribbon is a representation of the Victoria Cross in bronze coloured metal and relief, being the Royal crown surmounted by a crowned lion at the centre of a cross formy. A banner with forked ends is draped beneath the crown with text reading ‘FOR VALOUR’. Earl Roberts’ coat of arms is also shown painted in enamel.

The arms consist of a shield divided horizontally into two unequal sections divided by a wavy line. The bottom half of the shield contains three yellow cinquefoils on a blue background. The top section contains a red crown on a yellow enamel background with a white square containing the Red hand of Ulster in the top left corner. A knight’s helmet with red plumes surmounting an earl’s coronet tops the shield. Above this is the shield’s crest being a lion rearing on its hind legs and holding a wavy sword on a red and white corded rope design.

The shield is supported by, on the left, a Scots guard in ceremonial dress and on the right by a soldier. They stand on a pink banner with text painted in black reading ‘VIRTUTE / ET / VALORE’.



From January 30, 2006 until May 26, 2006


Freemasons’ Hall
60 Great Queen Street
London, WC2B 5AZ United Kingdom
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