The Victoria Cross of Canada
: Croix de Victoria
) is a military decoration
modelled on the original British Victoria Cross
—instituted in 1856—in both intent and appearance, with several small changes. Created in 1993, it and the original are the highest honours in the Canadian honours system
(though the latter is no longer presented to Canadians
), taking precedence over
all other orders, decorations, and medals. It is awarded by either the Canadian monarch
or his or her viceregal
representative, the Governor General of Canada
, to any member of the Canadian Forces
or allies serving under or with Canadian military command for extraordinary valour and devotion to duty while facing hostile forces. Whereas in many other Commonwealth
countries the Victoria Cross can only be awarded for actions against the enemy in a wartime setting, the Canadian government
has a broader definition of the term enemy
, and so the Victoria Cross can be awarded for action against armed mutineers, pirates, or other such hostile forces without war being officially declared. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters VC
(for both English
), and also to receive an annuity
The Victoria Cross is awarded for "the most conspicuous bravery, a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty, in the presence of the enemy" at any point after 1 January 1993, may be presented posthumously, and, unlike its British counterpart, may be revoked. The main distinction between the Victoria Cross and the Cross of Valour is the specific reference to "the enemy", which the Canadian government has defined as a force hostile towards the Canadian Crown, including armed mutineers, rebels, rioters, and pirates, meaning that the Queen-in-Council does not officially have to declare war to give acknowledgement of the existence of a hostile force that fits the official description. Thus, a Canadian serving as part of a peacekeeping operation is eligible to be awarded the Victoria Cross if the service member fulfils the above criteria.
The Battle of Amiens (also known as the Third Battle of Picardy (French: 3ème Bataille de Picardie)), which began on 8 August 1918, was the opening phase of the Allied offensive later known as the Hundred Days Offensive that ultimately led to the end of the First World War. Allied forces advanced over seven miles on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war, with Henry Rawlinson's British Fourth Army playing the decisive role.
The battle is also notable for its effects on both sides' morale and the large number of surrendering German forces. This led Erich Ludendorff to describe the first day of the battle as "the black day of the German Army." Amiens was one of the first major battles involving armoured warfare and marked the end of trench warfare on the Western Front; fighting becoming mobile once again until the armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.
The battle began in dense fog at 4:20 a.m. on 8 August 1918. Under Rawlinson's Fourth Army, the British III Corps attacked north of the Somme, the Australian Corps to the south of the river in the centre of Fourth Army's front, and the Canadian Corps to the south of the Australians. The French 1st Army under General Debeney opened its preliminary bombardment at the same time, and began its advance 45 minutes later, supported by a battalion of 72 Whippet tanks.