In November 2013 – on Armistice Day – Lord Ashcroft unveiled a website giving details of his collection of Victoria Crosses (VCs), Britain and the Commonwealth’s most prestigious gallantry award for bravery in the presence of the enemy.
Over the past four decades, Lord Ashcroft has purchased more than 200 VCs, making it the largest collection of its kind in the world. The website provides a mass of information about each VC and its recipient.
Lord Ashcroft said: “I am delighted to be able to provide detailed information about my entire VC collection for the first time. I am proud to have established the world’s largest collection of VCs and I am thrilled that, since 2010, these decorations have been on public display.”
Lord Ashcroft bought his first VC, which was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856, at an auction in London in 1986. Although originally intended as a one-off purchase, he soon decided to build a collection.
His collection now contains more than one in eight of all the VCs ever awarded and his decorations are on display in a gallery bearing his name at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London. VCs and George Crosses (GCs) belonging to, or in the care of, the IWM are also on show in the gallery.
The website runs to more than 55,000 words and contains personal information about the VC recipient and the action that led to his decoration. The London Gazette citation, that accompanied the award of each VC, is detailed in full.