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Later, the historian John Glanfield wrote that, through the use of X-ray studies of older Victoria Crosses, it was determined that the metal used for almost all VCs since December 1914 is taken from antique Chinese guns, replacing an earlier gun.

A likely explanation is that these cannon were taken as trophies during the First Opium War and held in the Woolwich repository.

Other European countries had awards that did not discriminate against class or rank; France awarded the Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honour, established 1802) and The Netherlands gave the Order of William (established in 1815).

There was a growing feeling among the public and in the Royal Court that a new award was needed to recognise incidents of gallantry that were unconnected with a man's lengthy or meritorious service.

developed their own national honours systems, separate and independent of the British or Imperial honours system.

As each country's system evolved, operational gallantry awards were developed with the premier award of each system—the Victoria Cross for Australia, the Canadian Victoria Cross and the Victoria Cross for New Zealand—being created and named in honour of the Victoria Cross.

It is awarded for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" to members of the British armed forces. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours.

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A number of public and private collections are devoted to the Victoria Cross.

The cross is suspended by a ring from a seriffed "V" to a bar ornamented with laurel leaves, through which the ribbon passes.

The reverse of the suspension bar is engraved with the recipient's name, rank, number and unit.

Officers were eligible for an award of one of the junior grades of the Order of the Bath and brevet promotions while a Mention in Despatches existed as an alternative award for acts of lesser gallantry.

This structure was very limited; in practice awards of the Order of the Bath were confined to officers of field rank.