Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded on 4 June 1917 by King George V as a reward for outstanding achievements and is "conferred upon a limited number of persons for whom this special distinction seems to be the most appropriate form of recognition, constituting an honour disassociated either from the acceptance of title or the classification of merit."Founded on the same date as the Order of the British Empire, it is sometimes regarded as the junior order to the Order of Merit. Now described as "awarded for having a major contribution to the arts, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time", the first recipients, were all decorated for "services in connection with the war" and were listed in The London Gazette The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court is now the Chapel of the Order; the order consists of a maximum 65 members. Additionally, foreigners or Commonwealth citizens from outside the realms may be added as honorary members.
Membership confers no title or precedence, but those inducted into the single-class order are entitled to use the post-nominal letters CH. Appointments can be made on the advice of Commonwealth realm prime ministers. For Canadians, the advice to the Sovereign can come from a variety of officials; the order was limited to 50 ordinary members, but in 1943 it was enlarged to 65, with a quota of 45 members for the United Kingdom, seven for Australia, two each for New Zealand and South Africa, 9 for India and the other British colonies. The quota numbers were altered in 1970 to 47 for the United Kingdom, 7 for Australia, 2 for New Zealand, 9 for other Commonwealth realms; the quota was adjusted again in 1975 by adding 2 places to the New Zealand quota and reducing the 9 for the other countries to 7. While still able to nominate candidates to the Order, Australia has stopped the allocation of this award to their citizens in preference to its national awards. Margaret MacMillan, a Canadian historian, was given the award in 2017.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, a New Zealand soprano, was given the award in 2018. The insignia of the order is in the form of an oval medallion, surmounted by an imperial crown, with a rectangular panel within, depicting on it an oak tree, a shield with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom hanging from one branch, and, on the left, a mounted knight in armour; the insignia's blue border bears in gold letters the motto IN ACTION FAITHFUL AND IN HONOUR CLEAR, Alexander Pope's description in his Epistle to Mr Addison of James Craggs used on Craggs' monument in Westminster Abbey. Men wear women on a bow at the left shoulder. Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II List of Members of the Order of the Companions of Honour List of honorary British knights and dames List of people who have declined a British honour
A baronet or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess, is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown. The practice of awarding baronetcies was introduced in England in the 14th century and was used by James I of England in 1611 as a means of raising funds. A baronetcy is the only British hereditary honour, not a peerage, with the exception of the Anglo-Irish Black Knight, White Knight and Green Knight. A baronet is addressed as "Sir" or "Dame" in the case of a baronetess but ranks above all knighthoods and damehoods in the order of precedence, except for the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle, the dormant Order of St Patrick. Baronets are conventionally seen to belong to the lesser nobility though William Thoms claims that "The precise quality of this dignity is not yet determined, some holding it to be the head of the nobiles minores, while others, rank Baronets as the lowest of the nobiles majores, because their honour, like that of the higher nobility, is both hereditary and created by patent."Comparisons with continental titles and ranks are tenuous due to the British system of primogeniture and the fact that claims to baronetcies must be proven.
In practice this means that the UK Peerage and Baronetage consists of about 2000 families, 0.01% of UK families. In some continental countries the nobility consisted of about 5% of the population, in most countries titles are no longer recognised or regulated by the state; the term baronet has medieval origins. Sir Thomas de La More, describing the Battle of Boroughbridge, mentioned that baronets took part, along with barons and knights. Edward III is known to have created eight baronets in 1328. Present-day Baronets date from 1611 when James I granted Letters Patent to 200 gentlemen of good birth with an income of at least £1,000 a year. In 1619 James I established the Baronetage of Ireland; the new baronets were each required to pay 2,000 marks or to support six colonial settlers for two years. Over a hundred of these baronetcies, now familiarly known as Scottish baronetcies, survive to this day; as a result of the Union of England and Scotland in 1707, all future creations were styled baronets of Great Britain.
Following the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, new creations were styled as baronets of the United Kingdom. Under royal warrants of 1612 and 1613, certain privileges were accorded to baronets. Firstly, no person or persons should have the younger sons of peers. Secondly, the right of knighthood was established for the eldest sons of baronets, thirdly, baronets were allowed to augment their armorial bearings with the Arms of Ulster on an inescutcheon: "in a field Argent, a Hand Geules"; these privileges were extended to baronets of Ireland, for baronets of Scotland the privilege of depicting the Arms of Nova Scotia as an augmentation of honour. The former applies to this day for all baronets of Great Britain and of the United Kingdom created subsequently; the title of baronet was conferred upon noblemen who lost the right of individual summons to Parliament, was used in this sense in a statute of Richard II. A similar title of lower rank was banneret. Since 1965 only one new baronetcy has been created, for Sir Denis Thatcher on 7 December 1990, husband of a former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Like knights, baronets are accorded the style "Sir" before their first name. Baronetesses in their own right use "Dame" before their first name, while wives of baronets use "Lady" followed by the husband's surname only, this by longstanding courtesy. Wives of baronets are not baronetesses. Unlike knighthoods – which apply to the recipient only – a baronetcy is hereditarily entailed; the eldest son of a baronet, born in wedlock succeeds to a baronetcy upon his father's death, but will not be recognised until his name is recognised by being placed on the Official Roll. With some exceptions granted with special remainder by letters patent, baronetcies descend through the male line. A full list of extant baronets appears in Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, which published a record of extinct baronetcies. A baronetcy is not a peerage, so baronets like knights and junior members of peerage families are commoners and not peers of the realm. According to the Home Office there is a tangible benefit to the honour of baronet: according to law, a baronet is entitled to have "a pall supported by two men, a principal mourner and four others" assisting at his funeral.
Baronets had other rights, including the right to have the eldest son knighted on his 21st birthday. However, at the beginning of George IV's reign, these rights were eroded by Orders-in-Council on the grounds that Sovereigns should not be bound by acts made by their predecessors. Baronets although never having been automatically entitled to heraldic supporters, were allowed them in heredity in the first half of the 19th century where the title holder was a
The George Cross is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded "for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger", not in the presence of the enemy, to members of the British armed forces and to British civilians. Posthumous awards have been allowed, it was awarded to residents of Commonwealth countries, most of which have since established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians including police, emergency services and merchant seamen. Many of the awards have been presented by the British monarch to recipients or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin; these investitures are held at Buckingham Palace. The George Cross was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. At this time, during the height of the Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage; the existing awards open to civilians were not judged suitable to meet the new situation, therefore it was decided that the George Cross and the George Medal would be instituted to recognise both civilian gallantry in the face of enemy action and brave deeds more generally.
Announcing the new award, the King said: In order that they should be worthily and promptly recognised, I have decided to create, at once, a new mark of honour for men and women in all walks of civilian life. I propose to give my name to this new distinction, which will consist of the George Cross, which will rank next to the Victoria Cross, the George Medal for wider distribution; the medal was designed by Percy Metcalfe. The Warrant for the GC, dated 24 September 1940, was published in The London Gazette on 31 January 1941; the King in his speech announcing the new award, stated that it would rank next to the Victoria Cross. This was second on the Order of Wear, much higher than the existing awards for bravery not in the presence of the enemy, the highest being the two-class Albert Medal. In a substitution of awards unprecedented in the history of British decorations, holders of the EGM were required to exchange their insignia for the GC, most receiving their replacement GC at a formal investiture.
The four honorary EGM awards to foreigners were not exchanged and could therefore continue to be worn. In 1971, surviving recipients of the Albert Medal and the Edward Medal became George Cross recipients, but unlike the EGM exchange of insignia, they had the option of retaining their original insignia. Of the 64 holders of the Albert Medal and 68 holders of the Edward Medal eligible to exchange, 49 and 59 took up the option; the GC, which may be awarded posthumously, is granted in recognition of: acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger. The award is for civilians but for military personnel whose actions would not be eligible to receive military awards, such as gallantry not in the face of the enemy; the Warrant states: The Cross is intended for civilians and award in Our military services is to be confined to actions for which purely military Honours are not granted. The Cross shall be worn by recipients on the left breast suspended from a ribbon one and a quarter inches in width, of dark blue, that it shall be worn after the Victoria Cross and in front of the Insignia of all British Orders of Chivalry.
When the Cross is worn by a woman, it may be worn on the left shoulder, suspended from a ribbon fashioned into a bow. In June 1941 the specification of the ribbon width was amended to one and a half inches. Bars can be awarded for further acts of bravery meriting the GC, although none have yet been awarded. In common with the Victoria Cross, in undress uniform or on occasions when the medal ribbon alone is worn, a miniature replica of the cross is affixed to the centre of the ribbon, a distinction peculiar to these two premier awards for bravery. In the event of a second award, a second replica would be worn on the ribbon. Recipients are entitled to the postnominal letters GC. All original individual GC awards are published in The London Gazette; the George Cross Committee of the Cabinet Office considers cases of civilian gallantry. The Committee has no formal terms of reference. Since its inception in 1940, the GC has been awarded 408 times, 394 to men, 12 to women, one award to the Island of Malta and one to the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
About half the recipients have been civilians. There have been 163 original awards including those to Malta and RUC, including 106 made before 1947. There have been 245 exchange awards, 112 to Empire Gallantry Medal recipients, 65 to Albert Medal recipients and 68 to Edward Medal recipients. Of the 161 individuals who received original awards, 86 have been posthumous. In addition, there were four posthumous recipients of the Empire Gallantry Medal whose awards were gazetted after the start of the Second World War and whose awards were exchanged for the GC. All the other exchange recipients were living as of the date of the decisions for the exchanges; the George Cross has, on the express instruction of the Sovereign, been awarded, to the island of Malta and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The GC was awarded to the island of Malta in a letter dated 15 April 1942 from King George VI to the island's Governor Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie: To honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history
Order of New Zealand
The Order of New Zealand is the highest honour in New Zealand's honours system, created "to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity". It was instituted by royal warrant of 6 February 1987; the order is modelled on the British Order of Order of the Companions of Honour. The order comprises the Sovereign and ordinary and honorary members; the ordinary membership is limited to 20 living members, at any time there may be fewer than 20. Additional members may be appointed to commemorate important royal, state or national occasions, such appointments were made in 1990 for the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi, in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, in 2007 for the 20th anniversary of the institution of the Order, in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Honorary membership is for citizens of nations. Members are entitled to the post-nominal letters "ONZ". Appointments to the order are made by royal warrant under the monarch's sign manual on the prime minister’s advice.
The order is administered by a Registrar. The insignia is made up of an oval medallion of the Arms of New Zealand in gold and coloured enamel, worn on a white and ochre ribbon around the neck for men or a bow for women on their left shoulder. Sovereign: The Queen of New ZealandOfficers: Secretary and Registrar: Michael L. C. Webster. Buckingham Palace page on the Order of New Zealand Order of New Zealand at New Zealand Defence Force New Zealand Legislation; the statutes of the Order can be found as SR 1987/67 of New Zealand regulations
The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces, it may be awarded posthumously. It was awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours, it may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been presented by the British monarch; these investitures are held at Buckingham Palace. The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients. Only 15 medals, 11 to members of the British Army, four to the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War.
The traditional explanation of the source of the metal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the Siege of Sevastopol. However, research has suggested another origin for the material. Historian John Glanfield has established that the metal for most of the medals made since December 1914 came from two Chinese cannon, that there is no evidence of Russian origin. Owing to its rarity, the VC is prized and the medal has fetched over £400,000 at auction. A number of public and private collections are devoted to the Victoria Cross; the private collection of Lord Ashcroft, amassed since 1986, contains over one-tenth of all VCs awarded. Following a 2008 donation to the Imperial War Museum, the Ashcroft collection went on public display alongside the museum's Victoria and George Cross collection in November 2010. Beginning with the Centennial of Confederation in 1967, followed in 1975 by Australia and New Zealand, developed their own national honours systems, separate from 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. These are unique awards of each honours system, assessed and presented by each country. In 1854, after 39 years of peace, Britain found itself fighting a major war against Russia; the Crimean War was one of the first wars with modern reporting, the dispatches of William Howard Russell described many acts of bravery and valour by British servicemen that went unrewarded. Before the Crimean War, there was no official standardised system for recognition of gallantry within the British armed forces. 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 limited. Brevet promotions or Mentions in Despatches were confined to those who were under the immediate notice of the commanders in the field members of the commander's own staff.
Other European countries had awards that did not discriminate against rank. 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 the length or merit of a man's service. Queen Victoria issued a Warrant under the Royal sign-manual on 29 January 1856 that constituted the VC; the order was backdated to 1854 to recognise acts of valour during the Crimean War. Queen Victoria had instructed the War Office to strike a new medal that would not recognise birth or class; the medal was meant to be a simple decoration that would be prized and eagerly sought after by those in the military services. To maintain its simplicity, Queen Victoria, under the guidance of Prince Albert, vetoed the suggestion that the award be called The Military Order of Victoria and instead suggested the name Victoria Cross; the original warrant stated that the Victoria Cross would only be awarded to officers and men who had served in the presence of the enemy and had performed some signal act of valour or devotion.
The first ceremony was held on 26 June 1857 at which Queen Victoria invested 62 of the 111 Crimean recipients in a ceremony in Hyde Park, London. A single company of jewellers, Hancocks of London, has been responsible for the production of every VC awarded since its inception, it has long been believed that all the VCs were cast from the cascabels of two cannon that were captured from the Russians at the siege of Sevastopol. However, in 1990 Creagh and Ashton conducted a metallurgical examination of the VCs in the custody of the Australian War Memorial, 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 all VCs since December 1914 is taken from antique Chinese guns, replacing an earlier gun. Creagh noted the existence of Chinese inscriptions on the cannon, which are now legible due to corrosion. A explanation is that these cannon were taken as trophies during the First Opium War and held in the Woolwich repository.
It was thought that some medals made during the First World War were composed of metal captured from different Chinese guns during the Boxer Rebellion. This is not so
Queen's Service Order
The Queen's Service Order, established by royal warrant of Queen Elizabeth II on 13 March 1975, is used to recognise "valuable voluntary service to the community or meritorious and faithful services to the Crown or similar services within the public sector, whether in elected or appointed office". This order was created after a review of New Zealand's honours system in 1974; the Queen's Service Order replaced the Imperial Service Order in New Zealand. The monarch of New Zealand is the Sovereign of the order and those who are appointed as members are "Companions". Companions are classified into Ordinary, Extra and Honorary members. Ordinary Companions are those being New Zealand citizens of Commonwealth realms. Ordinary membership is limited to 50 appointments per annum. Members of the Royal Family can be named "Extra Companions"; those citizens of countries not sharing the monarch of New Zealand as their head of state may be appointed as "Honorary Companions". "Additional Companions" may be appointed in honour of important royal, state or national occasions.
The Governor-General of New Zealand is an additional companion of the order in her own right and is the order's "Principal Companion". Former Governors-General or their spouses, may be appointed as an "Additional Companion"; the clerk of New Zealand's Executive Council, or another person appointed by the Sovereign, is the “Secretary and Registrar” of the Order. Companions are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "QSO". Before 2007, awards were distinguished between those made for "public" and "community service". Appointments to the order are made by royal warrant under the monarch's royal sign-manual and countersigned by the Principal Companion or the Secretary and Register in his or her place. Appointments are announced in the New Zealand Gazette; the insignia of the order is a stylised manuka flower with five petals, which contains the effigy of the reigning monarch surrounded by a red circle inscribed FOR SERVICE — MŌ NGA MAHI NUI, crowned at the top. The ribbon has a traditional Māori Poutama motif of black and red diagonal'steps' in the centre with red stripes along each edge of the ribbon.
The insignia is worn on the left lapel of the coat for men or from a ribbon tied in a bow at the left shoulder for women. The Governor-General of New Zealand additionally wears the badge on a thin gold chain. There is a related Queen's Service Medal, a silver circular medal bearing the effigy of the reigning monarch on the obverse, the Coat of Arms of New Zealand on the reverse; the ribbon or bow pattern is the same as the Queen's Service Order. The medal, before 2005, was awarded for "public" and "community service". Sovereign: The Queen Principal Companion: The Governor-General Extra Companions: The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCVO ONZ GBE AK CC CMM QSO GCL CD PC ADC The Prince of Wales KG KT GCB OM AK QSO GCL CD PC ADC The Princess Royal KG KT GCVO QSO CD Additional Companions The Rt. Hon. Sir William Heseltine, – Former Private Secretary to the Sovereign The Hon. Dame Catherine Tizard, – Former Governor-General of New Zealand The Rt. Hon; the Lord Fellows, – Former Private Secretary to the Sovereign The Rt.
Hon. Sir Michael Hardie Boys, – Former Governor-General of New Zealand Mary, Lady Hardie Boys, – Former Vice–Regal Consort of New Zealand The Hon. Dame Silvia Cartwright, – Former Governor-General of New Zealand Peter Cartwright, – Former Vice–Regal Consort of New Zealand The Rt. Hon. Sir Anand Satyanand, – Former Governor-General of New Zealand The Rt. Hon; the Lord Janvrin, – Former Private Secretary to the Sovereign Susan, Lady Satyanand, – Former Vice–Regal Consort of New Zealand Lieutenant General The Rt. Hon. Sir Jerry Mateparae, – Former Governor-General of New Zealand and former Chief of Defence Force Janine, Lady Mateparae, – Former Vice–Regal Consort of New Zealand The Rt. Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy, – Governor-General of New Zealand The Rt. Hon; the Lord Geidt, – Former Private Secretary to the SovereignOfficers: Secretary and Registrar: Michael L. C. Webster. British and Commonwealth orders and decorations New Zealand Honours System Official Site, has images of the various insignia. "Changes to QSO and QSM Honours affect Gov Gen".
Statutes of the Queen's Service Order – legislation.govt.nz Warrant under the Order's seal reconstituting the Order
New Zealand Bravery Star
The New Zealand Bravery Star is the second level civil decoration of New Zealand. It was instituted by Royal Warrant on 20 September 1999 as part of the move to replace British bravery awards with an indigenous New Zealand Bravery system; the medal, which may be awarded posthumously, is granted in recognition of "acts of outstanding bravery in situations of danger". The medal is a civilian award, but it is awarded to members of the armed forces who perform acts of bravery in non-operational circumstances (given that the New Zealand gallantry awards may only be awarded "while involved in war and warlike operational service". Bars are awarded to the NZBS in recognition of the performance of further acts of bravery meriting the award. Recipients are entitled to the postnominal letters "NZBS"; the medal replaced the award of the George Medal in respect of acts of bravery in, or meriting recognition by, New Zealand. Orders and medals of New Zealand New Zealand gallantry awards New Zealand bravery awards New Zealand campaign medals Mackay, J and Mussel, J - Medals Yearbook - 2005, Token Publishing.
New Zealand Bravery Star, New Zealand Defence Force The New Zealand Bravery Awards, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – list of awardees