Here, at Bomarsund in Finland, the very first Victoria Cross was won.
It is not every day that I am really surprised by military history. But today is such a day. I have learnt that the very first Victoria Cross was won during the Crimean War on one of the Finnish Åland Islands.
The first action to render a Victoria Cross (VC) was fought not that far from our capital, Stockholm. The man behind the heroism in 1854 was Charles Davis Lucas. I learnt this from a very short letter published in the latest issue of the Swedish journal Militär Historia, i.e. Military History.
I also learnt, from some online articles, that the fall of Bomarsund was seen as a large victory in France. In fact, there is an inscription to that effect on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Incidentally, the latest VC recipient, Bryan Budd, was born in Northern Ireland, just like the very first recipient.
After peace was signed in Paris in 1856, Russia promised not to have any military infrastructure on the Åland Islands, and they have ever since been a demilitarised area. Residents are also exempt from conscription to the Finnish Defence Forces.