Story: Military medals

Victoria Cross and bar recipient Charles Upham, 1993

Victoria Cross and bar recipient Charles Upham, 1993

Charles Upham (right) remains New Zealand’s most decorated soldier. He is one of only three people, and the only combat officer, to have been awarded the Victoria Cross, the British Commonwealth's highest gallantry award, twice. Upham is seen here with fellow war veteran Keith Howard in 1993 during Armistice Day celebrations. Upham’s Victoria Cross is closest to his lapel – it must always come first when worn with other medals. If the Victoria Cross is awarded more than once, the recipient does not receive another medal. Instead, a bar is added to the medal ribbon.

Upham’s other medals are the 1939–1945 Star, Africa Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939–1945 with oak leaf (the leaf signifies that Upham was mentioned in dispatches), New Zealand War Service Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953, Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977, New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327)
Reference: EP/1993/4090

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Military medals - Military medals overview', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 December 2021)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 20 Jun 2012