Victoria Cypher
"VR" for the United Kingdom

"VRI" for the Colonies

 
 
 

The Volunteer Officers' Decoration

    Instituted 1892 to reward the "long and meritorious services of Officers of proved capacity in Our Volunteer Forces in Great Britain" and extended in 1894 to the colonies. The qualifying period was 20 years commissioned service, with any service in the ranks counting at half the rate.
   Description: a silver skeletal badge in the form of oval oak wreath "tied with gold", 43 mm high by 35.5 mm wide, containing the gilt finished crowned cypher of Queen Victoria N, Edward VII or George V. This decoration was superseded by the Territorial Decoration in 1908 with in the UK (see table for the colonies)
The reverse is plain except in the case of the earlier issues which are hallmarked.  Suspension is by means of a free ring.
   Naming: issued unnamed although frequently encountered unofficially engraved in various styles.
   Ribbon; 38mm wide dark green.
  
Place Instituted General qualifying period (years) superseded cypher types superseded by:
Great Britain 1892 20 1908 VR. EVIIR The Territorial Decoration
India 1894 18 1899 VRI, EVIIR Indian Volunteer Officers' Decoration
"Colonies" 1894 20 1899 VRI, EVIIR Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration
Bermuda 1894 20 1930 VRI, EVIIR, GVR Efficiency Decoration

 

 
Official  announcement of the institution of the decoration:
 

War Office, July 29th, 1892.

THE VOLUNTEER OFFICERS' DECORATION WARRANT

VICTORIA, R.
 
   VICTORIA, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, to all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting!
   WHEREAS it is Our Royal desire to reward the long and meritorious services of Officers of proved capacity in Our Volunteer Force ; Now for the purpose of attaining this end, We have instituted, constituted and created, and by these presents for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, do institute, constitute and create a new Decoration which We are desirous should be highly prized by the Officers of Our Volunteer Force ; and We are graciously pleased to make, ordain and establish the following rules and ordinances for the government of the same, which shall from henceforth be observed and kept: —
Firstly.—It is Ordained that the Decoration shall be styled and designated "The Volunteer Officers' Decoration," and shall consist of an Oak Wreath in silver tied with gold, having in the centre the Royal Cipher and Crown in gold.
Secondly.—It is ordained that the Decoration shall be suspended from the left breast by a green riband of one inch and a half in width from a silver Oak bar-brooch.
Thirdly.—It is ordained that the Decoration may be worn by Us, Our Heirs and Successors, Kings and Queens Regnant of the United Kingdom of Great. Britain and Ireland ; and it shall be competent for Us, Our Heirs and Successors, to confer the Decoration upon any of the Princes of the Royal Family of Great Britain and Ireland.
Fourthly.—It is ordained that no person shall be eligible for this Decoration nor be nominated thereto unless he is or was a Commissioned Officer and has served twenty years in Our Volunteer Force—is recommended by the Commanding Officer of the Corps in which he has served—and is duly certified by the District Military Authorities in which the Corps is located, as having been an efficient and thoroughly capable Officer, in every way deserving of such a decoration; Provided nevertheless and We do hereby declare that half of any time during which an Officer of Our Volunteer Force may have served in the ranks of Our said Force shall reckon as qualifying service towards the twenty years required as aforesaid.
Fifthly.—It is ordained that the names of those upon whom We may be pleased to confer the Decoration shall be published in the London Gazette, and a registry thereof kept in the office of Our Principal Secretary of State for War.
Sixthly.—In order to make such additional provision as shall effectually preserve pure this most honourable distinction, it is ordained, that if any person on whom it shall be conferred be convicted of any act derogatory to his honour as an Officer and gentleman, his name shall forthwith be erased from the registry of individuals upon whom the said Decoration shall have been conferred, by an Order from Us under Our Royal Sign Manual; and a notification thereof shall be duly published in the London Gazette.
Lastly.—We reserve to Ourselves, Our Heirs and Successors, full power of annulling, altering, abrogating, augmenting, interpreting, or dispensing with these regulations, or any part thereof, by a Notification under Our Royal Sign Manual.
Given at Our Court at Osborne, the twenty-fifth day of July, in the fifty-sixth year of Our Reign, and in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two.

By Her Majesty's Command,
Edward Stanhope.
 
 
Official  announcement of the extension of the decoration to the Colonies:
 

War Office, May 26, 1894.

Extension of the Volunteer Officers' Decoration Warrant to the Colonies and India: —

 
VICTORIA, R.I.
 
    WHEREAS by our Royal Warrant of the twenty-fifth day of July, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two, We were graciously pleased to institute a new Decoration for the purpose of rewarding the long and meritorious services of Officers of proved capacity in Our Volunteer Forces in Great Britain ;
    And whereas it has been represented to Us by Our Principal Secretary of State for War, on the recommendation of our Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies acting on behalf of the several Governments of Our Colonies, and of Our Principal Secretary of State for India in Council, that the extension of the grant of this Decoration for Long Service to Our Volunteer Forces throughout Our Empire would be highly valued by them ;
    Now, to attain this end, We have extended, and by these Presents for Us, Our Heirs, and Successors, do extend the grant of this Decoration to the Officers of the Volunteer Forces throughout Our Empire under the same terms and conditions as those on which it is granted to Officers in Our Volunteer Force by Our Royal Warrant of the twenty-fifth day of July, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two, except that in the case of India eighteen years' service shall be the qualifying period : Provided always that the power of conferring the Decoration upon an Officer, or of removing the name of an Officer from the Registry of individuals upon whom the said Decoration shall have been conferred shall be exercised on Our behalf, with the same force as if exercised by Us, by the Governor General of India, the Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada, or by the Governor of the Colony or Dependency according as such Officer shall have served in a Volunteer Force of India or of such Colony or Dependency ; and the name of an, Officer so granted the Decoration or removed from the Registry shall be published in the Official Gazette of India or of the said Colony or Dependency as the case may be.
    And, We do further ordain that Officers who have given qualifying service in the Volunteer Forces of any portion of Our Empire, shall be entitled to reckon such service as part of the qualifying service required for this Decoration.
    And We reserve to Ourself, Our Heirs, and Successors full power of altering, annulling, abrogating, augmenting, interpreting, or dispensing with these Regulations, or any part thereof, by a notification under the Royal Sign Manual.
   Given at Our Court at Balmoral, this twentyfourth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-four, in the fiftyseventh year of Our Reign.

By Her Majesty's Command,
H. Campbell-Hannerman.

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Officers' Decoration

 VR Cypher.

first type reverse with hallmark for Garrard and Co. London 1892.
 (note the ring is also struck with the standard mark)

   
   
   
   
above L & R; the correct silver oak leaf pattern "bar-brooch" as defined in the warrant.
   
 

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