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22 July 2016

At the DNW Auction today, the VC Group awarded to General George Channer realised £200,000.

27th June 2016

Morton & Eden sold the Indian Mutiny Victoria Cross to Private John Smith of 1st Madras (European) Fusiliers for £88,000

14th August 2015

David Lay Auctioneers of Penzance, Cornwall are selling the rather controversial VC group to Omdurman-charger, Private Thomas Byrne. The group includes a copy VC, but the remaining medals are all his original issues and include the Queen's Sudan Medal, Queen's Boer War Medal, LSGC Medal, Khedive's Sudan Medal and 1937 Coronation Medal. The reserve price is a reasonable £15,000.

22nd July

Violette Szabo's George Cross group sold for £312,000 inc. commission at today's DNW auction. It was purchased by Lord Ashcroft and will be displayed at his gallery at the Imperial War Museum.

20th July

While we seldom refer to the selling of any gallantry award other than the Victoria Cross, we feel we must mention the auctioning at DNW of the outstanding George Cross group to the SOE agent, Violette Szabo. The sale is on 22 July and the estimate is £250,000 - £300,000

9th June

An important VC group is being auctioned by the Penzance Auction House (Tel.01736 361414) on 27th August. Generally regarded as the last British cavalry charge by the 21st Lancers at the Battle of Omdurman on 2nd September 1898, this VC group was awarded to Private Thomas Byrne for rescuing an officer despite being badly wounded. Winston Churchill, who took part in the charge, described it as "the bravest act I ever saw performed".

12th May
The VC group to Frederick Bradley sold for the estimate price of £180,000 at DNW

13th April

The outstanding VC group to Boer War recipient Frederick Bradley is being auctioned by DNW on 12th May. The estimate price is £180,000

25th March

Private James Towers VC group fetched £120,000 at today's DNW auction.

7th March 2015

DNW are selling a fine VC group to Private James Towers of 2/Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) at their 25th March Auction. Estimate £130,000-£160,000

26th September

C & T Auctioneers and Valuers of Rochester, Kent are selling a pocket watch presented to Corporal Harry Blanshard Wood VC, MM of the Scots Guards by the Anglo-American Oil Co. on the occasion of him being presented with the Victoria Cross in 1918. Included in this lot is his gold wedding band inscribed  "H.B.W. V.C. 21.5.21" Estimated: £1,200-1,700

19th September

Sgt.Maj. Garvin's VC group went under the hammer for £190,000

16th September

DNW are offering on September 18th the exceptional Indian Mutiny VC group to Sgt.Maj. Steven Garvin of 60th Rifles for gallantry in the assault on Delhi 23 June 1857.

2nd June

John Duncan Grant's VC group became the most expensive sold at auction, selling at Morton & Eden's sale for £340,000 (£408.000 inc.commission).

27th June 2014

Almost exactly 110 years after the unique Tibet Victoria Cross was awarded to Lieutenant (later Colonel) John Duncan Grant, it goes under the hammer with the rest of his group at the Morton and Eden auction on Tuesday 2nd July. He was awarded the VC for leading a storming party of Gurkha's up the precipitous rock-face to capture the fortress of Gyantse Jong on 6th July 1904. The estimate is £200,000 - 250,000.

18th October

E-bay have an interesting WW1 photo album on sale. The images were taken by James Crowe Finlay of the Cameronians and include several of John MacLaren VC prior to him being KIA at Arras.

20th June

The VC group below was withdrawn from auction.

17th June

On 19th June,  DNW are selling the VC group awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Colclough Watson of the Royal Engineers. On the night of 16/17th September 1897 in the Mamund Valley, N.W.India, he led a party of volunteers to dislodge the enemy in a burning village despite being wounded. Estimate price £140,00-160,000

13th June

A letter written by Guy Gibson VC to his publishers shortly before his death listing some suggestions for a title of his book exceeded the top estimate an sold at the International Autograph Auctions for £5200!

22nd November

On 12th December, DNW are auctioning on-line the Boer War VC medal group to Sgt.William Traynor of the West Yorkshire Regiment. He was awarded his Cross for outstanding gallantry in saving the life of a comrade and, although severely wounded, continued fighting until the Boers called off their attack. Estimate £120,000-140,000

The single VC awarded to Peter Gill (see below) sold for £70,000, below the estimate, at today's auction at Spink.

22nd October

Spink have announced that they will offer at their auction on 22 November the first ever VC to be awarded to an NCO in the Indian Army. This was awarded to Sergeant Major (later Lieutenant) Peter Gill of the Loodiana Regiment for gallantry during the Indian Mutiny. On 4 June 1857, he saved the life of an officer and his family at Benares by driving off 27 mutinous Sepoys with only his sword. Pre-sales estimate, £80,000-100,000.

21st August

Spink's are holding a Charity Auction on 6th September for The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust Appeal. Most of the items are WW2 RAF medal groups including an outstanding collection of awards, uniforms and ephemera belonging to Group Captain John "Cat's Eyes " Cunningham. Of VC interest are the Great War Pair (British War and Victory Medals) to Second Lieutenant Edward Baxter, Liverpool Regiment. Also, the original commission appointing Billy Bishop a Lieutenant in the Canadian Militia, the 9th Mississauga Horse. There is also a very nice signed framed print of the VC action of Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid.

19th July

Sidney Godley's VC group was sold at Spink's today for £230,000, while Arthur Kilby's group fetched £200,000

4th July

Spink's auction on 19th July includes two outstanding WW1 VC groups. The first is Private Sidney Godley's VC group for the defence of the Nimy Bridge at Mons on 23rd April 1914.  The second is the posthumous group to Captain Arthur Kilby, killed during the first day of the Battle of Loos, 25th September 1915. (Both estimated £140,000 - £180,000)

3rd May

Wallis & Wallis, the Lewes auction house, sold the 18ct gold presentation watch to Private R.E.Cruickshank VC for £2,600. (See advert on back page of March 2012 Journal)

19th April

The hammer came down on the Arthur Cross VC group at £185,000 one of the highest prices paid for a WW1 other ranks VC. The VC group to Joseph Watt VC realised £170,000

10th April 2012

Spink's auction on 19th April includes two VC groups. A superb WW1 VC, MM group to Corporal Arthur Henry Cross of the Machine Gun Corps which includes a plethora of associated ephemera. Cross's VC was worn by David Niven in the film Carrington VC.
Also, the VC group to Chief Skipper Joseph Watt RNR of the Otrano Barrage in 1917.

11th November

The family of a Black Country hero are “bitterly disappointed” after a replica of his Victoria Cross was auctioned for £1,200 – around three times its estimated value.
“If I’d known it was going to fetch that much, I probably  wouldn’t have come,” said Ron Matthews, a nephew of Alfred Sephton VC, after the auction at Cuttlestones’ sale rooms in Clarence Street, Wolverhampton.
Mr Matthews had hoped to buy the replica VC, issued 20 years ago after the original medal was stolen from its display case in Coventry Cathedral.
“It is a bitter disappointment,” said the 69-year-old former Royal Naval Reserve officer who travelled from his Gloucestershire home to bid. “It would have been nice to have it. It has now probably passed out of the family.”
Cuttlestones estimated the replica VC and associated paperwork and press cuttings would fetch between £300 and £500.
But a frenzy of bidding opened at £300 and quickly rose to more than £1,000 as two anonymous telephone bidders fought for the memorabilia.
Alfred Sephton who grew up in Thomas Street, Wolverhampton, and attended Dudley Road School, was a 30-year-old petty officer on the light cruiser HMS Coventry when it was attacked by German bombers off Crete in May, 1941. His VC was awarded for the example he showed in staying at his post and directing fire despite his wounds. The original Victoria Cross was stolen in 1990 and has never been recovered.

Read more:

23rd September

The replacement WW2 Victoria Cross posthumously awarded to Petty Officer Alfred Sephton, together with other related material,  is to be auctioned by Cuttlestones of Wolverhampton on 4th November. The original was stolen from Coventry Cathedral in 1990.

29th July

A world record sale of a Victoria Cross group was achieved when Ted Kenna's VC was sold for A$1,002,000 (£678,662).

27th July

The first Australian WW2 Victoria Cross to come to auction will be sold by Noble Numismatics of Melbourne on 28th July.Ted Kenna's outstanding medal group is expected to make $1m.

20th June

Paul Fraser Collectables on:-
are offering a group of three medals awarded to Private Francis Fitzpatrick of 94th Regt. They consist of copy Victoria Cross that Fitzpatrick had made and wore, his  Zulu War Medal and Boer War Medal. The price is £9,950 and come with Certificate of Authenticity.

21st April

At Spinks today, the Teesdale group fetched £260,00, while the Grant group sold for £230,000 - both considerably over the estimate.

31st March

Spinks are to auction two Victoria groups on 21st April; Major-General Sir Christopher Teesdale, VC, KCMG, CB,KH, the Hero of Kars, and Colonel Charles Grant, who gained his VC in Burma in 1891. 
At their auction of 5-8th April, Noble Numismatics of Sydney are auctioning the eleven medal group awarded to Corporal George Howell VC, MM.


25th November

At today's Spinks sale, the VC groups all exceeded their estimates.
Robert Montresor Rogers - £180,000, Thomas Neely - £110,000, George Alexander Renny - £130,000, Donald Simpson Bell - £210,000.
Also sold today at auction in Sydney, Australia was the VC group to Henry Dalzeil, which fetched $AUS 525,000

10th November

Further our news dated 27th August, we can now report that the Spinks auction dated 25th November has increased the number of VCs in its sale to four! This must be one of the  largest number offered in any auction. In addition to the VC groups to Thomas Neely, Robert Montresor Rogers and George Alexander Renny, there is now added the outstanding Somme VC group to Donald Bell. We published his story in our October 2003 Journal.

10th November

Rosebery's Auction 7th December are selling nine original Ric Scollins VC action artworks that have illustrated Jim Bancroft's books Devotion To Duty and The Zulu War VCs.

30th September

Although not a VC associated item, we learn that Morton & Eden are selling an item of outstanding significance at their auction in London on 22nd October. The Star of the Order of the Bath presented to Vice-Admiral Horatio, Viscount Nelson following the Battle of Cape Vincent, 14th February 1797. The estimate is £300,000 - 500,000.

27th August

We learn that Spinks are to auction no less than three Victoria Cross group at their next sale on 25th November. The groups are of Corporal Thomas Neely, Lieutenant (later Major-General) Robert Montresor Rogers and Lieutenant (later Major-General) George Alexander Renny. More info nearer the date of auction.

22nd July

Nowell Salmon's VC group sold for £190,000 at today's Spink's auction. Also, the officer Isandlwana casualty Zulu War medal to S/Lt.Thomas Griffith fetched £24,000.

12th July

The VC group of one of the most famous Indian Mutiny recipients goes under the hammer at Spinks on 22nd July. Commander (later Admiral of the Fleet) Nowell Salmon of the Naval Brigade from HMS Shannon, won his VC during the Relief of Lucknow on 16th November 1857. The estimate is £130,000 - £150,000  

22nd April

At the Spinks auction this morning, the Knox VC group fetched £210,000 (252,000), well over its estimate. Coincidentally, the excellent RAF VC group to Hugh Malcolm also went for £210,000.

1st April

In addition to the Knox VC group, Spinks are also offering the WW2 RAF VC group to Wing Commander Hugh Malcolm (estimate £180-£200,000). His story appeared in the VCS Journal March & October 2004.

27th March

The Crimean War VC group of Major John Knox is to be auctioned by Spinks on 22nd April. Knox was amongst the recipients at the first investiture at Hyde Park on 26th June 1857. The estimate is £120,000

18th March

The following item of VC interest will appear in the DNW auction to be held on 31st March
Item 347:-


Victoria Cross interest: Notebook belonging to Lieutenant Francis David Millett Brown, V.C., 1st Bengal Fusiliers, 97 x 75mm., half calf green marble boards, first page inscribed in pencil, “Note Book of Frank Brown, Lt, 1st Eupn Fusiliers”, notebook contains various monetary accounts, rough sketches and brief notes on his location and activities on a day-by-day basis, spine and boards damaged, faded and in a fragile state £200-300 V.C. London Gazette 17 February 1860. “On 16 November 1857 at Narnoul, India, Lieutenant Brown, at the risk of his own life, rushed to the assistance of a wounded soldier, whom he carried off under heavy fire from the enemy, whose cavalry were within 40 or 50 yards of him at the time” (ref. The Register of the Victoria Cross). In the notebook, the notes on his location and activities embrace the period, May 1857-September 1858, covering the capture of Delhi and Lucknow. His entry for the above date reads merely, “Narnaul 8 guns”. Francis David Millett Brown was born in Bhagalpur, Bengal, India, on 7 August 1837. He was gazetted an Ensign in the Bengal Army on 8 December 1855 and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers in March 1856 and to Lieutenant in June 1857. He served in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny and received the medal with clasps for Delhi and Lucknow. For his great gallantry at Narnoul, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Brown later served with the Bengal Staff Corps and in 1881 attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was placed on the Unemployed Supernumerary List in 1894 and died in Sandown on the Isle of Wight on 21 November 1895.


200 to 300 (GBP)

19th November

Bill Reid's outstanding VC group fetched £290,000 at today's auction at Spinks.
The group to Francis Fitzpatrick sold for £6500.

2nd November

You wait nearly a year for a VC to appear in a London auction room and then two turn up!
On 19th November, Spinks are selling the outstanding VC group of Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid (estimate £180,000-£220,000). The second group is a contemporary named copy VC together with Zulu War "1879" and QSA to Private Francis Fitzpatrick (estimated £4,000-£5,000)

14th October

International Autograph Auctions have several items of VC interest in their sale on 17th October at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow. For details, contact 0115 845 1010

27th July

Holt's, the Norfolk based antique gun auctioneer, is offering the 12-bore sporting gun owned by Bill Reid VC in their 17th September auction (estimate £1200-1600). The famous RAF VC was a keen country sportsman.  For details see 

30th May

The Canadian Government paid $288,000 for Robert Shankland's VC group.

19th May 2009

The VC album auctioned below fetched £1850, well over the estimate.

8th May 2009

Several items of VC interest, including (Item 401), an album of 224 VC signatures
is offered at the following, Autograph Auction, 16th May 2009 at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow commencing at 1pm in the Tetworth & Ascot Salons

For further details please contact Richard Davie

Telephone 0115 845 1010 or e-mail:

30th April 2009

Victoria Cross of Robert Shankland, one of the trio of First World War heroes from Winnipeg's 'Valour Road', is to be auctioned next month in Toronto. 'Our principal worry is that it goes out of the country,' said Murray Burt, historian and secretary for the Winnipeg-based Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, adding that if any international collector purchases Shankland's VC 'we'll sure go after it.'

The growing controversy over the planned auction of an iconic Canadian war medal — the Victoria Cross of one of Winnipeg's "Valour Road" heroes from the First World War — has officials with Lt. Robert Shankland's former regiment plotting ways to prevent any sale to a foreign collector while debating whether Ottawa or Winnipeg should eventually lay claim to the illustrious decoration.

Shankland's VC, awarded to him in 1917 for "most conspicuous bravery" in leading his troops against the Germans near the Belgian town of Passchendaele, is the centrepiece of a nine-medal set being offered at Bonhams' May 25 auction of Canadian art and history.

The high-end estimate for the full set — which includes a Distinguished Conduct Medal awarded to Shankland in 1916 for rescuing a Canadian unit of stretcher bearers from enemy fire — is $330,000.

In one of Canadian war history's most poignant twists of fate, Shankland lived before the war on west-end Winnipeg's Pine Street along with two other future Victoria Cross recipients — Cpl. Leo Clarke and Sgt.-Major Frederick Hall.

The street was later renamed Valour Road, which remains a focal point of Winnipeg remembrance activities.

26th November 2008

Morton & Eden have an item of VC interest in their auction on 12th December. Item 925 is an album of material prepared by the sister of Captain Hugh Talbot Burgoyne, the Crimean War VC, who perished when his ship, HMS Captain, capsized off Cape Finisterre in 1870

18th October 2008

On 12th November, Bonhams of Knightsbridge are auctioning an early 20th century brass mounted hand warmer gadget stick impressed " N G CHAVASSE, CAPT. RAMC" (lot no.110). Estimated £700-900

27th September 2008

On Sauturday, 27th,  International Autograph Auctions sold a framed typewritten letter signed by Guy Gibson VC for an incredible £3,400 (the estimate was £1,500)

27th June 2008

The VC group to Major Herbert James sold for £180,000.
In the same auction, an excellent miniature VC group to Lt.Col.A.C.Newman, who led the Commando raid at St Nazaire, fetched £1800.

22nd June 2008

DNW are auctioning an outstanding Gallipoli VC / Western Front MC group on Thursday 26th June. The group of seven to Major Herbert James of the Worcestershire Regiment are offered with a reserve of £160,000-£180,000.

15th June 2008

Outstanding ORIGINAL Period Miniature (Mess Kit - Evening Dress Size) Boer War Era British Officer's Decoration and Campaign Medal Group to a Well Known Veteran of the South African Boer and Great Wars.This group belonged to Walter Norris Congreve, and comes with an Original Autographed Image and Hand Written Transmittal Letter. The photograph, is signed "WIN Congreve." and Dated "1896." (Most likely when the image was taken...), and the Transmittal Note, by Sir Walter's youngest Son, Major Christopher Congreve, is on the back of a previous note between buyer and seller. This is dated May 12, 1976 to "John", apparently the initial buyer of the group. "John", was most likely John Devonport, who had an extensive collection of Original Congreve material, that was auctioned through Spinks in 2004.Exceptional Original English Uncounted Set of Medals to this Victoria Cross

(VC) Recipient: including the Victoria Cross (VC), Queen's South Africa Medal (SAT Victoria) with Seven Campaign Bars in the documented allotment for service by W.N. Congreve "REVLON LADYSMITH / CAPE COLONY / PARDONER / DRIEFONTEIN / JOHANNESBURG / DIAMOND HILL / BELFAST", and the King's South Africa Medal (KSA Edward) with 2 Bars: "SOUTH AFRICA 1901 / SOUTH AFRICA 1902" as appropriate. The VC is approx. 17.5mm across, with the lower suspension bar at 19.5mm wide. Each of the Campaign Medals are approx. 17mm in diameter.
It is our understanding that this group came out of the Congreve family in the 1970s, and has changed hands through auction and a private sale in the more recent term. It comes in a box that accommodated the initial display and protection of the items, but could use stronger conservation for long term preservation. The Transmittal Letter and Photograph have been carefully glued in place, years back, but should be able to be removed without any damage given some professional care. The Medals are unaffected as can be seen in the images, and were not glued into the storage box.
All Ribbon Drapes and Documents appear to be early and original, with the Overall Group in Excellent Condition. These are Beautiful Examples with Very Nice Ribbon Color and Planchet Patinas. Again appearing to be 100% Original Components with only minor signs of age and wear.

28th May 2008

The following news appeared in the Australian media yesterday.

The last Victoria Cross awarded to an Australian in World War I, sold for $468,000 at an auction tonight, will be given to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Lieutenant George Ingram's Victoria Cross went under the hammer at auction house Sotheby's in Melbourne tonight.

Sotheby's head of decorative arts Jennifer Gibson could not confirm the identity of the winning bidder but said the medal would be passed to the war memorial.

"We're very happy. We're very happy to have sold George Ingram's Victoria Cross, and obviously we are very happy it will be going to the Australian War Memorial,'' she said.

The Victoria Cross is the British Commonwealth's highest military bravery honour.

Lieutenant Ingram, born in the central Victorian city of Bendigo in 1889, won his VC on October 5, 1918, at Montbrehain, on the Western Front in France, in what was the last battle Australian troops fought in the war.

He was serving in B Company of the 24th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force and was part of an advance that encountered German strong points and machine gun nests.

His platoon was hampered by sniper and machine gun fire when Lt Ingram led his men against one strong point, won after a fierce battle with the capture of nine guns and the deaths of 42 enemy soldiers.

When his company commander was wounded, Ingram formed and led a charge against a quarry defended by 40 machine guns and more than 100 men.

Alone, he rushed one post, shooting six enemy soldiers and capturing their machine gun, then captured two more posts, inflicting many casualties and capturing 62 enemy troops.

He captured another 30 prisoners in another assault on a post after shooting the gunner, who had been firing through a cellar ventilator.

Lt Ingram survived and returned to Australia, where he died in 1961.

Last week, a Victoria Cross awarded posthumously to Major Peter Badcoe for bravery during the Vietnam War, was bought jointly at auction by Seven Network chief Kerry Stokes and the South Australian government for $488,000.

21st May 2008

A VICTORIA Cross medal from the Vietnam War has sold for $488,000 at auction in Sydney as part of a collection of 12 medals and memorabilia.
The medal was awarded to Adelaide-born Major Peter Badcoe for a series of heroic actions during the Vietnam War in 1967.
The Victoria Cross, the Commonwealth's highest decoration for gallantry, was sold to an anonymous buyer, but will remain in Sydney, the auctioneer said.
Three bidders were in the race to buy the medals, with spirited bidding starting at $300,000 in Bonhams & Goodman's auction house in Double Bay tonight.
Bonhams & Goodman chairman Tim Goodman said the medal would remain in Australia.
"The collection has been purchased by a prominent Australian who wished to remain anonymous,'' he said.
"We should be able to make a further statement regarding the outcome in the coming days.''
Major Badcoe's daughter Carey Badcoe thanked the buyer on behalf of her family.
"It is a wonderful recognition of our father,'' she said.
"We are delighted that the Victorian Cross will be remaining in Australia.''
The SA Government had hoped the Adelaide soldier's VC would end up in the Australian War Memorial.
In the last public sale of a Victoria Cross, television mogul Kerry Stokes bought the medal for $1.2 million and donated it to the war memorial.

14th April 2008

We are grateful to member Peter Vanderfield for informing us of a couple of Australian auctions.
On 11th April, the VC group to William Jackson, the youngest Australian VC, failed to attract a buyer, even when reduced to a suggested A$400,000 (the estimate was A$700,000)
On 6th May, Bonhams are auctioning the Vietnam VC group of Peter Badcoe (the subject of an article in the next Journal). The group has been on loan to the Australian War Memorial. Bonhams have quoted an estimate of A$400,000 - A$600,000.
On 26th May, Sothebys will auction George Ingram's VC group at a similar estimate. Interestingly, his son is selling due to the theft of the NZ VCs causing him too much stress. 

26th March 2008

Spinks are auctioning the Umbeyla VC group to Captain Henry William Pitcher on Thursday, 24th April. Estimate:-£80,000-£100,000

13th December 2007

The VC group to Seaman George Samson sold for £210,000

28th November 2007

DNW are holding an auction of Naval Gallantry awards on 13th December. Amongst them will be the outstanding VC group to Seaman George Samson who was awarded his Cross for outstanding gallantry on 'V' Beach during the disembarkation of the "River Clyde" on 25th April 1915. The estimated price is £150,000-£180,000

1st November 2007

An original painting of Private Edward Dyer, the "Hill 60" VC by W.S.Bylityllis is being auctioned by Spink on 22nd November. This image and many others by the same artist appeared in Deeds That Thrilled The Empire.

28th September 2007

On 19th October at Royal Armouries, Leeds, auctioneers Smith & Wilde are offering the general's mameluke pattern sword presented by Prince Edward to General Sir Dighton Probyn VC in 1876. The estimated price of this exceptional sword is £9,000-£10,000.  For further details, see 

25th September 2007

The VC group offered at Bonhams was withdrawn.

21st September 2007

On 25th September, Bonhams are auctioning the VC medal group awarded to Colonel Sir Edward Thackeray of the Bengal Engineers. His citation in The London Gazette of 29th April 1862:-
For cool intrepidity and characteristic daring in extinguishing a fire in the Delhi magazine enclosure on 16 September 1857, under close and heavy musketry fire from the enemy, at the imminent risk from explosion of combustible stores in the shed in which the fire occurred.

9th September 2007

William Jackson's VC group is on offer online by Burrill Lake for A$1,200,000. See . William Jackson was the subject of an article that appeared in the March 2004 Journal.

1st July 2007

Smith and Wilde Ltd, a York-based auction house specialising in militaria, is to hold an auction at the Royal Armouries, Leeds on Friday, 19th October. Of particular VC interest will be the sale of a  Mameluke Sword and Pistol presented to General Sir Dighton MacNaughton Probyn VC by the Prince of Wales  during his visit to India in 1875-76.
Also on offer will be several autographed items by VCs. For further details, contact Smith & Wilde Ltd on 01759 304600 or

19th April 2007

The highly important Baltic Victoria Cross and miniature awarded to Commander John Bythesea sold at Spinks today for £135,000.

11th March 2007

Spink will be auctioning the VC and miniature to Admiral John Bythesea on 19th April.

29th November 2006

Bonhams & Goodman, the Sydney auction house, sold the Victoria Cross awarded to Lance Corporal Bernard Sydney Gordon for singled-handedly capturing a German machine gun post on 26/27 August 1918. At yesterday's sale, his Cross fetched the second-highest price paid for a medal in Australia with an anonymous Australian buyer paying A$478,000.

23rd November 2006

The WW1 VC to William Mariner, which was discovered in a drawer, was sold today by DNW for £120,000

29th October 2006

The Morton & Eden auction on 26th saw the hammer fall on £48,000 for the the Indian Mutiny Victoria Cross awarded to George Bell Chicken.

29th September 2006

Bonhams of Kensington are including four lots of ephemera that belonged to Teddy Veale VC in their 3rd October auction.

27th September 2006

The Victoria Cross awarded to Private William Mariner (the alias of William Wignall) of KRRC for his single-handed bombing attack on a German machine gun emplacement is to be auctioned by Spink on 23rd November. An article about this gallant act appeared in the October 2003 Journal.

23rd September 2006

The hammer fell at £180,000 at DNW for the Cosgrove VC group. Prices throughout the auction well exceeded the higher estimates.

21st September 2006

In addition to the Cosgrove VC group being auctioned at DNW tomorrow, there is also a collection of 68 items on offer relating to the Victoria Cross.

7th September 2006

On 25-26th October, Moreton and Eden are auctioning the Indian Mutiny Naval VC awarded to civilian volunteer, George Bell Chicken.

2nd September 2006

DNW will be auctioning the outstanding Gallipoli landings VC group awarded to Sergeant William Cosgrove of the Royal Munster Fusiliers. (For a full account, see March 2006 Journal).  The auction, which includes some outstanding gallantry groups, will take place on 22nd September.

26th August 2006

The bronze memorial memorial plaque to Second Lieutenant Joseph Henry Collin VC of 4th Btn,King's Own Royal Regiment, was successfully bid for by the Regimental Museum at a recent auction in Carlisle. Thanks to public donations, the Museum fought off three other bidders to secure the plaque for £2500. It will now be displayed alongside Collin's VC. 

24th July 2006

New World Record for VC

Captain A.J.Shout's VC group sold for AUS$ 1,200,000, inc commission!. It is understood that the successful bidder is to donate this exceptional VC to the Australian War Memorial.

5th July 2006

The sale of the VC group to Alfred Shout will take place at Bonhams & Goodman on Monday 24 July at 6.00pm during a series of auction sales of Australian & International Art, Collectors Cars and Antiques over 3 days at the Double Bay rooms in Sydney.

30th June 2006

The VC group to Private Alfred Wilkinson sold for £126,000 at the DNW auction

9th June 2006

The DNW auction to be held on 29 June includes a fine VC group to Private Alfred Wilkinson of the Manchester Regiment awarded for outstanding gallantry at Marou on 20 Oct.1918.

We have also learned that the VC to Alfred Shout is to be auctioned next month by Bonhams & Goodman, Sydney. This exceptional Gallipoli group could fetch a new world record.


28th May 2006

We have learned that the miniature VC group to Lt.Edmund Costello fetched £3200 at Gorringe's auction in April. This impressive group also included the CMG, CVO & DSO


15th May 2006

Following the controversy raised by the daughters of Charles Upham to sell his VC group, we learn that another famous VC is also about to be auctioned. This is the VC, MC group of ANZAC hero. Alfred Shout. The estimate is said to be $A800.000.


16th April 2006

The 1937 Coronation Medal awarded to Arthur Percy Sullivan VC  is currently being auctioned on E-Bay (Item 662043367). An Australian recipient of the North Russia Expedition of 1919, Sullivan was tragically killed in an accident outside Wellington Barracks, London just before he was due to receive his Coronation Medal. 


5th April 2006

The VC group awarded to Sgt.J.D.F.Shaul was sold for £140,000. The Commission document to Charles Lucas VC went for £1300 and the LSGC medal to the father of Valentine Bambrick fetched £950.


21st March 2006

DNW will be auctioning the Magersfontein VC group of nine awarded to Sgt.J.D.F.Shaul of the Highland Light Infantry on Wednesday 5th April.
Also of VC interest is a rare and historic Commission appointing Charles Lucas, RN, as Acting Mate on the steam sloop Hecla in which vessel, one month later, he won the very first Victoria Cross.
A 1st issue Long Service and Good Conduct Medal to J.Bambrick Troop Serjt. Major, 11th Hussars. 1838. He was the father of Valentine Bambrick VC, one of those who had his award forfeited and hanged himself in Pentonville Prison. (see Journal No.1)


14th December 2005

The letter written by John Chard VC fetched £1300 at the International Autograph Auction on 10 December. The Buckley item was not sold.


10th December 2005

The miniature medal V.C. group (11 medals) and original ribbons attributed to Sergeant E.A. "Smokey" Smith were sold Dix Noonan Webb auctioneers in London on 7th December, 2005 for £720.00.


4th December 2005

International Autographs Auctions have a couple of items of VC interest at their next sale on 10th December. A four page letter written from the Crimea  by Cecil W.Buckley, the first man to receive the VC from the Queen. The other is a three page letter written by John Chard, the Rorke's Drift VC. Details can be obtained from or phone 0115 844 0244 


24th September 2005

Wallis & Wallis, the Military auctioneers at Lewes in East Sussex, are holding a Connoisseur Collector's Auction on 4th & 5th October. Amongst the outstanding items are a 9 carat gold presentation propelling pencil presented to Petty Officer Thomas Gould VC by the Parish of St James, Dover in 1942. Also, an illuminated original hand written parchment scroll signed by 65 survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade and described as "possibly one of the most interesting collection of autographs in existence.



23rd September 2005

The VC group described below went under the hammer today for £160,000, £10,000 more that the higher end of the estimate. A VC pair of miniature dress medals attributed to Lt.Col G.D.Dowell, Royal Marine Artillery, for gallantry in the Baltic in 1855, fetched a surprisingly high £2000.


5th September 2005

Coming up at the DNW auction on 23 September is an exceptional VC group to an outstanding Victorian soldier, General Sir Dighton Probyn. On 10 October 1857, he led a squadron of the Punjab Cavalry in a charge against a group of mutineers at Agra. He also performed several acts of gallantry during the early days of the Indian Mutiny. His group consists of VC, CB, 2 bar Indian Service, 3 bar Indian Mutiny and 2 bar China Medal. Estimate £120,000-£150,000  


21st July 2005

At the Spinks auction, the exceptional VC group to Sergeant Alfred Richards of 1/Lancashire Fusiliers, one of the famous 'Six Before Breakfast' VCs at Gallipoli went under the hammer for £110,00 (£126,500)


27th June 2005

Hammer prices realised for the items below:-
Indian Mutiny Medal to David Hawkes VC :- £8000
Henry Tandy's miniature VC group :- £580

13th June 2005

DNW's auction on 23rd June has a couple of items of VC interest.
The Indian Mutiny Medal to Private David Hawkes VC of The Rifle Brigade.
Also, the mounted group of nine miniature dress medals attributed to Private Henry Tandy VC, DCM, MM of the West Riding Regiment (an article about him appeared in our March 2003 Journal.


25th May 2005

At the Morton & Eden auction today, the WW1 VC group to Private Francis Miles of the Gloucestershire Regiment went under the hammer for £72,000, just £2000 above the lowest estimate. In the rather overheated market for VCs, this represents something of a bargain.
The presentation gold pocket watch to Private Miles from his village of Clearwell was sold to the same buyer for £1300

20th May 2005

Spinks will be auctioning one of the famous "Six VCs Before Breakfast" in their July sale. This is the group to Sergeant Alfred Richards of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers and awarded for gallantry during the landings on W Beach, Cape Helles, Gallipoli.


28th April 2005

Paul Noble of Noble Numismatics of Sydney advises that the VC to Private James Towers, Scottish Rifles, was auctioned on 7th April for $200,000 (approx £90,000)



3rd March 2005

The VC group toTrumpet Major Robert Kells fetched £130,000 at the DNW auction.


24th February 2005

Morton & Eden 25-26th May auction will be featuring the WW1 VC group to Private Francis George Miles, Gloucester Regt. We included an article about his gallant exploit on 23 Oct 1918 and his new Forest of Dean memorial in our last March Journal.
The WW1 VC group to Private James Towers, Scottish Rifles, is to be auction on 7th April by Noble Numismatics of Sydney, Australia.


11th February 2005

The next DNW auction is to be held on Wednesday, 2nd March and will feature the sale of yet another famous VC group. This is the Indian Mutiny VC group of seven awarded to Trumpet-Major Robert Kells of 9th Lancers
Other items of VC interest are the campaign pair to Lieutenant Duncan Charles Home, Hero of the Kashmir Gate, who was killed during the assault on Delhi. Also there is a campaign group of three to Private Henry Novell, 14th Light Dragoons, who was recommended for the Victoria Cross in Central India. 


26th November 2004

The hammer fell on a bid for £78,000 from a private buyer.

23rd November 2004

Morton & Eden are auctioning the Victoria Cross awarded to John Pearson of the 8th Hussars for his gallantry during the charge at Gwalior in 1858.  


17th September 2004

At today's auction, the Peiwar Kotal Victoria Cross group awarded to Major John Cook fetched £82,000, which was just above the lower end of suggested price. The exceptional Persian War VC group, however, exceed all expectations of around £100,000 by reaching £150,000!
Another medal of VC interest that sold was the two-bar Indian Mutiny medal to Boatswain's Mate John Harrison, which fetched a staggering £19,000!

DNW will be auctioning two Victoria Crosses at their sale on 17th September. Major-General Arthur Moore, who charged a 500-strong Persian square at the Battle of Khoosh-ab on 8 Feb 1857. His horse cleared the first line of bayonets but then fell dead. He attempted to fight off the enemy with a broken sword and was saved by the arrival of Lt.Malcomson.
Captain John Cook, Bengal Staff Corps, attached to 5th Gurkhas. During the attack on Peiwar Kotal, Afghanistan on 2 Dec 1878, he saved the life of Major Galbraith, Asst.Adjutant-General, by engaging and throwing down an Afghan about to shoot him. Cook was killed a year later during an attack on an enemy stronghold.


Spink Auction 22nd July 2004

The hammer fell at £115,000 for following VC group

The Outstanding Victoria Cross Group of Thirteen to Subedar-Major and Honorary Captain Agansing Rai, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles, for `Indomitable Courage' during the Battle of Imphal a) Victoria Cross, reverse of suspension bar engraved '63219 Rfmn. (Actg. Nalk) Agansing Ral, 2nd/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles.', reverse of Cross engraved '26th June, 1944. ` b) India 1965 (JC-5818 Sub Agan Singh Ral VC. G.R.) c) Videsh Seva (Foreign Service Medal), with one clasp, Congo (in Hindi) (JC-5818 Sub. A.S. Ral VC. 5 8 G. Rif.) d) India, Independence 1947 (63219 Nk. Agansing Rai, 2-5 G. R.) e) India Long Service Medal, for 20 years (JC-5818 Sub-Maj. A.S. Rai, 5 G. Rif.) f) India, Long Service Medal, for 9 years (JC-5818 Sub-Maj A. S. Rai 5 G. Rif) g) 1939-45 Star (5432188 Hav. Agansing Ral, 5 R. G. R.) h) Burma Star, similarly named 1) War Medal (5432188 Hav. Agansing Rai, 5 R.G.R.) j) India Service Medal 1939-45, similarly named k) Coronation 1953 1) United Nations Medal for Congo 1960-64 m) Jubilee 1977, the group very fine, mounted and worn in
this order (13) Estimate £110,000-130,000

V.C. London Gazette 5.10.1944 No. 63219 Rifleman (acting Naik) Agansing Ral, Sth Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force), Indian Army. Citation states 'In Burma on 24th and 25th June, 1944, after fierce fighting, the enemy, with greatly superior forces, had captured two posts known as "Water Piquet" and "Mortar Bluff". These posts were well sighted and were mutually supporting and their possession by the enemy threatened our communications. On the morning of 26th June, 1944, a company of the Sth Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) was ordered to recapture these positions.
After a preliminary artillery concentration, the company went in to attack but on reaching a false crest about 80 yards from its objective, it was pinned down by heavy and accurate fire from a machine-gun in "Mortar Bluff" and a 37 millimetre gun in the jungle, suffering many casualties. Naik Agansing Rai, appreciating that more delay would inevitably result in heavier casualties, at once led his section under withering fire directly at the machinegun and, firing as he went, charged the position, himself killing three of the crew of four. Inspired by this cool act of bravery the section surged forward across the bullet swept ground and routed the garrison of "Mortar Bluff".
This position was now under intense fire from the 37millimetre gun in the jungle and from "Water Piquet". Naik Agansing Rai at once advanced towards the gun, his section without hesitation following their gallant leader. Intense fire reduced the section to three men before half the distance had been covered but they pressed onto their objective. Arriving at close range, Naik Agansing Rai killed three of the crew and his men killed the other two. The party then returned to "Mortar Bluff" where the rest of their platoon were forming up for the final assault on "Water Piquet". In the subsequent advance heavy machine-gun fire and showers of grenades from an isolated bunker position caused further casualties. Once more, with indomitable courage, Nalk Agansing Rai, covered by his Bren gunner, advanced alone with a grenade in one hand and his Thompson Sub-Machine gun in the other. Through devastating fire he reached the enemy position and with his grenade and bursts from his Thompson Sub-Machine gun killed all four occupants of the bunker.
The enemy, demoralized by this N.C.O.'s calm display of courage and complete contempt for danger, now fled before the onslaught on "Water Piquet" and this position too was captured. Naik Agansing Rai's magnificent display of initiative, outstanding bravery and gallant leadership, so inspired the rest of the Company that, in spite of heavy casualties, the result of this important action was never in doubt.'


Friday 30 APRIL 2004 at Spink Auctions, London.
A world record price of £200,000 was paid for the outstanding VC group listed below.

The Second War Bomber Command Victoria Cross Group of Eight to Sergeant Later Warrant Officer N.C. Jackson, Royal Air Force for His Incredible Courage in Climbing Out of His Lancaster at 22,000 Feet Above Schweinfurt, While Wounded, to Put Out a Serious Fire on the Starboard Wing
a) Victoria Cross, reverse of suspension bar engraved '905192 Sergeant N.C. Jackson, R.A.F. No.106 Squadron', reverse of Cross engraved 'l 9th October 1945'
b) 1939-45 Star
c) Air Crew Europe Star
d) Italy Star
e) Defence Medal
f) War Medal
9) Coronation, 1953
h) Jubilee, 1977, the group very fine, mounted as worn
i) the group of miniature awards worn by Warrant Officer
Jackson, as above but with Atlantic bar added to the Italy
Star riband (16) Estimate £120,000-140,000

Jackson VC Group

Warrant Officer Norman Cyril Jackson V.C. (1919-1994), born in Ealing, London was adopted by the Gunter family as a small child and was educated at Archdeacon Cambridge and Twickenham Grammar School. Interested in engineering, he became a fitter and turner after he left school. On the outbreak of war Jackson volunteered to join the R.A.F.V.R. and enlisted on 20.10.1939. After trade training at Halton and Hednesford he was classified as a Fitter 11 E (Engines). Posted overseas to Freetown, Sierra Leone he joined 95 Squadron on 2.1.1941, a unit just reformed with Short Sunderland Flying Boats, for maritime reconnaissance, and was employed as an engine fitter on aero engines and marine craft. An opportunity arose to re-muster as aircrew. Jackson applied for training as a Flight Engineer and returned to England in September 1942. After six months at 27 O.TU. (Officer Training Unit) he proceeded to R.A.F. St Athan to complete his instruction at the end of March 1943. On 14 June he was remustered as a Flight Engineer, promoted to Sergeant and was posted to No. 1645 H.C.U. (Heavy Conversion Unit). On 28 July he joined No. 106 Squadron at Syerston (Lancasters), and completed nine sorties before the Squadron moved to Metheringham early in November.

On 24 April, Jackson completed his tour of 30 operations mostly over heavily defended German targets which included: Nuremburg; Mannheim; Munich; Stuttgart; Magdeburg (21/22.1.1944), 57 aircraft including 22 Lancasters were lost, mostly to nightfighters; Leipzig (19/20.2.1944) 78 aircraft lost including 44 Lancasters; Swinemunde; Frankfurt, and 10 trips to the most heavily defended target of all, Berlin. On 2/3 December 1943, Jackson's fifth visit to the German capital, the 'Squadron Record Book' states "Attacked by fighter aircraft, extensively damaged. Also hit by heavy flak and whole of return journey was made on three engines.", 37 Lancasters were lost in this operation.

One More, "Just For Luck"

Although Jackson had completed his 'tour' of 30 operations, one of those sorties had been with a different crew and as he intended staying with his friends until they also were 'tour expired' he volunteered for one more "just for luck". 106 Squadron's target for the night of 26/27.4.1944 was Schweinfurt, the home of the German ball-bearing industry.

At 21.35 hours Flying Officer Mifflen, D.EC. took off in Lancaster ME669 Z-NO from R.A.F. Metheringham for the 1,000 mile round trip to Schweinfurt with the 'Old Firm', Flying Officer F.H. Higgins (Navigator), Flight Sergeants N.H. Johnson (Rear Gunner), E. Sandelands (Wireless Operator), M.H. Toft (Bomb Aimer), Sergeants W. Smith (Mid-Upper-Gunner) and Norman C. Jackson at the Flight Engineer's instrument panel. Jackson had heard earlier in the day that his wife Alma had just given birth to their first son, Brian; celebrations of a liquid nature were understandably postponed.

Unexpected strong head winds delayed the main bomber force of 215 Lancasters en route which gave the German night fighters more time to detect the main bomber stream. Combats took place all the way to the target and during the period of the raid. 106 Squadron experienced its most tragic evening of the war - five Lancasters failed to return. Norman Jackson's example of gallantry carried out on one of those aircraft under the most horrendous conditions has not been equalled.

Of Jackson's crew, Mifflen and Johnson both died in their aircraft and are buried together in DOrnbach War Cemetery. Higgins, Toft, Sandelands and Smith parachuted to safety becoming prisoners of war, and only when they were repatriated at the end of hostilities could the amazing story of Jackson's courage be told.

V.C. London Gazette 26.10.1945 905192 Sergeant (now Warrant Officer) Norman Cyril Jackson, R.A.F.V.R. 106 Squadron. 'This airman was the flight engineer in a Lancaster detailed to attack Schweinfurt on the night of 26th April 1944. Bombs were dropped successfully and the aircraft was climbing out of the target area. Suddenly it was attacked by a fighter at about 20,000 feet. The captain took evading action at once, but the enemy secured many hits. A fire started near a petrol tank on the upper surface of the starboard wing, between the fuselage and the inner engine. SergeantJackson was thrown to the-floor during the engagement. Wounds which he received from shell splinters in the right leg and shoulder were probably sustained at that time. Recovering himself, he remarked that he could deal with the fire on the wing and obtained his captain's permission to try to put out the flames. Pushing a hand fire-extinguisher into *the top of his life-saving jacket and clipping on his parachute pack. Sergeant Jackson jettisoned the escape hatch above the pilot's head. He then started to climb out of the cockpit and back along the top of the fuselage to the starboard wing. Before he could leave the fuselage his parachute pack opened and the whole canopy and rigging lines spilled into the cockpit. Undeterred, Sergeant Jackson continued. The pilot, bomb aimer and navigator gathered the parachute together and held on to the rigging lines, paying them out as the airman crawled aft. Eventually he slipped and, falling from the fuselage to the starboard wing, grasped an air intake on the leading edge of the wing. He succeeded in clinging on but lost the extinguisher, which was blown away.

By this time, the fire had spread rapidly and Sergeant Jackson was involved. His face, hands and clothing were severely burnt. Unable to retain his hold, he was swept through the flames and over the trailing edge of the wing, dragging his parachute behind. When last seen it was only partly inflated and was burning in a number of places. Realising the fire could not be controlled, the captain gave the order to abandon aircraft. Four of the remaining members of the crew landed safely The captain and rear gunner have not been accounted for. Sergeant Jackson was unable to control his descent and landed heavily He sustained a broken ankle, and his right eye was closed through burns and his hands were useless. These injuries, together with the wounds received earlier, reduced him to a pitiable state. At daybreak he crawled to the nearest village, where he was taken prisoner. He bore the intense pain and discomfort of the journey to Dulag Luft with magnificent fortitude. After 10 months in hospital he made a good recovery, though his hands require further treatment and are of only limited use. This airman's attempt to extinguish the fire and save the aircraft and crew from failing into enemy hands was an act of outstanding gallantry. To venture outside, when travelling at 200 miles an hour, at an incredible height and in intense cold, was an almost incredible feat. Had he succeeded in subduing the flames, there was little or no prospect of his regaining the cockpit. The spilling of his parachute and the risk of grave damage to its canopy reduced his chances of survival to a minimum. By his ready willingness to face these dangers he set an example of self-sacrifice which will ever be remembered'.

Since the publication of the original London Gazette citation, some additional information has become available. The wing fire prompted Jackson's course of action. He climbed onto the Navigation table and deliberately opened his parachute inside the aircraft, while Higgins and Toft sorted out the rigging lines and chute to prepare themselves as 'anchor-men'. Releasing the upper escape hatch, Jackson squeezed himself out into the freezing 20Omph slipstream. Firmly grasping the edge of the open hatch he edged his body out, laid flat along the top of the fuselage and lowered himself until his feet met the wing root below. He flung himself forward and managed to grasp the leading edge air intake and directed the contents of the extinguisher into an engine cowling opening. The flames died down momentarily. The Lancaster banked to port, taking evasive action against the returning German fighter which raked the aircraft with cannon fire again and wounded Jackson for the second time. After the impact of the shellfire, the extinguisher was blown away The flames once again erupted, blowing over Jackson's body He lost his grip and was swept off the wing, to be held in the slipstream by the smouldering rigging lines and canopy furiously being played out by Toft and Higgins before they released the parachute. Breaking free from the stricken Lancaster he descended rapidly. Attempting to extinguish the smouldering cords, he became conscious of the pain of his back and leg wounds, but his hands, shrivelled and contracted by the flames, were mercifully numb. Jackson remembered later that the canopy of the parachute was not only slashed and torn, but, more ominously, had burning holes in it which were getting larger as he fell to earth. Miraculously his fall was cushioned by a mass of bushes.

Barely conscious, Jackson lay where he landed until day-break. Then, with a broken ankle to add to his earlier injuries, he crawled to a cottage on the edge of the forest. Banging on the door with an elbow he was confronted by an irate middle-aged German who verbally abused him, before two young girls took Jackson into the cottage and nursed him. Alerted by the cottage owner, some local Police officials appeared and Jackson, supported by one of them, was made to walk to the nearest town where he was briefly treated at the local hospital. He was paraded through the town where some people jeered and insulted him. Jackson said later that he understood their anger, "after all, how would we have felt after being bombed night after night?"

Jackson spent about ten months in hospital at Obermassfeld slowly recuperating from his injuries before being transferred to Stalag Kc at Bad Suiza, Mulhausen. He made two escapes from the prison camp, and on the second attempt succeeded in contacting U.S. troops from Patton's Third Army near Munich. Norman Jackson was returned to Britain on V.E. Day.

On 26.10.1945 the Victoria Cross was gazetted to Jackson, now a Warrant Officer and he was invested with the Cross at Buckingham Palace on 13.11.1945, together with Group Captain Cheshire.
Norman Jackson left the Royal Air Force with a disability pension of £2 a week.

5th April. The Victoria Cross awarded to Corporal Filip Konowal, 47th British Columbia Regt is to be auctioned by Jeffrey Hoare Auctions of London, Ontario on 31 May. There are, however, moves to prevent this as the Cross "disappeared" from the Canadian War Museum. Also, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties wish to prevent the medal ending up in a private collection. Konowal performed his VC exploit during the battle for Hill 70 between 22/24 August 1917. In 1919, he was convicted of stabbing to death an assailant during a fight outside a bootlegging operation. The court accepted his defence that he suffered pressure on the brain as a result of wounds received during the war. He spent seven years in a mental institution. On release, he managed to rebuild his life and, on the personal intervention of the Canadian Prime Minister, Mackenzie King, served as the custodian of his office until his death.   


3rd April. DNW Auction. Lot 1400 was Unsold. Lot 1401 sold £260


DNW, London 2nd April 2004

Lot 1400

A RARE COLLECTION OF AUTOGRAPHS OF V.C. WINNERS AND MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY: a fine quality leather bound album, 18.5cm. by 14.5cm., 50pp., the opening 8pp. containing the autographs of approximately 50 V.C. recipients (see below), several "Royals" ([Queen] Alexandra, Albert [afterwards G.VI.R.], Arthur, Edward [afterwards Edward V111 and Duke of Windsor], Elizabeth [afterwards E.11.R.], [Princess] Loulse and [Queen] Mary), and other famous personalities, including Field Marshal Plumer, etc.,

The following V.C. autographs have been identified, the vast majority of them appertaining to winners from the Great War:
W. Angus (Highland Light Infantry); W. Beesley (Rifle Brigade); D. W. Belcher (London Regiment); W. E. Boulter (Northamptonshire Regiment); A. A. Burt (Hertfordshire Regiment); H. Christian (King's Own Regiment); H. Colvin (Cheshire Regiment); E. Cooper (King's Royal Rifle Corps); J. T. Counter (King's Regiment); C. H. Coverdale (Manchester Regiment); J. J. Crowe (Worcestershire Regiment); J. J. Davies (Royal Welch Fusiliers); J. T. Davies (South Lancashire Regiment); D. J. Dean (Royal West Kent Regiment); W. C. Fuller (Welch Regiment); B. H. Geary (East Surrey Regiment); B. J. D. Guy (Royal Navy - for China, 1900); A. Halton (King's Own Regiment); H. Hampton (King's Regiment - for the Boer War); J. Harvey (London Regiment); F. W. Hedges (Bedfordshire Regiment); J. Hewitson (King's Own Regiment); J. Hutchinson (Lancashire Fusiliers); A. Hutt (Royal Warwickshire Regiment); H. Kelly (West Riding Regiment); C. J. Kinross (Alberta Regiment); A. J. Knight (King's Own Regiment); D. Laidlaw (King's Own Scottish Borderers); F. S. Le Quesne (Army Medical Department - for Burma 1889); R. G. Masters (R.A.S.C.); C. Melvin (Black Watch); W. H. Metcalfe (Canadian Scottish); C. N. Mitchell (Canadian Engineers); J. Molyneux (Royal Fusiliers); R. E. Phillips (Royal Warwickshire Regiment); J. Pitts (Manchester Regiment - for the Boer War); J. Readitt (South Lancashire Regiment); F. G. Room (Royal Irish Regiment); T. H. Sage (Somerset Light Infantry); W. J. Symons (A.I.F.); J. Towers (Scottish Rifles); T. G. Turrall (Worcestershire Regiment); T. W. H. Veale (Devonshire Regiment); A. Vickers (Royal Warwickshire Regiment); J. Watt (Royal Naval Reserve); A. Wilcox (Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment); W. Williams (Royal Naval Reserve); J. E. Woodall (Rifle Brigade)

Note: Harry Hampton was the first of the above listed V.C. recipients to die, falling victim to a railway accident in November 1922, aged 51 years. It is highly probable, therefore, that the above described autograph album was completed at the special "Buckingham Palace Garden Party for V.C. Winners" held on 26 June 1920, a contention supported by the additional "Royal" autographs - that for 'Elizabeth' must have been added at a later date, possibly around the time of the Second World War.

Lot 1401

VICTORIA CROSS AND CRIMEAN WAR EPHEMERA, Official Programme, illustrated card and ticket to the first Victoria Cross distribution, 26 June 1857; Permit to pass in carriage, on horse back or on foot, Cobham Camp 1853, bearing wax seal; Tickets (3) for the distribution of Crimea Medals by the Queen at Horse Guards, 18 May 1855, one bearing wax seal, two 'used' with torn corners, all stuck on card.

Spinks, London 30th April 2004

For sale: John Devonport Collection

Lot 284

1/ The Rifle Brigade sword (with two scabbards) belonging to Captain (later General Sir) Walter Norris Congreve VC. Worn by Captain Congreve in 1899 when he won his VC at Colenso. Congreve was destined to become one of the most brilliant corps commanders of the Great War. In 1911 Congreve was given command of the 18th Infantry Brigade. Also in that year his eldest son William (Billy) La Touche Congreve was gazetted to the Rifle Brigade. Billy was given his father’s sword on joining the regiment as the General now used a general officer’s sword. Billy wore his father’s sword with pride until his untimely death at the hands of a sniper in 1916. Billy was rewarded with a posthumously VC. Only on three occasions did a father and son win the VC:

Major C.J.S. Gough, Bengal Cavalry
Major J.E. Gough, Rifle Brigade

Lord Roberts, Bengal Artillery
Lieutenant F.H.S. Roberts, K.R.R.B.

Captain W.N. Congreve, Rifle Brigade
Major W.L.T. Congreve, Rifle Brigade

As it is a regimental sword it is likely that it is the only sword in history ever to have been worn by two VC winners. The sword comes with a conformation note from Major Christopher Congreve, the youngest son of General Congreve, stating the sword registration number. The sword comes with a signed photograph of Billy Congreve wearing the sword in his full dress uniform. The poppy in the frame was picked when found growing on his grave in Corbie.
Also an illustration of Walter Congreve wearing the sword whilst on the staff of the Duke of Connaught.

2/ An attractive photograph with the words, written in Walter Congreve’s hand,: ‘School of Musketry, Hythe. 2nd Division. June 1889’. He also lists all the soldiers on the photograph, including himself.

3/ General Congreve’s personal signed Army List – August 1914.

4/ A signed photograph of General W.N. Congreve with his VC and service medal ribbons (removed from his uniform) mounted.

5/ A Soldier’s Prayer book with an inscription in Congreve’s hand, “Picked up during the fight at Driefontein, South Africa by W.N.C. (Congreve) March 1900”. The battle of Driefontein took place on the 10th March when General De la Rey with only 1,500 men successfully held off 10,000 British soldiers for a day.

6/ A silver uniform brush with the initials WNC. Used by Congreve during his career.

7/ Letters & Documents:
A/ Captain Billy Congreve mentioned in despatch document.
B/ Recommendation document for the award of the Victoria Cross for Billy Congreve by General Haldane. (Haldane was the officer who was on the armoured train with Churchill in the Boer War and tried to escape with him). Plus the official Army Form explaining the action. Billy was not awarded the VC for this action but only a D.S.O.
C/ One letter written by Billy from Ireland to his younger brother Christopher.
A letter written by Billy in 1915 to his Midshipman brother Geoff talking about his visit from his ship to the trenches.
A letter written by Billy to his father during the war. His father commanded the 18th Brigade.
A letter written by General Congreve to young Christopher the day after he buried Billy at Corbie.

Lot 286

A 2nd King’s Own Staffordshire Militia embroidered coatee badge from the Congreve collection. Walter Congreve’s father served in this militia during the 1850’s and Walter himself served in the militia for six years before joining the Rifle Brigade. The badge would have been worn by one of them. Also a letter from the regiment discussing the badge

Lot 287

A small attractive painting (signed C.S.H. 1831) of Captain William Walter Congreve (W.N. Congreve’s grandfather) in the uniform of the 3rd Light Dragoon Guards. Also in the frame is a painted engraving by Harry Martins (1849) of a 3rd Light Dragoon officer, and an early photograph of William Walter Congreve.

Lot 288

Official booklet for the VC Dinner at the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords, November 1929. It is signed by Edward Prince of Wales, Captain Ishar Singh VC and the Rorke’s Drift VC winner John Williams VC.

Lot 289

Letter written in 1977 from Wing Commander Johnny Johnson (top-scoring RAF fighter pilot) sending his RAF wings that he wore during World War Two.

Lot 290

Letter dated 1977 from Captain Dick Annand VC including his six Durham Light Infantry buttons. Annand was the first Army VC of the Second World War. Also a signed photograph.

Lot 291

The official signed admission badge to the 1929 House of Lords Dinner belonging to Corporal William Coltman VC. Coltman was the highest decorated ordinary soldier in the history of the British Army.

Lot 292

Letter dated 1977 from Colonel D.J. Dean VC including a colonel shoulder strap from his military overcoat.

Lot 293

Letter dated 1977 from Admiral A.C.C. Miers VC. Known as the greatest of all submarine commanders. He commanded H.M.S. Torbay. It is interesting to note that Miers took Keyes on his mission to Rommel’s HQ. The lot includes the Captain straps worn by Miers and a photograph of him wearing them.

Lot 294

Letter written in 1979 and a signed photograph of Odette Hallowes GC. The letter contains a cotton reel given to her by a woman prisoner at Karlsruhe Prison. She says it seems so extraordinary to think of the importance it had for her at the time.

Lot 295

Letter dated 1977 from Major F.A. Tilston VC including his regimental Rob Roy tie and a signed photograph of him wearing it.

Lot 296

Letter dated 1978 from General Sir Neil Ritchie with a presentation key to the Eight (Army) Club in Edinburgh.

Lot 297

Letter from C.S.M. Peter Wright VC with his Coldstream Guards button.

Lot 298

Letter from Commander R.E.D. Ryder VC with a drawing he made of his destroyer from the St Nazaire Raid, plus a signed photograph.

Lot 299

Letter dated 1977 from Brigadier Lorne Campbell VC including collar badge of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlands and a sign photograph.

Lot 300

Letter dated 1982 from the widow of Sergeant Ian McKay VC. Including the Para Lanyard he wore for two years at the Para Depot. He was wearing it until about six weeks before he sailed for the Falklands.

Lot 301

Letter from the family of Brigadier John Alexander Sinton VC with his puttee, Indian Medical Service button and his pip.

Lot 302

 Letter dated 1977 from General G.R. Pearkes VC with his medal ribbons and signed photograph.

Lot 303

Letter dated 1986 from Subadar Ganja Lama VC including a signed photograph and his miniature Khukri tie pin.

Lot 304

The tunic worn by Lieutenant-Colonel H.M. Ervine-Andrews VC. The tunic has his name tag inside and his full set of medal ribbons, lanyard, insignia and buttons. With signed photographs and paperwork. Captain Ervine-Andrews, East Lancs Regt. was the only person to win the VC at Dunkirk. For over ten hours, under intense artillery, mortar and machine-gun fire, and in the face of vastly superior enemy force, his company held their position.

Lot 305

Letter dated 1977 from General H.R.B.Foote VC enclosing his General's beret that he wore when commanding 11th Armoured Division in Germany. Also his tank & General's buttons.

Lot 306

Letter dated 1977 from Colonel Pat Porteous who won the VC at Dieppe. Also his 1945 Airborne beret and cap badge.

Lot 307

The Royal Scots Greys full dress hat and cap badge worn by Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Charles Tasker Keyes VC, son of Lord Keyes. He was the youngest Colonel in the British Army and he was killed leading the famous Rommel Raid. He was shot and died in Rommel’s H.Q. It was given by his brother-in-law Major J.R. Johnson on a visit to meet Geoffrey’s sister the Hon. Elizabeth Keyes. She has written a note confirming this. The hat has Keyes name and initials inside it. It comes with Elizabeth’s book about Geoffrey and the Rommel Raid. In the book it states: “When it came to getting his kit ready before joining the Scots Greys, he (Geoffrey) found that his uncle Dicky Bowlby’s full-dress uniform had scarcely been won. It was of better quality than contempory materials, and needed almost no alteration. Uncle Dicky had been killed in 1916; and his cap badge now became one of Geoffrey’s most treasured possessions.”

Lot 308

Letter dated 1977 from Brigadier M.F. Gregg VC. Including an interesting ‘Mons Medallion’ struck by the Bergermaster of Mons, as a token of the town’s gratitude for the Allied Victory. This example was given to Gregg after he released the Bergermaster from German confinement in November 1918.




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