26 March 2010

Major John Simpson Knox VC

Deep pockets will be the order of the day next April. On the 22nd of the month, Spink Auction House will be offering for sale the first ever VC awarded to a soldier of the British Army.

Major John Simpson Knox was a sergeant with the Scots Fusilier Guards during the Crimean War and was present with his regiment in all of the Crimean engagements. His Crimea Medal, sold as part of the group, bears the clasps Alma, Balaclava, Inkermann and Sebastopol. The other two medals in the group are (from left to right, above), the French Legion of Honour and the Turkish Crimean Medal.

It was principally for his gallantry and leadership at the Alma on 20th September 1854 that Sergeant John Knox (pictured above, wearing his medals) was recommended for the Victoria Cross. The entry in The London Gazette of 24th February 1857 reads:

River Alma, Crimea, 20 September 1854, Sergeant John Knox, Scots ( Fusilier ) Guards.

When serving as a Serjeant in the Scots Fusilier Guards. Lieutenant Knox was conspicuous for his exertions in reforming the ranks of the Guards at the Battle of the Alma. Subsequently, when in the Rifle Brigade, he volunteered for the ladder party in the attack on the Redan, on the 18th of June, and ( in the words of Captain Blackett, under whose command he was ) behaved admirably, remaining on the field until twice wounded.

The medals are to be sold with the cannonball (above) which took off Knox's left arm at Sebastopol. He was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Hyde Park on the 26th June 1857.

John Knox's entry for the Crimea Medal with Alma and Inkerman clasps, above. The group is expected to sell for upwards of £120,000.


The Daily Telegraph for the medal group; Spink for the cannonball, The National Archives for the medal roll entry,

Further Information:

John Simpson Knox VC
Lord Ashcroft's VC collection
Victoria Crosses at Dix Noonan Webb

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