14 February 2017
Somme VC to go under the hammer
The star in Dix Noonan Webb's March 1st auction is this First Day of the Somme VC and German Spring Offensive MC group to Captain George Sanders who served with the 1/7th and 1/6th Battalions of the West Yorkshire Regiment. This from DNW's catalogue:
The exceptional Great War ‘First Day of The Somme’ V.C., ‘German Spring Offensive’ M.C. group of six awarded to Captain George Sanders, who was awarded his Victoria Cross whilst serving as a Corporal in the 1/7th (Leeds Rifles) Territorial Battalion, for gallantry near Thiepval on 1 July 1916, when, following an advance into the enemy’s trenches, he found himself isolated with a party of thirty men - Impressing upon them that it was ‘his and their duty to hold the position at all costs’ they fought a series of desperate actions over a period of 36 hours, all without food and water, the gallant Sanders eventually returning to British lines with nineteen of his comrades.
Subsequently commissioned from the ranks and posted to the 1/6th Battalion, Sanders again found himself in a fight against overwhelming odds on 25 April 1918 at the Battle of Kemmel Hill, following which action he was posted as missing - Witnesses stated that he was last seen standing on top of a pill-box rallying his men, shot in the right arm and leg, but continuing to fire his revolver at the enemy at point blank range with his left hand - This, however, was not the last to be heard from the heroic Sanders, as the following July a letter was received from him, sent from Limburg Prisoner of War Camp and two months later the London Gazette carried the announcement of the award of his Military Cross.
The group has an estimate of £180,000 to £220,000.
For more on this lot, and all lots in the 1st March 2017 sale, browse the Dix Noonan Webb catalogue online.