The medals of Victoria Cross soldiers sell for £420,000.
At auction, a collection of medals, including a Victoria Cross awarded to an Army officer for courage in a contentious conflict during the British Raj, sold for £420,000.
When the Anglo-Manipur War broke out in 1891, Charles Grant was a lieutenant in the 12th Regiment (2nd Burma Battalion) Madras Infantry.
The VC was auctioned off with other historically significant objects to an anonymous buyer described by London-based auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb as a “relatively new collector of British gallantry awards.”
Grant earned the epithet “Hero of Manipur” for his valor during the month-long struggle between the British Empire and the Kingdom of Manipur on India’s North East Frontier.
He led his men during the Battle of Thoubal, where only 80 men fought off waves of attack from an estimated 2,000 opposing troops.
The sale marks a new auction world record price for a ‘British Military Victoria Cross,’ according to Christopher Mellor-Hill of Dix Noonan Webb, and it “further emphasizes the status of The VC as the world’s most famous gallantry honor.”
In the year 1861, Charles James William Grant was born in Bourtie, Aberdeenshire.
He was the son of a Lieutenant-General and received his education both privately and at Sandhurst, the Royal Military College.
On May 10, 1882, he was commissioned Lieutenant in the Suffolk Regiment, and in 1884, he joined the Madras Staff Corps. He spent his senior years in Sidmouth, Devon, where he died in 1932, aged 71, after a long military career in which he rose to the rank of Colonel.
Col Grant’s unpublished leather bound ‘Officer’s Field Note and Sketch Book and Reconnaissance Aide-Memoire,’ in which he meticulously documents the march to Manipur, as well as the capture and subsequent defense of Thobal, was also sold with the VC.
The collection also included a file of authentic letters, which included the discussions between Grant and the Manipuris as well as a coded message from Grant to the relief troops in Greek characters.
The Victoria Cross is the highest military honor, given for gallantry in battle. (This is a brief piece.)