THE first Victoria Cross awarded to a soldier with the rank of private in the First World War is expected to fetch £140,000 or more when it is sold at auction next week.
The Victoria Cross was awarded to Private Sidney Godley, Royal Fusiliers, for his part in the defence of the Nimy Bridge at Mons on 23 August, 1914.
Along with his set of campaign medals, the VC will be offered for sale in Spink’s auction of Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals and Militaria in London on 19 July.
Pte Godley was said to be a worthy recipient of the VC – the highest military decoration for bravery and gallantry in the face of the enemy – as, though severely wounded by shrapnel and with a bullet lodged in his skull, he took over a machine-gun from his mortally wounded commanding officer and held his position, single-handedly for two hours, against a sustained heavy German assault.
The announcement of his award was published in the London Gazette on 25 November, 1914.
It read: “For coolness and gallantry in fighting his machine-gun under a hot fire for two hours after he had been wounded at Mons on 23 August.”