Victoria Cross awarded to hero of Gallipoli landings sells for £247,000

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A SCOTTISH seaman's Victoria Cross, won during the ill-fated landings at Gallipoli in the First World War, made a record £247,013 at auction in London yesterday.

The medal was one of a group of five decorations awarded to Petty Officer George Samson, then 26, from Carnoustie, who survived after being hit 19 times by a burst of machinegun fire during the April 1915 landings.

They were bought by Michael Naxton, agent for Lord Ashcroft, the treasurer of the Conservative Party, who owns between 145 and 150 Victoria Crosses, the largest collection of its kind in the world. They will eventually go on public display in Britain.

The medals were sent for sale from the United States, and had been expected to raise between 150,000 and 180,000. But the price went much higher after a bidding war between Mr Naxton and an anonymous collector.

Mr Naxton said: "After the sale, a lady and her husband came up to me close to tears and said they were so happy and thrilled that these medals would go into the Ashcroft collection and stay in Britain.

"She was the granddaughter of Mr Samson and had come down specially to observe the sale on behalf of his son, who is still alive, aged 90, and living in Scotland. It was a very emotional occasion for the Samson family."