A hundred years after Corporal Colin Barron charged machine guns during one of the most devastating campaigns of the conf lict, auction house Spink will sell the Victoria Cross awarded to him.
Offered with five other medals earned in his military career, it is estimated at £150,000-180,000 on December 5.
The group was purchased some 30 years ago from the family of the recipient and has remained with the same private collector in Canada since.
It is the first VC to be offered by Spink in five years (the previous example was a single Indian Mutiny period award sold at £70,000).
Barron (1893-1959), a Scots-born Canadian, earned the VC for his heroics at Passchendaele (the Third Battle of Ypres) on November 6, 1917.
According to Spink: “His daughter Marjory once recalled that ‘As a young man, he was a bit of the devil… He could be quite fearsome when his temper was up’.
“That ‘temper’ was ignited in spectacular fashion by the terrible casualties suffered by his comrades in the 3rd Canadian Infantry (1st Central Ontario Regiment), as they attempted to capture a German strongpoint known as ‘Vine Cottage’ on Goudberg Spur near Passchendaele Ridge”.
Spink added: “The operations at Vimy Ridge in April 1917 aside, the battle of Passchendaele must surely rank as one of the most important episodes in Canadian military history.”
David Erskine-Hill, medal specialist at Spink, says: “This was awarded for an extraordinary act of gallantry during one of the most notorious battles of the 20th century.”