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James Towers with his VC, estimate £140,000- 180,000 at Dix Noonan Webb on April 14.

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The words of James Towers, who won a Victoria Cross for his bravery in the First World War which is now going under the hammer at London saleroom Dix Noonan Webb on April 14, estimated at £140,000-180,000.

The 21-year-old, as a private, 2nd Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), volunteered to carry a vital message to a stranded platoon at Mericourt in October 1918 in the knowledge that five of his comrades had already been in killed in turn trying to carry out the same task.

Under heavy machine-gun fire amid scant cover, Towers moved between shell craters and crawled through barbed wire entanglements, before coming across the slumped body of the first volunteer runner – his close friend, Private Frank Dunlop, the Company Messenger.

Undeterred, he continued, only to become pinned down beneath a guarded embankment which, opting for surprise, he navigated with a running leap – landing within five yards of a fully manned enemy machine-gun post. Finally reaching the trapped platoon intact, he delivered his vital despatch and guided it back.

Oliver Pepys, associate director and medal auctioneer at DNW, said: “We are extremely pleased to be selling this classic VC which was awarded for a pre-meditated act of courage. Unlike many other VCs, this was not given for a spontaneous act, but for cold courage.”

Towers was also one of 74 VC holders who formed a special Guard of Honour for the burial of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey on November 11, 1920.