While the VC awarded to Corporal James Upton, 1st Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters, is currently displayed at the Museum of the Mercian Regiment in Nottingham, a miniature version was offered along with his other honours.
His 1914 (Mons) Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and a George VI Coronation Medal were sold together with a full miniature medals set, a booklet containing the VC dinner menu and listing, signed by Edward VIII, along with an invitation to Sergeant J & Mrs Upton for an afternoon party on Saturday, June 26, 1920, at Buckingham Palace.
Estimated at £2000-3000 on February 15 as part of the four-day Macclesfield auction , they did rather better in selling at £14,400. The medal group was consigned by Upton’s grandson.
James Whitbread Upton (1888-1949) was born in Lincoln. He enlisted with the 4th Sherwood Foresters at Derby in 1906 and served in Ireland and India until the war broke out.
He went to France on November 4, 1914. On May 9, 1915, at Rouges Bancs in France during the Battle of Aubers, Upton rescued wounded men while exposed to rifle and artillery fire, going close to the enemy’s parapet. One wounded man was killed by a shell while the corporal was carrying him.
When not actually carrying the wounded he was engaged in dressing and bandaging the serious cases in front of the British trench.
Corporal Upton was presented with his VC ribbon by Major General Sir Francis Davies, GOC 8th Division, near Sailly, France, on July 8, 1915.
He returned to England on July 14 and his VC was presented by King George V at Windsor Castle 10 days later.
Miniature medals were not officially issued and had to be bought by the recipient. Half-size, they were usually worn for formal social occasions where the full size would be awkward – on mess dress uniforms and at black tie and suit functions, for example.