Victoria Cross and Indian Mutiny Medal awarded to Captain HE Harington, estimate £120,000-150,000 at Spink.

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In the April 18 Orders, Decorations and Medals auction the London firm has hopes of £120,000-150,000 for an early Victoria Cross offered with a campaign medal, sold by order of a direct descendant.

They were awarded to Captain HE Harington, Bengal Artillery, for gallantry during the Relief of Lucknow in November 1857. Harington was wounded in action three times during the Indian Mutiny – twice presumed killed in action – and played an important role in the entire campaign.

He was confirmed as having won the VC for gallantry in the Relief of Lucknow, but was denied the honour as it had been understood he had been killed – at a time when the ultimate reward for gallantry could not be awarded posthumously. It was no surprise he was unanimously voted by his brother officers to eventually receive the honour in place of ‘the one promised by Sir Colin [Campbell]’ – his comrades knew he had truly won the reward several times over.

Under Clause 13 of the original Royal Warrant for the VC the medal could be awarded by ballot, if a large body of men, such as a battalion or ship’s crew, performed the act of bravery collectively.

Following various acts of courage by Harington, one incident involved the rescue of a wounded man. Major-General Sir George Bourchier said: “A poor Drummer, wounded, was left for hours behind a wall in a garden. A hot fire was kept up on the garden.

“Harington with two others rushed out and brought in the wounded man. For this he was recommended for the Victoria Cross, but got it from the universal vote of his brother officers, to whom was given the pleasing task of electing the bravest of the number. Harington deserved two Crosses.”

Skilful leadership


CB, Army Gold Cross and Small Army Gold Medal group of three awarded to Colonel W Kelly, estimate £50,000-70,000 at Spink.

Another stand-out lot is an “exceptional and regimentally unique” CB, Army Gold Cross and Small Army Gold Medal group of three awarded to Colonel W Kelly, 24th (The 2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot.

He led his battalion with great skill and gallantry during the Peninsular War and later commanded a column during the Anglo-Nepalese War in 1816.

Estimate £50,000-70,000.