The Naval Victoria Cross awarded to Seaman James Gorman at the Battle of Inkerman, sold for£320,000 at Noonans.

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Inkerman was one of the bloodiest and most desperate engagements in British military history, when on November 5, 1854, in darkness and through deep mist, the Russians launched a sudden attack on the lightly defended British lines.

Part of the crew of HMS Alboin, Gorman declined the order to withdraw and, using the weapons of the wounded men he was protecting, helped defend the Right Lancaster Battery and repel the Russian advance. It was one of three VCs awarded for the action – the other two are both held in the Lord Ashcroft Collection at the Imperial War Museum in London – that were listed in the notable February 24, 1857, issue of the London Gazette containing the first-ever awards of the VC.

The award had been instituted in 1856 and backdated to include the actions of the Crimean War. Naval versions, given a blue rather than a crimson ribbon, are particularly scarce.


Seaman James Gorman who was aboard HMS Alboin at the Battle of Inkerman.

Born in London, Gorman was accepted as an apprentice into the Royal Navy at the age of 14 and served for 13 years before emigrating to Sydney in 1863, becoming the first-ever Australian resident to hold a VC.

His VC was part of the collection of the late Warwick George Cary (1949-2020) of New South Wales.