Orders, Decorations and Medals (29 March 2000)

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Date of Auction: 29th March 2000

Sold for £60,000

Estimate: £40,000 - £50,000

The outstanding posthumous Victoria Cross group of four awarded to Sergeant Alfred Gill, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, for his gallantry and supreme sacrifice at Delville Wood on the 27th July 1916

Victoria Cross, the reverse of the suspension bar inscribed ‘No. 2815 Serjt. A. Gill, Late 1st Bn. K.R. Rifle C.’, the reverse centre inscribed ‘27 July 1916’, mounted on its original Investiture pin and contained in its original leather presentation case, the case scuffed and damaged; 1914 Star (2815 Pte. A. Gill, 1/K.R. Rif. C.); British War and Victory Medals (2815 Pte. A. Gill, K.R. Rif. C.); together with a related Army Temperance Association medal, good very fine (5) £40000-50000

Footnote

Victoria Cross London Gazette 26 October 1916:

‘Alfred Gill, Sergeant, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. For most conspicuous bravery. On 27 July 1916, at Delville Wood, France, the enemy made a very strong counter-attack on the right flank of the battalion, and rushed the bombing post, after killing all the bombers. Sergt. Gill rallied the remnants of his platoon, none of whom were skilled bombers, and reorganized his defences, a most difficult and dangerous task, the trench being very shallow and much damaged. Soon afterwards the enemy nearly surrounded his men by creeping up through the thick undergrowth, and commencing sniping at about 20 yards’ range. Although it was almost certain death, Sergt. Gill stood boldly up in order to direct the fire of his men. He was killed almost at once, but not before he had shown his men where the enemy were, and thus enabled them to hold up their advance. By his supreme devotion to duty and self-sacrifice he saved a very dangerous situation.’

Alfred Gill was born in Birmingham on 8 September 1879, son of Harry and Sophia Gill, of Birmingham. He was 36 years old when he was killed and is buried in Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France. His widow, Rosetta, was presented with the Victoria Cross by H.M. King George V at Buckingham Palace on 29 November 1916.