Victoria Cross hero’s medal goes on display

Curator Michael Naxton and Brian Iredale (left), who is holding a photograph of his war hero uncle..jpeg
Curator Michael Naxton and Brian Iredale (left), who is holding a photograph of his war hero uncle..jpeg

A Leamington man has helped to complete the “missing links” in the life of a First World War hero whose Victoria Cross is soon to go on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.

The VC is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

At the age of 22, Corporal George Sanders, from the West Yorkshire Regiment, won the VC for “most conspicuous bravery” during the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916.

In April. 1918, Corporal Sanders – later promoted to the rank of Captain – won the Military Cross for gallantry during heavy fighting at Mount Kemmel. But just a few days later, he was wounded, captured and interned at a POW camp.

However, he survived the war and lived until the age of 56, when he died in his home city of Leeds.

Now his nephew, Brian Iredale, has provided original photographs and background information, including maps relating to the exact position occupied by Corporal Sanders during the Battle of the Somme, to Michael Naxton, curator of the Lord Ashcroft Medal Collection.

Lord Ashcroft, who, over a period of years, has acquired the world’s largest collection of VCs, which are on display at the Imperial War Memorial, purchased George Sanders’ medal at auction earlier this year for £240,000.

Mr Iredale said: “Personally, I was very disappointed when a decision was taken to sell the medal after having been in the possession of my uncle’s close family after so many years.

But I am delighted that a far wider audience will be able to see his medals, and learn about his gallantry, now that Lord Ashcroft has purchased the VC to add to his own unique collection.”