Victoria Cross group of six medals awarded to Private Patrick Donohoe for his role in the Battle of Bolondshuhur, India, in 1857 (Picture: Dix Noonan Webb/Twitter).
History

Lifesaving private's 1857 Victoria Cross medals group sells at auction

The group of six medals had not been sold on the open market for more than 100 years and sold for £40,000 above top estimate.

Victoria Cross group of six medals awarded to Private Patrick Donohoe for his role in the Battle of Bolondshuhur, India, in 1857 (Picture: Dix Noonan Webb/Twitter).

A Victoria Cross group, awarded to a British Army private who rescued his commanding officer from certain death in 1857, has sold at auction for £220,000.

The group of six medals had not been sold on the open market for more than 100 years.

They were estimated to fetch between £140,000 and 180,000.

The medals were awarded to Private Patrick Donohoe after he went to the aid of his severely wounded officer at the Battle of Bolondshuhur.

Christopher Mellor-Hill, from auction house Dix Noonan Webb, said Donohoe's regiment was "probably the most distinguished cavalry regiment to serve in India".

"He was unique in being awarded the grand slam of medals won by his regiment for its 17 years of continuous service in India," he said.

"His VC action was earned in the thick of a battle of spears and swords that saw him rescue his commanding officer from certain death having been cut off from the rest of his party after being severely wounded in the action.

"Donohoe's group of medals represent the 9th Lancers' complete history in India."

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Pte Donohoe was among a select group, unique to his unit, to be present at all three great military episodes of the rebellion – the Siege of Delhi, the Relief of Lucknow and the final capture of that city. 

The 9th Lancers were awarded 13 Victoria Crosses during the campaign – a record in the Victorian era.

The soldier was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1820 and enrolled for the 17th Lancers at Dublin in June 1839.

He transferred to the 9th Lancers in 1842 and served for 25 years before being discharged after being declared unfit with chronic bronchitis. He died in August 1876.