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Norwich war hero Sidney Day’s Victoria Cross and other awards fetch nearly £200,000 on auction

PUBLISHED: 13:08 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:08 01 March 2018

The awards of Corporal Sidney Day: (left to right) Victoria Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, George VI Coronation Medal 1937, Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953. Picture: Courtesy Dix Noonan Webb

The awards of Corporal Sidney Day: (left to right) Victoria Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, George VI Coronation Medal 1937, Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953. Picture: Courtesy Dix Noonan Webb

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A Victoria Cross and other awards won by Norwich-born Corporal Sidney Day fetched nearly £200,000 at a London auction.

The reverse of Sidney Day’s Victoria Cross engraved with his name and the date on which he won Britain’s highest gallantry decoration. Picture: Courtesy Dix Noonan WebbThe reverse of Sidney Day’s Victoria Cross engraved with his name and the date on which he won Britain’s highest gallantry decoration. Picture: Courtesy Dix Noonan Webb

The lot, which included the VC won in 1917, three campaign medals, a cigarette case and a leather compass case all owned by Mr Day were sold to a telephone bidder for £198,400.

Mr Day was one of only two men from the Suffolk Regiment ever to be awarded Britain’s highest gallantry decoration and has been described as one of the most extraordinary survivors of the First and Second World Wars.

He won his VC for heroics during the capture of a complex German trench system at Hargicourt on August 26, 1917.

His later plan to live a quiet life by opening a tea room in Portsmouth went awry when his business and home were destroyed by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War and he narrowly escaped death.

An artist’s illustration of Corporal Sidney Day winning the Victoria Cross in August 1917. Picture: Courtesy Dix Noonan WebbAn artist’s illustration of Corporal Sidney Day winning the Victoria Cross in August 1917. Picture: Courtesy Dix Noonan Webb

The items were auctioned by Dix Noonan Webb, the international coins, medals and jewellery specialists, on February 28.

They were sold by order of his family along with an emotive archive of material.

A spokesperson for the auction house would not divulge details of the buyer, other than to say it was a telephone bidder.

The cigarette case was given to Mr Day by the parents of a young officer whose life he unsuccessfully tried to save.

Corporal Sidney Day, Suffolk Regiment, wearing his Victoria Cross. Picture: Courtesy Dix Noonan WebbCorporal Sidney Day, Suffolk Regiment, wearing his Victoria Cross. Picture: Courtesy Dix Noonan Webb

The leather compass case stopped a bullet that could have killed him, while a government document compensating him for the destruction of his home and business by German bombers was included in the collection.

The lot had been expected to fetch from £120,000 to £140,000.

Mark Quayle, medals specialist at Dix Noonan Webb said: “Sidney Day’s survival in the First World War was nothing short of miraculous.

“He suffered five wounds, was saved from serious injury on two occasions when equipment and personal possessions deflected bullets and was twice forced to crawl back to British lines. He was eventually taken prisoner.”

Commemorative stones laid, at Norwich War Memorial, in honour of Sidney Day and Wilfred Edwards, two local WWI soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross. Picture : ANTONY KELLYCommemorative stones laid, at Norwich War Memorial, in honour of Sidney Day and Wilfred Edwards, two local WWI soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

After years of declining health, Mr Day passed away on July 17, 1959.

A stone commemorating him in front of the Norwich War Memorial was dedicated on August 26, 2017 – exactly 100 years after the deeds

that won him the Victoria Cross.


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