THE VICTORIA CROSS AND CAMPAIGN MEDALS AWARDED TO CHIEF BOATSWAIN JOSEPH KELLAWAY, ROYAL NAVY ( HMS 'WRANGLER ) ARE TO BE SOLD AT AUCTION BY SPINK OF LONDON.
17 November 2020


( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Chief Boatswain Joseph Kellaway,
Royal Navy ( HMS 'Wrangler' )

  • Victoria Cross
  • China War Medal ( 1841-42 )
  • Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Azoff" - "Sebastopol"
  • Baltic Medal ( 1855 )
  • Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )
  • Knight, Legion of Honour ( France )


The rare Sea of Azoff Victoria Cross group awarded to Chief Boatswain Joseph Kellaway, Royal Navy ( HMS 'Wrangler' ) is to be sold at auction by Spink of London on the 8th December 2020. The estimated sale price is between £180,000 and £220,000.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 24 February 1857 ], Marionpol, Sea of Azoff, Crimean War, 31 August 1855, Boatswain 3rd Class, Joseph Kellaway, Royal Navy ( HMS 'Wrangler' ).

While Boatswain of the HMS 'Wrangler' in the Sea of Azoff, was taken prisoner after a stout resistance, whilst endeavouring to rescue Mr Odevaine, Mate. This gallant service was performed on shore near Marionpol.

A detachment, consisting of Mr Odevaine, Mate; Mr Kellaway, Boatswain; and three seamen, had been dispatched from the 'Wrangler' to endeavour to burn some boats, fishing stations, and hay-stacks, on the opposite side of a small lake.

They had nearly reached the spot, when they were fired upon by a party of fifty Russian soldiers, who suddenly rushed from their ambush, and endeavoured to cut off their retreat. One man fell into the enemy’s hands, but Mr Kellaway, and the two other seamen, had contrived to make good their escape, when Mr Odevaine accidentally fell. Kellaway, apparently imagining him to be wounded, without a moment’s hesitation returned to his rescue, risking his own life to succour his Commanding Officer. Unfortunately, while lifting up Mr Odevaine, they were surrounded by the enemy, and, notwithstanding a gallant but hopeless resistance by Mr Kellaway, they were both made prisoners.

Commander Burgoyne, who has furnished these particulars, observes, "I was myself an observer of the zeal, gallantry, and self-devotion that characterized Mr Kellaway’s conduct"

( Despatches from Admiral Lord Lyons, of 8th September 1855 No 746 and of 22nd September 1855 No 796 )

Joseh Kellaway was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria in Hyde Park, London, on the 26th June 1857.


Joseph Kellaway died on the 2nd October 1880 in Chatham, Kent, and was buried in the town's Maidstone Road Cemetery.

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Iain Stewart, 17 November 2020