THE PUNNIAR STAR AWARDED TO PRIVATE JOHN PURCELL VC, 9TH ( QUEEN'S ROYAL ) LANCERS, HAS BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION BY SPINK OF LONDON
8 December 2020

Medal entitlement of Private John Purcell,
9th ( Queen's Royal ) Lancers

  • Victoria Cross
  • Gwalior Campaign ( 1843 )
    • "Punniar Star"
  • Sutlej Medal ( 1845-46 )
    • Reverse: "Sobraon 1846"
  • Punjab Medal ( 1848-49 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Chillianwala" - "Goojerat"
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • "Delhi"

  • Impressed naming:
  • PRIVATE JOHN PURCELL. H.M. 9TH OR QUEEN'S ROYAL LANCERS


John Purcell was serving with the 9th Lancers during the Gwalior Campaign of 1843 after which two Stars were awarded to commemorate the two battles held on the same day, the Punniar Star and Maharajpoor Star. The Punniar Star awarded to John Purcell has been sold at auction by Spink of London on the 8th December 2020.

The estimated sale price was between £3,000 and £4,000. The sale hammer price realised £2,900. The identity of the purchaser has not been revealed.

The location of Purcell's Victoria Cross and campaign medals is unknown. The Punniar Star has resided in its present location for over 40 years.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 15 January 1858 ], Delhi, Indian Mutiny, 19 June 1857, Private John Purcell, 9th ( Queen's Royal ) Lancers.

The guns, I am happy to say, were saved, but a waggon of Major Scottís battery was blown up. I must not fail to mention the excellent conduct of a Sowar of the 4th Irregular Cavalry, and two men of the 9th Lancers, Privates Thomas Hancock and John Purcell, who, when my horse was shot down, remained by me throughout. One of these men and the Sowar offered me their horses, and I was dragged out by the Sowar's horse. Private Hancock was severely wounded, and Private Purcellís horse was killed under him. The Sowar's name is Roopur Khan.

( Extract from a letter from Brigadier JH Grant CB, Commanding Cavalry Brigade of the Field Force, to the Deputy Assistant-Adjutant-General of Division Dated Camp, Delhi, June 22, 1857 )


On February 1858 the War Office confirmed John Purcell's posthumous award of the Victoria Cross. The Cross was sent to Lord Clyde of India instructing him to make a presentation to John Purcell's brother James who was also serving with the 9th Lancers during the Indian Mutiny.

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Iain Stewart, 8 December 2020