THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO SERGEANT JOHN SMITH, BENGAL SAPPERS AND MINERSM HAS BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION BY MORTON AND EDEN OF LONDON.
18 November 2020


( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Sergeant John Smith,
Bengal Sappers and Miners

  • Victoria Cross
  • Candahar, Ghuznee, Cabul Medal ( 1841-42 )
    • Reverse: "Cabul 1842"
  • Sutlej Medal ( 1845-46 )
    • Reverse: "Sobraon 1846"
  • Punjab Medal ( 1848-49 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Mooltan" - "Goojerat"
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Delhi"


The Victoria Cross awarded to Sergeant John Smith, Bengal Sappers and Miners, has been sold at auction by Morton and Eden of London. The John Smith VC is not accompanied by the campaign medals.

The estimated sale price was between £70,000 and £90,000. The sale hammer price realised £155,000. The anonymous purchaser bought not only the John Smith Victoria Cross but also the George Forrest Victoria Cross at the same auction.

John Smith was a 45-year-old experienced senior non-commissioned officer when he joined Lieutenant Duncan Home's party of Bengal Sappers and Miners detailed to blow up the Kashmir Gate at the siege of Delhi on 14th September 1857.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 27 April 1858 ], Delhi, Indian Mutiny, 14 September 1857, Sergeant John Smith, Bengal Sappers and Miners.

For conspicuous gallantry in conjunction with Lieutenants Home and Salkeld, in the performance of the desperate duty of blowing in the Cashmere Gate of the fortress of Delhi in broad daylight, under a heavy and destructive fire of musketry, on the morning of the 14th September 1857, preparatory to the assault.

( General Order of Major-General Archdale Wilson, Bart. KCB, dated Head Quarters, Delhi City, September 21, 1857 ).

John Smith was invested with his Victoria Cross in India in 1859.


John Smith died of dysentry on the 29th June 1884 in Jullundar and was buried in the city's Artillery Cemetery. The grave is marked.


A memorial ( 1876 ) has been placed here as a tribute of respect to those gallant soldiers in the blowing of the Kashmir Gate, Delhi, on the 14th September 1857

Awarded the Victoria Cross:

  • Lieutenant Duncan Home ( Bengal Engineers )
  • Lieutentat Philip Salked ( Bengal Engineers )
  • Sergeant John Smith ( Bengal Sappers & Miners )
  • Bugler Robert Hawthorne ( 52nd Regiment )

  • Sergeant A Carmichael ( Bengal Sappers & Miners ) - Killed
  • Corporal F Burgess ( Bengal Sappers & Miners ) - Killed

  • Soobadar Toola Ram ( Bengal Sappers & Miners ) ( Indian Order of Merit )
  • Subadar Bis Ram ( Bengal Sappers & Miners ) ( Indian Order of Merit )
  • Havildar Madho ( Bengal Sappers & Miners ) - Wounded ( Indian Order of Merit )
  • Havildar Tilok Singh ( Bengal Sappers & Miners ) - Mortally wounded
  • Sepoy Ram Heth ( Bengal Sappers & Miners ) - Killed

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Iain Stewart, 18 November 2020