Leeds Somme hero’s medals go under hammer

George Sanders: Medals, documents and photos being sold by Dix Noonan Webb.
George Sanders: Medals, documents and photos being sold by Dix Noonan Webb.
0
Have your say

HE was a Holbeck lad and War hero, who won a Victoria Cross for his extraordinary courage on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Now the VC, awarded to George Sanders, for fighting off German attacks for 36 hours, despite being hugely outnumbered, is going under the hammer.

The decorations and medals awarded to George Sanders. From left to right:

Victoria Cross, Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal

The decorations and medals awarded to George Sanders. From left to right: Victoria Cross, Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal

With his Military Cross, which he won later in the war, and other medals, the collection could fetch up to £220,000 at an auction in London on Match 1.

At Leeds Minster last year, the focus was on Corporal Sanders, as the nation fell silent to to honour thousands of soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme 100 years after the bloodiest day in British military history.

Cpl Sanders, who enlisted in the Leeds Rifles, took charge of an isolated group of men cut off as the British offensive ground to a halt. Impressing on them it was “his and their duty to hold the position at all costs” they fought desperate actions, all without food and water, returning to British lines with 19 of his comrades.

“It was astonishing gallantry from a young corporal who had been in the Army for just over 18 months,” said Pierce Noonan, director of auction house Dix, Noonan Webb.

George Sanders VC, MC.

George Sanders VC, MC.

He later won the MC for his bravery at Kemmel Hill in April 1918 – last seen wounded in the right arm and leg, but continuing to fire at the enemy.

Mr Sanders, one of only three VC winners of July 1 1916 to survive the war, died in Leeds aged 55.

The George IV pub in Hunslet, Leeds, prior to its closure. Picture: Google

Fire breaks out at derelict Leeds pub as licence suspension comes to end