19 April 2012

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Corporal Arthur Cross,
40th Bn, Machine Gun Corps

  • Victoria Cross
  • Military Medal ( MM )
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )

The Victoria Cross, Military Medal, and campaign medals awarded to Corporal Arthur Henry Cross, 40th Bn, Machine Gun Corps, have been sold at auction by Spink of London on Thursday, 19th April 2012.

The sale hammer price realised £185,000.The identity of the purchaser has not been revealed.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 4 June 1918 ]. Ervillers, France, 25 March 1918, Private ( A / Lance Corporal ) Arthur Henry Cross, 40th Bn, Machine Gun Corps.

"For most conspicuous bravery and initiative, Lance Corporal Cross volunteered to make a reconnaissance of the position of two machine guns which had been captured by the enemy. He advanced single handed to the enemy trench and with his revolver forced seven of the enemy to surrender and carry the machine guns with their tripods and ammunition to our lines. He then handed over his prisoners, collected items for his guns, which he brought into action with exceptional dash and skill, annihilating a very heavy attack by the enemy.

It is impossible to speak too highly of the extreme gallantry and dash displayed by this NCO who showed throughout four days of operations, supreme devotion to duty."

Arthur Cross was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 4th September 1918.

For the award of the Military Medal

[ London Gazette, 29 August 1918 ]. Ervillers, France, Private ( A / Lance Corporal ) Arthur Henry Cross, 40th Bn, Machine Gun Corps.

No citation

Corporal Arthur Henry Cross VC, MM, was a long time member of the Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades' Association and when he died in 1965 the MGC / OCA arranged his funeral and adherred to his wish that his burial would be a simple affair. No headstone marked his grave in Streatham Vale Cemetery, although there was a small headstone commemorating his second wife and two children who were killed during the Blitz in 1941. Arthur Cross's first wife also lies elsewhere in the cemetery in an unmarked grave.

The idea to erect a proper marker over Arthur Cross's grave was first suggested by Geoff Willars who, after contacting the the MGC / OCA, made a significant donation to start a fund to erect a headstone, after which Judith Lappin, the Honorary Secretary of the MGC / OCA, took up the challenge.

Various interested parties and relatives contributed funds to the project and following a feature about the fundraising in "This England" magazine further donations were made by readers and the Editor generously agreed to provide whatever further money was needed to purchase the headstone. OCA Committee Member, Robert Collister BEM, managed to trace Victor Cross, son of Arthur Cross, who gave permission for a headstone to be placed over his father's grave on condition his mother's name be included. ( Sadly Victor Cross died before the ceremony took place ).

The service, held on Thursday, 27th September 2001, arranged by Judith Lappin of the MGC / OCA, was officiated by the Association's Honorary Chaplain, Colonel ( Rtd ) The Reverend John Barrie. The material carefully chosen for the headstone comprised green granite with silver lettering.


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Iain Stewart, 19 April 2012