THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO COLONEL JOHN DAUNT, 11TH BENGAL NATIVE INFANTRY, HAS BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION BY DIX NOONAN WEB.
2 July 2003

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Colonel John Daunt, 11th Bengal Native Infantry, Indian Army, has been sold at auction by Dix, Noonan, Webb for a hammer price of £110,000. The VC group was purchased on behalf of the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection.



( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Colonel John Daunt,
11th Bengal Native Infantry, Indian Army

  • Victoria Cross
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
  • Second China War Medal ( 1857-60 )


John Charles Campbell Daunt was born at Autranches, Normandy, on 8th November 1832 and was first commissioned on the 20th July 1852 as Ensign in the 70th Bengal Native Infantry, and promoted Lieutenant on 20th July 1857. During 1857 he served as Baggage-Master to the 27th Madras Native Infantry, and during 1857 - 1858 as Interpreter to the column commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel English, 53rd Foot.

John Daunt was present at the attack and defeat of the Ramghur Light Infantry Battalion at Chuttra, Chota Nagpore, on 2nd October 1857, on which occasion his conduct was brought to the especial notice of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief.


For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 25 February 1862 ], 2nd October & 2nd November 1857, Indian Mutiny, Lieutenant John Daunt, 11th ( late 70th ) Bengal Native Infantry.

For conspicuous gallantry in action on 2nd October 1857, against the mutineers of the Ramgurh Battalion at Chota Behar, in capturing two guns, particularly the last when he, in conjunction with Sergeant Denis Dynon of the 53rd Foot, rushed at and captured it by pistolling the gunners who were mowing the detachment down with grape shot, one third of which was hors de comabt at the time.

On 2nd November 1857, for chasing the mutineers of the 32nd Bengal Native Infantry across a plain into a rich cultivation into which he followed them with a few of Rattray's Sikhs. He was dangerously wounded in the attempt to drive out a large body of these mutineers from an enclosure, the preservation of many of his party on the occasion being attributed to his gallantry.


Daunt's conduct was again brought to the notice of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief for submission to Her Majesty, for the decoration of the Victoria Cross.

Lieutenant Daunt rejoined the 70th Native Infantry on 1st April 1858 in Canton, China, where he was present at the affair with the Braves at the White Cloud Mountains, at the repulse of the Chinese at the Landing Pier and at the Magazine Hill. He entered civil employ in April 1862 and became a District Superintendent in the Bengal Police Department. He received the brevet of Captain in July 1864, was confirmed in that rank in September 1866, and thereafter received promotion to Major in July 1872, to Lieutenant-Colonel in July 1878, and to Brevet Colonel in July 1882.

Colonel John Daunt died in Bristol on the 15th April 1886, aged 54, and was buried in the Redland Green Chapel Graveyard. The chapel was built in 1743 by a wealthy London grocer as a private place of worship after he had purchased the Redland Estate. In 1943 the new parish of Redland was formed and the chapel became the Redland Parish Church. The graveyard is now closed to burials but all headstones are accessible.

Acquisitions

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Iain Stewart, 3 July 2003