8 April 2011

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Staff Sergeant George Howell, 1st Bn, Australian Imperial Force, have been sold at auction by Noble Numismatics of Sydney on the 8th April 2011.
The Victoria Cross group realised a sale hammer price of
AUS $600,000 ( £385,000 ). The purchaser of the VC group was Kerry Stokes, the Australian media magnet, who has announced he will donate the VC group to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The handover took place on Friday, 15th April 2011.

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Staff Sergeant George Julian Howell,
1st Bn, Australian Imperial Force

  • Victoria Cross
  • Military Medal ( MM )
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • War Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • Australian Service Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
  • Merchant Marine Pacific War Zone Medal ( USA )
  • Merchant Marine WWII Victory Medal ( USA )

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 26 June 1917 ], Near Bullecourt, France, 6 May 1917, Corporal George Julian Howell MM, 1st Bn, Australian Imperial Force.

For most conspicuous bravery ( near Bullecourt, France ). Seeing a party of the enemy were likely to outflank his Battalion, Cpl. Howell, on his own initiative, single-handed and exposed to heavy bomb and rifle fire, climbed on to the parapet and proceeded to bomb the enemy, pressing them back along the trench. Having exhausted his stock of bombs, he continued to attack the enemy with his bayonet. He was then severely wounded.

The prompt action and gallant conduct of this N.C.O. in the face of superior numbers was witnessed by the whole Battalion and greatly inspired them in the subsequent successful counter attack.

George Howell was invested with his Victoria Cross and Military Medal by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 21st July 1917.

[ London Gazette, 26 May 1917 ], For the award of the Military Medal, Corporal George Julian Howell, 1st Bn, Australian Imperial Force

No citation.

During his VC action George Howell was severely wounded and fell into the trench. He had been hit in both legs by machine-gun fire and suffered at least twenty-eight wounds, but when brought in some hours later it was found he had no broken bones. Howell was sent to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in England and after a long recuperation was found not fit and was discharged from the Army on 5 June 1918.

When the Second World War began George Howell offered his services to the Army and joined as a Staff Sergeant at the headquarters of Eastern Command in Paddington on 14 October 1939. However, he found Army life a trifle dull and left in March 1941. In August 1944 Howell joined the American Army and served with the United States Sea Transport Service which enabled him to take part in the invasion of Leyte at the beginning of the Allied campaign to drive the Japanese out of the Philippines.

George Howell died at the Repatriation General Hospital, Hollywood, Perth, aged 71, on the 23 December 1963. He was cremated at the Karrakatta Crematorium, Hollywood, and his ashes scattered in the Garden of Remembrance.


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Iain Stewart, 15 April 2011