THE VICTORIA CROSS AND CAMPAIGN MEDALS AWARDED TO MAJOR JOHN KNOX, SCOTS ( FUSILIER ) GUARDS AND THE RIFLE BRIGADE, HAVE BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION BY SPINK OF LONDON.
22 April 2010


( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Major John Simpson Knox,
Scots ( Fusilier ) Guards & The Rifle Brigade

  • Victoria Cross
  • Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
  • 4 clasps
    • "Alma" - "Balaclava" - "Inkermann" - "Sebastopol"
  • Knight, Legion of Honour ( France )
  • Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )

The Victoria Cross and Crimea campaign medal with four clasps, awarded to Major John Knox, Scots ( Fusilier ) Guards & The Rifle Brigade, have been sold at auction by Spink of London. The auction took place on Thursday, 22nd April 2010 and the sale of the VC realised a hammer price of £210,000 ( estimate £100,000 - £120,000 ). The identity of the purchaser has not been revealed.


The Scots Fusilier Guards landed in the Crimea on the 14th September 1854 and immediately commenced a march towards Sebastopol, and on the way took part in the first battle of the campaign, at Alma on 20th September. It was mainly for his gallantry and leadership in this battle that Sergeant John Knox was recommended for the Victoria Cross.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 24 February 1857 ] River Alma, Crimea, 20 September 1854, Sergeant John Knox, Scots ( Fusilier ) Guards.

When serving as a Serjeant in the Scots Fusilier Guards. Lieutenant Knox was conspicuous for his exertions in reforming the ranks of the Guards at the Battle of the Alma. Subsequently, when in the Rifle Brigade, he volunteered for the ladder party in the attack on the Redan, on the 18th of June, and ( in the words of Captain Blackett, under whose command he was ) behaved admirably, remaining on the field until twice wounded

John Knox was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Hyde Park on the 26th June 1857.


Sergeant John Knox was present with his regiment in all the Crimean engagements, and at the Siege of Sebastopol, his conduct being conspicuous for gallantry, and in every way set an example to those around him. The behaviour of the three battalions of Foot Guards, especially at Inkerman, so impressed the Prince Consort ( Prince Albert ) that he placed a commission in his own regiment, the Rifle Brigade, at the disposal of General Lord Rokeby. The selection of Sergeant John Knox for this high honour gave widespread satisfaction among his colleagues.

John Knox was discharged from the Scots Fusilier Guards on 5 November 1854 and was appointed Ensign in the Rifle Brigade in March 1855, and promoted Lieutenant in April. His Ensigncy was antedated to 5th November 1854 and Lieutenancy to 29 December 1854. His final recommendation for the Victoria Cross occurred when he was the volunteer officer in charge of the ladder-party at the unsuccessful attack on the Redan on 18 June 1855. His brother officer, Captain Foreman, was killed and Knox himself wounded twice, losing his left arm, curtailing his active army career.


John Knox died on the 8th January 1897 in Cheltenham and was buried in the town's cemetery. In February 2002 a complete refurbishment of Knox's grave and headstone took place after it was discovered to be badly damaged.

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Iain Stewart, 22 April 2010