THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO LIEUTENANT HORACE MARTINEAU, PROTECTORATE REGIMENT, SOUTH AFRICAN FORCES, HAS BEEN SOLD BY SPINK OF LONDON.
9 May 2002

The Victoria Cross and other campaign medals awarded to Horace Robert Martineau, Protectorate Regiment, South African Forces, has been sold at auction by Spink of London for a hammer price of £90,000. The VC was purchased on behalf of the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection.



( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Sergeant Horace Martineau,
Protectorate Regiment ( North West Cape Colony ), South African Forces

  • Victoria Cross
  • British South Africa Company Medal ( 1890-97 )
    • inscribed "Rhodesia 1896"
  • Queen's South Africa Medal ( 1899-1902 )
    • 3 clasps:
    • "Transvaal" - "Defence of Mafeking" - "Orange Free State"
  • Natal Rebellion Medal ( 1906 )
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )


Horace Martineau was born in Bayswater, London, on 31 October 1874, and following his education at University College School, enlisted in the 11th Hussars in 1891 and served with the regiment in Natal and later in India before purchasing his discharge and returning to South Africa in 1895. In 1896 he served under Colonel Sir Robert Baden-Powell in the successful campaign against the Matebele. He then joined the Cape Police and on the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, joined the Protectorate Regiment ( North West Cape Colony ) with which he served in the South African campaign of 1899-1902, taking part in the defence of Mafeking.


[ London Gazette, 6 July 1900 ]. Game Tree, Near Mafeking, South Africa, 26 December 1899, Sergeant Horace Robert Martineau, Protectorate Regiment ( North West Cape Colony ), South African Forces.

"On 26th December 1899, during the fight at Game Tree, near Mafeking, when the order to retire had been given, Sergeant Martineau stopped and picked up Corporal Le Camp, who had been struck down about ten yards from the Boer trenches, and half dragged, half carried him towards a bush about 150 yards from the trenches. In doing this Sergeant Martineau was wounded in the side, but paid no attention to it, and proceeded to staunch and bandage the wounds of his comrade, whom he afterwards assisted to retire.

The firing while they were retiring was very heavy and Sergeant Martineau was again wounded. When shot the second time he was absolutely exhausted from supporting his comrade and sank down unable to proceed farther. He received three wounds, one of which necessitated the amputation of his arm near the shoulder."

Horace Martineau was invested with his Victoria Cross by C-in-C South Africa, Lord Roberts, at Cape Town on 11th December 1900.


Horace Martineau took no further part in the South African war and took up employment with the African Boating Company, a large concern in Durban. Upon the outbreak of the First World War he was living in New Zealand and immediately joined the New Zealand Otago Regiment, serving with the Transport Service of the ANZACS seeing service in Suez and action in the Gallipoli campaign.

It was while he was in Gallipoli that he contracted a fever, fell seriously ill, and was invalided back home to New Zealand. He eventually died from the results of the fever on 8th April 1916, aged 41 years. Horace Martineau is buried in Anderson's Bay Cemetery, Duneden. His name also appears on the family grave in Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey, England.

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Iain Stewart, 10 May 2002