THE VICTORIA CROSS AND MILITARY MEDAL AWARDED TO LANCE SERGEANT THOMAS NEELY, KING'S OWN ( ROYAL LANCASTER ) REGIMENT, HAVE BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION BY SPINK OF LONDON.
25 November 2010


( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Lance Sergeant Thomas Neely,
8th Bn, King's Own ( Royal Lancaster ) Regiment

  • Victoria Cross
  • Military Medal
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )

The Victoria Cross and Military Medal awarded to Lance Sergeant Thomas Neely have been sold at auction by Spink of London on the 25 November 2010. The group realised a sale hammer price of £110,000. The identity of the purchaser has not been revealed.

Thomas Neely was additionaly entitled to a British War Medal and Victory Medal; however, the frame in which the two gallantry medals were displayed for over fifty years at his parent's home give no indication of the family ever receiving them.


The 8th Battalion, King's Own ( Royal Lancaster ) Regiment were heavily involved in capturing part of the strongly defended Hindenberg Line in the area of the village of Flesquieres. During the attack the King's Own came up against a line of numerous concrete machine-gun posts that ran through the village as part of the German support line. As a result, most of the officers of the leading companies became casualties, and the whole advance was held up by heavy fire from the left flank. It was then that Corporal Neely and two men dashed out to save the day.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 14 December 1918 ], Flesquieres, France, 27 September 1918, 32827 Corporal ( L / Sjt. ) Thomas Neely, 8th Bn, King's Own ( Royal Lancaster ) Regiment.

For most conspicuous bravery during operations at Flesquieres on 27th September 1918.

His company was held up during the advance by heavy machine-gun fire from a flank. Cpl. Neeley, realising the seriousness of the situation, at once, under point-blank fire, dashed out with two men and rushed the positions, disposing of the garrison and capturing three machine guns. Subsequently, on two successive occasions, he rushed concrete strong points, killing or capturing the occupants.

The splendid initiative and fighting spirit displayed by this gallant non-commissioned officer in dealing with a series of posts, in some cases single-handed, was largely responsible for the taking and clearing of a heavily fortified and strongly garrisoned position, and enabled his company to advance 3,000 yards along the Hindenburg support line.

Thomas Neely's parents were presented with his posthumous Victoria Cross by King George V at a private ceremony in Buckingham Palace on the 27th February 1920


For the award of the Military Medal.

[ London Gazette, 16 July 1918 ], 32827 Private ( L / C ) Thomas Neely, 8th Bn, King's Own ( Royal Lancaster ) Regiment

No citation


Thomas Neely was killed in action on the 1st October 1918, aged 21, four days after his Victoria Cross action. He is buried in the Masnieres British Cemetery, Marcoing, France, four miles south west of Cambrai.

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Iain Stewart, 25 November 2010