THE VICTORIA CROSS AND CAMPAIGN MEDALS AWARDED TO MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE RENNY, BENGAL HORSE ARTILLERY, HAVE BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION BY SPINK OF LONDON.
25 November 2010


( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Major General George Alexander Renny,
Bengal Horse Artillery

  • Victoria Cross
  • Sutlej Medal ( 1845-46 )
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Delhi"
  • Indian General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "North West Frontier"

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Major General George Renny, Bengal Horse Artillery, have been sold at auction by Spink of London on the 25 November 2010. The group realised a sale hammer price of £130,000. The group was purchased on behalf of the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection.

In 1978 George Renny's Victoria Cross was stolen during a burglary from the Renny family home in Walderingfield, Suffolk. Later, in March 1983, a person operating a metal detector on Sheen Common, London, located an unusual object which turned out to be the stolen Renny Victoria Cross. The discovery was subsequently publicised in the local press and media on the 22nd March 1983 and a day later the granddaughter-in-law of George Renny became aware of the find and claimed the VC back into the safety of the Renny family household. The George Renny Victoria Cross group has been on a long loan to the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich.


By the afternoon of the 14th September 1857 Brigadier General John Nicholson had been mortally wounded, shot by a sepoy sniper, and about a quarter of the Delhi Field Force who had taken part in the assault were dead or injured, but a quarter of the city of Delhi was back under British control.

On the 16th September the Delhi Field Force resumed the fight, this time with more success. The mutineers had now lost 171 guns and a huge supply of ammunition, but launched a last-ditch counter-attack setting fire to a thatched building full of explosives. The actions of two men, Second Lieutenant Thackery and Lieutenant Renny, in extinguishing the fire, then throwing grenades from the arsenal into the midst of the enemy turned the tide, and quashed the attack. Delhi was effectively back in British control.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 12 April 1859 ], Delhi Magazine, Indian Mutiny, 16 September 1857, Lieutenant George Alexander Renny, Bengal Horse Artillery.

Lieutenant-Colonel Farquhar, Commanding the 1st Belooch Regiment, reports that he was in command of the troops stationed in the Delhi magazine, after its capture on the 16th of September 1857.

Early in the forenoon of that day, a vigorous attack was made on the post by the enemy, and was kept up with great force for some time, without the slightest chance of success. Under cover of a heavy cross fire from the high houses on the right flank of the magazine, and from Selinghur and the Palace, the enemy advanced to the high wall of the magazine, and endeavoured to set fire to a thatched roof. The roof was partially set fire to, which was extinguished at the spot by a Sepoy of the Belooch battalion, a soldier of the 61st Regiment having in vain attempted to do so.

The roof having been again set on fire, Captain Renny with great gallantry mounted to the top of the wall of the magazine, and flung several shells with lighted fuzes over into the midst of the enemy, which had an almost immediate effect, as the attack at once became feeble at that point, and soon after ceased there.

George Renny was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on the 9th November 1860.


George Renny died on the 5th of January 1887, aged 61, at Bath, and was buried in the town's Locksbrooke Cemetery.

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Iain Stewart, 25 November 2010