15 September 2020

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Drum Major Walter Ritchie,
2nd Bn, Seaforth Highlanders

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1914 Star + clasp "5th Aug-22nd Nov 1914"
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 ) + MiD Oakleaf
  • 1939-45 Star
  • War Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • King George V Silver Jubilee Medal ( 1935 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
  • Croix de Guerre ( France )

The Victoria Cross and impressive campaign medal group awarded to Drum Major Walter Potter Ritchie, 2nd Bn, Seaforth Highlanders, has been sold several times.

  • Sotheby's auction - 30th September 1970 for £1,700.
  • Christie's auction - 4th July 1978 for £7,900
  • John Burridge ( Australia ) sold - 1st November 1981 for $AUS 22,000
The person who purchased the Ritchie VC group from John Burridge later sold his militaria business, which he stated included the Ritchie Victoria Cross, to a fellow Australian operating in the same area, collecting militaria and memorabilia. Unfortunately, this person denies the Walter Ritchie Victoria Cross group was included in the purchase of the business.

Therefore, the current whereabouts of the group remains a complete mystery. Any further developments would be gratefully received by the author of this website.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 9 September 1916 ], Beaumont Hamel, France, 1 July 1916, Drummer Walter Potter Ritchie, 2nd Bn, Seaforth Highlanders

For most conspicuous bravery and resource ( North of Beaumont Hamel ), when on his own initiative he stood on the parapet of an enemy trench, and, under heavy machine gun fire and bomb attacks, repeatedly sounded the "Charge" thereby rallying many men of various units who, having lost their leaders, were wavering and beginning to retire.

This action showed the highest type of courage and personal initiative. Throughout the day Drummer Ritchie carried messages over fire-swept ground, showing the greatest devotion to duty.

Walter Ritchie was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 25th November 1916.

Walter Ritchie died on the 9th December 1958 in Edinburgh and was cremated in the city's Warriston Crematorium.


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Iain Stewart, 15 September 2020