The Fusilier Museum embarks on search for missing Victoria Cross

10/07/2018

The Fusilier Museum, Bury has launched an international appeal to find a missing Victoria Cross (VC) medal which is to be included in a new exhibition to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One.

 

The exhibition entitled 18 for 18 which is due to open in October this year is anticipated to include all eighteen Victoria Crosses which were awarded to the Lancashire Fusiliers during the Great War.

 

If successful in their search it will be the first time ever in 100 years that all 18 VC’s have been together and on display in one place.

 

The museum currently has 6 Victoria Crosses in its collection, 8 will be kindly loaned to the museum from Lord Ashcroft’s private collection of VC’s which is the largest collection of its kind in the world and currently on display at the Imperial War Museum. 3 of the medals are still in private ownership and will be loaned to the museum for the duration of the exhibition.

 

The missing medal belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Bertram Best-Dunkley (3rd August 1890 – 5th August 1917).Best-Dunkley was a temporary lieutenant-colonel in the 2/5th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers. During the First World War on 31 July 1917 at Wieltje, Belgium, he was in command of his battalion when they came under attack with machine gun fire at close range. Lt.-Col. Best-Dunkley dashed forward, rallied his leading waves, and personally led them to the assault of these positions, which, despite heavy losses, were carried. He was awarded the VC for bravery and devotion to duty but sadly later died from his wounds a few days later.

 

Before enlisting in the Lancashire Fusiliers, Best-Dunkley was a Master at Tienstin Grammar School in China.

 

The medals last known whereabouts was in Canada in 1983 where it was believed to be owned by Jack Stenabaugh (Huntsville, Ontario). He offered it for auction to a number of auction houses but it was never actually put forward so the medal is still believed to be in private ownership.

Sarah Stevenson, Collections Officer at the Fusilier Museum said, “The location of the missing Best –Dunkley medal is a mystery. It seems to have vanished but someone must know of its whereabouts or still be in procession of it. This is an ambitious, global search to try and find the missing medal but we are determined to succeed so it can take its rightful place alongside the other, 17 VC’s in the exhibition.”

Colonel Brian Gorski MBE and Chairman of The Fusilier Museum, said: “We are thrilled to be able to develop this exciting exhibition to commemorate the end of the First World War and hope the general public get behind us to try and find the missing medal. We are extremely grateful to Lord Ashcroft for his generous loan of 8 VC’s to ensure the exhibitions success and we look forward to announcing further updates in the next few months.”

 

Lord Ashcroft KCMG, PC said: "Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC said: "I am delighted that the eight VCs from my collection will be seen and appreciated by a wide audience at the Fusilier Museum. One of the key reasons that I have built up the world's largest VC collection is to champion acts of outstanding bravery and this exhibition will achieve this. I wish the Fusilier Museum the best of luck in its attempts to locate the 18th and final VC that was awarded to the Lancashire Fusiliers during the Great War."

 

The Fusilier Museum in Bury, Lancashire, is home to the collections of XX The Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Documenting over 300 years of history and heritage through permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Museum tells the rich and fascinating stories of the people who have served and continue to service in the Regiments.

 

Anyone with any information about the missing VC should contact Sarah Stevenson, Collections Officer at the Fusilier Museum on 0161 763 8962 or sarah.stevenson@fusiliermuseum.com

 

ENDS

Download the press release