Credit: Noonans
Credit: Noonans

The first Naval V.C. of the Great War awarded to Edinburgh Captain to fetch more than £200,000 at auction

Noonans Mayfair are to sell the first Naval V.C. of the Great War.

The medal was awarded to Captain Henry Peel Ritchie of the Royal Navy, who was born in Edinburgh. He won the Senior Service’s first V.C. of the conflict for his gallant command of H.M.S. Goliath’s steam pinnace at Dar-es-Salaam in East Africa in on 28 November 1914.

Credit: Noonans

It is expected to fetch up to £260,000 in the sale of Naval medals from the collection of the late Jason Pilalas on 23 July. The first part of the collection comprises 250 medals  and is expected to fetch in the region of £2million.  

‘When the pinnace came under a withering fire, 38-year-old Ritchie took over the wheel from his wounded coxswain and steered for the harbour’s entrance, but it took 20 minutes to get clear, in which period he was wounded eight times – on the forehead, in the left hand, twice in the left arm, in his right arm and hip and, finally, by two bullets through his right leg,’ Nimrod Dix, from  Noonans explained. 

Credit: Noonans

Ritchie, who was promoted Captain on the Retired List in January 1924, lived at Craig Royston House in Edinburgh and died there in 1958, aged 83.


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