World War I VC to go up for auction

THE 1000th Victoria Cross awarded to a Commonwealth serviceman is part of a set of six medals to be auctioned this month and expected to fetch $550,000.

The medals were awarded to Private Henry Dalziel, with the VC given for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Hamel Wood in France in 1918.

The citation, published in the London Gazette, stated: ''A heavy concentration of machinegun fire caused many casualties, and held up our advance. His [Dalziel's] Lewis gun having come into action and silenced enemy guns in one direction, an enemy gun opened fire from another direction. Private Dalziel dashed at it and with his revolver, killed or captured the entire crew and gun, and allowed our advance to continue.''

The catalogue for auction house Noble records Private Dalziel's personal account of the action. ''We were harassed by murderous fire from a nearby enemy stronghold, the Australian advance was held up. My gun had cleaned up one [machinegun] nest, but another planted in a different direction opened fire. I dashed at it killing seven Germans with my two revolvers. One German bloodhound wounded me in the hand, but I soon had him on the ground. I lunged at him with my German dagger, catching him right over the heart. His dying cry upset me and I shivered.''

The medals are to be offered for sale by the recipient's two sons and daughter. The category A medal is not allowed to leave the country, but can be bought by someone abroad.