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A group of six medals, including the VC awarded to Sergeant Horace Martineau of the Protectorate Regiment, appeared at Spink in London on May 9, with a respectable estimate of £50,000-70,000.

Martineau, born in Bayswater, London in 1874, won his VC during the failed attack on the Boer emplacement at Game Tree Fort, three miles north of Mafeking, on December 26, 1899.

The action was ill-fated – the Boers had torn up nearby railway track, preventing a British troop train from supporting the frontal assault, the fort was stronger than anticipated, and the attack coincided with the Boer guard change, so Game Tree held twice as many defenders as usual.

As a result, the attack failed, and as the British withdrew, Martineau stopped to rescue a wounded corporal, carrying him to safety from within yards of the enemy walls. In the process he was wounded three times, necessitating the amputation of his left arm. Despite this, he continued to serve in Africa and during WW1 was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, but died of
illness in 1915.

After protracted bidding in the packed
saleroom, the medals sold for £90,000, plus 15 per cent buyer’s premium, to a private collector, underbid by a second collector.