Lt Col David Currie, winner of the only Victoria Cross awarded to a Canadian soldier for the 1944 Normandy campaign.

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There is a twist, however. Although the auction will take place in London, bidding will be conducted in Canadian dollars.

The VC and other medals awarded to Lt Col David Currie remain in Canada, where they have been since the present owner bought them privately from Currie’s widow Isabel in 1989.

And if the successful bidder wishes to take them out of Canada they will have to apply for a cultural property export permit.

This VC is unique to the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, the only one awarded to a Canadian soldier for the 1944 Normandy campaign and the only Second World War VC to a member of a Canadian unit not on public display in Canada.

The group of awards is estimated at Can$500,000-600,000 (about £305,000-367,000).

“Currie showed astonishing courage and coolness throughout a ferocious three-day battle, during which he and his small Canadian force were the only troops blocking the escape of two German armies from a huge Allied pincer movement,” says Tanya Ursual, DNW’s representative in Canada.

Only 181 awards of the VC and one Bar were made during the Second World War, of which 16 were awarded to Canadians. Of these 16, only 12 were given to members of Canadian units, 11 of which are on public display in Canada – Currie’s being the only exception.

The other four awards went to Canadians serving with British units and three of these are on public display in England.