Seaman James Gorman (1832-82) of HMS Albion was decorated for gallantry while defending the Right Lancaster Battery at the Battle of Inkerman on November 5, 1854.
Declining the order to withdraw and leave the position, he worked with four other sailors from the Albion to repel the Russian advance ‘not trusting any Ivan to get in bayonet range of the wounded’.
The week after Inkerman Gorman distinguished himself again, saving the life of Royal Navy Captain Lushington who had become ‘unhorsed and surrounded by the enemy’.
His award was among those mentioned in the February 24, 1857, issue of the London Gazette listing the first ever recipients of the VC.
As later in life Gorman would live in the antipodes – boarding the free trader Fairlie at Plymouth, bound for Sydney, on January 7, 1863 – he is considered the first Australian resident to hold the VC. His medals remained in Western Australia during the sale with the successful bidder asked to pay only when an export permit was granted.
The buyer's premium was 24%.