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War hero's medals fetch £240,000
THE Victoria Cross and other military medals awarded to a First World War hero have sold at auction for £240,000.
Captain Arthur Forbes Kilby, who was from a well-regarded York family, was awarded the VC posthumously, for his gallantry and heroism during the Battle of Loos on September 25, 1915, while serving with the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment.
He was also awarded a 1914 Ypres Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal (1914-20) and Victory Medal (1914-19) and MiD Oakleaf. His medal collection was sold at auction by Spink of London on Thursday, for £240,000 to an anonymous bidder, beating the estimate of £140,000 to £180,000.
Capt Kilby was born in Cheltenham but two of his forefathers were Lord Mayors of York: Thomas Kilby in 1784 and John Kilby in 1804. Capt Kilby also has a memorial in York Minster and is included on a war memorial in St Cuthbert’s Church in Peasholme Green.
He was killed in action during the first day of The Battle of Loos, and his citation in the London Gazette, when he was awarded the Victoria Cross in March 1916, said it was in recognition of “the most conspicuous bravery”.
It stated: “Captain Kilby was specially selected, at his own request, and on account of the gallantry which he had previously displayed on many occasions, to attack with his company, a strong enemy redoubt.
"The company charged along the narrow tow-path, headed by Captain Kilby, who, though wounded at the outset, continued to lead his men right up to the enemy wire under a devastating machine-gun fire and a shower of bombs.
"Here he was shot down, but, although his foot had been blown off, he continued to cheer on his men and to use a rifle. Captain Kilby has been missing since the date of the performance of this great act of valour, and his death has now to be presumed.”
Capt Kilby's Victoria Cross was presented to his father by King George V on July 11, 1916, at Buckingham Palace, and he was later buried in the Arras Road Cemetery in Roclincourt, France.
Oliver Pepys, medals specialist at Spink, said: “We are delighted with the result of this important medal group, which justifies the bravery and sacrifice made by Captain A.F.G. Kilby for his country.
"We hope that having gone to a good home, it will remain a symbol of loyalty and honour and most of all act as a reminder that behind such a spectacular medal, was a spectacular man.”