• Sunday, April 21, 2024


Antiques Roadshow visitor gets teary-eyed as father’s war medal’s value is revealed

The Victoria Cross is an award instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 to honour acts of bravery and which has been awarded to less than 1,400 people since

A Victoria Cross medal (L) is displayed at a Reunion Service for The Victoria And George Cross Association at St Martin in the Fields on September 9, 2008 in London. Representative Image (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

An Antiques Roadshow guest wiped away tears when he learned that the war medal, his father received during World War II holds an astonishing value of £250,000.

The man, whose father, Sikh soldier Naik Gian Singh, was honoured for his actions in Burma (now Myanmar) during the Second World War, shared his family’s lack of knowledge regarding the specifics of his father’s bravery.

The guest, speaking to the BBC show’s expert Mark Smith in Glasgow, where this week’s show was filmed, mentioned that his father rarely discussed his wartime experiences and would become emotional when doing so, a report in the Mirror said.

Smith then uncovered a book that detailed Naik Gian Singh’s Victoria Cross award, the highest British honour for bravery.

He described Naik Gian Singh’s courageous actions in Burma, highlighting his two lone charges against the Japanese forces, which involved firing his Tommy gun and throwing grenades.

Smith also emphasised Singh’s critical role in dislodging the enemy from the area and his leadership in clearing enemy positions, even while sustaining several wounds.

Reflecting on this account, Smith praised Singh’s remarkable bravery and dedication in the heat of battle.

He then went on to explain the significance of the Victoria Cross, an award instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 to honour acts of bravery and which has been awarded to less than 1,400 people since.

He emphasised that the medal’s value lies in the deeds behind it rather than its material composition.

When asked if he had any idea about the medal’s value, the guest said, “Nope. My dad never wanted to be parted from it ever.” He was taken aback in astonishment as Smith revealed, “It’s worth a quarter of a million pounds,” at £250,000.

But despite its high value, the guest asserted that he would never part with the medal, emphasising its profound importance to his late father.

He said, “Even if it’s worth two million, 10 million, we won’t part with it. No way.”

Smith expressed his understanding, describing Victoria Cross medals as iconic symbols of military valour worldwide. He then thanked the guest for the honour of meeting him and his father’s medals.

Following the valuation, Smith informed viewers that due to their significant worth, Victoria Cross medals are primarily displayed in museums behind armoured glass.

He emphasised the rarity of seeing one in person and the awe-inspiring experience it entails.

When asked about how he felt upon discovering the value of his father’s war medal, the guest responded, “It’s amazing. I never thought it would be worth that much. I was in tears actually, I was crying.”

He also disclosed his intention to secure the medals in a bank for security and, as a family, decide to donate them to a museum to commemorate his father’s Second World War achievements.

Since their introduction in 1856, a total of 1,358 Victoria Cross medals have been awarded to honour acts of bravery, originally during the Crimean War, the Daily Mail reported.

During World War II, only 182 Victoria Cross medals were conferred, and in the years following the Second World War, merely 15 have been distributed.

Unfortunately, due to their substantial value, numerous Victoria Cross medals have become targets for theft and robbery in recent decades, prompting the inclusion of several bronze medals on Interpol’s watch-list for stolen items.

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