Michael Daniels
Edward St John Daniel VC
 The story of the first man to forfeit the Victoria Cross



Edward St John Daniel's VC Medal


Sometime after 4th September 1861, when Queen Victoria signed the Royal Warrant of forfeiture, Edward St. John Daniel's Victoria Cross medal was returned to the Admiralty.

On 8th February 1868, the Admiralty loaned Daniel's forfeited VC to a Colonel MacKenzie, collector of naval and military medals, on condition that "it be returned, if at any time required".

The medal later came into the collection of Major-General Lord Cheylesmore, where it was displayed at the Royal United Service Institution in Whitehall.

On the death of Lord Cheylesmore, the medal was sold by auction on 18th July 1930, at Glendinings in London for £40.

The medal was subsequently sold at auction several times. The last sale was at Christies, London on 24th July 1990, where the medal realised £19,800. It is believed to have been purchased on that occasion by an agent acting for the businessman Michael Ashcroft, adding to a large personal collection of VC medals which Ashcroft began in 1986.

Michael Ashcroft is a former Treasurer and Deputy Chairman of the UK Conservative Party. He was made a life peer in 2000. Lord Ashcroft's collection of more than 170 Victoria Crosses (which includes Edward St John Daniel's) is now on permanent display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London, alongside the museum's own substantial VC collection and a sizeable collection of George Crosses.


Blue ribbon. Reverse suspension bar inscribed "Midshipman / Edward St. John Daniel". Reverse centre of Cross dated "5 Nov / 1854 / 18 June / 1855". Slight contact marks to reverse, otherwise very fine.

Sales of Edward St John Daniel's
Victoria Cross Medal

Date Location Price Buyer
18 July 1930 Glendinings, London
(Lot 646)
18 June 1947 Glendinings, London £110 Major W.G. Harding
14 Nov 1968 Glendinings, London
(Lot 83)
£850 Spinks
26 Jan 1972 Sothebys, London
(Lot 267)
£1500 Failed to reach reserve
Mar 1973 Offered for sale
(By retail)
21 Mar 1988 Sothebys, London
(Lot 491)
£19,800 Private London buyer
24 July 1990 Christies, London
(Lot 257)
£19,800 Anonymous*
* Believed to be on behalf of Michael Ashcroft

Edward St John Daniel's Victoria Cross
Edward St John Daniel's
Victoria Cross

Lord Ashcroft VC Collection

Photo: Michael Daniels

Edward St John Daniel's VC (reverse)
Edward St John Daniel's
Victoria Cross (reverse)

Lord Ashcroft VC Collection

Photo: Michael Daniels

A Reunion

On Friday 10th February 2006, Edward St John Daniel's VC medal was brought by the Curator of the Lord Ashcroft Collection, Michael Naxton, to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich for the filming of a BBC TV documentary item about Daniel's life.

Among other things, this allowed Daniel's VC to be reunited with Capt. William Peel's (which is in the National Maritime Museum collection). This was the first time that the medals had been seen together in almost 150 years when, in 1858, they had been sent to India in order to be presented to the two men (though Peel died before he could receive his medal).

It was a thrill and a privilege to be present at that moving event, which gave myself and two of Edward St John Daniel's now elderly grand-nephews the opportunity to finally see and handle his hard-won but sadly forfeited Victoria Cross.

Daniel's and Peel's VCs reunited
Side by side - the Victoria Crosses of Edward St John Daniel and William Peel
Photo: Michael Daniels (taken 10th February 2006 at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich)

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